The Murders at Sweetwater Creek
A Fictional Short Story.
Copyright 2022. Olive Barker. All Rights Reserved. This story is a work of fiction. That means all names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are all used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons or events is coincidental. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored, or replicated in any way.
It was just after 3 o’clock on a warm August day when Jimmy Orlander got off his shift over at the local ford plant. It wasn’t quite time for dinner and Jimmy didn’t want to go home yet, so he decided to go fishing over at Sweetwater Creek. It was more like a river, but it was called a creek.
Fishing was Jimmy’s favorite pastime. He and his father used to fish downriver on the weekends when he was a kid. Sweetwater Creek was close to his house, a nice quiet spot where he could be alone with his thoughts. Within 15 minutes, he had arrived.
He makes his way to the back of his truck to grab his tackle box when he notices something floating in the creek. It looked like a body, but he couldn’t be sure. He walked closer toward the object and saw that it was the body of an infant, at which point, he immediately called the police.
While he waited for the police to arrive, he noticed the body of a second infant floating about 15 feet away. It wasn’t long before he counted 7 bodies in total. One thing he knew for sure was that people had died. But what he didn’t know was how or why.
The only thing he could do was stand and stare at the bodies. How on earth did they get here, he thought. Who would do such a thing to all of these people? It looks like an entire family, how did they end up in Sweetwater Creek?
Magnolia was a small town. It wasn’t just any old small town. The entire town was about a mile long. Anyone fishing down here was likely to be a local. Either that or they came from Helena, which is about 30 minutes north. No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t figure it out. So he went back to his truck and waited for the authorities to arrive.
At a quarter to four, two patrol cars pulled up behind Jimmy’s truck. He didn’t want to startle them, and so he rolled the window down and waited in the truck. Moments later, there was one officer at his window on the driver’s side and one on the passenger side.
Jimmy thanked the officers for coming and showed them his findings. It was clear to him, that no one in the town of Magnolia had ever seen anything like it before. They questioned him thoroughly before letting him leave the scene. He was cooperative, and they didn’t have any reason to suspect that he had anything to do with it.
Later on that night he went to turn on the 8 O’clock news and the first thing he saw was a reporter standing in the rain down at Sweetwater creek. Her name was Stormi Clearweather. She described a horrific murder-suicide that had taken place shortly after a prominent hedge fund broker in Helena had lost 4 million dollars in the stock market earlier on in the day.
“His name was Bobby Sitton. He and his wife Beth had been married for almost 20 years. Together they had five children, ranging from ages 16 to 18 months old. At the peak of their marriage, the couple appeared to have it all. They were very well known in their community. The family lived in Helena, where just last year they purchased a 2.3 million dollar home,” said Clearweather. “We don’t have the autopsy information yet, but it does appear that all of the victims were shot multiple times.”
Never in his 42 years on this planet had Jimmy seen anything like what he’d seen today. And he couldn’t imagine having 4 million dollars, let alone losing 4 million dollars. He wondered if it would make him want to kill his entire family too. But what he couldn’t put his finger on was why he wanted to do it down at Sweetwater Creek.
Then he heard the reporter say, “Investigators found a note that was left behind in the Sitton home. In the note, Mr. Sitton explains why he killed his family and then himself. He even explained that the bodies will be found at the creek where his father committed suicide when he was 12.”
Jimmy went into the kitchen and poured himself a glass of cold whiskey. He never knew his father because his mother didn’t want to be around him. Or at least that’s the story he grew to know. But one thing he did know was that when he was a boy, around the age of 10, his father shot himself while standing over the bridge at Sweetwater Creek.