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Adelaide Barker: Where Is Joy Allen?

95_ym_whereisjoyallen_holtzman.jpg
Art by Bernice Holtzman © 2022

Where Is Joy Allen?

 

by Adelaide Barker

 

 

Where is Joy Allen? The 22-year-old recently certified CPA was last seen by her two-years-younger sister, June Allen, on Friday, July 16. This was the night before she married Brian Kelly, her sweetheart since they were teenagers. Joy left her wallet, debit, and credit cards on her dresser. Her makeup kit was left in the bathroom. The keys to her car were on the kitchen counter. No clothes are missing. Her phone, Joy's  constant companion, was on the floor. She left no notes.

 

Where is Joy Allen? That is the question that has hounded her former fiancé, Brian, for the past five years. Thankfully, June, Joy’s younger sister, has been his comfort during this trying time. The two of them are always seen together at church and family gatherings. Even though the family is nagged by the absence of the “Joy of their world.” Two years ago, June and Brian were married, and the young son, Tommy, arrived the following year. Joy's father died last year, and her mother is in a nursing home in a declining state of dementia. It is time to sell their house.

 

“I know we should sell the house, but I’m not going over there to clean it out,” June screamed. “I don’t ever want to go back there.”

 

“OK. I’ll do it, or get someone to do it,” Brian said. "Why do you avoid going to  that house? You wouldn’t even go visit your parents there. You made them come over here."

 

"The memories are bad. I don't have time for sad memories. I have to take  care of Tommy," she said. The blonde-haired-dyed-brown, 5' 9" well-toned exercise  fanatic turned and exited the room.

 

On the drive to the house, Brian's thoughts turned to Joy. He could see the image of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed vivacious woman he loved. He still has trouble dealing with the sullen introvert sister. June spends most of her time somewhere in the fog of another world. Where is June? he asks himself.

 

At the house, Brian begins his plan to clean things up. He parks his truck in the driveway and punches the button on the garage door opener. He takes in a deep breath and looks at the mess. Oh, my God, where do I start? I need help, he thinks.

 

There's that old broken-down freezer. Mr. Allen never got somebody to take it away. Why is there a chain and lock connected to the doors? Brian gets the bolt cutters from the workbench and cuts the chain. He pulls the door open. "Holy shit," he screams. Joy is no longer missing.

 

Joy’s perfectly-preserved body in the airtight freezer stares out at him with wide-open eyes and a look of horror. Her fingers are missing nails from scratching at the door. Brian falls to the floor, crying uncontrollably. What do I do now? Should I call   the police? Yes, Joy was murdered. Who would murder Joy? Who would do such a thing?  Brian gets off the floor and goes to his truck. He knows the answer to that question.

 

June met him at the door. "Where in the hell have you been?" she yelled.

Brian stared at her with a blank face. The silence between them was

deafening. "You know where I've been," he finally says. "Do you know

what I found in that old freezer in the garage?" The expression on her face

gave him the answer. "Wait! Wait! It's not what you think. It was an

accident.”

 

“An accident? How in the hell was her murder an accident?”

 

Brian could sense that June was trying to come up with an explanation. "We … we had too much to drink. You know, celebrating the wedding. Joy fell down and hit  her head on the cocktail table. I tried to wake her up, but she was dead," June said, as  tears rolled down her cheeks.

 

“Why didn’t you call someone? Why did you put her in the freezer if it was an  accident?”

 

“I’ve been asking those same questions for years.”

 

“Wait! Wait!" June kept saying as Brian strangled her, and June's breathing  slowly stopped.

 

 

Adelaide Barker is 12 years-old and in the seventh grade. She has taken creative writing classes since the second grade. Addie finished fourth in a district short story competition when she was eight. Addie wants to be a travel writer when she grows up. 



Bernice Holtzman’s paintings and collages have appeared in shows at various venues in Manhattan, including the Back Fence in Greenwich Village, the Producer’s Club, the Black Door Gallery on W. 26th St., and one other place she can’t remember, but it was in a basement, and she was well received.

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