No Gein II: A Second Helping. Chapter Five

Posted: October 9, 2021 in No Gein II: A Second Helping, No Gein Stories
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No Gein II: A Second Helping 

Part Five: Concealed Transgressions

October 26th, 1957. Plainfield, Wisconsin

Johnny was scared. It was the sound of a woman sobbing that woke him up in the middle of the night, but it wasn’t mom, it wasn’t any voice he recognized. As the woman wailed and cried he walked down the dark hallway towards the stairwell. Creeping down a few steps, he peered into the living room below. That’s when he saw her. Her mom was holding her like they were real close. He didn’t know who this woman was, but she kept babbling something about a house. Johnny couldn’t understand what she was saying, but it sounded like something real awful happened to her. His dad was standing over them, and he looked like he was real mad. Daddy’s friend the Sheriff was there too. The Sheriff looked up towards the stairwell, his eyes met Johnny’s, who got real scared and ran back to bed. Shutting the door behind him, Johnny pulled the covers over himself and shut his eyes tight, fearing he’d get a whuppin.

He awoke to the feeling of a hand on his back shaking him frantically. The hand pushed so hard the whole bed shook. Johnny groggily pulled down his covers to see his dad sitting on the bed. The sun was now shining brightly through his bedroom window, it must have been the next day now. Dad’s eyes looked real tired like he was up all night.

“What did you hear?” His dad asked sternly.

“I didn’t hear nothin dad?”

“Don’t you lie to me boy or you’re gonna get the belt.”

“I don’t know dad, I…” Johnny desperately sought the words that wouldn’t result in a whuppin. “I didn’t understand it.”

He could tell his dad was thinking as he sat silently for a moment. Then he pointed at him sternly and said “You listen to me boy, I saw something God-damn awful last night, and it’s something I hope nobody else ever has to see. If people start knowing about it, then every carnie and hustler in a thousand miles will be coming to our little town making us out to be a freak show. Is that what you want?” His dad didn’t wait for an answer as he grabbed his son hard by the arm and shook him shouting “Is it!” 

“No dad!” Johnny said, almost in tears. His dad released his grip and left the room.

Johnny hadn’t realized it yet, but his mom let him sleep in that day and miss Church. Dad missed Church too, it seemed he’d gone somewhere, but he daren’t ask where. Dad was real quiet the rest of the day, which he spent reading his Bible. It looked like he was thinking really hard about something. Johnny didn’t totally understand what he’d just experienced, but he was old enough to know it was pretty serious.

Indianapolis, Indiana August 31, 2003

Kristina didn’t broach the issue of those old papers again. She was just happy to get her mother out of the house. She hadn’t gone to Church in a while, but since moving back in with mom they started going again. Kristina was skeptical if praying did any good, but, given how awful the world seemed during the last few years, she figured it wouldn’t hurt. She did like today’s message, as the Minister preached on the importance of revealing the truth, even during trying times. One of the verses she preached was Proverbs 28:13 “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”

There was no mercy from more bad news as the radio reported the latest current events. Driving home after church, the car radio reported another bombing in Iraq. At the Imam Ali Mosque two car bombs exploded killing 95 people including Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, an Islamic scholar. Kristina’s skin crawled as the voice over the radio expounded on how this bombing was part of a continuing wave of violence as the first post-Saddam government was to be established in Iraq next week. Her step-nephew was starting his senior year in high school now. She dreaded the thought of him joining the military and getting shipped off into this meat grinder. There was always news about violence and bombings, but no WMD’s turned up. She couldn’t talk about her worries with her mother, who was just barely old enough to remember Pearl Harbor. In fact, the sneak attack that drug America into World War II was at the very dawn of her earliest memories. The idea that threats lurked everywhere in the world was so ingrained in her, Kristina knew there was no point in arguing with her about Bush and his wars.

Thankfully the news went to a different topic, but it was a topic gruesome in of itself. Not only was this latest news morbid, but it was, relatively speaking, closer to home.

Federal Correctional Institution Fort Dix New Jersey August 31, 2003

“Kill a couple punks out there for me!” Milton’s cellmate said while giving him a fist bump. Milton smiled and nodded as the cell door shut behind him for the last time.

Michael didn’t say a word as Milton walked by, he just stood behind his bars and stared. It was as though he wasn’t even looking at Milton, he was looking past him, past the wall, into some nightmarish future that only he could see. For all the horror Milton had seen and conducted in his own life, he was glad he’d never have to see that stare again.

“Oh, look at this guy!” Another inmate shouted from behind their bars. “Looking sharp brother, as sharp as a blade, a saw blade!”

Milton was surprised his suit still fit after all these years. In fact, it was a little baggy on him. He was still a large man, but he’d lost his belly in prison. 

Jason didn’t look at him. He sat on his cot as his deformed face looked away. Fred looked though, his charred face peered out, his eyes filled with hate. Tapping the bars with his fingers he taunted “You’ll never escape me. You’ll see me in your nightmares.”

Milton tauntingly padded his own side as he smiled at Fred as if to say “How’s your gut there Fred.” Milton’s would be assailant still had his side wrapped in gause. Fred was always so melodramatic, but Milton was never scared of him all these years he was behind bars, and for the rest of his life he was certain he wouldn’t even give him a second thought.

The air smelled sweet and the sun washed over his face as the metal gates shut behind him. After all these years, Milton was now a free man. Walking out of the gate, an old white van sat waiting for him. His mother couldn’t wait to get out of the van, she rushed out and gave him a big motherly hug. Through frilled sleeves Milton felt his mother’s arms wrapped tight around him. He embraced her back as his father joined the two of them saying. “You’ll never have to look at this awful place again.”

“Two men looked out from prison bars.” Milton recited,  “One saw the mud the other saw stars, Dale Carnagie.”

“So you didn’t lose your damn mind in there, that’s good.” His father joked. 

“You lost some weight though.” His mom cackled. “Didn’t they give you enough to eat in there?”

“Every time you visited I told you how awful the food was.” Milton laughed as the three got into the van.

“I wouldn’t know.” His father observed. “No one ever snitched on me!”

“Well let’s get you something to eat then.” Said mother as she turned the ignition. “I know just the place. ”

Plainfield Wisconsin, August 31, 2003

Little Johnny never told a soul about what he’d heard that night. Looking back at it now, as an adult, that night had a bigger effect on him than he realized. That night he fully understood that there were real bad people in the world, and they weren’t just in far away places like in the war or in the big city. They could be the person next door. It never occurred to him until just now, but that night probably ingrained the idea in him that he had to protect his home, and was why he became a cop.

Taking a deep breath, just before he started the press conference, he remembered his father’s warning. Now, almost half a century later, as he looked out over this sea of reporters, he now fully understood that this is what his father wanted to avoid.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” he began, “earlier this month two Waushara County workers accidentally discovered a mass grave just outside of our town of Plainfield. The remains of ten people were found. Forensic analysis indicates that the victims were not killed on site. In fact, nine of the ten human remains were actually removed from local cemeteries.” 

“Who removed them?” A reporter asked.

John knew full well who removed them. That night, all those years ago, his father accidentally discovered their neighbor had been robbing graves for years. “I cannot say at this time,” he answered. Wasn’t exactly a lie, he felt he couldn’t say. He was desperately trying to keep a lid on this explosive discovery. Like his father, he didn’t want this town to turn into a damn circus. “We suspect they may have been removed decades ago.” Johnny desperately hoped the fact that this happened so long ago would somehow lessen the sensationalism.

His mood lightened a little as he saw an attractive reporter in the crowd. He thought she looked familiar actually. He called on her and she identified herself. “Vanita Williams. There’s been a lot of speculation about the controversial Texas Chainsaw movie and its connection with the Dhamer murders. The Kohler family lived not far away in Amherst. Is it possible that director George Kohler knew about what happened here?”

So much for his better mood. “Ma’am I am not here to comment on movies and movie directors, I am here to talk about what’s been discovered.”

“Ten human remains have been found.” Another reporter asked. “But you said nine of them were taken from the local cemetery. What about the tenth?”

The sheriff took a deep breath before answering. “After examining the bodies,” he said slowly, “we believe we can close an old missing person’s case from 50 years back.” 

“Who was that?” Vanita asked anxiously.

The name he spoke sent a shiver through two members of the radio audience. “Mary Hogan.”

“Mom, did you hear that?” Kristina’s mother looked out the window, pretending she hadn’t, but the shock on her face was apparent. “Mom, did you know about this?” 

“Why would I know anything about that? I’ve never even been to Wisconsin!”

“Well I was looking through your papers, Mary Hogan was the name you kept looking up.” Kristina’s hands gripped the wheel before she asked. “Was she your mom?”

“I don’t know,” Mariyln answered, shaking her head, “maybe, I don’t know. I looked a little bit but I never got far.”

“Well when I looked over your stuff it looked like you traced her from Springfield to Joliet Indiana to Chicago, then it was like you just stopped looking.”

“I stopped looking when I had you, honey I had bigger things to worry about!” Marilyn said in frustration as she looked at the road. “Now forget about this and get us home.”

“No you didn’t stop looking when you had me!” Kristina fired back. Marilyn didn’t mean to lie, she desperately tried to convince her daughter, and convince herself, of some other truth, but her flesh and blood wasn’t having it. “I remember you still looking for her, I even helped you. Remember when I was a kid you took me to the library and we were looking through old newspapers together?”

Marylin knew her daughter was right, but she shook her head again. “I don’t know.” She did remember, but she wished so much that both of them hadn’t.

“I remember when you and dad took a trip to Illinois. That was when,” a tear now ran down her cheek. “That’s when dad died in the accident.”

Now her own mother was crying. Turning the dial on the car radio she protested “Why do you have to bring this up, and get your poor mother all upset?”

Pulling into the driveway Kristina said “I’m sorry mom, I just have to know. Are you sure you didn’t go to Wisconsin?”

She put her hand on her hip, winced in pain. “I’m sorry honey, I’m so sorry.”

“It’s OK mom. Does your hip hurt again?”

“No, that’s not it.”

“What is it then?” Kristina asked as she turned the ignition off.

Taking a deep breath, she said quietly, “Sounded like she went from one monster to another.”

“What?”

“I’m so sorry honey. I thought I was doing it to protect you.”

“Do what mom?”

“It wasn’t in a car accident.”

A cold sweat ran through Kristina’s body. When she was a young girl her parents were in a car accident that took the life of her father. As she got older, sometimes she would ask about the accident, but mom never wanted to talk about it. Kristina never pressed the issue, it wouldn’t have brought her dad back anyway, but now her mom just told her there was no accident. Kristina could now only think of one question to ask.

“Then what happened to my dad?” 

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