Friday, November 19, 2010

Magpie Tales: Eleven, Eleven


Tires squealing, Chris Hatcher sends his car into the small gap opening between the tractor trailer drifting back beside him and the pick up truck in front on him. His eyes flick between the road and the dashboard clock. Five minutes, going fast. Rounding the front of the pick up truck he cuts across traffic to take the exit ramp, scraping a side panel on the concrete restraining wall.

Slamming his foot against the brake pedal, he drives it into the floor, his car sliding quickly toward the line of cars backed up on the ramp. Wheels stutter and realising he is not going to stop, he puts the car into the wall, plastic and metal tearing away as it grinds to a halt.

Throwing open the door, he glances once more at the clock. Three minutes, he will never make it in time. Retrieving a black permanent marker from the satchel bag on the passenger seat he begins scribbling words on the drivers door window.
______

"Jessica Hatcher?"

"Yes?"

"Ma'am, is your husband home?" Jessica stands in the open door, staring at the uniformed officer in front of her, hearing his words, but unsure how to respond. He gives a name, but it is lost before she can grasp it.

"Come in," she finally says, leading him into the living room, beckoning the man to a couch.

Taking a seat on the far end away from him, she fights to control the emotions flooding her, from what she already knows, "No, I have not heard from him since he left work at 10:30 this morning to come home."

"Do you know why he left early?" the officers tone is gentle, not demanding as she expected.

"He was coming home to have lunch with me. Why?"

"We found your husband's car wrecked and abandoned on the Carrington Street exit off of Interstate 235. As far as we can tell it happened a little after eleven this morning."

Tears tip the edge of her eyes, racing down her cheeks, "Is...he...," she stammers.

Expelling a deep breath, the officer settles a bit deeper into the couch, "No, we have not found him. I have to be honest, this is really strange. There was a partial message scrawled on the window."

"What did it say?" Jessica pushes the words through her sobs.

"'See you soon' and then there were numbers, like a bible passage, '11:1', does this mean anything to you?"

Burying her face in her hands, her body shudders, wracked by her intense sobbing. Her thoughts scatter then settle on one hopeless question, why couldn't he have made it home?
_____

Richard Pingham turns the key, throwing the bolt on the door of his shoe repair shop. Business has not been the best of late and so an afternoon off is a treat to the soul, just not to the pocketbook. The downtown crowd disappears back into their office after lunch, leaving little opportunity other than tourists. Turning to his car, he notices a shape separate from the wall, dashing into the street.

"Hey son! Come here!" Richard yells to a boy scurrying across the cross walk.

One hand gripping the waist of pants far too large for his small frame, the cloth of the legs dragging beneath his feet, the boy is little more than a pile of clothes. Shirt sleeves flap from the end of his arms. Richard hurries after him, his heart heavy at the apparent homelessness of one so young.

Looking over his shoulder, there is a wildness in the boys eyes and seeing his pursuer, he propels himself faster behind the corner of the brick building. Losing sight of him for only a few seconds, Richard draws up short after rounding the corner to find the alley empty, except for refuse discarded haphazardly, never making it to the sludge covered dumpster.

Tipping the lid, Richard looks into the dumpster, to see if the boys perhaps hid there, afraid of who might be following him. Bags of trash and a malicious stench great him, flies stirred from their meal swarm his face.

"Ugh," he lets the lid slam back into place, surveying the alley once more, then heads back towards his car.
_____

The cell phone nearly vibrates off the bedside table before its ring pierces the consciousness of a nearly comatose Jessica, draped across the bed, still dressed in yesterday's clothes. She had stayed up most of the night, waiting to hear from Chris. He usually would call by now, she must have fallen asleep. Chris!

She grabs the phone, thumbing the button to receive the call, "Chris!"

"Mrs. Hatcher? This is Officer Kennedy. I was at your house yesterday."

"Oh, hello officer...," her voice heavy with disappointment.

"You have not heard from your husband, I take it?"

"No. I am sorry, I was just...I must have fallen asleep," she runs a hand across her face, into her tangled hair.

"No problem ma'am. I wanted to see if you could come down to the station. We found some of what we believe are your husbands belongings and wanted to have you take a look at them."

Mind snapping to attention, she inquires, "What did you find?"

"Again, this is going to sound odd, but we received a call about a young boy wandering downtown. When a patrol car picked him up, he was wearing your husband's clothes. His wallet was still in the pocket of the pants."

"Is the boy okay?" she stammers, hope rising with in her.

"Yes, why? Do you think you know him?"

"Um, maybe not. I am...still trying to wake up. Give me an hour and I will be down," she answers, knowing full well she will be racing to get there as fast as she can.

(To be continued Monday in 'Shafts of Grace')

This is a Magpie Tale and 10DOM.

74 comments:

David Waters said...

I'm sitting on the edge of my seat till Monday....brilliant.

Everyday Goddess said...

to be continued?! this is a great start, can't wait for part 2!!

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

Holy Crow! Now I gotta wait? :)
Good stuff, Brian...great stuff, in fact.

Miss Nikki said...

Oh please promise you'll post a follow-up! Don't make us wait to the ... eleventh hour! (hee hee)

Magpie said...

Oh, you evil thing you. Making us wait...on pins and needles.

Vicki Lane said...

This is reminding me of THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE --interesting to see where it goes.

Captain Dumbass said...

I'm looking at what I've managed to write in the last hour and shaking my head with envy. And know I have to wait until Monday?

Lori said...

Your going to make us wait until Monday?!!! This was great...it will be interesting to see where this goes. Hope you and yours have a good weekend. :)

adeeyoyo said...

Oh how could you do this to us, Brian? The suspense is killing me!!!

Melinda Owens said...

me, too..waiting, waiting, waiting. between you and sheri, geez, killing me.

faith said...

Oh, man! I think she knows about his time travel tricks. Guess I'll find out Monday! :)

The Brightly Colored Misfit said...

Oh, I want to know how it ends!!! I'm so curious! Beautiful writing as always :)

ds said...

Totally hooked, and now I can't wait for Monday (never thought I'd write that on a Friday night!).

Reflections said...

Hook, line and sinker, I and sinking to the depths of your tale like a lure to the awaiting fish.

Monday what? You want us to wait!

Zuzana said...

Good I did not read this three hours ago or I would have not slept at all.;) I can not believe you are making us wait.;))
Have a great Saturday dear Brian,
xoxo

Julie said...

*grin*
Your picture of the lad on the crossing is soo vivid, Brian. Methinks I have a bead on this, but am eager to see how you tease it out. Keen to see how you incorporate the 'grace' into it as well.

Lovely stuff ...

Valerie said...

Oooo that's wicked ... can't wait for part two.

Alan Burnett said...

Now how is this going to end? I will be back to find out.

Cad said...

Sheesh! How can you leave us up in the air like this?!

Goofball said...

aaaah I hate stories "to be continued" I want to know now! come on, tell us already, please

5thsister said...

Riveting...are you sure we have to wait until Monday? I've never been known to be patient.

tony said...

Interesting.I Shall Return!

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

on the edge of my seat :)

Me said...

Brian...you are torturing me! What time on Monday? Early? I won't be around for most of the day and I have to know how this turns out!!! :)
-C

rel said...

Brian,
Wonderfully woven story re: 11:11. I read a ton of stuff, after willow put up the prompt, (I love it when she puts me on th here-to-fore unknow info,) about 11:11. I even considered creating a story such as you are but couldn't muster the energy. I'm glad you did!
rel

Pauline said...

now I'll be spending the weekend making up endings!

Jim Swindle said...

Wonderful storytelling, Brian.

Becky said...

Oh no we have to WAIT?Since when Brian,LOL.Joking I cant wait.I do love surprises.

Have a great weekend!

Joanie M said...

A cliffhanger? Really? Oh Brian, you are a tease!!

Joanie M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sheila said...

You seriously need to write a book. I'm not kidding. Find the time and do it Brian!

Cinner said...

Monday is so close but yet so far......will be here Monday am bright and early to see what happens. have a great weekend.

annell said...

Brian I'm in Texas, and my sister's spell check isn't working? And you know I have silly fingers, thanks for letting me know. You're the sweetest. I will be back to read your right, but we're off this morning.

Anonymous said...

beautifully written. will be waiting for the rest eagerly.

trisha
mydomainpvt.wordpress.com

Eva Gallant said...

Once again, you draw us in! Can't wait to read more!

DJan said...

As always, your writing is clear and captures the imagination immediately! Can't wait to find out what happens!

OJ Gonzalez-Cazares said...

you gotta be kidding me! I can't wait till monday! what a thriller!!!

Bossy Betty said...

Always love your writing....

drybottomgirl said...

I'm looking forward to Monday and hoping for a happy ending...if not I will enjoy finishing the story no matter what :)

Mighty M said...

A TWO PARTER??? What??? Noooooooo!! Okay, I'll wait. :)

Bee's Blog said...

I can't bear the suspense............ it's not like it's sitting on my bedside table to be picked up as and when I feel like it although this would definitely be classed as 'can't put down..........'

Monday - jeez!!

Claudia said...

oh no...and now we have to wait til monday....this is almost a bit mean...nah..great write brian!

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Brian,

Great mystery story with a sudden jolting break in between. Can't wait to read the next portion. It is like serving half food and when the person want to eat more,you are telling him to come on Monday to eat the rest:):):)

Best wishes,
Joseph

phil said...


wonderful, Brian!

Will tune in later.

Baino said...

Yep getting a thread but still not convinced of the ending. Love the opening, fast-pace, panicked works well with your style. Looking forward to the second installment.

TALON said...

Fabulous pace. Cannot WAIT to read the rest, Brian!

Caty said...

will definitely be back Monday! Can't wait to read more :)

annell said...

Brian, what's going on. I hope you are writing right now to let us know where is Chris?

Thanks for your comment, and I agree.

Helen said...

I can't imagine where you are going with this ~ but I'm going too.

TechnoBabe said...

Oh yeah, this is getting good. I have a couple possibilities already lined up in my head. Nice writing.

daisygurl said...

Nice writing. It is an enjoyable read and flows smoothly!

Madame DeFarge said...

I'd to see where this one will go. Good twists.

Birdie said...

cannot wait for Monday! ... what a suspense ... :-) happy we Brian!

Janice said...

Mmmm...very suspenseful...I'm hooked.

Tina said...

You're KILLING me here with anticipation. This is wonderful stuff! Now I have to wait until Monday to see if my theory is correct...

Vodka Mom said...

sweet jesus, you're gonna make us WAIT???????


you've been taking lessons.

Joanna Jenkins said...

What!?!?!? To be continued....
I'll be back Monday unless you change your mind and post the ending early (hint, hint)
Have a great weekend. jj

deb said...

add me to the list of baited fans...

mel said...

ACK!!! Well, Monday won't come soon enough....

utterly brilliant!

PattiKen said...

Love this, Brian. You did a wonderful job creating tension in the first paragraph. Like Julie, I get a sense of where this might go, but you've honed your skills at suspense so much that I am not sure.

Big meets Journeyman.

thingy said...

Wow!!

Daniel said...

I missed this one until today. Waiting for the conclusion tomorrow Mr. Story Teller.

liza said...

Great cliffhanger...I'm always in awe of your writing and how easily a story flows out of you. Will be checking back to find out the ending.

kkrige said...

oh, intriguing tale. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Reggie said...

I'm glad I got a chance to come back to read this. Like everyone else, very intriguing and can't wait to see what's coming next.

Kavita said...

Good God, Brian! Do we really HAVE to wait?!?!? The suspense is killing me already!!!

Awesome stuff.. whatever I've read till now.. phheeww!! Monday is already here.. counting the hours till you put up the post!!! :))

JeffScape said...

Nice attention grabber. Another different style from you (I like). Got some notes, but will reserve for part 2.

Carrie Burtt said...

No one can tell a story quite like you Brian...this is intense and brilliant! :-)

kathew said...

what! ??? I have to wait til Monday! Fabulous writing!

AmyLK said...

Oh WOW! I can't wait to read the rest!

willow said...

Uh-oh, I have a feeling the little boy is the key here! Looking forward to the shafts of grace part. I thought the two themes fit nicely together, as well.

Pat transplanted to MN said...

oh I am on edge now and hope I do not forget ot check back on Monday for the rest of the story! I'm hooked and glad I picked this one to read from the multitude of Magpies.

Syd said...

A chilling tale and one that isn't going to have a happy ending I think.

Marla said...

Holy cow! Just when I thought it was safe to keep reading, I find myself back at the beginning of the freaky story. No wonder I have twisted bowels. hehehe