Become a Fan
By Mary Ellen Quire
Sunday, July 04, 2004
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
Just a little something new I'm trying...
The rain pounded on the black sedan. Inside, he was grateful. The night combined with the rain hid him and the car he drove as it blended them both into the various buildings that surrounded him. On the backside of the strip is where he found most of his solace; he was in the midst of civilization, yet, far enough from view to not to catch attention. He needed that. Day to day living was always a problem. Money was always an issue. He would do odd jobs for a while anything from office cleaning to freelance work for local private investigators who didn’t want to do the foot work just to make ends meet. Tonight it was different. Feeling his age, he pulled a cigarette out of the pack and placed it between his lips. Lighting it, he inhaled deeply and then exhaled the sweet, toxic refreshment. His teen years were spent like most boys; wild and free. His twenties were no better. A few years at a local university gave him a degree he found no real use for and he could never seem to get interested in any kind of job for more than a few months. Now, in his thirties he found himself struggling with the real meaning of his life; a question he had absolutely no chance of answering.
Off to the side of his view of one of the many brick buildings sat a dumpster. Same old, same old. Sometimes, he would watch as a vagrant scavenged through the garbage that was always pack inside, but not tonight. Tonight all was quiet. Closing his eyes as he blew out another lung full of smoke, he found himself relaxing for the first time all day; or at least he would if his pesky brain would leave him alone. Maybe he should give one of the local gumshoes a call and see if they needed anything done, he thought. At least the rent would get paid. He could live in the dark for a while. It was spring and who needed electric anyway? Groaning at the thought, he shook his head and smothered the butt of the cigarette into the ashtray with his finger. Aggravated, he started the engine and listened as it roared to life against the sound of the rain. Turning on the headlights, he cursed; even his quiet moments were bombarded by the harsh reality he was forced to live in. As he shifted into drive, a shadow of a woman caught his eye near the dumpster.
“Bum,” he growled as he turned the wheel to move back out onto the main strip. That was the only type of being out here anyway, right? No self respected girl would ever catch herself on the backside of these buildings alone.
The headlights flashed her way and he braked immediately when what he thought he saw made him think his eyes were playing tricks on him. She was gone! He closed his eyes tight and then reopened them only to confirm that she was no longer by the dumpster. Slamming the car back into park, he jumped out and went to the overfilled dumpster. Nothing under, around, or even on top of it and it wasn’t like she could have sunk into it. The crap was packed tight! There was no way she could be inside of it. Giving up and soaking wet, he climbed back into the sedan, cursing himself for being so stupid as to even bother. It was obviously his eyes that were his adversary. Putting the car back into drive, he sped back out onto the street to the hovel he called home.
A couple of days went by with him still thinking about what he thought he saw. He knew he was probably just losing what was left of his mind but he couldn’t seem to shake it. The rain was thick that night so maybe it wasn’t what he thought at all. Taking liberty to help himself to an unattended computer in the office of Geoffrey & Price, a local law firm, he tapped in a name he was tracking down information on. It wouldn’t be long until the receptionist realized he wasn’t just using the facility restroom so he had to get he head on straight. Within seconds, the screen was bubbling with info. Hitting print, he anxiously awaited the results. He could still hear her answering phone calls down the hall.
“Just a few more seconds, baby,” he whispered, “Just a few more.”
When it had finished, he escaped out of all he had been into and pocketed the printed version. Within moments, he was back out into the lobby nodding a thank you at the busy receptionist. She barely took notice of him and for once he was happy about understaffing.
“Brian! I can’t believe you man!”, the local dick announced to him with a slap on his shoulder, “You really are amazing. I wouldn’t have had the guts to do that. Geoffrey & Price is usually a fortress.”
“Not today,” Brian mumbled, “You got something of mine.”
“Oh yeah,” he replied as he fumbled for his wallet and pulled out two c-notes, “Two okay?”
“That’ll do,” he said with a grin, “Anything else?”
“I’ve got a case you might be interested in. Stakeout. Right up your alley. Can you take it?”
“Place and time,” he said flatly as he slid the folded bills into the front pocket of his jeans.
Fumbling with the night video on the camcorder, he cursed himself for taking this one. This was his only place of solitude and damn if that dick didn’t make it another reality for him by making this a workplace. He wondered for a split second if it would have been worse if another flunky had been the one to invade his space. Sighing, he realized it was better that he was here. If anyone else cramped his sanctuary it would definitely turn ugly, he could already feel the testosterone flowing through his veins as he thought of someone helping themselves to his territory. Shaking it off, he leaned back and watched the area.
He was supposed to be looking out for a man who was said to be having an affair with the wife of a very important client. So far, he believed it to be bunk. He hadn’t seen a blessed thing in the entire time he had been parked here, even the bums were avoiding the place. Reaching under the dash into the cooler, he pulled out a soda can and popped the top. The cold liquid poured down his throat as he found himself wishing he could be anywhere but here. Peering at his watch, he growled as he read it at two-thirty.
“This is such B.S.! No one’s coming out here at this time of night.”
A shadow flashed in front of him and took him off guard, so much so that he spilled part of the soda on the front of his shirt.
“Shit!,” he yelled; brushing off the liquid.
Taking a closer look he recognized the curves of her silhouette and jumped out of the sedan. He was quick, but she was quicker. Before he could do anything to stop her, she had already ran out of his reach and right into the brick of the building; disappearing completely.
“I knew it! I knew I wasn’t going crazy! She was real.”
Taking note of the time once more, he thought back to the first time he had seen her. It was almost the same. He grinned. This time he got a good look at her. A long haired brunette with a beautiful figure. Her face was a little blurry due to her swiftness, but what did that matter? He knew when and where to find her.
“You sure you sent me to the right place?,” Brian asked him as he flopped down onto a leather couch in his office, “Cause nobody like that ever showed up.”
“It’s where they said he’d be.”
“Look, Gary, I don’t mind doing a little surveillance for you, but send me to the right place.”
“It’s what the man said, Brian,” he said with agitation in his voice, “Try the place again tonight.”
A sheepish grin crept across Brian’s face, “Sure. Whatever you want.”
“Is that all?”
Brian knew when the man had had enough of him. His chunky face would start to redden a little as his blood pressure started to rise. Although Brian really couldn’t stand the guy, he wasn’t about to be responsible for his inevitable coronary. Getting up from the couch and heading to the doorway, he stopped for a second.
“Got a question, though.”
“What would cause a person to disappear completely? I don’t mean like an abduction or anything like that. I mean standing in front of you and then walk into a wall and disappear.”
“More real than a ghost, Gary.”
“Hmm…,” he leaned back into his chair and thought for a second. Brian was glad to see his face falling back to the paler color it usually had. “What about a wormhole?”
“You know…time travel and all of that?”
“Give me a break,” Brian growled as he rolled his eyes, “You watch way too much Sci-Fi, Gary. I’m out of here.”
“You asked,” he spouted back as he face started to redden again.
“I know. I know. I should have been shot for that,” he mumbled as he walked out.
Brian timed the stakeout about an hour before he had seen the woman the last two times. He wasn’t sure it would happen again tonight and with that in mind he didn’t want to be late if it did. As for work, he’d see how that turned out. If he actually ran into Gary’s man, so be it, but he doubted that he had the right place.
“At this time in some other hole in the wall some guy is taking a punch at another guys wife,” he said; trying to get comfortable, “But it ain’t going to be here.”
When the hour was up he climbed out of the sedan and waited patiently as he leaned against the front of the car. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught her shadow. Bracing himself with one hand against the hood of the sedan, he took the other and hooked her arm swiftly into his. Her body jolted at the sudden stop.
“Let me go!”
“Just wait a minute!,” he yelled; ducking as she swung at him with her free hand, “Wait!”
Grabbing the other hand, he peered into her blue eyes. They cut into him.
“Who are you?,” he choked out.
She pulled away and glared at him, “Nobody you need to know.”
“Look,” he said; running after her, “I’ve seen you out here a couple of nights.”
“And I’ve seen you,” she hissed, “Now stay away!”
“Not until you tell me where you’re going.”
When he reached for her the second time the blow to the side of his jaw was the last thing he felt.
“What’s going on with you?,” Gary exploded, “Two night in a row and nothing!”
Brian leaned back and readjusted the ice pack he held tight on his bruised jaw.
“Check your source. I think you have the wrong place.”
“You ran into somebody, damn it! Who gave you the shiner?”
“Not your man.”
Gary ran a chubby hand over his greasy head and let out a huge sigh, “I’ll see what I can come up with. Think you can just keep your eye on the spot until then?”
“Sure,” he groaned as he got up to leave, “Why not? I‘ve got another jaw.”
Gary let out a roar of laughter that sent disgust right through him. Shaking his head, he slammed the door and left. When night fell he settled on top of the hood of the sedan facing the area by the dumpster. Popping the top to long neck bottle of beer, he emptied it’s entire contents and then opened another. If he was going to take another punch from her, he’d be a little numb this time. By his third bottle, she showed. At a dead run once again, he slowed her by pulling on her arm.
“Tell me who you are.”
“I warned you,” she said; shrugging him off.
She was definitely strong for her petite size. But no matter, Brian thought, he wasn’t going to stop until he had answers.
“Please…,” he reached for her again and she answered with a shove into his chest that threw him against the sedan as he groaned, “Tell me.”
“Why?,” she asked with an acid stare.
He pulled himself off of the hood. He could feel the ache in his back. Standing upright, he moved a little closer to her. He swallowed hard.
“Who sent you?,” she hissed.
A hard right hit him in the left eye. His head felt dizzy but he stood his ground, swaying only a little. He could feel blood trickle down the side of his face and the dull throbbing that had already started even with the alcohol on board. His eyes pierced hers with determination.
“You shouldn’t be here.”
“I was here before you,” Brian mumbled while his head still spun from the pain, “I’ve been coming here for years and you just now started showing up. You’re the intruder. So tell me who you are.”
She sneered, “Ava.”
“Ava is your name?”
“Now let me pass or I’ll go through you.”
“Where are you going?”
Ava grabbed the collar of his shirt and threw him as if he were nothing towards the car. He pulled himself up and darted towards her. Blood streamed down his face as he made contact with her just as she was in the position where she had always disappeared. For less than a second, everything went black. He felt a gut wrenching pain in his stomach and he was sure that Ava was having something to do with that. A light flashed and he tumbled to the hard pavement with her. She pushed him off and stood up glaring at him in fury.
“Do you have any idea what you’ve just done?”
Brian pulled his bleeding and bruised body back onto his unsteady feet.
“What?,” she shrieked, “You think you’re playing the field here? You have no idea.”
Focusing on his surroundings he found everything as it were. The sedan was parked behind them. The beer sat patiently on the hood. The dumpster was where it always sat. It was just as before.
“Nothing’s changed”, he murmured.
“Everything’s changed”, she fired back as she turned from him and disappeared once again.
Brian shook his head in disbelief. Throwing the remainder of the beer into the front seat, he climbed in and started the engine. Shifting into drive, he felt the car take off. He could feel it move, yet, he was going no where.
“What the hell?”
He got out; not even bothering to put the sedan into park. He took off on foot. Stumbling away from the backside to where he would have met the main strip, he stopped dead. It was as if he had just entered his sacred place from the other side. The dumpster and the sedan (still in drive) sat waiting for him just mere feet away. In the corner of his eye he spotted Ava, “What is this place?”
She stopped only for a moment and allowed her blue eyes to meet his as the words she spoke stung him hard, “Your forever.”
He watched her move away swiftly, knowing full well she’d return.
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|Reviewed by Miller Caldwell
|Wow. A spine chiller ....and I'm alone with my dog.
Must get a coffee. C'mon Miller, its only a story...I thnk!
Super suspense. You've got a wonderful authors mind.
|Reviewed by m j hollingshead
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|Mary, I like this! Nice write!
(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx, Karen Lynn. :D
|Reviewed by George Carroll
|Mysterious write you have woven with your pen|