Trespasser (Part IX)

Spring is mostly the bearer of good news.   WIth Spring comes warmer weather. Just as the men enjoy working beneath the sun, so too, do the women their chores, and the children to play their games.  With the Spring come the blossoms on the trees and the rebirth of many gardens, flower and vegetable alike.  Smiles are more frequent as people pass one another, and as the new season chases away the malaise that has hung over them the past few months.

With spring also comes the ill effects of allergies, or the kind of illness that comes when the seasons shift.  Most often these are simple maladies, such as a cold or sinus congestion.  Sometimes it brings with it the flu, or the type of infection that rattles deep in ones lungs.

This was such the case for the Robinsons, who would not be enjoying the warm sun anytime soon.  As Winter faded into memory, and during the kind of warm day one should be out soaking up the sun, they were both battling a particularly nasty flu.

It had been several hours since either had been sick, but because their bathroom was closer to the living room, they were both bundled in heavy blankets on their couch.  A ten gallon bucket, which Davie had earlier brought in from the garage, sat between them at their feet.  Its original purpose had been to catch anything they might sick up, in the case that they couldn’t get to the bathroom in time.  Now, it was a convenient trashcan for their tissues.

“Davie, honey?  I think I’m getting hungry.  WIll you go to the kitchen, and fetch me a cheese sandwich, dear?”

“Anything for you, love.”

Davie groaned as he sat forward, reluctant to leave the warmth of his wool cocoon. When Keesha looked up at him in concern, he forced a half-hearted smile in return.

“You alright?”

“No,” he answered.  He looked as if he were going to say something more, but he suddenly hiccupped.  When she went to repeat her question, he held up a finger, turned, and ran through the kitchen door.  His hip crashed into the corner of the dinner table, sending him careening out of the path of his first target and directly into one that would have to do; the sink.

Keesha was going to scold him for sure, for the mess he was making, but at least he had enough sense to empty his stomach in the side with the garbage disposal.

Several minutes later, he turned on the cold water and splashed his face. It felt good against his feverish skin, and it helped to bring his watery eyes back into focus.

“Davie?  I hope you cleanin’ that up!”

“Yes, love,” he answered, ashamed.

As he set about that unpleasant task, he heard something that hadn’t reached his ears since Bryer Street lost Sammy; the sound of a child’s laughter.  He lifted his attention through the window over the sink, smiling as he sought its source.  His heart froze, however, at what he saw.

Vanessa Rowen was sitting on the edge of her family’s property, playing with figurines she had lined up on the sidewalk.  This wasn’t anything unusual for her, as it was one of her favorite places to be while she was playing.  She said she liked the see the cars up close when they drove by.  It was the person with whom she was playing that caused his unease.  Andy was sitting cross-legged before her, playing with what looked like a model car.

From any other point of view, it would have looked completely innocent.  She would do something with her figurines.  He would say something and smile, and she would giggle as if it was the most delightful thing she had ever heard.  It wasn’t this image that sent chills though his body, nor was it just from the flu that he was suffering.

Every so often, while they played, Andy was nonchalantly taking pictures of her with a camera he had strung around his neck.

Trespasser (Part VIII)

As time is wont to do, Summer became Fall, Fall became Winter, and Winter became Spring once again. During these long months, the people of Bryer Street had become very accustomed to seeing their new neighbor, whom they came to know as Andy.

Andy was like ole Sammy D. in some ways.  After his first steps into the sun, it was more and more common to see him out for an evening walk.  At first, he would offer an awkward nod or smile as he passed.  Sometimes he muttered a shaky “Hi” or “How ya doin today”, but unsure of how to follow-up, he would make a clumsy excuse and shuffle on.

He knew more about cars than any of the residents would have ever suspected, he looked more the type to specialize in some form of computer technology, and would occasionally remark a ‘spot on’ diagnosis of a problem based on the sound an engine was making.

He gained a bit of admiration amongst the men.  It was nothing they spoke of openly, but whenever he passed, they greeted him a bit more honestly.  The women were cordial, but their trust wasn’t to be earned so easily.  They continued to watch him with wary eyes whenever he passed and their smiles only masked their true expressions as they studied his every move.

Andy was very much like Sammy, in that he quickly grew to be a fixture in the community.  Everybody knew of him within hours of his first appearance.  Each person had their own story to tell about the strange young man from up the street.

“He knows so much about cars.  It’s like he’s got the gift…”

“How can he afford to pay for that house when he never leaves for work?”

“He’s good with the children.  They seem to like him too…”

“He’s sick.  That must be why he stays home all the time!”

There were many different stories about the strange, young, Andy From Up The Street.  Some were darker than others and none were more creative than those of the wives, told on rainy days from behind the safety of their curtains.  Others were hopeful, with such imagined histories that included untold fortunes or entrepreneurial genius.

Though they spoke of possibilities, no story could be so much farther from the truth. They spoke of vast fortunes, and while he did not possess such a thing, he did have enough money to satisfy his particular needs.  They spoke of illness, and much like the pipe dreams of hidden wealth, this, too, was not completely true. Though he was ‘as fit as a fiddle’, as the previous owner of his house might have once said, there was a certain something about him that wasn’t quite right.

Andy From Up The Street, because his neighbors didn’t yet know his last name and they were coming to accept that the previous resident was truly gone, was indeed, very sick.  There was an itching inside of him that occasionally needed scratched, a desire that had to be catered to, and it had been far too long since he had given in.