Story by Brian Caesar
Jon approached Roy just before his afternoon deadline to ask if he could leave work early. “Yeah, you do look a little green Jon, everything ok?” Raising his eyes to find the first time in weeks that his almighty editor was staring him directly in the face, Jon replied “I’m just feeling a little under the weather. I think maybe this Park Lake murder is getting to me a bit.” “It’s getting to all of us Jon.. look at this!” He pulled some wrinkled scribble from the interview of an officer that had been taken that morning. “It seems they found some more of the John Doe’s remains in front of a cabin down on Homebrook. That’s only 7 blocks from here!!” Jon still couldn’t help but be amazed that he was being considered a colleague.. maybe even a friend to Roy at this very moment. He could tell that Roy’s corporate facade had decayed in the brief moments that the questions of potential familiarity with the victim overcame him. “They found a torn pair of slacks and a leather pouch with a pool of blood inside it. This looks like this might be the most vicious murder this town has ever seen. I just hope they catch this guy before he gets someone else.” Roy grabbed Jon on the shoulder further assuring his new found acceptance of his subordinate. “You, go home Jon.. get some rest, but just make sure you lock your doors… and I’ll see you in the morning buddy.. ok?” With one last pat on the back, Roy made his quick exit down the hall bellowing out his bottom ended rasp “Renginski.. where’s that page 6??” Jon grabbed his jacket and keys from his office desk and began his journey home.
His decision to take the long route towards the police activity that imprisoned the streets adjoining the neighborhood that Jon had come to know, finally gave him the time he needed to calm himself from the recent abusive echoes that stirred inside. The mountainous tone of ascending horns from the cars of the remaining officers that were only now making their way to the nearby crime scene provided a break from the thoughts he was so desperately trying to escape. He couldn’t help but feel the excitement that he used to have as a young boy as their unified sound would pass by over and over again. He remembered his mother grabbing his forearm every time a blue and white with a circling siren on its top would roar down the road. “That’s none of your concern” she would say again and again as he would plead in broken whimpers with her “but mommy I just want to see..”
He still felt the phantom grasp of her fingers so tightly wrapped around him, the sharp tips of her nails indenting moon shapes on his now aging skin. He knew however that no one at this time was holding him back, and the curiosity consumed him. Before he could even realize where he was, like a moth to a flame he was drawn in like the rest of the gazing flock that were attempting to catch a glimpse of what was behind those splintering barricades.
Jon was only able to make it a few feet into the crowd before the detectives, hiding under their fedoras, started their verbal attacks on what were they were referring to as “the peasants.”The gathered crowd blocked the entrance for the late arriving uniforms to make their way in. The frustration held the wheel to the fury they held in each of their shadowed eyes. Jon could barely make out a word from the mouths of the officers before the endless forest of screaming heads started to condense itself. The sunlight above the backs of the seemingly giant people was closing in as the white wooden sign that read Homebrook caught Jon’s gaze in the brief moment before he was forcefully knocked to the cobblestones. He reached out to catch balance, letting go of the silver pocket watch he hadn’t realized was collapsed in his hand by force of habit. He scampered as quickly as he possibly could, attempting to get it back into his possession. It was as if a crossing moment of silence occurred… just as a truly indecent gesture was let loose from someone’s mouth at one of those high society soirees, the commotion above ceased to exist, augmenting the cracking sound of the time piece across the stones below. Sadness and shock were amongst the first emotions to arrive in Bafrer’s broken heart as the silence grew deafening but they were quickly consumed by an irrepressible hatred. He stared at the broken remnants that were piled in his palms and paralyzed with anger, closed his eyes.
He could remember the rhythmic splish-splash accompanied by the angelic voice of Eden calling out to him as she attempted her backstroke in the Park Lake that night. He stared at her warm glow as the moonlight outlined what he could only label as perfection. “Jon” she called in a warm seductive voice, holding its sound in such a beautiful melody. “Jon” she called again, as if it were a lullaby to a newborn. Her voice caressed his chest, as he took this moment to pull the gift that he just received from his love from the pocket of his jacket. He opened his hands, to gaze at the inscription inside. It seemed, however, strangely unfamiliar, as he didn’t recall it’s scripture. Focusing on the fading word “Murderer”, his smile vanished, as if never there. The glass holding in its ticking hands started to dissolve and pieces started to shake loose to the grass below. “Jon!!!!! Jon!!!” The disposition of Eden’s voice had changed dramatically pulling Jon’s attention to the lake. “JON!!! JON!!!!PLEASE!!!!!” He could only franticly stare into the blank water searching for her as the cries were carried further away. A snarling sound, similar to that of a vicious stray, approached in the distance behind him growing closer with every inhale. As it’s sound grew deeper and more intricate in definition, a louder call came from directly behind him forcing Jon to shut his eyes for a brief instant. “JON!!!!!!!!!!” The scream bled its cruel pitch into what seemed an unending echo of a howling creature.
As Jon began to grasp his true bearing, the grief he had felt combined with an uncontrollable rage born from the recalled emotions of love lost began to take its toll. He stared at the broken pieces of his symbolic pendant and a redness entered his eyes . The small space that Jon’s body took up was being stolen bit by bit by the surrounding mob that engulfed him. This only compelled his anger further, unleashing something inside him that no one could ever have imagined possible.. and to this day Jon will never recall.