Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I’m not sure what this means.

The posts since Friday, anonymous and otherwise, have been all over the map. People come at you with all kinds of things at times like this—I have no idea how to respond. I haven’t even looked at the computer since the weekend. But of everything that’s come of the last few days, the strangest didn’t come from email at all.

This arrived in my mailbox today.

I read the first dozen pages. Whoever this person is, the one who wrote it or the one who sent it to me—they know far more about these towns than I do. Supposedly it’s a work of fiction. I don't know what to believe. But I know this.

I read the end.

In the end, the children come back.

In the end, the children come back.

In the end, the children come back.

PhilipC? Are you out there?

Is your real name Joe Schreiber?

Friday, September 22, 2006


It’s 3 AM. I’m sitting in my living room tonight, back in Pennsylvania, watching these words come across the screen. I’ve been staring at that blinking cursor for an hour now, barely moving. You shouldn’t be able to do anything at a time like this and I can’t, I can’t do anything but sit here and watch the words come. I can hear my hands on the keyboard and see the words but I don’t feel it. I keep turning on the TV and turning it off and getting up to get myself a glass of water. I’ve had six glasses of water in the last two hours, I think.

Four days ago, Tuesday night, C.’s sister called me at my motel up in Stoneview and told me I had to come back home. She was crying. I remember thinking she must have had a cold. She said it’s Logan. She said something happened to him. I couldn’t understand the details. I said is he hurt. What happened? She said it’s worse than that. I didn’t understand. I think I said let me talk to my wife. They wouldn’t let me talk to her. She was sedated.

They don’t know how it happened. They saw the plastic dry-cleaning bag on the floor but they don’t know why he ever would’ve put it over his head.

He was two years old.

He’d never done anything like that before in his whole life.

Upstairs now I can hear C. crying. You know how you can tell it’s 3 AM because it doesn’t feel like any time at all. Samuel is asleep in his brother’s bed. He’s holding onto his brother’s stuffed Elmo, the one with the stiff fur from the oatmeal Logan spilled on it. He’s wearing Logan’s pjs even though they’re too small on him. He says that’s all he’s going to where from now on. I just stopped to listen but I can’t tell if he’s sleeping or not, he keeps jerking around and every so often he makes a low noise like a scream but somehow quiet. Maybe he’s making it into his pillow. When I go up there he won’t look at me.

Maybe I’ll go up in a while and talk to C. I hear her in the bathroom now, the tap turning on, water moving. We’re one thirsty family, all right.

He was two years old. He liked trucks. He never had a haircut. The first word he ever said was “pretzel.” We were at the Baltimore Zoo and Samuel and C. and I all got pretzels and we were standing outside the hippo tank. I was holding Logan and he was asleep when the hippo came up out of the water and Logan woke up and started crying. At first we thought it scared him but afterward he started pointing at us and saying pretzel. He just wanted a pretzel.

It’s 3 AM. I should go lie down.

I have to get up early in the morning to bury my little boy.

Monday, September 18, 2006


I’m in Stoneview. I have been here one week.

Something is very wrong here.

PhilipC, the list you posted last week—I have to know how you procured it. Whoever you are, how you came to find out the names of the children that were killed back in 1983, I have no idea. Detective Yates back in Ashford isn’t returning my phone calls, Jay and Amy have been out of touch for almost a month now, and I’m starting to get the distinct sense I’m not welcome up here anymore.

There’s one thing Yates told me that I haven’t mentioned here until now. Those thirteen children that the Engineer murdered in these town twenty-three years ago—the ones he shot the eyes out of, leaving empty holes in the skulls—not one of them stayed in their graves for more than a week.

Someone dug them up.

I have been to visit two of the graves where these children were laid to rest. In one case, the stone was left in place, though the child’s body was never recovered. None of them were. The remains disappeared, every one of them. The people here know about these things, and here in Stoneview they look at me in the street. They know who I am. None of them will talk to me.

Last night at my motel room, late, someone tapped on my window. When I went to the door, they were gone. There was a single sheet of paper taped to the door. It was completely blank.

I have heard through different channels, none of them direct, that there may be someone else in these same towns, another writer working on a book, a fictional account of these same occurrences.

Outside my window, it’s pouring down rain. Six o’clock at night and almost completely dark. Is it supposed to get dark this early in this part of the world?

I miss my wife and the boys, but I know I have to keep going to the end of the route and find out what’s there. I’m leaving tomorrow.

Right now I am in Stoneview.

I have been here one week.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Leaving Ashford

Well bless my soul. Somebody really is listening…

I started to reply to the comment on my last post and before I knew it I’d written half a page. Oh well, time for a new post anyway.

PhilipC, who are YOU? I mean, my stats are right here alongside the right of the page, but from your tone it sounds like you’re the kind of person that doesn’t take people at their word. Your questions about the detective I talked to and how much time I spent in Gray Haven make it sound like you know far more about this whole thing than I do, so what do you say you illuminate me, okay?

Oh, and by the way, I checked out your blog. Very funny. Looks like you created it just so you could respond to mine. Believe me, anything you know about what happened in these towns during the summer of 1983, I’d be more than happy to hear it. That is, if you’re not just some bored kid with a laptop in his parents’ basement. I’m not accusing you of anything, but somebody put that picture on this blog back in July and I got into a fair amount of trouble for it. Anyway, whatever the case, you obviously have some interest in the Engineer/Isaac Hamilton connection, so spill it.

This is an open forum and in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve already stated I’m writing a book—I’ll acknowledge any contribution you make to my research on the topic. Obviously I’m not posting everything I find in these towns, for example my decision to hold back the name of the detective here in Ashford that’s helped me is based on his request to respect his privacy. He’s still in active duty. He’s got a right to a personal life too. But I have been here for a while now, I have been talking to people in historical societies, hanging out with folks like Jay and Amy, and I think I can say with some confidence that the information I do pass on is pretty damn accurate. If it doesn’t match up to your info, hey, let me know, I’ll glad make any corrections necessary. This is an organic medium. It’s a long road to publication.

So, yeah, I’m still in Ashford.

I got a call from C. last night—she and the kids are back in Pennsylvania. She called before they left Nantucket. The boys’ preschool starts Tuesday and the following week…well, I’m supposed to be back teaching myself. Except I don’t think that’s going to happen. Not now, anyway.

It’s a long story, and it doesn’t condense itself well at all, but basically, I’ve just found out some things here in Ashford that totally changed my take on Isaac Hamilton. We’re talking a full 180. I don’t just mean how it may be related to the Engineer murders in ’83 (my detective friend doesn’t think there even is a connection between Hamilton and the Engineer) although that is part of it.

Something unspeakable happened in these seven towns. It happened back in 1802, it happened again in 1983. The people here know about it, whether they talk about it or not. You can see it on their faces. Some of these people were parents. They lost thirteen children twenty-three years ago, and something else happened afterward, which I’m not allowed to mention on this blog. Suffice it to say, it’s awful enough that it was kept out of the news as much as possible back then, and has practically been deleted from local history since then. It’s the kind of thing they make horror movies out of.

I’ve gotten an education here in Ashford, but it’s time to move on. Tomorrow I’m heading east. I bought maps, and I’m tracing my way through the rest of the towns. My editor at U of C isn’t going to allow me to keep silent about everything I find when I get to the end of this route. To the detective who swore me to secrecy, I’m sorry, but what you told me about the children…I won’t be able to keep that to myself.

Not about what happened to the children.

PhilipC? Are you listening?