Chicago, Illinois. The Windy City.
The place had been abuzz for several weeks in the wake of a missing person's case that had captured the hearts of many.
The girl had been well-liked by her friends and all that knew her.
In a darkened apartment, a middle-aged woman sat at the kitchen table, staring down in silence at a framed photograph in her hand. It was of a young girl with braided hair, framing her pretty face.
The woman sighed as she closed her eyes. It had been nearly two weeks since her daughter had gone missing. What could have happened to her...?
Her self-torturing train of thought was broken by the shrill ring of the telephone. The woman groaned as she climbed to her feet and crossed the room to answer it.
Damned phone calls. Day in, day out, but still no news of her missing girl...
"Y-Yes?" she said into the mouthpiece.
"Excuse me, miss?" said a girl's voice on the other line. "I haven't caught you at a bad time, have I?"
"No, no, it's... fine."
"I heard about Emily. I just wanted to call and say I'm really sorry about what happened."
Her mother smiled grimly. "Thank you... Are you one of her friends?"
"You could say that..." the girl replied. "I really wish that I could come and see you in person. But my parents wouldn't dream of letting me fly out to Chicago in the middle of the school term…"
At that moment, the woman screamed in fright when a figure materialised in the kitchen before her very eyes. She gasped in shock when she realised that she recognised the pale figure.
"E-Emily...?" she stammered.
The spirit smiled, and nodded silently.
"I'm so sorry about what happened to your daughter," the other girl's voice continued through the phone sadly. "But I do hope that you can find some comfort and closure in the fact that her soul will be able to move on. It's the least I could do for her. She has just appeared before you to say goodbye."
Emily's spirit smiled sadly, and then disappeared.
Her mother stared in a shocked silence for several moments as she let the words of Emily's friend sink in. "Who are you?" she finally said softly into the phone. "How do you know all this?"
"That's why I'm calling. My name is Coraline Jones. I have something to tell you about your missing daughter."