An excerpt from Nightmare Express
Jude sat against the trunk of the dried-up disfigured tree. The gnarled interwoven branches seemed to be drawing in on themselves while appearing to reach out and ensnare you in its life sucking embrace. The dead tree stood at the peak of a sandy ridge. From where Jude sat, he could look out over the wasted barren land. What vegetation, or what passed as vegetation here, was like the tree he now leaned against. Everything was dark, foreboding, disfigured, and showed no sign of life.
Overhead the sky was filled with angry deep purple and grey clouds that appeared to be at war with one another. Each one shot out streaks of lightening that seemed to be deliberately aimed at the clouds around them as if each was trying to take control of the shadowy expanse overhead. The heavy hot air generated by this constant battle created a skin scorching heat that blew dust devils around everywhere you looked. The dull black sand that was swept up in the heat and wind was driven into swirls managed to add to the uninhabitable appearance of the place. No rain fell here, there was no water, no moisture at all. This place was dryer than any desert on any map in another place.
There was existence here, but you couldn’t call it life, at least not the type of life that would every make someone feel warm and fuzzy toward it. The things that lived here were as dark and ugly as this land itself. The creatures here were the things of nightmares for living breathing humans. They were as malformed and dark as the vegetation. He watched as a black slithering form reared back and struck at his prey and succeeded in catching the small creeping creature that had tried to escape its unending demise. He thought about how he almost felt sorry for the little monster that had just been devoured by the larger predator because he knew the damn thing would be back tomorrow. In a bit the larger creature would also be taken by an even larger predator and this would continue throughout the day. It was an endless succession of one creature after the other inflicting pain on something smaller. In this dark land the only things roaming here were the shadows of what once was and now only existed in this land of shadows born of nightmares. No, there was no life here. These abominable beings would be tormented day after day and there would be no end to this torment that would be repeated over and over.
Jude sat there watching the workings in the expanse before him and contemplated what his next move would be. If he decided to go rogue, he knew what the ultimate consequences of his actions would lead to. The trick for them was for them to find him and he had learned and learned well how to stay hidden.
His mind began to wonder to other things. He could be walking in places that were green and lush. Places where there was water and live trees, where thing were beautiful and alive. Hell, if he wanted, he could be walking on the top of a mountain that was clothed in a shimmering gown of pristine white that sparkled and glittered in the reflective rays of the sun that beat down on it. He could be looking out over someplace where the temperature would burn the flesh of a skin and bone being with a mind-numbing blast of cold polar air.
Jude’s attention was drawn back to the place where he now rested against that hideous excuse of a tree as a dust devil came close enough that the little bits of lava hot sand pelted his skin. He didn’t have to look down to survey the damage because he knew there wouldn’t be any. Oh, he felt the pain from the little beads of incendiary grains, he felt them to the bone, but no damage would be done. No, he couldn’t be damaged, but he could feel pain and oh had he felt pain ever since his transition.
He stood up and winced as he did. The pain was still there but not as bad as it had been and soon it would only be a distant murky memory. Jude looked back over his shoulder to more of the same as what was in front of him. The clouds continued their battles overhead while the dust devils spun along their routes twisting and turning and sometimes intertwining with one another, swelling up then breaking apart to resume their random staggering paths.
Turning back in the direction he had been focused on before he again leaned back against the tree. He hadn’t yet stepped so far over the edge that he might not get out of it, but he needed to make up his mind. Deep down inside he knew that he couldn’t continue this existence. The constant moving from one place to the other and never connecting to anyone except in that one moment at the end of another’s life. That moment when everything that had gone before only mattered in determining where you went next.
There was an exceptionally loud roar of thunder and he jerked to attention thinking he might have been found but remembered they were blind to him right now. It would have been hard for them to detect him in this place even if he wasn’t off the grid. Right now, unless he allowed it, they couldn’t see him anywhere he went. When they had come to him and told him he would no longer be a collector and would from that point on be a tracker he had tried to refuse. Of course, in this like in all things, for longer than he cared to think about, he hadn’t had any say in what he did or what happened. It finally was more than his mind could process. More than he could handle. More than his damaged, twisted, blackened soul could endure.
Now he was thinking about becoming that which he had been tapped to track. Others like him who had found they could no longer follow meekly and continue to be tied to those who controlled their existence. He had known they existed, but he had never known they could go so dark, so terrifying even to another reaper. He couldn’t do this anymore. He would, like them, no longer be bound by the tethers of his sins and a contract he had never wanted to enter into.
He like the others would take what he wanted and bring about as much chaos as he possibly could. He would leave a path of destruction that the Powers That Be would never recover from. He would no longer collect from their list, any list, but his own. Only he would have no list. The difference between him and the others who had gone before him was he would do it just for the sake of destruction. His would be to let things out that would affect the world in such a way that living beings could and would no longer be blind to the evil that existed. The people of the living world would no longer go blindly through their lives in ignorance.
Jude again looked out at this plane that existed between two others. They had made him a reaper of reapers and he would show them what a reaper was capable of.
He was death and now he was rogue.
Cassie looked at the disc that held all the pictures of the wedding. Everyone had been given a copy just before they had started displaying the many photos commemorating the happy event. As each picture scrolled past she felt like another arrow would pierce her heart. As each one had popped up she had hoped that there would be an image of her but so far not so much as a fragmented image of so much as one of her arms. There of course were pictures of her brother, it was after all, his wedding. There were pictures of her sister, she had been in the wedding although Cassie hadn’t been asked. There were her parents Laura and Frank and even her grandparents. There were lots of pictures of other family members and friends but not so much as one image showed up that she was in. The pain she felt that weighed heavy in her heart only grew as the last picture was displayed and not once had the camera captured one image of her.
Cassie took the disc and quickly buried it in her purse while no one was looking. She not only felt the pain but it was aggravated by the shame and humiliation of the situation. Deep down the shame and humiliation was unnecessary because no one in the group had even taken notice of her presence and wouldn’t. There was no reason to believe they would take any more notice of her absence. It was always that way. She somehow never was in any of the photos at family events either. The last professional family photo the family had taken that she had been in was when she was ten years old. Even then somehow the photographer had managed to get a shot of her with her face half turned and her hair hid what little of her face would have been exposed in the picture. Cassie had thought she looked more like Cousin It than a human child and yet the family had been happy with the picture and displayed it still in the den.
She knew that she was capable of being photographed because she often took selfies with her phone but there was never anyone to share them with. No one wanted a picture of her. When she would send one to someone in her family they would always delete them telling her to stop sending them. Her father called her a camera hog and vain and laughed at her.
Cassie had overheard her parents talking about her once. She had listened as they went on about her being self-absorbed and wondered if maybe they should take her to see someone. That had been four years ago so she had stopped the selfies and she certainly didn’t send photos of herself to anyone anymore. A couple of years after that she had moved out of the house. She lived alone in a small apartment in a not so great part of town but at least there she felt alone because there was no one else there, not because no one wanted her there.
She left the house quietly without saying a word to anyone. She had passed her mom in the kitchen but her mom hadn’t so much as looked her way when she opened the backdoor to exit the house. When Cassie told her mom bye her mother had acted as if she hadn’t heard her daughter. Closing the door behind her Cassie leaned against it for a moment. The tears welling up in her eyes blurred her vision for a moment and she quickly wiped them away.
She made her way to her little second hand compact car. The rest of the family drove some new high end vehicle with all the bells and whistles but not her. She worked as a sales clerk and she was doing good to afford what she had. She worked two jobs just to stay in her run down little apartment and drive her fifteen year old car and put what food she could afford on the table. There were never any family dinners she attended except on holidays. Not even on her birthday was there ever anything done to celebrate that day.
Cassie had something come up one night and she had run home to her parents. She had let herself into the house with the key she still had but her parents had screamed at her for being there. After that she would only go over after they were in bed to raid their fridge if things were too tight and then would make her way to her old room and curl up in a corner there for a short while to try and feel like she was home. She would never stay long and she was always careful to never wake her parents.
When Cassie got back to her apartment she placed her key in the door and tried to open it. The lock wouldn’t budge. She kept rattling the key but for some reason it wouldn’t turn the lock and allow her to enter her small apartment. She reached into her purse to get her phone to call the manager but her phone wasn’t there. It must have fallen out of her purse at her parent’s house. She made her way to the manager’s apartment but no one answered when she knocked.
Could this night get any worse? Now she was going to have to drive all the way back to her parent’s house to get her cheap little phone. God she hoped no one picked it up. If they did she would only be met with someone making fun of her she was sure. Well at least it would be some attention. The problem however was she was almost out of gas and she was going to be sweating bullets all week trying to have enough money to make it till her next paycheck and gas didn’t come cheap.
Laura sat at the table sipping a cup of coffee when Frank walked in.
“What is it Laura?” Frank asked his wife as he poured himself a cup of coffee and joined his wife at the table.
“I was just thinking of Cassie.” Laura’s head hung with her hair covering most of it but Frank knew she was trying to hide the tears that were running down her cheeks.
“Laura she has to learn the truth sooner or later and accept it and move on.” Frank didn’t like it any more than his wife but is was what all the experts had told them they had to do.
“When she was here tonight…” Laura was interrupted by her husband.
“I know honey but what else can we do. This is the only way.” Frank now had the shining glint in his eyes of unshed tears.
“I keep thinking of how much she wanted to make it on her own and not accept any help from us. She moved into that tacky little place on the other side of town and you see what happened?” Laura had fought with her daughter when she had decided to do that. She was only eighteen and just out of high school. She was so independent back then.
“I know Laura but we can’t change that.” Frank hated it when his oldest daughter had moved out.
When the door opened Laura started to go to her daughter but Frank grabbed her and pulled him to her. “No Laura.”
Laura buried her face in her husband’s chest as she felt the spirit of her long dead daughter standing next to her. The paranormal experts kept telling her and Frank that Cassie had to accept the fact she was dead and any sign from anyone would only serve to keep her there and stop her from moving on.
I was sure I had shared this at some point with everyone. The story of the chocolate donut. Now we aren’t talking about any chocolate donut but MY CHOCOLATE DONUT.
Yes that had to be capitalized. You see I have only a few real weaknesses. I still love a good Moon Pie on occasion, a great cup of coffee in the morning, I’m a sucker for well-made bruschetta, and a chocolate donut on very rare occasions. That last one is something I truly don’t indulge in often at all. Once or twice a year if that. So I can only say at this point I find that my actions in the following tale of someone else’s stupidity totally justified if it is honestly what happened.
I was standing in line at a local donut shop waiting my turn patiently and behaving myself as the person who was waiting on customers took care of the gentleman in front of me, yes he was young and attractive, knowing that she would soon turn to me. I watched as she took his two plain sugar glazed donuts, yes I said two and not two dozen, and placed them ever so carefully in a nice little box and handed it oh so gently into the man’s waiting hand.
Finally she turned to me. I start out my order with a chocolate covered éclair, yes that is my true weakness, four chocolate covered donuts, and eight assorted types of the little sugar bombs that none of us need to be eating and paid for them. To my absolute horror this crazy b*^&h proceeds to pull out a large paper bag carelessly jerks up the éclair and drops it like a rock into this huge white paper sack. Oh no this bitch didn’t just do that. Now up till now all that is giving away my horror at this obvious disrespect for me and the éclair and donuts was the look of stunned shock on my face and my mouth hanging open to my knees. At this point my ire came boiling over and I let lose the wrath of indignation. Smoke came billowing out my ears, the flames of hell spouted forth from my nostrils, and the blazing rays of death shot from my eyes.
“NOOO, WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?”
The place went totally silent, every pair of eyes turned in my direction. A couple of people actually got up and moved toward the door.
“YOU TAKE THAT LUMP YOU JUST DROPPED INTO THAT BAG AND THROW IT INTO THE GARBAGE OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO WITH IT AND YOU GET A LARGE BOX OUT AND YOU PUT EVERY ONE OF THE DONUTS AND ECLAIRE FACE UP IN THAT BOX AND YOU DO IT GENTLY AND CAREFULLY.”
A couple more people stood up and moved toward the door.
This now cowed creature did as she was told and handed me the box hesitantly never once opening her mouth. I took my box and left the store.
Now the actual details of how that went down I’m relating as my daughter, who was with me, relayed it to her dad after we got home. I wasn’t aware that I had done anything out of the way or even raised my voice and informed Gina of this.
“Mom the windows shook in that place when you let loose on that woman.” She wasn’t smiling but was wearing a look of real concern.
Now I think she is exaggerating the whole thing because I simply do not believe that my inner demon managed to make it out that morning but I have to say that on occasion she does raise her little head when she feels she has something to say but come on really. I shook the windows?
Gina to this day stands by her account of that incident and refuses to retract it. That story now gets told every time she is with me and someone says something about what a nice person I am and that happens quite often.
If Gina is with me when that happens she always responds, “So long as you don’t mess with her chocolate covered donuts.”
I felt you. You are there. Whatever you are, you have managed to penetrate my protective barrier of clothing and invaded one of my two holy of holy places hovering between the inside material of my bra and my flesh.
I feel your every tiny movement. Each breath you take causes your body to press against mine. What are you? What six or eight legged little demon are you. I’m afraid to seek you out knowing that I must. Again you move. You’re waiting.
My hand lightly brushes against the outside of where you sit waiting to do me harm. I feel the hard shell of your form. Wait. Oh shit I forgot that I pulled my damn earpiece out while I was outside and didn’t have a pocket and slipped it in the only place I had to keep from laying the damn thing down and losing it. Damn.
No matter how hard you fight, sometimes you just can't win the battle. The small country store of the past is all but completely gone from our societies. Let's hope we don't forget what they once were and the importance they played in the lives of our long gone and too often forgotten relatives.
I looked at the last few remaining remnants of the old store they were tearing down. I glanced at my husband and saw the look on his face and I was unable to stop the tear that softly ran down my cheek. I knew his heart was breaking as was mine.
I had spent years listening to the stories revolving around that old majestic building and felt a knot build up in my stomach. The sweet wonderful man I was married to had tried to save the place but others had stood in his way at every turn.
I had been introduced to the store and the area around it over a quarter of a century ago. I had been listening to the stories for as long as well. No, not repeats of a few stories but hundreds of them. Some were so sad they would break your heart and others had left me laughing so hard it hurt. Each story had burned images in my brain that were like old movies that I often replayed in my head. Sometimes I would see or experience something that would set the mental projector running and off the images would go again. I would see the array of characters who walked in and out of the doors to this social and economic center of the area at one time. The little bits of life brought together in a kaleidoscope of color merging, blending, and then falling apart as new ones entered the doors of that store and others exited. Of course those stories had ended when the store closed its doors for the last time in the early seventies.
The store hadn’t just suddenly closed its doors one day because of some epic issue. No, it had died a slow and quiet death as more and more customers took their shopping to bigger and better places. As the roads improved and bigger and cheaper places opened in larger towns the small little country stores lost their place in our society. They couldn’t compete. Now the building that had once been the center of the social network was coming down piece by piece over several weeks and not with a big bang. It was like watching a loved one go slowly into that night.
“Let’s go.” My husband couldn’t stand to watch anymore and headed to the truck. I silently followed him and we turned toward home.
It was several months before we made our way back to the old store. Actually I should say to where the old store had been. Nothing, and I mean nothing remained. Not only had the store come down but all the wonderful trees, most over fifty years old and some a lot older. The tall straight persimmon trees that had been so prolific in the production of their fruit that had produced some of the sweetest nectar I had ever tasted were also gone. Now there was nothing but open plowed up dirt ready for planting. The grass and trees that had once graced that little corner of the small almost forgotten tiny town nothing more than a bittersweet memory. We didn’t even stop.
For those of you who might read this and think what a sad little story, for me and my husband, a heart breaking fact. I try to hold back the tears that come every time I think of what has been lost.
The way it was back in the thirties.
The way it was before it came down.
When I was in junior high, yes I was once that young, I experienced one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. It left a scar on my poor impressionable mind that has stuck with me over these many, to many for me to want to think about, years. I was at the tender age of fourteen and we all know what a difficult period that is in every human being’s life.
The walk to get from my home to school and back was a one way out and one way in type of thing at a certain point. By this I mean somewhere in between my home and my school you had to cross a major road. There was no way to avoid that. Even where you crossed it because of the way the roads were situated in that area unless you wanted to take a really long way around and the walk was long enough without adding to it. Now at this point somewhere the powers that be decided to build an express way that would cross over this major road so everything on both sides of the damn road was torn up. If you didn’t stay on the road itself you were walking in dirt pits and getting home dirty never went over well with our mothers when we were in our school clothes. Back then girls still had to wear dresses and look like proper little ladies. It has always baffled me a little how we could look like proper little ladies when miniskirts were the in fashion but, we were expected to. This was also the time when young ladies graduated from little girl flats to something more grown up like a higher heel. Yeah we looked like proper little ladies. I mean my daughter came out in a dress the other night that would almost give my miniskirts a run for its money and I almost told her to go back in and change and she is several years older than I was when this little incident happened, well over twenty one in fact. Tell me why the hell our mother’s didn’t tell us to go back in and change back then, wait, it’s because they were all wearing miniskirts. Don’t believe me? Go back and look at pics of your mothers, and if you’re young enough your grandmothers, and if they were under forty during the mid-sixties to early seventies I promise they had at least two of the things in their closets. You would not have been hard pressed to have found one or two of those short little skirts in the closets of even older women as well.
Now to really set the scene. After several days of pouring down rain the sun was shining brightly on this beautiful warm late April, yes I can remember the damn month, and all was right with the world. I’ve got my head in the clouds like most girls do at that age, probably thinking about one of the dingy pretty boys of that time hanging on my wall in my room and I’m totally oblivious to the world around me as I make my way home from school. I come to the street.
I at this point take my head out of the clouds and my ass to check the oncoming vehicles to assure my safe crossing of this very busy street. Remember once across I have to walk on the edge of this damn road. Remember the dirt pits I mentioned earlier? Along that road the powers that be have dug up everything to the very edge of the asphalt and there is about a one foot drop-off to the edge and those frigging dirt pits lay just below. This busy road has also been cut down to a two lane street from a four lane. Remember I said it had poured down rain for several days prior to this? Well those dirt pits are now a mud trap that would have stymied the most experienced off-roader, mudslinging, four wheel driver in the most advanced four wheel vehicle of this day and age. No this is not an exaggeration. Scene set. One little added thing or two here, remember my school clothes I mentioned? You can add to the fact I was a little better put together than most girls my age and didn’t look my age. No again not exaggerating just telling it like it was. I’ll get back to this, to what looks like I’m tooting my own horn, later.
I cross the road. No problem, I make it safely across and continue on my merry little way again with my head in the clouds and up my ass oblivious to the world. Do-di-do, do-di-do. I am keeping one eye on the oncoming traffic because I was smart enough to walk up that side so what was happening on the other side was not important. Not my smartest reasoning I must admit. The next thing I know I hear this loud battle cry and feel this horrific burning pain on the right cheek of my ass. As I jump three feet straight up in the air a convertible is passing me and trying to get back on his side of the road still bellowing out that cry of victory. I remember the man’s face to this day as he turned around to check out his conquered foe. Now of course what goes up must come down right? Well I came down all right but did I land back on the asphalt? Hell no. I landed on the side of the asphalt and sunk damn near to my knees in mud. Now if you think this couldn’t get any worse, boy are you wrong.
What goes with road construction? Construction workers of course and there was loads of them. As I struggled to get out of the muddy mess I found myself in I hear all the great big tough guys laughing while the only success I’m having in my predicament is to manage to sink even deeper in the mud. I’m now up to my knees and sinking deeper by the second. One of the laughing clowns realize evidently that I was good and truly stuck and came to pull me out while still laughing. He didn’t expect to walk up on what he did. With tears running down my dewy little cheeks on my face, I shouted at him it wasn’t funny. It was at this point I think he realized I was a lot younger than I looked and he stopped laughing.
“How old are you honey?” This very large man asked.
I told him my age and I don’t know if he signaled the other men working or what but the laughing all around stopped suddenly. This big mean man wrapped his arms around a very hurt child and told me in a very gentle voice to go on home and get cleaned up and he and the guys were sorry for laughing.
To this day I remember this event in my life with crystal clear clarity. Yes it was traumatic but looking back I have to say that it must have been the funniest thing those dear men had ever seen and I can see why. If I were standing there watching that scene unfold I would be laughing my once burning butt off too.
Back to the well-developed, very curvy, oversized top side of that young, impressionable fourteen year old. Remember ladies those lovely curves and other assets like all thing have to eventually give way to the laws of gravity and end up hitting your knees and or dragging the floor as times passes by. There is a price for everything.
As for that asshole who caused this whole traumatic experience? To this day I would still like to find and kill this…
Barbara stood looking over the rail of the bridge. The body of the young man who had been so full of life before now bobbed face down in the water below. She watched as the body began to drift down stream. Barbara stared at Mark as he drifted away, the tears still flowing from her eyes from earlier rolled off her cheeks and fell into the muddy water below. He looked like a rag doll that had been discarded by some child who no longer wanted it.
When Barbara had walked up on to the bridge a while ago Mark had been fishing on the other side of the river and looked up and waved at her. He had always been nice to her and had even kept other kids at school from picking on her. She had been in love with Mark for a long time but had been afraid to tell him. When she had broken her leg last year Mark had come by to check on her and even brought her flowers, well he had brought her a rose. That had to mean he felt something for her didn’t it? Today she decided to tell him she was in love with him. Surely he would see that he was in love with her as well.
She had gone over and poured out her heart to him. She told him how she felt and what he meant to her. The response she’d gotten was not what she had expected.
Mark had at first simply stared at her then he did the worst thing he could have, he laughed at her. She had been crushed. The tears had burned trails down her cheeks. How could she have been so wrong about him? How could he hurt her this way? She felt her heart shatter in a million pieces in that moment. More than the pain Barbara felt pure anger and in a way she had never felt it before.
Barbara started running back toward the bridge. She heard Mark calling her name as if in a panic. He was chasing her trying to stop her, he must have thought she was going to jump.
The rage she felt had swelled up and now wanted to be unleashed. Barbara stopped suddenly in the middle of the bridge and turned quickly. As Mark came running toward her she put up her arms and pushed him as hard as she could toward the side of the bridge. Mark was taken by surprise and stumbled backwards. He was close enough to the side of the bridge that the railing caught him just below the middle of his back and he lost his balance and went over the side.
Barbara stepped over quickly to the side and looked over in time to see Mark hit his head on one of the pilings of the bridge before hitting the water below then sink down below the murky surface of the river then bobbing up. The blood from the crushed side of his face mixing with the water around him and turning it a pinkish grey. She wondered why if she had loved this boy why she didn’t feel it now. All she was feeling was, good. Barbara straightened up and turned back in the same direction she had come. She would never tell what happened today. It was too embarrassing, besides why should she go to jail because Mark had been mean?
She had wanted to end things with dignity. She had wanted them to end on her terms. She had deserved that much but he hadn’t allowed it. He had done everything he could to stop the divorce. It didn’t matter that he was the one who had been caught having an affair and still was. He had refused to let her go and done everything he could to make it as messy as he possibly could.
Rita stood up and went to the kitchen to wash her hands and get herself a drink. It was hard not knowing what to do from this point on. He had made everything so damn hard. Well she would make him pay for it.
Rita hoped she had gotten everything right. She knew it was iffy but she had done the research. Oh not on any computer in her home but in libraries and random places throughout the city. It hadn’t been easy but she had bought what she had begun to think of as throw away computers at pawn shops and online. She had managed to never use her own name and had set up several false profiles on the internet. Was it perfect? Of course not, no crime every really was, but if you were careful enough, diligent enough, and did everything you could to get it right you might get lucky. That was what she was hoping for here.
Going back into the bedroom she lay down next to her husband’s body. She didn’t bother to look at him and she knew she wouldn’t disturb him. Hell nothing was going to disturb him now.
She had positioned his laptop on the nightstand on his side of the bed. It was important that it be seen as soon as possible. She had used the time he had spent with his whore to plant evidence of internet searches. Around her friends she had taken on the personal of a concerned wife who was not only worried about her husband’s state of mind but even letting them believe she was concerned for her own safety. She had done everything she could think of to lead law enforcement to her husband.
Taking a deep breath Rita picked up his hand with the gun resting in it. She positioned the gun and his hand next to her head and slipped her thumb into the guard of the trigger over his index finger. Lifting the gun slightly she fired the gun letting the bullet pass over her and hitting the wall just past her.
Now came the tricky part. She had to do the next shot in a way that the gun would fall back and land next to his body making it look like he had shot himself. This had been the hardest part, doing the research on how guns might fall when a person shot themselves. She had to get this one just right.
She looked around the room to make sure she hadn’t forgotten anything then positioned herself so she was facing her husband. She had faked a fall earlier to give her an opportunity to scratch the dead bastard lying next to her so his blood and skin was under her nails. She had been walking toward him and he did what she hoped he would and reached out to catch her. Rita had taken that moment to reach out and drag her nails down his forearms.
Rita picked his hand up again and pointed the gun at the center of her forehead. Placing both hands on the gun so there would be blow back on both she took one last deep breath and just before pulling the trigger the last thing she thought was I hope this works.
It was a couple of days before both bodies were found. The deaths were ruled as a murder suicide. Although there were a few strange things to the scene it was ultimately ruled that the husband killed his wife. It was obvious from the scratch marks on her husband that she had put up a fight. There were even bruise marks on the wife’s upper arms where the bastard must have grabbed her.
It didn’t take long to fill in the whole story. The husband had been caught in an affair and when his wife filed for divorce he had evidently fought it and finally decided to end both his and his wife’s life.
I really do love my husband. He is, for the most part, a wonderful man who I wouldn't trade for anything. Over the many years we have been together he has spoiled me rotten. Buddy is a loving, usually thoughtful, compassionate, caring, intelligent, interesting, handsome, even tempered companion. Did you pick up on that people? No? Reread it. Did you catch it this time? Still haven't seen it? Read it one more time. OK, OK I'll tell you.
It's the usually thoughtful part, the key word being usually. So what has the asshole done? I'm going to tell you.
I had managed to catch just about every winter time scourge you can imagine all at one time. Another words I was sick as a dog and contagious. Now we have a routine that pretty much every Saturday we meet one or more of our daughters for lunch. One of the said daughters was in her third trimester of her second pregnancy. On this day we would have been meeting two of our daughter, the third had to work, the two that would have been there both had small children under two. So me going to lunch with them that day was definitely out of the question. When the final plans were made Buddy was away from the house that morning and he called me to let me know what was happening. OK he could go, I couldn't, and everyone knew this, so all was good. All was good that is until I asked him to bring me something back. That's when things went to hell in a hand-basket at a thousand miles an hour.
Instead of him going OK sweetheart, or whatever little endearment that he might've call me, what do you want me to bring back for you, he screwed up big time. After waiting a few seconds he lets out this exasperated sigh and in a slightly gruff voice asked what do you want. Now I suspect he may have been coming down with the same crap I had and probably didn't feel too well himself but I did have the crud and I damn sure didn't feel real well. Hell I was one step away from going totally crazy.
I told him never mind, don't worry about it.
He started with what do you...but again I told him to forget it and hung up on him.
I was mad.
Shortly after that he walked in the door with that usual cute little boy look and the first thing he ask is what do you want me to bring back for you. I told him not a damn thing. What transpired after that you would have to know Buddy and me to get a good picture but I'll try and convey it as best as I can.
Buddy has a way of getting back on my good side pretty quick when I get mad at him. He can drop that head of his and look at me with those beautiful blue eyes through mile long eyelashes and in the cutest little boy voice you ever heard go, whaaat. Yes he drags out the what. Now if that doesn't quite work he will then get close to me and nudge me in this really adorable way and continued with the whaaat. Usually by this time my resolve is close to breaking and he knows a couple more cute little things and I'll capitulate and he has me smiling. Not this time. I don't know if it was because I felt so bad or what but it wasn't working. Instead as he stood over me, I was sitting on the couch, as he continued to try and win me over I did something I have never done with him before. I looked at the poor man with the kind of dead cold look I have never directed at him before and simply saying. "I'm not in the mood." If you could have seen the look on his face you would understand why I felt so bad later. Oh he tried to tell me that he was kidding, he wasn't which made me even madder because he was lying to me and he should have known I would see right through him.
Poor man remained quiet as a mouse while he finished getting ready to meet the girls. Yes I know he was being a jerk and I had every right to be pissed at him but come on people did you read the rest of the description? He really is all those things and I've just busted the poor man's bubble. It is rare that I get mad at him and even rarer that I stay mad longer than a few minutes. I have never in all the years I've known the man have I shot him down like that. He made me feel like the Red Baron and he was Snoopy and I just shot him down dead. Anyway before he walked out the door he pulled me to him and gave me a big hug and told me he was sorry he shouldn't have acted like he did.
So what's the point to this whole drawn out story? My husband acted like a total jerk but I'm the one who feels like an ass. Go figure. Damn that man is good.
Yes I got my lunch and it was wonderful. God love him.
The young girl sat quietly playing with something so intently she didn’t hear the man coming up behind her. She cooed to the object that had her so completely lost in her endeavors.
“Now sit up straight baby, you’re making it hard for me to dress you.” She continued to fumble with the little outfit as she was attempting to manipulate the stiff little limbs of the baby doll she was trying to dress.
The man watched the child silently and was in awe of the almost quiet calm she portrayed. She had been missing for hours. He didn’t understand how she could have possibly gotten this far back into the woods by herself but she did appear to be alone. People had been searching everywhere around the area trying to find her. At least this one is turning out OK he thought.
“I swear you just won’t do anything you should to help. My mommy is always saying that children are more trouble than they are worth.”
The little girl appeared to slap her doll and the man winced at the force of the blow she had delivered to the doll. It made him wonder what type of home life the child had and if her actions were any indication of what she suffered at home. If so then he thought he understood why she had come up missing. It would certainly explain her disappearance. She was trying to escape from an unhappy and possibly abusive home life.
“There now, isn’t that much better? See how much easier it is when you behave like a good little girl and make things easier for me?” The little girl tried to set her doll up in front of her but couldn’t quite get the doll to bend her little legs.
The man hadn’t yet gotten a good look at the doll because he had stopped a short way from the child. He hadn’t wanted to startle her and the child’s back was to him. Now he proceeded to approach the child and called her by name.
“Macy.” The man gently spoke her name.
The little girl didn’t even flinch when she heard her name being called from behind.
“Yes?” Macy turned her head to face the man who had called to her. She looked at the man and when she saw he was a policeman she smiled at him.
“Are you OK honey?” The officer had slowly closed the distance between him and the young girl.
“Yes, I’m just playing with my new baby doll. Do you want to see her?” Macy reach to pick up the doll in front of her to show the officer.
“Sure, I would love…” The officer didn’t finish his sentence as Macy brought the doll up for him to see. His mind tried hard to keep him from screaming as it tried to process what he was seeing. The man’s brain wanted to refuse what his eyes were telling him. He knew that he hadn’t found just one of the two missing children from the same neighborhood, he had found both. The tiny newborn’s head was twisted at an odd angle and the little half opened eyes would never completely open or close on their own again.
“You want to play with us?” Macy said as she struggled to stand up and lift the dead weight of the lifeless newborn infant.
The officer was having trouble remaining on his feet. He had never before in his life felt more alone and afraid as he did right then staring into the eyes of this five year old child.
“Mommy says children are more trouble than they’re worth but I don’t think so, do you?” The little girl giggled as she threw the tiny little corpse into the air and let it fall.