Weeks went by as we sifted, sorted and matched up bits of information. Gradually the picture that emerged chilled me to the bone. “My God!” How could this not have been worked out at the time?” I exclaimed, after we had put all our notes in order.
“I don’t know,” Tim said. “I do know Dad was really angry about the way the investigation went. I remember how he would scowl and stamp away whenever the Pattersons were mentioned. He was always growling about ‘Uncle Charles’. Remember him?”
“Uncle Charles? Yes, he was Mr. Patterson’s brother, wasn’t he? A thin guy, not bad looking, but always wearing a slimy smirk. He was always pawing at Dora, she was really afraid of him.
“After we started doing our homework at our place, I always walked her home, and he was always hanging around under the big tree next door. He kept trying to get me to let him walk her home, but she’d cling to my hand with a death grip, shaking, so I never let him. He left town when they disappeared, didn’t he?”
“Yeah. He was a real slime ball. None of the women and girls liked him. I remember Mrs. Henderson smacking him a good one, one time. I’m not sure what he did, but now I think he’d been making advances.” He laughed. “He sure took off in a hurry after that!”
“Should we take what we have to the police?” I asked.
Tim thought for a while, and shook his head. “No, I don’t think so. If they covered this up then, they won’t want it to come out now. Some of them are still on the force. If they were paid off, we could find ourselves in a lot of trouble. We need to get some kind of proof first.”
“Hmmm…you’re probably right.” I paused, turning it over in my mind. “I think I’ll see if the property is still for sale. If it is, I’ll just put a down payment on it, and have the right to examine it to see if it can be restored. That way, we can wander all over the grounds and inside, and dig, pull down walls, and see what we come up with.
“Good idea. We’ll go find out tomorrow. I’m with you all the way on this, though I can’t help with the costs. Sorry, I’d like to.”
“No need, Tim. I have a very tidy fortune, I can swing it. They can’t charge too much with the house so run down. It’s the land that will cost, and I know the value there, to the penny.”
One week later, Tim and I entered the house. We had what we needed to tear out a few walls and some floors, but first we just walked through. It was eerie, seeing the wall paper I remembered, faded and dusty. Some of the old furniture was there, too. There was the old table where Dora and I did homework, with the chairs just as I remembered them. I could feel Dora’s presence, sad and crying. I could almost hear her begging me to help her, and for just a moment, I felt her little hand clinging to mine.
“This place is giving me goose bumps.” Tim said. “Let’s go upstairs first.”
We did. It was dusty, chilly, and there was a feeling of fear and death in the air. More and more, I could feel evil stalking us.