Some things you just never forget, like the symbolic clanging of the flag pole. On this particular day it was a heavy rusty chain pounding against a flag pole.
I was standing in the empty lot of the state fairgrounds where a carnival atmosphere comes to Oklahoma City every year.
At the time I was writing an in-depth feature article about two missing girls.
There had been no trace of them. The families were in limbo and the trail had long been dead.
Backtracking Their Movements:
This is the sad story of two 13-year-old girls who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I back-tracked their activities 24 hours prior to the abduction. And so I knew many things about their day together because I’d retraced their steps.
But someone managed to lure them away. Then that person probably hit the nearby interstate and drove out of town. With two unwilling victims whose screams could not be heard.
The Scene Of The Abduction:
And so on a cold blustery day, I stood on the concrete in that empty fairground lot. Rubbish skipped across the asphalt in front of me.
It had been a far different scene when the two girls were kidnapped in 1981. And so I tried to imagine the sounds of the carnival.
The crowd milling about. The carnies trying to sell their wares. The sound of squealing children on the roller coaster.
This now empty lot was the last place they were known to be.
When I wrote this type of article I went back to the place the victim or victims were last seen.
The Loved Ones Left Behind:
For families of the missing, there are the passing of years that eventually leads to the loss of hope.
And there is inevitably a child’s room in this type of story, remaining just as it was when they last left it. And within these four walls are the childhood accouterments of a young life that never ages.
I stood on that day looking at the shrine this room had become. My eyes took in the details. The school trophies. The baseball caps. The teddy bears.
I tried to envision the girl’s last moments there.
The State Fair:
The crowd that milled about the fairground that day included those two girls who had no idea of what was to come. That someone would jerk them away from life as they knew it.
One could turn and see the nearby interstate across from the concrete lot. Hear the passing cars and semis speeding along to some unknown destination.
Where and why did he take them?
You would have to wonder at the mounting terror of two little girls as they were being driven farther and farther away.
Those two young girls, kidnapped in 1981, would now be women.
As for me, after I wrote that article I went on to live my life. Raised two children. Got married and got divorced. Moved from one state to another. Then back again.
But somewhere at some point, I will again be within hearing distance of a loose heavy chain clanging in the wind.
I will pause and listen as it pounds against a hard surface over and over again.
And I will remember those two missing girls that have never been found.