Luckily for Ms. Sillow, Joshua was a perfect little cohort; otherwise, the murder of her grandson might have been brought to the light a long time ago. Almost every time before he stepped out of her house, he was warned not to reveal to his parents what he had truly been invited over to her place to do. She would further try and ensure that he remained tight-lipped about his casting role as her grandson by placing some of the funds that he and his parents had donated to her back in his hands - as though her no-nonsense face wasn’t capable enough of making sure he didn’t talk. Utterly terrified of the creepy old woman, Joshua made sure to follow her order, as he feared being subjected to a macabre punishment on his next visit over to the cottage the following month.
The first time that Joshua had gone over to Ms. Sillow’s cottage at the age of eight, his mother was naturally uncomfortable with him being over at the home of a strange woman whom she had never met before. She was extremely over-protective of her only child; so when he hadn’t returned home in a time that she thought was reasonable, she began tormenting her husband, nagging him to head next door to check up on their son. With every passing hour that Joshua spent inside of Ms. Sillow’s unlit, haunted-looking cottage, all Mrs. Cople could do was think about was whether or not her child was okay. And her apprehension wasn’t unjustified. Mrs. Cople had always been concerned about that little boy she used to see running around her neighbor’s yard and was skeptical of Ms. Sillow’s claim that he had gone back home to his mother. Flashing back to the first several times that she had ever seen Presley playing outside in the immediate vicinity of the cottage, she recalled images of him being so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. He was so happy and vibrant, and it appeared as though nothing could have taken his gaiety away. Then, all of a sudden he ended up disappearing, not to be spotted again until weeks later. When he did make his re-emergence outside, Mrs. Cople’s heart wept for the boy. He wasn’t the same happy and mobile child that she had initially seen. The sadness was clearly visible on his pale face, and he was moving around like an old man. It was evident to Mrs. Cople that he had been subjected to some inhumane physical abuse, and as a concerned neighbor, she begged her husband to investigate what was going on behind the closed doors of their neighbor’s cottage.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Ann,” Mr. Cople said to his wife’s claims of foul play. “The boy must have fallen down the stairs or something. There’s no way that Mrs. Sharlow could have possibly done that to him. She’s a tiny, frail old woman who uses the little bit of strength and energy that she has left in her being a good wife to her husband.”
A subservient wife, Mrs. Cople agreed with what her husband had said and didn’t take the discussion any further. From that point on, both her and her husband continued to observe Presley continue to sporadically pop up and then disappear, pop up and then disappear. So when Mr. Cople had told his wife that Mrs. Sillow was going to be borrowing Joshua at the end of each month to help her out with certain things that she needed done around her place, his wife couldn’t help but bring up Presley’s situation once more.
“My child won’t be stepping a foot out of this house to do anything for anybody,” Mrs. Cople voiced authoritatively. “Now, I’ve been trying not to bring up this discussion again, but just in case you’ve forgotten or unless you’re just plain retarded, that boy next door is being abused by that woman. There’s no way in hell I’m going to allow you to send my son over there to undergo similar treatment.”
Although Mr. Cople had turned away from his uncompromisable ways and was going to try and discuss the matter in a civilized manner with his wife, the way that she had addressed him involuntarily made him resort to being his old self. As he choked her he asked: “Are you calling me a liar?” Even though Mrs. Cople so desperately wanted to tell him that he wasn’t a liar so that she would be able to breathe again, he was holding her throat too tightly for her to get a sound out. “I’ve seen that woman, you haven’t. She’s about the same size as Joshua and as slow as a sloth. She’s not capable of hurting anybody.”
Mr. Cople only released his grip on his wife’s throat after her face started to turn blue. He then went off to their bedroom to cry to himself, for he knew that he was about to put his son’s life in danger at the end of the month.