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Creative Writing A place for forum members to post their poetry, short stories and other creative writing.

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  #1  
Old 02-20-18, 12:06 PM
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Witness Protection (a story)

Chapter 1



October. The geese were frantic to escape the inevitable frost. The sun had just started it's daily announcement. It was to be fair weather.

My morning stroll alongside the gravel road gave me time to clear my head from my nightly terrors. This particular morning I had woken up just before dawn, and decided that trying to fall back asleep wasn't worth the effort. An extra cup of coffee would do the trick. A red pickup rushed by. The driver had a deep scowl. I covered my face from the dust stirred up by the truck.

The city used to be the place for a man like me. I enjoyed the jazz clubs and the women I met in the bars. My business grew quickly, employing over 200 people. I didn't think I could be happier. How I wished for those days again.

Presently, ahead of me on the side of the road, I saw a duck who seemed panicked. It stood near the edge of the road, yelling at any living thing that passed by. I suppose it was hoping for a good Samaritan: it settled for me instead. As I approached, the duck started to fly away, but then circled right back to where it had been. I stopped a few yards away, hands in my pockets to keep warm. The duck stared at me, pleadingly. Then it started into the reeds, beckoning me with it's call.

I followed, discovering an overgrown path which was otherwise unnoticeable from the road. The duck led me along the trail, glancing back often to make certain I was following. The thick reeds were difficult to navigate, and the groundwater was challenging to avoid. I wished I had my waders.

The sun was well above the horizon by the time we cleared the reeds. Ahead of us lay a large plot of land which covered many acres. A blue house stood at the end of a dirt driveway, near which a large oak tree stood decorated with a homemade tire swing. On the far side of the yard stood a barn which had once been bright red, complete with a large sliding door. There were no vehicles parked in the yard, and I started to feel anxious in the silence. Even the trees seemed to be holding their breath.

The duck waddled through the yard, glancing back as if it were asking me whether I was coming. I glanced around, and followed it to the barn. Even before arriving at the barn, I could feel some intense emotion inside the rotting wood walls. As I reached for the door, a putrid smell hit me, causing me to gag. I held my breath as I pulled back the door.

There was plenty of sunlight to see the source of the stench. I had to turn away from the two bodies that lay on the ground. I didn't think a person had that much blood in them. Forcing myself to take another look, I identified the victims as an older man and woman, at least in their 60's. They both had holes in their head from a gunshot. It seemed close range from the width of the spatters, which aimed to restore the brightness of the original paint.
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  #2  
Old 02-28-18, 12:12 PM
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Re: Witness Protection (a story)

Since I don't take my cell phone with me on walks, I decided to try the house. Assuming that it was the residents that were in the barn, I checked the front door, which wasn't locked. I found myself in the kitchen, and looked around for a phone, but there didn't seem to be one there. I noticed a small backpack, clearly for a young child. A glance at the fridge confirmed my suspicion that indeed a young child lived in the house. This alerted me to the concern of the child's safety. I thought about going to check the barn again, but decided to look around the house first.

I called out gently as I searched each room of the house. I wondered whether this child was a victim or a witness. Ensuring whoever may have been listening that it was safe to come out, I heard a soft shuffle coming from behind the couch in the living room.

“It's all right,” I said, approaching. “I'm here to help you. You're safe now.” I pulled back the couch, revealing a young boy cowering against the wall. It was clear by his face and his wet pants that he was quite traumatized. There was no telling how long he had been hiding behind there. He backed away from me as I knelt down on the floor. “It's okay, “ I ensured him again. “I'm not going to hurt you. I'm here to help.” I reached out my hand. The boy took it, hesitantly, and I helped him up. I gave him a sincere smile. “Do you know where the phone is?” He nodded and pointed upstairs. Still holding my hand, he lead me up.

He brought me to a door, and stopped in front of it. Then he looked up at me uneasily. This must have been the old people's room. Too old to be his parents, I gathered they were his grandparents. Perhaps he was spending some time with them, or maybe he lived with them. “Is your room up here?” I asked him, to which he gave me a nod. “Why don't you go change your clothes while I make a phone call?” The boy gave another nervous glance at the door before starting down the hall to one of the other rooms.

Entering the room, I surmised that it was not the victims' room. It was clear by the beer cans and the shotgun mounted on the wall that this was a single male's room. So it was either an older brother, or the father. My concern for the boy grew. I saw the phone on the end table next to the bed. Reaching for the receiver, I noticed something in the drawer which was ajar. Opening the drawer all the way, I saw a gun, which I picked up. Underneath it, lay a police badge. I gathered that the boy's father must work in local law enforcement. As far as I knew, the only local police was the County Sheriff.

I picked up the receiver, and started to dial 9-1-1, when I heard a car door close followed by some undistinguished cussing. Stepping quickly to the window, which happened to be facing the out the front of the house, I saw a red pickup in the driveway. It was the same one which had driven past me earlier that morning. Fate graced me with a glimpse of the driver as he stormed towards the house. Blood stained his shirt.
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  #3  
Old 03-02-18, 12:51 PM
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Re: Witness Protection (a story)

*Disclaimer: The story gets kinda dark at this point.

My immediate concern was for the boy. I rushed down the hall searching for his room. Entering the only open door, the sight of solar system bed sheets told me I had found the right place. The boy peeked out around the corner of his closet holding a shirt which he hadn't yet put on. His eyes held a hesitant curiosity, which turned quickly into panic from the sound of the front door slamming open. Quickly, I grabbed the boy, frantically looking for a place to hide. He stopped, and pointed to a door in the middle of the hallway, just the left of the stairs. It was a linen closet, with just enough room for the both of us to squeeze into with the door closed.

The man stomped through the house, enraged. “Where are you, you little b******?” Presently, we heard him bang into something, cussing as he did, before continuing his rant. “If I get my hands on you, you're dead! Understand?” We heard him march clumsily from room to room, throwing things, and breaking most of them. His cussing was relentless.

It was clear he was under the influence of some sort of substance, most likely alcohol judging from the beer cans in his room. “You clever little s***...” We heard him say. “When are you going to learn to stop ******* yourself?! Well don't think I'm going to be cleaning that up!” He must have found the couch, which hadn't been moved back.

He called up the stairs. “Ain't nowhere else to hide, you little ****!” As he made his way up, the boy wrapped himself around my leg. I gave his shoulder an affirming squeeze. We waited in terror as we heard him tear from room to room, screaming threats all the while. He must have been too drunk to think about looking in the linen closet. After searching through all the rooms, he screamed, “Where the h*** are you?!”

Then he gave up his efforts. We listened as he enter one of the rooms, most likely his bedroom, gathered a few things, then clattered back down the stairs. We waited until we heard the muffled sound of the pickup engine drive off. Then we waited awhile longer.
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  #4  
Old 03-12-18, 09:36 PM
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Re: Witness Protection (a story)

I opened the closet slowly. The boy starting whimpering, losing control of his breath. His pants were wet again. I was beginning to understand where the drunken man, who I assumed to be his father, had got his nickname for the boy. Patiently I encouraged the boy to calm his breathing. “You can be upset later. Right now you need to be brave, got it?” He nodded his head as his sobs slowed. “We need to get out of here quickly. Go get some clean clothes again, and I'll look for a suitcase or something.” He nodded again, and turned towards his room. I remembered the backpack in the kitchen. “Oh! I'll be right back.”

I ran down the stairs. The house was unrecognizable from earlier. There was broken glass, scraps of wood, and papers scattered everywhere. I made my way to the kitchen. Dumping out the backpack, I saw a folder with a name on it; Devon. I hurried back upstairs to the bedroom. The boy had changed his pants, but was still shirtless. “Devon?” He looked up at me in surprise. “Is your name Devon?” He nodded his head. Seemed like a cat had got his tongue, which wasn't surprising given the circumstances. “Okay. Quickly, put your shirt on and grab some extra clothes. We'll go back to my house where we should be safe. Then I'll call... someone... and we'll get all this sorted out.”

Devon pulled his shirt on, and came to get the backpack from me. He opened it up, and set it on the ground near the closet. He gathered a few pairs of pants, which were folded neatly, along with a couple of shirts and some pairs of socks. I suggested extra underwear. He nodded again. Even though he wouldn't talk, it wasn't hard to understand what he was trying to communicate. Before we left his room, he grabbed a stuffed raccoon from off his bed, finding room for it in his backpack. Then he zipped it up, putting it on his back.

When we got to the bottom of the stairs, I remembered the broken glass. Taking Devon up in my arms, I carried him over to the door, where he found his shoes, slipped them on, and fastened the Velcro. “How old are you, Devon?” He held up one hand, fingers spread wide. It was I that nodded this time. “Okay yeah, five. That sounds about right.” Standing up, he grabbed his backpack straps, and looked up at me before we headed out the door.

When we stepped outside, I turned towards the reeds. The duck that had led me here was sitting along the edge of the reeds, apparently waiting for us. Devon waved to the duck, who answered with a single quack. I couldn't believe it. The duck was the boy's pet.

Starting towards the duck and the reeds, I was stopped by a tug on my arm. Devon pointed towards the barn, the door of which was still open. I didn't understand why he needed to go back to the barn. “No Devon, we need to get going. Come on.” Devon insisted on going to the barn, and left me behind as he marched towards it determinedly. Reluctantly, I started to follow him, but we both stopped when we heard a loud engine coming down the road towards the house.

Looking through the reeds, I caught a glimpse of a red pickup. “Devon, we need to go, now!” I waved towards the reeds, which was the closest place out of view of the yard. Devon obediently ran with me to the reeds, and we managed to jump into them and duck down out of sight before the truck pulled into the yard.

The truck parked, and the drunken man stepped out again, making his way towards the barn. He seemed to be carrying a large bucket, and a pair of rubber gloves, as well as some other rubber clothes. It was hard to make out from where we were hiding. “Is that your dad?” I asked Devon, as he nodded as his eyes grew wide with fear.
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plant, what's your excuse?
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