Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Something happened, and it was terrible. Something I try not to think about, but I remember every detail. I especially remember the swing. Pull up a chair and I will tell you about the day I would prefer to forget.
The Henderson's, Lenny and his wife Belinda, has just moved into the neighborhood May of 1983. They seemed to be a lovely couple and were totally devoted to their 16 year old son, Carmen. We now know that the picture they painted for the world to see was far from the dark world they lived in.
The newcomers to the small town waived, smiled and made pleasant conversation with anyone they came in contact with. They put out a beautiful doormat and hung a brand new porch swing. They made themselves at home in our small town.
At some point in time they began retreating more and more inward until they only left their house for quick trips to unknown destinations. They avoided contact with the neighbors. They hid inside, away from everyone.
We thought that they were frugal as they kept the house very dark. Only one small lamp could be seen through the tiny attic window, Carmen's room. Some folks said they heard moans, screams and other noises coming from the house, from the attic. Rumors and gossip flowed freely. It became an obsession with some of the neighbors to find out what was happening inside the house. Some tried to snoop, without much success.
One evening late in the summer Lenny and Belinda were on their front porch, which was a rare occurrence. Not only were they outside, but they settled down on the swing and we could hear the soft moan of the chains as the swing moved back and forth, back and forth.
It was just about dark and I gave up spying on them and headed to our bedroom. I was feeling rather content, after all, the neighborhood seemed quiet and peaceful. I assumed that whatever dilemma the Henderson's had been facing was over and they were back to normal.
The next morning I looked out the bedroom window, which had a clear view of the Henderson's swing. My voice wanted to scream, but nothing came out. What I saw on the swing was almost too horrible to describe to you....
Lenny's legs and arms had been torn from his body. Belinda's head had been cut off and was sitting on the swing between the two mutilated bodies. Blood was everywhere.
I was transfixed, wide eyed and in total disbelief. My husband Sam came running over to see what I was staring out. He immediately ran to the phone to call the police. We knew it was too late for those two, but what if Carmen was still alive and needed help.
As the sirens were nearing and the flashing lights could been seen on the patrol car the mystery ended. Carmen appeared, almost from nowhere, very much alive.
Before my brain could process that, I saw the knife blade glistening in the sun. The knife was covered with blood, his parents' blood. Carmen's clothes were blood red from his shirt to his sneakers.
The police yelled to him to put down the knife as Carmen approached the swing. In one swift motion he pushed the bodies off of the swing and he sat down.
He picked up his mother's head and said, "This one is for you Mother", as he plunged the knife deep into his own heart and the scream he made was deafening. Then it was quiet, very quiet as blood poured from Carmen and the evil ended.
During their investigation the police found medical records showing that Carmen had severe mental problems his entire life. He hated his parents and blamed them for bringing him into the world.
Although he was under the care of a medical team they did not feel that he was dangerous to himself or to others. Unfortunately they were wrong. I cannot stand to look at a swing because it triggers the memories of that scene.
The house was eventually boarded up. The wonderful little neighborhood changed forever. We thought about moving but we didn't want to give up our home that we loved so much.
To this day I get chills thinking back to what happened. Wait, what do I see across the street? Is that a new couple moving in? They have a son. Yes, and they are putting out a new doormat and....oh no, no, no. Not that please, don't do it - don't hang up the swing.
Photo belongs to AbbyG
Note: I wrote this story several years ago and thought this is the perfect time of year for me to share it with you. This is in no way a true story. The realtors we have used over the years are all alive and well.
Staff writer Abby G.