The Mansion©

By Jerry D. Haight

Lindy 1


     

There were hundreds, perhaps even thousands of frames containing memories of Lindy, Charley and Lynn's daughter. With each one he viewed, his eyes sparkled and a smile adorned his face as he relived a special moment in sheer delight. The sound of his laughter resonated across the walls of "The Hall of Memories". From the moment he examined a tiny toe of the infant Lindy in the morning she left for her 4th grade class.


She was Daddy's precious girl and was the personification of innocence and beauty. Her tiny body, effervescing with high energy and her engaging spirit reminded everyone of a hummingbird with a big grin. Even though she was always her own unpretentious person, she managed to embrace everyone coming into her world.  


The next frame held the picture of her at age 9. He knew what this frame contained and it took all the fortitude he had to keep from moving on. Sure enough, in the frame his memory started when he arrived home just as Lynn pulled into the driveway. Lynn had been shopping and needed some help with grocery bags.  Both of them got to the door at the same time, put the groceries on the counter and as Lynn put them away she called Lindy. She expected to hear the sounds of the television as this was the time "Animal Planet" was on Channel 4. It was Lindy's favorite program as she loved animals... of any kind. No Lindy.


After a futile search of the house, Charley and Lynn began searching the neighborhood, turning up no signs of their Lindy. Their concern growing, Charley began methodically conducting a strategic search. He called Mrs. Dyce, Lindy's teacher. He found out she had been in school all day and left with her classmates on the school bus. Next, he called Nancy and Elli, Lindy's best friends. Both said she had got off the bus the same time as they and said Lindy walked toward home.


At this news, their concern escalated because four unaccounted for hours had lapsed since she got off the bus. The call to the police resulted in the same old spiel, translation "don't bother us, we get calls like this all the time, there is nothing we are going to do, call us tomorrow if she hasn't turned up." Roy Scarborough found Charley in front of his house. "Any sign of Lindy?" he asked. Roy was Shelly’s dad. "Not yet," Charley replied marveling at how fast news traveled. "I'll get Bert, George, Darryl and Sam and let’s go house to house." Soon, there were over a dozen dads and moms knocking on doors looking for Lindy or information. For hours, the frantic search went on without any leads to the missing girl. Charley dreaded what the frame had in store, the part he knew and the truth that haunted him these many years. The reality Charley knew was that Lynn was in shock, Ladies of the neighborhood were attempting to console her. He had just come in from searching, it was nearly midnight and, by this time, he was frantic.


As he came into the garage his eye caught a bit of red material peeking out from the closed freezer door. Aghast, Charley recognized it was a piece of Lindy's dress, the one she wore at breakfast that morning. A cold, icy chill crawled slowly across his spine as he grasped the horror, revulsion and fear of the situation. He told his feet to run, they would not obey, he told his throat to scream, it would not, He commanded his body to rescue, but his mind knew it was too late. The men came into the garage and saw what he saw. Unhampered, they moved quickly and opened the freezer door. There inside was the body of the couple's beloved Lindy. Over the years, the memory played out over and over in Charley's mind and he became his own prosecutor, judge and jury, holding himself guilty of her death and had never forgiven himself. If only he had removed the door, If only he had padlocked it, If only he had trained Lindy to avoid the freezer, or better yet simply got rid of it, If only he had seen the red material earlier.

 

Charley was prepared for the scene to close, leaving him to, once again, trudge through the quagmire of despair as was the case every time he allowed his mind to think about the event. The scene continued, however, and replayed. It was Roy in front of his house. This time, Roy was thinking of a conversation at the dinner table. Shelly's brother Todd had told of playing with Lindy earlier, something about hide and seek. Now a new scene played out before him. The little girl and Todd were playing the childhood game with another friend. The other friend was "it" and the two looked for a good place to hide. Lindy crawled into the freezer and Todd shut the door. The lad tried to open it, but what should have been an easy task was made impossible by the material jammed in the mechanism.  The door would not open from either inside or out. Indeed, it had taken the strength of two men to open the freezer door. Once again, he felt the familiar quagmire of despair start to descend and envelop him.  

"It wasn't your fault, Daddy", she said. "Oh my God Lindy. Is that really you?"