Friday, October 15, 2010

Magpie Tales: Through the door

Turning from the two lane road into the driveway, Michael notices the top half of the side door swinging in the breeze and knows she is gone. Dragging the car to a stop, he throws the door open and sprints toward the house, fearing the worst. Placing his hand on the lower half of the door, it easily swings open, confirming his suspicions

Cautiously, he steps into the house, sending his eyes around the kitchen, in case someone else is in the house. It could be a break in, he tries to convince himself and failing, but slides a butcher knife from the block by the sink, just in case. Forcing himself to move slow, despite the hammering in his chest, he works his way down the hall to the two bedrooms.

The door to the room she usually stays in is open, as well as the one to his room. Entering her room, the sheets from the bed are in a pile on floor but there is no sign of a struggle. She is gone. Moving faster now, he crosses the hall to his room. Someone has been in his closet, probably her, and several of the hangers are empty.

He was only gone an hour and a half, running into town to pick up her medication. If the pharmacist had been more focused on doing his job, filling the order, instead of being social this might not have happened. Only an hour and a half, and he did not see her on the road, she could not have gotten far.

Running back through the house, he latches the doors securely behind him and surveys the yard. The most danger lay to the East, back toward town. As long as he reaches her before she do es something crazy and catches the attention of the authorities, he will be alright.
_____
Noise. Birds chirp. Wind blows leaves that claw at the trunks of trees and fallen branches. Something scurries. The forest is alive and Elizabeth is frantic and confused. Clutching the over sized waist of the pants in a fist, she stumbles forward. Her blue flannel shirt, the man's shirt , taken from his closet, catches on an errant branch. None of her clothes were in the closet, only his. There had been no shoes that would fit her and she had not taken time to search further, driven by the desire to escape.

She hears a car the road on her right, giving her direction in her flight. Sticks and pine cones gnash at her feet, making progress slow. Her mind spins. Where is she? How long has she been here? Where is her baby? She had a baby, a boy. She trusts this memory. She will never find him if the man catches her and makes her go back to her room.

Through the trees, she spies the shape of a building, white with a green roof. There is a sign and gas pumps. People will be there and something inside her tells her she can find help. She hurries, ignoring the pain lancing her feet, as she feels the man's breath already on her neck. He is coming and desperation propels her.
_____
Chris has worked at the Stop N' Go on Route 60 since he was a sophomore in high school. He has little aspiration to leave, making enough to cover the meager rent his parents charged for the apartment above the garage, as well as take care of weekend entertainment. Looking at the clock, he smiles. Only another half hour and Jessie, his girlfriend, picks him up and they will head to her parents lake house. It is going to be a good weekend, he thinks, until the glass door bangs open, a frizzy haired homeless woman spilling to the floor, leaving bloody footprints on the dirty linoleum.

"What the hell!," he yells, shocked at her sudden appearance.

"Helpme! Aman...needagetaway....mybaby...helpme," her words slur together as she gasps for breath.

Chris stands staring at her struggling to get her feet underneath her. Nothing like this ever happens and he is unsure whether to help or call the cops. She could be dangerous. Grabbing the phone, he punches 9-1-1, while the lady stands and begins yelling sentences that make little sense about a man and her baby.

"Campbell County 9-1-1, how can I help you?," a woman answers.

"Yeah, this is Chris, down at the Stop N' Go. I got a homeless woman going crazy in my store. I need help!," he yells over the blatherings of the lady in his face.

"Sir...," the rest of the response is unheard, as the homeless woman knocks the phone from his hand, grabbing him and pointing toward the door.
_____
Michael sees her through the door as he crosses the parking lot. This was the first public place after the house so he had decided to stop and see if someone had seen her. It was his lucky day. He watches Elizabeth slip to the floor and begin crab walking away from the door, as his hand finds the the warm metal of the push bar. She is screaming incoherently and there is a boy behind the waist high counter to his right. He sees no one else in the store. Ignoring her, he enters and turns to the boy.

"Thank God she is here. I am so sorry. My wife is sick. She left the house while I went to get her medicine. If you will give me just a moment, I will get her calmed down. I am so sorry this happened," he says, his words filled with anxiety, palms up to show the boy he is harmless.

"Nodon'tlethimnearme! Heisjustgoing...," she yells, pulling herself behind a row of shelves.

"What the hell is wrong with her?," the boy spits back at him, on the verge of panic.

Michael slips a medical bracelet from his pocket, showing it to him, "Alzheimer's. Affects the brain. Half the time she does not even know who she is. Ever since we lost the baby...,"

Tears spill down Michael's cheeks, his hands beginning to shake, the composure he had mustered upon entering the store shatters. Sucking air, he stills his breathing, dragging a hand across his face.

"Nonononononono," she is howling, peeking around the end cap, hair dangling in her face.

"Sure man. I called the cops, but let me call them back real quick. That sucks!"

Michael turns his back to the boy, walking toward his wife. When he smiles, her screams get louder and louder.
_____
Duane Cooper is in line at the Tastee-Freeze when he hears his call sign come through the police radio. A disturbance at the Stop N' Go just out of town, call in for more details. From the Tastee-Freeze he can be there in five minutes. Another dinner postponed for the sake of some nutcase. Shaking his head, he steps out of line, affirming he is on his way.

Lights flashing, he is erasing the distance at a rapid rate when dispatch comes through with an all clear stand down, which sits odd in his stomach. Decelerating, but continuing toward the Stop N' Go, he flips open his cell, calling Mary at the Sheriff's office.

"What's the scoop?," he doesn't even wait for her to start talking.

Used to his abruptness, she answers, "Seems it was some crazy woman. Her husband showed up and took her home."

"That's it?"

"Yeah, you going back on lunch?"

"Nah. Think I will stop by anyway and see what happened," he decides he can't eat, feeling unresolved.
_____
"...so he was talking to her about going home to see the baby. I guess it was the one that he told me died, but she calmed down. She apologized when he told her to. They left right before you got here," Chris finishes telling the Sheriff's deputy about the incident.

"Nothing was damaged?" the cop asks.

"Nah, just the blood on the floor and she knocked over a couple boxes of cakes. I picked those up and I am going to mop. My relief should be here soon, so if you don't need anything I'll get busy."

Chris turns to fetch the mop as the cop walks toward the door, when he hears, "Does that camera record or is it just for show?"

He figures he might as well call Jessie and tell her just to hang out at home until he calls.
______
Once Elizabeth was in the car, he opened one of the white bags containing the prescriptions. He was glad he had left them in his haste to inspect the house earlier. Palming a white pill, he had instructed her to take it, letting her wash it down with a half empty bottle of water. It was old, but would do the trick. Before they were even home, she had fallen asleep, which made it easy just to carry her into the house and secure her. He took his time, making sure there would be no repeat of today's escapade.

Pulling the door to her room closed, he slides a lock into place, then proceeds down the hall, turning right into the living room. Through the front window he watches a patrol car drive past on Route 60 and for a moment he is afraid they will stop. Watching it disappear beyond the treeline, he settles into the couch, relieved that he had found her before things got out of hand.

Powering up the television, he finds Wheel of Fortune. The spinning of the wheel is calming and he always guesses the words before the stupid schmucks they put on this show. He is smarter than just about anyone he knows. That medical bracelet worked like a charm today, he chuckles to himself.

A long squeal, a board against a nail, propels him out of his chair toward the kitchen. He has barely risen when the front door explodes inward, splinters ripping through the air. Voices, loud barking orders thunder in the small space. Bodies pour into the room, rough hands shove him through the hall, knocking him to the hard wood floor of the kitchen.

He hears footsteps pounding down the hall, the wood door cracking, the jangling of locks as they are torn out of the wall. Everything is a blur it happens so fast, then the ruddy face of a deputy fills his vision.

"Michael Williams, you are under arrest for the kidnapping of Elizabeth Myers and her infant son. Now tell me where the baby is..."
_____
Duane stands in the kitchen, looking out the top half of the door, which has been opened to allow a cool evening breeze into the house. He was glad he had noticed the video camera at the store, because there was no mistaking the face of the young woman. Her picture had been all over CNN the last six months, since she and her son had been taken from the parking lot of a mega store about a hundred miles from here.

They had not found the baby. Michael just laughed when Duane asked him. After he cleared the room for some alone time with Michael, he gave it up and men were already searching the loose dirt of the basement floor to verify his confession. His stomach twists just thinking about it.

"We are coming out. Is he clear?" the female deputy's voice breaks his thoughts. She had been back in the room with Elizabeth and the paramedics while they locked the trash in the patrol car.

"Yeah," Duane murmurs as he watches a hawk swoop through the darkening sky to take a field mouse into its talons, both loving and hating his job.

This is a Magpie Tale and also for the 10DOM muse, confession.

115 comments:

OJ Gonzalez-Cazares said...

oh my goshhh!!!! I couldn't stop reading! I felt so sorry about the poor woman and husband after the Alzheimer comment, what a great twist!now you have to write part 2 and tell us about the boy - was he killed? was he sold? was he hiding in a different house? Willow: please post a prompt to inspire part 2!! You should write for CSI NY or Law&Order SVU!!

n. davis rosback said...

you sure can spin em.

Joanie M said...

wow! What a story!!! You should get your stories published... seriously!

CM said...

That was quite the action packed thriller...had me clued from beginning to end!

This eerily reminded me of one of your other pieces...the one where the guy was kidnapped and held in the basement. I think we have a theme. Ok, when's the book coming out??? :-)

Eva Gallant said...

whew! That was a tense one. good story, well written.

5thsister said...

you had my rapt attention from beginning to end.

Cloudia said...

Writer-boy!





Warm Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

><}}(°>

Laura said...

loving and hating it too! so very compelling but hard too. you are such a great storyteller, Brian.

C.M. Jackson said...

this is one of your best--great tale and certain to be a winner for 10DOM--excellent!

Lori said...

Wow!!!! This could be a book...when are you going to write a book???? You truly captured me in this story. Bravo!

When are you and Otin going to do another Brotin tale?

Bernie said...

I'm not sure you realize your own talent my friend, this is good!
Happy weeend.....:-)Hugs

Susan Deborah said...

This almost read like a movie script. Different scenarios and points of view. Somebody is scaling new heights, these days. Good good.

Joy always,
Susan

Dianne said...

Brian, I swear you must be 3 people. In answer to my blog post 55-Macbeth, I added a post script.
Thanks for listening. You must be multiple personalities to cover so many topics so well. I'll read your post later, too long for Fri night after an exausting week.

kkrige said...

jesus, that gave me chills. I don't want a part two. It sounds like she was young though (just had a baby) and the Alzheimer's thing didn't sit right with me as it is an old person's disease. Great, scary bedtime story from my favourite creepy writer :0

Julie said...

Good story, Brian. I like the layers of viewpoint - which I got this time!

Enchanted Oak said...

You did a nice job of keeping age ambiguous enough that the possibility of an old married couple remained viable for quite a while. Questions arose like "Where are her clothes?" and "Why isn't Michael familiar with this store when he lives just down the road?" and "Why isn't she WEARING that bracelet?" and "How did she get out?" ... but you kept the pacing moving at a good clip so I didn't dwell on the issues out of curiosity for whatever was coming next.

TALON said...

Will look forward to reading this in the morning...too tired tonight (it was my birthday today and it's been a fun and hectic one). I'll enjoy reading this with my coffee. :)

gautami tripathy said...

Recently I read a novel Still Missing by Chevy Stevens. It is still fresh in my mind. Your story too had an similar effect. Totally engrossing...

fortune tellers

adeeyoyo said...

This really makes one wonder what could really happen and no one would ever know... scary story, excellently written! Thanks, Brian!

kathi harris said...

Brilliant Brian. Excellent Job!

I am soooooo glad that cop followed his instincts. I was hoping he wd. Had a feeling that man was no gd.

Thank u 4 writing such an ending. Yes!

Zuzana said...

This was very entertaining and thrilling. You managed to get a story that some would need a a whole book to explore, into just one post; your talents are endless.;)
Have a wonderful Saturday dear Brian,
xo

Beedeebabee said...

OMG, that gave me such goose bumps! I'm going to make sure all my doors are locked. ;)

slommler said...

Wow Brian! What twists and turns you have taken me on!! Now I just have to know...did he bury the baby? Oh sheesh! My heart is racing!!
Hugs
SueAnn

JeffScape said...

There's a really good conceptual what-if game in this one (like, really good)... but a lot of "buts."

Still seeing the impatience factor. Breathe, man.

Just Be Real said...

Brian this story had me going. The suspense and intensity of the whole thing. The talent in your writing is such a gift. Blessings.

Cheryl said...

I'm with Enchanted Oak on this one. It kept moving so fast, all the questions that popped up became irrelevant. Nice write.

the walking man said...

To me, and maybe I assumed to much but I think his panic and the scene as he went through the house finding HIS clothes gone said a lot. The woman was rational enough to know to dress before she escaped. After that it seemed the ending was going to be one we are hearing all to many of these days. Well written Brian,

Me said...

*chills*

Great read!

Anonymous said...

this was a terrible story. poor woman.

your writing skill is beyond words brian.

i read it in single breath, would have loved a little different ending though.

trisha
mydomainpvt.wordpress.com

Fireblossom said...

Kidnapping twist aside, I've lived the first part of this story. Trying to keep a mentally ill person from doing goddess knows what, or wandering off, is absolutely exhausting. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

TechnoBabe said...

Do you read mostly detective mysteries? I do. This kept my interest and also sympathy in the end. I think you have a good time writing fiction and I for one am so glad you do.

Lorraine said...

oh I am shivering...do tell is the boy safe..the poor woman

tony said...

Oh Lord! So Many twists & Turns Here.I'm Dizzy!
Things Are Never What They Seem....

deb said...

Brian....
incredible.

I'm glad I waited to have the time to read it properly.

Emmanuel Ibok said...

What a story, the twist was the highlight....I almost fell for Michael being a good guy...like you do, great.

Cheers!

P.s what about the baby?...alive or not?

EKSwitaj said...

Really shocking twist. I love that you managed to briefly dip into her perspective without giving it away. That takes a lot of skill.

Southwest Arkie said...

Scary tale- I'm afraid to ask- Where's the baby???? Keep writing..

annell said...

I knew when I read the words, "she is gone." This was not going to end well. But was captivating. I wanted to know, .....

Mighty M said...

Very engrossing read.

Caty said...

You are such a great storyteller. I like how you focused on each person individually...this was a great read :)

Book Bird Dog said...

Very nice mystery with a twist at the end!

Brian Miller said...

ok, so maybe i will write about the baby next week...we will have to see what the muse brings...i did leave a lot of questions...and thanks chris and the others that pointed out the questions along the way...i will work to tighten it up a bit...

Doctor FTSE said...

Good end twist!

Mary said...

Brian, you are an amazing and prolific writer! This was a wonderfully written story that captivated me from start to finish. I also thank you for visiting my blog. Not only are you a writer, but you are a supporter of writers!

LadyFi said...

Oh, my gosh. So gripping and sad and terrifying!

Deborah said...

I think it's all been said above ... just Brilliant!!!

Deidra said...

You can tell a story, man! I was feeling sorry for poor Michael and then you flipped the whole thing! That was wonderful. Loved the descriptions throughout. I couldn't let it go...

Paul Andrew Russell said...

Wow Brian, that was an excellent read, right until the end.

Paul Andrew Russell said...

Wow Brian, that was an excellent read, right until the end.

David Waters said...

WOW! Roller coaster doesnt even begin to describe this one....amazing twist and turns, didnt see that ending coming...well done!

Percy Bisque Silley said...

This, Sir, is long; and scanning quickly for Tomatoes (for I am a Busy Man...) I can find none...

Your Fiercest Critic,

Percy

Kay L. Davies said...

Wow, and you got all that from the photo? Huge.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I love visitors. You're right, they were wonderful parents, although I'm still not sure how you saw that.

Kay, Alberta

PattiKen said...

Excellent story, Brian. At first, I thought it was a continuation of one of your earlier stories, On Mary and Being Forgotten as they both began with a guy driving up to a house. That plus the Alzheimer's comment led me down the wrong path, so the ending took me by surprise.

Raven said...

Oooh you had me transfixed from the get-go! Then I was all, is he evil, or is it really Alzheimer's? Awesome Magpie!

TALON said...

I really enjoyed this story, Brian. Crisp characterizations, great dialogue and a fabulous twist at the end. I felt so sorry for the woman and her baby...

Tina said...

Wow. Gripping, fast moving. I always like a story with multiple points of view, and you used that style to really pump up the mystery of this piece. Well done.

You said you were going to write another draft, so in that case, I have some picky grammatical stuff for the beginning few paragraphs. (As per your comment at InEx, I'm pulling out the fine tooth comb...) I can email you those if you're interested.

Daniel said...

I thought this was going to be a story about the ravages of mind-erasing and mind-altering disease. Oh the poor man. How brave. How sturdy. Then you went in another direction. Sounds like the plot of a made for TV movie. Cool.

Lyn said...

I think I just read a terrific proposal for Showtime, etc. Could visulize it all the way..who can play Michael? Brrr....
But excellent as it is!!

Kim A. said...

Cliffhanger...again????? :-D That would make a good CSI episode. Have a lovely weekend.

♥namaste♥

Dianne said...

AAAACK! Who can sleep with those stories rolling around in your brain? And with an intro, 4-person point of view that races so fast, who needs Otin anyway? (shhh, dont tell him I said that)

It's been a while since the Brotin tales, nice taste of those!
Dianne

Erratic Thoughts said...

Whoa...I read it top to bottom ignoring a call from my sis...
What a story...Oh-my-God you are so good in writing them....

Diane T said...

Brian, you are an inexhaustable writer and so creative! Top Magpie Tale!

Tom said...

i saw how long this was and thought...geez.

gonna come back to read it closer to voting time, this looks like something i'm going to want to give more attention to

kathi harris said...

Bri

Me again. I woke up this morning with ur story 4 this wk on my mind.

U cd pretty much submit it as a synopsis 2 an agent with very few changes.

If u r interested, u can lk in the WRITER'S MARKET source bk 4 info on agents.

Find ur genre - mystery/horror etc. c their guidelines - usually it's a query letter & synopsis. Smtimes they want 1st, or 1st 3 chapts.

Even tho it is recomm that a 1st time writer have the entire manuscript done, if ur presentation grabs them like it did me & a lot of us here, the agent might b willing 2 wk with u.

So check it out, who knows, a pot of gold might b waiting 4 u.

Gd luck Bri!

Claudia said...

wow brian - you ARE a talented storyteller and i love how you paint the different characters so that the reader suffers or hopes with them or adores or hates them - and sometimes, like with Michael this feelings can change quite quickly

Birdie said...

amazing Magpie tale Brian!! I was rushing reading it bc I so wanted to know the end ... :-) (please let the baby be alive and well ;-) ... happy Sunday!!

Madame DeFarge said...

What a great story, well told. Longer than normal posts, but worth sticking with till the end. Great stuff.

alex said...

i like this it was a really good read :)

willow said...

Great story, Brian. The guy in the Stop N Go must have thought she looked a little too young to have Alzheimer's, thank goodness!

Carrie Burtt said...

You had me from beginning to end...what a captivating read Brian!!
:-)

ds said...

Brilliant. Love the two halves of your "door." You kept me spellbound throughout; I was never sure whom to believe at first (okay, had suspicions, but still). Such a great story--if you worry about continuing it, don't. Keep going!

Kristen Haskell said...

Oh man I was cruising along in this story and I forgot I was reading. Nothing around me distracted me. That is the sign of an excellent and well written story. I need a part II so I hope there is seriously going to be one!!!!

kathew said...

wow- what a good read...waiting for part two!

Katherine said...

You pulled me into your story with such a magnetic force. It was wonderful, like a script for a scene in a great suspense/thriller movie!
I Hi-5 you Brian! Wonderful writing as usual.
You probably know me enough by now to know I would be wishing for a happy ending for this poor young mother. I just wish that she could have been reunited with her baby but in reality, just like in your story, happy endings don't always happen.

Travel & Dive Girl said...

Great read Brian. Looking forward to part 2.

william said...

intense, great read, and as always a brilliant story :)

KB said...

Love a tale full of suspense. Excellent job.

Flea said...

Fantastic stuff!! I"m visiting via Pauline's blog. Glad I found yours, I really enjoyed it.
aussie greetings, Flea!

Pat said...

GREAT, GREAT story! You NEED to get these stories published! Not for recognition, although that would be nice, and yeah, you already ARE a writer, but, geez, you might as well make MONEY doing something you love, right?

Marla said...

Geez Brian......geez. This is brilliant and terrifying. More please.....

Tumblewords: said...

Brilliant piece - what a read!

Baino said...

Nice concept Brian. Seems a bit 'rushed' but has a lot of potential, you should lob it on IE. I'm enjoying your 'darker' stories lately though.

Ana said...

I knew he was up to no good. :) Another great write!

Ana said...

I knew he was up to no good. :) Another great write!

Mona said...

full marks for pacing.

Great story. You can write bestsellers. Reminds me of Sidney Sheldon!

Reflections said...

Fantastic write! Pulled me right in, Alzheimer's seemed a stretch, but definite illness take.... but was not expecting that ending. Was expecting his illness, great turn in the end.

christine said...

Criky what a story I was churning inside thinking it was ok then the end?? Just the sort of thriller I like. It was wow!

Cindybrown said...

You got me from the very beginning!! I want to know what happen to the baby! Great story Brian!! You are truelly brilliant!!

Susannah said...

Great story, I really enjoyed it. :-)

Tracy said...

Oh boy, Brian, you had me going! You are sick, as in PHAT. :-)

gayle said...

Another wonderful story!! You should get a short story book together to publish!

Shari Sunday said...

Don't know if my other comment worked or not. Great writing. You are a writer. Would like to know more. You really got me.

Patience said...

definitely a thriller, i was worried he might not get caught, so glad he did. brilliant.

Miss Nikki said...

OK. That does it. When is your book coming out? This... this story was amazing. I was so caught up and really wondering until the end what was up. Brian, you are a wonderful writer, please tell me you are being published!

signed...bkm said...

Oh my ...what a creepy guy he ...you paced the whole piece so well, I had to read on ending with a cliff hanger...nice...bkm

secret agent woman said...

I just knew that one wasn't going to end well.

The Bug said...

Wow - this needs to be a whole book!

cheryl said...

more please Brian

JStar said...

This is sooo sad...but a sad reality...Yea, I want to know about the baby too...and why was she bloody?

Goofball said...

what a thriller! wow, well written

nimaruichi said...

A lot can happen through the door.
What a tale!

Lena said...

What a crafty git! Right down to the medical bracelet....! I, too, would love to know what happened to the baby boy!

Great imagination......!

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

Wow! What a thrilling suspense filled magpie...I really did not want it to end :)

Stranger said...

Wow! You're an amazing writer/storyteller Brian! Wow.

Magpie said...

This was a great one! I didn't have trouble with questions being there. They keep you wondering and leave the possibility of things going in a different direction. :)

joanny said...

Brian

I think you might have out done your self on this write....giving Jeff a run for it in the 10-muse Shh -- don't tell him I said that.

There were some moments reading this that reminded me of some very true stories, -- you will have to follow up and not leave us hanging?

Cheers,
Joanny

Selma said...

Chilling and real. As a chapter in a book I wouldn't have been able to put it down. My heart was racing....

Syd said...

This is spellbinding in an horrific way.

Suz said...

it kept me reading
all that out of that photo
You must watch crime stories

surbi said...

It held me from start to end...interestingly engaging story telling...

joanny said...

I came back to re-read it again, although not my genre -- I felt maybe I read it too fast the first go around, for it left several questions ---murder and kidnapping, story seems to have unsolved and unrevealed portions as is in 'real' time as well, I wonder what blogger 'slam dunk' would think?

joanny

Mmm said...

Rad the whole thing--you kept me on the edge of my seat. Makes me think of that poor boy who was kidnapped fro something like 18 years, and the molester single man would tell neighbours it was his problem son. Every night he threatened to kill the boy and almost every night he sodomized the boy into young man.

when he went out to get a 2nd boy his first captor finally broke the fear of death and through it both boys were saved. People praised God for answered prayer and all I could think of, why did this 6 year old kid have to have his entire childhood stolen, only now himself left unbalanced and destroyed?

Tragic.

Anyway, a very stirring post. I love that no subject is beyond your pen, Brian. you leave us needing to look at things deeper and more. thank you.

Amanda said...

i really enjoyed reading this, along with the shift of p.o.v. you kept me guessing - would not have anticipated the end --- excellent pacing and storytelling.

Harnett-Hargrove said...

This was just enough info to keep me looking from one character to the next... reading as fast as I could to find out who was faking.
-J

Not For Jellyfish said...

Excellent entry...