Lost Child – backstories
Thinking about my first David Diangelo/Odd Jobs story always brings back mixed emotions, probably due to the real-life mysteries the story was based upon.
I’m going tell you about those mysteries now, but please note that they’re MAJOR SPOILERS, so you can go read the entire story starting here, for free on the web, before proceeding with this blog post.
The main part of the story concerns an old man who hires David to go down south, to central Illinois where his daughter disappeared years before.
This is based on a real-life incident that, well, I guess has haunted me for years. A young college student was traveling home one weekend in the ’80s, much like almost every other college student does. She was coming north on I-57 – the same road I used to travel to and from Eastern Illinois University.
Witnesses at the time say she was stopped on the side of the road. Maybe a flat tire or she threw a fan belt. Happened all the time with those older cars we used to drive. No one stopped because a truck was already there, parked in back of her. Most of the time, you see something like that and you know the person is in good hands.
Not this time. Her body was found a few days later in a corn field.
For months afterward, fliers were posted at toll plazas, gas stations and various oasis looking for that truck. It was pretty distinctive too, if I recall – blue with a blue strip on the trailer. To my knowlege it was never found.
I wondered – how does a killer with a fairly distinctive vehicle escape like that? How are they never found? In Lost Child, I proposed it was because they were already dead – killed and hidden themselves.
I hope that real woman’s family somehow got that kind of justice.
The secondary story isn’t as sad, but it is creepy. Again, in the ’80s, I was working nights at a local newspaper when the cops reporter came in. He looked like he had a story to tell and he did.
An elderly man walked into a hardware store on Archer Ave. in Chicago. Nothing unusual about that, and the clerk at the register waved to him as he walked toward the back of the store. After a bit, the clerk decided to go see if the old guy needed some assistance.
He walked toward the back of the store, looking for him among the shelves. Checked in the very back by the washrooms but didn’t find him. That’s when he heard it: a dull, rhythmic thumping, coming from the area where larger tools were kept behind a counter.
When he made his way over there, he was met with a shocking sight: The old man had gotten a hand axe from behind the counter, and with the axe in his left hand – and without making a sound except for the thumping of the axe head against the wooden counter, he was systematically chopping off his own right hand.
Cops, ambulances and all were called, and as the old guy was taken out of the store strapped to a gurney, one of the cops turned to the reporter and asked him:
“What do you think he did with it that so offended his god that he had to chop off his own right hand?”