The Dove

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
This story is about redemption of a serial killer that killed six people in a span of time so long ago.

Submitted: July 08, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 08, 2017



The tire swing swoons in the wind of a day that is nearing his end. The rope of the tire swing is old; he knew that when he installed it in 1972. That was a long time ago when the old man lived another life for the six that he cannot shake, driving him to the point of total senility. He sat in the chair with more rips than the jeans that he wore on his body in this present moment, smelling the scent of stink from the pair of jeans that he has been wearing for more than a week now when he tried not to look at the tire swing anymore but the lavish design that is upon the wall.

What is this color that I cannot see? The old man named Dan Short continued to look at the many patterns of diamonds, rectangles, and squares that are on the stained pattern on the wall. The last one that he held victim in his house was the one with the barbed wires stretched around her wrists, gagged with the tighty-whities that is dirty within her mouth. She sat in the corner, unable to move with the rope tied around her ankles when Dan remembered the bell-bottoms that she wore with that flowing blonde hair with the looks of Farrah Fawcett when he reeled back to remembering Charlie’s Angels.

Dan remembered the looks in her eyes, pleading for her to let him go when he scratched the stubble that is on his chin. He felt nothing before his sins are commenced, like the first chess piece that is on the board when he got up from the same chair that he still owns in the same spot that he had all these years ago. He played that piece and didn’t let go – still.

The sun continued to go down in the west, casting twinkles of stars in the twilight that grew from orange to ochre, to lavender to purple leading into the void of black that is blacker than any night that befalls to him. Dan is retired now from the general idea of work when all he does is look at a television screen of the old shows that he watched when he was a child. There is Have Gun – Will Travel, The Rebel, Branded, The Twilight Zone, The Fugitive, and other shows that kept him awake in the late night hours, wondering when will this madness end? When?

By morning when he woke up a time ago, he remembered that he left the burner running on the gas range when he hobbled to it, turning it off underneath the pot of boiling water that is boiled into the pan when he left that alone, going to the bathroom that is within the range of the hallway to look at himself in the mirror, seeing more lines than usual upon his face as he knew that he lost more hair in the past ten years since the last time he recognized it.

“Bastard,” Someone whispered in his ear when Dan turned his head ever so slowly, seeing nothing in the scene of the room but the stitching pattern of a flower vase behind the glass that a lonely lady made for him to spruce up his house a little better.

He took it without qualms and took it with a smile. If the lonely lady living at the edge of the road was a lot younger then – forget it. It doesn’t matter. That is what the old man is thinking when it became the beginning of his petty and paranoid isolation.

The night when the sun fell on this present moment is the first time that he went to work designing something for the mailman who is a fat sort of person that has enough aftershave to kill off one hundred ant eaters before the wave kills of the flowers around him. He is always a disgusting sort that likes to hum those stupid tunes that comes out of his fat mouth with his yellowed teeth setting Dan on edge when he crept the piano wire around his left thumb, knotting it and curling around his thumb to the point that it broke skin and bled before Dan even realized that it had happened. The piano wire he found in the basement some time back is the same wire he used as the sins are committed, mixing new blood and old with the others that he willed not to speak.

He had something in mind when he started his sense of engineering craft of specializing a bomb in his little mailbox with the impact facing outwards against the metal slit when Dan remembered making nail slats with his Uncle Zane that used to drink a lot of Crown Zandt and talk about all the women that he had the obligation to have sex with. He had a .45 with him underneath the bench seat of his truck when he remembered that he bought it off of a Navy Sailor that is now dead and rotting six feet under somewhere when he used to shoot Dinty Moore Beef Stew Cans upon circular wood logs that is lathed and finished with tongue oil.

He cocked the .45 and spent the seven shells in the magazine, hitting four of the seven empties on the top of each log when he narrowed his one bad eye and cursed out loud with his breath smelling like 80 proof alcohol. The ejector slide on the .45 is locked when it revealed that the magazine is empty from the chamber that is empty as well when he thumbed the release and slid the ejector slide back into place.

“Well, that was a $1.37 spent too fast.” Uncle Zane spoke moreover to himself as Dan stood next to him with his hair still in color and still all there on his scalp of a person of divine youth.

He pulled the trigger while holding the hammer, putting the hammer back into place when he slide the gun back underneath the bench seat of his 1958 Chevy pick-up truck. Later in life he will be killed by someone in a bar with some detest over something dumb like looking at a girl at the wrong place at the wrong time. The gun is forgotten when it is sold to another person in time with a cousin by the name of Clyde Brackney. Dan Short wondered if Clyde ever found the gun. He should have, he should have.

“When you get a little older Dan then I’ll teach you.” Uncle Zane dropped the cloth as he hid the gun through the notice of plain sight when he stood up, looking at the high prairie weeds and the lonely tree that is standing beyond the line that separates his property and the world that all is shut from. For a time, Dan wondered about the lands that are around him, thinking of who lived in those places that is now owned by nothing but the birds, the deer, and the grass that grows high with no sought of change of any human molesting it. Then he thought of the bones when he dropped it altogether, not thinking about the bones that turned to dust many of many years ago. That is some time before Uncle Zane died of circumstances that is odd from natural. That is when Dan Short started to feel a little older as time seemed to travel on towards the future as his mind changed and the leaves continued to fall from the same trees, leading towards winter, leading towards the birth of another year again.

What went wrong in his life when a young man turned into a man, turning into an old man with some dark pages in history haunting him to the point that he felt guilty about it?

Through his senility and his guilt, Dan did have some moments of clarity; like an engine smoothing out on a clogged carburetor before it started to gobble for air again. This is some time before his home is invaded by the dove that flew in through the open window with the glass cracked in many places that shows that front of the house with the driveway based in rock and road pebbles. The truck that he has is a 1970’s Dodge Ram that does not show a fleck of rust on the wheel wells when if he remembered to change out the spark plugs and the wires that lead to the distributor cap. Did he do it? He couldn’t remember.

When that moment of clarity came is when he sat in the kitchen with the seat getting warmer, eating a bowl of chicken noodle when he realized that his throat is getting a little sore. He wondered if its allergies when he kept the noodles on his spoon, scooping it up like a graceful child that is inside his body. That is when he thought of the faces of the six when he dropped the spoon in the bowl.

“I remembered. I remembered all of it like seeing through a crystal. The crystal is hazy with dirt but now it is clear to me. I don’t want to. I can’t remember this for it hurts me so.” Dan dropped his elbows on the counter with his hands planted on each side of his temples, trying and hoping for the pain not to get there before it is too late.

The six…He cannot forget; the six that is claiming his mind into complete torture, the six that will not leave him alone, the six of the darkness that is coming to him, the six that is burning insanity into his mind like the senility that is already playing with his springs until they break in his head. Why can’t they leave him alone?

He ruptured his patience as he swiped the bowl to the side, splattering the soup on the wall beside him as the bowl shattered on the floor in many ceramic pieces. He didn’t clean it up for almost six hours when he went around the room with his mind trying to get back to the point of not realizing what is today and tomorrow anymore. Little did he realize that he had the bomb in the mailbox for his somewhat loving mailman could reel to the last moments of his life when he opens it, getting the surprise of his life when his sight sheds light until forever darkness takes him into some plane of existence that all will know well some point in the end.

When tomorrow and today collides again, he sat in his favorite chair and watched old reruns as the chicken noodle congealed on the floor when it is shaded into darkness. When the morning comes, the light cannot touch him on the day when the dove flew in. In that morning of forgetting the surprise in the mailbox, Dan heard the bustles of light traffic outside his house. The grass is swaying in steady tangents upon the ground when the tire swing swayed to and fro in the light that is brighter than yesterday with no cloud in the sky. He came up from the bed, hearing the cracking from his lower back as his vertebrate breathed a sigh of relief as his feet dropped on the hardwood floor. Little did he realize that he had his slippers underneath his bed when he rose to the occasion of another day in the scene of mere nothingness for a man who has no sense of job anymore? He walked to the kitchen to get three eggs from the egg carton that is so dented up that he is surprised that the eggs are still intact when he fetched them out from the dimples, cracking the eggs into a warm skillet that is scalding on the gas range. After that is done, he waited for the eggs to cook, turning off the gas range before getting the toaster from the cupboard underneath the counter, making four pieces of toast with the setting tuned to medium that creates a brown texture on the bread when he smelled the room that is sweet since he remembered smelling the cookery that his mother did a very long time ago.

He remembered his mother when she told him to button up his jacket on cold days, don’t wade in puddles with your shoes, and make sure you have your gloves on when you go outside and play in the snow and make sure that your hat is on your head. He missed his mother. It is a shame that he cannot remember her face anymore when he felt bad, like crying bad when he jumped as the toaster signaled it is done, pulling the plug out from the wall. He went to the living room when he heard the steps fall upon the stoop of his house when he realized that the mailman is here to stuff some more junk into his mail slot.

The man that does the mail is Lyle Welsh who has been doing this job for more than twenty years now and he never hurt a hair on anyone’s head. That is before he got divorced a third time from a different woman. That is when he changed. He changed into something that Dan Short cannot remember now when the boots stopped on his stoop on the other side of the wall when Dan brought one of the pieces of bread and ripped it in half, dipping the bread into the yoke when an explosion happened on the other side of the wall.

The house shook as the studs in the walls cracked, cracking the drywall when he fell towards the table in front of him when he did something instinctive, putting his hands out in front of him as he wondered what in the hell happened?

He stood up from the table, jogging as best as he can to the hallway, leading himself to the door when he opened it, peaking his head out when he saw the nasty mess of what is left of Lyle Welsh with his stomach blown open and his guts hanging through the hole in his back. His face is rationally disfigured when Lyle placed his hands upon his face, wondering what happened, what in the hell happened as he backed up from the porch, back into the hallway with his head not turning when somewhere he heard the coo coming from the mantelpiece.

As he entered the living room, he heard the coo of a bird on his mantelpiece when he arrived to the fact that the bird is cloaked in the color of white. It perched there on the mantelpiece, watching him as the one eye in its socket started to unveil something unnatural as he continued to watch when the eye started to veil into a color of red, like an ember red that is growing brighter while the dove stayed still, not even moving a muscle when something exhaled behind him.

When he turned he saw a tall figure standing there with ratty clothes and a hat crooked on the top of his long face. The beard is white and long when Dan saw the lines upon his face when he smelled the scent of tobacco upon the man that is suddenly hear without an invite.

“Why did you do it?” The man spoke, sounding sweet but deep in the throes of dark that placed a haunting image in the center of Dan mind.

“What?” Dan replied with his heart sinking through his stomach. He didn’t know where the man came from when he took his hat off from his head. It is one of those hats that Gandalf wears from Lord of the Rings with the texture of the hat all moth-eaten and worn from the years of age. Underneath the hat is a mat of white hair that stayed in place, eyeing Dan with no sort of revenge or callus anger that is in those normal eyes when Dan wondered where he came from?

“The bad, evil actions that caused so much pain; why did you do it?”

“I don’t understand.” Dan licked his lips as he kept his composure in check.

Dan didn’t know that the neighbors came out of their houses to wonder what that was as Dan on the inside is talking to someone that could be there and could not be there. It is forever to complete that theory as the man in the ratty cassock keeps talking to him.

“Is it something that cross your mind as you woke up one morning with the depravity of depression wearing your mind down to the point where it is now?” The man says, cocking his head a little to the side when Dan forgot about the dove that is still perched on the mantelpiece.

“What was running through your mind when you butchered those six girls that you done in this very house that you eat, sleep, and defecate? What was running through your mind?” The man pointed at the wall that is behind Dan when he turned his body. He started to sense the wall changing into a swirling vortex that is swirling counter-clockwise with colors changing over into a prism that purged into black, changing into a rainbow of colors that turned into black when the black becomes clear into a power that Dan can feel as he remembered the emotion flooding into his brain like a power source firing up that hasn’t been fired up in a very long time.

He remembered what he feels when he wobbled on his feet, trying to find something to keep him up when he finally touched the mantelpiece that is next to him. The dove stayed in place as it continued to flash its eerie red fire in the room.

“This is what you felt. Now, will you submit?” The man spoke in a deep tone that sounded like the voice of a forgotten country singer that used to be king of the radio so long ago.

“I don’t understand. How did you get here?” Dan pleaded with the guy that is standing before him. Also little did he realize that someone around where he lives is calling the police right now.

“What is this truth that you are trying to gain?” Dan flashed his sense of anger in his expression when the man starts to chuckle in his room.

“This truth is for you and you alone. I was not the one that did this – you did.” The man smiled like he has something hidden behind that smile that is close to menacing.

“You are the one to walk down that path, not me.”

“Who in the hell are you?” Dan spoke when the man answered from his lips.

“I don’t believe it.” The blood drained from Dan’s face when the man continued to convey pain into his heart for what he truly is.

It is a matter of time before he breaks.


Officer Chris Church sat in his police cruiser with the unit car detailed: D-147, holding a cup of coffee in one hand and a doughnut in the other hand. He felt the tiredness in his feet as he counted off the last hour that he has on the night shift on a day that is burning holes in his mind. He felt the pain in his irises when he placed the coffee in the cup holder, underneath the computer that is linked to the police database where he can run people through for warrants, child support claims, and outstanding fines that citizens cannot pay for when he thought this day is going to be dull. It was far from dull in the minutes after the call he set his sights on the edge of town of a potential sound of an explosion that rocked some people’s windows in the trim of their houses. He responded dispatch when he set his doughnut on the shotgun seat and geared the transmission into drive, heading out to the boonies that are never called on peaceful circumstances. It took him less than five minutes to get to the residence that is posted on dispatch when he saw one person standing on the edge of their property, looking towards the residence on where the explosion came from when they saw the cruiser with no wave accompanied to Chris Church.

It didn’t matter. Chris is tired as his foot felt like lead and his eyes felt like jello when he got to the edge of the driveway, pulling in with his eyes scanning every part of the property. As he got to the house, Chris sees the person sprawled on the porch when his lights flashed on over his car, breaking wind up the driveway as he skidded to a halt, gearing the car in Park and jumping out with his hand on the butt of his gun.

“Whoever is in the house, come out!” Chris kept behind his cruiser, pulling his gun when he looked at the uniformed public worker sprawled out on the porch.

My god, it looks like Lyle Welsh. I dealt with him before on less positive matters with his ex-wife. He used to beat her after coming home from work every night for the sense that he thought he can get away from it. Someone punched Lyle Welsh’s ticket.

Chris Church continued to scan the property with his eyes clocked on the front door, hoping that some crazy loon doesn’t come out with a loaded twelve gauge and start blasting all of creation. Chris hoped and waited for the outcome to conspire.

He reached through the open window, grabbing the mike off from the hook when he contact dispatch on getting a second unit out here. At the same moment is when Dan Short came out with his hands raised is when he dropped the mike on the door.

“Get down on the ground!” Chris commanded, holding the gun and pointing it at Dan Short. They didn’t know each other at all. Chris never saw Dan Short ever in his life.

“I give up. I can’t live with it anymore.” Dan chortled with his eyes rising up to the sky before closing them. At the same time, the dove came out from the open window and flew to the sky as it rose up and up to the heavens that it can no longer see. Dan kept his eyes closed in submission as tears roll down his face.

“I give up. I see it now…I give up.”

Somewhere in the distance, a mourning dove started to coo in the outskirts of Lawson, Ohio. It sounded peaceful and peculiar at the same time as the world continued to spin on its axis.


© Copyright 2019 Adam Steele. All rights reserved.

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