The Followers

Just a little taste of what’s to come.  And I’m not 100% sold on the title.

 


 

What had he done?  

Without reason I turned around.  There – propped against the refrigerator; blood still pouring out of the hole in her neck – was my Mother.  In her left-hand was a pen.  Her right hand held a carving knife.  She had bled out onto the hideous Christmas sweater that I bought for her the previous year.  It was a joke but she loved it and wore it as often as she could.  It was destroyed now.  Blood had caked up any thought of Christmas.  The only thing discernable was the jingle bell on the elf’s hat.  Her face was pale and lifeless.  Such a ridiculous thing to say, yet true.  Her eyes held my gaze and I thought for a moment that she was actually looking at me as if trying to tell me who had done this to her.  I stepped back and fell; not to my knees like in the movies but like I was a broken puppet that just had its strings cut.  I looked again at the pen in my mother’s hand.  Wrapped around the pen was a torn piece of paper.  I took it and read it.  Then I reached for my cell and called the police.  They were pronounced dead at the scene, like that really needed some genius attempt at on their part.  Double suicide were the words that were told to me.

I never went back to Chicago.  That life no longer held any joy.  I learned a few years later that Emma had got into some trouble with the local authorities and found herself doing 10 to 20 for possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell to a minor.  Nor did I stay in Tennessee.  I left – hoping not to ever love anything ever again.

Everything I touch turns to ash.

The Followers

New story idea.


It began like a movie; slowly at first – giving you time to settle in to the idea, the plot. I always knew that I was different. I knew that I had followers. But as I got older the memories of the past become elusive like the smell of a distant lilac bush on a hot summer day. I can’t tell you when exactly that it began, only that it did and that’s it. It began and it hasn’t stopped.

I assumed, as a young boy that one day I would tell someone, but I never did. Not even my parents knew my secret. You, my dear adventurous reader, are the first to know my story. And I must apologize to you. For once you become aware, you too will be different. My advice to you would be to turn these pages cautiously.

Excerpt of “Charity”

This is a story I’ve been working on for many years.  The plot has change several times.  Enjoy chapter 1.

And why is Simms a popular surname with me?


 

 

 

1 

June 1985 

 

 

It was dark inside the bag; dark and cold.  Instantly frightened, she began to panic.  Tears flowed and a whimper was heard as she pushed out her little legs in an attempt to free herself.  She felt a trickle of blood on her knee from when she attempted to break free.   Within mere moments, pressure was placed over her mouth as if trying to quell the blood flow of an open wound.  After an unknown amount of time she was taken out of the dark, cold bag and placed in a dark, cold room.  She couldn’t see what was inside this room but she knew there was a bed; she knew because she was chained to it.  The cold metal bit at her wrists and ankles.  She tasted something metallic in her mouth, bitter like a penny.  Charity was far too young to know that it was blood that she tasted.  She looked around frantically to get even the slightest glimpse of where she was.  After a short while her young eyes adjusted slightly to the darkness and she could make out what appeared to be a single room.  Ugly paneled walls and uncarpeted flooring was nearly all she could make out.  Opposite the bed was a door; at its peak she could see a faint light.  There was someone in there.  Was it him?  Could there be another person with him?  She thought of crying out. 

 

Charity had never before been afraid of anything.  She reveled in games of courage with her older brother Timmy.  While most girls her age would screech at the site of a bug of any kind; Charity felt no fear.  Heights were not an issue either.  Timmy would often dare her to do things in an attempt to have her punished.  One afternoon while the summer sun baked their little town, Timmy dared his sister to climb up to the roof of their home and stand there until Mom came home.  She did.  The victory was worth the wrath.  The only thing she was ever afraid of was being left alone.  And now, chained to that rickety old bed frame, she was unable to claim her fear.  Despite having spent an hour in the trunk of a smelly old car, her mind froze, and in that instant she realized what was happening to her.  She fought to stay quiet while tears welled in her little eyes; thinking quickly to what had happened. 

 

“This is absurd!”  Charity exclaimed, using the most grown up word she could think of.  She wasn’t completely certain of its meaning, but she knew that it was appropriate for this situation.  “Yesterday a scoop of chocolate was only fifty cents.  I don’t have a dollar!”   

It was plain to see how a 10 year old girl could lose her patience over the ever increasing ice cream prices.  Inflation is hurting everyone, her father would say.  She turned on her heals and left the shop.  As the screen door to the ice cream shop slammed behind her, she was furious to see her friends Tammy and Monica sitting on the wooden bench outside smiling blissfully; their faces covered in chocolate.  She stormed off down Jackson Street towards home.  Two blocks away she spied Billy Simms sitting on the steps outside the library with a chocolate ice cream cone in his hands.  Billy had a big crush on Charity, and he never let her forget it.  She walked up to him and surprised him. 

“Hi Billy.”  She said it as sweet as she could.  “Whatcha got there?” 

Bill Simms knew what she wanted and he immediately weighed his options. 

“If you want this ice cream Charity it’s gonna cost you.”  Charity tapped her feet in annoyance. 

“What do you want?” 

Billy turned his head to put his book down.  It was more than enough time for the man to throw the bag over Charity’s head and take off.  Billy was up in a flash and running after him.  He didn’t understand why Charity wasn’t yelling or fighting back.  The man was wearing a white t shirt and dirty blue work pants, fresh grease stains permanently adorned the cuffs of both legs.  He had curly blonde hair, of which certain amounts seemed to be permanently stuck to his face.   Billy tried to get a decent look but the man was wearing dark sunglasses.  Never trust a man in dark sunglasses, Charity’s father would say.  He stopped, and the back of a dusty old Nova popped open to reveal an empty trunk. 

“Hey,” Billy yelled to the man.  “What are you doing?”  

The man dropped the sack into the trunk and turned to face the boy.  Billy stopped in his tracks.  The man didn’t speak but pulled off his sunglasses to present himself clearly to the boy.  His face, etched with pock marks, was caught in the light of the late morning sun.  Billy cursed himself for not being brave enough to stop him.  He cursed himself for not running immediately to get help.  Billy froze right there in that little library parking lot and cursed himself for getting out of bed so early.  The man stared right at him and grazed his index finger across his neck just under his grossly protruding Adam’s apple.  The meaning of the gesture was understood: Tell anybody what you just saw and you’ll die.  Billy Simms was far too accustom to that threat to not take it seriously.  Who could he possibly tell?  Who would believe him?  They would ask him about the girl.  They would ask him how long she had known him.  They would certainly ask him about the man.  He wouldn’t be able to lie; not to a police officer.  They would ask him if the man was familiar to him, and he would be unable to lie.   

 

Billy Simms would tell no one. 

Something…

There’s something there; out of my reach.  I can smell it like the wind during a summer rain.  Something black out of the corner of my sight.  Black like fear.  Black like death.  I spin to venture a look but nothing is there.  Hiding?  No.  Waiting?  Yes.  For what?  Me.

The Last Thing. (New idea)

In my previous post I told you all that I wasn’t going to give anything away.  However, the jelly doughnut that I refer to as my mind has changed.  I would love to have your thoughts on this.


 

The last thing I recall was going to sleep – in my bed – next to my wife.  Now I’m sitting behind a cold metal table on a chair made from the same material.  My hands are chained to bolts on each side of the table, and other than a robe of black terrycloth, I was naked.  The robe was not mine.  My hair, cut short – was wet and dripping water down my face and collecting at the small of my back. 

The man on the other side of the table wore a grey suit that needed to be pressed.  The jacket was covered in dog hair and smelled even worse.  Funny, he looked more like a cat person.  He had short wavy brown hair and smoked heavily and I wanted one.  He knew this.  He could see it in my face.  He watched my nostrils flare as a plume of smoke wafted towards my face.  He looked younger than I; maybe in his late 20’s. 

After he put out his cigarette he began to ask me questions.  I was nervous and scared, and it was cold in that concrete room.  At first the questions seemed benign, harmless even; like a survey.  Then the man adjusted his Target Clearance-Rack tie and asked: 

“Where’s your wife Rudy?” 

Rudy!  I said it to myself a number of times.  That’s my name.  Rudy. 

“My wife?”  I held my breath for only half a second – crawling on my hands and knees through my memory banks in search of the answer that would make him want to give me a cigarette.  “My wife should still be in bed.  Could I have a cigarette, please?” 

Well, well.  It appears to be just that simple: say the magic word and all that.  He plucked one from his pack and handed it to me.  His hands were unnaturally hairy and his breath reeked of onions and something else.  From a lighter, he brought the flame to my face before he sat back down. 

Julia, my wife of thirteen years.  Her black hair falling on my face like a wig in some Halloween shop.  She was half an inch taller than me and usually proud to say as such.  The last thing I recall, I was in bed; her arm uncomfortably wrapped around my neck. 

The man chose to probe deeper.  “Are you sure, Rudy?  Are you sure she’s at home in bed?” 

I nodded and expelled a gash of grey smoke happily from the side of my mouth.  At that moment, I realized that the top of my left hand was irritated and itched worse than a vagina in a whorehouse.  My apologies; that was a bit vulgar.  Yes, but quite true. 

“Should we call her?” 

I nodded again. 

Wouldn’t they have already called her?  Was this some kind of ruse?  The man – whom I’d assumed by that point was a police officer – extracted a cell phone from somewhere beyond my line of sight, dialed a number and placed it face up on the table in front of me. 

I told him.  “She despises being woke before she has to be.” 

“Then I will apologize.”  He smiled at this, like he knew some cataclysmic information that I was unaware of. 

He dialed Julia’s number.  We heard it ring once through the speaker on the officer’s phone.  Only one ring then it picked up.  I felt the soft caress of relief.  Of course, she would pick up.  She sleeps with her phone on her nightstand directly next to her head.  Soon it would all be over.  She would come bail me out and bring me home.  She would be angry with me for sure but it would all be settled with a smile.  Then perhaps a morning romp through her panties.  I scratched the back of my hand and listened for her unhappy greeting. 

The cellular number you’re trying to reach is no longer in service.  Please check the number and dial again. 

The officer pressed a button on the phone and ended the call.  The phone quickly disappeared to wherever it came from.  The smug grin that had been hot-glued to his smartly shaven face was gone.  In its place was disdain, displeasure, and even a pinch of amusement.   

“Where’s your wife Rudy?” 

This time I had nothing at all to say.  Confusion.  Frustration.  My mouth was dry and I stammered for something tangible.  Something that I could wrap my mind around.  Where was Julia?  Why has her cell phone been disconnected?  Then it hit me like a wild pitch.  I looked at the officer.  What did he know?  Why was I there?  He pulled out a pen and a cliché mini-notebook; as if anything I had to say might be relevant.  Where was my Julia?  But more importantly at the moment: 

“Why am I here?  I asked.  “Why am I in chains?” 

The last thing I recall was feeling her under me.  She was warm and wet.  Her legs wrapped around my waist tightly.  A high-pitched moan was manufactured with each thunderous thrust. 

The officer kindly provided me with the rest of his cigarettes and I frowned.  Clearly, it was going to be a long night.  He set a digital recorder on the table and hit the play button. 

“911, what is your emergency?” 

“My husband is holding a gun to my head and is forcing me to call you.” 

“Try and stay calm for me okay?  What’s your name?” 

“Julia Simms.  My husband is Rudy Simms.”  There was a pause as the dispatcher recognized my name. 

“Do you know why he’s doing this to you Julia?”  There was some static on the line. 

“He says that if you don’t get here within the next ten minutes, I’m going to die.”  She cried into the phone like she was in pain.  My Julia never cried. 

“Julia, tell him that a unit is on the way.  Julia?  Stay on the phone with me, Julia.” 

There was more static and then nothing.  My eyes were burning.  The metal door sprung open and another officer walked in.  This one was older and seemed more experienced.  Perhaps he was taking over.  I craned my neck to the left to catch a glimpse of any activity beyond but there was no movement or sound – like walking into an empty gymnasium.  I reached for another smoke, flicked the lighter and took a long pull.  From a yellow folder, the older officer pulled out a photo – black and white.  Why do cops refuse to use color film? 

“Is this your house Rudy?” 

I nodded. 

The photo depicted a three-gabled home constructed mostly of two-inch pane security glass.  Julia loves windows, and she loves the view from the hill.  I always thought it to be a housekeeper’s nightmare.  The front lawn was impeccable thank you very much.  Julia had continuously demanded that I hire a gardener but my stubbornness was an entity all in itself.  So, against her will I chose to do it all myself.  The older officer stepped towards the table and smiled at me. 

“When the unit arrived at your house Rudy,” He paused here – leaning on the table with both hands – for dramatic effect.  “The doors were unlocked and the house was empty.” 

The confusion I felt after hearing the 911 recording had now intensified.  I shook my head vigorously – as if this would dispel any evil demons that happened to be in hiding.  I was unable to comprehend what was happening to me.  I looked up at the older officer pleadingly. 

“Where am I?” 

Both officers – who, at that point were leaning against the wall adjacent to the metal door – glanced at each other.   

“Rudy,” the younger officer took his turn, speaking in almost a whisper – attempting to calm me, I guess.  “What made you put a gun to your wife’s head?” 

Once again, I searched my memory.  Did I really do that?  Why would I do that?  Wait a goddamned minute here; I don’t even own a gun. 

“There’s no way that I did that.”  I told them both. 

“Is that your wife’s voice on the recording?” 

I nodded. 

The older officer snickered.  “Did she do something to piss you off?  Women can be like that.” 

“No!”  I shouted.  They had become accustomed to my subdued demeanor.  “I wouldn’t do that.  I don’t even own a gun.”  This had been the cue that they were waiting for I suppose.  The older officer winked and stepped out of the cold room without shutting the door or even caring that he left it open.  God, I wish they would get to the point.  Or tell me their names at the very least.  Again, I tried to see activity outside the room I was in but there was nothing.  Alone now, the young officer sat down across from me and lit a smoke.  I followed suit.   

“Where’s Julia, Rudy?” 

I took a deep drag.  It felt good. 

“Like I told you: I don’t know why I’m here.  I don’t know what I’ve done.  And as far as I know, Julia is at home in bed where I left her an hour ago.  And when she wakes up and finds me gone she’s gonna think I’m cheating.  No, my wife is at home.” 

The older officer quickly returned with a zip lock bag held tightly in his hand.  He set the bag down in front of his counterpart.  Inside the bag was a gun and I froze. 

The last thing I recall is sitting at the breakfast table, alone.  Though it was not breakfast time.  There was a folded newspaper sleeping soundly on the table in front of me but I wasn’t reading it.  I’ve never been a fan of books or reading.  It wasn’t something I did for fun.  If I wanted the news I’d turn on the television. 

Coming Soon….                                                                           Jake Mallard & The Treehouse Detective Agency

With one common goal: to rid the world of evil, and to ultimately fight boredom; a group of school friends open The Treehouse Detective Agency. Led by Jake Mallard (aka The Duck), and designed to solve the neighborhoods most compelling mysteries. Hard at work in the treehouse headquarters and confined to a wheelchair, Jake uses his keen intellect and highly developed analytical 6th grade mind and deploys his team of detectives to gather the clues that will eventually solve these mysteries. Like Sherlock Holmes but on wheels. 

Join Jake and his friends as they tackle their first mysterious case: The Creature from Outer Space.