Chapter 1: Chapter One

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 31
Comments: 1

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This book is PG for some violence, drug references, sex references, coarse language, adult themes, and mild horror. 

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New York, 1977

___

Milly Rhodes, fourteen, watched the television. 

She was doing her homework, as she listened to the Fleetwood Mac record 'Rumors'. Her blue eyes flickered with mischief; her long, red hair was down her back. She sensed something was happening; she was thinking Mandy Price, her best friend, was smoking cigarettes. She didn't want to smoke; she hated it. Then she walked to the windows. Her Mom, Anna Rhodes, was with her new boyfriend, Tad Gorman. Since the acrimonious divorce from her husband, Tom Rhodes, who was in the United States Army, told her that strict behavior meant rebellion. And that the dread of abuse was on the rise.  Milly hated the violence, She was thinking about the emotional toll on her; she was thinking about leaving home. But, she read books on the subject from the New York Library; she watched the television on teenage girls going missing, fearing that they were dead from hitch hiking; she was sure the girls didn't come back alive. 

She looked as if she could leave right now.

But, to her, leaving was out of the question. 

She reached the door, and opened it with her small, right hand.

And went outside.

___

'Honey, she's likely to think I wouldn't be a real father to her', Brenda Rhodes said.

'Milly is a good girl. She will understand', Tad said.

'Will she?', Brenda asked him.

'Yes', Tad answered.

At least he hoped so.

___

Carol Franklin was in the Lower Manhattan subway system. Harold Harris, her ex-boyfriend, was at the fraternity house getting wasted; Carol wasn't used to the frat parties on Saturday nights. Her Mom, Anne Franklin, told her not to get pregnant. She mentioned that because she was with Chad Loman, the New York Giants football quarterback for a year. And, when Carol was born, he left to go to Chicago, and hook up with Deanna Oliver, the sorority girl from the Delta Delta Delta chapter in the rough part of the city, where urban gang violence was part of its past. Carol shivered with dread; the dread spread towards the graffiti laden trains. Since the conservative fifties ended, and the Age of Free Love in the nineteen sixties, Carol took The Pill. That was why she was sixteen. She wasn't going to indulge in sex with any guy at parties; sex was for consenting adults. Not teenagers who didn't know any better. Carol had seen Woodstock...and was a fan of Jefferson Airplane. Her favorite song was 'White Rabbit', because she was a fan of Lewis Carroll, and 'Alice in Wonderland', and 'Alice Through the Looking Glass'. That, and the news about the disappearance of Jenny Kraker, her best friend. Jenny was a "Free Girl". She was grounded more times than her parents, Jon and Mary Kraker, could do for their sixteen year old teenage daughter. Carol watched the window, and stared morosely at the train station's train station time table. She heard the sound of whispers in the dim hallway, as the dread she was feeling filled her with horror in the pit of her stomach, and never went away.

___

Milly sat down forlornly at the table in the kitchen. She hadn't wanted to go to the New York subway; she was scared of the gangs. She looked at the school bags. 'It's dangerous on the trains', she said to Tad. He nodded. 'Gangs are violent thugs, Milly. I know it's like that. Hell, this is New York; New York is different from Chicago', he said. Brenda smiled at him, as she was dressed in a pink robe. 

'Hi, Tad. Good morning, Milly'.

'Good morning, Mom'.

'What is the matter, Milly?', Brenda asked her.

'Nothing', Milly answered.

'It is has to be something', she insisted.

'What's the matter, Brenda? She doesn't need to spill her thoughts onto you, babe', Tad said. Milly smiled, and she was glad Tad around to calm her shattered nerves.

____

Carol awoke. 

The startling reaction of the previous evening was diluted over time. She had a shower, got dressed in her school clothes, and brushed her teeth in the bathroom. She flicked on the bright light; the light seared the eyes. Carol backed away from the window, where the sun was in the blue sky. The feeling of dread came over her; dread that never went away. Her face was youthful; her ears heard the raised voices in the kitchen. 

'She must know, Anne', Craig Moore said.

'But, she's a teenager...', Anne said.

'Mom. What's the matter?', Carol asked her.

'Nothing', Anne lied to her daughter, by way of an answer.

'Tell me!', Carol yelled.

'Jenny Kraker is dead', Craig said.

Carol broke down, and cried until her eyes were red.

When she recovered, she was prepared to go to school.

It was almost 8:30 AM.

___

Deanna Oliver was kissing her boyfriend. 

She glanced at the Grandfather clock.

'Shit! We're late for school'.

'What's the matter, babe?', John Gray asked her.

'Don't be silly, John. If I'm late, Mom and Dad will sent me to an All-Girls' Catholic School, with no boys', Deanne answered. 

He nodded, as she grabbed her clothes, and got dressed in the bathroom. 

John lit up a cigarette, and started to smoke in bed.

___

Jocelyn Davies stood by the gates. 

She leaned closer. 

She saw David Frost. 

'It's going to be alright', he said.

'Will it'.

'Yes'.

'Call Templeton'.

'Fine. James Templeton will know about the disappearences'.

'It's been thirty years'.

'That long?'.

'Yes.  It is'.

'How can we tell their parents that their daughters are missing, or dead?'.

'We will tell the New York Police', David said.

And he grabbed some quarters, and placed it in the Pay Booth. 

Then he asked the operator to call the Police.

____

Milly watched the mirror.

She looked at the other girls. 

'Another girl disappeared. Cassandra Gordon', Kelli Lowell said.

'Kelli', Milly said.

'Yes. She was in my sorority house', Mabel Davies said.

'I heard about her. She was in the Class of 1976, last year', Milly said.

'I heard she went off the rails after she ran away from home'.

'She ran away'.

'Yes. Her father beat her up. He's drunk all of the time'.

'Jesus'.

'I know. Terrible...'.

'What happened was she was on the streets. She is a cocaine addict'. 

'Bloody hell', Milly said.

And then the conversation ended.

___

The rain came downward. 

Olsen Kincaid waited for a long time. 

He grabbed his grey coat with his right hand. 

The city's grime was an effect over the last couple of decades. After the 1929 Wall Street crash, and The Great Depression of the 1930's, America hadn't believed in war. After 1945, in April, the way forward after the events in Europe, as the Allies defeated Adolf Hitler, and his wife, Eva Braun, as they died in the deep bunkers, seared the fabric of terror as the bombs savaged Berlin; the 1950's, under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, promised a New Beginning. In the 1950's, husbands went to work, as their wives took care of the children. That was the start of the way forward. Everyone went to an Elvis Presley in concert; everyone saw Marlon Brando, James Dean, and Steve McQueen; everyone made sure they worked 9 to 5. By nineteen sixty, there was a discordant reality to the next decade, in which President John F. Kennedy's death swirled around the White House; the death in 1963, on November 22, in Dallas, Texas, sparked the end of the line of young politicians, who went to West Germany, and other countries; by the time Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler, and the Zodiac Killer, roamed America, (especially in California, and San Francisco), and the rise of folk singer, and killer, Charles Manson, and The Family, savaged the country's faith, letting in the birth of the intolerant nineteen seventies. Olsen had been fed the news of crimes in the newspapers, and the color television, the abhorrent ideas that life wasn't fair; that life, for all sense and purposes, belied the fractured behavior of the growing feminist movement; a feminist movement that caused a rippling effect. Olsen waited for the New York Liberation Front protestors to shout, and yell in Times Square, and on the steps of Washington, DC. And everyone who studied at Georgetown University, Yale University, Princeton University, and Harvard University, created a sense of nervousness, as the crime rate increased, not decreased. As a result, Americans were fed a diet of gang violence, and urban crime, that came out of Vietnam. Consequently, books from David Morrell, and Brian Garfield, stood out in book stores. And everyone read Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein books about Watergate, as the anti-President Richard Nixon fervor that created a swirling disgust across America. By nineteen seventy-six, under President Jimmy Carter, the "Mad as Hell" generation were feeding off the Howard Beale anger at the movies, and the effect of "Network", warped the idea that screaming out of apartments in New York was normal. 

Olsen hated the decade. 

Urban killers roamed everywhere.

And he knew about the decline of the savages. 

He used to be one himself.

___

Carol shivered.

The rain was heavy. 

'Are you alright, Carol?', Miss Peterson, the English teacher, asked her.

'No', she answered.

'What's the matter?'.

'More girls have disappeared, Miss Peterson'.

'The police will deal with the news with their parents'.

'I'm afraid'.

'Maybe you can speak to Barbara Klein, the Child Psychologist on campus'.

'Yes, that will be good, Miss Peterson'.

And the teacher left the room, and spoked to her about seeing Carol.

___

The girl was crying. 

She had decided it was useless. 

'It's no good to scream, Anna'.

'Who are you? What do you want?', she asked the killer. 

'You', he answered. 

And he smiled, as the dread fell on her face, and the horror of what happened to her friends was real.

___

Milly waited.

The on-going nightmare in New York meant she was scared. 

'Mom'.

'Yes, Milly'.

'What is going to happen to the city?', she asked her. 

'I don't know', Brenda answered. 

Tad was at the office, working.

On the television was the New York 1 news. 

Margaret Patterson, the thirty year old anchor woman, said: 'In breaking news, seventeen year old Geraldine Pierson was found alive this evening. The captor, Randal Olget, seventeen, was silent as he told his lawyer, Fred Westing, forty, that it was time to confess. He said that his favorite novel was The Collector, by John Fowles, a book about obsession'....

___

President Jimmy Carter cast a sallow faced look at the polls. 

'This is a nightmare', he said.

'Everyone's pissed off about the long Vietnam War, Mr. President', John Krein said. He stood near the window of The White House; he saw Carolyn Marhcer, the Press Secretary. 'You're going to lose, Jim', she said. He didn't want to know that. He would be a First Term President; he didn't want to be losing the up-coming election to a former actor in Ronald Reagan. Carolyn made sure she was heard; she wasn't one of the Boiler Room Girls that was favored by the Kennedys a decade or so ago; Carter didn't want to be assassinated like they were. Carolyn had known Mary Jo Kopechne, and they talked about life in politics while they were at school. When she drowned off Chappaquiddick in nineteen sixty-nine, Kopechne's name was swept under the rug,  And the scandal almost derailed  Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy's career. President Carter was fighting the impact of the Roe vs. Wade abortion issue from nineteen seventy-three; the Patty Hearst kidnapping form nineteen seventy-four; and the Vietnam War. It wasn't until nineteen seventy-five, that American soldiers left the heated jungles for the last time. The weight had been lifted off Carter's shoulders; a huge weight that soured the fabric of America as the new threat came to the fore: urban gang violence. No one in New York wanted to go on the graffitied train station at night; no one wanted to be slashed with knives by African-American hoodlums. The race card was used by religious and anti-crime Authorities, who condemned the "Death Wish" vigilantes, and everyone wanted to be Paul Kersey. But America wasn't Charles Bronson; everyone wasn't out to get bad criminals who were attacking New Yorkers. President Carter needed to deal with the reality of crime. That, to get rid of the criminals, there needed to be a "Zero Tolerance Policy" on crime. It was now nineteen seventy-seven. 

The President sighed.

'I want all crime to be down in New York by the end of the Year, Carolyn'.

'That's a great start, Mister President', she said.

And she walked to get coffee for them, and blueberry muffins for morning tea.

Then, after the enjoyed their drink and meal, she closed the door to the Oval Office, as she sat on her seat, as the top story on The New York Times was another disappearance of a teenager from the city that never sleeps.

___

Lisa Grimes, the New York cheerleader, was fourteen. She left her house, and headed towards 131st Street, and 7th Avenue, near Times Sqaure; she was sure, deep down, that the someone was stalking her. She was thinking about the other times she took a different way from her usual route; she was sure that someone was near her bedroom window. Lisa wasn't going to be in doubt of her imaginings; she wasn't a girl who needed to be belittled by her parents, who thought she was making things up; she wasn't. Lisa waited. She was near Bert's Hot Dog stand. Her long, black hair fell down her back; her cheerleader uniform was down her slender legs. She knew Central Park was nearby. 

Suddenly she sensed movement.

Lisa screamed, then she saw Brad Kane.

'Hey, what's the matter?', he asked her.

'I...thought...someone...was...watching me', Lisa stammered, by way of an answer.

'I'll tell my Dad. He's a cop', Brad said.

And she nodded, as she made sure she wasn't weak in front of Brad Kane, the fraternity brother at Phi Kappa Kappa house.

___

Milly yawned. 

She walked to the Loungeroom. 

The news was turned on. 

'Dad, I'm going to sleep. Good night!', she said.

'Good night, Milly. Your Mom is making sure Karen is going to babysit you tomorrow night'. Milly waited. 

'Fine, but I'm a teenager, you know'.

'Yes, But you need to be taken care of when your Mom and I are at Thad's Restaurant', he said. Resigned, Milly nodded, and then she knew that being mad didn't cut it. 

'Night', she said.

And she turned the bathroom door lights on, and brushed her teeth, before she flicked the lights off; then she walked down the thin hallway, and opened the door to her bedroom. It was two minutes' later before she went to bed.

___

The last year was all but a deep-set blur. 

Titus Frakler, twenty, stood near the Brooklyn Bridge. He saw Harold James staying at the Prior House  that was reputed to be haunted; Titus saw the savageness of the dogs that ate nothing but meat; their sharp, ravenous, teeth, and the blood from their victims, centered on the Holgert Farm, which was, and always was, sinister. Titus knew about the "No Go Zones" in New York; New York was a city like other cities. The other matters were that New York was not Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, California, or in Beverly Hills, where the Hollywood film makers, actors, actresses, and screenwriters, producers, directors, made movies. Titus looked at the Brooklyn Bridge. He looked at the Bridge, as if he was drawn to its beauty; he didn't see the abhorrent nature of its fickleness; he had meant to box Rad Graham tomorrow night at 7:00 PM. It was Monday afternoon. And, by 3:00 PM, the cloak and dagger of the spies was all forgotten. Then there was the news that schoolgirls were dead, or disappeared from their homes. It was like his sister. Grayson Frakler, didn't want to be found. 

In the end, she was.

Her body was full of bullets from a gun fight.

The shooter was at large. 

And, in the end, Titus gave up fighting...and vowed justice for his fifteen year old sister.

___

'Milly!'.

'Yes, Mom'.

'Time to get up...now'.

She was thinking too hard. 

Monday...Tuesday...Yes; yes, Tuesday morning. 

She was dressed after a shower. 

The voices of her Mother, and Mrs. Carrie Hildet, the neighbor, was heard from down the road; voices that seared her mind. 'Milly! Come in!', she ordered. In the sparse kitchen was the pretty, hippy, woman who was twenty-two. 'She is here. Milly, it's been good to see you', Mrs. Hildet smiled.

'Where's the teachers?', she asked her.

'How do I know. They don't speak to me on a...personal level; they are not my Mom', she answered. 

'I know. am'.

Milly stared at her with a betwixt look on her face, that wasn't amusing. 

'There! And there! And there! And there! See!'.

'do see the chairs...and the windows...and...Dad...'.

'And'.

'And, well, I am not afraid'.

'Yes; yes. Milly. You are not afraid of us...or the unknown killer on the loose'. 

'But...'.

'You are afraid'.

'Yes; yes, you are afraid. That is what is wrong in this infernal city'.

'New York is not infernal, Mom'.

'What she means Milly, is that there's standards of behavior in the city that needs to be addressed', Mrs. Hildet said.

'And'.

'And, your behavior is disgraceful'.

'I don't need to hear that, you bitch'.

And she ran to the bedroom, grabbed her school bags, and burst out of the front door. And into the bright, New York sun, that glowed forever by the time the bell rang by 8:30 AM.

___

Mabel Davies smiled.

'I wished that you'd be here'.

'Did you?', Milly asked her. 

'Yes. It was most strange to know someone was out there...The dread of the dark feelings inside me; inside the others', Mabel answered. 

'How poetic, like John Keats...Or Shelley'.

'Not the point', Mabel said.

'The point is life is not fair'.

'I agree. I heard Rand James was here, lurking around like a psychopath'.

'He is always lurking', Milly said.

'The inconceivable...notion...of behavior is not at the school'.

'How grim that is'.

'Yes, it suppose...'.

'That you have political ambitions'.

'No. People die in Office. Like President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War in 1865; like President John F. Kennedy, in 1963; like Attorney-General Robert Kennedy in 1968...and others', Milly said with exasperation. 

'And that is my fault'.

'No'.

'Of course, the nineteen sixties was a false thing of a decade'.

'And'.

'And, there's a frightful desire not to forget things in the county that can't be contained; containment is not in the psyche of the being'.

'Don't go all Freud or Jung on me, Milly'.

'I am seeking the truth. How about the girls missing at the colleges?', she asked her. 

'Dumb luck', Mabel answered. 

'No. American lives are not risky these days...Unless there's all semblance of hatred in the chilly air; chilly winds of time that sours the hearts of the damned'.

'And you're here because of me'.

'Indirectly, Milly. I am going away to Harvard soon'.

'Harvard'.

'Yes. I am going to study law'.

'The law'.

'Don't be so...simple, dear Milly'.

'Dear Milly'.

'Yes. Now, as you know, times are fraught with a false ideology'.

'And'.

Mabel moved forward. 

'Quote: "New York is an ugly city; a dirty city. Its climate is a scandal; its politics is used to frighten children; its traffic is madness; its competition is murderous...But, there is one thing about it. Once you've lived in New York, and it's become your home---no place else is good enough", unquote. From author John Steinbeck', she said.

'I love his books', Milly said.

And she hugged her, and smiled.

'I'll see you soon. Good bye'.

'Good bye', Mabel said.

And she left her, and headed outside into the yellow New York taxi, to take her to JFK International Airport. 

___

Page 1.

 

 


Submitted: June 11, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Rob73. All rights reserved.

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HJ FURL

This story is packed with happenings, memories, thoughts, intentions, possibilities - a really fulfilling read!

Fri, June 11th, 2021 11:14am

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