Rebecca (wild_huntress) wrote in little_details,
Rebecca
wild_huntress
little_details

Missing person returning after being missing due to supernatural adversity

So I got bitten by a plot bunny for a story with slight but important supernatural elements. Basically, my MC lives in a town with reportedly haunted woods around it, where spooky things supposedly happen. MC is assaulted (by two human criminals) and left unconscious in the woods. When he regains consciousness, he limps back to his family's house, seemingly a few hours later, and finds that for the rest of the world, ten or so years have passed. MC has been missing for years according to the real world, when for him it was just a couple hours. The setting is contemporary New England.

I'm trying to think through the implications of someone seemingly coming back from the dead, with no explanation but a supernatural one. I've already:

* attempted to research procedures for missing person searches, using Google. Googled things like "procedure missing person over/under 18" (MC is on the cusp).
* checked when someone would be legally presumed dead (7 years in most jurisdictions, with conditions; this works fine for my story).
* attempted researching the legal/practical implications of returning from being missing for years, though this didn't turn up much I think I started Googling inheritance/financial implications for missing persons.
* started researching psychological and physical effects of a trauma like this. Looked up specific conditions like PTSD and some research into physical injuries/problems e.g. limping, arthritis.

Any help, suggested resources/starting points or keywords would be much appreciated, especially for the following issues:

1) What are 'good' physical injuries that could linger and cause some slight deficits, but nevertheless indicate long-ago trauma? I want MC to be physically healed from the attack but to have old scars and maybe a slight limp or something consistent with this incident happening 8-10 years ago, such that even the town doctor is extremely confused and tempted to believe the supernatural explanation. I was thinking maybe his kneecap was broken and never healed properly, but I need stuff that would sort of scream 'this is from an injury several years ago'.

2) How would someone get their life back together after this? I want to end on a semi-hopeful note, with MC making progress back to a normal life - but how does one go back to school or work after this? Get therapy? See the attackers prosecuted? Short of fudging documents to support a rational explanation, I'm not sure where to go. My MC is/was a rationalist type before this incident, so I could see him tell other people a more believable explanation and maybe try to convince himself of that (e.g. "I woke up from a coma", not "I was left in the haunted woods and fell through some sort of rift in time") - but I need a way for him to get his life back in order, officially.

3) On that note, what would people think happened to him? I'm thinking some people might suggest he developed amnesia or experienced some sort of fugue state or brain damage (yes I started looking those up too), though it seems like him being in one of those and being untraceable for 8-10 years is quite a stretch. What tests might be done to check out those possible explanations?

4) I want my MC's parents to have refused to give up on him - maybe even in the face of other people suggesting they should have him declared dead. MC's father also dies during MC's missing years. I'd like MC to have inherited some money even though he was missing at the time, both for practical reasons and to show the family's devotion - but how does one not get a missing person declared dead even when all indications point that way? What problems or issues may have arisen if his parents specifically did not want to give up on him?

As I said, any help would be appreciated.
Tags: ~medicine: injuries to order, ~missing persons
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