Saturday, January 15, 2011

THE DISAPPEARANCE An afterward to Amanda and Adam’s story by j.carlson

This is a follow up to adam and amanda's story - it will make more sense if you go back and read Amanda's Bloody Mary 
(look under older posts)


An afterward to Amanda and Adam’s story

My name is Rebekah. When I was thirteen my brother disappeared without a trace. At least that’s what I thought until recently. I’m seventeen now, just a year older than my brother when he vanished. I’m collecting information that I was not aware of at the time. No one bothered to tell me anything important about that weekend four years ago. I suppose at thirteen they didn’t think it was important for me to know -- and it probably wouldn’t have made much sense to me at that time anyway.

Just lately, though, I’d been thinking about it. I don’t know why. I kind of got the feeling that he was abducted. Adam wouldn’t have just run off. My memory of him was of a happy guy. The big brother who was always there for me, showed interest in whatever I was doing, included me in his inside jokes, and I was always sure of his love for me. I missed him a lot but, gradually, the hurt and worry diminished. And I was very involved with school and sports and church.

Maybe the reason it all came up again was that the house next door, which had been empty since my brother disappeared, was buzzing with activity. I guess it was finally going to be taken and sold by the bank, even though there couldn’t have been much owing on it.

There’d been a crew tearing out overgrown plants, thorns and trees and working on the inside of the house as well. They’d cut the overgrown grass with an old-fashioned scythe and then with a lawn mower. One of the guys was cute and very friendly. I asked him who had owned the house and why they’d abandon it and let it get so run down.

“You don’t know?” he asked, obviously surprised by my ignorance. “It was your brother who disappeared a few years ago.”

“Yeah, so?”

“Well, the woman who owned the house went missing the same night as your brother. I remember it. Most people figured it was a love affair and they left together because he was a juvenile and they probably thought people would run her out of town -- or maybe even arrest her. It made sense to me.”

“I was a lot younger then,” I said, “but now that you mention it, I have a vague recollection of her.”

In reality, at the time, I didn’t connect the two. I guess because the woman had left no real impression on me her leaving was of no significance.

At any rate, I was pretty popular at school, I played any and all sports I could, and I was class president in my junior year. But I was kind of a nerd too. I had an extensive vocabulary and was a whiz at any kind of math. I was popular, I think, because besides being good at sports, I greeted everybody by their name and didn’t ask a lot of questions. Unless I was specifically asked to, I never gave advice either.

So never having the inclination to ask questions, why finding out what happened to Adam appealed to me, I don’t know. It was sort of out of character for me. The search, the snooping around, the whole investigation!   Yet, the idea of a search suddenly called my name.

Adam’s room had been left exactly the way it was the day he was last there. That is except for all the bags of chips and candy he had stashed. That was all thrown out. Mom might have thought it sacrilege to go through Adam’s things, but that is where I started -- in his room -- at night. I went through his journals which were mostly about his study and his theories on scary otherworld characters. At first I thought it was boring. Hard to believe someone so intelligent and “with it” would believe such nonsense.

There were a lot of other things, too, that were not related to the fantastic. What he did write about myth and stories was interesting. I have to admit I began to enjoy the read. I learned a lot about Adam I hadn’t known. In the last journal there were a few entries about the woman who used to live next door; Amanda. It was obvious that he had a crush on her. I laughed out loud though when he wrote that she might not be human. It sounded so ridiculous.

Also in his last entries, he talked about the attic and a locked desk. He also mentioned a twenty by forty foot space between the kitchen and the living room. It took me a little time to understand what he was talking about. He said there should be a door but that he couldn’t find one. I went outside and measured from the living room window to the kitchen window. They were almost sixty feet apart. Weird.

He wrote;
“Dad said he’d look for my uncle’s keys so that I can open the desk and see if anything is in it. He also told me that there were probably lots of things to uncover in this ole house. But he doesn’t think there is anything important.”

So I asked Daddy if he remembered Adam asking for some keys. Something about a desk.

“I do,” he said.

“Did you ever find anything?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact I did. I left a set of keys in the top drawer of that dresser wardrobe in his room. I don’t know if the key he needed was on the ring though. Why?”

“I don’t know,” I said, “I’ve just been thinking of him a lot lately, and he mentioned it in one of his journals”

He hugged me awkwardly with his right arm and patted me before walking out of the room.

* * * *

I retrieved the keys from the wardrobe and took them to the attic. One of the smaller keys on the ring fit. I turned the key and all of the drawer locks clicked. The top center drawer slid open and I saw some old photos and a notebook. Before I even looked at the notebook, I checked the other drawers. They were all empty except for one which held a long ornately carved box -- I opened it. Several vials with little crosses etched on them, three sharpened wooden stakes, a crucifix and a hand mirror. “What! No hairspray?” I laughed.

“Give me a break!” I thought to myself. These items had obviously put there by my dad’s deceased brother several years ago. It seemed as though Adam had come by his interests naturally. Maybe superstition and magical thinking ran in the family,

We aren’t Catholic, but it was obvious that the vials would contain “holy water.” I shut the box and made note that I might want to use it for myself someday -- sans attack weapons.

So, another notebook for me to thumb through -- this one, my uncle's.  Great. Each entry was dated and most were just a sentence or two long. Laughably every single one chronicled the same nightly events; “She’s in the garden again, she’s been pruning the roses for an hour, she’s mowing with an old-fashioned push mower. She’s wearing a sunhat in the middle of the night!, not out tonight, car gone, she’s cutting bunches of lilac.”

I felt like Jack Nicolson’s wife in THE SHINING must have felt when she discovered pages and pages of manuscript stating the same thing; All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy. It was strange and obsessive and gave me the shivers. I flipped through two years of redundancy. More than a few times I saw entries like this; “She’s on the porch having a glass of blood.” All I could do was shake my head. In the back of the journal was a list of items written with the words “no good” on it.

     Garlic -- no good
     Holy water -- no good
     Mirror -- no good
     wooden stakes -- good

Oh gee, I would never have guessed the stakes would work!

The photos were all of Amanda. This was getting nowhere in regard to my brother’s disappearance. Tomorrow I would go to the library and see if I could find anything in the newspapers from the week he vanished -- and I’d Google Amanda as well.

Searching the library’s microfiche was a hit for me. Teen’s disappearance considered runaway by police. Case closed. The small article went on about his last hours -- last seen in his bedroom -- bed found empty following day. Suspiciously a woman living next door also disappeared leading police to believe the two may have left together. Another article said Woman kept blood in basement. While searching the house for clues to the disappearance of Amanda Kane, police were shocked to find pints of blood stolen from the local blood bank and kept chilled in refrigerator. John Carlson Memorial Blood bank had reported theft at least once a month, but had no clue as to why someone would steal blood. Police also found two very large cages, chains and large hooks attached to the ceiling. The lieutenant in charge of the case said they were utterly baffled by the finds.

My jaw dropped and I sat in front of the viewer totally shocked. “What the hell was she doing?” I was glad that people other than my uncle uncovered such bizarre information on Amanda Kane.

I asked Daddy how long the woman had lived next door. He said he didn’t know. But I didn’t let that stop me. I was on a roll and next I’d try online. I Googled Amanda Kane and, not surprisingly, tons of Amanda Kanes came up. After searching page after page of Amandas, I got nothing of relivance even when I typed in our town name after hers. But I was in for a surprise yet.

* * * *

I had not forgotten about the unaccounted for space in the house. I decided to take a close look at the basement to see if I could find an entrance. I mentioned to Mom that I was going to explore the basement a little.

“Oh, I hate that place,” she said. “There are no windows down there and it’s so dark and creepy. Be careful, Bekah, if you must go down there. It’s full of junk that I’ve asked your father to have removed for years! And don’t go down there unless someone is home to hear you if you scream for help.”

She wasn‘t trying to be funny, but that statement made me laugh so hard!

I didn’t like dark places either, but I was really curious. Obviously there were lights, but I took a flashlight anyway. Mom wasn’t exaggerating about the clutter of junk. Everything from an old oven to several rusty looking lawn mowers. There was indeed what looked to be a kind of cubbyhole or hallway or closet area that was very dark and filled with bicycles, wheel borrows, croquet mallets and even an old doll house. I shone the flashlight back into the depths of the space. Bingo. I could make out what looked to be a doorknob. It took me quite awhile to wheel and carry out enough of the stuff so that I could squeeze through.

Although this had nothing to do with my brother or Amanda Kane, I was still thrilled to be uncovering something unknown. When I opened the door, I was met by a very pretty dark wood staircase. Up I went, hopefully to the closed off space right between the upstairs living room and kitchen.

Again I shone the light into the room. I couldn’t make out anything much. But I found a light switch on the wall. Naturally the lights didn’t come on -- probably burnt out bulbs. I turned the lens on my fancy schmancy flashlight to widen the beam enough to see a beautiful library! It was as stunning as it was surprising. High shelves of books spread across one wall. Lovely art hung everywhere and there were three solid wood reading tables with leather chairs. There was a sofa with coffee table on another wall and a ancient looking television.

But, why in the world would the owner of this place have built such a beautifully appointed room cut off from the rest of the house? Too isolated to be convenient. My question was answered when I spied another door. I walked over and opened it. It opened to blank sheetrock. So it hadn’t originally been made this way. Someone later had hidden it. Hmm. Like some old fashioned panic room?

The biggest boon to my search was on one of the tables. A box full of papers or documents. My weird uncle had done his homework on Amanda all the way back to 1918!  Impossible. There was a birth certificate -- a baby Amanda Lindsey was born to Jebediah and Mattie Lindsey -- in Butler county, Kentucky. Census records showing the family’s move to Texas in 1922. A marriage license. Amanda Lindsey had married Ebenezer Kane in 1939 and Mr. Kane’s death certificate from 1952. And the last paper I looked at made no sense to me. It was Amanda Lindsey’s death certificate that predated her marriage by three years!! What? I just shook my head, put everything back in the box and got the hell out of there.

A week later I packed my little Toyota and headed for Texas. I was taking a huge gamble that might lead to nothing, but it only made sense that if she fled with my brother, she would go back to her childhood town or at least the area. But really, how could I possibly find my brother or Amanda in a populated area without any other clues. In fact when I was driving through Colorado, I almost turned back for home. Something kept me going though -- hanging on a hope I guess.

I looked through the phone book. Silly, I know, but I didn’t know where else to start. I looked under Adam Finch. Nothing. Then I tried Amanda Kane, Amanda Lindsey and finally Amanda Finch. But when I tried Adam Kane, I found one. Could be any Adam Kane. It was fairly early in the morning when I dialed the number. A male voice. “This is Adam. Not here now. You know the drill.” My heart was pounding. Was it him? The voice was not that of an old person, and it sounded so familiar. Still, I couldn’t tell.

I wrote down the address, my hands shaking, and checked a road map. It took me almost twenty minutes and a long way from the center of Dublin, though the address was still within the boundaries of the city . . . I guess.

* * * *

The house was nothing to write home about. It looked small and old. The yard, though, was gorgeous -- like a park. The doors and windows were locked but there was one lone window high up on the house (probably a bathroom) that was cracked an inch or two. I drug a bench from the yard to the house and, after some maneuvering, was able to open it wide enough for me to pull myself up and squeeze through. Yes, it was a bathroom. I was scared. I don’t know why I was so scared, but I was. So I grabbed the only things I could find to protect myself. A plunger and a heavy old hand mirror.

I walked out of the bathroom and followed the hall into the living area. It was dim in the room, but what I saw caused me to drop my weapons. The mirror shattered loudly on the tile floor. It was a photo of me, framed and sitting on the ledge of a black upright piano. I picked up the photo -- if I’d have had false teeth they would surely have fallen out of my gaping mouth. The photo was recent. It looked as though someone took it in the very late afternoon or evening as I was leaving our house. I had no idea when that would have been, but there I was.

Tears streamed down my face. I put the photo back and began searching the house, even looking in the kitchen cupboards. How silly. When I opened the fridge, I was sickened to see several I.V. bags of what could only be blood. I wanted to scream, to vomit, to fall on the floor and cry. So it was all true! It just wasn’t possible, was it? Seeing is believing even when you’re trying really hard not to see.

Eventually I got myself under control and walked into one of the bedrooms. There was another framed photo -- this of Mom and Daddy, taken years ago.

At the foot of the big bed was a long trunk. I don’t know how I knew or what possessed me but my heart dropped when I looked at the trunk. “Vampire,” I whispered. I was still shaking as I slowly opened the lid and let out a stifled moan. “Oh, no. please no.”

There, lying peacefully was my long lost brother -- not older, not changed. He looked like a pale angel. But he was exactly the same as he was when I was thirteen. “Adam!” I cried. He did not stir. I sat on the bed and stared at him for a long time. Finally I closed the lid softly and walked away. Maybe I was in shock, but I simply felt a kind of relief and release. At long last I knew.

As I drove away, I thought about the photo of me that he must have gone to some trouble to get, and the tears started to flow again. Maybe one day I would come back and let him know that I knew where he was and what he was. But right now, my plans had been fulfilled. More than fulfilled because I knew Adam still existed in this world. More importantly I knew that he still loved me . . . For now, that was all I needed to know.
The rest could wait.

The end


1 comment:

  1. I like this one, it gives more closure to the first story. Very good!