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 XXI)

Something bad had happened recently happened to one of her daddy’s friends, but as it was most other times, it was about something her parents would not tell her. Like every other situation they didn’t want her to know the details, they said they would tell her when she was older.

She felt like they still treated her as if she was fragile, as if she couldn’t handle the woes of the real world, but what they seem to forget is that she had survived the sadness which came after Sammy’s passing.  He had been her friend when the other children her age would not, had offered her advice when she needed it, and protected her when her family wasn’t around.  He had been like a grandfather to her, but his final lesson to her had been about the harsh realities that come with growing older.

Her head was often in the clouds.  She enjoyed the worlds she immersed herself in, this much was true, but she was also intuitive enough to know when something was terribly wrong.

The morning when she first noticed her parents change in behaviour, strange cars began filling the driveway of the Robinson’s house.  Before long, they were parked out against the curbs and even so far as a couple of houses down the street!

In the few fleeting moments that she saw Mrs. Robinson, she was usually crying, and she was never without the company of one of her visitors.  It got so that she began to feel uncomfortable playing at the edge of her sidewalk, so she moved further down the street from where the activity was heaviest.  More specifically, she sat on the walkway leading up to the Burman’s home, the house of a nice older couple who only lived there in the summer.

It had been a couple of weeks since their lawn service had been through, but she didn’t mind, not one bit.  Not only could she create a jungle scenario for which her toys could play in, but it also gave her plenty of cover to remain unnoticed.  In addition to the overgrowth, the walkway was lined with small hedges, each also suffering from neglect.  With her back against them, and the tall grass before her, she was all but invisible to everyone.

All except for one.

“Hello Vanessa,” came a cheery voice from behind her.

“Oh!” she exclaimed.

“I’m sorry, did I startle you,” came the concerned response.

“No, I just didn’t see you there, is all.”

Andy stepped out from around one of the hedges, a warm smile on his face, and with his hands behind his back.

“You look very pretty today,” he said as he moved them towards her in offering.

“Thank you,” she said innocently.  “What is that,” she asked when she saw the small gift in his hand.

“Oh, just something you might like.  Something I made.  Just.  For.  You.”

She squealed, excited that he knew her favorite cookie was chocolate chip, and in seconds she was stuffing it in her mouth.

“That’s right,” he said with a wolfish look in his eyes.  “Eat it all up.”

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.