Friday, May 2, 2014

Safe

by Lisa Kwan

Written for: The Writer's Tower
Theme: The Evil Within (May)
Deadline: 2nd June 2014

The police are here.
Sirens wail and the flashing red and blue reflect off the walls. I am crouched beneath Rob’s work desk in his home office, heart pounding, but surprised to realize that I am still trembling.
I anticipate their kicking down the front door, bursting upon the scene like the heroes they think they are, knights in shining armour atop equally shining white horses.
Armed officers case the living room as they enter, then swiftly move further into the house, checking the other rooms, yelling “Clear!” Still, I wait, patiently and calmly, for them to discover me. And discover the bodies. Whichever came first.
“Sir! In here, sir!”
They must be in the kitchen now. Thundering footsteps moving towards the back of the house, away from where I am, then almost absolute silence. I can imagine the sight that greets them: a cluttered kitchen with a carton of milk spilt over, an upset box of cereal, sticky leftover bowls of batter for pancakes—an abandoned breakfast. And of course: blood spattered everywhere, two mutilated bodies, barely recognizable anymore, and severed heads, placed side by side, their eyes wide open, looking mildly astonished.
A female scream. Then gagging and throwing up, hopefully into Donna’s well-polished sink. She never liked messes, especially in her kitchen.
Well. I guess there’s nothing she can really do about it now.
“Search the rest of the house! Secure the boy!” The gruff voice of probably the head of police. More thundering footsteps as they spread out about the house.
An officer enters the room I am hiding in. He pauses at the entrance, then takes several rapid steps forward, turns around and aims his gun at me, under the table. I whimper, and scoot further backwards, attempting to hide in the shadows under the desk, absolutely terrified.
“Shit,” the officer muttered.
“Sir, I found the boy! East section of the house!” He calls out to the Head, then kneels down in front of me. “Come on kid, don’t be afraid. You’re safe now.” He offers a hand and, still trembling, I reach for it. This stranger pulls me into a fierce embrace, and I almost feel safe.

***

I am sitting on a couch in what seems like a coffee room down at the police station, heavily wrapped in blankets. I had protested, but everyone fussed around me, barely listening. Nursing a cup of hot chocolate in my hands, I almost felt normal again.
Detective Sean, a middle-aged man sporting a rather pathetic-looking goatee, strode into the room, clutching a file in one hand and staring intensely at an ancient-looking pocket watch in the other. He had earlier introduced himself, back at the house; he seemed like a nice, dependable if rather eccentric man, especially his sad-excuse of a goatee.
I must have looked funny, because he abruptly said, “You can go ahead and laugh. Everybody else already has. But you just wait a couple of months, it’s going to be glorious, and everyone will have to eat their words.” He smirked.
But then he sat down directly opposite me, placed the file between us on the table, suddenly all solemn and businesslike. He glanced at his pocket watch once more before pocketing it, seeming more like a nervous habit than anything else.
He cleared his throat. “Charles,” I cringed at that name, “I know this is difficult, but I really need you to tell me what happened, anything you can remember.” He leaned forward. “Everything that happened before, right up until the moment you called the police.”
I slowly shook my head, tears filling and, just as quickly, falling from my eyes. “I-I can’t.”
Detective Sean looked pained. “Do you think you could try? I’m going to be here, and I’ll help you every step of the way. Whatever you say could help us find the bastard—pardon my language—who  murdered your parents in such a gruesome manner.”
When I remained stoically silent, the detective got up and tentatively sat beside me on the couch, slung an arm around my shoulders. “I’ll make sure whoever did this is brought to justice. I promise you. But I need your help. Do you think you could?” He prompted, gently.
I took in a shuddered breath, and lied.

***

Detective Sean held my hand as he led me towards the lobby. A grey-haired matronly woman stood waiting, her eyes looking over every inch of me, like a worried mother hen. Strange, since I have never met this woman before in my life.
She hugged me, so tightly I couldn’t breathe. “Poor baby, oh you poor baby,” she sobbed. She ran her knobbly hands up and down my back; I stiffened.
“Hold on a sec, buddy, let me talk to Mrs. Lee for a bit. Then she’ll take you home.” He kneeled in front of me, like that other officer did before, and looked me straight in the eye.
“Don’t be afraid, okay? I’ll take care of everything. In the meantime, Mrs. Lee will take good care of you while we figure things out. Okay, buddy?”
I nodded, silent, eyes downcast.
As the detective and Mrs. Lee spoke in hushed tones in the corner of the lobby, I shuffled around listlessly. Then I spotted a ladybug crawling along the edge where the floor meets the wall. How often do you see one? I inched closer, lifted my foot, and stepped on it.
“Come along, Charles. Let’s go home.” I frowned at the mention of that name again. I hated it, because it sounded so old-fashioned. I had always preferred Chuck, but Donna and Rob insisted on calling me that stupid name anyway. It annoyed me to no end.
Mrs. Lee took my hand and we walked towards the main entrance. Detective Sean gave a quick wave, but I turned away, trying to look as upset as I should, considering the circumstances. I’m recently orphaned, I told myself, so I should act like it. I had to keep up the pretences. The stuttering, the trembling, the crying. At least for a while.
As Mrs. Lee and I drove off in her humble old car, she glanced at me and hesitantly spoke. “I’m really so sorry about your parents, Charles. Nobody deserves that.”
I looked out the window, let the tears flow, made sure Mrs. Lee saw. Who knows what counts as “deserving” of such a death? Maybe they were liars and cheaters? Or maybe they called me ‘Charles’ one too many times? Who is to know?
A flash of Donna and Rob’s faces, their mouths rounded in wide ‘O’s, as I stabbed them over and over again. Their looks of shock and betrayal, of not understanding. Then their gradually weak resistance and struggle as their blood and life seeped out of them. The thrill, the adrenaline rush!
This time, I hid a smile, made sure Mrs. Lee never saw. I just had to be careful. I already had the detective and now Mrs. Lee eating out of the palm of my hands. After all, I’m only a helpless six-year-old orphaned boy, a victim. If I keep this up, I just might be able to get away with it. I’ll be safe.



THE END


© COPYRIGHT OF LISA KWAN 2014

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