From: Miranda Hendricks <[email protected]>
Subject: Inadvertent disclosure?
Date: September 1, 2017 11:03:51 AM PST
To: Holly Cavanaugh <[email protected]>
I’ve come across something interesting in the box of documents opposing counsel sent over. It appears to be a copy of a letter detailing facts related to a former client of theirs. I’ve attached the letter for your review. Do we notify opposing counsel? Seems like an inadvertent disclosure. I’ve read the letter and, though I find it quite disturbing, it’s clearly irrelevant for our purposes. Will inform you if I come across any other copies. Get back to me soon. Thanks,
Hamilton & Smith, LLP.
All messages subject to Hamilton & Smith’s communication policy. Please contact sender for more information.
October 2, 2010
Dear Mr. Fineberg,
I greatly appreciate your willingness to represent me in this matter. I’ve been wanting to explore my legal options ever since Dawn vanished. It’s been weeks since Dawn was taken into custody, and the SFPD has been as uncooperative as possible. I’m going crazy worrying about her. Dawn’s friends and relatives continue to call me for updates and I have nothing to give them. As you requested, I’ve put together a letter detailing all the facts that I believe relevant to Dawn’s case. If you have any questions, please contact me at x*x-x*x-xxxx.
The string of events that led to Dawn’s disappearance began with me picking up an Uber passenger. I’ve been in between jobs for the past couple months, so I’ve been doing Uber in San Francisco in order to make some extra money. The passenger in question was Julie Walcott. Both Julie and Dawn worked in HR at CashTec in San Francisco. Although they knew each other, I had never been introduced to Julie, and she didn’t know who I was. So when she entered my car and took a seat in the back, I decided not make things awkward and tell her that I was her colleague’s boyfriend.
As she entered my car, Julie gave me a quick hello before turning to her phone. I asked how she was doing and she gave me a curt reply. I left it at that and pulled away from the curb. I had picked up Julie just south of Lombard and Gough, and CashTec was located south of Market. This meant that I would driving through some of the busiest streets in San Francisco during rush hour. Upon realizing this, I sighed, flicked on my music and settled into another day of navigating horrendous traffic and terrible roads.
About 10 minutes into the ride, I glanced behind me at Julie and noticed the deep creases at the corners of her mouth. Her brown eyes sunk in their sockets as she stared off into space. She rarely blinked and kept her arms close as if shielding herself. If I didn’t know better, I’d say she’d gone through a horrific drug addiction. Whatever hardships Julie had faced, they were etched right onto her face.
Shortly afterward, I noticed Julie whimpering in the rearview mirror. As soon as I stopped at a red light, I turned toward Julie and asked what was wrong. Her eyes widened as she looked directly at me and began to stutter. She lifted a shaky finger and pointed to my stereo, unable to speak clearly. At first, I thought she was questioning my taste in music, so I offered to change the music if she hated it that much. Hearing this, Julie demanded to to know if I was playing some kind of sick joke.
The light turned green and I groaned inwardly. I did not want to argue with a passenger while navigating morning traffic. I told her that it was no joke. Julie rapidly spat out a string of four-letter words. I stole a glance through the rearview mirror again. She was fidgeting erratically. If nervous before, she was downright terrified by this point. I begged her to calm down, but that only increased her agitation.
She began to turn to the left and right, rapidly yanking on the door handle. I had previously locked the door out of habit, and this only incensed her further. Between demands as to my identity and threats to call the police, she commanded me to open her door and let her out. I told her that I would as soon as I found a place to park; stopping a car on a busy street in the middle of rush hour was out of the question.
Apparently, this was unreasonable to Julie as she began to scream at the top of her lungs for help. This really worried me so I threw caution to the wind and eased on the brakes while in the middle of the road. I switched on my hazard lights, but that did not stop angry drivers from blaring their horns in response to my actions.
Overpowered by terror, Julie struggled for a bit before finally throwing her door open, She ripped herself out of the car, slammed my door shut, and ran between the cars behind me. Additional horns joined in the cacophony as cars screeched to a halt in order to avoid hitting a frenzied woman scrambling through traffic. I hit the gas and drove on. I was so shocked by the bizarre turn of events that I had to stop driving and gather my bearings.
A few minutes later, I managed to find parking off the main street and turned off the ignition. I paused to reflect on what had just happened. Clearly, my taste in music wasn’t the problem. Julie had been genuinely terrified. I wondered if the particular song playing at the time was responsible. It seemed to be the only option, though I found it incredible that a simple song could trigger someone like that.
I thought back and realized that at the time of Julie’s freakout, I was listening to a recently acquired mix. It was near impossible to drive all day listening to the same songs. I tried internet radio stations but they used too much data. I couldn’t buy new songs every time I wanted to listen to something new, and regular radio held no interest for me. My solution was to download Youtube mixes at home and then listen to them in the car. It was a great way of finding new songs and genres without using data.
Julie’s outburst occurred while I was listening to a mix of witch house, a genre I had never heard of prior to the previous weekend. The music is nowhere near as morbid as the name suggests, more mellow and easy to listen to without feeling repetitive.. I found the section that I believe ignited Julie’s freakout and hit play.
The song was fairly typical of the genre: familiar breakbeats with deep, hard basses. Yet, as the song progressed, I heard a subtle change. Behind the beat and atmospherics, there was a slight hum, so to speak. It flowed in and out in the background as it slowly rose in volume. I realized it wasn’t a hum, but some kind of vocalization, a perfect fusion of chanting, moaning and wailing. It had a beautifully haunting tone to it and made me pictured ancient rituals and occult shrines dedicated to unknown gods. Though I felt a few tremors wriggle down my spine, I still couldn’t see how this song could terrify anyone the way it did Julie.
Repeat listenings made me realize the chanting-moaning-wailing hum was a sample. The artist must have taken the sample from some other source and then weaved it into this song. I looked at my phone and saw that I still had to give eight rides before fulfilling my personal quota for the day, so I pulled out and continued on driving. I resolved to do a bit of research once I got home and hopefully shed more light on this mystery.
After a few more hours of driving, I finally pulled into my apartment complex in Concord. I parked the car, walked into my apartment and fell on the bed. Dawn wasn’t going to be home for another couple of hours. After a bit of rest, I got up and devised a research plan. The creator of the mix had included a tracklist, and, soon after, I found myself googling the artist. The song itself was called Gallow’s Dance and the artist Grave Raver. Something common to witch house is for the creators to substitute symbols and numbers for letters. Grave Raver looked like GЯΛVE RΛVER and Gallows Dance was G▲LLOVVS D▲ИCE. If there is need for additional research, make sure to include the symbols. Eventually, I found Grave Raver’s email address. I typed up an email asking for information about the sample used in Gallows Dance and sent it off to Grave Raver. Surprisingly, I received a reply less than an hour later. He invited me to a chat during which was quite informative.
According to Grave Raver, the sample used in the song was a piece of the audio track from a deleted YouTube video. The video was on the cusp of going viral before being unceremoniously deleted, apparently due to copyright concerns. According to a statement from YouTube, the video was a leak of an upcoming horror film, and the creators had asked that it be taken down. Grave Raver, however, did not believe this. He was a devotee of the horror genre and assured me that he knew of every single horror movie in existence including upcoming ones. He had never seen nor heard of any horror movie resembling the deleted video. He had attempted to find information regarding the uploader, but this too, he assured me, was fruitless.
Grave Raver then informed me of the rumours surrounding the video. Apparently, there are some who believed the video to be real and insisted the whole thing was a cover up. Graver Raver assured me he didn’t subscribe to these conspiracy theories. However, Grave Raver did find it weird that the video never resurfaced after being deletion. He had managed to download a copy of the video before it was taken down, but had never attempted to reupload the video himself. He said something about the situation rubbed him the wrong way and feared the suspension and/or termination of his channel.
Upon hearing he had the video, I asked Grave Raver if he could send it over to me, and he acquiesced. I gave Grave Raver my email address and thanked him for the information. In return, He asked me to let him know if the video is really a clip from a horror film. If so, he wanted to see the film itself. We ended the chat and, within a few minutes, I received the email with the video attachment. I downloaded the video and began watching it.
The video opened with a what looked like some kind of darkened, underground bunker or basement. The walls were an ugly, grimy cement with bizarre textures. It looked like the opening of a found-footage film. The cameraman, who I believe was alone, was rounding a corner that opened to a wider room. The camera then tilted up to a cobweb-infested ceiling. The ceiling was made of that same grimy cement as the walls. The near complete darkness and lack of any natural light convinced me that the scene had been be shot underground. After tilting back down from the ceiling, the man moved forward. Here I began to notice dark outlines of humanoid figures set against a reddish glow radiating from the wide room ahead
As the camera inched closer to the figures, I heard a “Holy S**t!” right before the cameraman gasped. The images rushed forward as the cameraman ran toward the figures and into an enormous room. As the figures came into focus, I could see that they were clearly humans. The cameraman seemed to be standing in a grotesque mockery of a ballroom, and this ballroom was filled with humans. Some were sitting against the cement wall, heads hung low. Others were curled in the fetal position, while still others sat with their chins on their knees. A couple more were lying on the cement floor, arms stretching out, staring at the ceiling. At least, they would have been staring if they had eyes. I nearly jumped back when I realized that every single person had bloody holes where their eyes should have been.
The cameraman began to breathe heavily, clearly unable to take in what he saw. With a sickening feeling, I noticed the familiar hum from Grave Raver’s song and then realized its source. It was the result of all these people groaning and moaning almost in unison like some unearthly chorus. At this point, the person holding the camera attempted to get the people’s attention. There was no response. He tried poking a few of the people. Some even fell over, but none of them reacted to the intruder filming them. Eventually the cameraman stood up and walked on through the throng of near zombies. He took care to step around the ones sprawled on the floor. Not a single person was handcuffed or restrained, though I didn’t think it was needed.
There was a hallway leading out of the ballroom opposite the one the cameraman had entered from. The camera faced toward that opposite hallway as if the cameraman were hesitating to go deeper into whatever this place was. Finally, the cameraman moved forward, and I heard the ghastly chorus fade into the background. This next corridor seemed to go on for quite some distance, but it wasn’t long before I began to hear female shrieks and screams. They were sandwiched by cries for help and grew louder and the cameraman moved forward. I watched as the cameraman quickened his pace.
The cameraman finally came up to an enormous metal door. The screams and cries for help emanated from behind the door. There was something disturbing about the screams, though at that moment, I couldn’t put my finger on it. The hands of the cameraman then came into view as he tried to pry open the door. He was unsuccessful. The monstrous door was sealed tightly. The man began pounded and kicking the door in a futile attempt to get it open. The screaming on the other side of the door suddenly stopped and became whimpers. I heard the sound of heavy footsteps coming from the other side of the door. There was a metallic groaning as the door began to open.
At this point, the man jerked around and began running. A growl echoed from behind him before he let out a piercing shriek of terror. I heard what I think were the sounds of flesh being ripped apart. The video faded to black with a single logo. The logo looked like the bloody letters, DMS. Below the logo were the words “Dark Mask Studios”. The video ended.
I sat there and stared at my computer for a bit. I was in the process of dismissing the entire video as a well-done horror movie trailer when I was hit with a realization. Those female screams sounded exactly like Julie’s screams. After hearing her screams in the car earlier, I was certain that those screams belonged to Julie. I quickly tried to rationalize this revelation. Julie could have been a low-budget actress in a previous life. But how did that explain her overwhelming fear when she heard my music. It’s possible she could’ve had a traumatizing experience on set, but I couldn’t quite convince myself this was the case.
I minimized the video and immediately googled Dark Mask Studios. Unfortunately, there was little information related to Dark Mask Studios. All I learned was the studio was no longer in business and, more interestingly, had not released a single film. I tried searching for more information but was unsuccessful.
I ended up just sitting in front of my computer trying to come up with an alternative explanation for Julie’s bizarre behavior. Eventually, Dawn walked through the door. We exchanged greetings with Dawn bending down to give me a kiss on the lips. She asked me how I was doing. I said I was fine, turned off the monitor, and got up to take a shower while Dawn busied herself in the kitchen
Once finished, I I walked out of the shower with a towel wrapped around my waist and saw Dawn staring wide-eyed at the gruesome video. I ran up and paused the video. She muttered something about cattle and asked what the hell was I looking at. I figured honesty was the best policy so I explained everything that had happened that day. Dawn said nothing and unpaused the video. Once the video ended, she turned toward me, a frown spreading across her face. I asked if she knew anything about Julie. Dawn simply looked up at the ceiling and admitted that the screams and cries for help definitely sounded like Julie. Dawn turned back to me, hand over her mouth and deep in thought. I asked again what she knew. Dawn took a deep breath and began talking.
Dawn explained that something had happened to Julie before Julie came to work for CashTec. Something extremely traumatic. Apparently, it was near impossible to get anything personal out of Julie unless she was completely wasted. And even then, whatever Julie did say was cryptic at best. Dawn told me that she found herself around a drunk Julie several times in the past and had managed to piece some things together. Julie had moved out here about a year ago from across the country, though Dawn wasn’t exactly sure from where. Julie had wanted to escape something and was desperate for a change. Julie wasn’t always a drinker, but “life is now more bearable drunk”. Julie’s words. I asked Dawn if Julie had ever been or attempted to be an actress. Dawn shook her head.
These revelations made me queasy. I hated how I kept finding weird connections like this. Dawn, on the other hand, seemed to be in denial. She kept insisting that there was a reasonable explanation for all this, though she couldn’t give me one. Dawn saw my unease and suggested we spend the night out around other people. I agreed, and before we knew it, we were both dressed and in the car. Luckily, it was a Friday night, which meant there would still be people out having a good time. I hoped that would rub off on us.
We got back home late that night. Though Dawn tried putting on a strong exterior, she nearly drank herself into a coma that night. She rarely drank alcohol and yet drank more that night than she had all year. Surrounded by others sharing in our festivities, we managed to fool ourselves into thinking we were just enjoying the night and not trying to forget the disconcerting connections we had made.
Now, I’d like to say that was the end of the matter. That the connections we made from random bits of information were buried and eventually forgotten. But Dawn was far too curious to leave things alone.
A couple of days later, I was at home after a disappointing day of Uber. It was sometime in the evening, around 7 to 8. With winter fast approaching, darkness had already fallen. Just as I began to wonder what Dawn was up to, my phone rang. It was Dawn. She seemed to be scared, nervous and excited all at the same time. She spoke quickly about how her persuasive abilities had come in handy. She had managed to talk Julie into revealing more about the apparent trauma Julie had experience years ago. Instead of shutting down and evading the question, Julie had invited Dawn over to talk. Dawn was wrapping something up at her work and would be at Julie’s place.
Occasionally, acute feelings of foreboding will prevent us from doing something seemingly harmless. I cannot explain how or why, but such a feeling washed over me as Dawn told me her plans. I told Dawn to forget it, but she assured me it would be fine. At this point, I practically ordered to just come home. Dawn questioned my lack of curiosity and simply hung up. I stood by my bed in silence before finally deciding to crash the party. If something were to happen to Dawn while I was at home twiddling my thumbs, I would never forgive myself.
I snatched my phone off the nightstand, jumped in my car and sped off toward the city. There was still traffic on the Bay Bridge, so it took nearly an hour before I finally made it into the city. Luckily, I remembered where Julie lived and raced on over to her place.
As I pulled up in front of Julie’s place, I noticed darkened house right away. Not a single light was on. I parked my car across the street and sat there, glued to my seat. As I tried to excuse my hesitation, I noticed the front door was left ajar. Pinpricks of dread rippled down my shoulders before I managed to gather my courage and walk up to the house. As I nudged the front door open with my foot, a horrific stench overwhelmed me. I stuck my nose in my shirt, trying not to gag as I listened for any sounds. I heard what sounded like whimpering echoing from upstairs. I called out for Dawn. There was no answer, though the whimpering continued. I tried flipping the light switches but none of them worked.
Despite my trepidation, I ran upstairs toward the sound and stepped into a larger room. A breeze drifted in through the shattered window across the room. The lights weren’t working here either, but the faint glow of the streetlights allowed me to see Dawn quivering in an easy chair amid a chaotic mess of furniture. I called to her and her head turned in my direction. Dawn’s eyes were wide open with terror. She tried getting words out but could only sputter incomprehensibly. She lifted a shaky arm and pointed a trembling finger to the middle of the floor.
It took a few seconds for me to make out the shape of a body on the floor. It was Julie. Her body practically torn apart and half-eaten. Worst of all, she had no eyes. They seemed to have been plucked right out of their eye sockets. I gagged and stuck out my arm to steady myself against the wall. I didn’t think wild animals were even capable of this
I tiptoed around bloody mess toward Dawn, nose inside my shirt. Once within reach, I grabbed Dawn and held her close. I tried asking Dawn what had happened, but she was a jabbering mess. She would not stop shaking and kept pointing to the shattered window. I stepped to the window and looked outside. I didn’t notice anything unusual. Regardless, I pulled out my phone and quickly dialed 911. The dispatcher assured me that someone would be right over. She stayed on the line and attempted to comfort me. Dawn finally looked up at me and motioned to the phone. I told her not to worry because I was on the phone with the police.
It’s hard to explain what happened next because it happened so quickly. Dawn let out a piercing “NO”, grabbed my phone and threw it against wall. She was screaming for help at this point and kept repeating something about teeth, cattle and a they. They got Julie and were after her next. I tried holding her close but she squirmed and flailed and finally punched herself free. She half crawled on the floor toward the stairs and attempted to descend. I ran to Dawn, pulled her to her feet, and helped her down the stairs.
As we both exited the house, I began to hear the comforting sounds of approaching sirens. This had the opposite effect on Dawn. She started thrashing about in my arms, screaming at the top of her lungs, begging me to let her go. I held her close and tried calming her down, telling her that everything was going to be ok. She was having none of it. If anything, her screaming grew louder and her thrashing wilder.
Two police cars finally pulled up the house. An officer exited each vehicle and ordered us to stick our hands behind our heads. I obeyed and slowly knelt to the ground in a show of surrender. Julie kept screaming and sputtering and thrashing about. One officer, a woman, ran up to me, handcuffed me and pulled me up. She led me back to her car while the other officer attempted to calm Dawn down. The policewoman told me not to worry about Dawn, that Dawn was in good hands, and Officer Rodgers had experience with these sorts of things. She then asked me calmly what had happened.
I stuttered for a bit, before telling the woman that I was the one who made the call. I then recounted my experience. I also made sure to mention my suspicions of a third party being involved. I stressed the broken window and Dawn pointing to it when I walked into the room. The policewoman asked me why this mysterious stranger would brutally murder Julie in front of Dawn, but leave Dawn alone even though Dawn had witnessed the entire thing. I stood there without an adequate response. I wondered aloud if we were even dealing with a normal criminal. The policewoman stood there for a bit, sizing me up with penetrating eyes before unlocking my handcuffs. She then called for back up and told me to stay put while she walked over to help the other officer. He was having a difficult time with Dawn.
Somehow, in the midst of the chaos, Dawn tore herself from the officer and ran to me. She nearly jumped into my arms and begged me to take her home. She kept screaming incomprehensibly, out of her mind with terror. At this point, both officers gave up being gentle and practically ripped Dawn out of my arms. They set her down hard and handcuffed her. However, right before being grabbed, Dawn had somehow managed to shove a sheet of paper into my pants. Neither officer noticed, and everything had happened too quickly for me to react.
Once Dawn was secure, the policewoman walked over to me and told me that they would have to detain Dawn and take her down to the station. She told me that Dawn was being impossibly uncooperative. She told me that she hoped the car ride down to the station would calm Dawn down. I nodded, worried for Dawn’s sanity but unsure of what I could do. The female officer looked at me again and assured me that everything would be ok.
I turned toward Dawn and watched as my girlfriend was led to the male officer’s car and lowered into it, still kicking and screaming. Dawn looked at me once last time and begged me to stop the officers from taking her away. Once she realized I wasn’t going to do anything, she shouted something about there being more.
“There’s more”, she screamed, “There’s way more. We’re the cattle. We’re all cattle, Nate!”. That was all she managed to get out before being whisked away. Tears welled up in my eyes and, had I known then what was going to happen, I would have fought tooth and nail for Dawn. I’m ashamed to admit that I genuinely thought that Dawn had lost her mind. Nothing she said made any sense.That was the last time I saw Dawn.
After Dawn was gone, a third police car pulled up with two more officers. Both officers got out. The walked up to the female officer and talked for a bit. The policewoman pointed at the house and then me. Eventually one went on to inspect the house while the other continued to talk with the female officer. Once finished with the second officer, the policewoman walked up to me and told me that Dawn was taken to Central Station on Vallejo St. I nodded, unsure of what to say. The policewoman noticed my sadness and attempted to comfort me with a hug. She then encouraged me to come to the station and give my statement. She then got into her car and drove off.
I stood in the dark next to my car, attempting to process everything that had just gone on that night. It seemed strangely unreal, like dream I hadn’t woken up from yet. I just stood by while Dawn was literally dragged, kicking and screaming, away. I chided myself before getting back to my car and driving off toward Central Station.
Central Station was not quite as busy as I had thought it would be. The lobby itself was strangely quiet. I walked up to the receptionist, explained who I was and asked to see Dawn. She told me to wait in the lobby. Dawn wasn’t ready to see anyone just yet. I wish I was more assertive about this, but I’m not that kind of guy. So I decided to sit down patiently in the lobby.
Eventually, I was told that an Officer Mathison wanted to speak with me. The receptionist led me to the female officer I had encountered earlier. Officer Mathison told me that everything would be ok. Dawn was safe and would hopefully be out soon. We talked about what had happened but there was nothing new to add. I did not mention any of the connections Dawn and I had made. I worried that would make me look insane or paranoid. Officer Mathison then led me back out to the lobby and said I was welcome to wait until Dawn was released.
I sat down in a plastic chair and reflected on everything that had happened. While I couldn’t deny the connections, I wondered if I had stumbled onto something far bigger than I had initially believed. It was late at night and, before I knew it, I was asleep. I woke to a different receptionist asking who I was waiting for. I told her about Dawn. The receptionist’s brow furrowed. She told me that Dawn was currently unavailable. I asked her if I could speak with Officer Mathison. She was unavailable as well. I tried to argue with the receptionist and raised my voice a bit. The receptionist gave me a dirty look and threatened to call over an officer to e****t me outside. That took the wind out of my sails. Defeated, I walked out of the station and looked for a place to grab some food.
I stopped at a sandwich spot and sat down in the back corner. After ordering, I sat in silence for a few minutes before remembering the sheet of paper Dawn had stashed in my pocket. I pulled out the sheet of paper and unfolded it.
At first, I was unsure of what I was looking at. it was a faded map of the U.S. The paper itself was yellowed with age. Plastered all over the map were marks that looked like little x’s. For a second, I had no idea what it meant nor why Dawn had given it to me. But then a light bulb flickered on and nearly bowled me over with a single inescapable conclusion. Julie’s half-eaten corpse, the underground chamber, the throng of people herded like cattle, Dawn screaming “there’s more” and likening us to cattle all flashed before my eyes. The conclusion? That grisly chamber featured in the video was likely just one chamber among many. If the x’s dotting the map were any indication, then the entire country was infested with these sorts of chambers. We may very well be the cattle. But to who?
That realization injected in me a sort of dread that I cannot explain. It’s as if reality suddenly shifted and was suddenly cast in a much darker, menacing shade. I even grew suspicious of the cops. Had they done something with Dawn? These thoughts cultivated within me a deep fear for Dawn’s safety, so I ran back to Central Station and practically demanded to see Dawn. I was stonewalled yet again and told to come back in a couple of days as Dawn was “unavailable”. If I didn’t leave, I would be arrested they threatened. With no other option, I left the station that morning dejected and vowed to come back.
Since that day, I have been to the SFPD Central Station every day to inquire after Dawn. She was never available. In the past week, the story seems to have changed with the police telling me that Dawn is now under suspicion for the murder of Julie and is no longer being held at Central Station. I find this peculiar because Dawn has yet to be charged with anything. I have no idea what to do and I hope that there are legal options because I’m at a loss. I do not understand what any of this means. I just want Dawn back.
Again, I thank you Mr. Fineburg for agreeing to hear my case. I hope there is something that can be done. Please give me a call and let me know what I should do next. Thanks again and I’ll talk to you soon
-End of Letter-