Nobody knows for sure why everybody left River's End. Nobody ever talks about it. A large sign near the perimeter displays the word "Condemned", and the area has since been fenced off on all sides. The houses, now dilapidated and crumbling, were once pristine and beautiful. The lawns of the houses, now overgrown with weeds and plant life, were once perfectly square and the lushest shade of green you could imagine. They say the people were friendly and that there was once peace and tranquility surrounding the quaint little village. But now it's all gone. All that's left of that beautiful place is ruin and devastation, neglect and decay, abandonment by the outside world.
Established in 1955, the area known as River's End started out as a series of developments that, as the name implied, ran near the mouth of a nearby river. A few dozen families inhabited the development at the onset, but as the area became well known for it's beauty and as property values rose, more and more people began to show up, and eventually the Village of River's End was formed. Small businesses began to pop up. A school for the growing number of children was built in 1965. The neighbourhood became prosperous and for several decades became one of the fastest-growing suburban areas in the state.
But then something happened. Or rather, a series of events supposedly happened. The last known record of people living in River's End was in November 1989. That's when the last remaining families were moved out. Any and all efforts to communicate with the people of the town have proven ineffective. Many of these people cannot be found, as if they disappeared without a trace after leaving their homes for the last time. What could possibly have happened in such a small period of time that the entire place had to be evacuated and condemned? Many theories have arisen about these events. Records from the River's End Police Department shortly before the evacuation and local published documents from throughout the town's history have given many of us at least a few clues. The truth about River's End will most likely never be known in full, but the following is what has been pieced together by the little evidence we have.
April 18th, 1969
In April 1969, two children were found dead. Their bodies were discovered in the forest surrounding the suburbs by the police after three days of searching. They were brutally dismembered and their remains showed signs of sexual assault. There were hardly any fingerprints or other clues at the scene for investigators to come up with any solid suspects, but background checks of all River's End residents began shortly after. No matches were found. Whoever the perpetrator was, they weren't from River's End. A search of several nearby towns and urban areas yielded not a single possible suspect. The case remained open.
May 4th, 1969
Not too long after the children's bodies were discovered, officers received a call about a man found dead by his vehicle in his own driveway on Mullberry Street. This time, there was a witness, a neighbor from across the street. The witness was getting ready to go out for his mail when he saw the murder from his front window. The man across the street was leaving for his job in the city, when a man dressed in black stabbed him repeatedly in the back with a large knife. The strange murderer then knelt over the victim's body for a brief time, and then fled the scene just as the victim's wife went outside and discovered his body. The man was described as dressed entirely in black, including black gloves and shoes. The witness said he climbed over the victim's back fence, and disappeared from view. Officers theorized a link between this murder and the double-murder the month prior. However, no more evidence was found. The perpetrator had vanished yet again. The town had been put under stricter supervision, and more officers were placed on active duty during the months to follow.
July 4th, 1969
After several months of peace and quiet, another incident. This one an arson. On the Fourth of July, a local shop operated by River's End citizens was burned to the ground in broad daylight. There were at least 10 casualties, including the store's owner. Not a single person saw any suspicious person(s) or foreign objects at the scene. The whole area was put on lockdown. The police spent a long period of time scouting the streets for any suspicious individuals or activities. Nothing. The media attention for this catastrophe was enormous. Many people fled town as a result, heading for the more peaceful communities surrounding River's End. Who was murdering all of these innocent people, and why?
September 18th, 1972
Three years passed since the Fourth of July arson. In the time since, there have been no murders or unusual crimes. However, many people throughout the community began to observe strange occurrences. One man claimed he saw a large flock of crows surrounding a house on Easter Avenue, even stranger is the fact that River's End is nowhere near the crow's habitat range. A woman claimed that she heard strange noises coming from outside her bedroom windows at night several times over the years. She and her husband searched the property repeatedly, but not a single unusual thing was ever discovered. Several residents claimed to have seen mysterious black vehicles traveling either around town or parked at several residencies and outside certain businesses. Among other things, these strange occurrences began to occur more frequently. But there were still no trace of the previous crime's perpetrators. Then in the Fall of 1972, that silence was broken.
A group of men were arrested by officers for resisting arrest and assaulting an officer after being investigated for disturbing the peace. Residents have reported loud noises and yelling at all hours of the day and night at the home of one of the men in custody. The home was searched shortly after by police, checking for the influence of drugs. What they found shocked them.
The home was apparently also the base of operations for a satanic cult. Inside they found satanic artifacts and a room that contained a large pentagram, a circle of candles, and a book. The pages were written in blood in a language nobody could decipher.
At police HQ, the men were interrogated. Surprisingly, they opened up to the authorities. They confessed to being responsible for the murders and arsons around town over the years. It was revealed that they were from out of state and needed a quiet, innocent suburban area to operate in. Nobody would ever suspect this kind of thing in a quiet little hamlet like River's End. Their goal was simple: they wanted to open a portal to hell so their master could join with them in the human world. A few days prior to their arrest, they claim to have finally succeeded. The men were put on trial, and they were all promptly put to death for their crimes.
Afterwards, the people of River's End had believed that they had put their terror behind them. They thought they could no longer be afraid. From this point onward, the reports become very vague. The police reports end after these events. What follows is a list of events recorded by outside sources, insider information, supposed eyewitness accounts, and wild speculation.
Several residents reported murmurings and whispering coming from the walls of their homes. Some individual reports of supernatural activity, and apparently at one point, demonic possession.
Strange figures were seen at nighttime hours by police and by several residents. Most were seen at the cemetery, but other reports placed these sightings all over the place at varying times of night.
In 1976, the plant life in many parts of town were withering for no apparent reason. Many animals began to act strangely as well. Many animals ran out in front of open cars and were killed. Many birds killed themselves by flying into objects. Pets began to act up, and many of them seemed to die at random from unknown circumstances. These are just a few of the many supposed occurrences throughout the time period.
The town's water supply soon began to become contaminated and undrinkable sometime by 1980.
The sky over River's End was said to have become gray and dark nearly 90% of the time throughout the 80's.
Many homes soon became abandoned. People began leaving as early as 1976, but the last people to stay left in 1989. The businesses and all other town facilities were shut down and eventually all utilities ceased in the area as well.
River's End Today
River's End was slated for demolition in 1990, after all other residents had gone. However, on the day of construction, a bulldozer malfunctioned and exploded, killing several demolition workers and putting the demolition on hold. Several other attempts had failed similarly over the years. Eventually, a wall was built, and the ruins of River's End still remain with us today.
Nobody knows for sure what sort of force ended the story of a prospering, hopeful community. Some say it's a government conspiracy. Others believe it to be a string of coincidences. I believe in something quite different.
One night, on my way home from work, I passed by the entrance to River's End. Right there, in front of the large "Condemned" sign, was a figure dressed in black. It was too dark to see, but I looked into my rearview mirror as I drove on and noticed the figure turn around and then vanish into the night.