In our hearts and souls

September 26, 2009
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It was Halloween and Maggie sat at the top of Forest Creek Mountain where her sister, Marybeth, always loved to hike. Maggie reflected on the past.
Maggie remembers Marybeth coming home from school; it was about 3:30pm. She was changing into her hiking clothes, which were black stretch pants, white t-shirt and a black North Face jacket.

Marybeth reached the top of the mountain and yelled, "I made it, and it is so beautiful." She could hear her voice echo in the deep canyon below her. The view was spectacular and you could see, what seemed like, forever. It was cold; she pulled her jacket hood up over her head and took some photos. She could hear the wind through her hood. It was now dusk and Marybeth knew she had to start her decent down the mountain. As much as she hated to leave, it was time.
She rounded a corner and slipped in the mud. Her leg had went under her and felt numb. She tried getting up, but lost her balance. As she tried a second time to get up; a voice asked her if she needed help. Marybeth looked up and saw a clown.

She scrambled to her feet and the clown reached down to help her up. Marybeth was scared and knew she needed to run and run as fast as she could off of this mountain.

The masked clown started after her and Marybeth started yelling for him to get away. He was catching up to her. He grabbed her hair and pulled her down to the wet muddy ground.

Marybeth was yelling and screaming for him to stop and she was trying to pull his mask off. He took out some duct tape and taped it around her mouth and taped her hands behind her back. She was putting up a struggle.

He drug her into the bushes and told her to behave and do what he said and everything would be just fine. He was the scariest clown she had ever seen. He had a white face, streaks of fake blood coming from his eyes and mouth.

The rain was coming down harder and it was pitch black outside, all she could see was the clown face looking over her. He started to unbutton her shirt; he took out a knife and told her that he was going to kill her if she tried anything.

Marybeth felt like her world was coming to an end. She longed to be home with family and friends. Why had she decided to hike today? The masked clown hit her hard in the head knocking Marybeth out.

Maggie was really getting worried; it was now 6:30 and no Marybeth. The trick-or-treaters were coming by the groves now. Mom and dad now arrived home and asked her where Marybeth was.

We would like to report a missing person, her father spoke into the phone with a deep voice. The officer explained to her father that a person has to be missing for 24hrs before any type of search can be conducted.

He hung up the phone and grabbed his coat and ran out to the car. Maggie followed and told her father she wanted to go. The two of them drove in silence to Forest Creek Mountain. He told Maggie, "we are not waiting around no 24hrs for a search; she could be dead by then." Her mother stayed home incase Marybeth showed up.

They were half way up the mountain trail and still no sign of Marybeth. The rain had, most likely, washed away any evidence of footprints. Maggie was trying to keep a positive outlook. The mountain was silent except for the rain and thunder. It must have been about 7:30pm or later. They decided to go home and see if Marybeth had arrived yet.

No Marybeth, no phone calls. Her parents were just hysterical and needed help, help in finding Marybeth. They shut the lights out and did not want to be bothered with anymore trick-or treaters. They called 911 again. The police arrived and said they would conduct a search for Marybeth.

The rain had let up and it was just cold and windy. People from all over town started up the trail to search for Marybeth. The police had brought in search dogs too. A couple other police had decided to search the lakes near Mountain Creek.

"Hello" a police officer said into his radio. "We found a body on Sutton Road, just east of Craig Lake." We need it identified. Detective Snow told the family that Police have found a body.

Maggie had a sinking feeling in her heart, but everyone was keeping a positive attitude and hoping and praying that the body found was not the body of Marybeth.

They arrived at Sutton Road. Hearts were pounding and dread had fallen over the family. Slowly the black tarp covering the body was removed. Maggie with her mother and father held hands. They gasped in unison as the body was not Marybeth. They had never seen this girl before.

The search continued on Forest Creek Mountain. A local deli had brought in coffee, soup and sandwiches for all the searchers and police officers. Maggie was not hungry, but she knew she should eat something.

She has to be here, has to be someplace on Forest Creek Mountain, Maggie thought to herself. Would she run away, was she trying to escape something in her life? No, she was happy and everything seemed so perfect in her life.

Maggie returned to school the next day and everyone was coming up to her asking about Marybeth. Maggie didn't feel like talking about it. She didn't want to be at school, she wanted to find her sister.

Flyers had been placed all over town and a statewide alert had been put out. A photo of Marybeth was posted with the flyers. The flyers read, "MISSING, last seen Halloween on Forest Creek Mountain."

It had now been a month and no Marybeth. Forest Creek Mountain had been searched over and over, she wasn't there.

Everyday Maggie went to Forest Creek Mountain after school. She was hoping that her sister was going to be there. People from town continued to search and keep their eyes and ears open for any clues that might lead to the finding of Marybeth.

The family found it hard to go on with their everyday lives; things were not the same without Marybeth. Her mother and father searched daily, with no luck. Where was Marybeth, that was a question that inhibited all minds?

It was 2am and the phone rang, it was Detective Snow. He said that a lady in the city of Dryervale said that she believes she seen Marybeth at Junction Cafe.

Could it be? Why had Marybeth not called? The family was skeptical. Police drove to Dryervale, about 20 miles outside of town. They could not find any evidence or clues that Marybeth had been to Dryervale.

Spring was in the air and all the flowers were starting to pop out and the sun was making its appearance. It didn't feel like springtime to Maggie and her family. Six months have passed and no Marybeth or even a sign of her.

"Hello, hello" Maggie’s father said when he picked up the telephone. "Hi, this is Officer Wright; we have found more evidence of Marybeth on the mountain." His heart sank even deeper than it already was.

The family quickly gathered into the car and headed to Forest Creek Mountain. They were shocked when they arrived and were given the hiking boots that Marybeth had worn on her Halloween hike.

"Oh no, please, no" her mother yelled out through tears. Her father tried to calm her, but it was no use. Maggie sat quietly in thought and she knew that Marybeth had left this earth. She probably had a terrible struggle that lead to her death.

"We have got something, we found a large pile of dirt and leaves" said Officer Wright. The family and detectives hurried to the site. It was quite hard to reach; this pile of dirt was way back in the forest and behind a large rock.

"Don't let it be Marybeth, no don't” these are the words that rang through the head of the family. The police started removing the dirt and leaves; they had to use a shovel. The family stood around in anticipation with nerves that were in a bundle.

As they dug deeper, a white t-shirt started to appear. "God, no, no, no" her mother was screaming as they uncovered the dead body of Marybeth. Maggie and her father fell to the ground near Marybeth as police tried to calm everyone down.

"I love you Marybeth, I love you" cried Maggie. Her father was in shock and pale as a ghost; he was trying to console the family.

The newspaper headlines were about Marybeth and where she had been found. The family could not even begin to read about this tragic outcome. Friends and family from all over came by to help.

Maggie had been on a leave from school, when she returned friends and teachers consoled her. She was asked if she would like to set up an appointment with the school counselor to talk about her grief. Maggie wanted to work through this in her own way and did not want the help of a counselor. She very much appreciated the offer.

It had been a year since the death of Marybeth, gone but never forgotten. There was a shrine that was placed on the top of Forest Creek Mountain. This was dedicated to Marybeth who loved nature.

Marybeth will forever live in the hearts and souls of the lives that she touched.

Maggie and her family hiked Forest Creek Mountain, today, on Halloween. There were so many flowers placed at the shrine, it made her feel happy.

Their family will never be the same, but their lives will have to go on with the memory of Marybeth. Maggie vowed that she will hike Forest Creek Mountain every Halloween for the rest of her life.

Her family said a prayer at the top of the mountain while reflecting on the past. Maggie stood up and yelled out over the mountain, "we love and miss you Marybeth, you will live in our hearts and souls forever and ever."

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

RubyRed123 said...
Jun. 25, 2011 at 6:18 am
I liked how this story felt meaningful. It was really good! :)
Matt-JT said...
Nov. 26, 2009 at 9:11 am
wow, this is outstanding! A true to the heart touching story.
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