The Abduction

“Where did your father go?”

“I don’t know,” said Francisco.

As the three unkempt little children turned to go back into the church on August 13, 1917, a man in a crisp suit stepped from a portico and lit a cigarette. They must have passed right by him when they came out and now he was blocking the doorway. The children pretended not to notice him but even with their heads turned away they couldn’t escape his gaze. They felt it on their backs as they crept tentatively back down the stairs.

Before reaching the bottom, they heard the clopping of hooves on the street. The horse whinnied as the driver pulled back stiffly on the reins, stopping the carriage right in front of them.

The man in the suit was suddenly standing right behind them.

“Come on, children! I’ll give you a ride,” he said in an unconvincingly friendly voice.

“We can’t, we've an appointment and my father is walking us,” Francisco said bravely, carefully backing away.

“Yes, your father’s asked me to take you. Let’s go! You don’t want to keep the lady waiting!”

The children hesitated but when the man picked up Francisco and plopped him in the front seat, the two girls reluctantly climbed in. As the man hopped on, the driver cracked the whip and the horse bolted ahead. The carriage turned onto the main road leading out of town.

Francisco cried out, “This isn’t the way! Where are you taking us?”

The man leaned over and whispered in the boy’s ear.

I’m going to boil you all in oil...

Arturo Santos, mayor of the Ourém Municipality in Portugal, would release the three children of Fatima the next day, after unsuccessfully trying to scare them into recanting their tale of visions of a heavenly lady.

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