Tom and I had been married for 35 years. Our family was very happy and close-knit. But everything changed the day Tom disappeared.
My daughter Angela and I were driving home from her painting lesson when she noticed Tom’s car parked across the river. The car was locked, and nobody was inside.
I thought Tom may have gone fishing in the river. But when we arrived there, he was nowhere to be seen.
Angela suggested Tom’s car may have broken down, and he walked home. But that wasn’t the case. He didn’t come home from work that night, and his phone was turned off.
I immediately drove to his parents' house to check if he had gone there. But when I got there, I learned something that left me shocked.
Tom disappeared under mysterious circumstances then the police told me he never existed | Photo: Shutterstock
“We don’t know this man,” Tom’s mother spoke. “We were only playing the role of his parents because he was paying us.”
I was stunned. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. What else had this man lied about? Was he just using my home for 35 years as a place to hide from something? I wondered.
I also called all of his friends, but nobody had any clue where Tom had disappeared. They all said he came to the office, but he left early from work.
At this point, I didn’t have much choice but to report the incident to the cops. However, I waited till the morning in the hopes that Tom would return. Sadly, that didn’t happen.
I went to the police station in the morning and filed a missing person’s report. The police soon came and examined Tom’s car. It turned out that the car wasn’t broken, and his stuff was still in the backseat.
According to police, Tom's car wasn't broken. | Photo: Pexels
The cops started the search, but all efforts went in vain. I didn’t give up, though. I did everything I could to spread the word, including putting up posters on walls, giving ads in newspapers, and even using social media. But sadly, no fresh leads or proof surfaced.
However, one night while sleeping, I was startled awake by the sound of footsteps. I thought it was Tom and I couldn’t contain my happiness. “Is that you, Tom? Have you come back?” I called his name. But no one responded.
The next night, I heard the steps again, and this time, I even saw a man’s shadow on the wall. I called out again, but like the previous night, nobody responded. After that night, I was so terrified that I changed all of the locks in the house.
I saw a man's shadow at night | Photo: Pexels
The next day, the cops called me to the police station because they required some documentation concerning Tom. “We need Tom's birth certificate or any other documents that can be of help in this case,” the officer told me.
I looked everywhere for Tom’s certificates, but I couldn’t find them. So, I turned to the archives. It turned out his name was first recorded in our marriage certificate.
“Well, the person you’re talking about doesn’t exist. We searched all the records, and there’s no person named Tom Matthew,” the officer told me.
I was shocked. “It doesn’t make sense, officer. The marriage document clearly states that Tom and I got married. In fact, we’ve been married for 35 years now!”
Police asked me to close the case | Photo: Pexels
The policeman gave me a disappointed look. “Well, that's the only document we have, and it's fake. We’re sorry, but we can’t help you. We can’t go around looking for a man who never existed!”
I lost my cool. “Mind your words, officer. Do you think I’m lying? Do you think I’m making everything up?!”
“Well, ma’am,” the officer continued. “We don’t know that, and we’re not interested either. Please leave and consider the case closed.”
I asked the officer to look into the matter again, but he said he would do so only if I had documents other than the marriage certificate that could prove I wasn’t lying.
Sadly, I had no other documents, so I had to accept that the case was closed now and Tom would never return. But five years later, while I was on my way home after dropping off Angela in class, I got a call from the police station that they had found Tom.
I got a call from the police that Tom was found | Photo: Pexels
“We found your husband,” an officer said.
I couldn’t believe my ears. “Really? But how? Where?”
“Yes, ma’am,” the officer continued. “Your neighbor saw some man coming through the window of your cellar. When we arrived, it turned out it was your husband!”
I dashed to the police station and saw Tom over there. I couldn’t believe it was him. During the interrogation, Tom revealed the shocking truth of why he disappeared.
He said his real name was Jacob. He worked in a bank when he was 20 years old. Their branch was robbed of $100,000. Because he was the only one who had access to the money, the bank manager blamed him for the incident.
Tom was fired from the bank, so he ran away | Photo: Pexels
Tom said he didn't take the money, but nobody believed him. So, he had to run away to another town, change his name, and start a new life.
“And that’s when I met you and fell in love, Claire,” he said. “I couldn’t tell you the truth because I was afraid you wouldn’t believe me.”
I glared at him. “But why did you decide to run away five years ago?”
“At work, they demanded some documents for retirement,” he said. “It would have revealed my secret. So that was the best option I could think of. For all those years, I lived in our cellar.”
“But the police searched our house, Tom,” I replied. “How come they didn't find you?”
“That’s because, during the first few days, I was hiding in a forest,” he explained. “And when the police stopped coming to our house, I came into our cellar through the window. Sorry for having scared you at night.”
The police cross-checked Tom's statement and it turned out to be true | Photo: Pexels
The police cross-checked whatever the man said, and it turned out he was telling the truth. The cops also informed us that the real burglars were apprehended 35 years back, and Tom didn’t need to run away.
Having heard it, Tom finally calmed down and apologized to Angela and me. I was upset with him because of his lies, but eventually, I forgave him.
What can we learn from this story?
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about newborn twins who were left at the doorstep of a church.
This account is inspired by our reader's story but written by a professional writer. All names have been changed to protect identities and ensure privacy. Share your story with us, maybe it will change someone's life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.