The Lost World
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    #306
    The surveillance camera monitoring the embryo room in JP is fake -- the same camera is sold in catalogs for about $80 for use to discourage thieves..
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    School Day {Prologue}
    By Aragorn

    ~ PROLOGUE ~

    Murder In The 1800's

    I

    The sun was setting on the small western town of Heartfield. The dying red glow of the sun shone against the backs of the wooden houses. For the townsfolk, that was the signal they dreadfully waited for. Once the sun was that close to going down, those citizens that were outside knew to go in, and those inside knew to remain inside. That was why if a stranger was to arrive at that moment, he would find all the stores closed and no activity on the streets or in the fields of the nineteenth century town.

    It wasn’t always like that however. It used to be a normal family-oriented friendly town. It had all started when a little boy disappeared from his own yard.

    He had been under the watchful eyes of his parents, but they both turned away for a few minutes in order to answer the front door. When they returned, they found their son missing. There was an investigation, but it was never determined if the boy ran away or was kidnapped. That was only the first of many more disappearances and murders.

    Shortly after, the town Liberian disappeared for two days, only to be discovered dead in a forest just outside of the town. Her chest had been ripped open and she was hidden inside a hollow tree. After her body was discovered, the parents of the missing child began to accept the fact that someone had kidnapped and murdered their son as well. By that point though, the chances of finding the boy’s body was slim since it happened weeks before and all the skin would have decayed. If they found anything at all, it would only be a skeleton.

    And they did.

    A young eighteen-year-old stable boy was in going through his daily routines. He went to refill the horses’ water trough, as it was the first time in weeks that it was completely empty, and discovered the skeleton of what appeared to be a small boy. Since the only unsolved disappearance from Heartfield at that time was the missing boy and the skeleton was that of a child, the townsfolk held a funeral and buried the remains in the local graveyard.

    A few days later, the stable boy’s girlfriend was found in her house, headless, when her parents got home late from a party. Another teenager, who was later identified as from the neighboring town, and his horse were also found dead in front of the house. Both the horse and the boy had been gutted.

    By that time, there was a full police investigation into the murders and who could be behind them, but every lead they got just led to a dead end and they realized that they were getting nowhere with the case. It seemed that the only way to find out who the killer is, was to catch him in the act.

    A couple weeks went by without any further murders or disappearances. It appeared that all was back to normal and whoever had was responsible for the murders had stopped and moved on. But that was when it happened again.

    There was a town meeting called to discuss an issue on taxes. The local people thought they were paying too much in taxes, but the truth was that the town needed to raise the amount of taxes, because they were losing money and could not afford to pay for ordinary things such as fixing up the roads.

    The Mayor failed to show up for the meeting, and since he was the most important figure, they were waited patiently for him to arrive.

    As time went on, and the night got later and later, they came to the conclusion that something must have come up and the Mayor was not going to show.

    Everyone was sent home, but a small group of people decided to visit the Mayor at his home to see if he was in good health. When they arrived, they found the door slightly ajar, so they cautiously walked in, calling out for him. After he didn’t answer, they started to search the house.

    One of the party made a startling discovery. He found the mayor in his bedroom, hung from the roof by a rope around his neck. At first they thought it was suicide, but upon further investigation, it was revealed that he had a bump on the back of his skull, and it was made public that he was knocked out first, then hung.

    The people of Heartfield were getting more uneasy by that point, knowing that if the killer wasn’t afraid to go after the most important man in the town, then no one was safe.

    The next morning, a local man was also found dead in his house, an axe stuck into his back. By nightfall that evening, there was a new curfew put into effect, which stated that nobody was permitted outside after dark.

    The police were getting more and more frustrated with the case, because there were never any clues at any of the crime scenes to lead them to the identity of the killer.

    They didn’t plan on giving up however, because they knew that whoever it was that was murdering the people had to mess up sooner or later...

    II

    Twenty-Five year old Miriam Furlong was home, sitting in her favorite chair, rocking back and forth gently. She gently smoothed down her orange cat, which slept, purring quietly, on her knees. The bright fire in the fireplace crackled and casted a yellow-orange glow around the room, being the only source of light.

    Miriam had been at the market when night arrived an hour earlier, so she quickly hurried back to her house, planning on returning the next day for the rest of her when the sun was back up, and all was safe. Miriam was a schoolteacher for the younger children, and she still had to get some supplies for when school started back up a few weeks from then.

    Even though she was terrified of all the events that had happened, she also felt sorrow, as she knew some of the victims and knew of their lives.
    Miriam knew that the girlfriend had been cheating on the Stable Boy with another person from the near-by town, and that the Stable Boy had never caught on. Miriam was good friends with the girlfriend, and made a promise to her that she wouldn’t tell.

    The Stable Boy came close to finding out once, when he was going to go to his girlfriend’s house to surprise her, but Miriam, who at the time was also working in the stables, stopped him by seducing him and bringing him back to her place. Thinking back on it, she probably could have thought of a better way to stop him from going, but she was panicked, and did the first thing she could think of. Neither her, nor the Stable Boy ever told anyone, and no relationship followed.
    As Miriam sat and listened to the fire crackling, she heard a faint creak. It could have been either a footstep from inside the house, or the front door being opened. Either one was pretty bad.

    Miriam very quietly and very scared, stood up and slowly started walking through her house, careful not to make a sound.

    Because of her slow pace, it took her a few minutes to reach the front door, but when she managed to get to it, her heart started thumping faster and faster in her chest. Her lips felt dry and she had to lick them a couple times to get them wet again.

    The front door was wide open, the blackness of the starless night imposing in on her. That was when she heard the floorboards creak above her head and she immediately jerked her gaze up, peering at the ceiling. Had it been her imagination?

    She heard the creak again as someone walked across the floor. Nope. Definitely not her imagination. She looked back behind her and saw her cat in the kitchen, rubbing her back on a chair leg. So if it wasn’t the cat and she lived alone, then that meant...

    There was a stranger in her house.

    She was off, racing up the steps at full speed, ready to attack whoever had invaded her home. She reached the top of the stairs and slowed to a walk as she became careful and more frightened at the same time.

    She walked around the corner in the hall, towards the guest bedroom. She was nervous about what she’d see. Even though she didn’t really want to find out, she forced herself to continue on.
    As Miriam rounded the corner a huge figure flew out at her, causing her to scream. Miriam continued to scream for a few long seconds with no sign of stopping.

    After a half minute, but seemed much longer to her, she realized that she wasn’t dead and decided to stop screaming. She slowly opened her eyes, which she had only just then realized she had closed.

    “Miriam, calm down!” The person grabbed her by the shoulders until she calmed down to a heavy breathing.

    “Jacob!” Miriam screamed as she slapped him in the chest. She forgot that the last time her brother came to visit, she had given him a key to the house. “You didn’t have to leave the door wide open!”

    Jacob looked stunned. “I did close the door behind me. Maybe the wind blew it open or something. I’ll be right back. I’ll go close it.” Jacob turned and walked down the hall, heading for the stairs.

    Miriam turned back with a sigh and walked into the guest room, where her brother had dumped his stuff off in. She entered the room and saw all his bags and immediately wondered why he had so much stuff. It was as if he was moving in. Things must have gone badly with his new wife.

    She decided she’d go ask him, so she turned and walked out of the room, heading down the stairs. When she reached the first floor again, she called out for him and waited for an answer that never came.

    She walked to the front door and saw it had been closed. She turned and walked into the kitchen. She gasped at the sight and covered her mouth with her hands.

    Jacob was on the floor, lying in a pool of his own crimson blood, his throat slit wide open.
    Miriam heard a crash from the room next to her and put out the candles in the kitchen, casting the room into complete darkness. She quietly crouched down behind the wooden table and waited in silence.

    She could hear slow heavy footsteps walk into the kitchen and cross the floor. She waited until she saw the outline to two black boots step down in front of the table, then she leaped up with a scream and threw herself towards the figure. She rammed into the figure, knocking them both to the floor, Miriam landing on top.

    She raised her fists and began punching the figure in the head until it stopped struggling and its breathing quieted down. Miriam got up and quickly re-lit the candles so she could get a better view.

    She looked down on the floor and saw a figure dressed in a hood and cloak, a long, curved, bloody sickle laying next to it. She walked over and kicked the weapon away as she reached down and pulled the hood back, revealing the unconscious face of one of the town residents that she hardly knew, but had seen around a few times.

    With a rush of adrenaline, Miriam turned and ran out of the room to the front door, slamming it open. As she ran outside, she began screaming for help.

    A door to a house across the street opened and the woman living there called out, “What’s the matter?”

    “The murderer is in my house!” Miriam called over. “Get the police! He’s knocked out!”
    The woman nodded and without slipping on shoes or even closing the door to her house, ran off down the street to the police station.

    Miriam sighed and turned back, looking through her door at the unconscious body on her kitchen floor.

    III

    The next morning the sky was a dark gray as if it was about to rain any minute. The entire town was gathered in the main square, looking up at a giant wooden cross with a few tons of hay below it. Tied to the cross was the man whom had been killing all the people.

    A Judge stood next to the cross, and looked out among the crowd. “This man is being punished for the deaths of various town residents, including that of our very own Mayor!” The Judge shouted as cheers rang out, residents hungry for the bloodshed of the man. “He is also being tried for witchcraft and Satanism. The police searched his house this morning and found many items and notes about the subjects and we believe he killed our friends and families for Lucifer. Now we must send him to meet his Dark Master.”

    He picked up a burning log from a nearby fire and waved it in front of the man. “Any last words, filth?” The Judge whispered to the man. The man just looked down, smiling an evil smile, and whispered a few sentences in an unknown language. The Judge lowered the burning log, setting the hay on fire, causing the fire to rapidly spread to the wooden cross.

    Within minutes, the cross was a roaring fire. The murderer was gone for good as the thick smoke billowed into the sky.

    ***

    A lone Priest walked up to the Judge, who was watching the fire with the crowd of residents. The Priest asked, “Where are we going to bury him? Surly a servant of Lucifer can’t be buried on holy ground with the rest of the town’s former residents, God rest their souls.”

    The Judge agreed, “His remains shall be buried just outside of town, where no human shall be permitted.”

    The Priest nodded and walked away, preparing for the burial.

    Maybe now the town could finally get some peace. And it did, until about two hundred years later...

    10/5/2005 12:14:46 AM
    (Updated: 10/5/2005 12:20:08 AM)

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