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A Story Lost

I cut my teeth writing on Hubpages back in 2009. I've written 17 novels, numerous songs, and short stories since. I love to write love.

The Old Truck


Help Arrived

A warm July 2008 day near Batesville Indiana. The blue sky spotted with white clouds hovering over a 29-year-old woman sitting in an old truck swirled the haunting winds of the past into her mind and heart. Landowner 66-year-old Joshua Travens had hired Psychic Medium Tarala Mooresen to investigate strange feelings he experienced when he came near an old abandoned truck in one of the meadows of his land. He had written her in a letter, "Dear Tarala, I need your help. My cousin Helen told me about you. There is an old 1950 Dodge pickup truck on my property that I believe is haunted. Every time I walk near it, I feel desperate, and my heart races. I bought 600 acres five years ago and the truck was there in a meadow. I will gladly pay for travel expenses and your time. Please help."

When Tarala arrived at the ranch, she didn't look the way Joshua expected her to look. He expected a long dark dress, a scarf covering her head, and a woman adorned with jewelry. She was wearing jeans, pink sneakers, a black Rolling Stones t-shirt, and had her brown hair pulled back in a ponytail. As Tarala got out of her rental car, Joshua stepped off the porch and said, "Welcome to Birchwood Ranch Mrs. Mooresen. He held his hand out to shake her hand and said, "You're a lot prettier than any picture of a Medium I've ever seen." Tarala smiled, shook his hand, and said, "Thank you Mr. Travens. Could I please use your bathroom? It has been a bit of a trip from The Indianapolis airport."

Joshua took her into the house and pointed down the hall to the guest bathroom. She stopped for a moment and asked, "How long has your wife been gone?" Joshua looked surprised and answered, "Kate died three years ago. How did you know?" Tarala smiled and answered, " Flowerpots are empty on the porch. I didn't see any women's boots in the mudroom. Most of all, I felt her spirit push a little at me when you said I was pretty." Joshua grinned as she walked down the hall.

The Farm


The Haunting

It was 3:00 in the afternoon when Joshua and Tarala drove his four-wheeler into the woods and to the meadow where the old truck was. Joshua parked about a hundred feet from the truck. He shut off the four-wheeler and said, "This is as far as I can go. I already have the heebie-jeebies being this close. Tarala eased out of the Four Wheeler and said, "I need to be closer." She walked slowly toward the truck and could see that the passenger side windshield was busted as if a head hit it. The driver's side had been patched strangely with a rectangle-shaped glass.

She got about ten feet from the truck, looked back at Joshua, and shouted, "Do you know anyone named, Lillian?"Joshua shouted back, "No!" She shouted again, "Do you know anyone named Reuben?" Joshua shouted back, "No...I know a Robin!" Tarala slowly walked around the truck. Joshua couldn't believe she was so close to the truck. He once had a ranch hand mock everyone and boldly sit in the truck. The young man got out of the truck in seconds. He was screaming and shivering. He left and didn't even collect his week's pay. Tarala grabbed the door handle and Joshua shouted, "You shouldn't do that!" She smiled at him and got in the truck.

She was amazed that the truck was so clean and not covered with bugs and spider webs. There wasn't even a sign of field mice. She put her hands on the steering wheel and immediately went into a trance. She felt two spirits in the truck. In a broken weeping voice Lillian spoke, "Damn you, Reuben. I am not taking those pills to make it go away. I am not raising this baby by myself. Tell your mother she can take her five hundred dollars to get rid of me and go to hell with it." Tarala felt as if her hands were Reuben's gripping the steering wheel tightly.

Tarala felt her hands tighten even more and her right foot began to press on the gas pedal. In Tarala's voice, Lillian spoke through her again, "Did you say you love me to just get my dress off? I begged you to use protection but you whined about it not feeling right. I am pregnant Reuben with your baby! You're the only one I've been with." Tarala pushed a little further down on the gas pedal. Lillian spoke again, "You can still go to college and play ball. You need to slow down Reuben. I am not going away. We made a baby and we need to raise the baby together. You don't have to marry me but you are the father and you are responsible."

Tarala felt her foot slam to the floor and her fingers clench the steering wheel to the point of pain." Lillian screamed in fear, "Reuben!" Tarala quickly lifted her foot off of the gas pedal and slammed down the brake pedal. Tarala looked to her right and saw the ghost of a young girl. The girl was bleeding light from her forehead and her eyes were so sad. Tarala felt her hands reach for Lillian's neck as she cried, "Reuben no," for the last time. Tarala felt the male spirit slither away from her as she looked out the passenger window and saw the young girl in a faded orange and white dress and saddle shoes walk away cradling a baby in her arms. They faded in thin air.

Steering Toward Truth


The Message

Tarala heard Joshua shout, "Mrs. Mooresen...are you okay?" Tarala got out of the truck and motioned for him to come to her. She shouted to him that the truck wasn't haunted anymore. Joshua stepped slowly toward the truck and finally was standing next to Tarala by the truck. Joshua asked, "What did you do? I don't feel anything now." Tarala answered, "A lost story needed to be told. A young girl was murdered in this truck. Her name was Lillian. His name was Reuben. He killed her because she was pregnant and wanted him to help raise the child."

Joshua was a bit befuddled and said, "I'm from these parts and I never heard of any such murder." Tarala said, "I keep seeing the name of a town. I believe it is Oldenburg?"Joshua said, "Yes...Oldenburg is a few miles north of here." He thought for a moment and said, "You know...I do remember hearing about a girl from Oldenburg missing back in 1951. I was only a kid then. She was never found as far as I know. I'm just glad whatever it was is gone from my land. Thank you, Mrs. Mooresen." Tarala told Joshua, "You might want to leave this truck right here. I'm going to the local sheriff to ask about Lillian."

Two years later the Franklin County Sheriff and Deputies were outside a mansion on Saint Mary's Road. 76-year-old Reuben Starlin was holed up in his basement. Reuben had gone to college in the early 50s and played basketball. He was well known and adored locally. He became a very wealthy real estate broker. The Sheriff spoke on the bullhorn, "Come on out Reuben. This just makes things worse. I know many years have passed but justice is crying for Lillian Nesserman. Come out with your hands raised." Reuben Starlin was a coward to the end. He shot himself.

The only good thing Reuben ever did was leave a note for the Sheriff, telling him where the body of Lillian Nesserman was buried. They found her bones in the deep woods off of Saw Mill Road, not far from Joshua Travens's ranch. It was a mystery how the truck was parked there until one of Reuben's old High School friends fessed up to parking it there so Reuben could collect insurance on it for being stolen. He claimed he parked it in the deep woods, not the meadow. Tiny amounts of Lillian's blood and even hair were still in the cracks of the windshield. It was strange that the frame and bed had nearly rusted away from the truck but the cab remained in good condition.

Joshua called Tarala on the day Reuben shot himself. Tarala smiled and told him she already knew. She had been working in her gardens when a little orange and white butterfly landed on her hand. She heard Lillian Nesserman's voice again. There were no words, just a sweet humming as a mother hums to her baby.

How many stories like this one are lost in the darkness of evil human selfishness? I could make up a million stories and they would all be true from somewhere, sometime, and someplace. How many Reubens are found? Not enough. How many Lillians remain lost? Too many.



© 2022 Tom Cornett

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