Prelude: A Memory of the Future
Wednesday, September 21, 1966
She is late, terrified and drunk.
At nearly 10:30 PM, Linda knows she’s in trouble. Jerry’s car sits in the driveway – she can’t believe he’s home early from that stag party. Why? He was with his boss, who always stays for last call. Linda had hoped to already be in bed asleep.
Now, on top of everything else that has transpired this week, she would have to face him.
Even in her bewildered, intoxicated state, Linda understands that something has to give. This thing is coming to an inescapable head. But she’s three sheets to the wind, smelling of liquor, unable even to think clearly – why does it have to be tonight? And on the last day of summer?
Her mother keeps telling her to stick it out with Jerry. Yet tonight’s events have made that impossible now.
As she lurches out of the car, her fear becomes palpable, like an icy hand clutching her heart. Whom could she confide in? And would they believe her?
Linda Bricca is certain of only one thing. Everything has changed.
But at least nobody died…
Thursday, September 29, 1966
My mother says I’ll have nightmares if I keep reading this stuff.
Lizzie Borden and Jack the Ripper. Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock. True crime and fictional mysteries. I just can’t get enough.
Yet I am a normal 7th grader. I love baseball and Batman. I grew taller this summer, and suddenly girls are fascinating. A new mystery to explore.
But things are crazy in this city right now. Not only is The Cincinnati Strangler on the prowl, but that nice family in Bridgetown just got murdered in their own home. It’s like my nightly tales have jumped off the pages.
I lay my book aside and head downstairs. My mother, brother and sister are watching the evening news. My father has just headed out the back door to haul the garbage cans to the curb.
The TV blares that the city is on high alert and urges everyone to start locking their doors. I peer outside – it has gotten dark quickly. I can hear the rain hissing.
My father returns, and my mother calls out, “Don’t forget to bring the cats inside.” No reply.
As we turn back to the news, I hear that Jerry Bricca was killed shortly after taking out the garbage. In the rain I call out, “Dad, are you okay?”
No answer. A harrowing chill crawls up my spine.
My father steps into the room, only it’s NOT him! There’s a tall man dressed in black holding a long knife. Jack the Ripper! No, wait…It’s the Bricca killer!
We all cower there, powerless to move. His evil, impassive face seems sculpted from granite. As his blade descends in a deadly arc, my screams are entombed. I’m frozen−like in a dream.
Abruptly, I am jolted awake by my mother’s voice calling from the stairway: “You’re going to be late for school.”
I am soaked with sweat – and something any boy older than a toddler will never admit to…
Email: April 5th, 2012
Dear Mr. Townsend:
When I was younger, across my room and above my bed was a portrait of a young girl. She was beautiful, and I would always ask my mom who it was. She would reply that it was Debbie, my guardian angel. I knew that she had died, but I never asked how and was never told.
About two years ago my grandmother told me of the murders. I was shocked…I never thought something like that could be lurking in our family history. But when I tried to question my mother or my grandmother, they would always turn me away.
I somehow feel the need to find out what could have happened and know more about my family. I hope you can and will help me…
Email: March 3rd, 2016
You are treading in some murky water with the Briccas. But do not fear where this mystery may lead. You are too bright for the darkness to take you…