TABLE of CONTENTS

THE MYSTERIES OF MYERSTOWN A NOVEL IN PROGRESS by JOHNNY WEIXLER

“Two years after beginning to lay out a plan for what he called Tulpehocken Town (later Myerstown), Isaac Meier was murdered in cold blood–his killer was never found. The memory of that dark deed has been buried in nearly two and half centuries of indifference and selective remembering, but the specter of its malice still haunts the soul of our quiet little town.”

Introduction

“TWO YEARS AFTER BEGINNING TO LAY OUT A PLAN FOR WHAT HE CALLED TULPEHOCKEN TOWN (LATER MYERSTOWN), ISAAC MEIER WAS MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD–HIS KILLER WAS NEVER FOUND. THE MEMORY OF THAT DARK DEED HAS BEEN BURIED IN NEARLY TWO AND HALF CENTURIES OF INDIFFERENCE AND SELECTIVE REMEMBERING, BUT THE SPECTER OF ITS MALICE STILL HAUNTS THE SOUL OF OUR QUIET LITTLE TOWN.” The Mysteries of Myerstown is a penny dreadful series by the dreadfully penniless Johnny Weixler. In the tradition of historical penny dreadful series, the story will be published in installments here on the Johnny Weixler blog in the Mysteries of Myerstown section. If you are interested in following the series, you may subscribe to the RSS feed, subscribe by email, or join the Facebook page below. Historicity: While I wouldn’t exactly put the Mysteries of Myerstown in the ‘historical fiction’ genre, I have read up on my […]

Chapter 1 | The Mysteries of Myerstown

Fall 2013 The last thing I remember before the gunshot was a brief glance at a woman with curly, blonde hair, carelessly riding a red bicycle along a path through the park not more than fifty feet from where I stood. One moment, she was just a stranger, an unremarkable feature of the normal landscape of sights and sounds in a public place on a sunny afternoon. Then there was the briefest interim during which I remember nothing, but I now know what happened: a metal hammer clicked forward, a small charge of gunpowder exploded, a cold bullet thundered out of a long steel barrel and broke the sound barrier. The resulting boom deafened me unexpectedly. The next moment, as my sight returned, the woman on the bicycle was the sole object in focus, and she seemed to be moving in slow motion, the main character in my hazy, silent […]

Chapter 2 | The Mysteries of Myerstown

Early Summer 2013 Exactly two years from my high school graduation, on the day of my twentieth birthday, a peculiar package appeared on the doorstep of my parents’ house. Although it bore the address of the South Railroad Street home that I grew up in, and not the address of the little apartment I now share with my best friend Jackson, it was my name that was clearly printed above the street number: Jacob Myer. And that is the starting point of this whole drama—my name as much as the package. In elementary school, where kids can always find a way to turn the most inane facts into points of hilarious insult, I was frequently mocked for being a Myer in Myerstown. To this day, I cannot comprehend how any self-respecting seven-year-old could find the joke funny, but then logic never did rule the psychology of the playground. By the […]

Chapter 3 | The Mysteries of Myerstown

By the time I finished my graduation project, I was convinced that someone had sanitized Myerstown’s history, that something was intentionally left unrecorded. But try as I might, I couldn’t form a cohesive theory from the fragments of inconsistency that I uncovered. If there was a secret hidden in the fractured remains of Myerstown’s past, I could not find the key to its release. At least I couldn’t until that strange package arrived at my parents’ door step two years later. It was June 6th. I was sitting at a traffic light on my way home from work when I received a text message from my mom: Mail for you at our house. I flipped my turning signal the opposite direction and swung my jeep towards South Railroad Street. My parents left the package on their front porch along with a pile of envelopes promising me I was preapproved for […]

Chapter 4 | The Mysteries of Myerstown

“Call Mary,” Jackson suggested. “Mary who?” I knew exactly who he meant. “Mary who. You’re retarded. Look, this man put it in his will to have this handwritten historical document sent to you after he died—you’ve got to find out what it says, but clearly you’ve also got to be careful about who you get to translate it. Who, other than Mary, do you know, and trust, that knows German? Stop blushing and call her.” “I have no idea how well Mary knows German. She’s only in her second year; I doubt she’s taken many of her major courses. And besides, she’s still at Millersville right now.” “She’ll be home tomorrow and she’s going to work at the Sweet Spot for the whole summer. Call her.” Jackson stood up triumphantly and returned to his cheese grating. I just sighed, rewrapped the package, and carried it back to my room where […]

Chapter 5 | The Mysteries of Myerstown

I write these words with the deepest sense of foreboding. I am aware that they are among the last that I will ever pen. But I must record the truth, because the truth is all I have left. My father came to this glorious New World seeking its promise and opportunity, but he perished in the clutches of its deceit. The same lies that stole my father from me have now carried off my husband as well. Only the truth can yet vindicate my family. Catherine Hergelrode Meier 20th July, 1770 ——– 1747 Valentine Hergelrode kissed each of his five children goodnight, blew out the bedroom candle, and slipped into the kitchen of his small, limestone and log home. He opened the oak chest that sat in front of the south-facing window and retrieved his well-worn, German-made musket–the same musket he had carried with him on his transatlantic voyage to […]

Chapter 6 | The Mysteries of Myerstown

“When do you think they’ll come looking for him?” Valentine’s wife wrung hot water out of a washcloth and gently laid it across the Indian child’s forehead. The boy lay across their rough-hewn oak table, wrapped in a thick, wool blanket. His eyes were closed, but his mouth hung open, stretching his already gaunt face. He wheezed slightly as his lungs labored to pull enough oxygen into his tiny body. “I suppose we’ll know soon enough,” Valentine whispered. He sat on a bench at the opposite side of the table, drowsily watching his wife care for the fevered soul between them. “Do you think they’ll come tonight yet?” Valentine sighed. “I don’t know, Anna.” “How will they know the child is alive? What if they don’t stop to find out?” Valentine ignored the question. He fixed his weary gaze on the Indian child he had lifted from certain death. The […]

Chapter 7 | The Mysteries of Myerstown

“What’s that around your neck, papa?” Margaret stared curiously at her father’s neckpiece as he stepped into the sitting room. “It’s a gift from the Indians, Margaret.” He bent down so that his daughter could inspect the vibrant turtle shell. “Like a Christmas gift?” “Like a Christmas gift.” “How many days before we have Christmas?” “Seven. One week.” Margaret squealed in delight. “As a matter of fact,” Valentine continued, “we better get a tree.” “Let’s get a big one, papa!” Hans Heinrich chimed in. “And just how do you imagine we’ll fit a big pine through the door?” Anna Maria questioned, raising her eyebrows and tilting her head towards her son. “We’ll squeeze it,” said Valentine, flexing his muscles in a grand tree-squeezing gesture. Margaret giggled. Catherine just rolled her eyes. “As long as I get to put the star on top, I don’t care how big it is.” “What […]