A Creepy Story

I belong to a local writers’ group called Sleuths’ Inc.  The name draws attetnion to the fact most of us write mysteries or crime stories. Every couple of months we have contests. In June the rules were the piece had to start with a nursery rhyme, it had to contain a crime and it should ignite feelings of some sort.  With recognition to Dr. Seuss, here is the flash fiction I wrote.  I hope you enjoy it on Friday the 13th.

 

A Creepy Story

 

“One fish, two fish, red fish, blue... Right foot, left foot, one foot, two..."

I lounge on the park bench, my right ankle balanced on my left knee.  My arms spread along on the top of the back rest.  Today’s paper, folded to the crossword, sits beside me.  I fill in the blanks in ink.  It has, so far, bested me.  The author has not suddenly increased in talent.  I’m struggling to concentrate.  My mind wanders to the little girl playing hop scotch not more than ten yards away.

Sunshine colored hair, and even from this distance, I see her eyes are a deep blue.  Her smile is pure and her giggle speaks of complete innocence.  I’ve heard it a few times as the breeze carried it past me.  She’s petite, and her inattentive mother, also blonde, sits on a bench opposite me.  An open book rests on her lap.  Her daughter is between us.  They have Nordic heritage, I’m sure.  Their skin is flawless and their bone structure fine as porcelain dolls.

I allow a small smile. No one can see where my eyes are focused, thanks to my wrap around shades.  I’ve mastered the art of looking in a direction other than where my head is turned.  I’m patient. I’m a hunter.  The voice in my head tells me, “not yet.”  Relaxed, I wait.

Her skirt is pleated, with a kitten design.  The cut is loose, the hem is knee length and coordinates with her blouse.  It billows as she hops and jumps from one space to the next.  Twice I have caught the flash of underpants as she twirled and leapt along the pattern, landing on one foot, the other, or both.  Her puzzle is drawn with chalk.

Her mother calls, and she runs to stand beside the woman.  She’s rewarded with a juice box, and she drinks with vigor.  The mother places a hand on the small of the girl’s back.  I wonder how it feels.  I scan the area.  “Not yet,” the voice reminds me.  I wait.

I wait on a slight rise above the asphalt path that winds through the park.  Trees stand strategically planted to balance the sunshine and shade.  The grass is lush, and bushes are scattered about.  It’s almost Eden.  The path separates me from the mother, other women, and their children.  People stroll past, unaware.  In the open area, a father and son try to fly a kite.  They are failing.  The son is close to tears and the father wishes for a beer.  I smile at their frustration.

A couple, next bench from me, are wrapped together and oblivious to their surroundings.  They appear inattentive, like the mother.  I am never inattentive.  Left of me, twenty yards away, on the far side of the path is a red brick public restroom.  Stand-alone style, it’s rest area size, and it’s clean.  I know it well.   “Wait,” says the voice.  I obey.

The girl returns to her game and my eyes follow her.  She is angelic delight.  

“Go,” screams the voice. “Go, go, go.”

I launch myself from the bench and three large strides carries me across the path. I charge in the direction of the restroom.  As I approach, I hear shouting and fighting from behind the building.  The couple from the bench go one way around, and I the other.

A mere second before impact, I see him.  I brace myself and lower my center of gravity.  Didn’t learn that move in the police academy.  Taught in high school football practice.  We collide, solid tackle.  I bite my tongue.  My shades fly from my face.  I wrap my arms around his middle.  We crash to the ground.  I feel the impact on the side of my head and know my eyebrow is bloodied.

Over we go.  I land on my back.  He lands on top.  My breath is gone, but I hang on.  I gasp to breathe.

 

He hits the ground face first, with no way to break his fall.  His arms are wrapped inside mine.  I hear his grunt of pain.  The impact stuns him.  I scrabble out from underneath and kneel over him.

 

“Hands,” I scream, “Show me your hands.”  Adrenaline shrilled my voice and I don’t like it.  I release my hold and crawl to sit atop his prone body.  He squirms, resists, and tries to lift himself from the ground.  Sweat in my eye and I wipe it away.  Not sweat, blood smeared on my hand.  I push the man’s face into the grass with a handful of hair, used as a rudder.

“Hands,” I scream again. My voice is closer to normal. Anger does that.  I can’t help but grin, adrenaline will do that.  I grab the left hand, twist the arm to the lower back, and cuff it.  The right hand is pulled back to meet the other, also cuffed.

I stand and notice my hands trembling.  Adrenaline again.  I take a deep breath.  The man struggles to stand, I hold him in place with a foot to the small of his back. I’m not ready to let him up.

“What the hell happened to you?”

It’s the male half of the couple.  He also has a suspect in custody.

“Everybody okay?” I ask. He nods.

“Battle scar?” he grins, indicating my forehead.

I’ll settle for that.

“We got the money and the drugs.” He waves a “thumb’s up” at me.

“Good bust,” I agree. 

From inside the neck of my shirt, I pull a beaded chain.  From it hangs my shield.  I removed my ear piece from my ear. No more voices for a while.  It goes inside my shirt pocket.

The girl hands me my glasses.  They’re fine. I put them on.  On lookers clap and shout congratulations, as we “perp walk” the suspects.  The blonde girl smiles at me.

I smile back and think, “One fish, two fish, red fish, blue, I’ll soon be seeing you.”   

Ablurrabull

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Over the course of his lifetime, my father owned hundreds of horses.  No doubt he trained, evaluated, worked with, and rode hundreds more.  At the time of his death, he only owned two. He introduced me to the horses about two months before he died.  I remember him leaning on the fence and pointing to a dark brown mare telling me, “If you cut her, she’ll bleed gold.  Her bloodline is that good.”

The mare he was talking about was Ablurrabull, who we just call Abbie.  She’s the granddaughter of a horse named Murrtheblurr who won a total of $255,000 over a racing career that lasted three years.  He ran in 40 races, winning 9, placing second 6 times, and third 4 times.  He was then retired and stood at stud.

My dad lived with me the last few weeks of his life and he underwent kidney dialysis several times a week. I remember him sitting in the chair, tubes in his arms, and telling the nurses he was going to start his comeback with the two horses he had left, just as soon as he got his strength back.  The nurses smiled and were polite.

After my dad passed, I asked people who knew the horses what I should do with them, and I was told to take them to the slaughter house.  Neither of the horses had been trained and neither, for all practical purpose, had been touched by humans.  In fact, I was told Abbie was dangerous as she was always looking to kick or bite if a person got to close.  Since she was an older horse, there was no reason to invest time, effort and money into her.

I thought about it, but couldn’t do it.  My dad was the best horseman I have ever met and if he said a horse was golden, more often than not, he was right.  It wasn’t Abbie’s fault she hadn’t been trained.  She was just born at the wrong time in my dad’s life.  It was the people around her who failed, not her.  She deserved a chance.  I set about to see she got one, and she’s made full use of it.

I sent her to a horse trainer, who spent 30 days with her.  He was expected to teach her to be led by halter, be touched and familiar with a person next to her, and let her feet be lifted, so her feet could be worked on.  The trainer did a great job, and the mare passed with flying colors. But, it gets better.

When I went to get her, I wasn’t sure how well she would take to getting into and riding in a trailer. I had visions of her going over backward, banging her head into the roof, or kicking the side of the walls. I was more than a little nervous. I was completely off base.

She was led to the trailer and she stopped and examined it.  She had only been hauled twice before and she was herded into the trailer like cattle each time.  So, she was given time to check out and examine what I expected her to willingly climb into.  After a few minutes, she did.  She stepped into the trailer as if she had been riding in them all her life.  The ride was only about 10 minutes, but she handled it like a champ.  It gets better.

A couple of days later, I had reason to haul her from north or Logan to south of Salt Lake City.  A trip of over two hours.  Plus, she had to travel I-15 with its traffic made up of semis, motorcycles, and more idiots than most places.  Again, I was worried and again, I was wrong.  She made the trip and to be honest, I think she slept most of the way.  No trouble at all.  When we got to where we were going, she stepped out of the trailer with the grace of the homecoming queen descending the stairs.  Once clear of the vehicle, she walked around me to relax and loosen tight muscles.  Each time she crossed my line of sight, she glanced at me as if to say, “I got this.”

In a few days, she will be bred to a terrific stud and later birth a barrel racing horse.  Follow along as we watch this miracle take place. Watch the development of a new generation with gold in their blood. 

 

 

Meeting Jack

 
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The name is Jack, Handsome Jack, and I like my kibble shaken, not stirred.  I feel obligated to share a few of the aliases I go by.  There is Smiling Jack, Jack-a-roo, Jack-s-Doodle, Cracker Jack, Jackson and when I misbehave, I’m called Damnit Jack.

I am an American Brittany, which is another way of saying the best bird dog in the world.  Not bragging here, just telling it as it is.  I have a high energy level, and if I’m not allowed to stay active, I can damage what you prize most.  I’m hard-headed, don’t mind unless you get my attention, and I possess the broadest range of sounds capable of a dog.

The reason I’m sharing this is to let you know I am Kwen’s new best friend.  We met like many couples do in this age of technology, on a dating site.  It was an interspecies dating site, but you’d call it the American Brittany Rescue Homepage.  My original family and I didn’t get along, so they surrendered me to the organization.  I lived in a foster home for a few months, and then Kwen and I met.  He needed a new friend, as he had just lost his Peanut, and I needed a new home.  It was a perfect match.

My job is to make sure Kwen gets out from behind his desk every so often.  I swear he would be there all day in his imaginary worlds.  And, I get to share information about animal rescue organizations and shelters.  I hope you’ll follow me and like and share my posts.  Humans were given dominion over the world, so that means you have a responsibility to care for me, my kind and all other animals.

I know you can’t see it in my photo but consider my tail wagging.  Glad to meet you.