The Disappearance of Bobby B.

For all of you looking for an ending, closure, some little gotcha moment to tie things up neatly at the end, you won’t find it here. Because I didn’t find it. This is real life, a thousand times more messy and terrifying than fiction could ever be.

The story’s name was “The Disappearance of Bobby B.” It was originally posted on a 4-chan clone in the early oughties, in the thread “post your favorite Creepypasta based on real life.” As you can imagine, there were a lot of stories coasting in on technicality, a few “something like this happened to a friend of a cousin” tales. “Sarah O’Bannon” was posted, as well as the one with the kid hollowed out as a drug bag. Bobby B’s tale was posted some fifty entries in, to lukewarm reception. Understandable. Having read it, I find it falls into a lot of the pitfalls of amateur horror writing. It shows rather than tells. It gives us too much.

Your brother was found with ligature marks on his throat,” the policeman said.

I gasped. That could only mean that my brother was strangled! Some madman had taken his life after hours of torture as he sobbed and screamed for his family.

Where:

Your brother was found with ligature marks on his throat,” the policeman said.

I gasped.

Would have sufficed.

There are other things, too. The writer goes into too-loving detail about Bobby’s last few hours, probably thinking that adding more gore would up the scare quotient. It has somewhat the opposite effect; by the time the kid’s eyes literally pop out of his head and the cat gets one, you’re thrown out of the moment by the sheer absurdity. Jaded by the high volume of torture packed into a few paragraphs, the reader can be forgiven for laughing instead of cringing. The IP address behind that post never made another, and the thread shuttered after 305 posts.

How did I run across it? By accident. It was cataloged in a notorious online wiki(defunct) and I was clicking through the cryptid section when it popped up in the suggestions. I skimmed it until I came across the name Kentville.

I grew up in Kentville.

I went back to the beginning and read with more interest now. It was set in a year where I probably would have matched the age of the narrator, in the same neighborhood.

It gets weirder.

The story is told from the perspective of a man who had a brother a few years older than him. When the narrator was five and the brother eight, the brother disappeared off the street and was never seen alive again. After a few weeks of hope, the cops break down the door to a neighboring house and find him…in pieces. There’s a huge media circus, and the narrator finishes by recounting how scarred the experience left him.

There’s a bit of truth to all that. I did indeed grow up in the area described, but closer to the town hall. I had a brother who was seven to my five. There was a house in my neighborhood that had been abandoned after the occupant skipped a few rent checks. And when I was five and my brother about seven, he caught spinal meningitis and never made it home from school one day.

I remember it hazily: I was home from kindergarten with a fever and I remember my auntie came to sit with me while mommy went to the hospital. I remember they told me Bradly was dead, and that he was in heaven now and he would always love me. I remember being sad in a distant, five-year-old way. I don’t remember the funeral, probably because my folks wanted to spare me the spectacle.

I kind of laughed when I figured it out. It was weird, to be sure, but not unheard of: some guy from our neighborhood remembered my brother and decided to write(badly) his own little what-if story about it. I wasn’t even mad.

I figured I had to share this with someone, so I called up my aunt, who still lived in the area.

Her voice went thin on the phone. “Oh God, honey…I’m so sorry. I thought you knew.”

I stood there with the phone in my hand, shit-eating grin frozen on my face, slowly losing feeling in my limbs.

My brother had never made it home. He’d last been sighted at the corner of a street near the school, a crossing guard waved him across. Then, for all intents and purposes, he’d just dropped off the map.

The people I had taken for distant relatives in my fever haze were actually policemen. My mom lived on a steady diet of tranquilizers, so my aunt took care of me a lot during that time. She made sure to get me out of the house a lot, especially since my parents stopped functioning properly. I had written it off as them being sad at losing a son, but that day I realized it wasn’t mourning a loved one: it was hope, thwarted. It would have been better if my brother had died, in a way, because they were never able to let him go. Even after the birth of my little sister, my parents were never the same. There was always a reserve between us, like they were afraid loving us too much would get us taken away too.

I’ll give you my mom’s response when I phoned her up and asked her why she’d let me believe a lie my entire life, why she didn’t tell me what really happened.

“What would have been the point?” she asked, and hung up.

Well, not much to tell after that. I did a little cold-case digging for myself, but I didn’t have a lot to go on. No body, no ransom note, no evidence. For a while they suspected my dad. Hell, they even suspected my aunt for a while, they were just grasping at straws at that point because they had nothing to go on. There was no media circus because they never found a body. People disappear everyday, it’s not even headline material anymore.

I wish I could give you a little ‘aha’ moment here. I wish there was some dark, mustachioed gentleman who was always hanging around and making threatening overtures, but I had nothing. Whoever had done this had probably been careful, not making a presence in my brother’s life. Maybe it had even been spur-of-the-moment.

I went to the old neighborhood, knocked on doors. I even went to the house described in the story, still empty after all these years. Where the entrance to the torture chamber was supposed to have been, someone had cemented over and made a wine cellar. I toyed with getting the police to dig it up, but to what end? What was I going on, just a hunch?

With all my physical evidence exhausted, I turned back to the story, analyzing it line-by-line. It was written from my perspective, or rather, from what I might have felt like if my parents had told me the truth. It was over-the-top with grief, really rubbing it in how my brother’s murder had hurt me. It went into too-loving detail regarding my brother’s torture and death, into how everything sounded and felt. It was supposedly being told from my perspective years after the fact, yet the torture scenes were written in first-person.

Like I said, I wish I had an ending for you. But those only happen in stories.

In this story, the brother warns people that the killer was never caught because he’d been too smart, warns that he could be anywhere.

In real life I stare at my computer and I don’t know. I just don’t know.

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1 Comment

Filed under fiction

One response to “The Disappearance of Bobby B.

  1. Creepy as fuck! Turn on the nightlight.

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