Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stull #8

"Why is it always cloudy around here?" Frank asked outloud as he got closer to Rock Creek.  He turned into the town and saw that it was all in ruins.  All the houses were burned down to their foundations.  Some piles of wood and brick and stone were still smoldering.  "What the hell...?" Frank breathed.

He saw another car up ahead on Main Street and slowly approached it.  He parked and got out of his car.  A man was standing next to the car wearing a suit.

"What's going on here?" Frank asked as he approached the man.

"And you are?" the man replied.

"Frank York.  With the Rock Creek Township Historical Society.  Who are you?"

"Detective Edmund Bilko.  I was hired by the county to try to figure out what happened here.  We tried contacting the Historical Society but got no answer," Detective Bilko said.

"Do you have any idea what happened here?"

"No.  County sheriff began receiving calls early this morning but no one actually saw what happened.  They just called to report the burning wreckage."

"So essentially Rock Creek just spontaneously combusted?" Frank said seriously but meant for it to be a joke.

"That's currently what we are describing it as," Detective Bilko said.  "Only thing left standing is the old Catholic Church," he pointed behind him toward the white Catholic Church Frank knew all too well.

"Of course," Frank sighed.

"Whatever Happened to Rock Creek?"
The attic of the old Stull farmhouse was filled fill of family heirlooms, old pieces of furniture and mostly worthless junk.  "Where do we begin?" Katie asked as she and Matt entered the attic.

"I know books were usually tossed into an old hope chest so I guess we'll find that and start there," Matt said.

With all the clutter in the attic it was difficult for Matt and Katie to walk through and the chest was covered by musty faded dresses and surrounded by old dress mannequins.  Matt moved the mannequins and the dresses and Katie knelt down and opened the mahogany hope chest.  Wrinkled pieces of papers and books slid out of the overfilled chest and fell onto the floor.  Matt knelt beside Katie and scooped up the stuff that fell.

"I guess we should go through this and see if there is anything Frank would want for the Society," Matt sighed.

"It's what good employees would do," Katie agreed.  She began going through the papers and books still in the huge chest while Matt sorted through what had fallen out.  "There are first editions of classic novels in here," Katie pulled a book out of the chest.  "'Catcher In the Rye'!  With an author photo," Katie shrieked.

"After the kids moved out a lot of books came up because they were taking up space that would better be used for commemorative plates and Hummel figurines," Matt explained.  "All these papers are old tax forms, property information, titles to cars long smashed into cubes.  With the occasional recipe, of course."

"Of course."

Matt stacked up all the papers and moved them out of the way.  He and Katie looked at all the books that had been placed in the chest.  All of them were either commercially produced books or rare books about grammar, spelling or the English language in general.  There was no sign of the book they were looking for or any diaries.

"An attic full of crap and diaries and books about their family history are the things they throw away," Matt groaned.

"Could the book be with your mom or Uncle John?" Katie asked.

"Maybe.  When we get back to the Society, I can call my mom and Aunt Wanda and see if they have a copy."  Matt took a few of the books with him and Katie took a handful also.  "Let's head downstairs..."

The inside of the church was just as Frank last saw it.  The thick carpet of dust with patches of clean floor due to the few people have walked through remained.

"So...what do you know?" Detective Bilko asked.

"The truth is a bit out there.  Sure you want to know?" Frank smiled.

"If you think it'll help in finding who did this."

"Rock Creek was partially populated by vampires," Frank revealed.

Detective Bilko gave Frank a look and began laughing.  "Seriously?  That seems a bit far-fetched."

"No, I agree.  When I originally discovered it was vampires I just thought how it just smacked of bad writing where they couldn't figure out a good villain or something and just threw in some vampires for drama."

"Where do we even begin to figure out what happened here?" Detective Bilko asked.

"We may never know what happened..." Frank said.

Back at the Historical Society, Frank made a copy of the graverubbing and placed the books on a shelf at the front of the building.  "You two did good today," Frank said.  "I can't belive you actually did a graverubbing.  I'm proud."

"Told you," Matt said to Katie under his breath.  "I just wish we would've been able to find that book.  I called other family members and while they either remember the book or had it at one time, it disappeared years ago."

"No problem.  There's got to be a copy somewhere.  We'll look at the Stanton County Historical Society tomorrow and if we have no luck there then it's off to the state historical society," Frank said.  "I'll see you two tomorrow."

"All right Frank," Matt said as he and Katie headed out the door of the Society.  "See you."

Judith has a stroke which distracts Frank as they try to find the book.