Everyone knew where the Carpenter’s lived. The curious drove or walk past their house hoping to catch a glimpse of the girl from the woods, the girl who was still 15 years old even though she disappeared 15 years ago. Her father Martin shooed people away unless they were from their church, but that only lasted so long. Church folk began to ask questions about demons and Satan and this made Martin and his wife Cathy uncomfortable.
“Demons had nothing to do with this,” Martin told a couple of deacons. “I won’t have that talk in my house about my daughter.”
Pranksters couldn’t resist, either. Ding-dong-ditch. Toilet papering the tree in the front yard. They thought they were being hilarious until Martin started greeting them at the door with a shotgun.
Martin chased away any media seeking an interview. They came from all over, too, to the Carpenters’ house in search of a story. Cameras, microphones, tape recorders, reporters, journalists. No one got close, but no one stayed away.
Nathan stood on the sidewalk watching Martin dismiss people. He wanted so desperately to talk to Susan and find out what happened to her, but figured a father with a shotgun was too much of a deterrent.
That night, well after the family was asleep, Nathan stood at his windows, curtains drawn as they had been since the face appeared. Swallowing hard, Nathan jerked the curtains open in a display of courage. There, standing in the snow, stood Susan Carpenter.