In the previous episode, Mark snuck out at night to St. Luke’s church to check the basement for holy water Silas claimed was hidden there. Silas made an unlikely claim– that he had last been in Rivertown when old Father Kessler was in charge of St. Luke’s. Mark doubts Silas’ story, dismissing him as crazy, and heads back home with few answers. Readers voted that Mark asks his dad about Father Kessler.
I’ll bet no adult slept in Rivertown that night. God knows, I didn’t.
I heard Dad come home around sunrise. Mom had coffee ready. They spoke in whispers until I heard a kiss and Dad’s footsteps down the hall. I had to move quickly to speak with him, before he crashed into bed. I snuck quietly down the hall to his room and knocked.
“Dad? Do you remember Father Kessler?”
He was toeing off his shoes. A very tired old man looked up at me. If there had been news of Susan during the search, it hadn’t been good.
“Mark? Son, it’s been a long night.”
I didn’t have the heart to push the subject. I nodded, shut the door, and went back to my room.
I fell asleep quickly, waking a few hours later to my sister Inky’s shouts.
“Maple! Maple-dog! Maaaaayyy-poooooole!”
She was calling our dog home, but it didn’t seem to be working.
I cursed my sister so many times under my breath that morning, I can’t tell you. I feel hollow telling you that, and probably by now you can guess why.
Inky disappeared that morning while I drifted back to sleep.
She was two years younger than me. When she was born, I couldn’t say “Ingrid” and started calling her Inky. Eventually, the whole family did.
My guess is that when Maple wouldn’t come home, Inky went looking for her. It’s the kind of thing she would do.
Never mind that kids were disappearing. Never mind that they were turning up dead in every instance. All Inky cared about was getting Maple home safe. If that meant going out to hunt that dog down street by street, that’s what Inky would do.
Mom’s rising panic woke me up, seeping through my sleep.
I’m going to leave that part out. You go ahead and imagine for yourself what it looks like when a mother can’t find her daughter during a missing child epidemic.
I’d give you even more of my own memories of that day if you’d swear to take them and bury them deeper than the mines dug all around Rivertown.
A phone call to the sheriff brought half of Rivertown to our house. The search for Susan was expanded to include Inky.
No one was going to tell me “no” this time, because I was no longer asking. In the chaos, I slipped out the door.
The moment my foot crossed the threshold of our house, I knew where I was headed. Crazy or not, Silas seemed to know what was happening to Rivertown. I stayed off the old highway and followed the train tracks by the river up to the fruit market, instead. I wasn’t taking a chance on being seen.
I gathered rocks as I walked the tracks, and as I approached the lean-to my anger got the better of me and I began pelting the bare-bones shelter with stones.
“Silas! You secret-hoarding bastard!”
But he wasn’t home. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.