The fog was left behind from winter even though it should’ve been spring right now. It’s been raining, and yet the first day of spring was yesterday. The rain was still pouring from two days ago, and everyone’s face was always the same gloom. The downside to cloudiness is that it’s harder to wake up to. I looked sleepy at my alarm, and it said 7:35 am.
“Oh shit,” I muttered and jumped out of bed. I threw on a pair of yoga pants and a t-shirt for some punk band that I liked when I was in college. My son, Mateo, was eating eggs and sausage in the kitchen.
“Morning, mom,” he said with a smile and pointed at a traveler's mug of hot coffee, just the way I like it.
“Thanks, honey,” I say, and tousled his hair.
“Why the hair? Never the hair,” said Mateo, a little annoyed. His caramel eyes with sunlight, his thick black hair now adjusted to his liking. With haste, I eat a hard-boiled egg, and we are out the door. Mateo made his lunch and packed it. We race through the car, and it starts to rain again.
“Jacket?” I ask, trying to stay focused.
“Studied for your Sociology test?”
“Notecards are here,”
“Give it here,” I held out my hand and quickly read it while a stoplight was shining.
“Alright, why is social mobility an important ingredient to capitalism?” I asked and then proceeded to continue to drive. Mateo scratches his head and then opened his mouth: “It’s the transition from one trend or class from another,”
“That’s...QUIT HOGGING THE LANE! WOW, you must have some entitled cunts in your family!! Bitch,” I yelled at a woman that was texting. I hope she gets arrested for that, I thought.
“MOM!” said Mateo, speechless at what I said.
“Oh,” I said, realizing what I just said “don’t ever use that word, Mateo,”
“No, probs,” said Mateo, nodding. Fifteen minutes later, we arrive at his school with ten minutes to spare.
I waved goodbye to Mateo, and he follows suit. I drove off to the grocery store, and then do whatever I want on my day off. The store was basically barren, and I enjoyed it. Ever since they added in the children's carts, people would have to try not to get their feet run over. The store trip flew by, and I was done with putting the groceries at 9:45. Maybe I’ll get Mateo early and buy him a milkshake. I don’t know what to do. I watched some shows to pass the time. I worked as a journalist and haven’t had a day off for a while. So, I just wanted to enjoy relaxing for a bit. Around noon, I had to eat some lunch, and so I went to eat out.
I sat in a diner with a cup of coffee that once was hot but now is room temperature — no cream or sugar. I took a long sip, and a woman poured more once the cup was on the table. I just had lunch and now debating what to do. I was reading a book about Edie Windsor. She was a fucking champion! I looked at the window and saw a cop car. A man came out of the vehicle as raindrops hit his coat and hat. He takes his hat off and sits down across me. Brown hair combed to the side, and he looked tired.
“Water, please,” he asked the woman at the cash register.
“Anything new?” she asked.
“Murder at Bednarse High School. Honestly, I didn’t see it coming,” he said and looked down. I sat up, and I feel my heart racing
“Who was the teen?” I said, rather quite. No one is looking at me.
“Officer,” I raised my voice a little louder, “ who was the teen?”
“Madam,” he started, trying to find the words “A body was found at the high school. Do you know this kid?”
He shows me a picture of a boy. He has slightly crooked teeth, black hair, and caramel eyes. He is my son, and then the emotions suddenly pour in like a dam bursting from too much water building up. My legs turn to jello, and I fall to the floor. The cold feeling of tiles sends a shiver down my spine. The cop tried comforting me, but it doesn’t help at all. Who would do this to my son, he was only sixteen!
I’m standing in a well of darkness but then in a janitor’s room. A teenager is crying while their head buried in their arms. I can’t help but shake this feeling that I know the kid. He looked up at me, still crying with his eyes closed. It’s my son, Mateo. I cradled him and tried to comfort him. Thank you, brain, for this.
“I’m sorry, Mateo,” I say between sobs, “I will find who killed you.”
“You…” he started, but his eyes were fully open. The tears had turned to blood, and the eyes removed. I staggered back at the sight of his face, horrifying image to witness. He then grabs my neck
“You…should’ve…died!” said Mateo, his voice growing more demonic with every word he says. “I am dead because you didn’t bring me my lunch. I could’ve lived if you came back that day.
“I’m sorry, Mateo I knew you had your wallet,” I said, the pain was getting worse. He then throws me into the door, and out I go into a hallway. I skidded on the floor and hit my back with lockers; my head follows suit. I started feeling dizzy while Mateo pounced me. He started clawing at me while screaming, “I could’ve lived!”
While yelling this, his wounds were opening with blood pouring out on my body, clothes, and face. Suddenly, his head jerks back with his mouth open. He starts having a seizure and screaming. His mouth opens up to where black tentacles come out. I get up and start running, but an arm grabs my ankle. I get pulled down to the ground and pulled. My nails don’t save me on the floor. Sweat was coming from my head as I watched in horror. The tentacles were wrapped around my neck and going into my mouth. Mateo stood up and looked up at me with his eye sockets. I tried pulling the arms out, but it was futile. They seem to be sucking something out of me, like a vacuum tube. I heard creepy, crackling, hysterical laughter from my side. A man in dark clothes said,
“And the dance begins.” He then snapped his fingers.
I wake up in the hospital bed; I survived somehow. It’s been two years since my son’s death; he would be graduating now. I looked out the window and saw a highway. Cars are passing by as they go to their lives. Possibly useful, harmful, or down-right shitty. I sit up as the doctor comes by with a clipboard.
“Good to see you, Janis,” said Dr. Marvin Adams, he has strawberry blond hair combed back with gray hairs starting to form and a typical doctor’s outfit.
“Shut up, Marvin.” I get up from the bed, and my head is pounding. I stagger and then sit back down. My feet looked pale, matching my face. I then did the usual checkup. I was out of the hospital in two hours with the jeans and long-sleeved shirt I had on. I caught a bus back home to a one-story house in Louisiana. Baton Rouge has been my home for twenty years, raised my son there for sixteen years of his life. I left Baton Rouge and moved to the nature area. I currently live in Windsor Village. Windsor village has pretty much everything we need, such as Piggly Wiggly, ice cream store, cinema, and theater for plays. We have everything we need in this place, and the area was established in 1667.
The bus stops, and I get off in front of my favorite bar. It was called Fire, a bar with the best Rummy Ricky I’ve ever had in my life. A Rummy Ricky is where it has lime, Cointreau, rum, and simple syrup with ice. I walk into Fire, and it smells of beer and urine with a hint of drunken misery. I sit at the bar, ordered a Diet Coke. I have to take med to keep me sane and my schizophrenia.
Santiago, the bar’s owner, came over to me while wiping the bar down. Santiago has a black beard, round glasses, Hispanic, black apron with matching button-down shirt and torn jeans. He keeps this place clean as hell with good drinks and service. He gets easily frustrated if a glass stain isn’t taken care of or a particular area ] adequately cleaned. Santiago is also one of my few friends in Windsor Village. He looks at me with his brown eyes and says, “So, still haven’t found them yet?”
“Yeah,” I said, “Another dead end.” Trying to find out who killed my beloved son, so far nothing.
He was last seen at school when he asked to leave the bathroom. When they found him, he had bruises, and his neck had a dried-up cut. They found him in the dumpster behind the school. Frequently, I cried at the thought of my son, but now I get upset and blame the murderer. I've accepted that he is gone, but the adjustment to the news is the worst part. Especially since you were close to that person, and they were your world. Since then, I drink my pain away with whiskey or scotch. I sat there and thought about my dead-end; I need to go home. I left the bar and paid for my drink.
“Good luck Janis!” said Santiago with confidence in me.
“Thanks,” I said as the door closed. I walked to the bus stop and got on to my apartment.
My apartment was littered with newspapers of the murder, along with updates on the investigation and how it ended. On the wall is a board where I hung a paper that said there was a person with a mask on seen by a man walking his dog. I didn’t get a sketch of the costume, but the witness told me through an interview: “When I was walking Darrell, I saw him in a black cloak with black tennis shoes that looked like converses. Our eyes met, and I grew uncomfortable all of a sudden. He waved at me slowly, and I saw his eyes were completely black, and he waved at me slowly. He just kept staring at me with his smiling mask. However, then I felt pure fear, and that’s when he ran away. His mask had black and red marks with the face being white.”
I sat there in his living room, writing down what he said. The dead-end I hit was trying to get a Halloween store to see if any masks had sold with the description, they said no. I looked at Amazon, and they didn't have what I was looking for, damn it. I stood in front of the board and kneeled on the wall where my TV used to be. In a drunken rage, I broke the TV because I would not say I liked news reminding me about the murder. I keep hoping that something will happen like a clue or something.
Suddenly I heard a rock hit my window, which caused me to jump. I looked out the window; there stood a man with a mask with red and black streaks. I grabbed a revolver from my purse and ran outside. He stood there in the dimly lit street, looking at me. On his mask was black and red streaks. The black was painted cracks that split in the middle, and the mouth was painted black. The red streaks were under the nose, next to the eyes, and going down the face. He had on a black cloak with dry gray clothes and black converses. I gripped my gun while my heart was beating like a jackhammer.
“Did you kill my son?” I said
“Did you kill my son?” I said, starting to lose my patience.
No answer. Only the man nodded his head, yes, then began running away from me.
Not on my watch. I followed the man with my gun, ready. We ran through the street; he then ducked into an alley. He knocked over a trash can then climbed a fence. I jumped over the cans and then climbed the wall without breaking a sweat. Mask man was surprised by this and then kept running. When I was in high school, I prepared myself for the military, and wall climbing became second nature for me. He turned a corner, and I turned around, expecting a dead end. There he stood, not even panting from the chase. I had my gun ready but not pointed, and safety was on. All mask man pulled out was a black huntsman knife. I grinned at how he brought a knife to a gunfight, and he took this as an opportunity by throwing it. The blade spiraled in the air as I raised the gun. I fired two shots, but the knife hit my arm.
I felt the metal tear through the clothes and into my skin. I screamed and cried while my knees collapsed. I was in pain and staring at my tears, hitting the concrete. I look up and see that the phantom is gone. Damn it; I almost had him. I tried to pull out my phone in pockets but had left it at home. Smart move. Next time, I’m going to call the police or shoot the bastard. Wait, no, then I might go to jail.
I went home and called the police. After ten minutes, I got impatient, so I just ripped the knife out of my arm, which was extremely painful. Blood came out, and I closed the wound, then performed stitches. Once I finished, I passed out on the table with a half bottle of white rum to clean the wound and to ease the pain. That’s around the time the dream started.
Usually, my dream is about how I see my son, but he’s moving away from me. I always try to grab him, but I can never do that. I can only see and hear him but never touch him. I see him smile at me but then turns to screams. I fruitlessly try because I still wish if I was there at the school. He had forgotten his lunch in my car, and I should’ve taken it. I had the day off, and I didn’t have any plans that day. Maybe relax and watch tv. I thought the school would call me about his lunch. Perhaps if I were to go to his school, I would have saved him, or he’d probably still be alive. I fucked up; the world is fucked up like me. The dream of my son makes me feel bad. Only this one was different.
I’m standing in my son’s school hallway and standing next to his old history where he would meet his teacher after school. I walked through the halls, and my footsteps were echoing. All I heard was my breathing and footsteps of my shoes. My arm suddenly hurt, which caused me to wince. I looked at the stitches, and a weird bubble of white skin began to grow. Then it suddenly popped, which caused me to scream.
My arm fell off and landed on the floor. The fingers came to life and began to move. The fingers were using teamwork and tried to grab my ankle. I pulled it up with my only arm and threw it at the lockers. It suddenly splats like a water balloon. I hear laughter at the end of the hallway, and there stood the masked man. He claps his hands with his fixated smile, mocking me.
“I’ve not laughed that hard in a while,” he said. I felt glued to the floor, and my heart started racing.
“So your the mother that wants me dead. I expected someone shorter, your arm healing nicely? Of course, your life is shit. I’ve been watching you, Janis Blake. The mother who wants to feel whole again. I saw in an article that grief of a relative’s death which can lead to the suicide of family members or close friends. So sad to hear about that. However, for me, enjoyable. Now you’re fast and a hell of a shooter. However, bulletproof vests are beneficial. Why should military people and cops have all the fun?” He said he began walking towards me. He snapped his fingers, which caused a bright light and the area around me to change. We were now in a graveyard, and there was Wayne’s gravestone. “Wayne Blake. 2006-2019. May the darkness be driven out of his family,” said the headstone. The masked man is standing on his grave while I’m five tombstones away from him.
“Death is a bitter truth which can lead to more death. One hundred fifty-one thousand six hundred people die every day, nobody caring. However, there are 360,000 births every day, which can lead to stillborn. We go about our daily living life, wondering if there is an afterlife. Maybe there is a heaven and hell. Perhaps there is an afterlife with 12 gates where King Tut had to fight 12 monsters. He might’ve done that or still is doing that. Your son might be in heaven or hell. Everything about you makes me happy.
That’s messed up, but villains enjoy it ever since the first one. I go about my life knowing people will die, but some people go about their days, not knowing what will happen, and that could be why we wake up in the morning. We might die tomorrow, next week, month, or year, and we should try to make the most of it. Instead of being scared of dying, we are acting small and weak. You, however, are obsessed with your son’s death — two years of pain and struggle. You still can’t let go of what happened — blaming yourself, hurting yourself with drugs, or cuts on your arms. However, we both know that you are too smart to cut yourself. We all handle death differently. Some blame people for a person’s death, using them or hunting down the person responsible who killed them. Many other people do other methods of grief.
However, some people let grief and pain eat themselves up inside from not talking about it. That’s a favorite of mine. A family I once stalked had a father/husband, and his mother died. He never wanted to talk about it. So, he used the family’s money for his own needs. The family divorced, and the father became homeless. Now the mother and daughters are happy, but one of the daughters got addicted to…drugs!
She hates her parents for their divorce and wishes her father would get his shit together. That didn’t happen. Look!” He said, then pointed at a gravestone in front of me. There was a girl in her mid 20’s with a needle in her arm. She was motionless, her back was on a gravestone and possibly dead. The body then fell to reveal the grave. I felt like my blood went completely cold.
“Oh, the tears sure poured from the mother. The mother cried so much that she could have caused a flood in the Amazon river! HA! Of course, she didn’t. Now the mother had dementia and lives in a tacky, sad retirement home. Last time I saw her, I said ‘Yolanda, by herself with no visitors and relatives left. Yolanda, flying solo. You’re better off with being dead. You will be forgotten.’ She then died of a broken heart, which I didn’t know was a thing. However, Chief Joseph died of a broken heart too. I wasn’t around for that show, though. The world is fucked up, but at least your mother loved you. Now here we are with your son’s death. I was trying for redemption with a pitiful child. You will fail with that. See you soon!” He said, then the ground began to pull me down. Corpse hands were grabbing my ankles, and then I screamed as loud as I can.
Suddenly I woke up in my house. My head jerked back so hard that I fell off my chair. I rubbed my head from the impact. I sat up and went into my kitchen, grabbed an ice-pack from the freezer. The pain grew numb, and Tylenol helped with coffee. I called the cops and told them about last night. The detective arrived at my door in ten minutes.
“Hi, Douglas,” I said at the front door. Douglas is about six feet tall, clean-shaven, and black hair slicked back. He had a suit with a red tie and black shoes.
“Hey Janis,” said Douglas, he entered my apartment. He sat on the brown couch I have after moving a stack of bills that need to be paid for and had final warnings on them. I never really bothered with them.
“So, ready for the story?” I asked, sitting on the other side of the couch. He nodded and took out his notebook. I told him what happened last night, along with the dream I had. I was very descriptive about what the masked man said. When I finished, he had one of his hands over his mouth. He kept reviewing his notes, and I took a bathroom break. While taking a shit, I checked on my stitches. It doesn’t look infected, but I should be careful still. I stepped out, and Douglas was ready to talk. I sat down and readied myself for what he was going to say about what I told him.
“I can’t believe this. This person is quite insane and very deep,” said Douglas.
“Yeah, he is an interesting person. He has a point about life.” I said.
“At one point, you were in a hallway. That was your son’s school?” he asked.
“Yep, I recognized it,” I answered
“Ok,” he said, then sighed. Possibly tired or in disbelief of what I told him.
“Is there anything else you want to know?” I asked.
“Nope, I’ll talk to the people at the station,” he said.
“I can come with you,” I said anxiously. I think maybe while I’m there, I can find out the progress on the case. Douglas thought about it for a moment then said: “Sure.”
I threw on my black business suit, coat, and gloves. With haste, I was already out the door. We drove for twenty minutes until we reached the station. When I walked in, the place felt warm along with smelling like coffee, donuts, and a few people in need of a shower — mainly men, typical. I sat in front of Douglas’s desk, but he told me to leave the room. Don’t know why. I went to the bathroom. While washing my hands, I was staring at myself because I was wondering: “Why haven’t they solved the case yet?” I left the bathroom and saw a group of people in Doug’s office. I stormed in and semi-yelled, “Why hasn’t my son’s death been resolved?”
Doug was startled by this, and everyone was looking at me. All male eyes were staring at me, didn’t see why there were no women in this room. A little patronizing, huh, Doug? I stood there for a moment, no response from them. I broke the silence.
“Why has it taken you this long to solve the case?” I said, having now composed myself. Doug looked at me and then said, “Lack of evidence and no progress. We tried everything, but…”
“They're still out,” I said, Doug, nodded.
“We are talking about opening up the case again,” said a tall and robust man with solid arms. Maybe he’s strong when I—Janis, focus!
“Please, the left room, Janis. We’ll let you know,” said Doug, only politely this time. I nodded and then left the office. I left the station and noticed that I hadn’t eaten anything. Dinner time was here, so I went to a buffet. Two hours later, I was at home watching tv on my computer — one of those shows where a couple of people fight each other over who cheated on who. I always enjoy them because they're still just mindless entertainment, and I get to waste my time watching them. I started channel surfer after an hour of fighting. Boring channels such as shopping, talk shows, cooking, a comedy that is dumb, shows that keep beating the dead horse, traveling, and stupid dramas that are confusing or poorly planned out. That’s maybe why shows get canceled. I fell asleep at around ten on my couch.
“Hello again, Janis.” said the masked man. He was sitting on the floor, legs crossed. He was looking at me, and his mask was the same. He got up and stretched. I set myself up, mentally preparing myself for whatever he was going to do. He walked around my place and then stared at me. We stood in silence, staring at each other again. Finally, I broke the silence by saying: “Who are you?”
“Are you seriously asking a masked man who they are?” he asked, somewhat baffled at my remark.
“I mean, who is the person where the mask? How did you get in my house and why smash my window?” I said, rephrasing my words.
“I picked the door lock, and the window was to get your attention. Well, let’s start with the bullet. When you shot me, it hit my chest. However, I was wearing a bulletproof vest. I wear this mask as a symbol of society. For the world, it is dealing with a very high level of impropriety — stinks of sorrow, pain, and unfairness. Of course, I’ve mentioned I enjoy it. Moreover, that is what I represent the impropriety of society! For I move around the world following people who are miserable, sad, or about to have their lives crashing down onto themselves. That's so much fun for me to watch. I witnessed that while you are experiencing that. Now your son is rather a serious matter. Moreover, let me start by saying that the person who killed him wasn’t me.”
“But they saw you…”I started
“Oh right, that was me dumping the body. I do kill people to make them suffer. Sometimes suffrage is better than death. Someone you both know they killed your son. Trust, that’s a complicated aspect of relationships. People will meet other people, and that’s good. They develop a bond that can lead to feelings for that person. However, then they might use that trust against you no matter the cost. All because of their selfish desires. I’ve seen some harsh trust-breaking, but killing never fails to surprise.
Now let’s revisit ‘who am I.’ Well, I resemble society, and my mask shows pain, hence why the red streaks move on their own. I was an average person once. The period was going to end, and I would be home. I would get ready for my date with a pretty girl named Chloe. Chloe Russey. The world was somewhat troubling to me. So I tried to fix it but failed during a school shooting. I tried to stop the crazy person but died in the process. I wanted to be a hero or a cool guy. I was always left alone. THEN, I wake up in this body. Wondering, ‘Where and what the hell am I?’ I felt the…pain inside of me fill from all the other deaths that took place that day. However, the day I died the first time, I was angry. I stood by myself, watching her.
The world is fucked up, the most fundamental lesson I learned. I watched Chloe die along with my family. Then came my parents and little brother. Now, I’m alone in this world. I tried making friends, but I still felt alone. Everyone knew me, but no one gave a literal shit about me. I keep doing things to make me human again, and now I don’t know what to do. So in a rage, the hospital room had objects go flying, and a pencil goes into her right eye.
Moreover, I just laughed at the relief of my pain going away. We all have a way to rid our pain. Some prefer cutting themselves, which can lead to suicide. Due to what society has done to people, we think that life will be better for us when we die. They feed people images and ideas of the world and specific pathetic photos. I am the anger of the parents. People are protesting because they aren’t satisfied with the world or the country. I am the sadness of suicide and misery that can make people cry or mope. So, after years of being all alone and not being able to interact with people I care about, I have concluded who I am, and I am known as society. I am a society in the flesh of a person that nobody seems to care about. I walk around with nobody noticing me all by myself.
Now, the name helps determine who the person is and what they might be. However, some people believe that we give false identities. On the day we are born, our name, race, and religion decided for us. No say in what we want, some believe that children don't know what they want. Even though they ask for something like food or toys, that shows they have the desire. I don’t know about this, but some people believe it. Now, who am I? You may call me, Professor Society.” He said and bowed, respectively.
I stood there, processing what he had said. Then I realized he mentioned his name. I got off the couch and grabbed a bottle from the fridge, cold vodka. He dropped a load on me, and I needed to think.
Professor Society sat down on the couch while I stood. I stared at him, trying to understand who he was. “It’s a lot to take, huh?” he said
“Yes,” I said
He understood. I start thinking of how lonely it must have been. “What year did you die?” I asked him. He was slightly surprised by this, or at least I think he was. The mask is hard to read facial expressions. He scratches his chin and then said, “I’ve been dead since 1975. Crazy that time has passed. The economy reduced to shit. However, now I always feed off of grief, until time ends.”
“That sucks. Life can get very lonely.” I said
“Yeah,” he said, nodding in agreement.
“So can you please leave now? Unless you can make yourself useful by telling me what exactly you can tell me about the killer.” I said, Professor Society, got up from the couch and then walked to the front door. He looked at me and said, “Your son was friends with him.” Before I could have him elaborate on that, he runs out the door. I tried to stop him, but he was already gone. I looked at my street and no moving shadows or figures in black. I laid back on the couch and fell asleep again. Only memories of my life flooded my dreams.
I started seeing myself when I was a teen at the age of 16. While walking home from school one day in the winter, I noticed a group of bullies beating the shit out of a kid. I was already pissed off at a teacher giving me a C on my paper on The Cold War which, I felt like I deserve an A on. School system, so fucked up sometimes.
So I had it, I pounced on the bullies while giving an attack cry. Balls-Buster Billy has now bruised Billy; the boys ran as I rubbed my sore chin. I looked at the kid and pulled him up from the mud. His name was Marvin Jones, and he was a complete nerd, but he had a good heart. He had brown hair and matching eyes, he was taller than me, and with a geeky shirt and shorts. We became friends after that. After six months of being friends, we started dating up into college. I was a part of the track team and one of their best runners. Towards the end of college, I wanted to leave him.
“But I want you to stay so we could be together,” said Marvin, I also wanted to leave Windsor Village.
“It’s my choice, Marvin,” I said I got up from his bed. His bedroom had posters of movies from the nineties, 80s, and early 2000s. Much to my dismay, I wished he would take down that stupid poster of “Battlefield Earth.”
“I don’t want you to leave,” said Marvin, he stood upon his bed.
“I want to travel the world and leave this place. I don’t want to be stuck here for the rest of my life. I want to find a new place to live.” I said, grinning at the thought of going to Iceland. My dad got me a trip to Iceland for my graduation present from college.
“What if you stayed here and we traveled together? I love you Janis, and I don’t want to lose you,” he said, he got up from the bed and began to stroke my hair. He looked at me, and we stared at each other. I could feel his breath hitting a mine. I grew uneasy at what was happening. I felt…pressured in this situation
“You won’t lose me,” I said, I started to pull away. Marvin grabbed me by the wrists, and I began to notice anger and fear grow.
“I don’t WANT you to leave me. I will kill myself if you leave me. Do you want that? I would be alone because of you.” Marvin said he began shaking me vigorously while saying: “I will be alone because of you!”
“Marvin, please stop. You’re hurting me.” I said, trying to pull away from him. He punched me to the ground; then, I hit him back. He knocked me, but I was quick to dodge. However, he landed a few punches on my face. I ran out of the room then got outside, running to my house with all my strength. I heard footsteps following me, I looked behind me and saw Marvin chasing me. I cut behind a corner and then ran through an alley. I grabbed a trash can lid and then through the cap at Marvin. The cover spiraled through the air and then hit Marvin in the face. Marvin fell to the ground and hit his head on the concrete. I froze at sight with my heart racing, ringing in my ears.
I called the police and told them the whole story. Marvin was sent to jail for seven years and paid a fine of 20k. I went to Europe as a cleansing of anger and try to heal an emotional scar. I graduated from college as a journalist because of my love of poetry, journalism, and writing. I worked for the paper at Windsor Village as a journalist, writing people’s stories, poems, and articles on other topics. Things were going my way, which was good. I became an independent woman with my son. Marvin was released, and he managed to become a writer. I saw a book he wrote that was called “Prison Gates,” which tells the story of a man who went to jail for having been a murderer. I looked at the book and never bothered to read it. The money I got from the crime I ended up keeping for my son’s college tuition. I spent it thought about drinks, drugs, food to help keep me alive, and other necessities.
I woke up with morning light shining on my face, rubbing my face from the sleepiness. I heard a knocking on the front door. I got up, stumbled a bit, but was able to make it to the door. There stood Douglas at the front door with a cup of coffee. I invited him in, and we sat on the couch together. He took a long sip from the coffee and then tossed it in the trash can. I should’ve asked for a sip, and my brain is still waking up. Douglas took a deep breath and then began by saying: “There was another murder.”
“Oh shit,” I said, shocked at the news. “Are the two connected?”
“They might be,” he said, he scratched his face where a beard began to grow “I haven’t looked at the crime scene yet.”
“Can I come?” I asked, anxious.
“No, not allowed,” said Douglas, firmly.
“No, I can’t allow it.”
“Janis, I can’t allow it. Protecting a crime scene is important.”
“Fine, I guess,” I said, giving up. Douglas got up and left. I don’t know why he sat down in my place. I watched his car as it drove away. I grabbed my black winter coat and ran after him. My feet were bare, but I still had on my business suit on from yesterday. I threw on some black vans then went out the door. Dense fog and cold winds were waiting for me when I looked at my door. I followed Douglas’s car from remembering where it turned. I walked through the block and saw his car in front of Fire. Oh boy, this doesn’t look good.
I walked over into the front of Fire, where a crowd of people was standing in the front door. They were trying to see what was going. I pushed my way through the crowd and was able to see the crime scene. I wish I had stayed back in my apartment.
Bottles shattered, glass shards were all around the floors, the wall of alcohol had containers missing and broken, bullet holes were on the bar walls, drops of cocktail ingredients and what looked like blood were dripping down, chairs knocked over, and Douglas was standing two yards from the bar. I held a little behind him, but I was on the crime scene. Don’t touch anything, Janis, and you aren’t JonBenet Ramsey. I pulled on latex gloves and tiptoed over to the bar. I ducked behind the bar before Douglas looked at me. I looked behind the bar and choked a gasp. The sounds around me went out, and I felt my stomach as I looked at the dead body of Santiago.
His body had a bullet in his shoulder, big glass shards in his chest, and a blow to the head. It took all my strength and willpower not to touch him. I got up from the bar and called for Douglas. He looked at me, and he knew what was going on in my head. The anger and pain inside of me had now grown. He was trying to protect me from witnessing another person I care about die. I felt it was dragged away because I started screaming in pain, and hot tears were streaming down my face.
I was wrapped in a blanket and sat on the curb. Trying to think who would hurt Santiago, he had many people like him. His partner was happy to be with him. I just thought and thought and thought for minutes that then turned into hours. Douglas came over to me and sat down. He took a sniff of the air before talking.
“Sorry you had to see that.” he said, “Do you know anybody who will hurt Santiago?”
“No. Many people loved him. Even though some people might not agree with who he was. However, this was a bit much for him being gay.” I said, trying to choke back a sob. Douglas sighed and leaned back a little. We both sat there as the wind blew through our heads. The sky began to grow dark and colder. I looked up at the bar, and police were starting to file out. I got off the ground, and Douglas was leaning on his car while smoking a cigarette. Douglas offered me one, and I dragged it. I needed something to help calm the stress in my head. The relaxing feeling of smoke was good, but I am not too fond of the idea of lung cancer and having it. I put out the cigarette and breathed a breath of fresh air. Hopefully, this will help fix the smoke in my lungs. I got back to my apartment with two brown bags that were Chinese food and sake, ready to become hot. This time I will pace myself.
The next morning, I woke up with a hangover. It was an emotional day, and I need to help get rid of the pain. Plus, the sake was tasty hot, and cold. After some ibuprofen and frozen waffles, I pulled down all the notes from the board. I took a photo of my son and put it in the middle, and around the picture was the adults he knew. Wayne had friends at school, but they never hurt them. The adults were an exciting subject.
Wayne was friends with Santiago, but both are dead. So I can’t question him unless it was a seance or I used an Ouija board. Did that in high school, got possessed once. That was scarier than the scariest movie ever made. Wayne hated me for having him watch the film with me. The Exorcist still scares people. I place three photos of the adults my son knew.
The first photo was Miguel Alvarez, a baker for Windsor Bakery. The only place in town to get a good cupcake or cake. The bakery has been around for three years and very successful. “Miguel is an old man with no wife and kids are currently living in Baton Rouge. They wanted to be close to the fun of the city, understandable. I enjoyed seeing my son. The two spent time baking and cooking together.” I wrote on a notecard under a picture of him with an award for the best baker.
The second picture was his teacher, Mrs. Jones. “A pretty and intelligent woman that could have been dating him. He taught him history and science. He tutored him on Wednesdays to help him with his academics. She was single, and rumors spread about her. Most of them were how she slept with teachers and the principal to get the job. Another one is that she had an abusive relationship with a man, only she was the abusive one. She came to Windsor Village to have a new life.” I wrote with her picture from my son’s yearbook.
The third person was Douglas. “Knew, my son, was like a father to him. Also, we dated for a little while. The two fought over a DUI, don’t know why.” I wrote with skepticism. All three of these people didn’t show up at Wayne’s funeral. I didn’t either because the pain was too much. I wasn’t able to move with my life after Wayne died. So I ended up overdosing on pills and then woke up in the hospital from my suicide attempt.
During the two years, I’ve tried my best to work on moving on with my life. Don’t get me wrong, and it was hard as shit. I went back to work where everyone treated me like the worst thing has happened to me. Which was right, but I didn’t want people breathing down my neck. Always asking me if I was okay and how things were going on. So I quit after two months of working there. Douglas comforted me, which then turned to us in bed together every week for about three years. The first year was while Wayne was alive. Then we went our separate ways due to his promotion to detective. I sure made quite the celebration for him the night of the news. When I found out about the case of becoming a cold case file and forgotten, I protested and demanded justice for my son’s death. However, Douglas had very little evidence to carry on with the situation. Thus ended the investigating, so I continued it for the last three months. That’s been my life ever since then.
The next morning, I was at Miguel’s bakery, standing in the front window. Today was unusually slow. Excellent, private time to talk. I step into the bakery, and the smell of baked goods made my stomach growl. Shut up, stomach. Oh god, muffins! Okay, maybe one bread with coffee. I paid for my chocolate and pumpkin muffin with a coffee; this place still makes me happy after tragedies. I finish my food and then take a deep breath. Here we go.
“Miguel,” I started, “we need to talk.”
Miguel looked at me and gestured me towards his office. His office had some papers on his desk that look like bills and finances. I took a seat, and Miguel followed suit. Miguel is Mexican, has black hair combed back, a round face, and his hands were covered with old flour and specs of dough, and he has a beard showing.
“Why weren’t you at Wayne’s funeral?” I asked for a notebook ready.
“Because I wanted to pay my respects, but I was shaken and heartbroken when I found out he died,” said Miguel, folding his hands on his lap.
“Did you see anything strange on the day Wayne died?” I asked.
“No. I was working here, making the dough for the cinnamon bread.” I look around the office and see a picture of him with a group of people.
“Who are the people in the photo with you?” I asked curiously.
“Those are my family,” Miguel said, his voice started to get choked up. “They don’t…uh…live here anymore.”
“Where are they now?”
“My wife was driving through a highway. We were arguing over what we wanted to do about our old belongings. I wanted to sell them, but she wanted to keep them. I thought some money from our antiques would help with our children’s college tuition. I guess we were paying attention, and a car hit us. The driver was drunk, and the accident was terrible. Our car flipped over and skidded forward, causing the roof to get badly scrapped. His car was only badly dented with the left headlight broken. I crawled away from the wreckage, with my legs being numb. I called the police, but they arrived too late. The car exploded in a matter of seconds. My family died before the police got there. My wife and our two boys, the first year is always the hardest. Now I look at my chair and wish that they were able to crawl away as well. I’ve never experienced a day where I don’t miss them.” Miguel said with tears coming down his eyes, his hands covered them.
“Now, when people ask me what happened, I just lie and say I was born this way,” he said with a shaky breath, trying to pick himself together. “Whenever I saw Wayne, he reminds me of my family because of his energy and enthusiasm like my sons. He enjoys baking like my wife. I never hurt Wayne. So when Wayne died, I felt like my kids died again.” said Miguel, now looking better and like a weight got lifted off his shoulders. I wiped the tear from my eyes. Miguel is innocent, now onto the next two people.
The sun was showing that it was midday right now with a half-eaten cheese danish in my hand. I saw Mrs. Jones and followed her back to school. Only I had to sprint to keep up with her. She got into her car and drove away. I memorized the license plate, which was “prana 2”. Don’t know why you don’t even care enough to understand. I began to walk in the direction of the way of the car. Only I was on the sidewalks so that I wouldn’t look suspicious. I stopped in my tracks when I saw Wayne’s school. It hasn’t changed a bit.
The only thing different is the students, but that’s always changing. I heard a bell go off, and lunch must’ve ended by now. I walked into the hallway and some hundreds of teenagers. However, the crowd was Mrs. Jones. Mrs. Jones had a class of US history on the bay of pigs invasion when I walked in. Mrs. Jones was a slim woman with brown hair and matching eyes. She frowned when I stormed into the class. All the students looked up from their notes and stared at us, and I cleared my throat.
“Mrs. Jones,” I said, “We need to talk right now.”
“Janis, I’m teaching,” she said, playing dumb and gesturing towards the class.
“I’m not an idiot, woman! Make them study or something.” I remarked with the class giving oohs. Typical high school students, somethings never change.
“Can’t we talk about at 3 pm?” she asked, trying to remain calm.
“NO!” I said, starting to glare at her.
“What…do you wanna k-k-know?” she asked.
“Are you son-fucker?! Answer the goddamn question!” I said.
“Excuse me?” she asked.
“Did you sleep with my son?” I asked
“There were rumors from people here saying you did because of the time you spent with him. It’s possible that…”
“We never had sex.” she insisted firmly.
“I’d brag about that if I slept with a hot teacher.” said a guy that made his friends laugh.
“You’d brag about it because you don’t want people to focus on your pinkie-sized problems,” I said with a smirk. Everyone laughed except the one student.
“Now, did you see anything strange, the day he died?” I asked, amused by the students.
“I was out of town, visiting my grandmother. However, two days before I left, I noticed that Wayne was talking to the janitor. He looked upset over…” she said, but was interrupted by a bullet hitting her chest and head. Blood splashed out on me, including my clothes. Students screamed as she fell to the hair with her eyes and mouth open.
I looked up and saw a man in dark clothes with tactical police body armor over them. While also wearing a helmet and goggles over his eyes. He had a rifle with him but then turned and ran. I followed him while leaving school. He ran through the parking lot and past my car. I kept running, all those years of track better do not fail me now. He began running into a farmer’s market and pushing people. I apologized to them and yelled, “Stop! Murderer! He killed a teacher at the high school!” Some people looked at me dumbfounded, while others showed some concern. It’s not often you see a foot chase, but please be a little considerate with calling the police.
We ran into a forest, and that’s when we began jumping over rocks. The man in the helmet grabbed a branch and threw it at me, and I was able to duck before it hit me. Then I saw Professor Society running with us.
“Lovely day for a run in the woods, Janis,” he said sarcastically.
“That guy is my lead to finding my son’s killer,” I said, between breaths. I noticed that he was starting to getaway. “Can you help me?”
“Mmm, sure,” he said. “This chase needs a song.”
“What?” I said, feeling like this was bad timing and not appropriate. However, Professor Society had other ideas. He pulled out a guitar from the air and then disappeared, but then I heard a guitar playing along with other rock band instruments playing. Everything in his song, he would appear, then withdraw with different devices from an orchestra.
Well, here we are
In the forest of Windsor
We have to kill the bad guy
You have wanted this.
For he is the enemy
So I feel the tension rise.
The ground will rise up and down.
Rocks will pop up
Tripping him or you
Bullets shall go flying through the air.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
The target is slowing
The sun is going
The chase is getting more and more intense.
As we run through dense trees
Feeling the breeze
Will we get the target?
Will the argot of life win
Then it’s back to the gin.
We shall win
The branch hits the target in the face.
Falling down a hill
Is the chase over
Janis is picking up the pace.
Punches in the face are thrown.
Janis isn’t alone
In this world
The day is over
The villain is down
All this saved
I’m panting with my hands on my knees. We were both at the bottom of a hill with Professor Society at the top looking down at us, smiling at me. The man in armor slowly got up, and I saw his helmet with one of the goggles broke. Possibly from the fall or the rock, I hit him with. I saw what one of his brown eyes in the moonlight is — the time sure passed by from the chase.
“Who are you? Why did you kill the teacher?” I asked. He just stood there, looking at me, I was growing impatient. I’ve come this far and wanted answers, and my hands were clenched. Then I snapped. I started beating him up and yelling at him to tell me who he was. It started raining as I was kicking him in various places. He was halfway to the ground when I stopped. The helmet was cracked and scratched, his helmet was out of place, and his hands were muddy. He pounced me and started to choke me. My feet lifted off the ground, and I tried kicking him, but it was futile in this case. My lungs began to burn with my eyes watering. Professor Society was behind the strangler, and I begged him to help me. A high big black hand grabbed the strangler and shook him, freeing me. I was wheezing and coughing on the ground, watching the fun.
He grabbed the man slammed him on the ground twice; Professor was laughing hysterically as the villain was trying to getaway.
“Where are you going?” he said, “I’m just getting started now.” He grabbed him and flung him into the hill; he tumbled down with rocks hitting his back. I started to get up on my butt, still getting the air back in my lungs. Professor continued laughing, then threw his target into the trees. He then lifted me, and the two of us both went to where our objective laid. However, he wasn’t there. I saw him limping away, and I wanted to chase him again. Professor knew what I thought, so he set me down on the ground. I ran towards him and tackled him, but we then fell into a healthy river. We bobbed up and down the river. Professor Society scooped me out of the water with one of his swollen hands. The runner laid at the end of the river, motionless. We went over there, and I pulled him from the river. I finally did it; I couldn’t help but smile with pride and accomplishment. It’s all over now. I grabbed the mask, pulled it off. My smile then faded away, and horror was on my face.
There in the rain, laid Marvin Jones, and he was knocked out. My ex-boyfriend and abuser were responsible for this? His face was bruised and cut. The storm was washing away the wounds into the water. His eyes opened, and he looked at me as thunder clapped with lightning appearing. Professor Society opened his hand, and fire appeared. The flames lit up the area, and I got a good look at him. Marvin was still on the ground, but he was looking at both of us.
“Why?” is all I could say.
“Remember how I said that I would take everything you love? I did just that. Once I was free from jail and a successful novelist, I wasn’t happy in life. I was still angry, so I plotted my revenge by killing you. However, then you had a son. That was even better than killing you. I was friends with him, a nice guy. I saw you whenever you dropped him off. Being the school janitor had its drawbacks like mess cleaning, but nobody noticed me. You passed by me today, and you didn’t even know it. There were times where I was certain that you would see me, but every time I was wrong. So when I killed him, everything else fell into place. You ruined your job and life. Then came the suicide attempt, but you managed to survive. So I had to kill the people around like Santiago. However, that slut of a teacher would’ve ruined my plans. I killed her, but you were gone before I can kill you. So here we are now. I enjoyed killing every single person you cared about or loved.” said Marvin, smiling with triumph.
My legs became jelly once again; Professor kept me from hitting the ground. I was angry at him but exhausted from everything. “Kill him for me,” I said to Professor. He looked at Marvin and grabbed him with tentacles coming from his fingertips. The two ascended to the air, with Marvin struggling to break free. His arms and legs, trying to get free but no use. Professor Society brought him closer to his face and opened his mouth. Dark tentacles from his mouth came out and went out into Marvin’s eyes and mouth. I couldn’t hear anything, but it sounded like Marvin was screaming. Professor Society’s voice was clear and demonic and said, “Failure of society, I sentence you to death by energy suction.” The tentacles glowed, and Marvin screamed in agony while Professor laughed once more. The glow died, and Marvin fell into the river again. The current carried his lifeless body away from us.
“Goodbye, Marvin, I hope you rot in hell for my son’s death. Moreover, everyone else you hurt.” I said. Professor Society was on the ground with me.
“That was fun,” said Professor, “haven’t done that in a while. He tasted good, not a fan of the skin cancer taste, though.”
“What?” I said, perplexed and creeped out.
“I drained his energy out of his body. I can taste the disease they had and their last meals. He ate 12 fried shrimp, a bucket of original recipe KFC, french fries, and a pound of strawberries. Your ex needs to eat better and not so much. I’m surprised he ate all that and had all the energy to run that fast. Schizophrenia tastes spicy like Indian food,” he said, he sat on the ground and looked at the stars. I followed suit. We laid there together in silence for a while, and then I broke the silence.
“Why did you help me?” I asked
“Because you needed it. Sometimes people don’t help those in need, and it’s unfair. So after your suicide attempt, I called the paramedics. Moreover, been doing it every time since. It would be best if you had a push in the right direction, but people don’t always choose the right direction. That’s still so damn frustrating. So I visited you and sparked your determination and charisma. That was easy. I didn’t want you to die without failing. So now justice has been served, and the old question remains. The one question that can change a life is, ‘What are you going to do next?’ ” he said, his black eyes reflected the moon off them. I pressed my chin into my knees and thought about it. What to do? What to do?
“I’m going to leave Windsor Village,” I answered, feeling…determined and ready.
“Excellent choice,” he said.
I got up and started to walk away. I turned around and said, “Goodbye, Professor Society. Thanks for your help.” He waved then disappeared from the air. I was alone in the forest. I grabbed Marvin by his shirt collar and dragged his lifeless body to the police station. When I got there, Douglas was speechless, and I told them the whole story from the beginning.
Janis Blake is now a successful writer and journalist in New York. She has a family with two loving children; her wife is hardworking and successful as well. I watch them having family time or just sitting at home with her lover. Her children lived on to be successful people in their career paths, growing as time passed. They went through their lives like ordinary people, but they were different. They helped those in need. Janis wrote a book about her search for Wayne’s killer, becoming a bestseller and made into a feature film. The film was eh due to the writers not always following the plot, mediocre acting, and dialogue. They made me a man.
I’m nonbinary, stupid producers' choices. An entity can be a man or woman, and I use male pronouns, but doesn’t anybody care? Nope. I had fun with giving the writer’s nightmares for that. I met up with Janis one last time when she was 88, and I told her that her life was highly successful and happy — also apologized for giving her children nightmares on Halloween. People get scared, and it seemed fine at the time. I watched her die and greeted her. There stood Wayne with him opening the gates of heaven. She sobbed as she hugged her first son. We waved goodbye as the gates closed behind them. And I was left alone on the clouds. Time to go back to work for this entity.