Maggie Flynn was twelve years old the night she died. She was a victim of one of the worst engineering disasters in American History.
This is Lisa Burton Radio, and I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl. “Welcome to the show, Maggie.”
“Oh no. Don’t go away, Maggie. I need to put another quart of psychode into this ectomometer and turn the gain up to ten.
“There, are you still with us Maggie?”
“Um…I think so. Can you hear me? I’m still getting used to communicating between worlds.”
“You’re coming through loud and clear. I’m so honored to have you on the show. The story of the Silver Bridge disaster is well documented, but maybe you can fill our listeners in on it.”
“Well, I don’t really like thinking about it, but Caden—he’s my older brother—and I went shopping that night. He had to drive across the bridge to get to Gallipolis where they have the big department stores. I wanted to buy my mom and dad something for Christmas…even though I was worried about going outside…”
“It’s okay, Maggie.”
“I saw the something really horrible just a few days before. I still get nightmares thinking about it.”
“You’re in West Virginia, right?”
“Mmm-hmm. In Point Pleasant. That’s on the other side of the river from Gallipolis, Ohio. It’s a small town, located kind of where the Ohio and the Kanawha Rivers come together.”
“It’s terrible that this was during the Christmas season. I’m glad your brother survived. Maybe you can tell our listeners why you were so afraid.”
“That thing I saw…have you ever heard of the Mothman? There were over 100 people in my town who said they saw him the year before I died. That would be in 1967. I thought maybe it was all a bunch of make-believe but then I chased Mischief into the Witch Wood… Mischief is my Nana’s cat—a very bad cat—and the Witch Wood is a place behind Nana’s house where I sometimes played with my friends. It’s got lots of trees and stuff, and a gnarled old sycamore that looks like a witch.
“I was never afraid to be there alone, but then I saw the Mothman. He was hideous! With burning red eyes and huge wings. When he stood up he was like a giant. I was terrified he’d see me, so I hid.”
“Sounds like a good plan to me. I read somewhere that he only hangs out in an area called the TNT. What does TNT stand for?”
“My dad said it’s an old munitions dump left over from World War II. The Army abandoned it a long time ago, but it’s still got these weird bunkers built into the ground. We call them igloos. They’re really creepy and some of them still have old shells and chemicals and stuff in them. There are buildings too, but they’re ghosts like me…abandoned and crumbling. The whole place is a maze of woods, marshland and ponds—almost a whole city’s worth, it’s so huge! People in Point Pleasant say it’s where the Mothman lives, but he’s been spotted around town and on some of the back roads, too. After the Silver Bridge fell, a lot of people said the monster was to blame.”
“What about the legend of Chief Cornstalk? Is it possible the Mothman has nothing to do with the disaster, and it’s all this ancient curse?”
“Maybe. We learned about Chief Cornstalk in school. He was a great Shawnee Indian chief. My teacher said he fought against the settlers in the beginning but then became a friend of the white man. He was trying to make peace between the people of Point Pleasant and the Indian tribes when he was betrayed and killed by soldiers. I heard he cursed the town of Point Pleasant with his dying breath. Some people think that’s what caused all the floods we’ve had, why the Mothman showed up, and the bridge fell. My friend’s father lost his job when the riverboat people left…it was a big company and all kinds of people ended up out of work when they left Point Pleasant. I wasn’t around for that, but I heard the whispers afterward…
“Go ahead, Maggie.”
“There’s always been whispers around here. Even George Washington saw things he couldn’t explain when he scouted the area before the Revolutionary War…at least according to Mrs. Quiggly. She sells brown eggs outside of town and knows everyone’s business. She said Point Pleasant and the TNT are located on ley lines and that’s why we’ve got so many weird things happening like UFOs and the Mothman. It’s probably why the monster came back.”
“Is that why you returned too?”
“Sort of. I’m worried about my friend, Eve. She’s all grown up now, an adult like Caden. Eve and her mother left town fifteen years ago after the bridge fell, but Eve came back. Her Aunt Rosie died and left Eve her house and the family hotel. The Parrish Hotel is kind of a landmark in town. Eve has to figure out what to do with the house and the hotel—she’s thinking of selling them—but there’s a bunch of stuff she doesn’t know that could get her into serious trouble. Aunt Rosie had all kinds of secrets and it’s all tied up with the night the bridge went down.
“Caden is looking out for Eve as best he can. I get the feeling they like each other—you know, boy-girl like?—but Caden has a bunch of secrets, too. He knows more about the Mothman than he’ll say, and there’s something really bad that happened back when he was a cop that has him messed up. Plus he blames himself for taking me out the night the bridge fell. Boys are so stupid! He won’t let go of the guilt. And Eve…”
“But if Eve is all grown up now, and she has Caden to look after her, she probably doesn’t have to worry.”
“I wish it were that simple, but there are so many bad things that happened back then, far more than I’ve said here. I can’t really talk about them the way I want to. Stupid rules about separating the dead from the living, you know? The bad stuff got buried and no one put the pieces together. I thought maybe they would go away but when Eve came back, all of it did, too. It isn’t just the Mothman. There’s something else—watching, and it all started that day when I chased Mischief into the woods.
“I…um…oh, I can’t say any more. Just please…you’ve got to let people know. Warn them. There’s something else in the woods, hidden behind Nana’s old house. Eve was my best friend, and she’s in Squeeeeeerrrrrooooooo
LB: Maggie? Are you still with us? <kick, thump> Maggie?
Folks, I think we’ve lost Maggie, and I need to stock up on psychode. You can get the whole story in a book called A Thousand Yesteryears, by Mae Clair. I’ll include all the details on the website. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.
Purchase Links A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS
You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:
Craig here. I read this one some time ago, and gave it every bit of five stars. Absolutely wonderful book.