Now, my loyal followers, we travel back to 1975 to a dark day where the population of Marsden Creek dropped by thirteen.
The Nine Greatest Deaths in the History of Marsden Creek:
By Nick Lachmund
Miss Jennifer Cruishank was in her first year as a primary school teacher. She had moved to Marsden Creek from the city. On a morning in early July she took her grade one class on an excursion to a textiles factory just out of town. After they arrived, Miss Cruishank spoke about the importance of safety and following instructions. She couldn’t help but smile at the cuteness of the group as they nodded at her dutifully.
The manager was named Richard “Dick” Jones. He had run the plant for nearly a decade and was proud to show it off. Leading the children between the large, metal machines, he spoke about each one. Miss Cruishank was as impressed with the enormity of the plant as she was with Dick. He was a handsome man that spoke confidently and she enjoyed watching him. At one point, he locked eyes with her and gave her a warm smile. Miss Cruishank felt her cheeks redden.
At the end of the tour, Dick asked Miss Cruishank for a moment. She told the class to not touch anything and Dick spoke softly to a couple of kids before he led Miss Cruishank to his office. He closed the door behind them and asked if she was new in town and suggested they should go out. She smiled and agreed. The moment was interrupted by a large bang that came from outside of the office. Miss Cruishank looked at Dick for reassurance, but his face gave nothing away. He suddenly looked cold to her. She opened the door and ran quickly back to her class.
There was absolute silence in the factory. A few workers had come to inspect the noise and now stood with open mouths and shocked expressions. It took a moment for Miss Cruishank to realise what she was looking at. The space where the children had stood was now filled with a pile of twisted and mangled steel. It appeared that a large machine had somehow combusted and fallen exactly where the children were standing. The silence was broken by her scream. The only recognisable thing she could see amongst the wreckage was a single pigtail, still intact somehow, sticking through a gap in the steel.
A young Senior Constable named Harry Reynolds interviewed Miss Cruishank. She wailed as she told the story. He found it odd that Dick spoke to the children before they walked away. Something didn’t feel right. He spoke to Dick and found him to be arrogant and incredibly relaxed, considering the situation. His Sergeant, an old buddy of Dick’s, told Harry to drop it and said he was being ridiculous. But Harry thought Dick was behind this and he needed to prove it.
Harry went to Dick’s home that night, out of uniform and in his own car. He watched as Dick moved around his house casually with the blinds open, oblivious to who was watching him. Harry couldn’t believe that he was watching a man who had just witnessed twelve little kids die. Against his better judgement, he knocked on Dick’s door. Dick was surprised but invited him in. After some talking, Harry found himself screaming at Dick, asking what was wrong with him. Dick smiled broadly. Harry lost control and pushed Dick violently, causing him to fall backwards and strike his head on the corner of a benchtop. When his limp body hit the ground, a pool of blood began to form around his head. Harry drew all of the blinds and began to look through Dick’s belongings. He needed to find something to prove that Dick was a psychotic murderer. Otherwise he’s just killed an innocent man. He found a journal in his bedroom cupboard that had some dark poetry about death. Convinced that this was the proof he needed, Harry left the journal on the bench and fled.
A neighbour reported seeing Harry leave the scene and Harry got ten years imprisonment as a result. Miss Cruishank never taught again. When the police inspected Dick’s house they put no weight on the journal. Dark poetry was a long way from being evidence. Perhaps if they’d listened to Harry they would have done a more thorough inspection. After all, if they’d found Andrew Harvey’s wheelchair that Dick had hidden in his attic, they may have formed a different view about what sort of person Dick was. But that, my friends, is a whole different story.