The Seven Angels

Blanca Leon. Tracy Russell. Jean McLaughlin.  

Seven girls went missing three years ago on the December 12.  

Gabriela Brown. Alice McGrail. June Larsen. Claudia Inman.  

The only thing these girls had in common were that they were all thirteen and that they all lived in the same town. Race, interests, grades, social status, nothing else matched up. Blanca and Tracy were close friends, as well as Gabriela and June, but the others didn’t know each other.  

Claudia was my little sister.

The last time I saw her was when I was heading back to my room. I had snuck out to hang out with some friends and was reasonably tipsy when I saw her standing in the hallway. She was wearing a Snoopy shirt and pajama bottoms. Her red hair was tousled in every direction like she’d just gotten out of bed.

She just stared at me. I giggled and pressed a finger to my lips.

“D… don’t tell mom and dad?”

She didn’t say anything, so I figured that was her way of agreeing to keep our secret. I kept on giggling as I slipped back into my bedroom. I wonder now if she was alone in that hallway. The next morning I woke up to mom screaming about Claudia being gone and to call 911 because there was blood on her bed.

It wasn’t blood, by the way, it was just red paint. Someone had taken the time to spill red paint all over the bed and to write the number ‘7’ on the wall.  

Up until this point I was a shithead of a teenager. Sneaking out, drinking, smoking, I was kinda the worst. But when Claudia went missing I changed myself. I was one of the people out searching every day. I helped answer phones and comfort the other distraught families. I kept my family together as we prayed for Claudia’s safe return.

I knew we’d never find her alive when the first body was found.

It was Tracy. I became friends with Tracy’s mom Amelia while this shit was going on. Amelia blamed herself for this, saying the last thing that had happened between her and her daughter was an argument. Tracy wanted to go see her dad for Christmas and Amelia was putting her foot down. Tracy screamed that she hated her and that Christmas was going to be the worst this year before storming into her room and slamming the door.

The next morning Tracy’s bed was covered in red paint and the number one was painted on the wall.

Tracy’s body was found in fucking California. For reference, we live in Indiana. It was two weeks after the girls had gone missing and this poor fucking minister walked into the church to prep for the morning services only to find the mangled body of a teenage girl.  

It was worse than words can do it justice. Pictures got leaked on the internet and although I told myself I shouldn’t look, I did anyway before they were taken down.  Tracy had been strung up from the ceiling, dangling from the rafters like a morbid marionette. Her eyes had been put out and… have you ever heard of the method of torture called the Blood Eagle?

If you don’t know what that is, I’ll save you the trouble of googling it. The victim is tied face down while the back is cut open and the ribs are detached from the spine. The ribs are then spread out, the lungs pulled out and over the ribs to mimic ‘wings’.  

It’s not pretty. That’s what happened to Tracy.  

The killer had given one mercy and that was that he left Tracy’s school picture taped onto her chest, with her full name, address, and the date she went missing.  

Amelia had a full breakdown when the news was delivered. She ended up being institutionalized. I don’t blame her. The autopsy confirmed that Tracy had been alive when she was cut up like that.

Each week a body turned up, scattered all over the US. Christmas had already came and gone by the time Tracy’s body was found but Claudia’s presents were still under the tree that we had yet to take down. Normally dad would insist on taking it down the day after Christmas but we just couldn’t do it. An unspoken wish that Claudia would be found safe and sound, that we could all have Christmas together.

This wasn’t a wish we’d get.

The final girl taken, the final girl found. Claudia was found only ten minutes down the road from where we lived at the small St. Anthony’s Church. She’d taken her first communion there. She’d been cut up like all the others, only this time she wasn’t alone.

Mr. Leroy Weber was found kneeling under her body, praying up to it as her blood dripped down on him. The monster we’d all been hunting down was the unassuming Algebra teacher for the eighth graders at the local middle school.  

I had Mr. Weber’s class way back when. I’d thought of him as one of my better teachers, he knew how to make the material clear to us and he never assigned homework. When asked why, he’d just shrug and say, “Less for me to grade.” He certainly didn’t look like a killer. He was over fifty years old, wasn’t over 5’7’’ in height and looked like a strong wind could just blow him away. But then again, you probably don’t have to be strong to put a knife to a child’s neck and tell her if she screams, he’ll kill your entire family.

That’s how he did it. He never tried to deny what he did. He had his full confession written out and ready to go the moment the cops rolled up to the church. When we were told it was him, I saw red.  

If my dad didn’t catch me leaving the house with a gun and the intent to murder Mr. Weber, I would’ve been in a lot of trouble. Amelia wasn’t the only one who had to go to the mental hospital for a bit, I ended up joining her that night.

I’m not saying that like it’s a bad thing either, I’m actually glad I went. I probably would’ve completely snapped without the doctor’s help.  

Mr. Weber never went for the insanity plea, but to be fair, I think it would’ve worked for him. Because his bullshit reason for killing all these little girls made me seriously contemplate busting out of the hospital and going to wring his scrawny little neck.

He wanted to make them angels.

He was the only thing that really tied them together, one time or another each of those girls had been in his class. Each of those girls he claimed was ‘perfect’.  

“I had to be sure I got the formula right, I practiced on cats, dogs. If I failed when the time came, then they wouldn’t be angels.”

Just remembering that sick fuck makes me sick. What really takes the cake though? He thought by killing them and making them angels… they’d rise up in three days. He said this so calmly and proudly to the cops that it was without a doubt that he was a loon.  

When he was reminded it had been more than three days that Tracy had died and well, she was still very much dead, he apparently wigged out. He tried to disarm one of the police officers to shoot himself in the head. He didn’t succeed but when his case went to trial he begged for the death penalty.

I know. I was there.  

I’d managed to get out in time for his sentencing trial. I was holding Amelia’s hand as Mr. Weber sat in his chair. I’d almost expected him to be different, maybe he’d have this dark smile or this insane laughter, but when he spoke it was the same soft voice he’d used when he was teaching.

“Please. I failed in my mission. I need to pay the price for my horrid sins.”

It was the one thing he wanted and it was the one thing he was given. I didn’t attend the execution, but Amelia did. She called me when it was over. She was crying, saying she’d thought it would make her feel better but it didn’t. She felt so much worse.

She almost killed herself after that, but I helped her get back into the hospital. We’re still friends. We visit Claudia’s and Tracy’s graves together, all the ‘angels’ were buried together. 

Angels. I wouldn’t have called Claudia an angel while she was alive, she was an imp like I was at her age. I guess Mr. Weber saw something I didn’t though.  

See, after he was executed, I heard that his stuff was being auctioned off on a serial killer memorabilia website. Yes, those are real, and I really wish they weren’t, but the big ticket item was his journal. His exact plan for what he was going to do to those girls.

I ended up emptying my checking account to buy that shitty book. When it arrived, I spent all night reading it.

His plan truly was to create an angel. A holy being of justice and the sword. His ramblings ranged from crazy to batshit insane, but he truly believed in what he was doing.  

And I think he may have succeeded.  

It’s been three years. I’ve recovered best I can. But last night Amelia and I were heading to the graveyard when we were stopped by a bright light.  

We both fell to the ground and covered our faces. When I lowered my hands to catch a glimpse, that’s when I saw her.

It was Tracy. She was wearing the green dress she was buried in, her innards dragging behind her from where her back was sliced open. Her eyes were emitting that bright light, white orbs that were practically bugging out of her shrunken face.  

Amelia sobbed when she realized who this girl was and ran forward, only for Tracy to back away, shaking her head. When Amelia reached to touch her she shrieked, backing away as her hand crumbled away like ash. Tracy sobbed and leaped into the air, floating away until she was a star in the sky.  

All the graves have been torn open from the inside. Some of the other parents have claimed to see their child.

Meanwhile I’m waiting here at my parent’s house, right at the front window. Right by my side are Claudia’s unopened presents, covered in dust.  

I hope she comes home soon.

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