By Matthew Lee Hanson
Finding any reason for a disappearance can be truly horrifying in it's results. Evidence can be collected, dissected, studied and torn apart time and time again. Information can be gathered, stored, withheld and falsified. It's only when you discover the horrid end that one can be completely satisfied.
A young man by the name of Scott Elliot was an outlaw, a rogue cowboy, a freshman if you like with an attitude to boot. Always in with the action, drinking and gambling in the local saloons whilst entertaining the ladies, though not of class you understand. There was only one thing on Elliot's mind and in the end, it wasn't known to anyone at the time, or indeed afterwards.
The evening seemed like it was only yesterday, the bustling trade of the local town, women and children at home and in school and banker's banking and barman serving. Just a typical day, that was until Scott Elliot arrived.
To most no one took any real notice, he was just a cowboy like every other one. He arrived on his horse, just as the hustle and bustle of the day began to slow down with the hot intense sun cooling the sandy roads introducing a light cool breeze, a welcome addition after the heat.
After staying out of the sun for most of the day he took a slow wander over to Jock's saloon and bar for a nice relaxing whisky and to take in an hour or so of the entertainment and settled down into the farthest corner where he began to people watch, when only ten minutes in to his evening she arrived.
I wouldn't have said the noise in the bar halted completely, but let's just say that most interrupted their conversations for a few seconds while they momentarily eyed up the new visitor. It seemed very clear not a single person, man woman nor child had seen this woman before. Looking in her late thirties, and wearing the usual female attire she pushed open the saloon doors, stood for a few seconds and looked around. Maybe she was looking for someone?
A drink had been ordered and she sat at the bar, alone and said a word to no one. I 'm not gonna say she was up to something because at that time she was doing nothing out of the ordinary, not even cards or messing about with the local cowboys. After about an hour he took it upon himself to leave at this point and make his way back to the rented room, a small room on the opposite side of Jock's.
As the night wore on, he became tired and headed to bed.
Awoken to the sound of gunfire he checked his watch, it was 3 am.
Looking out of the window he saw nothing and only recalled one shot being fired. It was too quiet. He focused his eyes out of the window looking in every direction as much as he could strain in the dark with the only light outside visible being an oil lamp on its last legs that had been left to go out of its own accord.
As he was about to look away, there she was, standing alone in the middle of the town square, looking left then looking right. An obvious guess was that she was looking for someone, but not intentionally more a case of hiding from someone. But who?
He continued to watch her, intrigued by her actions when several questions arose. Why was she here? Why now? And who was she hiding from? He couldn't resist bringing the opportunity towards his favour. he wanted to know, maybe she was hiding something and he could be doing the town a great service if the chance came to unearth some, shall we say, gruesome deed. Oh, of course it maybe completely innocent, but it's highly unlikely in my opinion.
The woman began to walk to my right towards the end of town. The man dressed as quickly as he could before she went out of sight to begin his own sleuth style investigation and creeping to the front porch he peeked out of the window still aware of the silhouette of the estranged woman in his sight.
He slowly opened the front door, crouched down to crawl his way towards her but fortunately for him, on either side of the buildings he gained the advantageous luck of being near a saloon where there were several barrels the guy could hide behind. Two movements later, the woman turned a corner, he bolted from the barrels and made it to the corner when out of nowhere catching the man totally by surprise, the woman stood there staring at him, waiting for him.
The man froze, annoyed at himself for not realising the possible outcome. How could she of possibly known he was following her? She looked at him, a little shocked at her encounter perhaps but said nothing, and neither did the man.
Until a few seconds later she said good evening and continued to walk on. The woman hadn't recognised him and it was almost as if she had expected it to be someone, someone she knew. The someone she was hiding from perhaps? In the dark moonlight his facial features meant nothing to her, so the man wasn't the man she was expecting so the cowboy stayed where he was, just for a minute catching a last glimpse of the woman as she entered into the last building just before the out of town sign. He wondered why she had gone in to that particular building, nevertheless he had no choice but to follow.
Arriving at the front of the fairly small wooden structure, dilapidated in presence and weary to say the least, the man noticed the door had already been opened. Now he knew this was the way she came so he squeezed through the gap left by the woman, he made his way inside the dusty store.
He couldn't see anything. It was dark, damp and all he could fathom were outlines of crate boxes, and odd alcohol bottles, empty ones at that. He stood just for a moment, thinking about his next move. It was deadly quiet, the man thought she must of known where she was going because he never noticed any way of her being able to light her way in. How could she see where to go? He had no choice but to try and continue.
He had deduced that she had gone to the back of the building, either to escape or to hide, or maybe even to wait for someone. He began to feel his way in, scuffling slowly step by step around the outside of the room with only the little ray of light emanating from a dying oil lamp hanging out on the top rafter of the porch, enough for him to see the start of the corner and the adjoining wall. His hands out, he touched the chalky surface of the wall still not being able to see any more in front of him.
All of a sudden a hellish slam of a door as he'd gathered the woman had been indeed hiding in the shadows and had made a run for it. Some rays of light shining through the rear of the property were enough for the man to see where she had escaped to so accelerating his pace being careful not to knock anything, he strived to make it to the back door to see if she was still in sight. As he got to the door, there was nothing.
He couldn't make out if she had escaped or not, there was no opening of a window or a door. She must still be here. He closed his eyes to listen for any slight sound he could now hear just in case he could pick up on what he might have expected to hear if he'd of just done this in the first place. The woman's breathing had become heavier, he could hear her breath panting as if to suggest she was scared.
The man had begun to think whether he was the man she thought had followed her or did she believe the real culprit was upon her. An intense concentration led the cowboy to the spot on where she was hiding, her breathing turning into a child like whimpering. The woman managed to strike a match and soon after screams of fear bellowed from her mouth. He was exactly who she was expecting. The glow of the fire flame from the match was enough to illuminate the cowboy's face, she froze in panic surely she couldn't escape this.
The cowboy smiled with an evil grin, gritting his teeth at finding his catch. Just as he went to grab her by the hair to lift her up she threw the match in his face, the man screaming as it touched the surface of his eyeball. Holding his hand up to his eye the woman then made a run for it back out the opposite way banging and crashing into storage boxes, bottles and old sporadically placed furniture.
The man was spitting with rage and threw the boxes, launching them away from his path he stormed after the woman. The fallen match had not gone out, and laying beside it was a stack of old documents the heat from the flame catching the papers alight. A fire had begun.
The woman hadn't got far. She'd collapsed on the ground back at the front of the old store screaming in pain as she had bundled straight into a large book cabinet standing at least six feet tall. It had floored her completely. Seeing the man over the top of her she made an attempt to get up looking deep into the cowboys eyes she pleaded with him, begged him to let her go but to no avail. In the low light she saw the hand of the cowboy lift up ready to swipe at the woman's face. A heavy thud rattled the old wooden floor boards as her body, for the second time thundered to the ground.
The deed had been done. She had been found and murdered in the most gruesome of ways, at least the worst this town had ever seen. Cornered into an old unused store situated at the end of a row of buildings that made up the towns suppliers and entertainment. She knew who he was and coming to this town was her way of escape, she thought he'd never find me here.
He grabbed her by the back of her shoulder length blond hair, tipped back her head and pulled out his knife. He knew a gunshot was far too good for her, it had to be a lot more of her class. The tip of the shiny, freshly sharpened stainless steel blade touched the smooth pale flesh of the young woman pricking it ever so slightly as she screamed for mercy, her body writhing and shaking, pleading with him to show compassion. She hadn't meant to walk in on him, but he couldn't take that risk.
She knew about his secret. A secret he could not afford for anyone to find out. She was an innocent victim, and sadly the moans for innocence fell on deaf ears. The knife eased into her neck like butter, slicing from one side of her throat to the other, the scarlet treacle oozing from her neck dripping down her ivory frock and her throat making those horrible gurgling choking sounds as her body fought to adjust. But he didn't stop there oh no, he had to make sure the job had been done and done well. The pressure deepened as the metal blade sliced right through to the back of her neck, her head hanging on by uncut flesh. By now she was surely dead, but alas, he didn't stop there. With the head decapitated, laying bloody and still on the cold wooden floor, he continued on the rest of her body. Chop,Chop,Chop.
Her limbs each severed entirely and cleanly, like he'd done it before. He organised the head and the limbs in a pile and looked around the room for box or a Hessian sack or anything he could collect the body parts in. That old Hessian sack would never of guessed that it could have been used for such a disgusting, sordid affair of the lowest order of man...but it was used for just that.
One by one he placed the arms and legs in first, then the torso, then the head, he took one last look at her guilty face, tied up the woven sack and placed it in an old disused well where no one would ever find it. Or at least if they did, he would be long gone, and her murderer will never be found, just like the last poor defenceless wench. And with the added, unexpected help of the now blazing fire in the back, the evidence would be destroyed.
It'll be no good searching here, there's no declaration to be had now. How do I know all this I hear you ask? Well, my name is Scott Elliot, it's a pleasure to meet your acquaintance.