Chase Northcraft wasn't a lonely guy, but he liked to make new connections. That's all it really was, he told himself. He loved his fiancee dearly. He didn't see what was so bad about talking to people and getting to know them. Sure, sometimes the talking would take a sexual turn, but it's not like he ever actually met up with anyone. And besides, most of the time, the conversations would only last a few days at most. He'd get to know the person, they would flirt, and eventually talk about sex. He'd then get himself off to whatever chat or photos that were sent. Then he'd ignore them and go about his business like it never happened. This has become a regular thing for Chase. It wasn't really that big a deal; his fiancee would understand if she ever found out.
With his fiancee working yet another double shift, he finds himself home alone and bored. That has become a recurring theme as of late. His parents, a retired couple, were out of town. It feels as though he's watched every movie he's ever wanted to see and beaten every video game he owns twice over. The internet hasn't been able to peak his interest much either; it feels as though he's visited every interesting website possible. It didn't help that the only computer in the house was the one in the kitchen that the entire family uses. He couldn't wait to save up enough money to move out, but it's a slow go of it thanks to only working part time. That meant that if he wanted to go online, he'd have to share the computer with everyone else in the house. Of course, he could always just use his smart-phone, but all the constant texting and messages from apps were too much of a distraction to browse the net at the same time. Instead, he'd just do both.
Though the day started off the same as any typical day does for a thirty two year old career Police Officer and Rookie Detective, the morning briefing was far from typical. Detective Shane Whelan would be tasked to overtake the most important cases of his entire life today, but he wouldn’t have guessed it initially. They were disguised as simply a spattering of missing person cases; none of which had much of any leads to follow and all of which happened to have nothing in common, spare a few coincidences. They were the kind of not quite cold case files and dead ends that often got passed around the office from new guy to new guy until they reached the lowest possible point on the totem. And since Whelan had just recently joined the detective desk, it was passed off on him by the guy who was now considered his senior, a guy who had only been a Detective for about six months longer than himself.
It was a stack of plain, unassuming blue folders labeled with a simple white sticker containing the date opened and the name of the missing person. Cooper, Belton, Martinez, Kyle, and a few others. Some of them were in worse condition than others, but none of them were older than a few years at most. The only thing they had in common seemed to be the folders themselves. Each person seemed to be leading different lives, completely unconnected to each other in any way. And yet, they now found themselves stacked upon each other on Shane's desk.