Daughter’s Drawings – Part 1
I’m posting this here because this seems to be the place that people could truly appreciate what’s happened to my family and I. This situation started a long time ago, but it’s all come to a head now. The following entries will give an idea of everything that’s gone on up until now, and when I’ve gotten through everything, posts will be about what’s going on currently. I apologize for the length of these posts, but believe me, no amount of words could possibly capture what’s really happened. Names have been changed for the privacy of my family and everyone involved.
This whole thing started on a road trip around four years ago. We left to go from Northern California to the East coast, travelling through the midwest. It was me, my wife Kimmy, our 7 year old daughter Katie, and 5 year old son Alex. Everything went fine for the first few days. We took our time with the trip because we weren’t really on a constraint in that regard; we stopped at pretty much every landmark one can see whilst making a cross-country trip. But there was one night in a state in the midwest I won’t name, that would lead to a series of events that still hasn’t ended.
It was around 9pm on a Wednesday night, and we had collectively decided to stop at the next place we saw to eat. We saw a sign to exit at the next ramp for a place called Daisy’s Diner. We get there, and nothing seemed amiss. It was just about dark, and we decided that after we’d eaten, we would find a hotel for the night.
Daisy’s Diner was a classic small town eatery, with road signs on the wall and a waitress that called everyone “hun”. It had a very classic “small town USA” feel to it. The food had a home-cooked taste to it. I could certainly imagine this place being at its capacity on any given day, however, at the time we were there, there were only four other people in the restaurant. A man and a woman ate together at a booth, while two men separately sat at the counter. All four of the other patrons left before we did, and were replaced with two more men who came in at separate times. It was the last man to come in to bring what had happened to our attention. He informed me that if I was the one with the Hyundai truck outside, it had been ransacked.
I ran outside, and sure enough, the passenger’s side door was open and everything had been rifled through. CD’s were strewn about the seats, the paperwork from the glove box was on the passenger’s side floor, the backpacks my children had in the backseat with their belongings were opened and gone through. I was furious. I demanded to see camera footage, only to find out the cameras were essentially for show. I asked to know who the people were that had left the restaurant before us. The solitary waitress only personally knew one of the men, and vehemently vouched for him. Against my better judgement, I decided to not pursue neither him nor the other, still unidentified man, instead choosing to let the police handle the situation.
I explained to the police that as far as I could tell, nothing had been stolen, and no damage had been done to the car. The waitress gave the name of the one man she knew, and the police knew him as well. Not because he’d had run-ins with the law, but because he was a very active member in the local church, and was a man who was held in high regard by the entirety of the community. As for the other man, all I had seen was his back. Ultimately, nothing was done about the break-in, besides the filing of a record of the incident report and a casual “keep an eye out” from the police. I assumed the other man in the diner had seen our vehicle full of our belongings, out of our line of sight, and seized the opportunity. Carpe Diem you piece of shit.
We were directed towards a motel in the small town in which we had eaten. Since it was now close to midnight and my wife wanted to lay down and get some rest, we decided we were safe enough to stay there, being that it was a motel, there’d be other people there. Whatever logic I could scrape together is what I used to justify staying there because I was admittedly too tired to keep driving. However, when we got the the motel, it was as close to something out of a horror movie as could be. The sign had missing letters, and there were only two other cars in the dirty parking lot. That said though, the area was well-lit and would provide adequate shelter for a few hours.
The man who helped us at the counter had a strange vibe about him, but checking into the room went without incident. Actually, until the morning, I thought the whole night had gone on without a hitch. When we were settled in the room and ready to go to sleep, I double and triple checked the locks on both the door to the outside, and the door that connected to the next room. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but such was the case that the only room with two queen beds was connected to another room.
The clerk informed us that the only other person staying there was a woman at the complete other end of the motel, and went as far as showing us that the room connected to ours was empty. We all slept okay, in fact for much longer than we had planned. I woke up in the morning and opened the blinds to check on the car, which I had parked directly outside the room. Nothing seemed out of place, at least on the outside. There was a small piece of paper that had been slid under the door to the outside. Assuming it was a check out receipt, I ignored it and got ready for that day’s drive.
After a shower I sat on the bed to watch TV while my wife inevitably took four times longer than me to get ready. It was then that I decided to take a look at the checkout receipt. I picked up the once-folded piece of paper and opened it. My heart sank when it turned out to be a drawing from my daughter’s backpack, but with a slight change. It was a picture of our family, but the thief had added a crudely drawn version of himself to it, and the words “nice to see you”. Being that the addition to the drawing was done in crayon just like original artwork had been, there was nothing about the man I could discern. All I knew was that whoever had broken into our car had followed us to the motel and slid this drawing under our door. Or at least that’s what I thought.
My son, the ever questioning, observant young man that he is, was playing on the ground with some toy cars near the door, asked me what the rubber piece lining the bottom of the door to the outside was for. I explained that it was likely to keep things such as leaves and snow from blowing under the door, and keeping either heat or cold air in. It was then that I realized that the rubber strip would have prevented a piece of paper from being slid under the door. The revelation hit me like a ton of bricks. Whoever had set this drawing on our floor had done so from the inside. I checked the locks on the connecting door and found one of them to be unlocked. In an effort to spare my wife and children the horror I was currently experiencing, I just rushed them out under the guise that we’d slept late and I wanted to cover a lot of ground that day. I considered talking to the motel clerk, but by that time, a younger girl was working the counter, and I wasn’t going to stay there a second longer than I had to.
We got back onto the highway without interruption and continued our trip. My wife asked me what was wrong but I shrugged it off as being still tired. We made the rest of our journey with nothing out of the ordinary happening. Aside from the alarming incidents at Daisy’s Diner and The Galleria Motel, our road trip was actually pretty fun. Our activities proved to be a good distraction from the uneasy feeling I had in the pit of my stomach.
I made sure to take a different route home, so as not to pass through the small town where the incidents had happened. We finally returned home about three weeks later. All of our mail was piled up on our front porch, so I grabbed it as I walked back into our house for the first time in nearly a month, Unpacking and getting situated took precedent over looking through the mail, but I eventually got to it, and things began again.
Towards the middle of the pile of mail, there was an envelope with no return address. I opened it, and found a single handwritten note and a folded up piece of paper.
“The girl is vary good at pichures.”
I unfolded the paper and it was yet another drawing of my daughters. This one was of a black and brown dog. I figured whoever was doing this had gotten our address from our vehicle’s registration or some other kind of document after going through the car..I informed the police, who did a pretty shitty job of making me feel safe. I kept what had happened from my wife, as I knew she would just worry, and I wanted to keep my family as stress free as possible. I wondered how many pictures my daughter had in her backpack, but in reality, I knew it was quite a few. I’ll get to that later.
Everything was fine for about a week, until one day we got back home from a day at the park. We got inside, and the kids ran over to the couch and turned on the TV. My wife walked into the kitchen to start making the kids something to eat. I went to the bathroom. When I got out, my wife was standing at the sliding door to the backyard. That’s when I heard it: barking. My thoughts raced, and I refused to believe it, it couldn’t be. Sure enough, a black and brown German Shepherd, about a year old, was tied to a fencepost in our backyard. By this time, our kids had heard the barking and came to check out what was going on. We all ventured outside, and I told them to stay back while I inspected the dog. The leash was tied to the post in a way that made it look like the dog had jumped over the fence and gotten caught or something, I don’t know, it really didn’t make sense. It just wasn’t completely obvious that someone had put the dog there intentionally. Upon meeting me, the dog licked my hand and rolled on his back to have its stomach pet. The kids then rushed me and began showering the dog with love, which it wholeheartedly accepted. He seemed enthralled with the kids, who returned the affection in droves.
My wife found a soft spot in her heart and pleaded with me to keep the dog. It went against my gut, as I knew what the dog was a result of, but in my ongoing efforts to shield my family, I reluctantly agreed to keep him. We named him Roscoe, a name my daughter picked. In a weird way, I felt like I was giving whoever was doing this exactly what they wanted. I knew this hadn’t been a coincidence. I just didn’t know why it was happening. This dog incident didn’t come off as a threatening gesture. None of it made sense.
The dog quickly became a member of our family. He took a particular liking to Katie, which of course made me uncomfortable. While I was naturally pleasant to the dog and made sure he had a good life, there was a part of me that despised him. A part of me that hated what he represented, and that was the fact that there had been a strange man that had either personally or organized a dog based off of one of my daughter’s pieces of artwork being placed in my backyard. I felt like he knew we kept the dog, and that the dog was happy here. I felt like he had done this before and that he got off on it.
But I had no way of knowing. I had already called the cops and they essentially told me there was nothing to be done. The way I saw it, and I’m sure they would’ve agreed, is that I wasn’t necessarily dealing with what would one would call a “stalker”. I mean sure, there were stalking qualities to what was going on, but since we’d been home, we hadn’t been followed (as far as I could tell), we didn’t receive strange phone calls; the only correspondence was the letter that I had hid from my wife. There wasn’t exactly anything proactive I could do to protect myself and my family, so I figured I would just have to take everything as it came up.
The end of the summer came, and we always had a tradition. We would spend a week at my late father’s cabin. The thought of cancelling this year certainly crossed my mind, but I chose not to, as nothing else had happened since we’d been “gifted” with Roscoe. So we packed up the car, and made the four hour trip to the cabin, which was on the edge of a small town called Long Lake.
Categories: Nick Botic Original Series