Mystery of the Missing Blonde

We all love a mystery. They seem to fire our imaginations, inspire us to conjure elaborate conspiracy theories and generally spark furious debate. For more, it seems to me, that most major elections do.

There are plenty of mysteries out there to sink one’s teeth into and wrap your brain-cells over. Many, particularly modern mysteries, deal with people who have vanished seemingly without a trace. There is the infamous tale of the crew of the Mary Celeste who went missing on the 5th December, 1872. The vessel was discovered adrift well off course and a struggling writer, somebody by the name of Arthur Conan Doyle, made a few quid after retelling the tale from the salvage court minutes. This incident, by the way, was not a unique fate for vessels at the time.

Other cases I could site would include that of Melvin Clark, a retired sheriff, who disappeared in late October, 1926, in Portland, Oregon. He was on his way to visit his daughter but never arrived. His case has the dubious distinction of being the oldest open case of its kind in the US. Then there is the notorious disappearance of Richard John Bingham, the 7th Earl of Lucan, who went missing 1974. This British peer of the realm was suspected of an involvement in a more serious crime at the time of his disappearance.

Yes, there are plenty of others I could site, but I would not wish to dwell on the old, but rather add a new case to the plethora of curious and heart-rending cases.

While watching the film Bridge to Terabithia (Gabor Csupo, 2007) last night, something struck me with a shocking force and jolted me into action. Terabithia is a neat, moving film I have enjoyed watching, like Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, many times over, yet for all its simplicity and inspirational motivations, there is this one bête noire.

To get back at the 8th Grade bully, Janice Avery (played by Lauren Clinton), Jess Aarons (Josh Hutcherson) and Leslie Burke (AnnaSophia Robb) play a cruel trick on the older girl. They concoct a letter from a fellow 8th Grader, Willard Hughes (Hudson Mills) which professes his love for Avery. She falls for it and waits for him after school under the eyes of her classmates. Naturally, Hughes knows nothing of the letter, or his feelings for Avery and goes home on his bus.

However, as the drama is unfolding, the back of the bus, where Burke and Aarons are seated somewhere in the middle, erupts into expectant agitation. One 8th Grader (Tyler Atfield) asks what’s with Janice Avery. Her friend, Carla (Isabelle Rose Kircher), tells all. Seated just in front of the 8th Grade Boy as he turns to Carla, is a blonde student. When it becomes clear Hughes has no interest in Avery, the 8th Grade boy stands up, with the rest of the bus, and the blonde girl is definitely there. Yet, as Avery steps deflated and dejected onto the bus, and 8th Grade Boy chides Avery about Hughes, the blonde girl is nowhere to be seen.

Where did she go? What happened to her? Did she nip to the bathroom/toilet/lavatory during the hiatus? Did she upset Gabor Csupo and had to leave the set? Did that scene take so long in the making that her contract expired? Or, as many Celeste-theorist would have us understand, was she kidnapped by space-aliens?

Whatever happened to her may remain a mystery for all time and reach the annals of Hollywood folklore, such as why did that storm-trooper bash his head in the original Star Wars? I am certain, though, that if the truth is out there, as Moulder maintains, William of Ockham will have the one that’s probably correct.

Sleep well, dear Reader. Sleep well.


Malek Montag

2nd April 2017


Picture Credits: (1) (from Carry on Screaming, 1966) & (2) (from Bridge to Terabithia, 2007)


About malekmontag

I am a writer and a wage-slave, and proud father of George Giraffe. I live in the UK, but I exist everywhere. My first stories were published this year (2016) in Short Stories and Tall Tales (Atla Publishing). Follow me on Twitter @Malek_Montag15. My Work is also available on
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