Nearly two years after I got my hands on the brooch, my assistant had finally picked up the trail of the latest trinket.
By this time, Pearlie had come to work for me part time. She’d made great leaps in recovering from her trauma, although each day presented a new challenge. I was willing to work through her on it though, and since she was so much younger than I was, I began to see her as a daughter figure. A daughter with cutting sarcasm and a cold exterior, but a daughter nonetheless. She believed in our quest, and she was willing to chase a fairytale with me.
A fairytale known as the Sathanas Gun.
The first evidence I found for its existence (other than Pearlie’s word for it) was, sadly enough, a creepypasta forum. I didn’t even know what creepypasta was until I stumbled across these websites. Poorly written, edited and thought out, I knew I’d scraped the bottom of the barrel when I seriously found myself looking through this garbage.
However, my search was not in vain, for in one of the stories I found mention of three different trinkets- the Silver Beelzebub Spoon, the Engraved Mammon Cuff, and the Sathanas Gun. The prior two were described, albeit with many spelling errors, down to the last detail. Since I’d certainly not recovered a gun yet, I knew this was the next one I had to find. The description read as such, down to the last typo:
‘it drip blood when its shoot and you can hear screems too. The sweet picshurure on the handl hiides the sull of setan.’
I’m not sure if the person genuinely didn’t speak English as a first language or were illiterate, but it was a worthwhile description. A sweet picture on a gun didn’t mean anything to me but Pearlie’s eyes lit up when I brought it up, leaving out exactly how I’d stumbled across the description.
(She found out later and made fun of me for months.)
More of Pearlie’s memories had returned from her time with Dusty, for better or worse. But this was incredibly useful for our case.
“I remember this one article I read on the internet once,” Pearlie proceeded to google said article and handed her phone over to me, “about something called a sweetheart grip. You put a picture of your ‘sweetheart’ or a pin up girl right in the grip. That’s what Misty’s gun looked like. Old fashioned but in decent enough condition to still shoot.”
“Unique enough for us to find then,” I scrolled through the article to get an idea of what this sort of thing looked like, “Do you remember the picture?”
Pearlie sighed. “Not so much. Misty didn’t let anyone get too close to her and I only caught glimpses of the thing. I just know it wasn’t from a magazine or anything, it was a real picture. So the woman on the grip was really a sweetheart,” She said.
That was a little disappointing, but I still had a lead. Misty had the gun, she shot a cop, so surely the ballistics should be entered into some sort of database. Not to mention the gun itself was probably still in an evidence locker someplace.
That’s where I found out that said evidence locker was in a building that burnt to the ground. Everything inside was reported destroyed.
For a moment I almost believed that perhaps this trinket was gone. It wouldn’t be causing any trouble or death anymore. Pearlie immediately called out that bullshit and started her search for any unsolved shootings in the area after the fire. And she did.
Two towns over, three days after the fire, there was a hold up at a local gas station. The clerk had been shot six times in the chest and was dead by the time the cops got there. All that was stolen was about fifteen dollars and a few packs of cigarettes. The Sathanas Gun had survived, one way or another, and had made its way into someone else’s hands.
We took different tasks at that point. I decided to trace the gun’s history before Misty got it, and Pearlie was to follow the trail of blood to whoever possessed it now.
First off, I had to find out who Misty really was. Like I said, all I knew before was that she was a homeless busker that joined Muse of Miracles after Dusty came into possession of the brooch. After a lot of digging, I came to find out her name wasn’t actually Misty.
Her real name was Lauren Mayer. She would’ve been twenty-four by the time she joined Muse of Miracles. Her father, Jim Mayers, had gone bankrupt when she was about seven, shortly afterwards he was arrested for arranging a hit on his wife. It was made to look like a mugging gone wrong, she was shot four times and left to bleed out on the street. The hitman was Jim’s brother and I felt my stomach twinge when I saw that murder weapon was never recovered.
Was this perhaps how Misty, or rather Lauren, managed to get a hold of the Sathanas Gun? Had she somehow come into possession of the gun that killed her mother? I wasn’t ever sure, but I have a feeling it was. She had returned to her hometown after she turned eighteen, but she reportedly only walked around her old home before going on her way.
Jim’s brother was a pawn shop owner by the name of Ken. Ken had been in jail for a prior assault, had been arrested a few times on suspicion of robbery but never convicted. After that the trail went cold until I found another killing, one that had taken place in the sixties.
A John Doe had walked into a small church, and after finishing his prayer in the pew, stuck the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. The poor priest who played witness to this had described him as ‘quiet, with clearly a heavy burden on his shoulders.’ The fact he’d committed suicide with a gun that had a picture of a woman in the grip was a sure sign this was the Sathanas Gun.
I looked for more unsolved murders and I found a trail of them… and then I finally found out the original owner of the gun, and more than likely the John Doe.
His name was in fact John, but he was John Wilson. A more American teenager you couldn’t find, he was popular in his school, loved in his town, and he loved his country. He enlisted to fight in World War Two as soon as he was able.
In a stroke of unusually good luck it turned out one of John’s relatives was a bit of a historian, his great niece Maura. All I told her was that I was interested in the possibility that I could link John to an unclaimed body and she practically threw everything she had about him at me.
What I did have though was love letters, between him and his girl Irene.
I couldn’t find an Irene in his life anywhere except for these letters, but the love between them just flowed off the page. For being a rather mediocre student in English, John poured his heart into each and every letter and it showed in every word.
‘Every morning I wake up, you’re the first thing on my mind. Your smile makes the crescent moon seem pale and uninteresting. There’s girls of all kinds here, but none hold a candle to you. I don’t think I’ll ever meet a girl that holds a candle to you, Irene.’
I was devoted to this story. Why hadn’t John proposed to this girl before leaving the states? Why was she such a secret?
I had to read in between the lines for this one. John’s grand niece had assumed she was already married which is why she wrote ‘the color of fate keeps us apart’, but the piece clicked into place when I read his response that ‘color shouldn’t ever have been a problem.’
I couldn’t find a white Irene that ever crossed paths with John, but I did find a black Irene Young about his age who cleaned the corner store not far from where he lived. She never got schooling past the eighth grade but someone gave her old high school books to help her out I imagine it was John sneaking them to her, and as they studied together they grew closer and more in love.
It was in the last of the letters that I stumbled across this passage:
‘There will be a way for us. Money won’t be an issue with what I’ve just found. I hid it with you, you’ll understand when I return. When I sell my treasure, we’ll be able to run away, you and I. Damn color, damn fate, and damn the world, all I need is you.’
Irene never wrote back, so I can’t tell you what she thought, but I imagine she was overjoyed. Maybe she had just started her letter when the accident happened.
She’d worked extra late that Saturday night and was walking home when a car full of drunk joyriders took the corner too tight and mowed her down. They never even stopped to see what they hit. She died sometime early in the morning, alone. There was no doubt she suffered.
It was around the same time Pearlie found an elderly man by the name of Carl Young. Irene’s little brother. And he was still alive.
We went together to visit him at his old folk’s home. He was reliant on a machine for oxygen, although a few years prior he’d been quite active. He used to run marathons for charity. Had a big family and a successful job.
Now he was slowly wasting away, waiting for death.
I had Pearlie handle this one, just to see how she’d talk to Carl. She certainly didn’t dodge around the point, taking her seat and immediately asking, “So, you used a gun to defend yourself against a robber before beginning your stay here. Do you still have it?”
Carl snorted and managed to give Pearlie the most scornful of looks. “What’s it to you?”
“Does it have a sweetheart grip? With a picture of your sister?”
Carl’s eyes widened with sock and he looked over at me. “… How do you know?” He asked quietly.
I took my seat next to Pearlie. “Can we start from the beginning?” I set a picture of John on the bed. “After Pearlie died, did this man show up at the house?”
Carl picked it up, slowly nodding. “He was around before then too. John. Or Johnny, as big sis called him,” He quietly chuckled before coughing. “Sorry, I’m not feeling my best. I knew about Johnny and Irene. Star crossed lovers. They’d sneak out every Friday night and hang out in the tree in his backyard. Irene would use him as a model, I tell you if she got her art noticed, she’d be one of the greats.” His old eyes grew a little wet before he wiped them. “… After Irene’s funeral, he did show up one last time. He looked different. Like he’d aged almost a hundred years in his head but not his body. I don’t know how he managed to sneak back home, but he certainly wasn’t heading back to war. Not after that blow to the heart.”
Pearlie reached forward and took his hand. “You and Irene were close?” She asked.
Carl nodded. “Close as siblings could be. If I pissed her off she wouldn’t hesitate to punch my teeth in, but anyone try to do that to me she’d fight ‘em, tooth and nail. I liked Johnny too, he had a pep in his step before the war. And after…” He shook his head. “You could just about see a dark cloud hanging over his head. Maybe part of it was the shell shock, but most of it was Irene. That loss kill something in him.” He looked over to his dresser before gesturing to it. “Top drawer, Pearlie. In the black box.”
Pearlie got up and opened up the drawer, her eyes widening as she lifted out the gun.
The air got heavier as Pearlie presented it to me. Somehow it was still in perfect condition, despite being so old and likely not regularly maintained. I picked it up before examining the picture. “… How did you find this?” I asked.
“Luck.” Carl laughed bitterly. “I was chasing some trespassing jackass off my property when I saw him dump it in my trash. I fished it out cuz I thought it was something he stole. When I saw the picture…” His voice shook and he had to take a deep breath. “I just about had a heart attack. How about that, some random thug dumps a gun with my sister’s picture in the grip in my garbage. What are the odds? I couldn’t give it up after that, you understand. I didn’t have anything else of Irene or Johnny.”
I ran my finger along the barrel. “Was this Johnny’s gun?” I asked.
Carl nodded. “It was indeed. He had it on him the last day I saw him. I remember asking what he was going to do now that he was back, and I can’t ever forget how his fingers brushed his weapon and how hard his eyes grew. He didn’t need to answer any more than that, and I sure as hell wasn’t gonna stop him. Those joy riders… the cops didn’t even look for them. My sister died in agony and they just didn’t care. Justice had to be paid.”
I looked at that picture. Irene’s smile looked the kind that would’ve been contagious. “… Can we take this? I swear to god, I will find a way to make sure this picture stays with you. But-”
“There’s something evil in that gun,” Carl finished. He shuddered and nodded. “My health started to fail after I shot the bastard trying to break into my house. That gun doesn’t just kill whoever’s unlucky enough to be on the other side of its bullet, it kills who pulls the trigger too. Take it. I’d like the picture though.”
At home that night I treated this task as delicately as I would brain surgery when I managed to get the picture out. It’d been kept in good condition thanks to the plexiglass covering it, but I was more shocked to find out there was something tucked behind that picture.
A ruby, no bigger than a dime and a gorgeous scarlet. The treasure that John found.
Pearlie dug up one last thing about this case before we put it to bed. A series of deaths that took place after John got home up until the day he walked into that church and killed himself.
Frank Thompson, killed about two months after Irene was put to rest. He’d been beaten before he was shot in the head.
Paul Green, run down in a car and backed over before he was also shot. At that point, the shooting was overkill, there was no way he’d survive the horrific injuries enacted upon him.
Ralph Hill, the skin from his back had been flayed off before he was shot.
Earl Cook, beaten before being tied down and letting rats chew on his flesh before he was finished off.
And finally, two days before John’s suicide, Francis Mitchell had been kidnapped and tortured for twenty four straight hours with boiling oil, beatings, and bleach before he was put out of his misery.
I’d like to imagine each of these bastards looking at the face of the girl they so heartlessly murdered on the grip of the gun that would shortly end their lives. Were these the men that killed Irene? I believe so, they ran in the same crowd and Francis owned a car that he was known for driving like a maniac in. The police never questioned them. They almost got off scot-free, if it wasn’t for a lover with a broken heart and the Sathanas Gun.
I told most of this to John’s great niece after I’d finished my investigation, leaving out John’s revenge and the Sathanas Gun. She was so overwhelmed by the tragedy she nearly fainted. But when she recovered, she had John reburied under his proper name and the headstone placed right next to Irene’s, with her family’s blessing of course. From what I understand, they still get together for family reunions and vacations.
If there is something that follows after death, I pray that John and Irene somehow managed to get together again.