Paul Stanton disappeared on a hot Thursday afternoon in July, quietly and without trouble. His executive assistant assumed he was out to lunch, taking down messages from three clients and directing one partner to call back later. But later came, and all that remained of Paul was his striped blue suit jacket, dutifully hugging the back of his tufted leather chair.
The letter arrived three weeks later. When Paul’s wife Jane saw the address on the envelope, she told herself that in order to stay on her feet for as long as she needed to, she had to come up with a plan. First, Jane decided that she’d get in touch with Officer Kinsley at the police station. She thought about how she’d say it – does one request to cancel a missing person report? Rescind it? Or would the mere mention of the letter arriving from Foul Mountain be enough? After that, she’d call her sister. Formulating these next steps in her head helped Jane momentarily delay the gravity of the news she held in her shaking hands, giving her just enough time to walk from the mailbox to the porch, find her keys, and close the door behind her as she slid down to the floor.