Unsolved Missing Persons Cases Panic Citizens
The graveyard at the top of the hill overlooking the community was a well-appointed one. Elaborate wrought iron and polished granite surrounded the ancient compound of departed souls. Countless weeping marble angels dotted the landscape as if to be asking for forgiveness of the residents’ sins. The elite were buried here: doctors, lawyers and prominent politicians. They all shared the same meticulously landscaped plots as they had in life: mansions with expansive lawns and armies of gardeners to take care of it all.
The prominent citizens of this small New England hamlet had been buried at this place for a few hundred years. They were all now turning to dust and had been forgotten, save for one of the interred.
The blustery October wind caught the hat of the local constable, Barry Bradford, and blew it out into the street. He scrambled to retrieve it. It had gotten chilly early this year. The fallen red and orange maple tree leaves rustled around his feet in his hasty wake and crunched underfoot as he donned his just reclaimed chapeau. Making his way to his office in the town hall, after another report of a missing local citizen, he was feeling weary of the hysteria and endless rumors that were circulating the town and haunting the citizen’s restless nights. The disappearances had begun a week earlier in late October and continued unabated with the fourth person, the wife of the local minister, now missing for two days. None of the missing had been found. They simply disappeared. The community was putting pressure on Bradford to find the reasons for these unexplained happenings.
Entering the town hall, Bradford was met with an angry group of locals demanding he do something to prevent another disappearance.
You have to do something about this constable, the owner of the dry goods store, Jonathan Smith, uttered with venom in his voice. The angry mob then voiced their agreement.
Simmer down, folks, Bradford said in a calming voice, trying to dispel the reservations about his ability to solve the problem. “We’re working on it as diligently as possible.”
After reassuring the citizens of his dedication to solving the mysterious disappearances, the disgruntled crowd dispersed leaving the constable and his assistant in the deserted town hall.
Constable Bradford, the assistant constable, Thomas McCarthy said, “I’ve been doing some research and I think I’ve found something. Do you remember the trial of Luke
Peddington a few years back, who was accused of murdering his mother for an early inheritance and found guilty, even though he claimed he was innocent?”
They never did find Mrs. Peddington’s body, so it was all circumstantial evidence.
They found him in his cell the day before his execution, hanging lifeless by his neck, effectively cheating the townsfolk of the satisfaction of seeing him swing. That happened on Halloween day.
I remember. So, what has that to do with the current state of affairs?
Do you remember his rant to the jury as they led him away after the verdict? Something about ‘I curse you all and will see you all in Hell’ and ‘Beware of the Day of the Dead?’
Just the ravings of a lunatic, the constable evenly replied.
Halloween’s tonight, Thomas continued. “Do you realize that all the missing were last seen in the vicinity of the cemetery when they disappeared? Joe Linden was last seen carrying flowers for his wife’s grave. Sally Jensen was last seen walking toward the cemetery. Old man McFerris was trimming the grass on his father’s grave…”
So, you’re saying that some ghost or something got them at the graveyard?
I’m not saying that, but there is a strange thing about all these missing people. They all have one thing in common.
And that is…?
They were all jurors at Luke Pennington’s trial, the jury that condemned him to death.
Constable Bradford removed his reading spectacles, laid them on his paper-cluttered desk and looked blankly at his assistant.
I know it’s a long shot, constable, but I think we need to stakeout the cemetery tonight and see if anything happens. If nothing out of the ordinary happens, my theory is shot to hell.
Correct me if I’m wrong, Thomas, but weren’t you a juror at Luke’s trial?
Yes, that’s one of the reasons I want to go there. To prove I’m wrong. To prove Luke was just ranting and that he’s not currently making a reappearance on this earth.
I think you’re out of your mind, but I’m willing to try almost anything.
As darkness descended on the town, Constable Bradford met Thomas at the entrance of the cemetery. There was a chill in the air as both men entered the graveyard. This night of the dead, Halloween night, presented a full moon and helped illuminate their every step, but with it, making every dancing shadow seem horrific and twisted.
Breathing heavily while walking up the hill, Thomas said,
Let’s go to Luke’s mausoleum, and see if anything happens.
I don’t like this. I don’t know why you talked me into this, but I’m desperate to find a reason for all these good people disappearing. If this is a way to start, then no matter how crazy I think you or I am, I’m going to keep an open mind.
They both found Luke Peddington’s mausoleum under a giant pine tree. The branches cast dark spidery fingers of shadows in the moonlight. The shadows seemed to engulf and caress them with their ever-shifting locations. They both sat down on the steps of Luke’s elaborate and expensive marble tomb.
They sat for what seemed like hours without speaking. The wind came up and blew dead leaves around their feet. The moonlight intensified as another billowy cloud passed by it. The wind then came to a complete standstill. There was no sound. No hooting owls. No crickets. Nothing but silence. A low hanging and eerie fog drifted in from the west and began to shroud the two men in a cloak of unknown and unseeing. They both felt chilled and shook with apprehension. The gates of the mausoleum rattled briefly and then were flung wide open with a force and intensity that knocked both men aside.
Bradford picked himself up just as he saw the mist and fog envelope Thomas. With eyes wide and displaying total dread with a wildly contorted face, Thomas screamed as Jones watched in horror as his assistant tried to grab thin air as his body was being turned and twisted like a ragdoll in the surrounding and suffocating fog. His body was thrown with force against the gates of the mausoleum with a sound that made Bradford’s hair stand on end. He then watched as Thomas’ lifeless blood-spattered body was dragged into the open gates of the mausoleum, seemingly by the dense fog. He watched the giant iron gates close with a loud thud and finality as the fog dissipated.
The constable ran back into town as fast as he could, heart pounding all the way. Arriving at his home, he collapsed on his bed and breathing his last said to his bewildered wife,
Five down and seven to go.