Sleepers Unbound #14: A Note From the Author: Part One of ThreeMar 23, 2017
In the fourth grade I wrote a book about a boy lost in the woods. His dog, an old, wise Golden Retriever eventually found the boy, deep behind a series of valleys, tucked beneath the canopy of a wide tree in the midst of a thunderstorm just before a quiet fox began to pounce on the young boy. The dog eventually led the boy back home. The boy had dinner with his mother that night. The dog, having used the last of his strength to rescue the boy, followed some primitive instinct—which succumbs a dog in his final hours—into the woods.
That story was titled, “The Forever Bound Friendship”. The assignment was one of the hallmarks of the fourth grade. You got to be a published author. And boy, did the parents adore us then. If I’m remembering correctly, Johnson, my friend to this day, wrote a story about a pet octopus that could read words, but only if they were aligned backwards.
“The Forever Bound Friendship” quickly gained traction among the teachers as being a story with depth. Mrs. Shipley, my teacher, cried when she read it out loud to my parents at a parent-teacher conference. She said I was a very special boy. For two weeks, I was getting special treatment from all of the adults. I would get A’s on spelling tests even though I had spelled some of the words wrong. Even the lunch ladies were giving me an extra slice of pizza with extra sauce. For two weeks, I was a celebrity. And then the local paper caught wind of my success and they sent a journalist to the school to interview me during recess with Mrs. Shipley. He asked the basics. Where’d you come up with the idea? Do you have a dog at home? Who inspires you to write?
Long story short, the article was published and distributed across the county. By the end of the week, everyone knew I was a phony. A cheat. A liar. I had copied the story verbatim from a children’s book my little brother had accidentally forgotten to return to the school library when he was in the fourth grade. I had found it in his closet one weekend while I tried to find his baseball cards. I don’t know why I kept it. I guess I liked the pictures of the dog. The title of that book was called “The Rain Patters.”
I’m not an author. Not by a long shot. But I am a writer. Every interview, every case, it’s all written down. Every detail of it. It goes into a report. When Ms. Gill came to visit me that afternoon, I had no idea what was about to happen. What I did know, and what I know even better now, is how quickly things can change.
The forum was only the beginning. It was the gate-door to the mansion. It was the map to the map of the map. When Brick House Publishing first approached me about the investigation, I told them to get lost. Maybe not as gracefully as that, but you get the idea.
You gotta understand, a lot of people hated me. They thought a lot of things. They thought I had planted evidence. That I was a liar. That I was somehow jealous of Miles Granger’s success. There was that investigative YouTube channel that found my article from the fourth grade, and the next morning it was being displayed on every major network.
A year after The Storehouse Slaughter that unraveled everything, I am finally regaining my former life. The death threats still come, but they’re mostly young kids, totally consumed with the counter-culture which was born from the events of last year. Mostly, these days, I can enjoy a cup of coffee in peace. My wife still spends the weekends with her mother on the East Coast, but we think maybe it’ll be safe for her to come home permanently by Christmas.
When Brandon Upton of Brick House Publishing approached me the second time, nearly a month later, I agreed to meet with him. He wanted to set the record straight, mostly. And I guess so did I. They’ll be publishing a book about the events that transpired, about the four writers who thought they had a chance to wear the skin of Miles Granger. And in the mean time, I have been asked to share the findings of my investigation.
I can’t help but to think, if I had believed Ms. Gill that day, that hour, that minute, maybe she’d still be alive.
That’s really why I agreed to prelude Brick House’s book. Because at the very least, in case they get it wrong, Lucy Gill deserves to have her story told.
– Joshua Blake
© Elliott J. Scott 2017. All Rights Reserved.