Sunday, September 9, 2012
Thursday, February 9, 2012
“I, I, I,” stammered Mary-Anne. She looked like a proverbial deer in the headlights.
Katrina’s fear morphed into rage. “I asked you, what the HELL are you doing?” Chris remained halfway up the stairs. Katrina’s anger was so unstable, he didn’t want to get in the way.
Mary-anne straightened and brushed her jeans off. “Well, I saw someone sneaking in the gate and well, I’m just glad it’s you and not some burglar.”
Katrina straightened her hunched back and uncurled her fists enough to seem about as less hostile as a dog ready to playfully beat a rabbit to death. “Why didn’t you try the front door?”
“well, I did. It’s locked.”
Chris started down the stairs, “uh, sorry, that was my fault. Habit I suppose.”
Katrina looked at him, processing some information. She turned back to Mary-anne, “Why did you have to break the window?”
“Sorry, I’ll replace it. I just, “ she looked at Chris and back to Katrina. “I have something that I guess you should know. In private.”
“Well, if it has anything to do with the infection, Chris can know too. He is writing that article after all.”
“Right.” She walked towards the sofa behind chairs and sat, curled into the corner as if that was her normal spot. Katrina followed her and sat in her mother’s chair leaning over the arm to the sofa. Chris stood guard behind the couch. “well, ever since we got back there’s been things going on.”
“What kind of things?” Chris heard himself ask.
Mary-anne glanced at him and continued talking to Katrina. “People are going missing. And not being found.”
“Who?” Katrina asked.
“Well, the butcher’s son. He goes hunting in the woods. He went hunting a couple days ago. Well, you can’t really call it hunting. He goes shooting.” Mary-anne chuckled at herself. “They searched for him, but found nothing.”
“What’s his name?” Chris asked, remembering the young man he saw in the woods, licking the tree.”
“Foster Briant.” Katrina answered. Chris was relieved: Not the same guy.
“So, anyways, they’re still looking for him. But another person has gone missing. I don’t know their name, but it’s some guy who was last seen last night at the bar.” Katrina and Chris cringed at the thought. “There’s more people missing, but no one will give details. The rumor going around is that the infection is getting stronger now that we’re back.”
“That’s absurd, “ Katrina scoffed. “We’ve been treated. We still treat ourselves everyday.”
Mary-anne rolled her eyes, “yeah. I know.”
“So what does this have to do with you breaking and entering into my house?”
“Well, I afraid that one of the two of you was going to murder the other.”
“And you were going to what, apprehend them by yourself?” Chris asked.
“mary-anne glared at him. “No, that’s what the brick was for. Dual purpose.”
Katrina stood up and walked through a door. A couple seconds later she came back with a broom and dust pan. “well, there’s nothing we can do but clean up and get this window covered with plastic until I can get it fixed.”
Mary-anne jumped up and headed towards the door, “well, I’m glad that it’s just you guys and I didn’t have to kick any asses today. I’ll see you later, gotta meet Mary-jo.”
Katrina rolled her eyes and started brushing up the glass. Chris walked over to help. “Where can I find a tarp or plastic bag or something?”
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
....She relaxed for only a second before she took a step forward
The driveway curved to the left but they followed a narrower stone path to the front doors. The walk was so long Chris contemplated humming The yellow brick road. Once they got to the door, Katrina fiddled with her keys until she found the right one. She paused for a moment to think about what she was doing and unlocked the door. Chris pushed it open; it was heavy but smooth; not too creaky. It took a moment for their eyes to adjust to the darkness in the room. Katrina immediately noticed that everything was set up the same as it was left; even the plants were in their set positions—only dead-- as if they stayed guard for the house until the end.
“Woah,” Chris exclaimed. “This is amazing! You lived here?”
“Yup.” Katrina walked forward, taking her purse off her shoulder and setting it on the table by the staircase; it was a habit to put her things there, her mother hated it. She said it looked ‘messy’. Katrina remembered this and slung her purse back over her shoulder. She took a glance at herself in the gigantic—but dusty-- gold-leafed mirror that was hung above the table; she tucked her stray hairs behind her ears and fingered her jaw line—which seemed a lot more boney than the last time she looked in this mirror.
Chris had stopped and was staring towards the chairs in front of the fireplace. “So those are the chairs. That you…”
“Last saw them in. Uh-huh.” Katrina walked over to the one on the right, facing the fireplace; “This was daddy’s,” she turned and sat in the one opposite it; it was more round and stout than the tall stiff one, “This was mom’s,” she sat down. “She liked to curl up in hers, so it’s more comfortable. Daddy’s was always business as usual—no time for comfort.”
Chris sat on the hearth, only taking up an eight of the fireplace. He could feel the fraying rug under his toes but didn’t think twice about it. He took a moment to look around the room; there were doors almost everywhere it seemed and he wondered how easily it would be to get lost. Another thought flickered through his mind: of playing hide-and-go-seek with his brother in their family’s home.
Nothing in this home was done without extravagance; even the candlesticks were unusually large, it was like Thumbelina's palace.
Katrina stood up and started walking to the staircase by the front door. Chris followed.
All along the wall lining the stairs, were pictures of Katrina and other family members. There were ones of Clint and his wife; Emily and Katrina playing in the pool and Mama giving the camera a glare. Chris was eyeing the pictures with as much force as Katrina was trying not to.
After Chris’ calves started burning from what seemed like five hundred steps, they reached the second level. Katrina lead them to the right where there was a long hallway that lead to the library in the turret. Katrina ducked in to the room directly to the right. When she opened the door, Chris felt like he had walked in to a scene from a modern-day Romeo & Juliet; in the middle of the room was an overly large canopy bed draped in never-ending lengths of bright blue and pink, silk cloths; the dresser across from it was twice as tall as him with the filigree extending from the mirror; In the corner, next to the bay window was a dollhouse practically big enough for a five year old to play in and surrounding it on shelves were a hundred dolls all beautifully kept.
Katrina saw his eyes flickering over each doll. “My mom used to collect those for me. I wasn’t supposed to play with them but I couldn’t help it, so that trunk beside the house is filled—and locked—with the same dolls but in boxes.” She walked over to the corner with memories of each doll passing through her mind as quickly as her eyes could pass over them. “I suppose they’re probably worth a pretty penny now.”
Katrina sat on the trunk and Chris on the bed, careful not to mess up the 3 year old made bed. They seemed so far away from each other with the sheer size of the room. “Ok, well you got me in here can we go now?”
“not until I get to see the rest of the house.”
They heard a huge bang followed by shattering glass ricochet up the stairs from the foyer. Katrina became completely alert and jumped to her feet. Before Chris could get to the door Katrina was already on her way down the stairs.
“What the hell are you doing?”
As Chris rounded the corner he saw Mary-anne Dawes with a massive brick in her hand, half way through the front window.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Emily turned her head towards Katrina one more time and lightly smiled with her lips pressed together.
Chris was looking at the family photos on Clint’s coffee table when Katrina came upstairs. He turned around and she smiled, “Shall we go?”
“Yeah. To your old house?”
“Not quite what I had in mind.” Katrina was gripping her purse rather tightly.
“Come on. You have to face you fear. I’m here. You need to go back sooner than later; get it over with. From what I understand, we’re right near by.” Katrina turned towards the front door while Chris followed out of the house.
They walked to the right once out of Clint’s house and continued on down the street about two blocks. Katrina wasn’t interested in speaking to Chris but he figured that was due to her nerves; this would be her first time back to the house in over three years.
“I’m not happy about this Christopher.” She looked at him for only a split second.
“I know you’re not. And not even my mother calls me that.”
They ran out of blocks to continue walking on and when they made their last right, Chris looked at the properties on the left side of the road. They were lined with large fences which only allowed you to see the tops of the roofs, but that was a good indicator of the sheer size of the mansions. The over-sized rot-iron gates were just a minor touch to the significance of the property.
Chris could only see two houses—or roof tops rather--but knew there were more properties that lined the street; he remembered from when they were on Mama’s roof top the other night. They crossed the street and what had resembled forest, was actually a brick wall covered in over grown weeds and plants. They continued walking a few more steps until they came to the first rot-iron gate. The two intricately designed doors were at least twelve feet tall and were—together-- 20 feet across. Now looking at the house through the gates, it looked like a modern brick castle.
Katrina was trying to maneuver the chain locking the gates together so she could spread apart the gates enough to squeeze through. “Mama has the key to the gate’s lock, but I have one to the house too. She’s been taking care of the place a little. Can you squeeze through here?” Katrina was forcing the gates apart with her arms.
“I think so.” Chris sucked in and ducked under Katrina’s arm forcing his upper half through first then slithered each leg through like a snake. His right leg got caught underneath the gate on its way through and he stumbled forward. Katrina managed to catch the back of his shirt and restore his balance with one arm. “You’re not very good at this ‘getting around on two feet’ thing are you.”
Chris felt his face flush. “It’s never been a strong suit.”
They both stood staring at the house. Forty feet away from them was a two-story, modern Victorian-style home. Chris was astonished at the size of the wooden doors with rot-iron hinges the size of his head. On each side of the door were floor-to-ceiling windows Tradition burgundy drapes were blocking any peeping toms from looking in. The upper level had a balcony running the length of the home with white French doors in the middle. There were six foot, curved windows on each side. They didn’t have drapes on them and looked like they might be a seating area in a bedroom. On the left of the house was a large turret that ran from the ground to ten feet above the second level. There appeared to be an attic, but only two triangular windowa set out from the house and barely big enough to get more than a tunnel vision view from. Chris could see more peaks of roof popping out from the back and there looked to be another turret in the back right of the house. He was distracted by the sound of Katrina jingling her keys out of her purse. “Ready?” He asked putting his arm around her. She relaxed for only a second before she took a step forward.