By the time the Sheriff arrived at the town hall, Buford had gathered the rest of the town folk who hadn’t already been outside, mainly Doc, Hank–the other town deputy–and Caroline, his wife and sister to Abigail, Martha, and Floyd.
“What about Jarrel?” The Sheriff asked as everyone was taking their seats and he looked around at who was present. Buford answered. “He’s watching over the boys. He promised Luke he wouldn’t leave their sides, and other than a quick trip to the bathroom, he’s kept that promise. Doc said he’d fill him in on the details after the meeting.”
The Sheriff nodded. “Alright. Well if everyone would please settle down, I’ll fill you all in on what is going on.” The Sheriff waited for silence before continuing, not bothering to use the microphone as it was a small group that lived in town to where everyone could hear him speaking just fine.
“Well, as you all know, Mike, Luke, and Wade returned to town this morning… in a bad way, I might add. Doc, how are they doing by the way?” Doc stood up and took the floor. “Well, as you said they’re all in a bad way. They’re extremely malnourished and undersized and underweight for their ages. They have some serious injuries which have been cleaned and bandaged and sutured where needed. Couldn’t do much about the old broken bones which didn’t heal quite right without complex surgery, though I did set Luke’s wrist which had been recently broken. The boy might lose his leg though, the injury there was so bad gangrene was setting in. I honestly don’t know how those boys walked for three days out of those woods to get here with the condition they were in. All also showed signs of ongoing sexual molestation… sodomy. They’ve been through some kind of hell for sure. I do have a bit of the story on that, but I’d prefer to let the Sheriff fill in the details as he and Aberly hopefully were able to verify what Luke and Mike imparted. Anyway, the boys are heavily sedated at the moment and on IV’s for nourishment. I won’t try to waken them until morning, I’m going to keep them out for the night. They need the rest.”
The Sheriff nodded and then shook his head sadly in agreement with and in response to the Doc’s assessment of the boys. “Well, Aberly and I traveled for six hours on ATV and found Lloyd Carmichael’s cabin. According to the boys Lloyd had kidnapped them that day the woman from social services came. They didn’t run away as we had all thought. Lloyd had disguised himself as their father and had taken them by ATV, and as you know it was raining that day so the dogs never got their scent for where they had gone, and he was so far out no way did we even get that far searching for them. Right off Lloyd started abusing the boys, beating them, starving them, raping them. From what we could tell of the place, the man might even have been a serial killer. There were trophy skulls on one wall–human–and the room under the floor was set up like a torture-kill chamber…”
The Sheriff paused a moment as everyone gasped in surprise at that, even Abigail’s eyes widened slightly, and she already had a very low opinion of her brother. “Anyway…” The Sheriff continued with a slight pause to quiet everyone down again. “Lloyd’s dead. We found him that way. Mike killed him, stabbed him to death when he tried to kill Luke. Guess the boys just had too much after five years of torment. Luke apparently tried to kill Lloyd in his sleep, unsuccessfully, and Lloyd in retribution strapped Luke down to his torture table and was fixing to cut him to pieces with a saw. Guess that’s the injury Doc said has gone gangrene.”
The Doc nodded in acquiescence but kept silent in order to allow the Sheriff to continue. “Aberly and I discussed how to handle the situation. With Lloyd being potentially a serial killer, the issue was brought up of the relatives of those victims being given some sort of closure in regards to their missing kin. Of course, we were also faced with our own negligence in not reporting those boys missing five years ago, which would very likely land some of us in very hot water if not all of us. So, I finally decided to burn the body and the place down entirely. I got rid of any possible forensic evidence that might tie the boys or ourselves to the place. We erased our footprints and ATV tracks all the way back off of Lloyd’s property. Then I made a call to the authorities once I got a cell phone signal, reporting a fire being seen in the distance. I told them I was out hunting in the woods and I smelled smoke in the distance and climbed a tree to see and saw a fire. That way the authorities can investigate and maybe find out who the poor folk who owned those skulls are. We’re going to speak to the boys and tell them to keep their mouths shut because likely the authorities will come by here to question us. If they are able to identify Lloyd, depending if they have his DNA on file or not, they’ll likely come here. Even if not, they’re likely to come here anyway since I put the report in for the fire. So, I just want everyone aware of what is going on so we can tell the same story.”