There is a story that many parents have told to their children at one time or another. Nobody every believed the story, but they told it any way, mostly to convince them not to talk to stranger, but also because… well, because it might be true.
I used to think it wasn’t true, even when I was just a little squirt trampling through the mud puddles and dirt roads of the town I called home way back when – Deary, Montana. I used to think that the stories of the Bone Man were just… just, well, bullshit.
Nobody had ever seen the Bone Man, and all were glad they hadn’t, I wish I hadn’t seen him, but I did.
It was said that he always came at night, walking down the deserted streets of your town, looking for a nice quite place to lay low. Nobody had ever seen him when he was in town, either, they only knew that he was there because of the bones that he left behind in his hide-out after he was gone.
And nobody ever knew for sure whose bones they were. Not a single soul in town – not Deary anyways – ever went missing around the times the Bone Man was there. But other nearby towns had reports of missing people, oh yes they did.
I’m sure you think that I am some loon, like the ones that claim to have seen Bigfoot or UFOs, but I have seen it, and the stories that I heard as a kid are all true, down to every last detail, even down to the stories about the Bone Man using the bones of his victims as drum sticks to bang on drums made of human flesh – I have seen that, too.
Fine don’t believe me, but at least listen and if, one day, you’re as unfortunate as I was to find yourself face-to-face with the Bone Man in his den, you might remember this story and the advice I have to give and maybe, just maybe, you might live.
It was a bright summer day in July 1941. The war in Europe was just swinging into full swing. My father and, well, every other grown male adult between the ages of eighteen and forty were either in Great Britain or the South Pacific, getting their asses shot off by one of the two evils. Then there was me – fourteen, looking forward to my first year in high school come the next mouth.
With no supervision and a mother working at the local armory, doing her part to help the war, that left me, and sometimes any friends that I could convince to come along, to wonder the street, stirring up whatever trouble came our way.
On one particular Thursday afternoon, I was wondering the streets alone, setting cherry bombs under garbage cans, or looking through the window of the women’s clothing store trying to sneak a peek of the women dressing. Later it was down to the river, just past the old saw mill, where the Missouri and a handful of smaller tributaries all come together to turn a slow, meandering stream into a raging river.
It is on the banks on the west side of the river that a number of overflow pipes can be found. They have heavy, steel metal trap-doors, but not heavy enough where I couldn’t open them and get lost in the labyrinth of piping that spreads out from there to the city proper about a mile further north. It was also here that I came face-to-face with the Bone Man.
Looking back now, I don’t know how he (or it, whatever you want to call it) didn’t hear me coming. Sure, anyone with a little muscle can open those trap-doors and get in, but it’s hard not to let them fall shut with a loud clank that echos through the concrete passages ways. Still as I made my way through these narrow concrete pipes that barely had enough room for me to stand, I came to a large opening where the rain waters collects, and it was there that I first saw it.
It was down at the bottom of the reservoir while I was looking down on it from the piping twenty feet over head. His lair was lined with various pieces of junk – tires, clothing, licence plates, even a top-hat. At first I thought it was some homeless person. He didn’t look all together unhuman, just…wrong, somehow. He was tall, possibly seven feet tall, but he walked with a large arch in his back, so he stood maybe less than six feet tall. He wore a dark blue slicker, the same kind that fishermen wear, and his hair and eyes were as black as midnight. I only know because he turned his head and looked up straight at me, but somehow he didn’t see me, but he could smell me for sure. I could see that grossly deformed nose crinkled as he pinpointed my location to the manhole high above his head.
After that I ran, and I have never seen The Bone Man again.