Staring at the black ash where the cabin had been made me tremble a little. It had looked like something out of a science fiction movie.
“Well I best go put a stop to the funeral homes coming out here. There ain’t nothing left to pick up, or scoop up to bury. How do you write something like this up?”
Whitey turned toward the patrol car. “You want a ride back to town?”
Looking at Josh he shook his head no, “I’ll bring her into town.”
“Suit yourselves but stay away from that river. I can’t stop people for going for a drive.”
“Don’t know what we are doing but going to Rennie’s for something to eat. I owe Josh that much for bring me out here and taking me home.”
The sheriff threw his hand up and waved as he got into his car and pulled out.
We stood there watching as he drove out of sight.
Turning to Josh I had only one thing to say, “What in blazes was that?”
Shaking his head he walked back to the now quiet hole in the ground.
“And what did he mean by it was the reason the river was closed to the public?”
“I spent close fifteen years as special forces and I have never in encountered something like this. I swear it was like a huge battery discharging.” He shook his head, “There are legends about this phenomenon but no one has ever been able to prove it.”
“Is this something that could bring the government in here and have all of us locked away for life?” I pulled my hair back out of my face. I would have a migraine by the time I let it loose later that night.
“If my thinking is right it could. I have a person or two I can talk to. My old commander for one. Come on Doc let’s go eat. I need to think.”
“What under ground river? This whole area is coal mine.” Josh asked.
“No the coal mine ends about two miles west of here. There’s a big wall of rock that they never blasted through. The opening of the river is another two miles east of here I remember as a teen going to see it.”
“Sheriff is there anything down there that could have done this? And don’t sugar coat it something big has killed a whole family and possibly carried off a young boy. Now what do you know?”
“Ella, for sure I don’t know. I was just starting out on the department when the river was found. Old sheriff Ben Calhoun took a bunch of seasoned officers and went down there and when they came back not one person would talk about what they’d seen. I have been in there as far as the rock wall but I have never gone any farther so as far as I know no there is nothing that would kill a family like this.”
“Sheriff, what is that smell?” I asked as fumes from hell came pour out of the hole the sheriff and Josh grabbed a hold of me as they ran out of the shack.
We barely hit the far side of the lane. When a whistling started and a wind began to blow tornado gusts of wind seem to envelope the inside of the shack. As the wind circled faster and faster a red fire, white and blue charges of electricity seemed to come up through the middle of the cyclone the cyclone divided into three and blew three new holes into the roof of the shack. The corpses of the Maison family were flying around the inside of the shack being beaten against walls. The wooden shack caught fire from the combined fire and electricity. It began to burn around the cyclones. It burned inside and out when the cyclones died away there was nothing left. No bodies, no furniture, no walls just a burnt ash. The cyclones dropped back down into the hole in the ground. The whole thing never lasted ten minutes. The strangest part of it. The ground was cool. No heat was left from the fire. The vehicles were unharmed and not a burn spot anywhere.
“Well so much for autopsies? What was that?”
“The reason the lost river was closed.”
Sheriff Whitey Story came sliding into the area in front of the shack. There would have been a ton of dust had it not been for the rains.
“Hey doc, got a call from state asking me to come help you. They got a major mess down at the state capital with the president being in town. I got the funeral homes coming to take them bodies to the county morgue for you.” He stared at me as he listened to how we found the bodies.
“Sheriff little Sammy is missing his body is not here, and the dog has a butcher knife in it.” I have always prided myself in being able to handle whatever came along. But doing these autopsy’s were going to kill me.
“Now Ella I know this ain’t gonna be easy but your all we got. State can’t get here and Old Doc Weston just drove off with his wife heading to Missouri for his granddaughter’s wedding.”
“Hey Doc need you in here. You too Sheriff.” We stepped up on the porch and followed Josh into the shack.
“I was standing over here and I heard something. I pulled the door open in the closet to find a hole in the back of it. I been trying to figure where it went when I thought I heard sobbing.”
“If you did the boy is more than a thousand feet down at the under ground river. I’ll have some of my men make a trip down there but truthfully its probably the wind. Haven’t seen any one yet survive a fall onto the rocks down below.”
“What do you mean Sammy isn’t here?”
“I was checking the bodies and doing a cursory examination and Sammy is not among the others.”
Josh pushed by me and went in to check for himself.
No logical explanation. Looking up to the heavens I glanced over the top of the shack. It also didn’t make since there was three holes in the roof of the little building.
How odd they looked. Like gremlins or the devil had burst through those holes but didn’t go through the ceiling of the main room.
“Joshua, are there holes in the ceiling?” I called from the door of the dilapidated cabin.
“Um yes there are three small ones maybe eighteen inches across. Why?” His dark eyes looked puzzled.
I pushed my blond hair out of my eyes. I pointed to the roof. “Then how come on the outside the roof is pushed out and it looks like a explosion happened?
“What in the all that is Holy could have made these blood splatters? What could have thrown a full grown two hundred and fifty pound man with enough force to leave this kind of splatter?” His face was pale. He had just given voice to what I was thinking.
I watched him go out to use his phone. I looked over the family again. There was trauma to the heads of both Kevin, Molly, the parent’s of Steven,Richard, Sammy and little Daisy.
Steven had head trauma and splintered forearm.
Richard again with the fractures of the cranium and limbs along with lacerations of face and arms.
Daisy, that poor baby chest was caved in at least she hadn’t suffered. She most likely died instantly.
Sammy, where was Sammy? He wasn’t amongst the bodies of his family members. I rechecked he wasn’t there.
I hit the door as Josh came up the steps.
“Sammy isn’t here.” I sobbed.
Josh, this place is too quiet. I have never known the Maison house to be silent.”
I started up the steps of the cabin when he said
“Hey Doc hold up a minute.” He stood looking at the dog. Shaking his head. “We do not go in without a gun.”
“Why?” I asked
“Because this dog has part of a butcher knife in him. I am betting we have something horrible in that shack.” Going to his truck he pulled out a revolver and extra shells.
“Let me go first.”He said.
Nodding and waiting for him to go in. I couldn’t help feeling a slight panic. What had happened to these people?
I waited as he went through the door. It seemed like forever before he came back out. “You can come in, but its not pretty.”
Entering the cabin the family wasn’t there that we could tell.
It didn’t make sense a dead dog, and unmade beds.
Leaning over what I thought were dolls. I realized that it was the entire Maison family laying in a pile like toys that were tossed away.
“Josh, if you can get a signal on that phone you better get state police out here.”
He had been looking at the walls of the shack. The walls looked as if someone had thrown red paint on them in random spots. No reason or rhyme just a spot here and there, some small and others larger.
Bouncing along in his truck. Nothing was said we drove down to the Maison bottoms the area stood under water. Nothing new the river was less than a quarter mile away after twenty some inches the river ran over its banks. We could see the small shack that was the Maison’s but no noise came from anywhere. We are talking two adults and four very boisterous children. I spent hours helping a very new mother try to keep her sanity. Three sons and the only daughter in four generations. All four children took after their parents. The boys were strong and sure with dark hair, and Daisy worshiped her big brothers, dark headed, shy bit of a girl of eighteen months old. The boys ranged from ten, seven and five.
We got to the cabin and nothing seemed right, no noise of any kind. The dog never looked up. He lay sprawled on his side with a huge gash in his side. Poor old thing had died instantly.
“This can’t be good.” Josh said.