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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sin in Slacksville (an excerpt)

Just yesterday, I was on Maple Street. I was picking Dan up from his friend, Jake’s house. Dan had slept over there Saturday night and Jake lived right across the street from Nancy. I pulled into the driveway leading to her Georgian styled raised ranch. I shut the engine off and looked at the house for a minute, suddenly I felt nervous. With a shudder, I got out of the car. Walking to the garage door, I stood on tiptoe to look in the window: there was her Acura. Okay, she’s probably inside.

I walked up to the door and knocked. No answer. I noticed the doorbell and pushed the button; once, twice, then for a long time, 30 seconds at least. I did it again. No answer. I looked around, unsure what to do. Then I noticed a very obvious palm sized plastic rock. I picked it up and sure enough it was a key keeper. Did anyone really think that it looked like real rock? I opened the little catch at the bottom and a key came out. I tried it in the door and turned the knob. The door opened. I stood on the front porch and stuck only my head in.

“Nancy! Nancy, are you okay?” I called out. I listened to the answering silence. But wait, not silence, I heard sound. Water running? Maybe she slipped in the shower this morning and is hurt. With that idea in my mind, my nervousness disappeared. Even though I didn’t much care for Nancy, I wouldn’t want her to be hurt. I walked into her front hall and up the half staircase to the main level.

The house followed the typical raised ranch footprint; living room to my right, dining area behind that and the kitchen to the left of the dining room. Though the floor plan was typical, the decoration was not. Nancy had spared no expense in decorating; expensive oriental carpets were on the gleaming hardwood floors, and real artwork, not pictures from Sears, or even Macy’s hung on the walls. The light coming in the windows bounced off the glass doors of the china cabinet in the dining room, making the crystal inside glisten and sparkle. I wondered how she was able to afford the carpets, the art and the crystal on what she made at the town hall and her husband’s salary, but then I remembered her father. Dr. Granger had been the town’s only doctor for years and when he died everything he owned went to his only child, Nancy. So she wasn’t hurting for money. I remembered what I was there for and listened for the sound of water again. It was off to the left.

Right in front of me was a hall that led to the bedrooms and bathrooms. Her master bedroom was at the end of the hall and stretched front to back over the garage. As I walked down the hall towards her bedroom, the sound of running water got louder and louder. I walked into her room and saw that the bathroom door was shut. I knew that she was in there.

“Nancy! Nancy, you okay?” I called out, knocking on the bathroom door. The door wasn’t shut tight and popped open.

The first thing I noticed was the smell. A metallic smell that I could almost taste, like when you accidentally bite down on a really old, cheap fork. And a sickening sweet, rotten smell. Without realizing it, I had closed my eyes. My eyes popped open. First I saw blood, lots and lots of blood. Then I saw Nancy. She lay on her stomach, her normally perfect blond hair half covered her face which was turned towards the door, one eye staring at me through reddish chunks of hair. Her right arm was stretched out towards me and one leg was bent as if she were trying to crawl. She was naked and her face was a mess. What used to be her nose was a flattened bloody lump. I noticed a metal makeup stool on its side behind her, it, too, was covered in blood. I think that might have been what smashed her face. But how did that happen? Did she fall on it? I didn’t see how she could fall hard enough to do that to her face. I didn’t have to check to see if she was alive.

I backed out of the room, closed the door and ran for the front porch. Once getting out doors, I inhaled; I hadn’t realized that I had been holding my breath, at least since I first smelled the blood. Taking a few deep breaths, I leaned against the door jamb and fished out my cell phone to call the police.