Friday, June 03, 2011

Stull #16

“Hello, Frank?” Detective Bilko said. “I just wanted to let you know that the sheriff’s office is burying The Overlook Man today at 3 o’clock.”

“Okay, I’ll be there,” Frank replied. “Thanks for telling me.” Frank hung up his phone.

“Who was that?” Matt asked.

“Bilko. They’re burying The Overlook Man today. We have all the information we can get off of him so we don’t need his body anymore.”

“Has anybody claimed him?” Matt asked.


“So he’s going to be buried in a pauper’s field?”

“No. The Society is paying for his funeral. He’ll get a nice grave and headstone near the old section of Tontzville Cemetery,” Frank revealed.

“Aw, that’s sweet,” Matt smiled. He glanced down at the map he was holding. “You can go ahead and pull over here. End Road is nearby.”

Frank pulled over as far as he could go and stopped the car. He turned it off and he and Matt got out. They were near an entrance to a field and in the distance they could see a group of trees where Comchau Creek flowed.

“End Road should be between this road and the creek. There’s no sign that there was ever a road here,” Matt said as he walked to the field and look out toward the creek.

“Actually, there is something that could indicate a road was once here,” Frank said and walked over to the field entrance. “The entrance to this field is wider than your average entry. Look at the one we parked near,” Frank nodded to the other side of the road where he had parked. The field entrance on that side was only as wide as one car. The one Frank was standing at was wide enough for two cars. “Another clue is this post,” Frank patted the tall wooden post next to the road. “This post once contained a sign,” Frank pointed to nails that were still in the wood, near the top. “In fact, this road,” Frank pointed at the main road they had taken to get there, “is still labeled.”

“So you’re thinking that this was the entrance to End Road?” Matt asked.

“I’m sure of it,” Frank said. “The reason it looks like it never existed is because a century of plowing it over erased all traces of it.”

“So we found End Road. What do we do now?” Matt asked.

“We head for the creek,” Frank took a picture of the wooden post, the old Skyline Road sign and the intersection. The two headed off down what used to be a road toward the tree line.

“The Burial”

Frank and Matt where halfway to the tree line after only a few minutes of walking. It wasn’t very far but it was very muddy. Frank had worn boots out but Matt was in shoes. “I don’t know why I still wear shoes when we go out,” Matt said. “Every time we’re out together you drag me someplace where it’s dirty or bug infested.”

“I figured you’d catch on, too. Maybe you need just need to realize that whenever you are out with me, to wear your boots,” Frank chuckled. “So the cemetery isn’t marked on the map, correct?”

“No, and from what I could tell from various satellite images, there’s nothing to indicate a cemetery or anything,” Matt explained, his shoe making a splorching sound from the mud.

Frank chuckled again. “We’re almost there.”

They continued to walk until they got to the tree line. They pushed their way through the tree and to the edge of the creek. The creek was not very deep but you couldn’t walk across to The Island. Frank and Matt found a grass-covered strip of flat land that they determined was where the road came through and at the creek they found stones built into the bank.

“They had a bridge from the road to across the creek,” Frank said, taking a picture. “I don’t see any way to get over there,” Frank said and looked at Matt.

“According to the map, there is a road that crosses The Island to the north but it’s a good five miles from this area.”

“So we can’t get over to the Island from here?”

“Doesn’t look like,” Matt said. “Come on, let’s get back to Stull. I have a lunch date with Katie.”

“So what’s going on with you and Katie? You keep going out on dates and spending time together outside of work.”

“Well, I think we’re trying to become boyfriend and girlfriend but so far neither of us has the testicular fortitude to say anything,” Matt laughed.

“Have you told her that you are leaving?” Frank asked. “That’s probably kind of important.”

Matt sighed. “I figured I would change my mind or that maybe you, John or Jen would let it slip. I mean, it’s not like it’s a huge secret. She’s got to know and just not letting on,” Matt said.

“Maybe but you still need to tell her yourself because you are leaving in a little more than a month,” Frank chided.

“I know and I will. Today at lunch. I’ll tell her.”

Lunch had gone fine although Matt was noticeably nervous. “Is everything all right, Matt?” Katie asked.

“Yeah, everything is fine. Look, I want to ask you about our relationship,” Matt began. “Are we just friends or are we something more?”

“What do you mean?” Katie asked Matt, with a curious look on her face.

“I’m leaving after our high school reunion and I just want to know…what we are.”

“You’re leaving?”

“I’m leaving to become the Society’s first out-of-state field investigator. We have a whole list of jobs that I will do starting in June,” Matt revealed. “I thought you knew about it.”

“I had heard Frank talking about those jobs but I didn’t know he would actually… Why are you leaving?” Katie asked.

“I’m tired of Stull and I just need to get away for a little bit. The reason I’m telling you and asking about our relationship is because I really like you…”

“I really like you too but I’m not going to get into a relationship with a guy that’s travelling around the country. A long-distance relationship would be bad enough,” Katie explained. “I wouldn’t know where you were most of the time.”

“I know. That’s why I’m telling you this now. That way, when I get back we can pick up where we left off.”

“Or start all over again,” Katie said.

“Katie? If I were staying, would you be my girlfriend?” Matt asked.

Katie looked directly into Matt’s eyes. “Without question.”

“I will be back. And I’ll probably be back sooner rather than later. I’m not saying you have to wait for me but I will be back.”

“I know you will. The only question is when,” Katie sighed and went back to eating her lunch.

The two ate in silence for most of the remaining lunch.

The priest said a few words, as did Frank. Only Frank, John and Detective Bilko came to the funeral of The Overlook Man. After the priest left, Frank, Bilko and John remained at the gravesite. “Do you think we will ever figure out who he is?” John asked.

“I hope so. It’s kind of creepy and makes me not want to go out to the State Lake anymore,” Detective Bilko said. “We still have everything we found on him locked up and the case is still open so we’ll figure this out.”

“I think we just have to admit that he’s not from Ohio or any surrounding states. Someone brought him here and dumped him,” Detective Bilko said. The three of them started walking away from the grave and back to Bilko’s car that was parked several feet from the funeral. “We did all we could.”

“It just wasn’t enough,” Frank said.

“What more could we have done?” John asked. “We looked through every database, compared thousands of photos and investigated every little missing person report whether or not the description matched the man. We probably worked harder on this than a lot of other police departments would have. And we gave him an actual funeral.”

“True. I just hope something happens to help us solve this murder,” Frank said.

Frank and John returned to the Society. Jen was sitting at the front desk messing around on the Internet. “Hey, Jen. Anything happen while we were gone?”

“Not that I know of,” Jen shrugged. “Mail’s on the corner of your desk.”

“We never get mail,” Frank said and walked into his office. There was a small package sitting on the corner of the desk. It was addressed to the Society but only had a ZIP code for a return address. Frank tore open the package and pulled out a book. It looked really old and had a tattered tan cover. Frank threw the packaging in the trash and opened the book. The title page read:
A History of Stull, Ohio
And surrounding towns and places
Frank’s eyes widened. “This is the book. We finally have a copy of the book. We can finally find out what happened at the End Road Massacre…” Frank said.