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Old 11-30-2018, 03:54 AM
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Default The Wolves Of Manchester

I am a content writer for the Manchester Union Leader. When I am on assignment I get to enjoy the New Hampshire country side, eat in every new restaurant that opens, and attend all the fairs, and festivals and write general articles of interest that fill the Leaders pages
When I am not writing and I want solitude to think, I take my camera along and go fishing. This is exactly what I was doing during the hot summer month of August. This time my escape from the heat, the office, my wife Beverly and my 12 year old daughter Sylvia, was on a small lake in Sullivan County named Little Sunapee.
It was there that I found myself standing on a wooden dock next to a shirtless man. He was sitting in a canvas chair wearing only swimming trunks and drinking from a pint bottle of Canadian Club whiskey. He had a long cane pole propped against the railing while he patiently watched a red and white plastic bobber floating on the clear water.
I have learned that it is often better to say excuse me, than may I. Not being shy, I put down my equipment, started assembling my fishing rod and said “How is the fishing”
Without looking or turning around he said. I am not fishing I am thinking, and whoever you are this is private property and you are trespassing.
I have been told many times the same thing, only to find that it was not true. I had walked quite a distance along the shore to find this spot and I was not about to go away without at least knowing If he was telling the truth.
I don’t see a private property; keep out, no trespassing signs .so why should I not fish here?
He turned around to look me. His face was etched in lines of sadness and I was taken by the over whelming look of despair he presented.
I built this dock, and the house you see behind it. I never thought that some stranger would come along and arrogantly park his ass on my land .And then question me about a no trespassing sign.
I turned away and looked at the house he was talking about .It was a very pleasant setting , a small neat cottage and garage built with carefully fitted field stones, the roof was covered with hand split cedar shakes that now were covered with lichen moss. The yard was recently mown and red tulips bordered the paving stone walkway the led to this wooden dock.
I am sorry for intruding. Please accept my apology, then I picked up my tackle and started to leave.
Do you mind if I take a few photos of your home before I leave’ I asked?
If that is what it takes to get you off my dock go ahead, but why do you want to?
I am a writer for the Manchester Union Leader, and your home is just the sort of place that few city folks have ever seen. If I have your permission I will purplish it in the Sunday’s travel and entertainment edition.
In that case you may not take any pictures, and I will be damned if you can write anything about me.
The last thing I want is to have a bunch of nosey people poking and prying into my life again. I cannot take any more of that.
He got up from his chair, came up to me, glared into my eyes and yelled. “Now get to hell out of here before I throw you, your camera and gear into the lake.”
It was very obvious he meant it; I apologized once more and left.
While I was walking back to my car I began thinking about this man and his words. ”The last thing I want is nosey people poking and prying in to my life again.”
My curiosity was aroused and I determined that when I returned to my office to find out what this man was hiding and why he looked so despondent and sad. When I got home I put away my fishing gear and went into the kitchen, gave Beverly a kiss on her neck and a pat on her butt.
No fish today dear, I was thrown out of this man’s property before I could even wet a line. He seems to be a very odd duck and tomorrow I am going to do a bit of detective work and find out more about him. She smiled and said “Thatīs nice, I am glad you had a good day and there are no fish clean. Now change your cloths and wash up. I fixed something special for supper, stuffed onions, mushroom caps and grilled eggplant with veal chops.
After supper I went out side with Sylvia to play her favorite game of hide and seek .I could not help thinking how fortunate I am to have her and my beautiful wife as my life’s companions.
The next morning I used the county maps and located the lot. Then i called the County Register of Deeds to find out who owned the property on the lake Little Sunapee. I talked to the very helpful clerk and explained I worked for the Union Leader, and then gave her my phone and fax.
She said she would fax me as soon as she found time to look up the title, when it was purchased, and who the present owner is.
I finished the Sunday article about Profile Lake and all of the attractions there, and was going home to my wife when the Fax came in. I took it out of the machine stuck in into my briefcase and left my office. .
In the morning as soon as I was in my office, I took out the fax and found it had all the information I had asked for.
“ Lot # 266 Little Sunapee Lake, Scott Thomas Pinkerton ,Registered as purchaser in 1992 paid $17,400.00 dollars ,received a building permit for a single private dwelling in December 1991, yearly property taxes $600.00 no delinquencies.”
There was something very familiar about the name, while tried to recall where I had heard it, my editor came into my office.
Ralph Shoemaker is the person who knows everything and everyone in Sullivan, Merrimack and Rockingham Counties. He has been working at the Union Leader since the fifties and reads and edits everything that the paper puts into print .He looked over my shoulder at my computer screen. When he saw the name Pinkerton he asked me what I was doing. I told him of my meeting at Sunapee Lake and how he threw me off his property.
Bill, you have met one of the most unfortunate men that I know of. I have often wondered what happened to him after his daughter disappeared. That was the biggest story to hit Rockingham County. It was front page news nationwide. It devastated him, destroyed his marriage and subjected him to a long and painful investigation that I think eventually caused his wife to take her own life.

Now I got to go, just stopped by to tell your next assignment is the hot air balloon show in Deerfield next week.
That explained the melancholy man at the lake, and became the motivation I needed to find out all I could about this man.
The first part as simply a matter of searching the archives of The Union Leader, The first headline I found was dated April 6th 19 96. I looked at the photograph of a smiling girl with blonde hair dressed in a neat school uniform. She was holding a tennis racket and I was struck by her resemblance to my daughter.
Missing Twelve Year Old Girl
A young girl has disappeared from the Auburn boarding school.
Sylvia Pinkerton was last seen walking away from the school on the morning of May 4th.She was going to a tennis match sponsored by the school. She was dressed in a wool plaid blue and white skirt, white blouse, navy blue waist length jacket, black loafers and carrying her tennis racket. If you have seen this girl or know her whereabouts please contact your local police. I looked at the photo again and was struck by the thought of how much she resembled my own daughter, and the coincidence that they had the same first name.
I spent hours researching, and reading the stories surrounding her disappearance.
The last one published 6 weeks later was on page two, and consisted of a recap of the incident and said that no trace of the girl had been found despite many searches of the using cadaver dogs, and extensive interviews with her parents, school mates and administrators. Authorities have concluded that she is to be listed as abduction, or possible runaway who disappeared under suspicious circumstances, the investigation was ongoing.
Determined to find out more, I once again looked up Pinkerton, and then i found an article dated June 20 1996.
Janet Pinkerton, mother of the missing Auburn Boarding School student Sylvia Pinkerton and wife of Scott Pinkerton died in a one car accident on route 4 at 10.00 pm.
Autopsy report shows at the time she was under the influence of alcohol and prescription narcotics. When her husband was finally notified, he was working on an oil drilling platform operated by Brown and Root Company in the Gulf of Mexico-
Memorial service to be held at the Howard Funeral Home in Manchester New Hampshire, on June twenty third at 10, 30 AM.
It was still daylight when I got home, I found Beverly working in her greenhouse.
Well, you are a surprise I did not expect you home till six.
Bev, I have been researching that man I told you I met at the lake, and now I know why he looks so forlorn. In 1996 his daughter disappeared and has never been found, and two months later his wife was killed in an automobile crash.
After thinking about him, and what he said to me about people meddling in his life. I have come to the conclusion that he is going to commit suicide, and he is going to do soon, and I don’t know what to do about it.
Oh Bill this is terrible, if you are sure, we have to do something, At least we need to go and talk to him and see if you are right, or if your imagination is running wild. Can we go visit him, perhaps you are wrong?
I don’t think he takes kindly to anyone, but maybe if we were the go as a family picnic he might not throw us off his land .Did I tell you his daughter is also named Sylvia?
I have to go to the Deerfield hot air balloon festival early Sunday morning. Why don’t we all go? I will make arrangements so we can take a short tethered ride together while I take photos for the Sunday’s paper.
Sunapee Lake is close by; we can fix a picnic lunch and take a swim there. If I introduce him to you, then Sylvia can try to convince him to let us use his dock to swim from.
We got to the fairgrounds just as the sun was rising and I took photos of the men and women who were in the process of unpacking tons of ropes, propane, and oxygen tanks, their wonderfully colored balloons and wicker gondola baskets. By 8 AM five of them were slowly making their assent into cloudless sky. There were two commercial balloon pilots that offered short rides to the tourists. Their balloons were firmly anchored to the ground with ropes that allowed the riders to ascend into the air far enough to provide a wonderful view of the country side, and then lower them back to the point of departure
Wanting to take some aerial photos I arranged to take Sylvia and Beverly with me so they could share the experience... While we were floating high in the air I was amazed at how precise and mysterious the miles of stone walls the farmers of New Hampshire had put up during the seventeenth and eighteenth looked. I wondered if they had been put in place using a surveyor’s transit. I had never noticed them until today even though they are a common sight in New Hampshire.
When we touched back down on the earth, Sylvia wanted to take a real trip, and fly over the whole country of America. I thought about the cost of such an adventure and gave her the only reply that would keep me out of the doghouse. I said, dearest, that sounds exciting. Your mom and I will discuss it later. Now we are planning to go swimming at the lake and have a nice picnic.
Scott Pinkerton was in his usual place staring at the red and white plastic bobber, when he heard a woman’s voice call out “Sylvia don’t go too far out in the water” .The shock of hearing his daughters name brought him instantly out of his chair. At first he could not believe he had heard the name Sylvia.
Then he looked to his left and saw a girl with long blonde hair .She was waving at her mother who was standing knee deep in the lake. Again the woman called “Sylvia come out now the lunch is ready.” Then a man wearing swimming trunks appeared and dove into the water, when he reached the girl a hoisted her onto his shoulders as she laughed and splashed him with water. While they were wading to shore the man turned to him and waved.
Scott instantly recognized him as the man he had thrown off of his dock earlier in the week.
He was tempted to turn his back and ignore him, but when he looked at the girl the only thought that entered his mind was, how much she looked like his own daughter.
Instead he walked off of his dock and went to talk to the intruding picnickers. As he approached he heard the girl say “Look, Daddy that man, is coming over here.”I took Sylvia off my shoulders, set her down, and told her that the man owned the house and dock next to us.
Scott Pinkerton stood staring at the young girl, and her parents. He could not make up his mind whether to say hello, or to tell them to leave. Then the girl smiled at him and said. Mister, can I use your dock to swim from?
The sound of her voice caused such a turmoil in him it took him time to answer her, and when he did. He said. I think that would be ok, I built it for my daughter Sylvia, but no one has used it for a long time.
Mister, your daughter is name Sylvia also, that makes us Name Sisters.
At school if a girl has the same first name we become sisters. We tell each other our secrets, and become lifelong friends. No one has my same first name, so now I have one too. Is she here? Can I meet her?
Scott shook his head and his voice cracked when he said, I cannot introduce you to her, she has gone away. But later after you have had your lunch and you come over to my dock I can show you pictures of her
I chose that moment to stick out my hand in a gesture of friendliness.
“We haven’t introduced ourselves and I owe you an apology for my rudeness last week. I am Bill Joyce, this chatterbox is 12 year old Sylvia, and this is her mother Beverly”. He replied I am Scott Pinkerton. When I shook his hand it was impossible not to notice how calloused by hard work it was.
Beverly said hello, and then surprised me when she invited him to share lunch with us. He stood undecided and finally said, No thank you I have just finished eating.
Sylvia reached into the picnic basket and then gave him a large cookie. Mr. Scott you have to try my special cookie; it is my very own recipe. I invented it for the school bake sale, and everyone loved them. I call them the Smile cookie, because everyone who ate one gave me a big smile, and told me how delicious it was.
Scott reluctantly took the cookie from her hand. Saying as he did. It has been a very long time since I have smiled.
Well, Mr. Scott you take a big bite, and I am sure that it will make you smile again. A hint of smile suddenly formed in the corners of that sad face. He took a bite, smacked his hands together and with a large grin said. Sylvia, this cookie must have a magic ingredient, I am smiling.
Now you eat lunch and I will see you later. Then still smiling he left and returned to his property.
Beverly and I looked at one another, and then she said, Bill you were right that man is suffering inside. We must help him if we can and I think our daughter has the key.
Scott Pinkerton went up the stone walkway, past the tulip beds that his wife and daughter had planted and with a sigh of resignation opened the front door. Every time he did this in the past he was drunk. Today for the first time he was still sober. He went into the living room and took down from the field stone fireplace mantle a large photo album. He held in his work harden hands and thought how his life had been changed since the last photos had been placed in it. Then he slowly shook his head as if to clear the thoughts from his mind, as he carried the album down to his dock.
He had been sitting there for an hour when the girl and her father arrived. The girl walked up to him and asked if it was alright if she jumped in the water.
He started to say yes, when her father Bill said, Sylvia canīt you see that Mr. Pinkerton is fishing, as he pointed to the bobber. Scott put down the album, reached for the fishing rod and lifted the bobber from the water. I never put a baited hook on it. I just watch it and think. Now you may use my dock as much as you like. Instantly she flew of the deck and hit the water with a splash. As they watched Sylvia swimming Bill scratched his head in confusion.
Scott, do you mean to tell me that you never wanted to catch a fish, only sit and watch a hook less bobber. Do even like to fish?
Fish, I do not consider the minnows in this lake fish, when I am at work I use this size fish for bait, to catch tuna, barracuda, red snapper and even marlin.
I wish I had taken my daughter out on this lake to see how she would react if she caught a fish, but I was too busy building this dock and the house and making money. I never got to do it .Now I sit here watching a bobber and think of how much I miss her.
I have to return to my job this week, I work on an offshore deep water oil platform and i will be away for at least five weeks. There is a canoe in the garage. If you want to take your daughter out on the lake so you will never have missed the chance to see her catch a fish, you have my permission to use it any time while I am gone. As a matter of fact, if you want to take her out today, I know a cove where there is several decent size bass. I can get the boat out and we could take her there. I have made up my mind that will never see my daughter again, but it would be nice to see yours catch her first fish...
That is very kind of you Scott, why don’t you ask her? She really likes you and so does her mother, I am not sure that she will go, as she stays close to Beverly...Scott stood the called out “Sylvia would you like to go fishing? Sylvia waved her arms and called back. No thank you Mr. Pinkerton, I am having too much fun here.
From behind them Beverly said. I have never wanted to kill a poor fish either. Why don’t you men go and leave us here. I will enjoy a swim with her. Scott looked at me and said. I need to talk. Help me to get the canoe out and carry it down here, then He gave the album to Beverly. When you finally get your daughter out of the water and dried off, she can look at this.
At the garage he pointed to a key hidden in a crevasse in the stone wall. I will leave it here in case you want to use the canoe while I am away.
The canvas covered twelve foot Grumman canoe was next to a new Toyota pickup. Scott pulled it off tossed into the bed of the truck. From a rack he took two fishing rods, a box of tackle and lures, life jackets, a net and the paddle into the canoe. Then he said. The easy part is done, now all we have to do is carry it all down to the dock.
Once the two men were paddling away, the women found a comfortable place in the sun and opened the album.
Scott was strong, and he silently drove the canoe with determination to a quiet cove on the north side of the lake.
Finally he spoke.
I came here this May. The same day my daughter disappeared two years earlier. I had a pistol, ready to blow my brains out. My daughter had not been found and that drove my wife to the edge of insanity. She started take medications for depression and was drinking too much. Then one night while I was on the oil rig I got a call from the local police, they told me that she had died in a car accident
I flew home and made calls to her mother and father. There was an ugly argument with them. They accused me of not caring and also insinuated that I had been responsible for Sylvia’s disappearance, because I had given the school my permission for her to participate in a tennis match in town. I have been carrying this overwhelming guilt ever since.
While I sat in this canoe trying to find the courage to pull the trigger, a doe walked out of the woods and stepped into the water.
She saw me, but made no move to leave. Instead she came closer. When she was not more than a dozen steps away she looked straight at me. I don’t know how to explain this to you Bill, but I felt as if she was trying to tell me something.
I could sense that she was my daughter saying. Don’t give up Daddy, you must find these killers. They are a vicious pack of wolves that prey on the innocent. Find the ones that are butchering the deer, and you will find the ones who have killed me. Then the doe slowly turned and disappeared into the woods.
I know this is unbelievable. But I am sure that there is somehow a connection. I need you to help me. You have access to do a search on deer that have been killed in the area. Will you please do that for me while I am gone?
Scott, I also have a daughter and it is impossible for me to not help you. I promise you I will, but to be honest, I don’t recall many stories about wolves in this area .I think we need to go back to the dock.
As we headed back to the dock Scott said .I have thought about this every day for months and I think it is human wolves. If it was animals they would have found the remains of Sylvia a long time ago.
And how do you explain the still unidentified woman whose remains they found devoured by animals? Why was her body found in the woods on the other side of a stone wall after the snow melted? Someone had to have put her there, had to throw her body over the wall to conceal her in a ten foot snow drift for the entire winter. I don’t think one person could do that without help.
As we approached the dock Scott said, Bill I am glad you came back here, and brought your family with you. It is getting dark and I know you must go now, so I will put the canoe away later. Thank you so very much for listening to me.
To be continued
__________________
"What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life by him who interests his heart in everything"-Lawrence Sterne
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