Trespasser (Part XVIII)

His house never seemed so far away as it did from Andy’s front porch.  His hands were on his lower back, pushing inward as he stretched out the kinks.  A few years ago, he might not have felt the effects of such a short trip so acutely, but his age had given him an incurable ache in his bones.

Of course, he had gone to all of the doctors.  Visits began with Dr. Callehan, whom he had seen for most of his adult life.  After many attempts to diagnose the problem, and after he had tried countless medicines and remedies, he had finally been sent to see the specialists.  Not that this had done any good, for these so-called “specialists” had no more answers than those before them!

He had tried to work through the pain for the better part of a year, but it wasn’t long before he’d found his limit.  He retired early, with full benefits, and has since worked hard to make the best of his golden years.

He could never claim to be even half the man Sammy D. had been, but there was a part of him that demanded he carry on his memory any way he could. Mostly, he just watched.  He was responsible for the remnants of the neighborhood patrol.  It had been his idea to form a small weekly group, to get together and discuss the goings on in their community after Sammy had passed.  Their meetings, however, consisted of talk about the latest game, of the news, or of their jobs.

Davie sighed, disappointed at how much change had come over the years.  Things just weren’t the same.  There was a time when he feared for his life, for the lives of his family, from the ignorance and hate of those who hid behind masks.  In those days, they wore their masks for everyone to see.  They were tougher times, but at least you knew your enemy by the colors they wore.

He ran his fingers idly over the small figurine in his pocket and smiled.

“So much easier in my day,” he said to no one in particular.

He gave one final glance over the houses down the street before turning his attention to the front door.  It’s not that he was worried about anyone seeing him on their neighbor’s property, but more of a nostalgic trip down memory lane. So many houses looked the same as they had thirty years ago, untouched by the ravages of time.

All but one.

He turned and regarded the door once more.  It was the same door that he had helped the previous owner install a few years ago.  How long it had been eluded him, for the door had stood agelessly, barring him from the answers he had come to find.

It was a door meant to keep people out.  Built by the finest craftsmen, reinforced with lag bolts, and equipped with the best locks the bank could buy.  There weren’t very many people who had the skills or knowledge to bypass the kind of security that had been installed into this door, but then, none of that mattered to the one who held the key.

Davie reached up above the door frame, slowly running his fingers across the smooth wood until they bumped into something cold and metallic, just as he had known they would.

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Trespasser (Part XII)

“Rowan!  Get your ass up here!”

John released the trigger on his welding torch until the flame was a small blue remnant of its former glory.  After a few well practised twists, he shut off the gas flow and the flame was gone.  Quickly, because his boss was the kind of person you didn’t keep waiting, he stripped off his face guard and hurried to the foreman’s office.

“You have a phone call, John,” he was told as he entered, which was followed by; “Every second spent on that thing is money lost,” as he picked up the receiver.

“Yes sir,” he answered.  “I’ll make it quick.”

“Marsha,” he asked.  “What have I told you about calling me at work?”

“John,” Davie Robinson answered.  “I’m sorry to call you here, but I’ll make this quick.”

“No, it’s okay buddy.  What’s this about?”

“It’s about your daughter,” the other answered.  John glanced restlessly over to his boss, whose eyes had remained fixed on him from the moment he had entered.  “Can you come over after work?”

“I’m pulling doubles today, I won’t be off till late…”

“That’s okay.  Just let yourself in the back.”

“What’s all this about?  Can’t it wait until tomorrow,” he asked.

“It’s about Vanessa,” Davie replied impatiently.  “This can’t wait John.  Even now, she’s…”

“She’s what,” he answered nervously.

He didn’t get to hear what his neighbor said, however, because his boss’d had enough.  He’d only caught a couple of words, because his focus was now on his foreman.  The latter had stood up and was closing the distance between himself and the phone’s base.

“I have to go,” John said quickly, “I’m needed on the-”

He didn’t get to finish his sentence, because at that very moment, his boss pressed the disconnect button and ended their connection.

“I’m not paying you to act out ‘Gossip Girls’, he spat as he stepped just inches away from John.  “While you’re up here chatting it up with your girlfriend, you’re holding up my other workers down the line!”

“It was my wife, sir,” he stuttered.

“Don’t give me that shit, Rowan.  Unless your wife is an old black man, which I’m fairly certain she’s not and you have something you want to tell me?”  He paused, waiting for John to answer.  When the other shook his head from side to side, only then did he continue.  “Get your ass back on the floor.  You’re working extra tonight.  Oh, and in the future there will be no personal calls on company time.”

“Yes sir,” John answered softly.

“What?!”

“YES SIR,” he yelled.

“Get the fuck out of my office,” his boss grumbled.  John wasted no time complying, and as the door closed behind him, his foreman left him with one final piece of ‘wisdom’.  “…worthless piece of shit…” were the words that chased him back to his workstation.

His blood boiled.  On one hand, he knew that his friend wouldn’t call him unless something was seriously wrong.  On the other, how dare that son of a bitch talk to him that way!?  He had poured himself into his job for fifteen years, all of which he had never been late, missed any days, or had a complaint about his quality.

With twelve hours left until he’d finished both shifts, and whatever was being tacked on at the end, It was going to be a long day indeed.

Trespasser (Part XI)

Vanessa sat at the edge of her family’s front lawn, not quite in her usual place to play, but far enough from the road that her parents could be comfortable not keeping a close eye on her.  As she does every other time she plays outside, she has her dolls and figurines sitting before her.  Some are posed as if they are conversing with another, while others have been manipulated to simulate various actions from work, to play.

It’s chilly outside.  The sky is overcast, and a light breeze is blowing down from the North, but this doesn’t stop her from playing outside.  She’s quite used to the changes in the weather and has prepared adequately by wrapping herself in a warm jacket and scarf.

Behind her, her mother kneels next to some of the many Tulips she’s planted along the front of the house.  She doesn’t pay close attention to her; she knows that her daughter will come to her if there is trouble and she has no reason not to trust her judgement, which is why she only looks over her shoulder when she pauses to stretch out her aching legs.

“Mommy,” she asks after one such moment.

“Yes dear?”

“Can we go out for ice cream this afternoon,” she asks with a sweet smile on her face.

“Mm.  That sounds like a yummy idea.  Perhaps if there’s still time, we will.”  She returns her daughter’s smile, briefly reflecting on how well-behaved her little girl has turned out, before going back to the bothersome task of pulling weeds.

Vanessa tilted her head back and watched the clouds for several minutes.  Just as she was often found herself lost in the tea parties and other such social gatherings she had with her porcelain, or wooden, friends, she watched as celestial adventures played out before her.

From the West came a fearful dragon, angry that his land had been invaded.  He swooped in with wings unfurled, smoke trailing from his nostrils, and claws open for the attack.

Directly above her were the dragon’s victims; a three-legged bunny, a knight with no legs, and about a dozen Furbies.  She giggled when the knight hopped onto two of the Furbies, beneath of which the rest stacked onto one another to form make-shift legs.

As the dragon drew ever closer, so did it appear to become larger as well.  It grew to over twice the size that it was when it first appeared on the horizon.  Fire shone through its eyes like crimson rubies, and its mouth began to widen as it prepared to douse the heroes in fire.

The knight, who was used to the adversities that his condition presented him, refused to back down.  With a determined look on his face, or so she assumed, he reached over and grabbed the bunny by the ears.  The Furbies, having been attached to him long enough to have gained an understanding of his needs, stepped forward to as he struck a heroic pose.  The bunny, also understanding the situation at hand, became slender, stretching out its front legs as a hilt, and its back leg into the point of what would now be the knight’s sword.

It seemed that a great battle was to take place before her very eyes.  Man and beast would face the greatest serpent the world had ever seen.  Blood would boil. Fur would scorch beneath the rage of the mighty drake.  Scales from litter the heavens, causing the Angels to cry.  Oh, this would have been a fight for the ages, had not a great magical wind from the north suddenly blown in.

More powerful than either of the mighty combatants, the wind came with a vengeance that neither could have prepared for.  It slammed into the knight’s chest, lifting from his furry, many eared, feet, flinging him into the waters to the South. The Dragon, a beast built on the very forges of Hell itself, was struck a grievous wound as the enchanted gusts formed into a spear of ice at the last possible second.  The spear sank into the breast of the monster, who in a desperate vie for survival, did the only thing a creature in its situation could; it used magic of its own to teleport itself to safety.  Wisps of smoke remained as a subtle reminder of the dragon’s passage…

“Well hello there, Vanessa,” interrupted the voice of her new friend.

“Hi Andy,” she answered with a smile.

“Whatcha looking at,” he inquired curiously.

Several minutes later, he was chuckling behind his hands as she finished her rather animated telling of the story she had just witnessed.  “That’s quite the tale you tell, my dear,” he said, bowing with his legs feet crossed at the ankle, and arms outstretched.

“Thank you,” she giggled.  “Would you like to play,” she asked seriously.

“Only if it’s okay with your Mom,” he said with a grin.

“Oh sure.  She doesn’t mind,” she replied.  “Here.  You can be Mr. Pickles.  Mr. Pickles is late for dinner and…”

Andy sat across from her, taking the offered toy without so much as a complaint, and with-in minutes the two were immersed into a world that was woven from the experience of a hundred such tellings.

Not too far away, a pair of eyes watched suspiciously from the darkened window of a neighbor’s kitchen, eyes which belonged to someone who would soon have something to say about the goings on of their newest resident; Andy From Up The Hill.