SITTING AT HIS CAMPFIRE, Mike realized that the mountainous area around him was there for his exploration. It was his vacation, so it was time to make the most out of it. Looking at his watch, Mike noticed that it was about eight o’clock in the evening. It would be a good time for him to scout around the area to see what kind of trouble he could stir up. Peering over to his right, he noticed an old man and his dog. Hmm, it looks like this old man is denying it’s not the 60s anymore. Mike chuckled to himself. The old man’s dog looked at Mike then showed his fangs. The old man looked to be about six foot four and around two hundred thirty pounds. As he smoked his pipe, he glanced at Mike then kindly waved at him.
After searching for his flashlight, Mike put an old army jacket on then left the campsite. Being in the mountains of northern Colorado made him feel free from all the evils of the world. It was a relief for Mike to be retired from the L.A.P.D. as a detective. This hike was his way of escaping from the murdering and plundering of innocent lives in the ghettos of California. Prior to leaving on this trip, Mike had done some research of these mountains and all of the history behind them.
About twenty-six years ago, an escapee from the local mental hospital made his way up into these mountains. He killed a bunch of people before setting himself on fire. Rumors flew around the town of Ashland that a serial killer was hiding in an old cabin. Ashland Colorado had a modest population of four hundred thirty two and most people tended to really exaggerate the story. Mike read the news clippings while reading a paper that his aunt sent to him. This piqued his interest. Mike worked for over three years without a vacation; his section chief ordered him to take a mandatory retirement since he was two months overdue. Investigating was in his blood, researching this rumor would be a good way of spending his time since he decided to branch off and start a new career as a freelance consultant.
According to an old map that his aunt provided him, the cabin where this alleged killer had been holed up was about ten miles deep in the north side of the mountain. Mike grabbed his canteen and filled it with some water from the creek nearby. The water tasted cold and refreshing to his parched tongue. He walked over to his car, grabbed his infrared camera and put the strap around his neck. Something told him to grab his laptop, which had a link to a satellite that would provide him internet access in the mountains. It was time do some hiking up to the cabin that was owned by the forest service. By reading the information on the cabin, Mike found out that the park service kept it supplied. One added benefit to the cabin was that it had power and running water, which could be to his advantage. After getting all of the gear that he thought would be necessary for the trip, he tied his bootlaces then walked up the trail that led to the cabin. Since the murders occurred in the 1980s and it was the year 2006 now, it was a good bet that there would be no one around to bother him. While walking, something told him to take a break and rest for a spell. He sat on an old stump that some couple had carved their initials in and opened his canteen to wet his dry throat. Something told him to pick up a piece of wood and throw it in the creek, however, when he picked it up, something very bizarre happened.
The ground shook and made him fall right over onto it. The piece of wood began to burn red hot, causing his hand to blister. Oh, crap! That hurt! Mike said to himself after placing a handkerchief on his hand then attempting to get up. Mike’s mind wanted to get up but his body was unwilling to cooperate or respond. In the hopes that whatever was happening would cease, he just laid there. He looked over to his right and noticed a young woman slumped over. She looked up at him then pulled herself away from the tree. It appeared that she had impaled herself from her back to her front. Blood dripped from the sharp branch as she walked toward him. Mike heard the gurgling of her breathing the closer she got to him. The breaking of the small branches bellowed aloud with every step that she took. He quickly grabbed his flashlight and shone it in her eyes. She had no pupils. All that could be seen were the whites of her eyes. She had an X carved in her skull. She smiled at him, as she got closer. With saliva and blood rolling out her mouth, she leaned over and came face to face with him. In a split second, he grabbed her wrist to see if she had a pulse. To his dismay, her body was cold and there was no apparent pulse. She pulled a large knife out of her belt and raised it high in the air. Mike’s heart stopped, as he knew that his life would soon end. She quickly vanished from his sight. Weirdly, there was no sign of this ever occurring. What a brain screw! Mike thought to himself.
After getting control of his faculties, Mike got up and headed up to the mountain. While looking at some of the mile markers, he noticed that the cabin was about two more miles from him. He looked at his watch and noticed that two days had gone by from the day that he left. How could this be? he thought to himself. He had just left his campsite a few hours ago. Maybe further investigation into this would shed some light. Within three hours, Mike made it to the cabin still under the cloak of darkness. It appeared that the cabin was not occupied by anyone, which was good for him. He quickly looked under the floor mat and found the key that opened the door. After grabbing the handle, a loud creak roared from the hinges of the door. It smelled very musty but the cabin appeared to be clean. He quickly gathered up some wood and started a fire in the fireplace. A kerosene lamp would allow him sufficient light inside of the cabin. He found an old wooden match then lit the lamp. Weirdly, it was three o’clock in the morning and hunger pains plagued his stomach. With his stomach giving off distress signals, he opened the fridge to see what could be found. There was some lunchmeat, mayonnaise and some pickles. In haste, he made a sandwich, turned his laptop on and decided to do some research further into the murders. Did the X that was carved on the skull of this strange woman have any meaning in this twenty-six year old case? How could this woman make herself appear to a total stranger? How did I lose two days that appeared to be a couple of hours? These questions plagued Mike’s thoughts.
He ran a search in the National CIC database to see what could be found about the murders that occurred twenty-six years ago. Was that killer ever brought to justice? Did any more killings happen years after the alleged crimes were committed? After the internet link opened, there was an article about some killings that occurred in Ashland Colorado. This meant that Mike hit the nail on the head. Who was this killer? Was he really an escapee from the local mental hospital? It appeared that James Calter, the escapee from Ashland State Hospital was never found. The total amount of killings matched that of the alphabet, which appeared to be a little bizarre to him. After 1980, no further murders had occurred. After six months of searching for James Calter, the case went cold. Could James be lurking around in the mountains of Colorado? Why did he only kill twenty-six people? By reading further in the article, there was speculation that people had seen Mr. Calter in the town of Ashland. However, by appearance of the article, it was pure speculation and there was little or no truth in the words written about him. Something told him that James Calter did not burn up. The amount of killings could mean that he had found a way to gain eternal life. However, something also told him that even though twenty-six years had gone by, the killings would start up again. Mike also felt in his gut that every twenty-six years, James Calter had to kill again to maintain his immortal status. Working on some of the cases as detective, Mike realized that he had to get in the mind of this killer. He decided to link to the local library of Ashland Colorado and see what could be found on the history of this small town. To his surprise, a very interesting fact popped up on the screen of his laptop. In 1994, the F.B.I. was researching a case that involved a band of alleged witches. The F.B.I. found that groups of people were meeting to practice their craft. On this land stood a cabin and a barn where it was rumored that they were sacrificing animals. The F.B.I. shut them down and jailed most of the members. The case was never really solved. It appeared that a couple members of the Ashland Community became very wealthy. It was his job to see if any of this was linked to James Calter.