On this very spot, exactly one year ago, a twenty year old black boy - Freddie Scott - was murdered by a white police officer, Henry Slayer. This place, where happiness has become an underused feeling and sorrow a habit, is just a few minute drive from the eccentric streets of Ellicot City, Baltimore, Maryland United States of America. Like most spooky places in Baltimore, the ruins of St. Mary’s College was an ideal place for the murder. Closed since 1972, the defunct seminary sited on a hill, is surrounded by the forests which boarder Patapsco Valley State Park and Ilchester Road. Abandoned, desolate and creepy, the world seems to be on the other side of the world when you are in St. Mary’s College; a perfect place for a seminary, a perfect place for a murder.
Today, it’s midday; and on this fine Spring morning, when out of a petrified past of the last dead season new life springs up again, Henry Slayer returns to St Mary’s College, to the only building still standing amidst the piles of rubble - the old decaying cemetery often mistaken for a chapel - within whose falling walls he had killed the boy. Nobody is in sight but he hears voices. It is from within his own head. He still hears Freddie’s last plea that his life be spared. As he looks at a stain that argues insistently that it was born of Freddie’s blood, the rays of the midday sun, which persist on getting into the dilapidated cemetery despite the many trees, reflect off his hair which is arranged in a man bun. Green grasses carelessly sprouting here and there in defiance of the hard floor contrasts sharply with the color of his hair which is like a sandstorm in the Sahara.
The incident is still very vivid in his thirty-five year old mind. He can see the boy’s black face. At first the boy had acted tough, like he knew the law and knew his rights. He thought he had the right to know what it was all about, why he was getting arrested, why Henry was driving him to Hell House as St. Mary’s is also called. Henry had been cold. His blue eyes which often evoked romance suddenly were as hard as blue diamond, evoking nothing but horror in the boy. Never answering any of Freddie’s questions, his bristles jutted forward terrifyingly as he drove the black boy to the ruins of St. Mary’s. When Henry took out his gun, the boy had become anxious; the fear in his eyes were alive. Every predator would recognize that look in the eyes of his prey just before they died; it was something like liquid horror mixed with supplication and tinted with a lot of helplessness. Henry had pushed him roughly out of the car and shoved him with cruelty along the neglected pavement. Kneeling at the feet of the police officer who towered at a full height of six-feet-two, Freddie had pleaded for his life, even making a weak effort to run away, for he had been cuffed. He kept pleading in between sobs till the cruel click of Henry’s silencer sent a bullet through Freddie’s head, cutting short his supplications and worse still, cutting short his young life at twenty, wasting two scores and ten of man’s promised three scores and ten years. Freddie Scott had gone limp from the shot; lifeless. Henry’s thought then had been, “one less to go.”
Henry closes his eyes in desperation as his one hundred and sixty pound body suddenly becomes too heavy for him. He has a strange impression that this visit of his to St. Mary’s is as useless as the shrink who recommended it. Is this the most that that shrink can do? Asking him to face his fears. Here he is at the birthplace of all his nightmare and yet he isn’t faring any better. He makes a mental note not to return to that useless psychiatrist as he tries another time to shift the vivid images from his mind. The images persist, however, lurking in the darkest and dingiest corners of his conscience, haunting him like those ghosts rumored to haunt Hell House. It seems that from underneath these piles of rubble Freddie Scott’s spirit still sings a rebel song. That is when the sound of a car engine comes to his rescue. It must be Jeremy Sanders. Henry has asked him to meet him at St. Mary’s.