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Winch-Hunt: Part 12

Updated on January 26, 2016

From Part 11

“Tom, why is it you never talk about your father?” I mean, you just don’t go there; even when I ask. I want to know about him.

You are important to me so those who are important to you are important to me. Don’t tell me your dad doesn’t matter to you. I know different. Tell me, Tom. Tell me about your father. I don’t even know his name.”

“His name was Larry. Mel, there’s nothing to tell. He died when I was very young. I don’t really remember.

“Didn’t your mother ever tell you about him?”

“He was never mentioned, and I never asked. The less I knew the better.”

“Tom, sit down. I have been doing my research. I have another report I want you to take a look at. According to the original Thomas C. Winch, after five generations another would come on the scene to end the evil. Did you notice the name of the last sacrifice in 1983? Lawrence?” Tom, you are the next in line. Five have gone before you. You are the one that God chose to end this evil. I’m behind you 100 percent. Here, read this from The Brown County Examiner ”

Lawrence P. Winch of Stony Brook Drive, Needmore Township has been missing now for six days. It is believed that Winch was last seen at a convenience store on Ocean House Road in Cape Elizabeth, ME as he was returning to Indiana following a mission trip through the New England states.

Tom handed the paper back to Mel. He propped his elbows on his knees and buried his face in his hands. Tom wasn’t beyond tears. He let them flow freely.

“Tom, that was your dad. This is your calling. For him we have to bring an end to this cult. I’m ready to do anything – whatever it takes. I checked the history of the other Winch’s that were supposedly sacrificed. Every one of them was reported missing, although I have to admit, I couldn’t find anything about Malcolm. Tom – whatever it takes.”


“Aren’t you ready to start working with Jeff again? Everything he gives you pans out.”

“Mel – if we’re going to do whatever it takes, we’re going to do it without Jeff Hunt. You’ve just showed me a line of Winch’s. I can see that. That much of it makes sense. But it was your research, not Jeff’s. Remember Jeff is looking for Ronald Barry. He’s not a Winch. He doesn’t fit into the puzzle in any way, shape, or form. He’s still trying to lead me into a trap with his information. He’s only saying what he wants us to hear.”

“Yeah, I know you’re right.”

Jeff’s cell phone was ringing. He pulled it from his pocket and checked the caller ID – Shady Rest Psychiatric Facility. It had to be a mistake. He didn’t know anyone there. He answered it anyway. “Hello. Jeff Hunt here.”

Silence answered back. He stuffed his phone back in his pocket. Within seconds, it rang again. Same location. Jeff picked it up again. Same answer.

Time went by. Jeff received a text message. It read, “Jeffers, I’m at SRPF. Get me out. Ronnie.”

Jeff’s brother always referred to him as “Jeffers”. This had to be a legitimate message. But what was Ronald Barry doing in Shady Rest? In Jeff’s mind there was only one way to find out.

He ran to his vehicle and took off for Shady Rest. He pulled into the parking lot, and ran quickly to the door. The automatic doors glided open and Jeff went inside. Out of breath he walked over to the reception area and announced that he would like to see Ronald Barry.

“Just a second, Sir. I’ll see if we have Ronald Barry here . . . . No, no there’s no one here by that name. I’m sorry. Are you a minister or a police officer? They’re the only ones that are allowed to visit. Now, if you’re with a minister or a police officer, that’s okay.”

Without thinking Jeff said, “No, I’m his brother.”

“I’m sorry. There’s no one here by that name anyway. Good Day.”

Mel carefully picked up the eight and a half by eleven folder that was laying on the front porch. The folder was covered with clear wrap for protection. Someone obviously went to great lengths to preserve the writings inside. There were several general articles about the Sandy Hill Lighthouse all printed out and placed neatly in the folder.

The dictionary describes neat as, “orderly and precise in procedure; systematic.” That also described the contents of the folder. Each article was arranged by date. The papers were carefully placed together; edge upon edge. Meticulous care was given in their arrangement – except for a 3 by 5 index card that was placed in the middle of the stack. The corner was bent and slipped in at an angle.

Mel immediately pulled the card from the pages. It read, “Mel, I found my brother. I found Ronny. Tom’s in danger. Jeff.”

Now the ball was in Mel’s court. Should she ignore the warning, knowing that’s what Tom wanted? Or should she contact Jeff for more information? The information clearly was meant for her and no one else. It was placed on the porch after Tom had left for his daily expedition to the lighthouse.

She perused the other articles, but none had any relevant information. It was the card that was important. Slowly she began to dial Jeff’s number, but hung up just as there was a knock at the front door.

“Look Mel, there are some things you need to know,” Jeff blurted out before Mel could say anything.

“No, you look Jeff! I don’t know what your game is, but Tom doesn’t trust you. I don’t trust you. I’m glad you found your brother. Now take him and both of you go back to Indiana. Leave us alone. You got what you came here for. Tom will take care of himself.”

“Please, please let me explain. It’s a matter of life or death – Tom’s life or death!”

“. . . Come on in . . . . I’ll get you some coffee.” Mel wasn’t feeling good about this, but she was curious. She just had to remember that Jeff was up to something; if not in her mind, at least in Tom’s.

“I found my brother? Mel, how did you know?”

“Well, I read the note in the pile of articles you sent over.”

“Wait a minute! What pile of articles? What note?”

“The articles you left on the front porch.”

“Um . . . Mel . . . I didn’t put any articles on your front porch, and I didn’t write any note. When did you say you found these?”

“Well, just a little while ago.”

“Let me see the note.”

Mel left Jeff at the kitchen table while she went into the living room to retrieve the note she left on the coffee table. She brought the entire folder with her. The note was on top.

Jeff began to read, “Mel, I found my brother. I found Ronny. Tom’s in danger. Jeff.” He just stared at the writing – no comment.

“Well, come on Jeff. What do you have to say?”

“I didn’t write this. I did not write this. But I think we better find out who did. Mel, whoever did is leading you and Tom into a trap, but now they’re using me as bait. Mel, we have to work together. All three of us need each other.”

“I know Tom will never go for it. I don’t know who to believe anymore. You just do your thing. Tom and I will do ours. Okay, so you say you’ve found your brother. How did you happen to do that?”

“Actually, I didn’t find him for sure. I got a text message from him saying he was at Shady Rest. I have no idea why he would be at Shady Rest, but that’s what he said. Anyway . . . .”

“Wait a minute! How can you be sure the text was from him? We have a note here that we don’t know where it came from. Maybe it was the same person that was texting you.”

“He called me Jeffers.”

Mel began to laugh. “He called you what?”

“Jeffers – and he’s the only one that has ever called me that. Mel, it has to be him. But here’s the problem. I went over to Shady Rest to see him and they told me there is no Ronald Barry registered there. I’ve got to get inside and look around, but they say I can only go in with a.

“Minister or a police officer,” Mel finished. “Tom could probably get you in, but I don’t think he would do it. He really doesn’t trust you, and I have to remind myself that neither do I. If you’re really not setting Tom up, maybe someone is trying to set you up.”

“Well, they had their chance yesterday if they wanted to. As soon as I got the text I went right over. Mel, I’ve got to get inside. Can’t you convince Tom to get me in?”

“No I really don’t think so, and at this point I’m out of options. I’m not going to ask him. If he knew you were here today, he’d be furious.”

“If I gave him a call tonight, do you think he’d talk to me?”

“Probably not!”

“Mel, thanks for listening. I guess I have more investigative work to do, and I wasted enough time. I won’t bother you anymore, but Mel, think about the last line in that note – Tom’s in danger. I don’t have it all figured out yet, but I know he’s in trouble. If I can do anything to help him, let me know.”

The thought kept swirling around in Mel’s mind. Should she give Jeff her added information about the sacrifices being made at the lighthouse? He probably already knew. After all, he mentioned the sacrifices first. But how much detail did he know? Then she had to remind herself that as far as anyone knew, Jeff was behind the whole thing. All of a sudden she wasn’t feeling well.

Sunday morning found the living room packed. Tom was thrilled about what God was doing. Each week there were new visitors, and many of them committed themselves to the church. What was equally important was the fact that many of them, perhaps most of them were coming from other locations close by; areas like Sandy Hill and Cape Elizabeth. Tom felt he had made the right choice about the location he chose. The surrounding towns could easily be reached from Webster’s Cove.

It was Mrs. Cook’s idea. “Preacher Tom, most of the people are coming from Sandy Hill. I know of an old, abandoned church down on the corner of Main Street and Oceanside Avenue. I think we could get it at a reasonable price. Nothing against your living room, but we’ve outgrown it!”

Tom decided to check out the possibility first thing in the morning. The building seemed perfect. Although abandoned, it was well maintained over the years and just needed some sprucing up. The mayor of Sandy Hill was more than willing to rent the building to anyone just to have it in use again. So it was settled. The church would acquire the property and make the short move to Sandy Hill.

The several small coastal villages nestled together became one in church attendance, but it was by far Sandy Hill leading the way with members. The very place Tom didn’t think was interested became a town on fire – and in such a short time. Tom was so pleased and so excited about what the Lord was doing.

The church thrived even more in its new building. The demands of being a full-time pastor/part time sleuth were beginning to show on Tom’s face. The church was taking more time and leaving less for his investigation, but he knew time was running out.

He long ago discovered that the main celebration of the group he now knew as the Bendith Diafol was scheduled for December 21. The fall colors were already beginning to fade and there was still much Tom had to uncover about the cult to effectively bring them down before then.

Sunday night after church found them hiding out on the west side of the lighthouse. It was still relatively early when Tom recognized that strange, clicking sound. The nearly full moon cast its glow over the beach, except for where Tom and Mel found a safe, dark place behind a rock. They tried to focus on the location of the sound. The sound grew louder as they searched the beach with their eyes.

That’s when they saw it! About thirty yards to the southside of the lighthouse a figure was rising out of the sand. The silhouetted figure grew from head to shoulders to torso to fullbodied. Mel and Tom just stared incredulously as the figure roamed the beach as if looking for something. In a few moments it vanished into the darkness.

Tom gave Mel one of his jaw-dropping, “did you see that”, looks.

“Mel, that must have been the ghost of Thomas Winch. Not only does he inhabit the lighthouse, but he must roam the beach as well. What has your research turned up about TW’s ghost?”

“Not much. It is said that he travels the beach at times looking for lost survivors of the ship that crashed the night he failed to keep the light burning. But there seem to be conflicting reports. Some say there was no wreck at all; that he just fell to his death while hurrying to light the lamp. As it looks, neither report is true. He was the first of the Bendith Diafol’s sacrifices.

“But here’s the other thing, Tom. There are many accounts of ghosts being connected with clicking or tapping. His ghost would be consistent with the sound we heard – if we believed in ghosts. Let’s go home and think this through.”

“Mel, wait a minute! A human can’t rise out of the earth like that, but a demonic creature could. That’s all ghosts are anyway; demons impersonating a once living being. The Bendith Diafol, the devil’s blessing; is it possible that this creature, that we just saw with our own eyes rise from the sand, could be the force behind the cult?

“I’m not grasping for straws, but I am looking for answers. We know that this group is fueled by satan. Maybe that was the demon who rules over them. Maybe it’s the one they sacrifice to. Do you know anything about that?”

“Let’s go home and give ourselves some time to digest all of this. I’ll see what I can find out on the internet tomorrow. Besides I’m tired. I just don’t have the energy to stay up these late nights anymore.”

The wind was blowing fiercely, but Tom wanted a better look at the area that was disturbed by the unexplainable figure rising out of the sand. Nothing was found. Any footprints had been removed by the swirling sand. Any discolorations that may have appeared were removed as well; no sound equipment to augment the clicking sound. Nothing.

Tom and Mel headed back.

© 2016 William Kovacic


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    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I'm not I know anymore either lol. We'll have to keep reading. Thanks or continuing with us, Jackie!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Mm; how will this go, ghost or demon? lol Great reading!

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi Lawrence,

      I'm glad it meets your approval. Time's running out, and the story's running out, but there are a few more chapters to go. Thanks for continuing with me.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Loved this, the mix of the Celtic name (or celtic sounding at least) gives it the feel of an 'old fashioned' ghost story, and time's running out for Tom


    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I'm not sure anymore either. I guess Scooby Doo has some more research to do. Thanks for following , Brother (or sh udl I say Bro'?)

    • Abrushing1968 profile image

      Aaron Rushing 

      3 years ago from USA- Florida

      I'm thinking they need to call Scooby Doo and the gang. LOL!

      Clicking noises? Apparition over the sand while they are watching. Sounds like a set up to me.

      Shady Rest you say? Hmmmm? Mrs. Camp Comes to mind.

      Is Jeff really up to something? I'm not sure anymore.

      I am off to read # 13


    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks Dora. I hope it continues that way.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      The plot and sub-plots get thicker with every episode. Now there's also a who dunnit. It's great!


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