Thursday, July 06, 2006

Case Of The Missing Faces In Turtle Town

There was a small town somewhere in Indiana that had the peculiar name of Turtle Town. It got that name because of the large number of turtles that lived in the surrounding woods. Nobody knew why but there were thousands of them crawling everywhere. A highway that passed through the middle of town was always covered in the remains of the wretched creatures. The local shops were full of odd decorations made from the shells. A local artist had collected enough to build a giant skull, about the size of a car. It was put on display in a small park on the outskirts of the town.

Sometime during the mid 80's there was some kind of epidemic in Turtle Town. Rumors spread of a disease that did something terrible to people's faces. Those afflicted rarely left their houses and when they had to go outside, they wore masks. It got so bad that the local drugstore started carrying a variety of masks when it wasn't Halloween because they'd become such a hot item. People didn't like to go outside at night because that was when those with the masks would go about their business.

It wasn't long before a rumor began to spread about the details of this affliction. Supposedly the people wearing the masks had no faces at all. Of course nobody believed this but it didn't stop some folks from talking about it and wanting to know just what had happened to the faces of those wearing the masks. The family members and close friends of those who had the disease refused to talk about it and became angry whenever it was brought up. So it remained a mystery, until some local kids found something that turned the mystery into a nightmare.

Two teenage boys had been playing with a turtle they'd caught in the nearby woods. It was a larger turtle than was usually found in the area, about the size of a human head. The boys tormented and killed the creature. One of the boys claimed that when it died the turtle let out a human scream. They managed to pry its shelf off and underneath they found the face of old Mrs Reeving, except there were no eyes, just eyelids. And the mouth had no teeth or tongue inside, it was just the face. She was one of the first townsfolk reported to have caught the disease. The boys brought the unshelled turtle to the police station. The officer on duty thought it was a prank until he got the call that Mrs Reeving had died not one hour prior to the boys showing up, the same time they claimed to have killed the turtle.

Old Mrs Reeving's body was brought to the local morgue where it was discovered that she was in fact missing her face. Her head was like a lump of flesh, a chunk of raw clay that had holes poked in it for her eyes and nose. Her mouth was without lips, grotesquely revealing her old yellow smoke stained teeth and dark red gums . It would have been assumed she'd acquired some bizarre form of leprosy but for the evidence of the face on the turtle. A small circle of people in the town knew that something horrifying was happening to their neighbors and it had something to do with the turtles in the woods. It was decided that this strange and terrifying discovery would be kept secret among the small circle who knew of it until more details could be uncovered. The Sheriff, the police officer that had been brought the turtle, the mortician, a local doctor and the 2 boys were the only ones aware of what was happening but they didn't understand how or why.

The next day the Sheriff and his deputy decided to go into the woods to see what they could find. As though the turtles knew this, the shelled beasts disappeared. The Sheriff and his deputy couldn't find a single one. They spent several hours hiking through the woods with no luck until Ralph Beskcar the deputy, found one. It was the largest turtle they'd ever seen, probably half the size of a car. It was sitting in a small pond, its shell protruding through the murky water. This turtle had patterns on its shell that the two men had never seen before. It almost looked like someone had hand carved the intricate and almost facelike patterns onto the shell itself. The turtle finally started moving, it slowly crept out of the water and into the bushes. The two men followed quietly behind it, hoping it might lead them to something that would shed some light on recent events.

It seemed like hours that they followed the creature deeper into the woods. It was getting dark and they were tempted to give up but then they heard it. The sound of whispering was growing louder. The men drew their guns as they followed the turtle into a valley. They could make out a large dark shape in the distance that the whispering seemed to be coming from. The men moved carefully forwards, It wasn't until they were within 10 feet that they realized what they were looking at. A giant turtle whose head was as large as that of a great white shark and shell the size of a two story house. It was sitting quietly and staring at them. They stood still in terror at what they had found, then they noticed the shells, hundreds of them were scattered in every direction. It seemed that the large turtle had eaten all the smaller ones. And the voices they heard were coming from the back of the giant creature. In the dusk it was difficult to make out what they were seeing but they slowly realized what was happening in Turtle Town. The two men walked around the giant turtle and could see that its shell was made up of human faces. Then the turtle lifted its head and let out a strange sort of laughter. It was the laughter of thousands of people, all coming out of its pointed beak mouth.

The men ran as fast as they could back to Turtle Town. When the doctor and mortician asked what they had found, all they could say was turtles. The next day everyone with the disease was found dead. Many funerals were held, the bodies were buried. It was accepted that whatever strange disease the people acquired had died with them. Within half a year life had returned to normal. The turtle with Mrs Reeving's face had decayed to the point that a human face couldn't even be made out of it anymore. The Doctor, mortician and two kids accepted that it had been some kind of weird prank. But late every night the Sheriff and the deputy lay quiet in their beds, both in small homes on opposite sides of the small quiet town but hearing the same thing. While grinding their teeth and holding their breath they could hear the large rumbling sound of elephant like foot steps in the woods outside and thousands of voices whispering, calling to them.

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