In the previous episode, the wild-looking man in the lean-to asked Mark how many were dead. He told Mark there was a special kind of holy water that kept the evil contained and he sent Mark to fetch the water from the church basement. He said there were special spear-heads he needed. And he told Mark that someone in town would have to remember him from the last time this happened. Back inside the fruit market, Mr. Giuletta told Mark and Bill that thirteen year old Emmett Manley’s body had been found.
“Emmett? What do you mean, ‘his body’?” I couldn’t imagine why Mr. Giuletta would say those words. People only said “his body” when someone was dead. But that couldn’t be right.
Emmett was just a little kid. Thirteen was little.
I’d seen him trying to manage his bike and the side-bag of newspapers he had to deliver when he took my paper route. It took him every day of a week not to lose balance and fall every street or so.
Mr. Giuletta was still talking, though only Bill was listening. I caught the tail end of one sentence, “–trying to find out when was the last time anyone saw him.”
Then I remembered something else I had heard not long ago:
“How many are dead, Mark?” Silas had asked.
My insides contracted then and I probably would have spewed my last few meals on the fruit market floor but for the fact that the Sheriff pulled up then, lights flashing.
He nodded to Mr. Giuletta, and turned to me and Bill. “Mark, get your bike in the back of the car. Get in the front seat. Sam?” He turned to Mr. Giuletta. “You able to take Bill home?”
Sam Giuletta nodded.
Sheriff put a hand on the old man’s arm. “We have another missing child. Susan Nelson. I’m asking all able-bodied men to meet up in town to search for her. Now, you’re not walking so good these days, Sam. If you’re willing, I’m asking you to sit by the phone in the station.”
“Of course. Of course.” Mr. Giuletta was shaking.
“Sheriff, I’ll meet up with you in town.” Bill looked thirty in that moment instead of his eighteen years.
Sheriff nodded, “Thank you, Bill. We can use you.”
“Well, then you can use me, too,” I told him. But he was already shaking his head no.
“I told your mother I was bringing you straight home, Dep. That’s exactly what I’m doing. You want to join up with us, you clear it through her and your dad. But I’m thinking they’re going to tell you no. You need to know that.”
That wasn’t what I wanted to hear, and he knew it. We drove five minutes in silence until–
“Anything ever happen like this before in Rivertown?”
He pressed the brake too fast, too hard. Our seat belts caught us both.
At the road’s edge, I turned to him.
The Sheriff had never looked at me that way before. He was trying to hold his face still, I could tell in order to not give anything away. It was his stony police-face and it was as intimidating as hell. He had never used it on me before, though.
“Why–” He began and then stopped himself.
“Did your father–” He tried again, then grew silent and just looked at me.
He must have calmed himself, because he sighed a long sigh and asked, “What made you ask that, Mark?” Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.