Mrs. Katherine, could you please tell me what took place the day your husband went missing? “Why Certainly, and please, just Katherine is fine. Would you like somethin to drink?” Oh no, no thank you. Please begin. “The year was 1867, in the crisp days of Fall in October. I fondly remember the wind that blew up there and how it would sweep passed the trees on the mountain side as if it were in a bloomin romance, teasin the leaves tryin to get them to fall for it. I was in my mid-twenties, and still living in the mountains of North Carolina with my husband Thomas. A kind man, with a stone-like expression he seemed to never be able to rid himself of unless he was around me. You would never be able to tell just how good of a man he was unless you knew him like I did. He just wasn’t very good with people ya see.
We moved up there from Georgia for his work.” What kind of work did your husband do? “Well, he fell in love with history way before he fell in love with little ol’ me, so he decided that he wanted to be a conservationist. The field of Native American artifacts and their land in particular.” So, which part of the North Carolina mountains did you and your husband move to exactly? “We ended up livin as far West of North Carolina as we possibly could. There was a new museum being built up there near acres upon acres of Native American land and they were requestin someone like Thomas to come up there to help set it up, to find artifacts and such. We moved into a quaint little home in the next county over so that Thomas could travel from there to the museum. He was told before we got there that he would have to stay at the museum for about a month or two unfortunately. Not three weeks into living there and it was time for him to leave.”
Oh, Okay. That must have been very hard for you having to stay by yourself for so long. “It most certainly was and I missed him more than I ever have. So much so that my heart wanted to jump from my chest to go find him.” I see, now, please tell me about the day he left for the museum. “That day, as he was leaving, we agreed that he would write and send letters to me at the beginning of each week through the museum’s courier. They must have hired one so that they can send messages to other conservationists. He kissed me goodbye, told me how much he loved me and that he would be back as promptly as his work would allow and that was it. He got into the horse carriage and he left. All I have left of him are the letters he sent me.”
Would you like to read them to me Katherine? It will help the investigation if I know more about the situation. How many were there by the way? “Oh, I sure can and five of them I do believe. The fifth one was cut short for some odd reason. He must have not been able to finish it because somethin happened and it was very strange indeed. The first one here read as follows”:
“My Dearest Katherine,
My first few days here went very well. My room in the museum is quite small but the bed is comfortable and there is at least a desk right next to it so that I can write your letters and document my findings. The curator here, Feeding Eagle, has assured me, that the remaining construction left to be done on the museum will only be done during the day so that I may get some rest at night. The land here is vast with forests, flora and fauna and you can see abandoned Native American camps through the tree line. There is even a giant tree right outside my bedroom window. It’s all so beautiful and I can’t wait to trek out to them to see what I can find in the morrow. So far, I’ve been getting plenty of rest although, I’ve began to toss and turn a bit through-out the night. Hopefully, tonight will be different. I miss you my love.”
“Your One and Only,
Doesn’t seem like there is anything out of the ordinary in that first letter. You can read the second one if you wish. “Of course, detective, but may I ask you somethin?” Yes Katherine, you may. “How much do you know about owls?” I can’t say that I study them, so not much I’m afraid. Why do you ask? “It’s just, Thomas develops a sort of...fixation on them in his remaining letters and it is quite strange if I do say so myself, because Thomas never wanted anything to do with owls, that I know of. Each letter gets stranger and stranger it seems.” Then by all means, please continue reading.
“To My Katherine,
The hike out to the Native American camps was serene. Feeding Eagle took me out there to look around each day of the week this past week and you would love seeing the animals in pursuit of each other around the trees and hear what sounds like an opera of a myriad of birds singing. This place is mystical my love, it has a feel to it that I’ve never experienced anywhere else. I’m not sure if that is a good or a bad thing but the camp exploration was astonishing. I walked up to one of the burnt down tents on the last day and something in me told me to dig through the ash and remnants and I uncovered a peculiar, hand-crafted, finely carved wooden owl totem. It was getting late, so I stuck it in my pocket and on the way back, Feeding Eagle told me the most tragic story of the massacre of his tribe and how he is the only one left. It really shifted how I look at this historic place. Also, I swear I heard an owl in the distance on the hike back to the museum but perhaps I am just simply tired. I am going to get some rest.”
A wooden owl totem hm? Interesting. “What do you mean?” Well, my parents growing up weren’t very...passionate towards Native Americans I guess you could say. They would tell me of stories and myths they heard as kids to scare me and try to keep me from playing in the woods and away from “Injuns” as they called them. “How terrible!” The only thing I know about owls is that, in Native American culture, they are harbingers of death and I don’t mean to scare you ma’am, I’m not sure how true these stories are. “Lord have mercy! That is terrifying! I’m sure my Thomas knew about all this, he was just excited about what he found. I will warn you though sir, these last letters my husband sent me scared me out of my skin. I wasn’t sure what to think. Would you like me to continue?” Please do.
The owl has revealed itself to me. Black as the pure form of night with the most luminous yellow eyes I have ever laid my eyes on. It sits in the leafless tree on a lifeless and dying branch that scratches the glass outside my window every night. “Hoo Hoo-ing” watching me in all of my waking moments. My nights have been filled with sleepless, blood-filled dreams of things that haunt me from the desolate camps below the museum. I dream of things that I shouldn’t. Native people being slaughtered by cavalry, heads rolling upon the ground and smoke from the burning camps grasps my lungs to never let go. I can’t help but to look out of my window with a vice grip on the owl totem I found to see the owl, sitting upon the branch and peering through the two gateways of my soul, stripping it naked to see its true purpose. If only I had you here to comfort me...but I will persevere to see this through. Getting home to you is the only thing keeping me sane at this point in time. Stay safe.”
“He does sound like he is losing it in this letter, don’t he?” It seems that way, yes ma’am. These dreams he mentions, has he had them before? “My Thomas has never had trouble with dreams such as these much less sleeping soundly. If he had, he would have told me. We never had any secrets between us. When I received this letter, I chocked it up to just being nightmares and I tried not to make myself sick with worry.” I understand. I know it's been fifteen years since you last contacted police about this but we uncovered it in some of the cases that got tossed aside since we didn’t have enough police to cover it all back then and after our session, I will go to the museum to investigate further to try to bring you some peace or some sort of resolution. “There’s no need for that detective. It’s been fifteen years like you said, and I heard the museum is closed now. I’ve made my peace with what could have happened when I moved myself from that awful place to live here in Virginia, although I do miss my Thomas dearly.” With respect ma’am, I intend to close this case. The two officers the department sent on your first request on this case went missing as well. For fear of losing more man power, the department set the case aside. It’s why we tracked your whereabouts to your home here. If there is nothing there to close this case, you’ll never see me bother you again, I promise. For now, can we move on to the last couple of letters? “Of course.”
This owl...it taunts me. Some way, somehow, it's made it into my room. I have become unable to focus on my work. I can no longer sleep. I toss to one side and hear Hoo, Hoo. I toss to the other and I hear Hoo Hoo. When I manage to drift off for a bit, I dream of a Native American family. A man with a broken and twisted neck at the foot of my bed, just staring at me with his lifeless eyes. A small child, a girl, in the corner of the room, her head barely hanging on to her blood-soaked body, trying to keep it up with her hands. Lastly, a woman crawling, her two arms outstretched, begging for help because she has no legs or lower half of her body with intestines out upon the sanguine floor. How could anyone do this to these poor people?! Of course, this all happens only to be woken by another Hoo Hoo. What is real and what isn’t? I know not.
That is quite horrific. Please...read the last letter...
HOO HOO. THIS OMEN. THE END HAS COME. IT’S EYES...THEY BURN MY SOUL. GREED. DEATH. DEATH. HOO HOO HOOOO. WE DESERVE THIS...WE ALL DO. IT WILL COME FOR US ALL. THE CREATOR. IT TAKES ME TO-
“One week later investigating the museum” No curator. The room looks empty. The bed nicely made. The floor is clean. The window looks unbroken. The chair is pushed up to the desk, yet on the desk is a small, hand-carved wooden owl totem. The detective walks up to the desk, picks it up and puts it in his pocket as if he were drawn to it. As he is leaving the front door to the museum, he looks up in the tree to see a black, yellow-eyed owl watching him...and he hears...Hoo Hoo Hooo...