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Don't Chase the Bag

The Consequences of Compulsion

By Blake A SwanPublished 2 years ago 8 min read
Don't Chase the Bag
Photo by Dmitry Mashkin on Unsplash

One word defines my life, compulsive. It’s the first word I can remember, and it’s the first one you should write in my obituary. It’s served me well. Despite the grit and grime, only I have remained. A vigilant servant of justice. Destined to be a detective. If I had any other choice, I probably would still be married. Have a good relationship with my children. Wishful thinking. The streets are my home and I prefer to keep a clean house. 

While my peers have been spinning their wheels, I’m three steps ahead. Searching for the answers they can’t find. Or maybe they don’t want to find. Afraid of the darkness at the end of the tunnel. Afraid of where my compulsion may lead. I don’t envy them. This is a gift that has brought me to my destiny. The greatest cold case of all time gift wrapped in a little brown bag.

The First Note

Working the late shift. Welcome to hell. No matter how much coffee you shove down your throat, you’re out of place amongst the day walkers. It was my turn to become a zombie last June. Now, my compulsions have not made me friends. It has earned me respect. Yet, some nights you get sent out to a call in the middle of nowhere. Had to make the most of it. 

I remembered this place. This little pond was the last known location for Krysty Eaton. A missing persons case from several years ago. It used to be beautiful. Since Eaton went missing, it became a dump. Walking over to the edge, there was a lunch sitting on the edge of the pond. Crisp edges as if it were staged. Until I went to grab it. Got caught in the wind. Had quite the tussle before I trapped it into the ground. Pushing all the air out of it and peaked into it. There it was. A note from another cold case.

By Hoover Tung on Unsplash

“Everything’s cold here. I can’t feel my body. Someone brought me here. No, something. Something brought me here and tossed my mind into an abyss. I’m not myself. Beware of the bags. They take much more than they give.”

Steve Sanders

Steve Sanders went missing back in 2017. There was no connection between Sanders and Eaton. This was big. Missed my son’s high school graduation on the Eaton. Couldn’t remember if it was the Sanders case or the divorce that took my hair. Department heads thought it was making me sick. Now it’s all coming back. I’ve got the itch and I’m going to follow it.

Second Note

There was some mud on the back of the note. Got it analyzed at a lab. Traced it back to Mission Lake. No links to any cases here. It was calm and beautiful. Had to take a stroll. Somehow I got lost in that lake. Wound up walking for hours that August evening.

Then I got that feeling. That compulsion. Something told me to STOP! There at the end of the dock was another brown bag. This one was heavy. Felt like a ton of bricks. It would be generous to say I tossed to contents into the lake. Felt more like pushing and shoving until the last bit crumbled into the Lake. At the bottom, another note.

By Aaron Burden on Unsplash

“Freedom. A future. Things I’ve never had until now. So why did I come back? What brought me back here? 2019 meant graduation, which meant college. Had a ticket out of this town, but I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I had to know what she knew. Maybe I could save her. All the answers were in that damn bag. Before I could open it, I was plunged into a darkness I couldn’t escape. All because of you Krysty. “

Matthew Wilson

Matthew Wilson left for college in 2019. Never had a good relationship with his folks. Everyone assumed he just skipped town and never looked back. He wasn’t a missing person. Was his Krysty the Krysty? That spelling is unique. It had to be Krysty Eaton. Perhaps she’s the key to all of this. 

Third Note

In too deep. That’s what they all said. On the brink of connecting all these dots and the only support I could get was a “take it easy.” They told me to “go home.” How they could sleep at night I’ll never know. My attention to detail was awarded with a “mandatory vacation.” Fine. Didn’t need any of them. The devil himself couldn’t keep me away from this. 

Luckily, I found the address on the back of the bag. Something I had not disclosed in my investigation. It led me to a house on the old river right next to the local bed-and-breakfast. Not too far from where Steve Sanders had gone missing.

Planned on resting that first night. Then it happened. Coming out of the shower, I was caught with my pants down. Krysty Eaton was in the room's corner, alive and well.

“How far you’ve come, detective. Can’t say I enjoy meeting you like this. You’ve almost figured it all out… again.” 

Just a towel. Still, I positioned myself next to the door. My heart was pounding. Curiousity overriding any other impulse.

“Krysty Eaton. Years have been good for you. We’ve been looking for you. Hoping to save you but it appears you don’t need any saving at all.”

Krysty walked over to the window.

“There is no salvation for us.”

Lurching forward, I carefully gathered my clothes. Damn, she must’ve got my gun.

“You. Sanders. Wilson. You’re all wrapped up in this. What is this, some kind of cult?”

She pointed out the window.

“No. No cult. Just, a compulsion.”


Swore, I saw the muzzle flash. Felt my skin burn and my heart slowing. Could it have been a dream? Maybe they were right. Been obsessed with this case since June. It was almost November. Halloween was around the corner and I was losing it. Looking out the window in the direction Krysty was pointing, there was a jacket. It was my jacket down by the river. Where my jacket should be was a blazer with the name “Steve Sanders” inside.

“Hope you don’t mind if I borrow this.”

By Jonathan Mast on Unsplash

Thank god for that jacket. Forecasts never said it would get this cold. Racing towards the river, the wind tossed my jacket into the air. Underneath it was a brown bag.

DAMN! A turtle snagged it. I felt pure rage. Wrestling on the river banks with this turtle for a brown bag. Hoping for another clue to prove my sanity. After several minutes of thrashing around, the bag was mine. Had to shove the turtle into the mud for a few minutes before it went limp. There was no need to ask God for forgiveness. God made me this way. Gave me the tools to put all these cases to bed. Hopefully, this note would be the end.

“At first I was chasing it. Somewhere along the way, it began chasing me. These bags started appearing everywhere. With information, it was impossible to know. Lovers, friends, who I could trust. It was always right. The only thing that was real. Until the last note. Couldn’t reach it. Just looked into it for a second and everything went black. Felt like I was losing control of my body before complete darkness. If you’re reading this, I’m still here. Searching for a way out. Trapped in a total eclipse waiting for the light to shine in.”

Krysty Eaton.

That note was dated July 2015. Was it possible that I had discovered some kind of serial killer? Perhaps something of the occult? The deeper I went, the more my disdain grew. Every bone screamed for more. Why was the department so reluctant to help? What were they trying to hide?

Fourth Note

By Jacob Campbell on Unsplash

This Christmas will mark the 6th year since Krysty Eaton disappeared. In two weeks her family will still wait for an answer only a true detective can solve. Had to isolate myself. Life outside of these notes lost all meaning. The answers in front of my eyes. Went up to an old family cabin. Last trip here was a happy one. Used to go ice fishing with the family. Rarely caught anything, but figured I’d take that blue bucket out of retirement.

Went to the shed. Found that old bucket. Inside, a crumpled up paper bag. Spent months scrounging around for these things. Trail went cold. Somehow, the answers I needed fell into my lap. Except, when the bag was in my hand, my body was in the middle of the lake in front of an open fishing hole. How’d I get here? The note would have the answer.

“Eclipse. A total eclipse. Happens more often than you think. Once every 18 months. That’s the key. Saw it all. Eaton, Sanders, and Wilson. It took them. Whatever this thing is. NO! I’m not crazy. It’s in many cultures. Never predicts the future. Reveals the past. A past when it uses your body to do terrible things. Unfortunately, I know this too well. Confided in my colleagues the terrible visions. Is it possible these are real? When did this really happen? Did I do something terrible? My body is not my own. My mind is just fragments of fighting to stay broken. I pray they never come together again. For I too may end up trapped in the abyss. Stuck, just like them.”

Signed, Winston Wallace. 2021. 2019. 2017. 2015…

The dates go on forever. It’s not possible. There are hundreds of dates on this note. 18 months apart with my signature. Looking into the bag there a hundred of faces, including my own.

I drop the bag. They were right, finally gone crazy. Looking down at the ice, there’s a hole where the bucket should be. Staring at the deep blue water, I see my reflection. Smiling back at me with a sinister grin. Trying to turn away, only to realize I’m the one in the water. Watching me crumple up the paper bag and wander off into the lake. A hand taps my shoulder. It’s Eaton.

“You always end up here. No matter how hard we try to warn you. When the eclipse ends it hunts for another soul. Keeps the gateway open. Your body still have some years left. Which means we still have a chance. The next time you wake up remember, don’t chase the brown bag.”


About the Creator

Blake A Swan

NCSA Strength and Conditioning Professional certified as a CSCS, TSAC-F, and CPT. I have my FMS Certification as well, and spent over a decade working with athletes in various sports. Including youth, high school, college, Olympic and Pro.

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