• Rod Kackley

Cult Killers: Dark Crime Fiction Chapter Four


It had been years since Adam had spent any real quality time in a library. It felt so good to be back. When he was young, Adam would ride his bicycle to the library branch in his neighborhood and spend the day in the stacks, as his parents called them.

The shelves of books always seemed more like “rows” of books than “stacks” to Mr. Literal, but it didn’t really matter. As long as the books were there, Adam was happy.

For years, he had been bringing books home at least twice a week, the books that were in danger of being ignored and exiled to the library’s basement. Just like his mentor, Benjamin Kalinowski, Adam never read them, but never failed to rescue them.

This day though, Adam was a man on a new mission. It was a burning mission. He had to find out what was happening to the teenage girls and the young women of St. Isidore.

He went through microfilm because the stories of the teenage girls who were killed and left in the woods in the 1970s, were too old to be in the St. Isidore Gazette’s online archive.

Adam was surprised to see there really had not been much written about the girls. What was documented, was purely inflammatory:

“Teen Girls Suicide Pact” “Dead Girls Found in Woods: Are They Cult Victims?” “Satanic Sisters Found Dead!”

There had been autopsies. Fingerprints were taken and analyzed. No DNA. Adam couldn’t figure out why until he remembered the acronym meant nothing to the people of that decade.

The eight dead girls — there had been six more after Officer John Sheldon and his dog made their discovery that night in the woods — had been classified as suicides.

Must have been a canine unit, Adam thought.

As far as the medical examiner was concerned, there was no other possible cause of death.

Yet, all four girls were found hanging from tree branches by nooses that had been expertly tied out of thick, coarse rope. All were tied the same way. All seemed to be the work of the same person or at least the same group of people.

The girls’ necks had been broken. That was the official cause of death in each case. The rope left terrible red burns on the skin of all eight girls, producing a bloody welt at least three inches wide. And two of the girls had spent at least three days hanging from their trees in the winter of 1974 before some people on snowshoes had found them.

Those bodies had not decomposed as much as might be expected because of the cold weather. But medical science at that time — Adam had to remember that St. Isidore was even more Podunk then that it was now — was not anywhere close to the twenty-first century, so the cause of death for all eight was broken necks. And eight were ruled suicides.

The St. Isidore police had investigated the cult angle in the Seventies. It was hard to tell if that prompted the newspaper speculation or if the newspaper stories fueled the police department investigation.

Caleb and Kali were looking for a night of bliss in the Suicide Forest. Instead they checked in for hours of terror, running for their lives and their souls as they try to escape the paranormal horror of the Suicide Forest, where the world goes to die.

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