Eric turned to leave the reception area then remembered he still carried the copy of the campus newspaper. It was folded three times to fit into a pocket, but Eric smoothed it out on the sign-in counter at the reception desk.
At the bottom of the front page, a byline said, “Nearly Demolished Dorm was Orphanage”, and below was a smaller heading—“Rumors of abuse revealed.”
As he scanned the article, he caught phrases like, “…orphanage in operation for over fifty years…closed in 1980…recent allegations of abuse…priest served as director…land and building acquired by university…transformed into a dorm in the early 90’s as campus footprint expanded to the north…decision to close and tear down building for new science building…continued under DORM on page four”.
Turning to page four, Eric found the remainder of the story. What jumped out at him was a photo captioned, “Undated photo of orphanage with residents and staff.” The trunk of a car was in the shot on the right border. It was some huge General Motors car, which placed the photo sometime in the 1960’s. Someone, most likely Will, circled the head of a boy standing in the first of two rows. Eric guessed this was the kid haunting Will. All the boys in the first row knelt on one knee. The second row of boys stood behind them. On the left side of the kids stood a priest, and Eric knew instantly it was the priest. He smiled for the camera, a smile that never reached his eyes. The expression on each kid’s face suggested helpless agony. They had lost their souls.
The hair on the back of Eric’s neck stood on end as his attention moved to the back row of boys. Near the center of the row stood a kid around middle school age. His blonde hair was rather long and curling over the ears. Though the picture was in black and white, Eric imagined the desperate eyes were brown. The face was about five years away from becoming Will—a forty or fifty year old picture.
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