Chapter 6: One of The Missing: A Tale From The Summer of 1958
This section only has one line: "They weren’t all found. No; they weren’t all found. And from time to time wrong assumptions were made."
We get the story of Eddie Corcoran, and his abusive step-father Richard P. Macklin, through a series of newspaper clippings.
The story unfolds slowly: first Eddie is missing, and people fear for the worst.
His younger brother, who recently died, is exhumed.
It turns out that he was bludgeoned to death…even though his mother and step-father brought him in to the hospital claiming he had fallen off a ladder.
Teachers of both Eddie and his little bro go on the record saying that the boys came to school with bruises, swollen eyes, and sprained fingers. They said that their stepfather was to blame.
The stepfather eventually confesses, sobbing, that he beat Eddie's little brother to death with a hammer.
He's sentenced to serve time in prison…but only for the murder of the younger Corcoran boy. He has an ironclad alibi for when Eddie went missing, and also alibis for the other ten (gulp!) missing children in 1958.
Nine years later, Richard Macklin commits suicide, leaving an ominous note: he saw Eddie, who was dead.
Here's where we learn what happened to lil' Eddie.
As it turns out, he's totally dead.
He dies on the last day of school, the same day that Ben and Bill and (the other) Eddie become bros.
Life for Eddie…kind of sucks.
His father is truly an abusive dirtbag, who throws metal chairs at him and rubs mashed potato into his hair and smashes him into a coat rack until he pees blood.
And, after what happened to Eddie's little brother, no one takes him to the hospital.
Eddie's grades aren't great—that will happen when you're being abused and your stepfather murders your younger brother.
So Eddie decides to sit by the canal instead of going home.
Bad call, Eddie.
Eddie is just sitting there, staring at the water of the canal and imagining his stepfather being carried away by the raging current…
…when he feels a hand close on his foot.
When he looks down, he realize it's his little brother, Dorsey.
And Dorsey is dead.
His skin is pallid, his head is caved in, his teeth are scraggly and yellow, and it looks like something took a bite out of his heel.
Dead Dorsey asks if Eddie is glad to see him, and Eddie can only croak.
Finally, Eddie is able to get up and scream, and run.
Unfortunately, he runs smack into a huge tree, bloodying his face and cracking his shoulder.
But he's filled to the brim with adrenaline, so he keeps running.
Something is running after him, though: something that stinks.
In fact, it smells just like a pile of rotting fish.
Eddie looks back—bad call, Eddie—and sees the Creature From The Black Lagoon.
A nasty fish-man hybrid with razor-sharp nails.
Running blindly, Eddie trips over a bench…and it's all over.
The creature hunches over him, cuts his carotid artery, and rips off his head.
Then, It changes form.
Mike Hanlon wakes up from bad dreams.
He's compelled, weirdly, to go out on an early morning bike ride—really early morning. It's like 5 am.
He doesn't think this is strange; he feels like he's just following a weird whim.
He ends up at the park where Eddie Cocoran tangled with the Creature From The Black Lagoon, and sees matted grass, leading away in a trail.
He picks up a pocket knife, etched with the initials E.C.
Huh, he thinks. A body was dragged away.
There's a weird push and pull in his mind: he understands the severity of the situation, but is pretending that he's pretending. He keeps telling himself it's just like Alfred Hitchcock presents.
It's, um, not.
There's also a memory that keeps trying to surface in Mike's brain: something about a bird.
Something he saw that spring.
Following the trail of matted grass, he finds a bloodied cloth.
We get a little bit of Mike's story in this section and, from what we hear, this kid has an awesome childhood.
Especially his relationship with his dad: they make a really adorable pair.
His dad and him have a ritual of doing chores. After all, they live on a farm, so there's always work to be done.
But they almost make a game out of it: taking the old, battered truck to prepare the soil for planting seeds, weeding, harvesting…it's all kind of sweet and loving.
Both Mike and his dad love local history, and Mike's dad makes sure to send him on little hunts: go check out this or that old site around town, etc.
Then they'll talk about history at the dinner table.
One day, Mike's dad tells him to go check out the old Kitchener Ironworks.
Remember those? Where there was an explosion and about a hundred kids died?
Anyway, Mike goes there. It's creepy and fascinating, as you'd expect.
And, even though Mike's dad has told him not to go near the cellar hole, Mike does.
When he gets there he sees a massive, terrifying bird: it looks like Rodan, the Japanese movie monster.
As we learn, Mike and his dad had recently been watching the movie Rodan.
The bird, which has a ten-foot wingspan, starts chasing him.
He runs, and the bird dive-bombs him, scratching him with its claws.
Mike hides inside an old smokestack and lobs pieces of broken tile at the bird, luckily hitting it in the eye.
When Mike looks out at the injured bird, it's apparent that its eye is seriously damaged. It's leaking pus and totally disgusting.
Mike hides out for a bit, stockpiling bits of tile-ammo, until the bird leaves.
When he gets home, he's shaken. His dad seems to realize that sending Mike over to the abandoned ironworks was a bad idea…
…but they agree to eat a few extra sausages at dinner and forget about it.
Mike follows the grooves in the grass down to the edge of the canal.
There's something deeply sinister about the water: the foam seems to look like a kid's face, screaming.
On impulse, he throws the pocket-knife into the water.
Then he turns to walk calmly back to his bike.
Just then, he hears a splash and smells an overpowering stink of rotting fish.
Dignity be damned, Mike things. He sprints to his bike and pedals home as quickly as possible.