The Timber Mills Correspondence

Submitted into Contest #37 in response to: Write a story that takes place in the woods.... view prompt



[Correspondence letter: From Investigator Charles Chevenuer; Forest Lake, CA; To: Chief James Mackson; Riverside City, CA Police Department; Date: 4/26/1986]

Dear Chief Mackson,

As a result of a pro-longed investigation, the clues have led me to a small lake town in Forest Lake, California. A village town, that has recently boomed in tourism due to its new Mayor’s lake revival project; has also found itself in the mouth of controversy.

           Upon my arrival, a string of gruesome murders begun taking place in the deeper parts of the forest. Teenagers vacationing with their parents have been venturing off the beaten path in search of a locally whispered, waterfall. Explained as an oasis to naive teenage children looking for any excuse to make their trip, “interesting”.

           After settling in, I can see that most of the people living here have not been to the “big city”. However, Forest Lake, California is not where my trail ends. The children that go missing are vacationing in Forest Lake, but the waterfall edges an old mountain town that is sparsely located throughout the region. There is not a formal name officially given to the town, but the people of Forest Lake have come to call it, Timber Mills

           I spoke with the locals that knew a path that led to the waterfall. They are also the one’s I am suspecting were who told the teenagers about the waterfall’s whereabouts. I did not have much inclination to believe that it would be anyone from this town – at the time. I have not counted them out and have logged their names and profiles for later reference. Revelations found and expressed later in this letter will explain my reuse of their perspective’s.


I am no means from a “big city” but driving out towards Timber Mills made me feel like I live in a mega metropolis. The first person I met in this parcel of a town is foreman of the lumber mill. Other professions in the area include pelt trading, hunting and fishing. The foreman’s name was Willy Metts. Nice enough fellow and of course, didn’t say much. No one in this town says, much. I do not hold high hopes in finding the missing children, I initially thought; if it was not for the local priest.

           He came to me in a worried bout of anxious tension; when he approached me after I had spoken with the last villager willing to speak – more than two grunts. I was happy to have finally made a break through but the story he told me did not lend me any comfort. Going by his recollection of the situation, the town has found annoyance in the mayor’s initiative to attract tourists.

           Dictated by the orders of an ancient group of mountain zealots; villagers were implanted in Forest Lake to convince the teenagers to go to the waterfall. What they did with them, I do not know, for the Priest did not have any further details as to the location of the bodies; nor, the result of the kidnapping.

That is where I find myself. The Priest has become my companion for the last two days. I have stayed in a motel outside of both towns to not rustle too many feathers with my constant appearance. They surely understand that there is an investigation going on, but I do not want them to feel that any breech into their daily lives is at stake; enabling the killer to easily hide amongst a panic.

As a matter of fact, I have been using the priest as my informant. Dutiful Pastor Williamson, has been detrimental in providing me with the information needed to proceed in this investigation. I would like to have that marked for the records, when this is all said and done.

I am going to be sending a string of letters as to mark the revelations of my investigation. The phone’s in this motel are spotty and I was told by the priest that somehow, they monitor the lines. So, I chose sending letters as the best possible correspondence. Look out for them, for I may find myself needing assistance if this turns out to be dangerous. I know you may think that my situation is already dire, but I am unsure about what the priest is telling me. So, I am inhaling his information with short breaths. Will have more to report.



[Correspondence letter: From Chief James Mackson; Riverside City, CA Police Department; To: Investigator Charles Chevenuer; Forest, Lake CA; Date: 4/27/1986]

Dear Charles,

Be careful and watch out for those mountain types. A bunch of old mystic folk live in those hills. I wish you had not kept us in the dark when you were following your clues. An agent from St. Louis had the same conclusion as you. His secretary telephoned us not too long ago. Apparently, they were investigating the murders for some time now. A family had vacationed in Forest Lake for the weekend and what do you know – their kid went missing.

The detective went down to investigate, but he crashed on the way there and was not able to conduct questioning. However, after further investigation of the car, they found that there was a passenger – brandishing a gun.

           The Police Department in St. Louis has been turning out the body to see if they can find any origin; and after conducting an autopsy, they concluded that the body had been that of a choir boy living in Forest Lake; about 18-19 years of age. I would not trust the priest.

           Charles, come back at once. We attempted to phone you because no one had known where you had gone. We understand as a private investigator; that that is your custom, but nonetheless, we called immediately to your household and a man claiming to be you had answered. We assumed you were ok. Hearing him had initially swayed our worries that you were not in any danger. Then – we received your letter. It is not safe in Forest Lake.

Leave as soon as you receive this. We will reconvene when you come back and then we can make up a game plan for further investigation.


Chief Mackson

[Correspondence letter: From Investigator Charles Chevenuer; Forest Lake, CA; To: Chief James Mackson; Private Residence; Date: 4/30/1986]

Dear Chief Mackson,

I have not received any correspondence from you? Have you received my letter? I checked with the post to see if it was sent and that it was not resent back to my address – it was received.

           In the last few days, things have been off. My informant has gone dark and I fear that they may have figured him for spy. I am supposed to meet him at our usual spot (location withheld in case of interception) but I worry, it may be a trap.

            I have also discovered interesting connections to a city in St. Louis– [scribbled and incomplete]

[Page torn]

[New piece of paper]


Your investigator has stirred up a bee’s nest out here in Forest Lake. He woke up the Red Chantry. I tried to help him, I really did, but there is only so much a towns mayor can do – you see. Nonetheless, I am sure you have figured out the fact that while reading this; I am to have part in the Red Chantry; if you had that assumption then it would be a remarkably correct one.

           Regardless of whether you figured it out or not; we are sending this letter to your private residence for you to read as we simultaneously kidnap you – your children – and your wife. Please do say hi to Mr. Fortenberry and Williamson, for me – look up.   

– M. 

April 16, 2020 21:29

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19:32 Apr 23, 2020

Like the way the story is told using "correspondence." Unique style.


Troy Chavez
00:42 Apr 25, 2020

Thank you, Christine! I appreciate that.


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