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.

Trespasser (Part XXVIII)

The inside of his head felt like the Fourth of July.  Small explosions built up from the center of his head, exploding near the cap of his skull, with each thundering beat of his heart.  He groaned softly, as he rubbed his temples with this thumbs, and squeezing his eyes shut with all the strength his lids could muster.

“What did I do,” he lamented.  The memories of the night before still rested beneath a blanket of alcohol.  His body ached in places he was not used to feeling.  His shoulders and arms felt heavy from exertion, the muscles stretched further than they had been in years.

The knuckles of his right hand had been swollen when he’d first opened his eyes, but a few minutes beneath a bag of frozen corn, and a couple of ibuprofen, had brought it down a little.

“…if fucking her makes me a bad person, what does killing me make you…”

Andy’s voice floated out of the darkness, a disembodied memory that demanded attention he couldn’t yet give.  John flinched at the sound of his voice, but the truth in the words weren’t yet strong enough to affect him.  At that moment, he had bigger concerns.  He stumbled with all the grace of a marionette, bouncing twice off of the walls in the hallway between his kitchen and bathroom, as a tidal wave of nausea suddenly overcame him.

“Better than you,” he said absently, an answer he’d neither thought of, nor intended to give, as he lunged toward the bowl.

He clutched at the belt of his porcelain God, opening his mouth wide as an ages old prayer erupted from the bowels of his soul.  Only, instead of mossy colored liquid he expected, he watched helplessly through watering eyes as a viscous red geyser splashed into the water below.

He coughed violently when a large mass threatened to clog his airways.

He whimpered as another spasm overcame him, dislodging the mass from his throat.  It was followed by another rush of foul liquid, and then a second blockage that passed easier than the first.

He struggled for breath, horrified by the crimson pool before him.  What was once white, was now covered in a red, oozing, smear.  But it wasn’t this on which he focused his attention.  Staring at him from foul soup of death were two milky white eyes.  Beneath these, and centered nearly where they belonged, were the partially chewed, nose, lips, and left cheek, of Andy’s face.

He didn’t know how he knew the gruesome mess belonged to the paedophile. There was nothing recognisable in the mess before him, and had what happened next, not happened, he would have later questioned why this thought came to mind.

“What’s the matter John?  Don’t you like having my meat in your throat?”

When the lips began to move, he felt the fear creeping into his soul.  When they spoke, it overtook him so completely that he began to shriek.  It was a high-pitched sound, higher than what should have been physically possible, and one that mercilessly shook him from the world of dreams.

Everything faded into the shroud between dreams and reality as his upper body sprung up from his pillow.  His eyes bulged in their sockets, and he clutched his blanket against his neck, as he shrieked until there was no breath left in him.

Trespasser (Part XXV)

For the next two days, each of the men began working on their carefully laid plans. Vacation time was put in, tools and materials were gathered, and a room where they could conduct their grim business was being prepared.  Very little was said between any of them during this time, for what had needed to be said had come out over the poker table.

There was a different kind of storm coming to Bryer Street, one in which the clouds would rain crimson.

John and his brother were the most active.  While Rob helped in gathering what they would need, it was the brothers, father and uncle of the victim, who were the most invested in the plan.

John slaved for the comforts of his family.  Over the last few years, his job had come before his personal life, so that the bills were always paid and food was always on the table.  It was something that he loathed, but it was also something that had to be done.  As a result, he found himself often at the breaking point.

Donnie had recently returned from a tour overseas.  As a soldier, he had seen things that most people could only imagine, and even then, only in their worst nightmares.  Like his brother, he suffered from the years of duty, but, in a more personal way.  He fought evil on a day to day basis, fueled by his emotions of grief and repulsion, so that the world could be a little bit better place to live.

And while the things he had done haunted him, he actively sought ways to come back from the nightmares that had chased him home.  Had a former resident of their community still been around, he would have been able to appreciate the ways Donnie used his time. When not with friends and family, he was an active instructor and mentor at the local halfway house for displaced children.

As they finished putting in the last nail to their project, John grabbed his cell and called the number to third member of their group, a man who had something just as personal at stake in all of this.

“Hello,” came the answer of his raspy voice.

“It’s ready,” John said flatly.  “How are things on your end?”

“The missus is packing up to go to her mother’s,” he said quietly.  “Though she’s none too happy about it.”

“We’ll work that out after…”  John’s voice lingered for a moment before the other cut in.

“No, I understand.  I’m not worried ’bout her now.  She’s been mad at me before.  How’s Rob doing with his part?”

John glanced over to his brother, who had similarly called the final member of their group.  Donnie caught his inquisitive glance, smiled, and gave the thumbs up.

“Everything’s going as planned.”

The silence broke on the other end, as the other suddenly broke into a fit of coughing, all through which John patiently waited.

“Are you sure you’re good to go Davie,” he asked with concern.

“I’m good, John.  I mean, I’m hurtin’, but I’m good enough for what’s to come.”