The Kinisey File
by Vanessa K. Eccles
Okay, so I am a stock boy at the University in Baton Rouge. My job pretty much consists of putting up, sorting, and cataloguing books and files. Most days are monotonous, but sometimes it gets interesting. But none of which were ever as incredible as the day that I happened upon the file.
I was tasked the file room. It is unbelievably boring. I have only done it once before, but I would not wish work up there for my worst enemy. First of all, I can never find anything in that room. I had to take a double look when my boss gave me a list of over forty files to pull. I simply rolled my eyes, put on my big boy face, and got to work.
After successfully finding about 11 files, I noticed that one file was sticking out just a little further from the rest. It was more of a yellowish color too. For some reason it caught my attention, enough to pull it out and look. I wiped some dust off, and I saw that the file had some writing on it. It was in thick bold cursive letters that said The Kinisey File.
I slowly opened the file, half expecting someone to jump out from behind the shelves and yell, “Get back to work!” I looked around and saw no one, so I decided that it would not hurt to take a little peek. I took a seat in an old foldout chair that was propped up against the shelf. Somehow, I knew that this was going to demand more than just a few minutes.
The first thing that I saw when I opened it was a picture of a young woman with long curly hair. She had it pulled back in a ponytail. I also noticed that she had a tag on her shirt in the photo; she was a journalist. I read a little bit further and found out the woman’s name was Ruth Kinisey. She had been a new reporter for a newspaper. I could not tell which one though. A black permanent marker crossed out the name of the newspaper. This confused me, but it only heightened my intrigue.
I read the entire file from cover to cover, and I could barely believe what it said:
I, Miss Ruth Kinisey, am writing this in the event that I do not return. I came to Corinth, Louisiana in July of 1998 to report on a story about a man named Immanuel Givens. This was my first assignment.
I am unable to tell every detail of my encounter due to time limitation. But I will tell everything I can.
My boss sent me to Corinth to prove that the story about people going missing there was illegitimate. Unfortunately, when I got there I saw that there were valid witnesses and proof that people were vanishing. I know that it seems bold to make such accusations, but I am as sure as I am standing here that something really is wrong in Corinth.
There were stories from UFOs to Revelations floating around, but I was determined to find out the truth. My first interview with Immanuel Givens was strange. I sat down and asked him a series of questions of what he thought was happening in Corinth, and how did he play a part in it? He answered every question with another question. After a while, I just gave up. When I stood up to leave, he said, “Will you come to church Sunday?” I knew that I did not want to, but I was hoping that he would tell me more if I went along.
“Sure,” I replied.
I spent the next two days interviewing everyone I could find. Each one said the same thing, “They just disappeared right in front of us.” I was growing more suspicious about these people. I was beginning to think that maybe there was something biologically wrong here, or that this was some massive scheme to get noticed. Either way, I did not drink the water.
One night while I was eating at the diner downtown, I saw Immanuel come in. Immediately, people began to clear out. The ones that dared to stay were quiet and seemingly fearful. I could not help but wonder why everyone was afraid of him. He was just a weird, old man from everything I could see. He approached my table.
“May I join you?” he asked.
“Of course,” I replied.
He then looked at the other customers in the diner and waved his hands, as if to wave them away. They obediently stood up, left their food and things, and walked out. Everyone left, including the staff. My stomach rolled with anxiety as I tried to brace myself with what he was about to say.
“I’m sorry about what happened to you when you were nine,” he stated.
I thought back for a moment, and then I remembered that I had just turned nine when a pastor at my church touched me. We were at youth camp.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I lied.
“The devil comes in many forms, child. Unfortunately, he uses people who are in trustworthy positions to rob, steal, and destroy. Is that not what he did to you? Did he not rob, steal, and destroy your innocence?” His words were bold but sympathetic.
“Yes,” I whispered.
“Did you know that you’ve been carrying around this in your heart all this time? That one event has changed your course in life. What about the year that you had an affair with a married man only to get yourself a job?”
Shocked, embarrassed, and shamefully I asked, “How do you know all this?
“That is not what is important. What’s important is that you were created for more than this, and you will soon find out what your purpose is,” he said. He then stood up and walked out.
I was then gasping for understanding. I had no idea what had just happened, but I knew that this was a clue.
The next day I went to church as I had promised Mr. Givens. I was nervous to say the least, but I was thirsty to find out more. After a few minutes, he stood up in front of the crowd and said, “Today is a day of purpose. You were created for more.” He walked towards me and caressed his hand against my face and whispered, “Today you will find your purpose. Today is the beginning.”
After reading these words, my mind began to soar. I wondered what happened to Ruth and why she did not write any more. Why didn’t she answer the mystery of the town? I ran downstairs and searched through old newspaper articles to see if I could find anything out about Corinth or Ruth. There was nothing. I asked around to see if anyone had ever even heard of Corinth. No one had. I left work early that day and went home to search the internet for anything I could find out about the place. All I could find was the directions and that the population was only a few hundred people. I made arrangements to go there the next day.
I wanted to know what happened to Ruth. I wanted to know if those people really did go missing, and if they did, where did they go? Questions flooded my mind, but I most importantly wanted to know my purpose.
When I drove up to downtown Corinth, I imagined Ruth walking in these streets, eating at the diner, and searching for answers just as I am today. Then I saw the church, the only church. One door was propped open, and I cautiously walked inside. There was a man sitting on the first pew.
“Can I help you, son?” he asked.
“I’m looking for Immanuel Givens?” I asked him.
“You’re looking at him. How can I help you?” he asked again.
Suddenly all the other questions disappeared.
“I need to find my purpose,” I said humbly.
Vanessa K. Eccles is currently an English major at Troy University in Dothan, Alabama, as well as a Deep South intern. She completed her first novel last year and is working on her second.