Trespasser (Part XXIX)

At the end of Bryer Street, in the early hours of the next morning, and in the shadows of one small home, one could just make out two figures huddled close together.  The morning had brought with it the frigid promise of old Jack Frost, covering the neatly trimmed grass with his bitter cold breath.  Not a single sound interrupted the coming dawn, save the soft hum of electric lights, and maybe the occasional hushed whisper.

It had only been a few hours since they’d finished with their grim task, but neither had yet to feel the effects of their labour.  Both were worried, one for his longtime neighbor and friend, the other for his younger brother, who had snapped, only moments into what would have been a carefully thought out plan.  They’d had to improvise once he was finished, but they were still able to draw out the confession that would damn him in the end.

“So, you think that he’ll come around to it,” Donnie asked, for what must have been the sixth time since they walked over here.

“Uh-huh,” Davie muttered.  “He gonna need his rest now, don’t you worry bout dat.  In da mornin’, you’ll see.”

Donnie studied the old man with a raised eyebrow, for a moment, as he gauged whether there was enough, yet, that needed said, between the two.

“You know,” he began softly, “I’ve only ever seen one other person react the way John did down there.  It was before the Battle of Shewan.  Me and a couple of buddies were out on patrol when we came across a small group of ’em, the Taliban. Three of them stood between us and the fourth member of their group, who was laying on top of this little girl.  She was screaming for help, you know?  My buddies wanted to get out of there, but I just couldn’t.  I’d made eye contact, and even though I couldn’t understand what she was saying, I knew that I might die trying to save her.”

Donnie paused to take a long drink from his bottle, just another in a long line to pass his lips this night, before continuing.

“One of my boys, he went back for help, see?  That left me and Nick.  I told him; ‘You don’t have to stay, you know?’ but he wasn’t having any of it.  I’d saved his ass just as many times as he’d saved mine, and he knew I’d do the same if the shoes had been on the other foot.”

Donnie finished off his drink and cracked open another, downing half of it before continuing.

“It’s fuckin’ sick, how simple it was.  We took out our knives, stepped up behind two of them and slit their throats.  Before the bodies hit the ground, we turned like fuckin’ dancers, you know?  Anyway, we turned at the same time, and slammed our knives into the spine of the remaining guard.  It’s not that it would have been hard, taking them out, they died with their dicks in their hands.”

He hadn’t realized it, but during the course of his story, he had begun to cry.  Hot tears slowly burned trails down his cheeks, though he’d have been hard pressed to notice. Absently, he wiped them away with the cuff of his jacket, with one hand, while slamming back the rest of his newly open bottle, with the other.

“Now, I had been the one to make the decision to help her, you know?  But it was Nicky, it was Nicky who made the first move on him.  That remaining rag head was climbing to his feet when Nicky just, kicked him square in the face.   I remember the sound his ass made when it hit the bricks.  It was a meaty slap, and had there not been that girl at our feet, I might have giggled.  As it was, I felt as if I was moving in slow motion.  As I was pulling her to her feet, trying to cover her dignity and calm her, Nicky had laid him out with another kick to the face.”

Donnie trembled, partially from the cold, but mostly from the shock that came with his memory.  It’s not that he was cold, the meager warmth from the closeness of his friend, combined with the massive amount of alcohol he’d consumed, helped to ward off the discomfort that came with it.

“Nicky,” he sobbed.

“Donnie,” came the soothing voice of his friend.  “You in a safe place, now.”  Davie put his arm around the veteran and gave him a brief squeeze, but the other was lost in his thoughts, reliving the events of that night.

“He wouldn’t listen though.  I had the girl, wrapped in a blanket I don’t remember having, and was trying to pull her out of the open, into safety, you know?  We had just murdered three of Al-qaeda’s finest; there were sure to be others nearby.  I watched in horror as Nicky bent over the one who was raping her.  He had his knife in one hand, and the guy’s junk in the other.  He cut it off in one sweep, turned, and jammed the bloody club into the guy’s mouth, which he covered until he stopped moving altogether.”

“Jesus,” Davie muttered softly.

“That’s just it,” Donnie said miserably, and when Davie looked at him with a confused look on his face, he only shook his head in sadness.  “There is no God.  No Jesus.  No Holy Fucking Ghost, you know?  Out there,” he gestured toward the street, “there is only man.  Believe what you want, but me,” he lifted his hands in display, “I’m going to stick with these.”

They sat in silence for several minutes, neither wanting to disturb the solemnity of the moment.  Donnie drained two more beers before another word was spoken.

“What about your boy, Nicky,” Davie finally asked.

“Huh?  Oh, yeah.  Moments after Nicky had choked that fucker out on his own dick, reinforcements started to show up, only it was for them, not us.  Everything was still moving in slow motion for me, you know, so I could see it happen plain as day.  Two insurgents exploded from a nearby doorway and opened fire on us.  I could feel the bullets as they passed by me.  I’ll never understand how not a single bullet hit me, but several managed to find their way into Nicky’s back.  The girl, who had been screaming at me this whole time, wrestled her way loose, only to take a bullet in the back of her head.  One second her face was there, the next, it was gone.”

“I don’t remember much of what happened afterwards, only these flashes, you know? It’s like I was knocked out, and I was having these momentary flashes where I see this face looking down at me, or hear this voice as someone spoke to me, and it would be two days before I “woke” up.”

“So, you know, when Johnny called me up with his problem,” he said with an angry gesture towards the Marsh place, “I was all for it.  I…  I didn’t want him to-”

“-end up like Nicky.” Davie finished for him.

Donnie leaned forward and rested his forehead against that of his companion, placing one hand on the back of the other’s neck.  They stayed that way for the next several minutes, each showing deep respect for the other, until the sun crested over the eastern horizon.

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Trespasser (Part XXVII)

 

NOW

 

Any apprehension that what they were doing was wrong had long since fled.  He no longer remembered how they began.  Had it been a certain way Andy had looked at him?  Had it been something he’d said?  His last memory was of he and his brother following him, stalking him, as he made his rounds through the neighborhood. Once he had reached his daughter’s window, that’s where the grey area began.

He looked down as his hands, which were now throbbing and covered in blood that may or may not have been his own.  He could feel it on his face, slowly running down his right cheek.  His shirt was damp and sticky, covered in splatter from this night’s gruesome work.

“Wha-  What have I done,” he asked nobody in particular.

He was standing in the shadows, about as far from where they had planned to shackle their captive as he could have possibly moved.  He looked to where Andy should have been, to where the others should be, but there was only a large puddle of blood on the floor, and his bloody footprints, suggesting anyone had ever been there at all. It looked as if, from whatever he had done, or witnessed there, that he had back pedaled to where he now stood.

His vision blurred, and he lost his balance, falling into the wall next to him as a brief flash of memory suddenly leapt to the surface.  He saw the bloody face of his daughter’s predator looking up at him, smiling, even though his lip had been split and his eyes were swelling closed.

“…and it wath tho good,” the apparition spat, taunting him.

“…noooOOOO,” he wailed.  It was a pitiful sound, not so different than the heartbreaking cry when his baby girl had finally broken, that took him to his knees as the emotion overcame him.

He wasn’t sure how long he remained this way, but it was a firm hand on his shoulder that brought him back.  Slowly, John looked into the grim eyes of his brother, who, like himself, was covered in the blood of their victim.

“It’s done.”

John only stared at him blankly, the pain from the realisation of what they had done still having a firm grip on him.

“John?  Are you good?”

He nodded, using his brother’s offered hand to pull himself up.  He couldn’t help the tears that had fallen down his cheeks, in the same way that his daughter couldn’t help the tears that had fallen down hers.  Very much like her, his innocence had been stolen by this most foul of men.  While hers had been physical, and not of her own will, his was spiritual and knowingly given.

“I’m sorry,” he started shakily.

“No,” his brother interrupted.  “Don’t apologize,” he said with a reverent tone.  “You’re a beast, John.  A fucking monster!”

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” he answered solemnly.

Trespasser (Part XXVI)

ONE HOUR AGO

 

“Jesus Christ,” John muttered as he walked into the room.  “What is all this stuff?”

“You said that you wanted him to suffer, right?”  Donnie looked at his brother indifferently, as if the answer didn’t really matter.

“Yes, but-”

“Don’t be a pussy, John.  You knew what you were asking for when you got me involved.  Your exact words were; ‘I need your expertise on this one Don.’  It’s too late to look back now.”

“But, is this all necessary?”

John felt sick.  His imagination had only gone so far as beating the living shit out of him, until he admitted to what he had done.  And then, he would finish him quickly.  As he looked around the room, a basement which had housed his family’s memories only a few hours ago, he realized that there was nothing left to remember.

Several sheets of plastic covered the floor.  The seams were meticulously duct taped together, to prevent anything from escaping.  In the same regard, plastic was hung from the ceiling, and over the walls.  He felt as if he were walking into a scene from one of his favorite TV shows.

In the center of the room, beneath a hanging light, was a single chair.  The latter was encased in a Ziploc bag, the light that it cast flickering weakly.  The chair, which had once been used to seat many a hungry diner, had been fitted with brackets and bolted to the floor.  Custom made manacles had been attached to the front to legs of the chair, as well as on the end of the armrests, where a person’s wrists most commonly lay.

A few feet to the right of the chair, as one would see if directly in front of it, is a small table, also carefully gift-wrapped in construction plastic.  Donnie stands on the other side of it, removing several small items from his duffel bag and laying them carefully before him.  Most of the items were the kind of tools that one could easily find in the gardening section of the local super store.  Others, tools used for such tasks as carpentry, and possibly dry-walling.  But also on the table were tools which he had never seen the likes of, outside of in the movies.  Even then, only in the darkest section of horror.

“Listen bro, if you ain’t got the stomach for this-”

Donnie had been watching him, gauging his reaction to work that had been done.  John knew from the sound of his voice what was going to come next.

“No,” he quickly replied.  “It’s not that.  That son of a bitch is going to pay for what he’s done to my little girl!”

“Yeah, Johnny.  That he is.  So, what is it then?”

John took a deep breath.  He could feel the rage returning at just the mention of that bastard.  The very thought of him, and what he had done, refueled the fires that had begun to cool.

“I didn’t think-  I didn’t expect all of…this,” he said, gesturing to the scene before him.

“Listen brother,” Donnie said as he placed a power drill on the table, “you know as well as I do what will happen if we turn him in.  Jack. Shit. Nothing.  At the very worst, he’ll get twenty years in prison, and people like him never serve their full sentence.   You know as well as I do that he’ll be out on good behaviour in half that time, and it will be somebody else’s baby that he’s got his hands on.  No sir.  Not on my watch.  We’re going to make an example out of this fucker.  In the very least, we’re going to know that he’ll never touch another child again.”

John trembled with nervous energy.  A part of him was excited to finally act out the revenge he sought for his loved one, while another was afraid of the threshold he was about to cross.  His gaze had fallen onto his hands while he was lost in thought, but now they looked up with a new-found appreciation for his brother.  They looked upon him with appreciation, but also with sorrow.  Sorrow for what he had lost to get to this point, and for what he was going to lose on the other side.