The townspeople saw a red glittering line of lights snaking along the valley road a long time before they even arrived.
The mansion did have floors and rooms purposely hidden but they were empty. The bad news was delivered to them by the Town By The Sea's officers who had broken in and searched from top to bottom after being called with Mary’s news. But the children HAD been there. Ropes and dropped toys the parents identified were strewn around completely covered in dust. They set up a headquarters right there under the faded gilt ceilings. Lenny never realized what a dark and gloomy place the town was at night. The teams started to go door to door again. Even what looked like abandoned buildings they went into and searched.
Then on one sad lonely street, Lenny’s team was met by a man who wanted to lead them to the waterfront wharf. He was shy, he had an accordion and a little monkey- he didn't seem to be able to speak but gestured like he wanted to go to sleep- his folded hands placed on the side of his face. His little monkey did the same movement. They did this movement over and over while alternately waving, paw and hand, for them to follow. The team followed the man suspiciously, ready for anything.
The man and monkey led them to the wharf and gestured under it pointing and smiling, but before anyone could climb under- something climbed up at the end. Lenny saw something that sent a chill up and down his spine even worse than the one Lavender Mary had given him. He began to run. It was one of the missing children, the one with the injured leg.
The tiny boy was at the edge of the wharf wet covered in mud. He pointed out into the sky in silence.
Lenny yelled back over his shoulder "He's pointing UP."
He called on his walkie talkie for the force to come to the wharf and they gathered quickly.
The child had one foot encased in a heavy cast now caked in mud. He had obviously slept or fallen under the wharf. It was never clear if he had been left behind on purpose down there. He also could not, or would not, speak. The fish in the darkness of the water observed all of it while the spiders in the darkness listened.
Lenny leaned down.
"Hey kid, what are you pointing at? You like stars? Clouds? The Moon?"
The little boy shook his head no slowly, still pointing up.
"That’s what I was afraid of. Is this where they disappeared, all the kids?"
The boy slowly nodded his head.
"Did they go across the water?" No
"Did they go up into the sky?" Yes
"That’s what I was afraid of."
The child was recovering in the hospital while the assembled mass of officers, rescue workers, parents and town officials converged on the old Mansion. Rats lived there in the walls and listened as Lenny spoke to the Chief of Police who was also his dear old friend, and sometimes adversary.
"From what the kid drew for us this is not a "regular" so-to speak abduction. Look at this picture- what does that look like?" "Small circles in the sky?"
"Small circles in the sky?"The Chief said.
"Who do you know that makes that kind of thing in the sky?" "I don’t know.. maybe Jack Frost?" "He makes one small circle I think- these are much bigger." "Wait a minute, I read something a long time ago. Santa...?" "Yeah."
"I don’t know.. maybe Jack Frost?"
"He makes one small circle I think- these are much bigger."
"Wait a minute, I read something a long time ago. Santa...?"
Gasps came from everyone.
Lenny calmed everyone down. "I have seen this too, but as big as these look- this is a smaller version of what Santa does I’m sure- its like a smaller Fold in the sky. Santa is NOT our abductor here but we have called him in. This is similar to what he does- he may know what to do. I also want you to locate Jack Frost- he might be able to help us once we clear up where he has been recently." "I've never met him you know, Santa, in person."
"I've never met him you know, Santa, in person."The Police Chief said somewhat nervously
Lenny managed a small laugh, "Well, get ready because he's not what you expect."
Check out the previous parts of Happily Ever Over right here.