I've come back, to the old house, again today.
Monica, the mother, woke up for the first time since she was shot, earlier today. The kid, Colin, was ecstatic. She wasn't completely there, the doc (Henry) is keeping her doped up on something to ease the pain (and there should be pain, she's got three holes in her cause' of me), but just knowing that she's getting better pushed the active kid in hyper drive.
I couldn't take it.
Which isn't like me. Not at all.
I heard the pitter patter of his footsteps down the hall, racing back from whatever the hell Henry has him doing, and I wanted to strangle him.
I yanked the earphones from my ears and stormed out.
And I don't know why.
My neighbor was a super religious neo-Nazi gun nut. Before he was shot that is. One of the earlier deaths in the city actually. About a month before the End, before the widespread looting and such, he was organizing a block defense task force or some shit like that.
Anyway, he went and popped off verbally on the wrong guy and the guy went and popped him. Literally. With a revolver. One that my neighbor had given to the dude in the first place.
Sucks to be him.
I think the dude had a wife, though I'm not sure. I never saw her much. Just once or twice in five years actually. So she could have been a visiting relative actually; they resembled each other.
But she was bruised. Taking out the trash, I bumped into a little timid lady who had a black bruise along the right side of her face. She just about yelped when she saw me, and hurried back to the house.
Little glassy beady eyes.
Then two years later, I saw her again. This time in the dude's car pulling away into the night. No visible bruises, but the way she was huddled in the seat made me think she must be bruised somewhere out of sight.
And then the morbid thoughts kicked in.
I imagined that he must have been abusing her for years, that perhaps she wasn't even his wife, just a victim. Someone he kept chained in the basement to do his housework and throw a good screw once in a while. In fact, I imagined, that if I went now to their house and opened the basement doors, I'd find her, chained to a bed.
At first, I imagined her emasculated, starving form chained to the bedposts, a single pathetic word escaping her leathery lips: "Heeelp...".
But then my mind suddenly tossed that image away, and instead, I saw her carcass, bone remains, chained to the bedposts. And an infestation of Freak Rats crawling amidst the remains. Crawling and scavenging, even though the bones would be picked clean by then, they would continue to search.
Much like last Tuesday when I wad been urged to go and see if my neighbor across the door was dead. I was filled with the sudden need to go and see. To prove my suspicion right or wrong. And in fact, my legs moved, I reached the end of my front lawn, when I stopped.
Uncertainty was boiling in my head. I glanced down and found a little red garden gnome grinning up at me, his head held in his hands, a little tongue stuck out permanently in a raspberry.
I kicked it. Shattering it across the grass.
And then I turned around and exited the gate, but passed my neighbor's house. Back to the road. Back to the school.