Henry’s life turns upside down when he runs into a beggar shining shoes for a living. He spots a scar on the beggar’s scalp and almost faints upon realizing the man looks exactly like his father, who mysteriously disappeared 20 years ago.
“Mom,” Henry spoke into his phone while exiting the business center, “they’re not willing to sign the contract. Our competitors are offering more favorable terms.”
“We can’t afford to lose them,” Victoria replied urgently. “Give me 20 minutes, and I’ll get back to you. Grab some lunch and be prepared to go back in there and secure that contract.”
Henry let out a sigh and proceeded to walk towards the café across the street. As he made his way back to the building later on, he noticed a man on the pavement across the street. A placard beside him read, “Working for food. Get your shoes shined for $1.”
Approaching the beggar, Henry dropped a dollar into the box next to him and placed his right shoe on the shoe-cleaning stand.
“May God bless you, sir,” the beggar smiled, looking up at Henry.
Henry’s breath caught in his throat and it felt like the world blurred around him when he saw the man’s face. It was impossible! But it was even more impossible that this beggar could look so much like a man that disappeared years ago.
“What’s your name?” he asked the beggar.
“My buddies call me Scar,” the man replied. “I don’t quite remember how I got it, but I have a scar, sir, and so, my buddies call me Scar.”
“Where is the scar?” Henry asked.
The man lifted his cap and Henry almost fainted. The man was a vivid image of Henry’s father, David, and he bore the same scar at the same place on his head.
Scar worried as he saw Henry’s face turn pale. He called to the passers-by for help, but nobody listened. Eventually, he plunged his hand into Henry’s pocket, took his phone, and called 911 just as Henry passed out.
Upon opening his eyes, Henry realized he was in a hospital and noticed Scar sitting on the stool nearby.
“Scar…” Henry propped himself up against the bed’s backrest as he attempted to sit up. “Do you remember who you are? Or anything about your past?”
“I’m sorry, sir, but I don’t recall much about my life. I live on the streets and shine shoes. That’s all I know. I have no memories of my childhood.”
“What about your family? Don’t you have any relatives?” Henry inquired.
Scar shook his head. “I’ve been like this for almost 19 years.”
Henry observed Scar’s disheveled appearance and noticed how he occasionally muttered to himself, displaying signs of mental disorders and memory loss.
“I’m afraid visiting hours are over,” a doctor entered Henry’s hospital room and glanced at Scar. “You need to leave.”
“Doctor, can you please conduct a checkup for Scar?” Henry asked. “I want to make sure he’s alright, and I’ll take care of the bills.”
Once Scar left the room, Henry briefed the doctor about everything. The doctor agreed to help them. An hour later, Henry was going through Scar’s reports.
The man had amnesia and had suffered a traumatic brain injury years ago. Henry closed the report file and dialed Mom.
“Where the hell have you been, Henry?” Victoria exploded.
“I’m at the hospital, Mom, and I think I found Dad.”
“What?” she cried.
“I know it sounds crazy, but I’m sure this time. Can you come here, please?” he said.
“Alright, I’m coming,” she said.
“Doesn’t he resemble Dad?” Henry inquired.
“I’m not sure,” Victoria responded while gazing at Scar through the window of the room. “If you want, Henry, you can take a DNA test.”
Henry opted to undergo a DNA test and paid for expedited results. He and Victoria waited together outside until Henry needed to use the restroom.
As he was returning, he abruptly halted upon hearing Victoria engaged in a heated argument on the phone. Henry had never witnessed her in such an enraged state. Curiosity piqued, he discreetly positioned himself behind a wall, eavesdropping on her conversation.
“How is he still alive?!” she fumed. “You told me he didn’t survive! Do I need to remind you at whose expense you’re living that God-like life?”
Henry watched her end the call. He was about to ask who she was talking to when the nurse interrupted them with the test results.
Henry couldn’t believe it when he read the report. The words “0% match” stared back at him. He was so stunned that he forgot about his mother’s angry phone call.
“I really thought he was Dad. Mom, you saw him. How can this…something is wrong, Mom.”
“It’s hard for any child to accept that their father is not coming back. We all miss him, honey,” Victoria said, “but you have to move on. I had to put my grief aside to take over his company and build this life for us, so please, let’s leave for the meeting now. I know exactly how to win our clients over, honey.”
Henry’s heart dropped. “Alright,” he sighed, closing the report. “Scar needs to stay in the hospital for a few days so I’m going to see him quickly. I’ll be back in a minute.”
Henry couldn’t shake off the thoughts of the overheard conversation at the hospital, yet his intuition warned him against confronting his mother about it. Instead, he decided to conduct his own investigation by visiting her house the following day while she was at work.
Inside her bedroom, Henry took a few moments to guess the password and unlock the safe concealed within her closet.
He meticulously examined the documents within, only to realize that his father’s death certificate was missing. Henry diligently searched through nearly every drawer in the room, but his efforts proved futile.
It was during this search that Henry noticed an anomaly—an unusual detail that caught his attention.
There were scratch marks on the floor. Filled with intrigue, Henry summoned the strength to push the cupboard aside. To his astonishment, he discovered a concealed safe hidden behind it.
Henry typed in the usual passwords Victoria would use, but they didn’t work. At that moment, his gaze stopped on his father’s photo on the bedside table. Henry tried the date when his father disappeared and the safe clicked open.
Inside was a brown folder. He was about to check it when his phone rang. It was Victoria. Henry panicked and raced to her bedroom window to check if she was home, but thankfully, she wasn’t.
“Hey, Mom, what’s up?” he asked.
“I just got off work, and I want to get together to celebrate the deal,” Victoria said cheerfully.
“Well, I’d love to, but these few days have been hard. Can we please do dinner some other day?” he asked.
Victoria was disappointed, but she said it was fine and hung up. Henry took the brown folder, organized Victoria’s room, and left her house. At home, he opened the folder and found an envelope containing an old disk, a couple of documents, and some photographs.
The photos were all of his dad, but his father wasn’t alone in those pictures. David was pictured with a woman at different places. It looked like someone was stalking them when the photos were taken. When he found a picture of his dad kissing the woman, Henry realized she was his father’s mistress.
“Dad was…cheating on Mom? Jesus,” he thought sadly. He moved on to the documents. They were share transfers. His mother had transferred a part of the company’s shares to David’s assistant, Steve.
Steve was a member of the board of directors now. The odd thing about the transfer was that it was made soon after David went missing.
“What was going on? Why would Mom have all these things in one place? What does all this mean?” Henry’s gaze was drawn to the old disk. He inserted it into his old computer and realized it was an audio recording of his parents arguing.
“Admit that you’re cheating on me with that skinny witch!” Victoria lashed out.
“Yes, I did!” Henry’s father shouted.
“What are you going to do about it? If I want, I can hire the best lawyers and get you kicked out of my life without a dime. I’ll also make sure I take Henry away from you forever. If you don’t want us to divorce for Henry’s sake, then—”
The audio cut out.
Henry reinserted the disk and played the recording again, but it was pointless. The disk was pretty old, so the latter half of the recording had worn off.
“So Mom and Dad were going to get a divorce. Darn it!” Henry rechecked the folder and found two envelopes hidden deep inside a flap. Henry couldn’t believe his eyes when he read the papers inside the first envelope. “What? I…am adopted?”
At that moment, Henry understood the DNA test at the hospital was pointless. But the worst part was Victoria knew about it all along.
Henry found pictures in the second envelope of David and Steve on a fishing trip. “Were Dad and Steve being stalked too?” Henry thought. In the next photo, Steve stared directly into the camera as if he knew he was being photographed.
In the next picture, a man was lying at the foot of a cliff near a river. It was his father, lying in a pool of blood. Henry couldn’t believe it. All his life, Victoria had lied to him.
The next morning, Henry drove to Victoria’s house for breakfast. Afterward, Henry checked her call logs while she got ready for work. She made only one call while they were at the hospital—to Steve.
Henry realized Steve had tried to kill David and Victoria had been an accomplice to the crime. They’d planned it together then lied about his disappearance.
Henry walked to his car and called the hospital where Scar was admitted. “Hi, yes, please don’t let him go anywhere. I’ll pick him up in the next few days. Thank you,” he told Scar’s doctor and hung up.
When Victoria got into the car, Henry was ready to take her where she belonged.
“Henry, where are you going?” she asked, looking out the window. “The office is in the other direction.”
“It’s a surprise,” he said, taking the road toward the police station.
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