Ghost Stories from Hell, page 5
“Damn,” James said. “We’re going to have to go back. I still have to call it in.”
“The body won’t be there,” Mason said.
“How do you know?”
“They’ve never found any bodies there.”
James nodded. “I still want to check it out.”
“Definitely daylight,” James said. He drank some of his vodka. “So,” he said after a moment, “was the black thing Boylan?”
“Yes,” Mason said. He picked up his beer and held the cold bottle in both hands.
“And that’s why the light came on,” James said.
“Exactly,” Mason nodded. He took a drink of the beer and sighed.
“Well,” James said, rubbing the back of his head, “how the hell do we kill him?”
“I don’t know,” Mason said. He looked at the young police officer. “I don’t know. But we’re going to have to figure it out, and within the next year at the latest.”
James frowned. “Why?”
“Because I’m pretty sure,” Mason said, “Liam Boylan is going to get his hands on another body before next Halloween. Especially since he didn’t get a boy this year, and he was obviously looking for one.”
James shook his head and then finished his vodka. “This is pretty screwed up, Mason.”
“Yeah,” Mason said. “It sure as hell is.”
They sat in silence for a minute before James said, “You know what, screw this! You sober enough to drive?”
Mason thought about it seriously for a moment and nodded.
“Good,” James said, standing up. He took his jacket off the back of the chair and put it back on. “I need to see whether or not there’s a body there.”
“Sounds good to me. We’ll take my truck, okay?” Mason asked.
Mason led the way out of the pub, waving to the waitress. The young woman smiled, returning the wave. James followed him out into the brisk air and to Mason’s pickup. “Door’s unlocked,” Mason said.
He climbed into the driver’s seat, and James got into the passenger’s. Mason fished his keys out of his jacket pocket and slid the ignition key into place. A moment later, he had the truck’s old engine rumbling, the lights on, and he was pulling out of the pub’s parking lot and onto Route 122. He aimed the truck towards Meeting House Road and relaxed in his seat.
James sat silently, looking out of the window.
Mason reached out, turned the heat on and adjusted it.
Within fifteen minutes, he was signaling and turning onto Meeting House Road. He slowed down as they approached the Boylan House, which was disturbingly dark.
Mason stopped the truck a short distance from the house, angling the vehicle, so the headlights shined up the small hill.
“You have got to be kidding me,” James hissed. “Where’s the damn body?”
The grass was empty.
“I shot someone. I know I did,” James said, looking over at Mason.
Mason nodded. “I know, I was there. I saw it. I put two rounds of salt into something, too.”
“We need to figure out what the hell’s in there,” James said. “We need to know.”
“I need to know.”
“Will you be able to find out?” James asked. “I mean, you were able to figure out who Liam Boylan was, is, or whatever the hell it is.”
“I’m going to try,” Mason answered, looking back at the house. “I’m going to try.”
Chapter 15: “What is Liam Boylan?”
Mason was sitting on the top step of the library with the sun beating down and chasing off the November wind. He was holding two coffees, and Julie smiled at him as she walked up the stone steps. She was wearing a pair of dark slacks bloused above black calf-high boots. A gray, mid-thigh fall jacket was belted at the waist, and her hair was pulled back into a loose ponytail.
“Well, good morning,” she smiled at him. “Are you here for business or pleasure?”
“Both, I hope,” he grinned, standing up.
“Have you been here long?”
“Is that a pick-up line?” he asked with a smile.
She winked at him. “Take it anyway you like, Mr. Philips,” she said, unlocking the library’s door.
“Then I’d love to have dinner with you this evening,” he said, holding the door open for her as she wiggled the key out of the lock.
“That sounds like a date,” she laughed.
He followed her into the small vestibule, and she unlocked the second door.
“Speaking of dates,” she said, “did you and James meet up at the Boylan House, last night?” she asked.
“We did,” Mason said, enjoying the way that she walked to the desk. She caught him looking and gave him a big smile. He smiled back.
“How did it go?” she asked, putting her purse down on the desk and taking off her coat.
“A little rough on both of us, I’m afraid,” he answered, handing her one of the coffees.
“Thanks,” she said, frowning. “What do you mean by rough?”
“We went to the Boylan House last night,” Mason said. Julie sat down in her chair and motioned for him to sit down, as well. He did so, and she took a sip of her coffee as she turned on the computer.
“Okay, so you went to the Boylan House,” she said. “What happened?”
“We waited a while, and a light came on upstairs in the house,” Mason said.
She looked at him. “There’s no power to the house.”
“No one lives there.”
“Then how the hell was there a light?” she asked.
“It was Liam Boylan,” Mason said. “He was possessing someone, as far as your brother and I could guess.”
“Possessing someone?” Julie asked, sitting back and drinking her coffee. “Do you know who?”
Mason nodded. “A man named Henry Marquis.”
“What happened to him?” she asked.
“Your brother killed him.”
Julie’s mouth twitched. “He what?”
“Your brother killed him,” Mason said gently. “Marquis came out, screaming at us. Your brother identified himself as the police, told Marquis to put his hands up. Marquis screamed and ran at us instead. Your brother never hesitated.”
She nodded. “Where is he now? Does he have a mountain of paperwork to do?”
Mason shook his head. “No. Not at all. We left the scene for a little while to get ourselves together.”
“Why did you have to get yourselves together?” she asked.
“Because Boylan came out of Marquis when your brother shot the man,” Mason answered. “A black shape that I put two barrels of salt into.”
“So why isn’t my brother writing up reports on an officer involved shooting?” she asked, confused.
“Because when we went back to the Boylan House,” Mason said, “the body was gone.”
Julie looked at him for a long moment before saying, “You’re serious, aren’t you? Of course you are. Damn. Damn. That’s crazy.” She drank her coffee for a moment, then looked at him, giving him a small smile. “So, you’re here to do more research?”
“And to see you,” he said.
Her smile widened, and her cheeks reddened slightly. “I’m glad. So, you do want to get dinner tonight?”
“Of course, I do,” he smiled.
“Good,” she sighed. “Okay, you need to get to work, don’t you?”
“I do,” he said, standing up as she did.
Julie led the way around the desk and back to the Gunther Room. She unlocked it and flipped on the light. “I’ll check on you in a little bit, okay?”
“Please do,” Mason said, grinning.
She smiled back at him and returned to the desk. Mason entered the room and put his carry case down on the table. He took a sip of coffee, then put the cup down beside th
Okay, he thought. Where do I start today?
Chapter 16: Reading the Sealed Letter
Mason sat back in the chair and rubbed his eyes. He was still tired from last night’s excursion to the Boylan House.
He looked around the room at the shelves of books and files of papers. He’d gone through a lot of them, and he had one more manuscript box that he’d pulled down and wanted to go through before Julie showed up again for coffee.
He smiled at the thought of her. He hadn’t had anyone significant in his life in a long time.
He turned his attention back to the manuscript box and read the title on it once more; Mysteries of Monson, New Hampshire.
Mason opened the box and found a slim book bound in black cloth. It looked like a small press publication. When he took it out of the box and opened the book, the binding creaked.
The book had rarely, if ever, been opened.
Mason turned to the title page.
“Mysteries of Monson, New Hampshire,” it read, “written by Irwin C. Hunt. Published by Morgan Hollis, Hollis, NH, 1957.”
Mason turned the page and found a dedication printed there.
“To our town’s Sheriff, who has helped me compile some of these incidents and given me unfettered access to any files, which reside solely in the Sheriff’s Office.”
The next page proved to be a table of contents. Mason read the individual titles, which ranged from the mystery of a mountain lion to the local cemetery being haunted by Revolutionary War soldiers. But a title near the bottom of the list, caught Mason’s eye.
“The Abandoned Ford on Meeting House Road.”
Mason turned to the page indicated, and started to read.
“Like any small town in these New England states, Monson has had a few abandoned cars. Most of those cars were, of course, dilapidated wrecks, clearly left because the machines would travel no further, regardless of any jerry-rigging which might be done. Mr. Thomas, the owner of the local junk yard, would always come out with his ‘wrecker’ and take the defunct vehicle away.
“In September of 1946, however, there was a vehicle which proved the exception to the rule.
“Mr. Davis of One Meeting House Road rode his horse into town on a Sunday morning to attend service at the First Congregationalist Church. He also wished to speak with Sheriff Philips about an abandoned vehicle on Meeting House Road.
“According to the report, which the Sheriff filed, Mr. Davis stated the car had been at the end of Meeting House Road for several days. He didn’t know if there were men who were hunting, since there was an abundance of deer and small game this season, or what they might be doing. But this is New England, and New Englanders respect the privacy of others.
“It wasn’t until several days had passed, without the vehicle moving, that Mr. Davis took a walk to the end of the road, which is something he was not in the habit of doing. He stated that he had a dislike of the old Boylan House, and thus, stayed away from it whenever possible. But he had become concerned that perhaps someone had committed suicide in the vehicle, and he didn’t want any wandering child to discover the body.
“Mr. Davis had served with the 9th Infantry in the war, and he was well familiar with death. He had no desire for children to become acquainted with it too early in their lives.
“When Mr. Davis reached the car, he saw it was empty and that it had been for several days. No one had been sleeping in it, and there was no sign of any sort of food or clothing. What was additionally curious, was that the car was new. It was a post-war production Ford, equipped with all of the latest fashions in automobiles.
“This was not the type of car that was found abandoned in Monson.
“It was on Sunday morning when Mr. Davis had made his examination and so he decided that when he went into town for service, he would inform Sheriff Philips.
“When Mr. Davis informed the Sheriff about the car, prior to the start of service, Sheriff Philips immediately left to go to the scene. Mr. Samuel Hackett, the owner of the Hackett Book and Stationery store, accompanied him.
“At the end of Meeting House Road, they found the car exactly as Mr. Davis had said it would be; empty. Sheriff Philips and Mr. Hackett did a quick search of the area and could find no trail leading into the wilderness. Considering that the weather had been fine, whoever the driver had been, would still have been trackable. The two men even walked up to the Boylan House and wandered around it, looking into the bottom floor and calling out for anyone to answer.
No one did.”
“Sheriff Philips and Mr. Hackett then returned to the abandoned car where they searched for and found the car’s registration. It was registered to the law firm of Mr. Frederick Gunther of Boston, Massachusetts. A member of that curious law firm which was the executor of the Boylan House trust.
“Upon returning to his office, Sheriff Philips made several phone calls to the Boston Police Department and received several more from the same place. Sheriff Philips was able to establish that all three of the law firm’s senior partners had driven up to Monson to take care of some sort of legal business. It was supposed to be a day trip; one they made every three months together, but none of the men had returned.
“Their wives and junior partners had sought the help of the police to establish that the men were missing and needed to be found. The Boston Police Department were unable to precisely locate where the men had even disappeared from. Neither the men’s families nor their junior partners knew where the men were going.
“With that information in hand, Sheriff Philips requested assistance from the New Hampshire State Police and a full investigation was launched into the disappearance of the three men. Search parties combed through the woods and surrounding swamps and wetlands, yet it was to no avail. Nothing could be found regarding the whereabouts of the lawyers. The old Boylan House was even opened up and searched, and that, too, showed nothing.
“To this day, the case of the missing lawyers from Boston remains open. Hunters are constantly encouraged to keep a sharp lookout for any sign of the men. Yet, like all of the residents of Monson know, those who disappear in the conservation land at the end of Meeting House Road, are never seen again. Nor is any sign of them.”
Mason closed the book and shook his head. It was the same, he thought. The same, every time. Never a trace of anyone. But why the lawyers? Hadn’t they been the trustees of the house? Shouldn’t they have been afforded some sort of protection by Liam Boylan?
He opened the book once more and moved to the back of it to see if there was an index and when he did, he turned to the back cover first. He went to turn the last page when he noticed the paste down page on the back cover had slightly pulled away from the back cover. There was something in it.
It looked like a thin, folded piece of paper.
Mason reached out, took the edge of the pastedown, and pulled it, ever so gently. It came away easily. Mason saw nothing except old Scotch tape that was much yellowed and folded over to be made two-sided. Still moving carefully though, Mason eased the pastedown away, soon revealing a small envelope. Mason slipped the envelope out of the curious pocket which had held it.
The envelope lacked an address. But it had a date written neatly in script across the center of the envelope. January 1st, 1947.
Mason turned the envelope over and found that it was unsealed.
He opened it carefully, and found a small piece of paper folded within it. He set the envelope down and opened up the letter. The letterhead upon it read “Sheriff Harold Philips, Monson, NH, Sheriff’s Office”.
Mason started reading.
“To Whom It May Concern,” the letter began, “My name is Harold Philips. I am the sheriff for Monson, New Hampshire. On September 21st, 1946, I executed the three lawyers from Boston that everyone’s looking for. They had it coming. They and their fathers have been protecting whatever the hell is in the Boylan House for centuries. It hunts children, that thing. They knew it. That’s why they didn’t
“Men like that shouldn’t be allowed to live. And so I took that away from them. One day, I hope to find out what’s in that house, and how I’m going to kill it.
“Because it needs killing.
“Harold Philips, January 1st, 1947.”
Mason looked hard at the name. Something pulled at his memory. The man had the same last name as he did, but Philips was a fairly common name. And Harold was common for World War Two. He’d seen that in his research. But there was ... and his thought trailed off.
Dropping the letter to the table, he reached into his bag and pulled out his cellphone. He knew Julie wouldn’t care. Scrolling through his contacts, he found his mother’s home number and hit it.
A moment later, the phone on the other end was ringing.
By the third ring, his mother picked up the phone.
“Hello Mason,” she said brightly, “why are you calling so early in the day?”
“Well,” he said, sitting back in the chair, “I had a strange question for you about my father.”
“What?” she asked, a noticeable chill in her voice at the mention of the man who had abandoned them.
“Did he have an uncle who served in World War Two?”
“Yes,” she said. “Both your grandfather, Mason, and your granduncle, Harold, served in World War Two.”
“Where did Harold live after the war?” Mason asked, his heart beating faster.
“In Monson,” his mother answered. “That’s where they grew up. It was a shame that your grandfather died so young. He did enjoy the little bit of time he spent with you as a baby.”
Mason nodded, even though he knew that his mother couldn’t see him. “Mom,” Mason said, “whatever happened to his brother, Harold?”
“I’m not sure,” she said after a moment. “He was the sheriff in Monson for the longest time. I’d get a card from him every Christmas, but that stopped around five years ago, I think. It was a shame, you know.”
“What was?” Mason asked.
“He and his wife separated,” she said, “unofficially, of course, back in 1946.”
“Oh,” Mason said. He started to speak again, but she cut him off.