Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stull #18

“So Stull has the middle school and the high school but the elementary school is still in Rock Creek?” John asked as the walked up to the Rock Creek Township Middle School at the end of 8th Street.

“Yeah,” Matt replied.

“So the elementary school, where the little kids go, is still located in a town where the entire population disappeared?” John asked.

“Yeah,” Katie replied.

John shrugged. “Makes sense to me.”

Matt chuckled. “They plan on moving the elementary school to the Stull Consolidated School on 6th Street next year but they need to fix it up.”

“People are saying that the Consolidated School isn’t worth fixing up and a new school just needs to be built. We’ll see,” Katie said and opened the middle school door for the guys.

They checked into the office and were directed to a seventh grade classroom. They stood at the door and got the teacher’s attention. The teacher walked over to them. “Oh, good. You’re here. Come on in. I’m gonna finish up some math and we’ll get right to you. Class, these are people from the Rock Creek Historical Society and they are going to tell us a little about Stull’s founding and answer some of your questions,” the teacher introduced.

One of the students raised their hand. “Ms. Williams? Can they tell us where the people of Rock Creek disappeared to?”

Ms. Williams, Matt, Katie and John stared at the girl. John leaned into Matt and whispered, “Kids are a lot more outspoken these days.”

Frank had been rewriting the book, which was handwritten, into a computer file. His plan was to get it published through either a vanity press or the Ohio University Press. He had done nothing the last week except read the book, decipher the scrawling print and type it into a word document which is why the other three went to the middle school. He was about three fourths of the way through the book and figured he could get it done by the end of the week.

Out front, someone came in. “I need to see Frank York,” it was clearly an old man and he sounded angry.

“He’s busy right now,” Jen said. “But I can take a message and give it to him.”

“I know he’s in his office and I want to see him!” the man yelled.

Frank saved his work and got up and went to the door. He saw Jarvis Houk standing in front of Jen’s desk. “Mr. Houk. Pleasure to see you. Jen, it’s okay. Mr. Houk come on back.”

They went into his office and Frank shut the door. “I’m not gonna beat around the bush. I know you want to republish that book. I’m here to tell you to not publish it.”

“Why not? It puts Colonel Stull and Captain Houk in a good light. The only people who look really bad is that Rockhold guy. Sure the men at Fort Bradshaw look bad at first but look at all the good that has come out of it.”

“Nothing good really came out of it,” Jarvis scoffed. “The whole township is cursed. The women of the Comchau made sure of that. And even though Colonel Stull tried to help by building that tenement building for them, the Comchau women ended up disappearing. That’s something that book didn’t tell you.”

“They disappeared?” Frank was confused.

“Don’t publish the book Frank,” Jarvis said. “If you do, I won’t be responsible for my actions.”

“Are you threatening me, Mr. Houk?” Frank asked and opened his door to let Jarvis out.

“No, young man. Just warning you.”

“Guest Speakers”

Jarvis Houk left the Society. Frank stood next to Jen’s desk. “What was that about?” she asked.

“He was telling me to not publish the book. Well, not so much telling as threatening.”

“Are you going to publish that book?”

“I don’t know. I want to but I get what Jarvis is saying. It’s a rather embarrassing tale for everybody but Colonel Stull tried to make it right,” Frank said.

“But he did just go along with the crowd and in the process killed dozens of innocent people. Instead of being convinced by Rockhold he should’ve went to the Comchau himself,” Jen said.

Frank stared at Jen. “You know, you really aren’t making this decision any easier.”

“Stull was founded by Colonel Jabez Stull of nearby Fort Bradshaw,” Katie began. “Fort Bradshaw was a small fort in Grant Township. All of Rock Creek Township was once the Comchau Indian Reservation and in 1830…” Katie paused and looked at Matt.

“In 1830, the men at Fort Bradshaw and the Comchau came to an agreement to let white man settle in the township and soon the town of Stull was founded,” Matt finished. “Any questions?”

“What is the End Road Massacre? I remember reading about it when your boss published that letter in the paper,” a student quickly asked.

“Uh, the End Road Massacre…is…we’re…we’re not quite sure at this moment but we are looking into it. We know it decimated the Comchau population so it may have been some sort of epidemic,” Matt hesitantly explained. “Yes, you,” he pointed at a girl who had her hand raised.

“Why do you do this? Isn’t the history of this place kind of boring?” she asked.

“Well, the Rock Creek Township Historical Society does more than just record the history of the township, we also do the history of the rest of the county and we also do private investigating and paranormal investigating,” Matt explained. “Yes?” he pointed to another student.

“Paranormal? As in, ghosts?”

“Yes,” John interjected. “We’ve found things that could be thought of as spectral apparitions but we’ve been able to explain all of them.”

“Not necessarily,” Katie said. “We never officially figured out if there was something at the Vawter Bridge.”

“And there still is Stull Curse,” Matt reminded. “You,” he pointed.

“How did you get started in something like this? Could I join you?”

The class laughed.

“You could,” Matt chuckled. “It’s honestly not that hard. Frank has degrees in history and anthropology and studied private investigating and law enforcement so he’s the more educated of us. He got into it after doing a project on the Old Stull Church. I got into it mainly because of Frank but I like the ghost hunting part of it but also because we were looking into the Curse.”

“I also got into it because of the Curse but I’m starting to like the history of it and finding new things that may have been lost at one point,” Katie said.

“I’m in it for the ghost hunting also,” John said. “I’m more of a skeptic so the ghost hunting to me is about finding the truth.”

“Any other questions?” Matt asked.

Another girl raised her hand. “What did happen to the people of Rock Creek?”

Matt, Katie and John looked at each other. “We don’t really know. We’re looking into it but there is no evidence of what happened. We’re trying our hardest but since no one who was in or near Rock Creek is around anymore then it’s difficult to find out the cause.”

“Well, I hope you find out. I miss my Grandpa,” the girl sniffed.

Matt looked at Katie and lowered his head.

After school, they left the building and got in the car. Matt sat in the driver’s seat with Katie in the passenger’s. John sat in the back seat. “I’m leaving,” Matt suddenly said.

“I know,” Katie sighed. “I found out from Jen. I wondered when you were going to tell me.”

“I wanted to a long time ago but I didn’t want to hurt you. And I didn’t know what was going on with our relationship so I didn’t want to mess that up.”

“How can you mess up something that isn’t there?” Katie asked.

“I thought…”

“I do really like you. I would love to be in a relationship with you but I think you need to leave and see what else is out there,” Katie said. “I’ll still be here is those feelings are still there when you get back.”

“What about you?”

“I’m still going to be here. We’re still going to be working together, just not in the same office. And you’ll still be back to visit. You still have family here and I just can’t see you not coming back. I mean, your name is the town,” Katie chuckled.

“So you don’t want to try a long distance relationship?” Matt asked.

“No,” Katie shook her head. “You’ll be in a different town every week and I want you to meet new people. Maybe find a girlfriend.”

“You’d be okay with that?”

“Of course. We’re not dating.”

“I will be back,” Matt said.

“I know you will,” Katie replied. “But take your time. See the country. Meet people.”

Matt smiled at Katie then leaned over quickly, took her in his arms and kissed her. She kissed him back and held him close. “I’m gonna miss you, Katie,” he said.

“I’m gonna miss you, too.”

John leaned forward. “So do you guys want me to walk back to the Society or…?”

Matt, Katie and John arrived back at the Society. Frank was sitting next to Jen and they were talking. “What going on?” Matt asked.

“I was just talking to Jen. Very interesting young lady,” Frank said and stood up. “How was school?”

“It was fine. We need to figure out the Rock Creek mystery. The teens around here are up in arms about it,” Matt said.

“I know. Well, we can start focusing on that because I have decided to let the true history of Stull lay to rest,” Frank revealed.

“What? But we’ve worked so hard on it,” Katie exclaimed.

“I know and I still plan on finishing writing it but I’m not going to publish it. It will remain here where people can ask for it and research it though,” Frank explained.

“What made you decide that?” John asked.

“Jarvis Houk came by earlier and talking with Jen helped a lot,” Frank smiled at Jen. “So I think I figured out what the next investigation we’re going to do is.”

“Well, it’s good to see Frank back to normal,” John said.