What really happened to eighteen year old Allegra DiAmicci on her prom night in 1925?
(The fifth chapter from the novel Creating The Keswicks)
They were dead. My two best friends were both dead in less than an instant. And I was next.
Well, forget that. That's what I thought to myself, as I watched the three crazies take the bodies of my friends down from the trees. I'm not going to wait around here to be killed. I have to at least try to get out of here and back to Amnesty. I owe it to my friends to try to get them some justice. So, making the best out of the five or ten minutes I still had before the three guys came back for me, I kicked off my high heels and made my way over to the basement stairs and up the staircase. When I reached the top of the stairs, I breathed a sigh of relief when I noticed that the middle-aged man and the other two did not lock the basement door. It was open by about the
space of six inches. So, I didn't waste any time in getting out of the cellar and back out into the hallway. I quickly surveyed the area to make sure that the three men were not around yet. They weren't. Now, I had a dilemma. What direction do I go in? And what do I do when (if) I get out? Of course, it would be in my best interest to get the ropes off of my wrists.
The answer to the first question was that I was not going to go out the door that led to the parking lot. They would see me as soon as I stepped onto the pavement. So, I had to leave the building in an opposite direction, unknown to them. I thought it was too risky to leave on the opposite side of the building, considering that I would be opening the door onto something not known. Somebody could be waiting for me on the other side of those double doors and it would be all over. So, I had to be careful.
There was one other option. It didn't involve going out the doors that led into the parking lot, and it didn't involve going out the doors in the front of the building. I found out about this option when, coming out of the basement, I walked down to the part of the hallway where I noticed a large office. The office was at the beginning of another hallway that led to another set of doors that were most likely located on the side of the building. This was risky, for I had no idea at what point I would exit, in relation to my captors. My idea was to go out the side doors as quickly as possible and get around to the side of the other building; you know, use it for cover. If I wasn't spotted, I would try to make it into the Amnesty Woods farther down from the scene of the hangings. At least, that was the plan.
But first, I decided to enter the large office. I wanted to see if I could find something sharp enough to cut through the ropes my hands were tied up with. If I could somehow get the ropes off, I would be able to move faster. And once out the door, speed was what I wanted, and a lot of it. But, when I tried both doors to the office, they were locked. No luck there. I had to find a pair of scissors or a knife. The next rooms after the office were classrooms with small wooden desks and a large desk in the front with a blackboard. I entered one and spotted a pencil holder on the teacher's desk with a pair of scissors. I was able to back up to it and knock it over so I could grab the scissors. After a few tries, I got them open and a pretty good grasp on the blade handle. After a few minutes, it seemed like forever-- much too long-- I finally got the ropes cut enough so that I could get them off. I was free. At least, my hands were.
Now came the fun part. I had to get out of the entrance and onto the other side of the building, across the way as quickly as possible, without the older guy and his two young sons seeing me. Or else, I would be dead for sure. I took a couple of deep breaths and went to the double doors. As quietly as possible, I pushed the one on the right open. When the opening was about six to eight inches wide, I stuck my head out and attempted to look down the parking lot. The three guys were in the process of putting my friends' bodies in the back of the bread truck used to bring us here. I checked my watch. It was two-thirty five.
This was it. I took a few more deep breaths and quietly pushed the door open enough to squeeze out. Once I was out, I made sure that the door shut without making a sound. The guys were still preoccupied with the corpses of Vanessa and Rosa. I got ready to run.
“What's your name?”
I couldn't believe it. Standing there before me, outside the door of the adjacent building, was a little girl!
“Honey, go back in. You shouldn't be out here.”
“What's your name?”
I put my finger to my lips.
“Shhh. Allegra, honey. It's Allegra. What's yours?”
“Evie.” She whispered.
“Evie. Evie, listen to me. Get back inside, all right?”
“What are they doing?” Evie said. She pointed in the direction of the three men.
“They're bad men, Evie. But don't worry about them, all right? You just go--”
“She's out! The witch is out of the cellar!”
“C'mon, let's go!” The father motioned to his son. And to the older one, “you stay here,” he said. But I didn't hear this last command.
“Evie, go back inside now!” I yelled.
I took off as fast as I could around the side of the building; the father and the son hot on my heels, but still at least two-hundred feet behind. I got to the end of the building, my bare feet killing me on the hard pavement. I could see the Amnesty Woods not more than a hundred feet beyond the building. I made a break for it, hearing the heavy footsteps of my pursuers. What happened-- or what would happen-- to the little girl, Evie? I had no idea. But I didn't want to think about it.
The point I entered the Amnesty Woods was approximately five-hundred feet from the scene of the hangings. I was not aware, because I dared not turn around, that only two of the men were behind me. One was still at the hanging trees. This was the older one, a nineteen twenties Jeffrey Dahmer look alike. He had now went to a position of about one-hundred-and-fifty feet past the trees to where the bank of the Amnesty River was. He had dropped to one knee, his high-powered rifle raised to his shoulder, waiting to spot me through his scope when I came into view three-hundred feet or so to his right.
The ground began to slope off about one-hundred feet before the bank of the river at a thirty to forty-five degree angle, so I now had to move quickly, but be careful not to fall down the slope. If I did, it would all be over. Somehow, I accomplished this feat. I reached the bottom of the slope, ten feet before the river bank. I dared to look back. The father and his son were just reaching the top of the slope. Thinking fast, I began to run up along the river bank instead of attempting to cross where I was. I did this because I didn't really think that I could cross at this point, the water looked too deep. The Amnesty River is very old, but not a very big river. It's probably only fifty feet wide at its widest point down by the Amnesty Reservoir past Zeeland, and most of the time maybe only thirty feet wide, sometimes even less. The depth of the water varies. There are some parts that are at least three feet deep (or considerably deeper at the reservoir), and other parts that are so shallow and rocky on the bottom that you could practically walk across. Other parts are almost bone dry. The part that I was at now was the right width, but not the right depth. So, I ran up-river in hopes of finding something more shallow. Of course, I didn't know that the older one was waiting for me upstream, rifle cocked and ready. The other reason I began to run up along the bank was that I was hoping to get my pursuers to try to run crosswise on the slope instead of straight down, so that the chances of them losing their footing and falling would be greater. I waited until the two were on the slope and starting their descent straight down before I began to run. They took the bait hook, line and sinker. Seeing me run away from them up the bank, they began to run in my direction, forgetting that they were on an incline. As soon as they changed direction, both mens' feet slipped out from under them and gravity took over. The son tumbled head-over-heels down the slope and landed hard-- a mere ten feet from the river bank. His father, the heavier of the two, did not fare as well. His momentum hurled him straight into the river itself with a plop. I watched as the son just lay there, motionless, and the father flailed about in the river.
About two-hundred feet upstream, I found what I was looking for. Here, the Amnesty River became rocky, shallow and narrow. It was maybe six inches in depth and about fifteen or twenty feet wide. I started across, the fast moving water cool on my sore feet and, at the same time, the rounded rocks and pebbles of the river hard as hell. About midway across, I stopped and quickly looked upstream. The father was out of the river now but not standing. He was on his side, attending to his son, who was still laid out on the bank. He glanced in my direction, but did not leave his son's side. Both were obviously injured.
Sensing freedom, I hurried across the other half of the river and climbed up the opposite bank. I took maybe a thirty second rest to catch my breath before getting to my feet. My goal now was just to run as fast as I could through the woods until I came to the other side, wherever that may be. Hopefully, it would be Amnesty or someplace familiar. I glanced at my watch. It was two forty-five.
I had gone barely twenty feet when I heard it, a deafening blast from some point behind me. Almost immediately, I felt very weak. I slid to my knees, suddenly not able to see out of my left eye. I tried to put my hand to my face, but could not lift my arm. Before the realization of this had sunk in, another loud blast rang out. Losing consciousness, I looked down with my remaining eye. I saw red drenching the front of my white prom dress. Then black.