Don't take this one too seriously. It's just a fun Halloween story. It's a long one so you might want to wait for just the right dark and stormy evening in front of the fireplace with a good beer to read it. Thanks as usual to Barney-R for his editing Wizardry that was done at the speed of light. Happy Halloween SS06
Callie: two months ago.
Today was awful! It was my first day at the community college aka Loser University. Why do I call it Loser U? I mean since I go there doesn't that make me a loser by extension? Yep it does.
The school is attended by all of the people who a) didn't have the grades to get into a real school. And b) didn't have the money to get into a real school, c) didn't have the desire to get into a real school or d) were too lazy to get into a real school.
I really hoped that it would be different. I really hoped that I'd finally have a chance to make some real friends. I mean come on ... All the smart kids, the athletically inclined kids and the popular kids went off to Michigan or Michigan State. Some of them even left the state. I think one guy got in Harvard or some shit. So, all that's left are the losers.
Who would have thought that there are degrees of losers? Apparently, I'm even more of a loser than normal. Even the fat girls look down on me. So here I am again, alone in my room.
As usual, I'm the butt of most of the jokes and the subject of a lot of the bullying. It's funny how the worm turns. Most of the kids picking on me were the ones who were being picked on themselves not too long ago.
But they'd better recognize. This is the twenty-first century. Kids have been known to snap and go Columbine on their tormentors. So far, there haven't been any girls doing it, but I might be the first. Maybe I'm scared shitless of guns, but I can find a way.
That was my state of mind the day that this all started. I read a lot. I'll read anything. I also do a lot of research into subjects that are a bit outside of the mainstream.
So one evening, I was at home on the Internet as usual. I was eating cheese popcorn and listening to Evanescence, while I surfed the net. I don't hang out in chat rooms or anything like that. Shit, no one wants to chat with me. I think even the predators out there that are looking for young girls like me, think I'm too big of a loser to bother with.
Somehow, I got into a thread about witchcraft. Normally, that isn't my thing either. I'm more into fantasy than anything else. Game of thrones, Dungeons and Dragons, Legend of the Seeker, those are things that are in my wheelhouse.
As I wandered from page to page, an idea popped into my head. If I was a witch, it would open up a lot of possibilities to me. I could hang out with other witches. Or I could cast a spell on someone to get myself a friend, maybe even a boyfriend.
So I started trying to cast some of the simpler spells and enchantments. At first, what I was able to do was actually kind of stupid. I mean I spent three weeks gathering all the ingredients for a spell that made white smoke look yellow.
Then I spent a month on a spell that would give me increased spiritual powers. I had no idea, whether it worked or not. It's not something that can be quantified as easily as how high you can jump or how much weight you can lift.
I had to admit though there were some benefits to my dabbling. I was reading comments on the websites from other would be witches who seemed to be unable to even do the things I was able to do.
So encouraged by my meager successes, I pressed onwards trying more and more difficult spells and conjurings. I also found websites that sold ever more esoteric ingredients and compounds. The loneliness finally drove me to try something that even I doubted. I decided to summon a demon.
To tell you the truth, I didn't actually believe that I could do it. But on the off chance that something worked, I picked the smallest most minor demon I could find. It actually looked kind of cute in an ugly sort of way.
In all of the pictures I saw, it looked ... Well it looked kind of pathetic. I mean in the pictures ... For a demon, it looked like someone I could push around. Even his name was pathetic. Pythius? It sounded like something you go into a bathroom to do. I could just hear people saying ... Hey, gimme a minute. I gotta go take a Pythius. So hoping for a friend or a demonic servant, I started gathering ingredients and relics. My parents had no idea what I was doing. They were glad to give me the money I needed to buy stuff. They were simply overjoyed that I had found a hobby to occupy my time.
I watched as a group of people came together in front of a large department store. Without speaking to each other, they began marching back and forth in front of the store. It made no sense. At first, I thought that they were protesting something the store was doing or maybe those they were disgruntled employees who were picketing. But as I listened to them, it made less and less sense. They were all screaming for something different. Some were screaming, "Free Stuff." Others wanted the store to close down. And there were a couple who were screaming for the release of Jack Kervorkian.
One very thin woman was marching around holding I sign that read, "I want Kim Kardashian's Ass."
The whole demonstration, if you could call it that, made no sense, it was chaos.
Suddenly, it did make sense. It was what I was here for. As if on cue, some of the marchers began picking up rocks from the parking lot and other solid objects from the stores large trash containers. They began using the items to pelt shoppers going into and out of the store. Others used similar items to break the windows and the large glass doors on the front of the stores.
I heard sirens in the distance. They got closer and louder with every second, but they were going to be too late. The chaos was increasing in intensity.
A few yards away from me a teenaged girl slammed a shovel against the head of a middle-aged man. He went down immediately, and she pounded his prone form unmercifully while screaming.
"It's a small world after all," she sang while continuing to pound the man's lifeless form.
Directly across from her, a woman who had to be seventy years old gunned the engine of her car and ran into a woman riding one of those motorized mobility scooters.
"Fucking Bitch," she screamed. "That's what you get. 12 items or less means 12 items or less!"
The impact knocked the scooter onto its side and back several yards. The woman riding the scooter was thrown off of it and landed heavily, several yards further back with a horrible snapping sound. She screamed as the crazed old woman reversed her car and then headed for her again.
Several fires broke out in trash containers around the store. Four large men were trying to lift a flaming barrel and throw it into the store.
A couple of burly guys looked towards me sitting nonchalantly on the hood of my Mustang. They looked at each other, and something made them decide to go after easier prey.
Could I have done something to stop the chaos? Maybe, but that wasn't my goal here. Could I have saved a few lives? Probably, but again I was drawn here by the chaos. My job was not to stop the Chaos, but to capture and return the source of the chaos.
Across the large parking lot, on the fringes of the mayhem, I noticed an odd seeming couple that like me were unaffected by the Chaos around them. A chunky but pretty young woman seemed very nervous. Her eyes were as big as saucers, and she looked extremely out of place.
Beside her, clutching her arm as if for dear life stood another person who looked extremely out of place. But in his case, appearances were deceiving. He wore an expensive looking suit. And he had a smile as big as all outdoors. He reminded me of a political candidate in terms of his dress and persona. But his actions seemed more like those of a game-show host.
He reveled in the chaos and actually seemed to be directing it. As I watched he yelled for a trio of women to attack a group of children coming out of the store. One of the women grabbed a fire axe off of the wall of the lobby and set off in hot pursuit of the kids.
The sound of sirens and the arrival of several heavy vehicles broke up the mayhem. Swat team members armed with bull horns urged the crowd to disperse, while others used water hoses to forcefully disengage perpetrators.
The officers, most of them either in riot gear or in regular police uniforms, spread throughout the crowd, doing whatever they could to stop the chaos. Most of the perpetrators had begun to disappear with the arrival of the police but a few who were too crazed to stop continued.
I noticed her then. Truthfully it was hard not to see her. Her tall well shaped form, crowned with a head of very long, very light blond hair. The hair was restrained and pulled back into a very no-nonsense bun at the nape of her neck. Several errant locks had escaped capture and dangled over her shoulder.
While most of the officers accompanying her sought to stop the crimes that were in progress, she looked for the source of the problem. She wore a white blouse with a plain blue blazer over it, and jeans that looked like they were painted onto her amazing ass and legs.
The look on her face was one of total intensity. As she scanned the crowd, her eyes almost immediately locked onto the couple I had picked out as being interesting.
Unfortunately, those same eyes locked onto me. If more people were left between us, I could have ducked between them and avoided her. If it had been dark, I could have eluded her even easier.
But it was too late to run and trying to elude her would have only piqued her interest in me. As she approached, I leaned back further on the car. I was struck by exactly how pretty she was.
"Who are you?" she asked.
"Hello Detective," I said. She looked at my face very closely and then shook her head. She ran a hand over the surface of my car's fender.
"Don't touch the car," I said.
"I asked you who you were," she spat.
"What am I being accused of?" I asked.
"I haven't accused you of anything, although I am wondering about your presence in my crime scene," she said.
"Please ... Go into the store. They have several video cameras aimed at the parking lot. In all of the video footage, you'll see me calmly sitting here waiting for you and your fellow officers to come and do something about this riot, so I could do my shopping," I said.
"I'm sure I also won't find you trying to help anyone either will I?" she asked.
"Nope, you won't," I said. "That's your job, not mine."
"What exactly is your job?" she asked.
"I work," I said.
"You aren't being very cooperative Mister... ?" she said leaving an opening that she expected me to fill. I didn't fall for it.
"You remind me of someone," she said. "There are just too many similarities. Your face ... From a distance ... I thought you were ... Even the car..." She shook her head. But up close I can see that you're not him. And the car isn't even the same color. There are millions of Mustangs out there..."
Her voice trailed off, and I got the impression that she was gone ... At least mentally. But I was gone too. I saw what I'm sure she saw. Only we saw the same thing at a different time and from a different point of view.
I saw a huge, ugly ass Dodge Ram truck slamming into the side of my car. I saw the truck hit my rear quarter panel the way the cops do to force a fleeing suspect into a spin. I saw my car spinning as I neared a sheer cliff on the side of the road. I saw myself fighting the spin and preventing the car from going over the cliff by the narrowest of margins.
Then I saw the truck coming after me again. I was perched there on the edge of the cliff still marveling that I hadn't gone over. The truck slammed into me again, and I was spinning again only this time the spin was vertical not horizontal as my car went over the cliff and flipped over and over before finally hitting the ground. As the car impacted, I died instantly. The car didn't burn immediately. The fuel tank didn't explode the car was too well-made for that.
It took a while, but the still-hot engine did eventually ignite the fumes that my very specialized fuel delivery system was producing. And then the car burned. The fiberglass body panels burned. The rubber gaskets and sealants burned. The metal parts and panels warped under the extreme heat. The expensive leather of my custom interior, burned, and the body in the driver's seat burned to a crisp.
I guess that was where Detective Grayson's viewpoint started. She arrived on the scene with my car still smoldering. I can't remember her arrival, but I'm sure that her cobalt blue eyes were just as intense. And she probably whipped the small notebook she always carried out of her pocket. She always used a notebook, never a tablet, or a phone. She liked old school.
We both snapped out of the memory at the same time. She found her tongue faster than I did.
"You're not Terry Slade," she said. "I'm sorry ... You just remind me of a failure. Maybe you should shop somewhere else today. I don't think this store is going to be open for much longer."
"Good advice, Detective," I said. As she turned to walk away I was struck again at how amazing her ass was. It took my breath away. That made me wonder whether, or not I actually needed to breathe anymore. I did know that Detective Grayson was doing more than I ever gave her credit for. She still apparently had my case on her mind. That was much more than I could say for some people.
"Be there by nine o'clock, and I don't want to hear about any shit!" He screamed.
"But I can't leave my baby," I said. I tried to keep my voice even because Michael could be violent.
"Get your mom to watch her," he spat. "Or just give her something to put her to sleep. I don't give a fuck what you do. It's not my problem. It's not like it's my kid. I told you to take care of it when you first figured out that you were pregnant. Now deal with it. Just have your ass at that club tonight!"
He stormed out slamming every door he ran into. I heard the door slam on his car, and then he drove away.
"I'll watch Terri," said my mom. She looked at me with a mixture of disgust and pity.
"Darleen, you should..." she paused and sighed. "There are so many things that you should do or should not have done ... The list is too long even to start. None of this is what I wanted for you. If your father was still alive..."
"Mom it's really not that bad," I lied.
"How is not?" she spat. "He stops by whenever he feels like it, just to fuck you. Now he's making you take your clothes off in that club for a bunch of drug addicts and criminals. The next thing you know, he'll have you working there as a whore."
"I would never do that," I said. "Never!"
"A few months ago, you said the same thing about stripping," she reminded me.
"I'm only going to do this once," I said.
"Who cares," she said. "After the first time, everyone will have already seen everything you have to show. It won't matter anymore."
"Maybe I should take Terri and go away for a little while. You know ... Just until you settle this," she said. "He won't care. He doesn't like her anyway. She isn't his, so she doesn't matter."
"Mom that sounds like a good idea," I said. "Let me think it over." I knew that I could never do it. Taking my baby away from me for any length of time would kill me. Terri was my only link to the life I should have had.
"So tell me, Darleen," she said softly. "Is your life as exciting as you wanted?"
A big tear that I couldn't control, rolled down my cheek.
"Terry would never have..." she began.
"TERRY is DEAD," I screamed. "I know I fucked up, mother. I should never have started any of this. I should never have cheated on him. My whole God Damned life would be so much better. There I've said it for the thousandth God Damned time. It's old news mother. Let it go!"
She turned without a word and left the room. I fell onto my bed, crying my eyes out. I hated yelling at my mother. I hated arguing with her. I especially hated it when she was right.
Terry Slade had been the love of my life. I say had been because I killed him. Terry and I had gotten married right out of high school. We were so in love that we just couldn't wait.
Terry was working his way through college. He went to class most of the day, and worked his ass off at night in an assembly plant. The small amounts of time that he had to himself were spent with me.
Terri loved me like there was no tomorrow. He told me every day how much he loved me. Every spare penny he had was spent on me. The problem was that I was very young and Terry had spoiled me. I saw him busting his ass trying to make a life for us. But it just wasn't happening fast enough and to be truthful; it just wasn't enough.
I saw some of my friends. They went out every night. They were going to clubs and parties all the time. I began to resent not being able to go too.
Terry and I had a friend named Michael, who had always liked me, or so I thought at the time. Anyway, Michael started coming around while Terry was at work or at school. Michael always seemed to have lots of money. He was also willing to spend it on me.
I began to go out with Michael, thinking that Terry would never find out. And if he did, I was only going out with a mutual friend for something to end my boredom and loneliness.
I have no idea why I started having sex with Michael. Perhaps it was all of his honeyed words, while I was drunk. Maybe it was the fact that he took me to a lot of places that I hadn't gone with Terry. Maybe it was the fact that I loved the way people looked at me when I was out with him. I loved being the center of attention.
But as they say bad luck happens in threes. Michael and the way he treated me was pure bad luck. I got used to it. I got careless. And I got caught.
One of the workers in Terry's plant got his hand caught in a press. They shut the place down for the night for a safety inspection. Terry rushed home to be with his loving wife. He found me loving Michael.
It took seeing the look of pain on Terry's face as Michael fucked me to bring me out of the daze I was in.
Terry crossed the floor and grabbed Michael by his neck. He punched Michael savagely in the face without mercy and then slammed his head through the thick glass of our bedroom window. There were cuts and bruises all over Michael's face.
Terry took a very long look at me and then dropped Michael like a broken toy. Michael curled up on the floor on the fetal position as Terry calmly walked across the floor to his closet. He loaded up all of his clothes. He didn't have much in the way of a wardrobe.
He didn't bother with bags or even suitcases. He just grabbed all of his clothes in his arms. "She's all yours Mike," he said stepping over his former friend.
"Wait," moaned Mike. "I never wanted her, man. She's always been yours. I just wanted to..." Perhaps that was a mistake on Mike's part; he should have kept his mouth shut. He never got to finish his sentence. Terry kicked him in the face, still wearing his steel-toed work boots. Mike was out cold.
And Terry was nearly out of the room.
"Terry, I'm sorry," I screamed. "It was a mistake."
The sound of my voice caused him to stop and face me. His intention had been just to walk out on me without telling me where he was going or when he would be back.
"It wasn't a mistake," he said. "Darleen, for as long as I can remember, I've been in love with you. All I ever wanted was to live the rest of my life with you. That was the mistake. What you did was just you being gutless. You didn't have the stomach to stick with me through the tough times. Jeezus, Darleen I graduate in six months. I've already been offered a position as an engineer at the Ford plant. We would have had everything we always wanted."
"I still want that, Terry," I whined. "I just lost sight of it for a minute. You don't know what it's like sitting here day after day, night after night with nothing to do. And then Michael came along, and he had so much money and..."
"You could have tried getting a job to help out," he said. "Or you could have gotten a dog. Do you think it's easy going to school all day and then heading off to work until midnight and then coming home to try to study and do my homework? Does that sound like fun, Darleen?"
"I guess not," I said.
"Do you know why Michael always has money? Darleen you can't be that stupid. You know Mike sells drugs. And you can't be dumb enough ... Well maybe you are. You know Mike has always been jealous of us. He was jealous of me because everybody in the old neighborhood is always talking about how great it is for me to go to college. And he was jealous of us because you and I have always had each other Darleen. We didn't have much, but we had love."
"We still do, Terry," I whined.
"No, Darleen," he spat. "You're Mike's now. Good luck with that. Didn't you hear what he was trying to say? He didn't want you. He just wanted to try you on like a pair of those expensive shoes he wears and then throws away. I hope you fit HIM better than his shoes, Darleen. You don't fit me anymore."
"Terry, you can't just walk out on me," I screamed. "We're married."
He just glared at me as he picked up a few pieces of clothing that he'd dropped. "My next check will go to get a lawyer. You can have this place. I'll find somewhere to stay, when the papers are delivered, just sign them, Darleen. It should be pretty easy. We've been married for less than a year, and we don't have shit. We even rent this place."
And then he was gone. I knew at that moment that I had made the biggest mistake of my life. I had thrown away everything I had always wanted and for nothing. It was all so clear. Michael had never in his life had a steady girlfriend. He usually had several women that he was fucking. And he used and swapped them out regularly.
Mike had only wanted me to prove that Terry didn't have anything on him. He wanted everyone to know that he could take something from Terry. That was why he bought me clothes and took me to places. Terry only had one thing that mattered to him ... ME ... and Mike wanted to show everyone that he could take me from Terry.
Over the next few days, things got even crazier. Mike was in the hospital for a long time. He had several operations, but they were never able to put his face back the way it was. They did the best they could but his nose didn't look the same, and he would always have scars.
He also kept changing his mind about me. One day, he refused to see me and the next he acted like I was his one true love. But the changes in him went deeper than his looks.
Mike had always been your friendly neighborhood-type drug dealer. If you owed him money, he cut you off until you paid. But he changed. He hired a body guard and then two, who followed him everywhere. People who owed him money started disappearing. There were rumors that one or two of them had been found dead.
I made sure that I was home most of the day. I wanted to be there if Terry showed up for any reason. But he never did. I got tired of waiting for him to come home so I started showing up at his school. The first time I did it, I almost caught him. But he got into his class and closed the door behind him as he entered.
He was in a large lecture hall, and he vanished after the class ended. There were multiple doors, and he left through another one. After that I was never able to get into the engineering building. Terry reported me to security as harassing him.
I gave up. I realized that I was the one who screwed up. I had to wait for Terry to be ready to come back to me.
But while I waited, my life went to hell. My mother told me every time I ran into her, how stupid I had been. She told me that I had given up a man who loved me and had a future for one who didn't care about anyone at all and had no future. Everyone knew that drug dealers didn't live very long. The lucky ones went to jail. The rest went to hell.
At the same time, Mike was constantly asking me if I'd seen Terry. All at once, everything started to fall apart. I lost the house because without a job, I had no way to pay the rent. With no other choice, I had to move back in with my mother. On the first night that I was there, I discovered that my mom was playing her own games.
I found a familiar pair of running shoes under my bed. I immediately freaked out and confronted my mother.
"Of course, course I let him stay here," she hissed. "He's like the son I never had. And he was hurt pretty badly by what you did. But as soon as I told him that you needed to move back, he left. I have no idea where he's staying, so don't bother asking me."
My own mother hid my husband from me. Before I could tell her how angry, I was at her, the doorbell rang. I yanked the door open, expecting to find a Girl Scout selling cookies or a Jehovah's Witness.
I was ready to tell the scout where she could shove her fucking cookies or give The Jehovah's a performance they wouldn't want to witness. But standing in front of me was neither.
If Barbie was real, she'd look just like her. She was dressed the way I wanted to dress when I grow up. Her long pretty blond hair looked as if she had her own personal stylist who followed her around redoing her hair every time a strand got out of place.
She stood there perched on heels that most women would need a ladder to get into and then would be unable to walk in. She looked me over starting at my face and was bored before she got to my knees. She cracked her gum several times and asked me who I was.
"I'm Darleen Slade," I said. "Do you need to see my ID?"
"That would be perfect," she said. I showed her my license, and she handed me a stack of papers. She turned effortlessly on those towering shoes and left without another word. I almost expected her to get into a life-sized replica of Barbie's dream car.
I looked into the papers before she got to whatever car she was driving and nearly collapsed. I'd been expecting to get papers from the guy we'd rented our house from. In order to legally evict me, he had to serve papers on me and then give me thirty days to vacate the house.
My heart almost stopped as I realized that they were divorce papers. Tears filled my eyes. My heart nearly stopped. An image of my wedding flashed in my mind. I remembered him swearing to stay by my side until death do us part.
My mom tried to comfort me. She was sure that we would never complete the divorce process. "He loves you, Dar," she said.
The next morning things got even worse. You see the next morning I discovered I was pregnant.
"Did you see that detective?" he asked me. "I want her."
"Why," I asked. I was becoming annoyed. Having my own demon wasn't much different from the rest of my life. It was worse than having a puppy. In the first place, I somehow screwed up; Pythius was, as expected, a very small, and a very weak demon. He was lizard-like and not very forceful.
The problem was that somehow my spell allowed Agravon, another demon to piggy back onto the summoning and come to our plane with him. Agravon quickly got away from me. He ran out into the streets and killed the first man he came across. He then took over the man's body. In order to disguise the crime, I had to help him dispose of his own demonic body.
From then things were spiraling out of control. It's gotten to the point where I'm no longer sure who controls whom. At first, things were good. Even though I knew that he'd murdered a man to get the body he was in, the thrill of having not only a boyfriend of my own, but an attractive one was too good to pass on.
When he wanted to explore his new body's urges and cravings, I was on board with it. First, we sought out his weaknesses and limits. He had me cut him. It caused him a lot of pain and except for the blood being green; he was no different from a normal person. The cut didn't heal on its own because it was too big, so we had to stitch it.
He was also no stronger than any other human of his size and age. He could lift about a hundred pounds, but not much more. He also couldn't run very far or very fast. We determined that in terms of durability or vulnerability and in other physical aspects, he was a normal human being. It was probably due to the fact that he was wearing a normal human body.
He enjoyed food and tended to over eat. He also enjoyed liquor of all kinds and got drunk almost every night. When we got to sex, I was apprehensive. It somehow seemed wrong to give my virginity to a creature that wasn't really alive or human.
The problem was solved in typical Agravon fashion. We went out and found a woman for him to have sex with. He took her in every orifice multiple times and then killed her.
The biggest problem wasn't the murders. It was his growing needs. We saw a car. It was one of those Italian exotics. I think it was a Feramborghini Carrerra or something like that. Anyway, he went up to the guy who owned the car and told him that he wanted it.
I think he expected to have some kind of power over the guy. The guy was bigger and stronger than Agravon, and he beat Agravon's ass. He left him beaten and bloody there in the street. The funny thing about it was that although it was painful for Agravon, he was actually stronger after it. He had also seemingly grown taller and slightly thicker.
It took us a few days to discover the reason. But once we did he was off and running. Agravon fed off of chaos and violence. He started arranging and facilitating more and more violent and chaotic events. He enjoyed sitting there on the fringes of those events and absorbing the energy he got from them.
As he grew stronger, he began attracting others to him and some of them, like him wasn't exactly human. They were all very good at playing human, but there was something just not right about them.
I think they all knew that I was the reason he was here. And I think that he knew that if anything were to happen to me, his presence in this plane would end.
The riot at the store was only the beginning of his plans. Agravon wanted to take over. He wanted the world. He was starting small, but his power increased daily. I began trying to imagine the horror that a world ruled by Agravon could bring.
As his power increased, so too would his minions. He studied the power levels of other demons. As his power increased he intended to summon others, who were weaker than he to this plane. That, I now see, was the main reason for keeping me around. It would be my job to bring them over. I wondered what would befall me when he was strong enough to do it himself.
As we prepared for another of Agravon's endless incidents, I was afraid. Just after dark, a woman appeared. She was very pale and in her fifties. As she approached me, my fear grew.
"You needn't fear me sorceress," she said. "Your place in history is assured. I am not stupid enough to arouse the wrath of our host. I am here to enjoy the evening and what comes next, not to end it."
I only understood about half of what she said. I got the part about not being afraid. But after seeing her in action later, my fears only increased.
After leaving the parking lot and Detective Grayson, I had lost sight of the couple I was trailing. There was something off about them. They appeared to be human. I was supposedly trailing two minor demons. One of them was a chaos demon and could be expected to do the kinds of things the couple had done back at the store. But neither of the demons I sought was human or had a human form.
There was also the matter of discovering exactly how they had managed to escape to this plane of existence. They really weren't big on escapes from down there. I guess I couldn't blame them. If the word went out that someone had managed to escape, everyone would try it.
I had a few hours before dark. Looking for the pair in the daytime was a waste of my time. I got into my car and drove to a place that I wasn't supposed to go. I was supposed to stay away from places and people connected to my former life. For the most part, I had. But lately I'd been allowing myself one indulgence.
I drove to the park and hoped. I parked close enough to the playground to watch the kids there, but far enough away that no one there could really make out who I was.
I wasn't interested in the screaming seven and eight year olds. I watched the smaller section where the moms watched and played with one and two year olds. There was far more parental involvement there. I watched for hours before she showed up. I could spot Kathy from a mile away.
She looked like she carried the weight of the world on her shoulders. But in reality, all she did was push a stroller. She moved to the same spot she always sat in. The bench there was low enough that she could reach Terri in an instant. She put a blanket down although the grass there was really soft.
Then she put her wiggling granddaughter down on the blanket with a favorite toy.
"You should go over there and see her up close," said a voice just over my shoulder.
I started to turn but I already knew who it was. "No sudden moves," she hissed.
"Detective, you don't seem like the kind of woman to gun a man down in cold blood. You also don't seem like the kind of woman to shoot someone in the back," I said. "I like to look people in the eye when I talk to them that's all. I'm just turning around so I can see you."
"Why are you here?" she asked. "And don't try telling me you're shopping this time."
"Detective did you follow me?" I smiled. Her face turned red for a second making her look even more beautiful.
"I wanted to see if you were lying to me," she said.
"Maybe I just put my shopping off for another day," I said.
"The old woman over there," she said gesturing at Kathy. "She seems a bit old for you."
"She's not that old," I said. "She seems to be in her forties. She's still pretty. She has a nice body too. And maybe I just like older women. Is that a crime?"
"Maybe it's not the old woman you're interested in," she began.
"Detective, I assure you that I am not a child molester or a pervert," I said.
"I never said you were," she sputtered. Her face turned that same shade of red.
"You ... Waited out here for hours," she said. "You just sat there on the hood of your car until they showed up. The second she put that little girl down on that blanket your face lit up like a kid at Christmas time."
"Well ... She's a cute kid," I said.
"My BIBSD is going off," she smirked. "That's my..."
"Built in Bullshit Detector," I finished for her. "Detective, I'm not lying to you. She really is a cute kid."
"I know you're not lying," she sputtered. "But you're not telling me shit. There are too many coincidences between you and my case and..."
"Detective, I assure you; I had nothing to do with the riot at the shopping cen..." I began.
"That's not my case!" she spat. "It's just something they assigned me to look into. I'm trying to solve a murder."
"What murder," I asked. "Are you accusing me of killing someone?"
"No Dammit," she sputtered! "I'm not accusing you of anything. I actually get the feeling that you, and I are after the same thing."
"Detective, I am not the least bit interested in seeing a murderer go to jail," I smiled.
She walked closer to me and sniffed. She looked at my face again. She looked at it so closely that I could feel her heat on my skin.
"So who are you?" she asked again. "Are you a long-lost step brother? ... A cousin? His best friend? What is your connection to Terry Slade?"
I laughed hoping to stall for time. "I read about that case in the papers," I said. "He was an engineer. He'd just graduated from college. It was almost exactly a year ago. In three days, it will be a year, right. Last year on Halloween night, he drove off a cliff. The papers said that he'd just bought himself a hopped-up Mustang, and they think he lost control of the car and took a long assed fall. That doesn't seem like murder. It seems like an accident." She looked angrily at me.
"Detective, I think I can solve your case for you," I said.
"You can?" she asked. "What do you know?"
"I know who killed Terry Slade," I said, trying hard not to smirk.
She pulled out her notebook and pencil then. "Okay, who did it?" she asked.
"Gravity," I smiled. She got so angry that the tip of her pencil snapped.
"Okay, asshole," she spat. "Let's get serious. You are the same size as Terry Slade. You have the same face as Terry Slade. Your features are different, but I've spent so much time watching videos of the man that I can see you have the same facial expressions. You even feel like Terry Slade..."
"How the hell would you know what he felt like?" I asked.
"I met him once," she spat. Suddenly, time stood still for me. I really looked at her face, and I was sure that I had never seen this woman before. She was too pretty to be forgotten. And that tall, thin, but curvy body was the stuff of dreams. I was sure that I had never seen this woman before a few weeks ago.
"It was a long time ago," she said almost on the verge of tears. "My mom and dad split up when I was a kid. My dad's new wife was an older woman. He only married the bitch because she had a lot of money. She also had a son. He was a couple of years older than me and when you're twelve, a ten-year-old seems like a baby. I only had to see them once or twice a year when my dad got his custody visits. Most of his friends laughed at me, and I wanted nothing to do with them. I only had to be around them for a weekend once or twice a year anyway.
But on one of those weekends, I took a tumble. While my step brother and most of his friends split their sides laughing at me, one of his friends ran over and picked me up. He got some paper towels from the kitchen and cleaned off my scrape. He wiped off my tears, stormed over and demanded that my step brother and his friends stop laughing or else! He even went and got my step-mother. That was my one-time meeting with Terry Slade," she said.