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Garry's Nightmare

by Vanessa Martinez 2 months ago in Short Story
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Some Dreams You Can Never Escape

by: Vanessa Martinez

Garry, a single parent kept exceptionally long hours at the office; he had to, he had a little girl to support. A little girl he loved more than anything in this world. While he was busy making the money, his daughter, Summer, stayed with his mother, Diana. Diana saw the opportunity as one to spend time with her granddaughter not so much as having to babysit. Which worked out for them both. They each shared the responsibility of raising this lovely little girl. Ever since Summer’s mother died, she was all theirs. And nothing could have been better.

Summer was still incredibly young and at first, cried for her mother daily. The one thing that seemed to help calm the girl was an ugly clown that Summer’s mom gave her before she disappeared. One Halloween night, Rachel, Summer's mom, never came home after work; authorities, friends, and family all looked for her everywhere they could, but the search for Rachel was called off four months later and she was officially pronounced dead when an article of her clothing was found in a lake one town over. Summer loved this clown and took it everywhere with her. Wherever Summer went, there was her ugly clown. Garry hated the doll and tried several times to throw it out, but every time he would get home from work, there it was, in Summer's arms. What could he do? His daughter loved that ugly old thing, so he had no choice but to just let it be. Some things are better left alone.

Running late for work one morning, Garry quickly takes the trash bin out to the street. He notices the house next door no longer appeared vacant. While walking up the driveway to his car, movement from the second-story window caught his eye. As quickly as he had looked up, the curtains just as quickly shut. Garry shook it off as if nothing and got into his car and drove off.

Sitting at his desk trying to catch up on the stack of paperwork, his office phone rings. He answers, no response. Garry returns to his paperwork, once again the phone rings, and just as before, there is silence. He sits at his desk staring at his phone, wondering who it could have been. “Happy Halloween!” Sarah, a longtime coworker pops her head into his office. Garry looks up, “is it that time already?” she smiles in response to his question. “Not quite, two more days until the actual day. But I will be off, so I will not see you till after.” Garry smiles, “oh I see. Well, you have a safe one then. And see you in a few days.” As she begins to walk away his phone rings again. Hesitant to answer, his hand slowly hovers over the phone. He picks up and this time just listens, “helloooo.” Diana says in her ever so impatient voice. “Mom. Hey, was that you that called a couple of minutes ago?” he asks. His mom scuffs “oh Garry why would I call you right now if I had already called you before?” Garry rolls his eyes, “what is it, mom? I have a shit ton of work to do.” Diana quickly goes on with how Summer’s doll is missing, and she has looked everywhere, there are new neighbors, and how he had forgotten to take out the trash bin. He sits at his desk listening to his mother rant on and on about everything all at once. “Listen, mom, I have to go. Too much work and my boss is coming down the hall. Gotta go.” He hangs up on her, if not she would have been ripping into his ear until it was time for him to go home. As he continues his work, he began to think of what his mom was going on about. He scratches his head sure that he had taken the trash out to the street, then shrugs it off and continues to work. As the workday finally ends, Garry grabs his briefcase and heads out to the office parking lot. All alone in the dark lot, he riffles through his pocket for his keys; suddenly a loud slam comes from behind him. Down goes his briefcase, and his keys go flying straight out of his hand. “Shit! Who’s there?” he shouts. Nothing but pure silence and utter darkness fill the parking lot. Garry quickly finds his phone and turns on its flashlight. He begins to look all around, but nothing, no one. He picks up his keys and briefcase and heads to his car faster than before. Something feels off. The feeling of him being watched immensely comes over him. He walks faster and with wider steps. Finally reaching his car, he attempts to unlock the door but can’t seem to push the unlock button. Suddenly the sound of footsteps approaching faster and faster, he struggles; right as the sounds of the steps seem to have reached him, he unlocked his door and jumped in, quickly locking the doors behind him. Garry looks all around; nothing. He breathes in a sigh of relief and begins to calm himself. On the drive home, he tells himself it was nothing, just nerves, just him being tired and letting his mom get to him. He reassures himself that all is fine. By the time he notices he is already at home and sitting in his driveway. All is good. Gathering his things, he notices a light was on next door. He wonders how they had moved in without either his mom or him noticing. Again, he shrugs it off as nothing. Walking up to his door, his motion censored lights go off as he approaches. He takes one quick look around before he goes in and locks his door. Everything seemed quiet as he walks through the house, “mom? Where you guys at?” as he enters the kitchen the first thing, he sees was that ugly clown doll his ex-gave their daughter. He hated that damn thing and couldn’t seem to get rid of it. He figured his mom would get it back whenever he left for work due to Summer’s crying.

He stood in the kitchen holding the doll and thinking back to that night, two Halloween nights passed. The night he never spoke of to anyone, not even his mother. The night Rachel, his ex, disappeared. They had gotten into a huge argument about her staying with him. She wanted to stay there so she could be closer to her daughter, but he wanted nothing of the sort. She was always out and very secretive and cared more about partying with her friends than she did her own daughter. As the argument got more intense, Garry did something he never could have imagined doing…

“Hey, you, I didn’t know you were home.” His thoughts quickly interrupted. He turns to see his mom carrying Summer. “You found it. We looked everywhere for this old thing. Where was it?” his mom asks as she takes the doll out of his hands. “You must not have looked too hard; it was sitting right here on the counter.” He utters. His mom looks in awe and confusion. “Oh well, as long as she has it now. She cried all day for it, poor thing.” She says as she pinches Summer's cheeks. Summer squirms as her grandma pinches her a bit too hard. Happy to see his beautiful daughter Garry ignores his mom and grabs a hold of his little girl. Having Summer in his arms always makes him feel better. As he stands in the kitchen holding Summer, there is a loud bang on the side of the house. Diana jumps and grabs hold of Garry’s arm, “what was that? I heard the same thing earlier but ignored it.” Garry hands Summer over to his mom, “stay here, I’m gonna go check it out. If anything happens, call the cops.” He gives Summer a quick kiss on the head and turns to the back door. “No son don’t go! Just lock everything and I will call the cops.” Diana nervously says. Garry rushes to the back door and peeks out the window next to it. He doesn’t see anything, so he continues to unlock the door. “Lock the door behind me and don’t open it for any reason unless it's me.” He tells his mom. Diana runs to the door and immediately locks it behind her son. Holding Summer tightly she reassures her that everything will be fine and that her daddy will be back soon.

The night is thick, dogs barking in the distance, and the sounds of cicadas all around. Garry grabs hold of an old piece of wood left over after building Summer's clubhouse. As he slowly makes his way to the back of the house, he sees a shadow run across the yard. “Who’s there? I have a gun!” he shouts. He holds his position with the two by four in hand ready to swing. He takes a giant leap forward and was about to swing as hard as he could, “wait, it’s me!” the voice of a man sounds through the darkness. “Ryan! What the fuck bro? I almost killed you. What are you doing lurking around back there?” Garry asks his older brother as he heavily exhales. “I was knocking on the front door a minute ago, but no one answered so I decided to come around back. What’s with the wood, man?” Ryan asks jokingly. “How long have you been back here? You didn’t see someone run across the yard?” Garry asked. His brother makes it clear he had barely gone to the back and did not see or hear anyone. They make their way around to the front of the house where they are both greeted by their mom with huge relief in her eyes. Finally, time for Garry to relax and spend some time with his daughter and his brother, who has been out of town for a while. It has been a long night, but he is determined to try his best and just let the night end.

Morning could not get here any sooner, Garry rubs his eyes and stretches as he sits on his bed looking around. Not fully awake, something seemed off about his room. Uncertain as to what it could be, he makes his way to his bathroom and begins his morning routine. Once dressed and fully awake he walks to Summer's room to take her downstairs for breakfast. He gently opens her door and notices she is not there. She must be downstairs already with his mom and brother. Garry glances at his watch to check the time, 6:45 am, he still has plenty of time before he must leave for work. The sound of Summer's tiny giggle echoes through the house before he can even make it into the kitchen. “Something smells good,” Garry says as he kisses Summer on the forehead. “There’s my little pumpkin. Did you sleep well, baby girl?” Summer smiles shyly and nods her head in agreement. Straight to the coffee and the morning paper, Garry takes a seat across from his brother. “Hey man, did you hear anything weird after you went to bed last night?” Ryan asks Garry. As he riffles through the paper with ads for Halloween all over it, he looks at his brother as he sips his coffee. “No, what kind of weird are you talking about?” Ryan shrugs his shoulders and begins to eat the pancakes their mom places down in front of them. “Later, I’m taking Summer to get her costume for tomorrow night. Anything specific you want me to look for?” Diana asks Garry. He puts the paper down and gets up from his seat, he heads toward Summer, scoops her up, and swings her around. “My baby girl can be whatever and whoever she wants to be.” Summer laughs as she is spun in the air.

Another day of missing special moments like costume picking with his baby. But someone must pay the bills. Garry tosses his briefcase into the passenger seat and just as he sits down in his car, he sees it. The ugly clown doll sitting right there on the dash. “How the fuck did you get in here?” angry, he grabs the doll and storms back inside his house. “Okay, which one of you put this piece of shit in my car?” Diana and Ryan look at each other, then at Garry, “we didn’t put that in your car. Why would we?” Diana urges. She walks over to Garry and reassures him that it was probably him and was just in such a hurry that he had not noticed. It was a possibility, things like that do happen when people are in a hurry.

Garry rushes out of the house before he could be any later than he already was. As he sits in his car, he happened to glance over at the neighbor's window. Once again, the curtain quickly shuts as he looked up. Ignoring it, he drove off; there is no time to try to make something out of nothing. Finally, in his office, things were going great. His pile of paperwork was slowly getting smaller. No strange phone calls or calls from his mom. The day turned out to be a good one, so far.

As the hours fly by, Garry gets a text. It was his mom sending him a picture of Summer in her new Halloween costume, with the caption, “it’s what she wanted.” Summer was wearing a little clown costume that resembled her doll. Great now there are two of them, Garry thought to himself. That stupid clown, the constant reminder of her, Rachel. Why can’t she just disappear for good? Thoughts of that night begin to emerge. The last thing Garry wanted or needed were memories of that night. Flashbacks of what he did start to take hold. “Why can’t thoughts of her just die as she did?” Garry hears himself asking aloud. Luckily, no one heard him.

He had not noticed that everyone in the office was gathered around whispering and looking towards the bosses, Mr. Jensen’s office. He gets up to see what they are all looking at. “What’s going on?” He asks as he notices two police officers in the office. One coworker responds saying they heard that someone was murdered. The door to the boss's office opens and he walks out with the officers. Once the police are gone, Mr. Jensen slowly walks over to everyone, he rubs his face and is a little short of breath, “as you all noticed the police were just here and they have informed me that Melissa was found in her apartment last night stabbed multiple times.” Sounds of shock spread throughout the room. “They have no leads as of yet but may be back here sometime this week to speak to some of you.” As he turns to walk away, he tells everyone to go home and to be safe. Garry goes back to his office saddened by the news. He was remarkably close to Melissa and thought it could have been something good between them. He numbly gathers all his belongings and heads out of the building. Glad it’s Friday despite the news, he walks through the parking lot to his car. Unaware of his surroundings he is oblivious to the fact that he is being followed.

His phone rings and the sound of his ring tone echoes through the darkness. Startled, he quickly riffles through his pockets as the phone continues to ring. Unable to find his phone on time, the ringing stops. The sound of a giggle surrounds him. Garry looks around but sees nothing. Walking faster to his car, he pulls out his keys. The screeching sound of metal scraping against the ground, then another giggle makes him stop dead in his tracks. “Who’s there? What do you want?” his voice cracks as he shouts nervously. “Gaaarryyyy…” a loud whisper that sounds too familiar to him. Eyes wide open, he begins to jog quickly toward his car. Almost there, he presses the button to unlock the door. Just feet away from the car, the stomping of footsteps running toward him, so boisterous, unnerve him. He reaches out to open his door, then complete silence. As swiftly as the sounds had begun, they were no more.

Garry rushes into his car, locks his doors, and turns to place his things on the passenger seat. He stops, his jaw drops as confusion and chills hit him to his very core; the clown doll, Summers doll sits there looking into his eyes. Garry, frozen and unable to move, stares back at it, unsure of how it got there and of what to do. He throws his briefcase on top of it and quickly calls his mom. Ryan picks up, “hello.” “Hey, it’s me. Umm, is everything good there?” he asks his brother. Ryan responds reassuring Garry that all is fine. He asks about Summer and if she had been crying a lot. Oddly enough, Summer was fine. They hang up and Garry begins to reverse his car when the silhouette of a woman standing behind his car appeared. He presses on the brake and honks his horn. The woman stands and does nothing. Baffled as to why she will not move, he honks yet again. Nothing, she just stands. He tries to make out who she is, but it is too dark. As he opens his door to confront the woman, she is gone. No sign of her anywhere.

Finally, home, he is relieved. He then remembers Melissa and the clown. Looking down at the doll, Garry grabs it and heads inside his house. Without taking his eyes off the doll, he walks through his house straight into the kitchen, he stands there in silence. “You okay their buddy?” his brother asks as he walks into the kitchen. Still silent, he places the doll on the counter, “umm, yeah, I’m good. Where’s mom and Summer?” Ryan looks onto his brother, “upstairs, giving Summer a bath. She spilled spaghetti sauce all over herself when she was helping mom with dinner. You sure you’re good man? You look like you just saw a ghost.” Finally moving from where he stood, “can I tell you something? It’s gonna sound weird, but don’t laugh without hearing me out.” Ryan smirks, “sure, what is it?” Garry goes on to tell his brother about everything that has happened and has been happening to him. “Shit, that’s hard man sorry to hear about Melissa, I know you two were close, and that other stuff is weird. And all that just barely started happening?” Ryan asks with a bit of concern. “It’s crazy, tomorrow is the anniversary of Rachel’s disappearance. And don’t judge, but I get this feeling that it’s her doing all this shit to me.” Garry confides in his brother.

Summer runs into the kitchen wrapped in a towel giggling as Diana runs after her. Garry gestures to Ryan not to say anything about what they had just discussed. Ryan nods in agreement. Garry forces a smile and bends down to scoop up Summer. She laughs loudly as Garry kisses her all up. As worried as he was about all that was happening, his baby girl always washed away any fears and worries he had. She had that kind of effect on him. And if his ex was the one behind all of this, that concerned him, a lot.

Ten after midnight, and Garry still cannot sleep. Thoughts of Melissa run through his mind. He sits up at the edge of his bed, runs his fingers through his hair, and gets up to peer out his window. He has a clear view of his new neighbor’s house. He stands there looking down at the backyard of their house, thinking. How could he have let so many things go so wrong in his life? He always saw himself as having a good head on his shoulders. So why did he have to pick such a crazy bitch to have a baby with? He regretted meeting Rachel, but never once did he regret Summer. She was his everything and that is why he had no choice but to do what he did.

That night came flooding back to him. The argument, the yelling, her throwing shit at him. Gazing blankly out the window he remembers…

~~ “I’m trying to change! Why won’t you give me the chance to prove to you that I can?” Rachel falls to her knees, begging. With tears pouring from her eyes, she looks up at Garry. “What are you talking about? I have given you so many chances. Too many chances. And you want me to make that mistake again? You’re fucking crazy if you think I will allow you to live in my house with my daughter ever again!” he paces back and forth, hands rubbing his head in anger. Rachel stands and walks to Garry; she grabs a hold of his arm and makes one last plea attempt. Knowing that her tears aren’t affecting him, she begins to shout at him. “You see, this is what I mean. You just are not sincere about anything you say! You’re fucking nuts!” he yells back at her. As he turns his back to her, Rachel grabs a crystal ashtray and throws it across the room at Garry’s head.

He grabs his head as the pain engulfs him. His hand covered in blood; he turns to Rachel; “what the fuck is wrong with you?” Still filled with anger, she reaches for an old candle holder and storms toward Garry. Ready to swing at him, Garry grabs hold of her arm before she could hit him again. They struggle and fall to the ground. Thoughts of never being able to hold his daughter enter his mind. He pictures her little smiling face looking up at him and a tear rolls down his cheek. Suddenly reality hits him as he looks down at Rachel; she is not fighting back anymore. Her grip on Garry’s hands loosened as her arms fell to her sides. Garry stiffens when he realizes what he had done. She wasn’t breathing, she wasn’t moving. He gets off her and jumps back into the wall. He feels the warmth of his own blood dripping down his neck. Hands shaking and covered in blood and scratches, terror fills him. Unsure of what to do, panic begins to take hold. No one will believe him, quickly pacing around the kitchen he wraps Rachel up in the rug his mother had given him and drags her lifeless body to the garage. Without hesitation, he begins to clean every trace of a struggle in his house. After showering he swiftly dresses and loads Rachel's body into the trunk of his car. Glad Summer was at Diana’s house for the night, and it was too late for anyone to be out, he drove. Unsure of what was next, he continued driving.

Trees everywhere, no lights, no signs, not even the sound of another vehicle for at least ten minutes now. Satisfied with the location, Garry removes a shovel and the rug with Rachel still inside of it from his trunk. Once far enough, he begins to dig. As he fills the hole with dirt over his ex's body he begins to break down. “How could this have happened? How did things go so far so fast? I can’t lose her; I had no choice.” As he finished dusting off and loading up his shovel, he drives away feeling drained and lost. He doesn’t know how he will be able to hold himself together. Or if he will ever be the same again. ~~

The sound of a sigh slowly being released comes from inside of his closet. He lethargically turns around. It’s too dark to see clearly. As he takes one step forward the floorboard beneath him creeks and startles him. He stops in his steps and listens. Silence. He begins to relax, “man I’m going crazy or something.” He says to himself. He walks to his bed and sits down, rubbing his face and reassuring himself that everything was fine; he lies down. Finally relaxed, he turns his head towards the window, he gasps as he sees dark red soulless eyes looking dead at him through the reflection. He jumps up and stumbles backward into someone. Frightened by what he feels, he remains still. This can’t be real, inhaling a deep breath he steps forward and slowly turns. There it was, a clown but not the doll, this was a human clown. Before Garry could react, the clown came running straight for him. Garry brings his arms up in defense, but the clown had already pushed him so hard that he couldn’t stop it from happening.

The sound of glass shattering woke Diana from a deep sleep. She quickly gets up out of bed and runs around the house trying to figure out what it was. The small cries of her granddaughter, Summer gets her attention, and she runs to Summer’s room. Shouting for her sons to wake up, but no response to her yells. She picks up Summer and rapidly heads up the stairs to Garry’s room. As she flicks up the light switch, she sees glass everywhere and sees that his window is shattered. “Garry! Where are you?” Diana yells. With no other thoughts in her mind but her son, she runs to his window cutting her bare feet on all the glass. Diana screams so loud; that Summer begins screaming as well. The sight of her son lying on the ground outside almost made her faint. With Summer screaming in her arms, Diana runs down the stairs yelling for Ryan and to call the police. Then immediately runs outside to her son. Garry lays there unconscious bleeding, a large piece of wood pierced right through his stomach, and glass shards sticking in his skin all over his face and body. Diana stays by his side until the cops show up with EMS.

~Three years later~

Garry awakens unsure of where he is; he looks around. He sees a needle in his arm and his mother asleep in a chair on the other side. “Mom….” He struggles to speak. He reaches up to his face and feels a tube down his throat. Panic sets in and the sounds of the machine beeping loudly awaken Diana. “Nurse, nurse, my son is awake!” Excitement fills Diana as she sees her youngest son alive and finally awake. The nurse runs in and tries to calm Garry. “Everything is okay sir; don’t try to speak.” The nurse turns and tells Diana that she will be back with the doctor. So excited she grabs Garry's hand and squeezes it tightly. “I’ve waited so long for you to come back to us.” she sobs as tears run down her cheeks. Minutes later the nurse comes back in with the doctor following behind. “Hello there, I see our patient is fully awake.” the doctor directs the nurse to remove the tube from his mouth. The doctor informs Garry of all medical procedures that have been done on him, he then turns and nods to Diana. Allowing her to tell her son how long he has been asleep. Once the room is cleared, Diana sits next to her son. She reassures him that he can just nod if it hurts too much to talk. Garry's eyes widen when he hears of how much time has passed, the first thing that comes to mind is his baby girl; “Summer, where’s Summer?” He struggles but manages to whisper with excitement and fear in his voice. Diana gently pushes Garry so that he will remain in bed, “Summer is fine, she’s out in the waiting room with Ryan. They don’t allow too many people all at once with cases like yours. Too much too soon is not good.” Diana tells him to try to calm down as she heads out of the room to get Summer. Relief and disbelief overwhelm him as he sees his little girl enter the room. She looks so much bigger than he remembers. Tears fill Garry’s eyes when he sees Summer's reluctance to get near him. She hides behind Diana’s arm when he reaches out for her. “Just give her some time to remember you, it has been a long time. Don’t feel too bad about it, she’s little she doesn’t understand.” Diana tells her son in a quiet and uncertain voice. As the hours storm by and Garry hears of all that he has missed, he still doesn’t have any memory of what happened that night. Once everyone is gone for the night, he lies in bed thinking, as he stares out the window into the night, a flash hits him so hard, but what does it mean. His heart rate elevates, his breathing quickens, and he begins to sweat, he doesn’t know if this is a memory of something that truly happened to him or if it was just from a dream. As the fear dissipates and he tells himself that it was nothing, he drifts off to sleep.

Finally, home from the hospital after years of sleeping, days of being interviewed by police to see if he remembered anything, and weeks of learning to walk again, Garry is greeted by family, friends, and neighbors that he doesn’t even know or remember, he puts on a fake smile just to get through the day. Sitting in the kitchen looking around at everything and feeling like a stranger in his own home, a memory comes back to him. A memory of talking to his brother, but he doesn’t remember about what; yet. “Hello there, you must be the famous Garry?” the whispery seductive voice of a woman sneaks up from behind him. He slowly turns, to face her, he smiles and grabs a hold of her hand as she reached out for his. “Yes, I’m Garry but I don’t think I’m famous.” He chuckles. She sits next to him and tells him that she lives next door and has lived there for three years now. As she continues introducing herself Garry’s mind drifts off, something about this woman seemed familiar. “I’m sorry, but do I know you from somewhere?” he interrupts as he stares into her eyes. She looks back at him and smiles as she tucks some of her hair behind her ear, “no, I don’t think so.” Garry continues to stare at her. “So, I hear you like clowns?” she asks with a strange smile as she runs her fingers through his hair. Garry’s heart begins to beat fast, his mouth opens but no words can come out. Ryan walks into the kitchen and the woman stands up and excuses herself. Ryan sits down next to Garry, “she’s super-hot.” He says as he watches her walk out of the kitchen. He then notices his brother just sitting there looking pale with his mouth wide open. “What happened to you? Are you all right man?” Ryan asks then confusingly shouts for his mom. Diana walks in with empty glasses in both hands. “There you are, Garry, I was looking for you. What’s up? Why are you both sitting alone in the kitchen?” she continues to the sink. “Do either of you know who that woman is?” Diana and Ryan both look at each other and shrug then look at Garry.

Sounds of laughter and loud talking fill the house and people continue coming up to Garry to show their love and concern for him. Sarah an all too familiar face walks into the kitchen where Garry has not moved for an hour now. “Man, there you are. Where have you been? How are you feeling?” She asks him as she sits down next to him at the island counter. Garry looks up at her slowly and lets out a breath, “I honestly don’t know what I feel right now. So many things are happening all at once, I really don’t know what to feel or think.” he stares at her blankly. Sarah looks onto Garry unsure of how to respond. She places one hand on his shoulder and tells him that everything will all work itself out. “Everything happens for a reason, Garry. We must know that what goes around comes around.” Sarah stands and then walks away. Without even time for Garry to look up and respond, Sarah is out of eyeshot. “What the fuck does that mean? What the fuck are you talking about?” Garry shouts. Silence struck like lightning and all eyes were on Garry. Diana runs over to him, “Son, are you all right? What is wrong with you?” Uncertain as to what to do Diana begins to ask people to leave. As the night darkens and calms, Diana and Ryan find themselves alone with Garry.

Diana straightens up as she looks at her son unsure how to approach him after tonight’s outburst. She carefully walks over to Garry and sits next to him as she gestures for Ryan to join them. “Son, I need you to know that you can talk to me about anything, and no matter what it is I will understand and be here for you, always.” she grabs a hold of his hand to reassure him of her words. A tear falls from Garry’s face and hits the table, trembling as chills run throughout his entire body, he sniffles and lifts his head.

Loud banging echoes through the house. Diana runs down the stairs switching the lights on as she storms for the door. “Just a minute! I’m coming!” she shouts. Police officers stood at the door as she opened it. Shock hit her as she gazed at them. “What’s wrong? What can I do for you?” Diana confusingly asked. “Is this the home of Garry Santos?” One of the officers' questions. Before Diana can even answer, Garry had already made his way to the front door. “Garry Santos?” the officer asks. “Yes, that’s me. What’s…” before he can even finish, the officers push Diana out of the way and rush over to Garry. “You are under arrest for the murder of Walter Mitty, Matthew Saunders, and Melissa Gomez. You have the right to remain silent…”

“Mom! I didn’t do anything! Mom! Please!” Garry shouts then hears Summer screaming for her daddy. He tells Diana to take care of Summer as he is taken out the door and placed into the back seat of a police vehicle. He sits there looking out the window and sees that woman from the party. She stands there smiling. A man stands next to her, but Garry cannot make out who it is. He sees her grab the man’s arm and walk away towards her house as Garry is driven away.

Garry sits and waits in a small cold room with mirrors as he is handcuffed to a table. After what seemed like hours, two men in suits walk into the room. They both sit across from Garry, one places a foam cup down in front of him and introduces himself as Detective Jones, one of the detectives in charge of homicide. Frigid air slaps Garry in the face as the other detective slams a folder down hard in front of him. A dead stare comes from the silent detective as the other who seems more in charge begins to question Garry. “Do you know a Mr. Walter Mitty and a Mr. Matthew Saunders?” Garry looks at the detective and answers as he recognizes both men as friends and coworkers from his office. “How about Melissa Gomez? We hear you two were close.” the silent detective writes on a pad as he listens and watches Garry’s every movement and response. “Let us start with Walter and Matthew. Where were you between the hours of six and seven last night?” Both detectives stare right into Garry’s eyes awaiting his response. Nervously, Garry begins to shake his leg, “I was at home. My mom had a welcome home party for me. You can ask her, my brother, or anyone that was there.” The Detective continues to gaze upon Garry with piercing eyes. “So, you’re telling us that everyone at that party will corroborate that you never once left?” Garry looks up and nods in agreement. The detectives look at each other and both get up, “hold tight, we’ll be back shortly.” They both head out the door, Garry jumps as the door slams shut behind them.

An hour later Detective Jones enters with a police officer at his side, “Mr. Santos, this officer will be taking you and booking you. Then you will be in your new home until the judge sees you.” The police officer places handcuffs on Garry and grabs a hold of his arm and leads him out the door. Garry walks still dumbfounded by everything that is happening to him, he remains silent and scared unsure of what to do. “My phone call! I get a phone call, right?” Garry shouts as the officer is taking his fingerprints. With no response to his question, he is photographed and then taken to a cell. “You can get your call in just a minute.” The officer assured Garry then left.

The phone rings and Diana quickly picks up. Happy to hear her son on the other end, she asks him what they did to him, where he is at, and why they thought he did any of the things they said when he was arrested. Silence, then Garry finally responds, “mom, I didn’t kill anyone. You have to believe me. I don’t know why they are doing this to me.” Diana listens as she listens to her son plead with her. “I will get you a lawyer as soon as I can, and I will get you out. Just be patient and stay strong. And son, I do believe you.” She slowly hangs up the phone and looks at Summer asleep on the sofa. Unsure of what to think she sits down next to Summer and begins to silently cry.

Two days have gone by, and Garry still sits in a cell waiting and wondering how much longer he will be in the hell he is in. “Santos?” he hears his name being called out. Garry stands as the officer walks up to the cell and unlocks it. “You have a visitor, your lawyer I believe.” Handcuffed, he is taken to a room just like the one he was first brought to. A short stubby man is standing in front of the table riffling through papers in his briefcase. Garry is seated and handcuffed to the table. “Hi Mr.” the lawyer hesitates as he looks for a paper with Garry's name on it. “Santos! Mr. Santos. I am Jerry Lewis, and no not the funny guy.” he says with a smile. “Your mom called me and told me a little about your situation. Can you tell me everything in your own words?” Garry begins to fill in Mr. Lewis with all that he knows. “Is that everything? You're not leaving anything out? Because I can’t help you if you don’t tell me every single detail.” He looks at Garry. Garry hesitantly says that was everything. The lawyer shrugs his shoulders and agrees. They continue to talk then Mr. Lewis gets up and bangs on the door. The officer opens it, and the lawyer walks out. Another day and Garry finally saw the judge. He is granted bail and can go home, for now.

How could life have gone so wrong? Garry contemplates. Why was all this happening to him? Why now? No answers were coming to his questions. He lies in bed trying to remember the night of his accident. He closes his eyes and thinks hard. The clown! Someone dressed as a clown was in his room. How could he have forgotten that? He sits up at the edge of the bed and gazes out the window that he was thrown from. Memories started to come back to him. He walks to the window and looks out to the neighbor's house. That woman from the party, seemed too familiar and who was that man she was talking to when he got arrested? Then there was Sarah, his coworker, what she said the night of the party was strange. There were even times when his own brother was, weird. Maybe, it's all in his head, or he is on to something. He decides to go pay this neighbor a little visit.

No one is answering the door. Garry keeps trying but nothing. He takes a step back to look around. “Shit this bitch isn’t home.” he angrily says to himself. Just as he was crossing to his yard, he heard a sound coming from the inside of her house. He stops in his tracks and turns back around, this time he heads straight to the backyard. Hoping the door or a window might be open he slowly and quietly approaches the door. He slides the door and luckily it was open. He takes one last look around behind him, then heads inside the house. His heart races as he nervously walks into the kitchen. It is quiet, too quiet. Careful not to bump into anything he looks around for mail or anything with her name on it. No luck so far. As he walks up the stairs, he hears a creak in the floor above him. He stops, then takes another step up. Determined to find answers he continues up the stairs. Garry makes his way into the master bedroom; he slowly opens the door and peaks inside. The bed is made almost perfectly, and the entire room just like the rest of the house is immaculate. If the house didn’t have furniture in it, you wouldn’t be able to tell that anyone lived there. Garry hadn’t seen a house this clean since he lived with his ex. She was a neat freak and had to have everything in total and utter perfection. He carefully looks around, making sure to leave anything he touches back exactly how it was. He cautiously opens the closet doors and just as he was about to close them and head out, something caught his eye. A belt, a single belt that he knew all too well. The belt he bought his brother was hanging there in this woman's closet. “What the fuck?” he can’t believe it. It can’t be. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, maybe she has one just like his brother. Garry takes it down from the hook that’s when he sees them. His heart seems to have stopped for a second, his stomach turned as he looked at them. Disbelief filled him. He quickly grabbed his phone and took pictures of everything he saw. He needed the proof but didn’t want to move anything so they wouldn’t know that he knew. He quietly goes back down the stairs when he hears the voices of two people. Terrified, he runs to the back door, and storms out. He tries to peer into the window before going back home. He needs answers. Unable to see who was inside, he scurries back home.

Diana turns and smiles at Garry, “hey son, you want something to eat?” oblivious to everything happening around her. Garry decides it was time to fill in Diana with all that he knows and all that he thinks might be happening. “Mom, can we talk? There’s a lot of stuff I think you should know.” stopping what she was doing she walks over to her son and sits at the table. “Sure son, what is it? You look so serious, is it about the murders? Did they find who did it?” concern filled her eyes as she waited for Garry to say something. He brings out his phone and places it in front of her. She looks at him then at the phone. Her eyes widen as she grabs the phone. “What is this? Is this a joke?” she demanded. Garry looks at his mom, grabs her hand, and begins to tell her everything.

Silence, as they both remain seated at the table. Tears roll down her cheeks. “I’m so sorry you have been going through all this by yourself, and that you felt that you couldn’t come to me with anything.” Garry drops his head, “I know mom, I’m sorry too. I wanted to tell you many times but, I didn’t think you would believe me or understand why I did what I did.” Diana cannot believe that her oldest son would do this to his own brother. Or to anyone else, just to make Garry look guilty. Diana picks up her phone and calls the detectives to come over. “It’s the right thing to do, no matter how hard it is for us,” she assures Garry.

Garry was still in disbelief that his own brother could have been behind it all since day one. “I can’t understand why Ryan couldn’t just tell me he was with Rachel. It would have hurt me but I would have gotten over it. Why try to kill me and mess with my head? I don’t get it.” Garry expresses to his mom.

~~Six months later

Garry is released from jail for the attempted murder of his ex-girlfriend Rachel. He had a lot of time to think and even began writing a book on everything that has happened in his life. His ex-girlfriend takes on an entirely new identity with plastic surgery after being buried, his brother was with Rachel the entire time and even killed for her with the help of her cousin, Sarah, his coworker. Why would they go through all this trouble when they could have just had him arrested in the very beginning? Garry wonders. He is just glad that it is all out in the open and over with.

“Mom, had he called you?” Garry asks his mom. “No son, he hasn’t. Maybe it’s for the best.” Summer runs into the living room, “hi daddy.” She says with a big smile. Despite it all, everything seems better when his baby girl was around. He hugs her tight and lets her know he loves her. “I’ll never let anything bad happen to you, ever.” He tells her. He watches as she jumps around and then plops down to watch TV. Garry sits, gazing upon his daughter. “Son are you okay?” with a look of concern she asks him. He looks at his mom as his head pounds in pain. “Mom, my head. It hurts so badly.” He reaches up to grab his head and sees blood on his hand. Darkness engulfs him and he sees nothing anymore. The sound of beeping slowly starts ringing in his ears. A muffled whisper comes in quietly from a distance. “What, what’s happening?” terrified, Garry sees nothing but pure darkness. “Mr. Santos, can you hear me? Squeeze my fingers if you can hear me.” The voice of a woman he isn’t familiar with becomes more clear. Garry squeezes as he feels fingers inside of his hand. “What’s going on? Where am I? Why can’t I see anything?” he fearfully shouts. No response to his questions. The voice of the woman once again, “Mr. Santos, you are in the hospital. You have been here for five years now. Do you remember what happened to you? Squeeze my hand if you remember.” Confused Garry tries once again to speak. No response. “I’m Dr. Reynolds, five years ago you and your girlfriend got into a fight and she hit you over your head. Do you remember that night?” Garry feels his heart beating faster than it ever had. He squeezes her fingers to answer yes. “Good, okay, well she hurt you pretty badly. The reason you can’t see is that she burned your face after she hit you. Your pupils and iris’ were completely damaged as well as your larynx. I’m so very sorry Mr. Santos but you will never be able to speak or see again.” The sound of footsteps walking away, then the sound of complete and utter silence engulfs Garry. He lies in his hospital bed confused, how could he have been in the hospital for so many years and have seen all that he saw? “Hey son, it’s your mom. I’m here with Summer and Ryan.” A tear runs down Garry’s cheek, unable to see anyone or tell them he loves them takes over him. The warmth of hands on his arms and shoulders. Then the voice of an angel, his daughter, Summer. “Hi daddy, I miss you. When are you coming home?” she shyly asks as she runs his arm. “How can I love like this?” Garry shouts, but only he can hear his words. “I want to die! Please, God, I beg you! Don’t leave me trapped in my own nightmare with no chance of escape.”

Home once again, but this time its reality, Garry knows that even though he can no longer see or speak, living for his daughter is better than dying and never being able to hold or smell her ever again.

Short Story

About the author

Vanessa Martinez

I am a single and disabled mom of two awesome young men and an amazing Chihuahua, Pebbles. I love and enjoy writing and am currently in the process of writing a book. I hope that one day I will be able to share my words with the world.

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