Chapter 4: Justice is Served

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As scary as it should've been, running through a dark forest in the middle of the night, Sylvia didn't give it a moment's thought. As she and her son sprinted between trees, assaulted by twigs and branches, all she thought about was getting help. She had to save those people—her fiancé. They couldn't die the way she knew they were about to die.

Seeing light ahead, they both started to yell, praying someone would hear them. "Help! Somebody, please help!"

Busting out of the woods, they were left standing in the street, alone. She looked around, disoriented, trying to figure out where they were, when headlights approached in the distance.

"Help! Stop," they yelled in unison.

Waving their arms to flag down the car, they hoped they stopped. If the tables were turned, she wouldn't have, since you can't be too careful as a single mother, but maybe this was someone braver than she was.

As it slowed, relief flooded them. "Do you all need some help?" a middle-aged man asked.

She recognized him. "Mr. Dupont!" He owned a local antique shop. "It's Sylvia Moore, I work at the courthouse."

"Oh, yes, what are you doing way out here? Is everything okay?"

"No, it's not. Barry—Judge Maples—and Officer James, as well as another man and two teenage boys, are tied up in the woods. Something—Someone," she corrected herself, not wanting to sound crazy, "is going to kill them. Call the police before it's too late." Tears began to run down her face. "It may already be too late."

Little did she know, it was.

It was too late the day four teenage boys got away with murder; and when five adults helped them to do so.

The murders were so gruesome and implausible that the town had a hard time accepting them. Something like that couldn't happen in their town. The fact that there were two witnesses saying it was an inhuman monster with supernatural abilities that did it made the killings that much more unbelievable; especially when they claimed it was Oxford Manning.

The police assumed fear had distorted all rational thoughts, causing a hallucinated panic to occur with the two survivors. Even though the murder scene hinted otherwise, they stuck with that theory.

The murder scene.

It was the most horrific scene the Conrad County CSI team—or any surrounding team, for that matter—had ever encountered.

Justin Brady's death happened quickly, his throat cleanly slit. Mitchell Miller, on the other hand, died a slow and painful death, but still not as slow and painful as Oxford Manning's. Mitch's body had been mutilated, much like the others, with circular chunks of skin and tissue removed, spilling his intestines out while he watched. As gross as that was, it wasn't as gross as being forced to eat those chunks.

Two of the three adults had been force-fed Mitch's body parts while Mitch was forced to watch, at least until he finally died. Mitch meat was found inside Officer James's and Judge Maples's mouths, as well as within the contents of their stomachs. In the history of the state, no murder had involved forced cannibalism until that night. It was a detail they tried to keep hidden, but as with most things from that night, it leaked out.

It caused fear and panic for years, since the killer had never been caught. To this day, it is still an open case.

The Ice-Cream Killer would soon become that of legend, causing people to wonder if the murders ever happened at all—a scary tale told around campfires. 

The scariest stories are the real ones. Reality can be far more horrific than some silly ghost story. I would know; I was there—the boy who ran.

I never wanted to cause harm to Mr. Manning. He had been a nice man at one point in time. I guess the fact that he let my mom and I go meant he still kind of was, to an extent. Well, to the extent that you can also find satisfaction in brutally dismembering someone.

That summer was one I'll never forget. It was not only the summer when my four best friends were viciously murdered, it was also the summer I learned many great lessons. I learned to listen to my conscience, not my friends. I learned how powerful vengeance is. I also learned monsters are real.

What I witnessed that night was no panic attack or my mind playing tricks. It ruined my mother. Almost ruined me. It consumed us both for a long time, giving birth to a fear we never knew existed. To this day, it continues to live inside me.

Even when I retell the tale, hoping I'll become immune to it after a while, it's still there, lacing my every word... because it's not just a tale, it's the truth.

"The killer is still out there, waiting for another victim; another victim it can seek revenge for. The eerie music of the spectral ice-cream truck can still be heard to this day—a reminder of how horrific vengeance can be. A warning that justice will always be served in one way or another... in one scoop or two."

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