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The Unseen Player

2021

ISNB: 978-1-7376534-0-0 (sc)

ISNB: 978-1-7376534-2-4 (e)

From  author M.A. Senft comes an inspiring ghost and murder mystery story.

 

One of the most infamous outlaw gangs to rise to fame during this period was Missouri’s Jesse and Frank James. Lesser known today, but just as notorious then was the Reno Gang from Indiana. The gang was comprised of four out of six Reno siblings plus additional gang members. Born on July 27, 1837, Frank Reno was the gang’s oldest member and their leader.

 

Inciting terror wherever they traveled, the Reno Gang held Seymour hostage. Swaggering an air of untouchability after each arrest, they reappeared in gambling halls and bars, boasting of their influence over the town’s officials. The state paid notice as the gang’s reputation grew. 

Unsuspecting citizens were ambushed and robbed by the gang. Or worse yet, killed for their meager belongings. A guest at the Radar House in Seymour was found beheaded and floating in White River. Witnesses claimed that Frank Reno often toyed with his Bowie knife for sport, tossing it at innocent bystanders. It was a knife used for evil. Witnesses and local law officials dared not speak of what they had seen in fear of gang retribution.
 

The treasures that the Reno Gang had stolen were never found. Little Goss Cave, in southern Indiana, three miles off Hwy. 150 near Greenville, is rumored to be where the Renos stashed caches of gold and silver, other people’s treasures and precious jewels. Never retrieved, the brother’s loot remains to this day, hidden in an undisclosed location.

From the back of a black limousine a mahogany casket was wheeled. Under a Carolina blue sky, the chest was cautiously carried over dew-covered ground to its permanent home. 

Six pallbearers moved into place. Gradually they released the coffin onto a lowering frame atop a 2 ½ ft. by 8 ft. plot of ground where in less than an hour the earth would reclaim the soulless body the casket contained. 

At daybreak, an unseasonably mild morning had ushered in the promise of a splendid day. The sort rarely associated with funerals. In layered clothing, the deceased’s two sons, their families, and other mourners crowded beneath a canopy erected to shield attendees from the cutting winds. 

As the committal service was about to begin a frigid gust of air surged through the crowd, punctuating the stark reality of the procession. In full bud, a nearby lilac bush released its aromatic perfume into the air. A peculiar reminder that spring was a season of birth and renewal. 

For the man seated closest to the casket, the smell of lilacs was a painful scent to take in. One of the first plants to bloom in the spring, the flower was a favorite of the deceased. With hands clasped, a stone-cold realism coursed through his veins. Pinned to a shattered heart, from this day onward he would wear the label of widower. 

His vacant stare looked past the delicate spray of pink-laced white roses that covered his beloved’s coffin. Adorning the lid, the bouquet beautified the one person Clint had no idea how to live without his Elise. 

Between two mausoleums, at the rear of Three Pines Cemetery, a mysterious onlooker observed the people from the funeral procession closely, taking in the activity at the grave and roadside as people meandered about. Special attention was aimed at the middle-aged man at the center of the activity. The man who had lost his wife was of extreme interest to the visitor. Clint had been lured to his property for a purpose known only by the entity that observed him.