Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stull #20

Frank York, Detective Edmund Bilko, Katie Anderson, John Garner and Matthew Stull gathered in the field around the old town well with about a dozen and a half other people. They had been out searching for Jen Cramer since her disappearance earlier this afternoon.

“We need to look in the well,” Frank continued to say to Katie, Matt and Detective Bilko whenever he could. “This is all my fault. I shouldn’t have sent her to do this.”

“Why are blaming yourself? John and I were supposed to look after her,” Matt said.

“That’s true…”Frank sighed. “When is someone going down into the well?”

“No one is going down into the well, Frank,” Detective Bilko said. “It’s too costly and if Jen did fall down the well, there is no way she could’ve survived.”

“That…is the opposite of what I wanted to hear. Thanks, Ed,” Frank said. “I’ll do it. I’ll pay the county back. Just get me a harness.”

“No, Frank. No one is going down the well until authorized by the county,” Detective Bilko said.

“What have you done?” someone shouted. “What happened to Jen?”

Frank turned to see who was shouting then turned back to Detective Bilko. “Oh, God, it’s Jen’s boyfriend, Chris.”

“York! What have you and your gang of Scooby-Doo wannabes done with Jen?” Chris shouted.

Frank turned around to speak to Chris. “We haven’t done anything. She’s disappeared. We think she fell down the well,” Frank said. “Or was dragged down into it by the corpse of Hiram Volland.”

“You better find her or I will kill you,” Chris said.

“I plan to. You have my word that I will find her. No matter what it takes.”


Frank was sitting at his desk at the Society when Katie came in. “Why are you sending Matt away?” she asked.

“What?” Frank looked up from what he was working on. “He chose to leave. He wanted to get out of Stull for awhile. He’ll be back. He loves you too much.”

“Has the county authorized anyone to go down the well?” she asked.

“Of course not. It’s been two days. I’ve told them that I willing but accept all responsibility by going down myself but they still won’t allow it,” Frank explained. “If she wasn’t dead before it’s possible she is now.”

“Don’t think like that,” Katie sat down. “We’ll find her. Why are you so concerned?”

“Besides it happening to one of my employees that I am responsible for? I like her. I haven’t felt about anyone like this since Lana.”

“What about Chris? He clearly cares for her.”

“But I don’t think he does. Jen’s talked to me about him. She wants to break up with him but she’s living with him and has nowhere else to go,” Frank revealed. “I said she could move in with me but she said Chris has a temper and didn’t want him to do anything rash.”

“A temper? Gee, he didn’t seem like he had a temper the other day at the well,” Katie said sarcastically. “When did you realize that you liked her?”

"A couple weeks ago, when you, Matt and John were speaking at the middle school. We spent all day talking and we just clicked. It was nice.”

“Aww. So when are you just going to climb down the well yourself?” Katie asked with a smile.

“Maybe tomorrow. I’d have to do it at night but you and the others would have to come with me. I’m not going alone.”

“If you actually do plan on going down the well, let me know,” Katie said and stood up. “I’ll help out any way I can.”

The next day, Frank knocked on the front door of where Chris and Jen lived. Chris answered the door. “What are you doing here? Did you find Jen?”

“Does it look like I found Jen? Don’t you think if I found her, I’d bring her here?” Frank questioned. “I want to apologize for not taking care of her. She’s my…employee and I shouldn’t have placed her life in danger like that. I didn’t think anything would happen but something did and I take full responsibility for this,” Frank said.

“Instead of wasting time talking to me, you should be out trying to find her!”

“Do you want to help? You didn’t come to the search party the other day and we could certainly use an extra set of eyes to help look in the wood surrounding the creek.”

“I’m not going to traipse around the woods like an idiot. Besides, if you take full responsibility then you should be walking around looking for her.”

“I am. And I think Jen would want you to help find her,” Frank angrily said.

“And I think Jen would’ve not wanted to fall into a well,” Chris said and slammed the door.

Frank left the porch and walked down to his car. He got in and drove away.

Frank got up at 5 A.M. the next day and spent the next fourteen hours walking the banks of Captain’s Creek between Ohio and 5th Streets. He arrived at the Society, drenched in sweat, mud up to his waist and covered in dirt at around seven in the evening.

“What happened to you?” Matt asked. “We tried calling but your…”

“Phone was off,” Frank finished Matt’s sentence. “I was looking for Jen. I need to find her. I need to get her away from Chris. I need to be with her.”