Sunday, January 31, 2021

What Time Will Tell

What Time Will Tell

        Albert sat quietly watching the ceremonies along with the rest of the crowd gathered on the town common. He was waiting his turn to get up, make his speech and put his contribution to the town's history into the "Century Capsule." It was a time capsule that the people in the town could use to send a message to the future,  He had been selected as one of the leading citizens and was asked to contribute to the contents of the town's 200th anniversary time capsule. It would be placed at the foot of the new statue commemorating the soldiers that had perished in the various wars over the years.   
      He wasn't a member of the military although he did have family members who served and died honorably. He was denied admission to the military because he had lost two fingers in a farm accident when he was just a young boy. After learning of his rejection many of his classmates took to pointing with the fingers he lacked and making jokes at his expense. 
      His family was one of the first families to settle in the small town that would become a mid-sized city in the mid-west. His great-grandfather started a farm and a lumber business that became a regional success. His brothers became big in civic, business and political affairs and held important positions.
      When his parents passed away he became the richest man in the city. But that did nothing to improve his social standing. He was still quietly shunned by the more active social groups, Once his brothers got their share of the inheritance they left their small town for the big city in a hurry.
      The family fortune and name would grow along with the town. He was generous in his support for the town so he held a place of dubious honor at most civic events where no one really liked him.
      He was only invited to events where donations were important. They always needed money and he had more than most of them combined. He hated the affairs but felt obligated to attend out of respect to his family. No matter his age, whenever he was there, he always felt like the little boy that everyone pointed fingers at and laughed.
      Other than his family name Albert was as forgettable a man as anyone could ever meet. He was short, plain and frail He led a quiet life running a business his grandfather had started back in the early 20's. He was happy for a few years when he met his wife. She was the only person in his life that ever truly loved him for who he was, not what he had.
      They married when he was 32 and she was 27. She was a social gadfly and was loved by everyone that met her. They both wanted a family but his wife passed away before they had children. After she passed away he lost interest in life in general.
      He was recognized as a pillar of his community. He was active in every social group and contributed what money he could whenever asked. But he was active because he knew his wife would have wanted him to be.
      He volunteered whenever the need arose. He volunteered as a firefighter. When hikers, children or residents from the surrounding towns were lost he would guide the search parties. Sometimes they were successful in finding those lost, most times they weren't.
      He was only 17 the first time he joined a search party. He was 71 when he joined the last one. The searches found many of the missing but there were many, dozens over the years, that were never found; Adults, children, males and females, cases that were never solved. "Cold Cases" as they were referred to by law enforcement
      There were many theories that followed the cases. People believed it was the work of cultists or sex perverts. Many suspected a jealous husband. But the murders were done in different ways with different weapons that made it impossible for the task forces that were formed to catch the killer or killers.
      The last unsolved murder was committed almost 5 years ago. By now the people had almost forgotten it. No one seemed interested in discovering the identity of the mysterious monster. 
      Only the killer was still craving the fame and notoriety he felt he deserved. He had expected to be discovered years ago. He had even taken to leaving small clues at the crime scenes hoping the detectives would put them together.
      But they never came close to identifying the killer. They never even gave the killer a name. Despite the killer's efforts to give the police clear clues to help them find him he wasn't even sure they ever linked the crimes together. 
      Albert had volunteered to work on the task forces and had done his best to track down the killer. No matter how hard he worked no investigation ever came close to finding the killer.
      What the people chosen added to the time capsule would remain a secret. The contents were intended for the residents that would be there 100 years from mow. He had decided that the string of murders were a vital even if embarrassing part of the town’s history. Maybe he could contribute in a way so that people in the future would be able to finally reveal the identity of the person that terrified their town over 100 years ago.
      He reverently placed the small ornate wooden box into the concrete container along with all the other trinkets, baubles and mementoes. He stepped back and stared at the box. His grandfather had kept all of his prized possessions in the box. The capsule would be opened in 100 years. It meant that it would be another 100 years before the town, before the world finally knew who the killer was,
      In the capsule were 12 different fingers from 12 different victims. They were his favorite trophies from the 73 victims that he had kidnapped, tortured and killed over his lifetime. He had cut off many pieces from his victims over the years but fingers were his favorites. More than a few of them were from people that had enjoyed pointing their fingers at him. He made sure to point their fingers at them when he was done cutting them to pieces,
Along with the fingers was a map indicating where whatever remains still survived could be found after 100 years. On the map was the location of the home he'd lived in all his life. It was also where he buried and disposed of at least a couple of dozen bodies. He left pictures and a signed confession.

For once he would look forward to having his name in the town paper… even if it takes 100 years,


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