* * *
It was rather late in the day when Miss Luckey, who had been chatting with Miss Holland as they searched the newspapers, found an article that seemed related to the terrible death in 1924. The article was dated the week of April 11, 1921. It read:
Body of Professor Found at College
The Body of Professor Hardy Carlson, 57, was found late last evening in his Charing
Cross College office. Professor Carlson, a tenured professor in the mathematics
department, is believed to have been the victim of foul play. He was discovered by
Officer Roger Nelson of the Charing Cross Police, who this reporter overheard to say
came to the office upon hearing a man scream as though in agony. Det. Sgt. Howard
Fetz described the scene as â€œfrightful.â€ Fetz speculated that â€œa pack of wild dogs, or a
crazy man must have been responsibleâ€ for the tragedy, and vowed that â€œhe would not
rest until he was convinced that the Town of Charing Cross was safe for decent citizens
to walk the streets.â€ Sgt. Fetz added â€œIâ€™d never seen anything like it in all my born days.â€
There was a photograph with the article. It showed a stained sheet covering something on the floor near the front of a college classroom. The room seemed oddly undisturbed given that a body had been found there. A large, ugly man in a police uniform was standing at the edge of the photograph, scratching the back of his head. The object covered by the sheet seemed too short to be a complete body. There was no sign of a blackboard in the photo.
She shared it with Miss Holland and the two discussed the strange killings in the town. Miss Holland recognized the ugly man in the photograph as Sgt. Fetz.
They headed back to the hotel around dinnertime.
* * *
They all met for dinner at the hotel that night. Miss Luckey and Dr. Polichev sat separately.
Dr. Huxtable found himself sitting next to the shifty lawyer whom he didnâ€™t trust. During the meal, he told a story of England, gesturing wildly, and knocked his glass of milk over, knocking it right into Hutzâ€™s lap.
Hutz jumped up, angry, and thought about head-butting the man. Bryan and Silversmith both realized that the spilled milk was probably intentional, though pulled off well.
â€œIâ€™m sorry!â€ Dr. Huxtable said. â€œSo sorry.â€
Then he went back to his story. He didnâ€™t seem to care too much about what had happened, but the apology seemed sincere to everyone. Nearby, Dr. Polichev realized that said apology was not sincere.
Hutz, still trying to wipe the milk off his once pristine pants, told Dr. Huxtable that even an accident such as this could be considered intentional was negligence.
â€œJust stop talking nonsense,â€ Bryan said.
Dr. Huxtable didnâ€™t really listen to the either of the men.
Silversmith slipped away during the confusion. Donald also left the room.
* * *
Donald followed Hutz up to the second floor of the hotel and watched the man enter his hotel room. Once the man was within, he crept up to the door and listened at it. He didnâ€™t hear Hutz in the room, changing and cursing Dr. Huxtable.
* * *
â€œSee ya later, Nonino!â€ Babydoll said.
She left the hotel and headed over to the college campus to look for johns. She didnâ€™t find anyone who could afford her. A few of the young, male students were interested, but they didnâ€™t have the money.
* * *
Bertelli approached Miss Holland after dinner.
â€œAbout that book, would you mind elaborating a little bit?â€ Bertelli still asked Miss Holland.
Just then, a tall woman came over to the table.
â€œI just wanted to talk to you and solidify our plans to go to the college tomorrow,â€ Miss Luckey said to Miss Holland.
â€œLet me talk to you later,â€ Miss Holland said to Bertelli, brushing him off.
The two women walked away and made arrangements for going to the college the next day. McKeefe followed after them and Miss Holland introduced the man.
â€œPenny Luckey, this is my good friend John McKeefe,â€ she said.
â€œHi there,â€ McKeefe said.
â€œWeâ€™ve been on adventures together, not like that,â€ Miss Holland said quickly. Then to McKeefe: â€œDonâ€™t get any ideas.â€
â€œJust colleagues,â€ Miss Luckey said.
â€œYes, just colleagues,â€ Miss Holland replied.
â€œNothing more. And we live in the same apartment building.â€
â€œIn Charing Cross?â€
â€œNo, in Providence.â€
â€œIn Providence. Thatâ€™s where I live too.â€
They shared the article that they had found with McKeefe.
* * *
In addition to his meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, and bread, Dr. Huxtable purchased a second meal to share with the hobos. Then he, Silversmith, Donald, and Bryan headed out again, going back to Apple Lane Park. They found a few hobos out there and approached them to chat.
They learned that several of the hobos had been through the town before, riding the rails on their way to other parts of the country. Silversmith approached each of the men and offered a sip of their moonshine, asking how long they had been in those parts. They learned that none of them had been in Charing Cross the year before at that time. However, one of them, a man named Red, had seen something strange in the park, though it wasnâ€™t last year.
â€œJune 1923,â€ the man said. â€œMe and my friend, Jackie, we were staying here in Charing Cross on our way to Boston, to find work. I remember, see, because I was in Boston on Independence Day that year. And weâ€™d just bedded down for the night and Jackie got up to, you know, water the bushes. He went off to some bushes â€¦ and he never came back. I never did quite figure out what happened to Olâ€™ Jackie, but he never came out of the bushes that I could see. I went to look for him. He was gone. I â€¦ I still donâ€™t see how he could have gone far what with that bum leg of his. He took a slug in the War and he limps. So, I never told the cops about it because, you know, theyâ€™d have thought I was loco and locked me up for sure in the insane asylum.â€
â€œDang,â€ Silversmith said. â€œIâ€™m sorry to hear that, my friend.â€
Dr. Huxtable handed the man the extra piece of meatloaf heâ€™d purchased at the hotel. Red eagerly took it.
â€œOh, hey, thanks,â€ he said with a smile.
â€œTell us about Jackie,â€ Silversmith said.
â€œWell, Jackie was a great guy,â€ Red said, munching on the meatloaf. â€œFunny thing is that, it rained that day and the ground was soft, you know how it gets?â€
â€œYeah yeah,â€ Silversmith said.
â€œAnd there were tracks leading into the bushes, but there werenâ€™t no tracks coming out,â€ Red said.
â€œYou donâ€™t happen to remember which bush he watered that night?â€
â€œUm â€¦ yeah.â€
Red remembered well enough where his friend had disappeared. It was on the northeast side of the park where the trees got thick, not far from the branch of the Miskatonic River that rolled past Charing Cross. Silversmith watered the bush as well.
They searched the area and found it was soggy and muddy. They looked around but didnâ€™t find anything on the ground anywhere nearby. It had been two years since the man had disappeared.
â€œSummertime,â€ Dr. Huxtable said.
â€œThey both went missing within a year and a few days of each other,â€ Bryan said.
They briefly talked about the fact that something might be buried in the area though the ground didnâ€™t look disturbed.
* * *
Miss Holland and John McKeefe related to Miss Luckey the story of how he got the bruise on his face when someone had broken into his apartment two nights before. About that time, Dr. Polichev joined them. They shared the newspaper articles theyâ€™d found with her.
â€œIs that where you got your scar?â€ Miss Luckey asked Miss Holland.
â€œNo,â€ Miss Holland said, touching the terrible scar on the right side of her face. It ran from just above the eyebrow down to her jaw. â€œI got the scar doing some field research, which is why I donâ€™t do field research.â€
â€œYou were a field researcher before?â€
â€œYeah. But anyway.â€
â€œWhat is the book about?â€
â€œLetâ€™s just say it was a very important book. A very powerful book.â€
â€œWhat kind of powerful? Magic?â€
â€œLetâ€™s just focus on the task at hand.â€
â€œDoes it have anything to do with the task at hand? This book? Would it help us?â€
Miss Holland just waved the question off. Miss Luckey said that there were two things they could do. They could try to examine the classroom where the other murder had taken place to see if it were even possible that wild dogs could have gotten in. She also suggested they talk to Roger Nelson of the police force to see what he might be able to tell them.
â€œYou should go,â€ Miss Holland said to Miss Luckey about visiting the police.
She didnâ€™t want anything to do with the police in the town again.
â€œAsk about Roger Nelson, and me and McKeefe will go to investigate Hardy Carlson,â€ Miss Holland said.
â€œIâ€™m hesitant to go to the police station because either somebody in the newspaper or somebody in the police is crooked, because look at how similar those articles are, four years apart,â€ Dr. Polichev said.
Miss Holland noted that Fetz, the police sergeant, was mean and standoffish. She suggested anyone talking to him be nice to him. She also suggested that they be on their guard.
â€œI do have a question though,â€ Dr. Polichev said. â€œEarly today when you were in the apothecary, do you know anything about the man who works there and owns it? He is very jittery because he heard me mention something to my friend about the murder. We didnâ€™t know it was his wife but found out it was his wife. It looks more like guilt to me, or some kind of hidden thing.â€
â€œWell, I was thinking, actually, myself, that if the apothecary specialized in surgery, he could have been a suspect,â€ Miss Holland said. â€œBut it doesnâ€™t. Heâ€™s just a pharmacist.â€
â€œBut he looked really nervous,â€ Dr. Polichev said.
â€œI honestly could not tell you,â€ Miss Holland said. â€œI didnâ€™t really pay attention much to him.â€
* * *
When Hutz came out of his room after an hour, he had a fake mustache. He also had a quarter that he had lodged in his eye to act as a monocle. He had failed to disguise himself as Dr. Huxtable very well. He went looking for Dr. Huxtable, finding the man some time later.
â€œIâ€™m the real Dr. Carl Huxtable!â€ he said to the man. â€œLook at my suit!â€
Dr. Huxtable looked at him as if he were mad.
Angus Silversmith stumbled towards where the two men were standing in the hall and offered them both some liquid from a mason jar. Lionel Hutz gladly took a sip and then the two of them returned to Silversmithâ€™s room and drank and talked for several hours.
â€œIâ€™m Doctor Carl Huxtable!â€ Hutz constantly reminded Silversmith.
â€œYouâ€™re pretty down to earth,â€ Silversmith answered once.
* * *
Dr. Huxtable was woken in the early morning hours of Friday, July 31, 1925, when his hotel room door burst open and two man barged in. It was Fetz and another police officer, who seized him, pulling him out of bed.
â€œWhat is the meaning of this?â€ Dr. Huxtable cried. â€œUnhand me behemoths!â€
â€œYouâ€™re under arrest for suspicion!â€ Fetz said. â€œYouâ€™re going to be questioned.â€
* * *
Tyler Bryan woke when he heard Dr. Huxtable shouting. He moved to his own hotel door, gun in hand, and cracked it so he could peek out into the hall. He closed it fairly quickly.
* * *
John McKeefe also woke when he heard the commotion. He moved to his door and listened but did not open it. He recognized Fetzâ€™s voice.
* * *
Bertelli was also awoken by the noise of the men arresting Dr. Huxtable. He got his sawed-off shotgun ready but didnâ€™t go near the door.
* * *
As they dragged Dr. Huxtable out into the hall, the door to Angus Silversmithâ€™s room opened and he barreled out, followed closely by Lionel Hutz.
â€œIâ€™m Dr. Carl Huxtable!â€ the shifty attorney said.
Fetz told all three of them that they were under arrest. The other officer grabbed Silversmith by the arm and Silversmith leapt at him, trying to grapple him. He recognized the officer as the one who had run him out of the park the day before. He was too drunk to effectively grab the man. Hutz was ready to try to head butt the cop once Silversmith grabbed him.
The officer backed away, drew his sidearm, and pointed it at Silversmith. He ordered the man to turn around and put his hands behind his back. Silversmith spit on the floor but turned around. He was handcuffed, as was Hutz, who continued to claim he was Dr. Carl Huxtable and point out his suit.
â€œI recognize you!â€ Silversmith said to the other police officer.
â€œI recognize you, too,â€ the man said. â€œCâ€™mon, whereâ€™s your friends?â€
â€œManfred Donald!â€ Dr. Huxtable screamed. â€œManfred! Help!â€
* * *
Manfred Donald had very much enjoyed staying at the Charing Cross Inn. The beds were comfortable, the room was cleaned daily, and he was not having to pay for it. Working for Tyler Bryan had not even consisted of much work at all. He slept more soundly in the place than he had anywhere else in some time.
Hence, when Dr. Huxtable shouted out for his help, he didnâ€™t even wake up, just rolled over into a more comfortable position and dozed back off to sleep.
* * *
â€œWeâ€™ll get your accomplices later!â€ Fetz said.
The three men were taken to a waiting automobile and hustled into the back. They were driven across town to the police station and put into one of the two cells there.
Silversmith started yelling to be let free and shaking the bars. Dr. Huxtable got as far away from the man as he could. He still wore the suit heâ€™d come to the town in on the first day. He hadnâ€™t expected to take more than a couple of hours to solve the case and hadnâ€™t even packed an overnight bag.
* * *
John McKeefe had gone back to bed after he realized the raid had taken place at six in the morning.
* * *
â€œThat could set back the investigation,â€ Armanno Bertelli said sarcastically.
He, too, went back to sleep.
* * *
Those who had not been arrested met for breakfast that morning. Those who had not woken up the night before noticed that Dr. Huxtable and Angus Silversmith were not there. They also saw that Bertelliâ€™s shifty lawyer, Lionel Hutz, was gone.
â€œI believe Sir Doctor Huxtable was arrested last night,â€ Bertelli said once they got their food.
â€œWhat?â€ Donald said.
â€œIs that the annoying British man?â€ Babydoll asked.
â€œUh â€¦ yes,â€ Bertelli said.
â€œOkay,â€ she replied and went back to her breakfast.
â€œI heard a scuffle out there,â€ McKeefe said.
â€œFetz arrested Huxtable, Silversmith, and the lawyer,â€ Bryan said.
â€œIt doesnâ€™t surprise me,â€ Miss Holland said.
â€œDo you know what they were taken for?â€ Donald asked.
â€œSuspicion,â€ Bryan said. â€œThey also said they would get his accomplices. I assume that means us.â€
â€œWe have a lawyer!â€ Babydoll said. â€œWait â€¦â€
â€œHow many police are in this town?â€ Bertelli said.
â€œThree,â€ Bryan replied. â€œThereâ€™s three.â€
â€œOkay,â€ Bertelli said. â€œSo â€¦ um â€¦ basically theyâ€™re going to come for us at night, it seems?â€
â€œWhy would they arrest us?â€ Donald asked.
â€œFetz is a little off his rocker,â€ Bertelli said.
â€œI got that,â€ Donald replied. â€œI got that when he pulled a gun on us.â€
Miss Luckey and Dr. Polichev joined them at the table.
â€œWe have to figure out whatâ€™s going on here because obviously the police are after us and for no good reason,â€ Miss Holland said.
â€œUnless there is a dirty cop,â€ Dr. Polichev said.
â€œYeah,â€ Miss Holland said. â€œTheyâ€™re crooked cops and theyâ€™re coming after us because weâ€™re investigating this murder.â€
Bryan told them about the disappearing hobo. He related the story of how Jackie had vanished in the park.
â€œWhen?â€ Miss Luckey asked.
â€œUm, a year before,â€ Bryan said.
â€œNot quite. A little bit earlier.â€
â€œWhat was the date?â€
He didnâ€™t know the exact date but told her that Red had told them it was in June of 1923.
â€œWhat was his name again?â€ Miss Holland asked.
â€œDoesnâ€™t that seem familiar?â€ Miss Luckey said.
â€œRed,â€ Bryan said to Miss Holland.
â€œRed?â€ she replied. â€œDid he tell you the guy who was missingâ€™s name?â€
â€œJackie,â€ he said.
â€œDid he have the date?â€ Miss Luckey said.
â€œNo, he didnâ€™t give me the date,â€ Bryan said. â€œHe said middle of June, 1923.â€
â€œWell, we found a newspaper article of another person being ripped apart,â€ Miss Holland said.
â€œYeah,â€ Miss Luckey said. â€œAnd that happened in July of 1924 according to the newspaper.â€
â€œBut the weird thing is that both the statements from each newspaper article â€¦ who said it?â€ Miss Holland said.
â€œIt quotes Sgt. Fetz and they are identical quotes from both of the articles.â€
â€œOne is April 11 of 1921 and the other July 14, â€™24,â€
â€œHe said the exact same thing.â€
â€œYou could say he hadnâ€™t seem something like this in all his born days,â€ McKeefe quipped.
â€œMay I see the article?â€ Bryan asked.
They passed around the article theyâ€™d found.
â€œBut it strikes me as interesting that there was a murder on April 11, 1921,â€ Miss Luckey said. â€œJuly 14, 1924. Another one in the middle of June, 1923. I want to go back to the newspaper officer and see what happens on May 12, 1922. Maybe thereâ€™s a pattern.â€
â€œOh,â€ Miss Holland said slowly.
â€œWhich will make me pretty nervous in about two weeks on August 15, 1925,â€ Miss Luckey said. â€œIf there is a pattern to these horrible events happening.â€
They discussed going back to the Trumpet office to look up that date. Miss Luckey said she had to go find Officer Nelson.
â€œDonâ€™t go to the cops,â€ Bryan said.
â€œI need to talk to Roger Nelson,â€ Miss Luckey said.
â€œIf you can find Roger Nelson away from the police department, you might be able to talk to him then.â€
â€œBut donâ€™t go to the police department.â€
â€œEspecially if thereâ€™s crooked cops,â€ said Dr. Polichev. â€œThat sounds dangerous, especially since three of us have been taken.â€
â€œThereâ€™s three of them,â€ Bertelli said.
They discussed if there might be more police officers in the town and realized that the State Police were only a telephone call away.
They split up and headed out.
* * *
Fetz started with Dr. Huxtable that morning, only an hour or so after the men had been arrested. He took the man to the interrogation room next to the cells.
â€œUnhand me!â€ Dr. Huxtable said.
He handcuffed Dr. Huxtable to a chair and then shined a light directly into his face. He started grilling the man incessantly, asking his whereabouts on May 7 and his activities on May 12.
â€œTeaching at the college of course!â€ the beleaguered professor replied.
Fetz continued to grill the man about different dates and locations, about any shady characters he might know, and why he was in the town. Dr. Huxtable was given no food, water or bathroom breaks for the following 12 hours. Fetz blew foul cigar smoke into Dr. Huxtableâ€™s face and screamed at him. At one point, he left the room, returning after a short while to tell him that Silversmith had â€œcut a dealâ€ and implicated him. He also noted that he knew that the man had a crazy man disguised as him, running around the town and doing things.
Dr. Huxtable ended up urinating himself as he was not allowed to leave the room. It was terrible.
* * *
Bryan and Dr. Polichev went to the office of the Charing Cross Trumpet. Dr. Polichev met Nick Richards, the 50-year-old newspaperman. He offered her a jolt of Canadian whiskey when they came in, as usual, but she declined, noting that she only drank vodka.
â€œFair enough,â€ he said.
He let them go back into the morgue and they started searching the newspaper around May 12, 1922. They found two articles, one dated on May 12, and the other dated the week of June 10, 1922. The May 12 article read:
Local Boy Disappears
Matthew Smith, age 7, son of local barrister Tharrington Smith, disappeared while
playing in the park off of Apple Lane. Young Smith was last seen shortly before nightfall,
playing hide and go seek with his sister Susan, age 9. Police have no leads on the disappearance.
The one dated June 10 looked to be a follow up article and read:
Police Drag River
Still No Leads on Smith Disappearance
Police dragged the Miskatonic River yesterday in an effort to find the missing
Matthew Smith, age 7. The dragging uncovered no new evidence. Smith disappeared
on the evening of May 12th while playing hide and go seek in the Apple Lane park
with his sister, Susan. Police remain hopeful that Smith is still alive. Sgt. Howard
Fetz, speaking on behalf of the police department, vowed continued efforts to find the
They also asked if there were any other photographs that went with the May 11 article about the death of Professor Carlson but Richards said there were not.
They asked Richards about the County Seat when he told them he had to leave, late that afternoon. He told them it was in Nashua, about twenty miles away. The easiest way to get there was via train, taking it up to Elmwood, a few miles north, and then changing over to another line of the B&M to get down to the county seat.
* * *
Miss Holland, McKeefe, Babydoll, and Bertelli headed for Charing Cross College. As they walked to the campus, Bertelli struck up a conversation.
â€œSo Holland, before you ran off last night, I was wondering about that book you said,â€ he said. â€œIt was powerful or something? Do you have this book?â€
â€œI meant powerful in the way of just general knowledge,â€ she replied.
â€œBecause knowledge is power.â€
â€œKnowledge is power, yes.â€
â€œBut, do you have this book?â€
â€œDo I have this book?â€
â€œWhy do you want to know?â€
â€œIâ€™m curious, because if you had it, I would like to look at it.â€
â€œWhy are you so curious?â€
â€œAnything of the occult makes me curious.â€
â€œItâ€™s just old stories. None of itâ€™s really true anyway.â€
â€œWhen it comes to anything occult, whether it be rumor or not, I still like to investigate.â€
â€œThat would be back in my private records in Providence, Rhode Island. Locked up in my safe.â€
â€œWould you mind if I looked at it at some point?â€
They reached the college. They started to ask about Hardy Carlson and learned quite a lot. They also talked to the Math Department secretary, Velma Valentine. They learned that Professor Carlson was a math professor and he died on April 11, 1921. His body was discovered in a classroom by officer Roger Nelson of the local police. Reports were that the body was mutilated almost beyond all recognition. He worked late at night frequently in his classroom and was interested in devising a new, quicker method of calculating the value of pi out to hundreds of places. He wrote a paper on calculating pi and it was supposed to be in the library.
They also learned that from April to November of 1920, Professor Carlson went on sabbatical at the University of Alexandria. While in Alexandria, he made several trips throughout the Middle East, studying medieval Islamic works on mathematics. He brought some of those works back with him and was very proud of them to the occasional irritation of his colleagues. He was quite excited about what he had managed to learn and felt that he was about to make some breakthrough in discovering a new, more efficient formula for calculating pi.
He was single and had no living relatives. Velma Valentine made the funeral arrangements and it had been a closed casket ceremony. His estate was handled by his lawyer, Josiah Black. She looked through an index card box and found one of Josiah Blackâ€™s cards.
They also found out from one of his colleagues that he lived in a farmhouse a few miles north of town on North Farm Road. He bought the land cheap and built the house in 1920. It was completed just before he left on sabbatical. The police had burnt down the prior structure in 1919 in the course of some kind of raid on some kind of religious organization. Carlson bought the land and built his house there.
There didnâ€™t seem to be any connection between Carlson and McCorkindale.
Miss Valentine told them that the police didnâ€™t investigate Professor Carlsonâ€™s death very well. She couldnâ€™t remember the name of the officer in charge.
â€œFatz? Fitz?â€ she said. She snapped her fingers. â€œOh, Sgt. Fetz! That was his name. He asked two questions: â€˜Did you anybody see anything?â€™ and â€œDid he have any enemies.â€™ That was the last I heard from him.â€
They found out that one of his officers cleaned out the whole classroom and put everything somewhere, though no one seemed to know where that was. There was a blackboard and some paperwork. They called it all evidence as it was in the room where Professor Carlson died. He didnâ€™t have an office, but just worked out of his classroom.
They even learned from one of the professors that Carlsonâ€™s father was American, his mother was from Egypt, and he spoke fluent Arabic, though he was always complaining that his reading skills were rusty. Both of his parents were dead.
â€œThe article speculated that he was eaten by wild dogs,â€ Miss Holland said. â€œBut he was in his office.â€
â€œUnless they jumped into the window and ate him, I donâ€™t see how thatâ€™s possible,â€ Miss Valentine said. She noted that he hadnâ€™t had an office, but did all of his work out of a classroom.
They found the classroom. It was a ground-floor classroom with large windows on one side but looked typical of the classrooms in the building.
Afterwards, they discussed it briefly. Miss Holland was fairly sure that Fetz was crooked and maybe the other police were as well, especially after seeing the same exact quotes in both newspaper articles.
â€œOr heâ€™s possessed,â€ Bertelli said, grasping wildly at the unlikeliest of straws.
â€œAre we talking about magic here?â€ Miss Holland said. â€œBecause I donâ€™t believe in that stuff.â€
They talked about talking to Josiah Black but they realized it was right at the end of the business day and he might not be inclined to talk to them at that time.
* * *
Miss Luckey went in search of officer Roger Nelson. It took her a most of the day but she found a police officer walking the beat. She approached him and he obviously noticed her, giving her a nod. The name â€œNelsonâ€ was on his nametag. She noticed that he looked over his shoulder at her as he walked by.
She turned and approached him.
â€œIâ€™ve been doing some research,â€ she said to him.
He frowned, obviously confused.
â€œYes maâ€™am,â€ he replied.
â€œI know it comes as no surprise that there are people investigating these murders and such things,â€ she said.
â€œYeah, Sgt. Fetz â€¦ we had to run in some people who were under suspicion of interfering with the law, maâ€™am,â€ he said.
â€œOh dear. I wouldnâ€™t want to do that, but I do have some questions because I found an old newspaper article â€¦ I, myself, am a field researcher. Iâ€™ve seen some pretty gruesome sorts of things doing archaeological digs, but never recent remains. I heard that you found something quite unpleasant a few years back and it had no descriptions other thanâˆ’â€
â€œWhat are you talking about? When was this?â€
â€œThe murder of the college professor.â€
The man stood up a little straighter.
â€œYeah, Iâ€™m the one who found it,â€ he said. â€œSgt. Fetz thinks it was wild dogs attacked â€¦ or maybe it was a madman.â€
â€œBut â€¦ why would it be wild dogs?â€ she pressed. â€œWhat did the body look like?â€
â€œIt was â€¦ was â€¦ a mess. It was torn apart. We sent it down to the county seat to have an autopsy done by the coroner.â€
â€œLiterally in different pieces?â€
â€œThe ones we could find, yes.â€
â€œOh. Just randomly thrown about that room?â€
The man was obviously having trouble describing it.
â€œIt was very awful,â€ he said. â€œThere was â€¦ the legs were missing. It was like some animal had ripped his legs off and â€¦ taken them away.â€
â€œAnd taken them?â€ she replied. â€œThere were no legs?â€
â€œThatâ€™s the only way I can describe it.â€
â€œYou donâ€™t have to be afraid of shocking me.â€
â€œIt shocked me!â€
â€œYouâ€™ve never seen anything like it in all your born days?â€
â€œThat would â€¦ that would describe it fairly well, actually.â€
â€œThose were the words the article quoted Fetz as saying for that death and the death of Sarah McCorkindale.â€
â€œSgt. Fetz is who talks to the newspaper. Heâ€™s the voice of the department. Heâ€™s our â€¦ like our chief. He just never got made it by the town council. So, it was pretty awful.â€
â€œSo, he outranks you?â€
â€œYes, he outranks me. Heâ€™s a sergeant. Iâ€™m a patrolman. It was awful. It was a terrible, horrible thing.â€
â€œWere there any other pieces of the body missing?â€
â€œNo. Just his legs. They just got torn off, it looked like, or something. There was a lot of blood. It was awful.â€
â€œWas it a clean cut?â€
â€œI donâ€™t remember. It was awful.â€
She guessed he had been badly shaken by what heâ€™d seen.
â€œYouâ€™d have to talk to the county coroner,â€ he said. â€œWe sent it down to the county seat and they examined it, but youâ€™re probably going to have to get some paperwork from a judge or something to look at that. Is there anything else? Youâ€™re not with those other people investigating, are you?â€
â€œNo,â€ she said. â€œIâ€™m just curious. I overheard them talking about it.â€
â€œOkay. Because theyâ€™ve been meddling is what Sgt. Fetz told us. You have a nice day maâ€™am.â€
She wandered around town, looking for anything out of place. She eventually looked for a cemetery and found that the nearest church was in Petersboro, a few miles south. She took the train down to that town and looked around but found nothing useful.
* * *