Trespasser (Part XXIV)

Many hours had passed since having heard his daughter’s story.  The clouds had blown in from the north, carried by the bitter winds that had preceded it, and now blanketed the sky.  What little remained of the light dwindled as the coming storm choked out its life, making way for the inevitable darkness to come.

John sat quietly in his den, but he was not alone.  There were three other men in the room, all listening as he recounted the morning’s events, all looking at the grim evidence that backed his story. Where there was normally a chip dispenser, which they used for their monthly card games, was a soiled pair of girl’s panties.

In any other circumstance, there might have been excitement in the air.  They may have had a bead of sweat on the tops of their brows, and many possible scenarios would have already been dreamt of, or spoken about.  Any other time, there would have been the sharing of sexual tales, of conquests real and imagined, and nervous laughter would have filled the air.

This wasn’t like any other time.

The mood in the room was somber, the air; thick with tension.  The panties weren’t of the kind belonging to a grown woman.  They weren’t one of the many styles of lingerie used to ‘raise’ the interest of a potential lover, either.  These were nothing more than the simple cotton underwear that might come in packs of three to five, of which no man was ever meant to see.

They belonged to his daughter.

“Y-you’re sure about this,” a nervous Rob Hammond cautiously asked.  “There’s no way she could have accidentally…”

John shook his head back and forth, angrily, pounding a clenched fist on the table to interrupt his friend’s line of thinking.

“She wouldn’t lie to me, Rob,” he growled through clenched teeth.

One of the other men in the room, who had been pacing back and forth in thought until up to this moment, stopped behind John and put a comforting hand on his shoulder.

“Easy buddy,” the new voice said from behind him.  “It’s not that we don’t believe you, the evidence is plain to see!  I think that Rob, like the rest of us, wants to be sure on this before we do anything.”

“Donnie, if you had been there…”

John choked as his emotions reached a boiling point.  He was furious, but, when he began to recall the look on her face, he was hurt beyond comprehension.  Grief struck him as acutely as if her life had been taken from her, rather than just her innocence.

Donnie, John’s older brother and the only person who didn’t live on Bryer Street, leaned forward and embraced his sibling, wrapping one arm around his chest and placing his left cheek against his brother’s right.  Rob stood, quietly, and walked around the table to place a supporting hand over his friend’s.

The remaining person in the room, and the only one who had yet to say anything, slowly leaned forward until the light revealed his haggard face.

“Whatever you want to do, John,” he said slowly for emphasis, “we’ll stand behind you one hundred percent.”

Trespasser (Part XXII)

Another rainy day.  As the summer months waned, they came more frequently, bastions of the months to come.  For the first time in weeks, the smell of smoked food didn’t fill any of their windows.  The women weren’t busy making side dishes, nor were they baking pies, and the children weren’t playing outside.

The residents on this dead-end street had grown distant since Davie had taken his fall.  It wasn’t something that had happened immediately.  They came with casseroles and well wishes, and they spent their free time doing anything to help his wife out around their home, but eventually the fridge was filled.  Over the course of two weeks, all of Davies’ unfinished projects had been finished, and there was nothing new for anyone to say.

Bryer street grew stale, and where most its inhabitants were unhappy, one, in particular, thrived.  ‘Dandy’ Andy ‘From Down The Street’, wore the biggest of smiles. He walked with an extra bounce in his step, and he winked at everyone as if he knew their darkest secrets.

Oh, but if only they knew his.

If they knew his deep, dark secret, they would sing a different tune indeed!

But that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, not if he had anything to say about it.  Because HIS, deep, dark secret, was being shared by someone else, someone who could still say something about it.  Not the old black man from down the street, however, he had seen to that!  That one wouldn’t be saying much of anything in the foreseeable future.  No, not that one, but a much younger flower.  One more to his liking.  One he had recently picked as his own.

He had thought of her as his flower from the moment that he laid eyes upon her. Oh, she had been planted by another, a gardener who had tended to her, fed and watered her, and pruned her so that she was always pretty, but he thought of it as her having been planted just for him.  She was HIS flower, and he would do with HER as HE pleased!

He had picked his flower, but he had yet to pollinate it with his special brand of pollen.  He had come close.  Oh, so close!  But then that old black man had interfered!

“HE’S IN MY HOUSE!”, he’d screamed over and over in his head, during AND after having dealt with him.

He worked it into a chant.  “hesinmyhousehesinmyhousehesinmyhouse”, repeating the words with manic fervor.  He had dealt with the old man, but he couldn’t get him out of his house.  Even after it was done, after the cops had completed their investigation and left, he just couldn’t get him out of his goddamn house!

“He’s.  In.  My.  House!”

His skin crawled at the thought of being violated.

“How dare he come into MY HOUSE!  Fucking THIEF!  VIOLATOR!  NIGGER!”

Just when he was ready to take his flower and bring her home, HE had-

“-fucked everything up!”

Andy was angry.  He was happy.  He was furious.  His emotions were all over the scale as he thought about the old man and how he’d had the nerve to trespass upon his private domain.

Andy was sad.  He was giddy.  He was nervous, because with the old man out-of-the-way, he was finally going to be able to get what he wanted.  What he won-ted. He giggled at his clever play of words, humming as he skipped up the steps to his front door.

Soon.

“He’s. In. My. House.”

“Shut up,” he said to nobody in particular.

Trespasser (Part XX)

“I don’t know, John.  The whole thing seems pretty suspicious to me.”

Marsha stood behind her husband as the two watched through their picture window.  Her arms were wrapped around his midsection, hugging him tightly as tears leaked from the corners of her eyes.  Outside, and just a few houses down, two police cars still sat in front of the Robinson house.  They lit up the entire street with spinning lights of blue and red.

“I mean, why would he be up on the roof in the middle of the night?  I thought that his arthritis wouldn’t let him climb on ladders anymore?”

He sighed, shaking his head from side to side as he did.  There was no explanation for why his friend would be on the roof.  The last time that he had felt the need to be up there, he had come over and asked if he could do it for him.

“It wouldn’t,” he answered softly.  His words were choked, and it took every ounce of control that he had to keep from losing it himself.  Like most of the residents on their street, he had known Davie for most of his life.  They were about as close of friends as two could be, without being blood, and there wasn’t much that he didn’t know about the other.

There was a soft knock from the side of the garage door, and when John looked up, there stood his long-time neighbor; Davie Robinson.  He was bundled heavily against the bitter cold, but the look in his eyes showed he drew no comfort from the extra warmth.  He could see the pain in them, poorly masked by the smile he wore on his face, just as he could see it in the way he carried his hands; curled and close to his body.

“John!  Cold as shit today, huh?”

“It’s fucking miserable,” he answered, returning his friend’s smile.  “Care to step in for a few?  Maybe have a shot of Bourbon to warm your bones?”

Davie looked once over his shoulder before answering; “Sure, I think I have time fer that,” he said.  “But just as long as ya don’t tell the missus!”

“Deal,” he laughed.  As Davie warmed up by the space heater, he walked over to the cabinet where he stored his liquor.  A moment later, he returned with a glass for each of them, three-quarters of the way full.  After a friendly clink of their glasses, both downed their drinks and set the empty container on the counter.

“So, how is the missus doing?”

“Ain’t happy unless she bitchin’ bout somethin,” Davie countered playfully, then;  “Oh, she doin’ fine, as always.  Keepin’ busy.”

“That’s good, that’s good.  What about you?  How are you holding up?”

“Not one of my better days,” he answered with a sigh.  “Actually, that’s why I’m here.  You mind helping me with somethin’?”

It had been just last winter when they had shared that drink together.  Davie had come to ask if John would help him with his Christmas lights.  It had taken a couple of hours, give or take another break in the garage, but he had been the only one on the roof that day.  Davie’s rheumatoid arthritis had been so bad that it was all he could do to even pick up a hammer.

The continued to stand before the window, long after the police had gone, drawing comfort from each other.  Neither of them noticed that there was a shadow out-of-place across the street. They didn’t see the dark figure as it blended further into the shadows, nor did they observe it climb the same stairs that Davie had climbed not too long before.