The Savage Evening A novel

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - The Savage Evening-One

Submitted: July 11, 2019

Reads: 95

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Submitted: July 11, 2019

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_________Chapter One__________

New York, August 1, 1961

Bertrand watched the skyline of Lower Manhattan. For all intents and purposes, according to his mother and father, he was manic. He smoked a cigarette irritatedly; he smelled the acrid blackness of the tar that infected his lungs; he coughed. He wiped away the sweat from his brow with his left hand; he followed the black and white television coverage of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The sounds of New York's drivers screaming abusively at anyone and everyone in dense traffic, was part a and parcel of nineteen sixties life in America. 

Bertrand, a raging psychopath, stared outside the window of 131st Street and 7th Avenue. He wasn't used to romancing women he didn't know. He was 'damaged goods', according to Brand Holcer, the fraternity President, and Ivy Leaguer from Upper Manhattan. Holcer, who wasn't outed as queer because of the dates he was going on nearly every Saturday nights at Lowell's Lane, a hot spot for fraternities and sororities. Bertrand gazed at the picture of actor Anthony Perkins with Janet Leigh in "Psycho". He gazed at the night, and imagined the visions of death that sparked inside his head; he wasn't used to the moroseness of the singular blurring that affected his blue eyes; he stared at the crime books in the Library. Mainly it was Raymond Chandler; Robert Bloch; James M. Cain; and Richard Matheson. In short, as his fractured mind dissassociated itself from his psyche, the troublesome behavioral traits in his thought processes stymied all rationality of the experience of emotions that fed delusions of grandeur, and impulses which caused him to utter incohernent rubbish in his bed. 

Bertrand, who was a dashing twenty-six year old man, heard the front doorbell ring three times. He walked to the door as if he didn't want to be known to the intruder who was ringing and ringing; he stopped sighing, because it was creating a sense of irrational thoughts in his head. No. No. I won't open the door; no; no; no. He opened it with a sense of finality. He saw a woman smiling at him. "Bertrand, you didn't ring me. I was worried about you", Rose Marchand said dramatically. He watched her with a sense of separatedness, a psychological impulse that caused him to tremor; Bertrand, a suave pretender of human behavior, grinned falsely. 

"Come inside, Rose", he robotically stated.

And she grinned, and closed the front door behind her.

__________

"Darling, I was thinking you'd had forgotten about me".

"You're not my darling, Rose; you're here to seduce me". Bertrand gazed at the cigarette box. It was silver colored; it was from the nineteen fifties, the decade he was seeing James Dean movies; it was something he liked to tell people. Dean was a great actor; Bertrand was a great actor too, but in an unconventional way. "I seemed to miss the idea you'd forgotten about me, Rose". He lit up a cigarette; he saw the fiery embers flicker in the apartment. "Oh, I didn't think you knew Anthony Perkins", Rose shivered. 

"I don't know everyone in Hollywood, and California, Rose. Besides, I didn't know you'd bother coming here".

"But I always come to meet you, Bertrand".

He gazed out of the window.

On the television, the channel changed to a movie.

Rose gasped.

It was an edited version of 'The Postman always rings twice', the nineteen forty-six crime noir with Lana Turner and John Gavin. 

"They ruined that movie", Bertrand sighed.

He walked away from her.

He took out the Cain book from nineteen thirty-four. 

"Read the novella", he told Rose.

And she nodded.

_________

Bertrand wore a blue and grey jumper, blue long trousers, a black belt, red socks, and flat grey shoes on his feet. He had short, black hair, blue eyes, and average height. On his right hand was a watch. He sensed Rose's hesitation. "Dinner is at six o'clock. Chinese", he said. She nodded. "I can come to the restaurant and you can pick it up", she said.

Bertrand nodded.

He grabbed his wallet and keys. 

"Let's go, Rose".

She smiled, and they left the apartment together.

_______

Mister Wong, the owner of Wong's New York Chinese Restaurant, bowed. 

"Mister Bertrand, it's an honor".

"I'm collecting the order", Bertrand stated.

"$32.50", Mister Wong said.

Bertrand nodded. 

He gave him a $50 dollar note.

"Keep the tip".

"Most gracious of you".

"Let's go, Rose".

She smiled, and left through the front door. 

Bertrand walked to the apartment which was five minutes' away. 

Oliver Bach, the German-American doorman, smiled.

"Good evening, Bertrand".

"Good evening, Oliver".

The elderly doorman opened the double doors, and let him and Rose inside. He closed it again, and let four people who lived in the other apartment in the ritzy building inside.

It was a cold, fifty-two degree evening in Lower Manhattan.

___________

The doorbell rang. 

Betrand, who was eating, sighed.

"Get the door", he said.

Rose did as she was told.

"Oh, I didn't know you had company, Bertrand", Brand said. He seemed to be feeling nervous. He walked inside, and shone his sparkling white teeth. He was an Ivy Leaguer, and fraternity brother. And queer.

"It's monsterous that you're with a Grace Kelly look-a-like", he said.

He closed the front door. 

Bertrand, who had some homosexual friends in Lower Manhattan, wasn't overtly watching for signs; Bertrand was fascinated by separation of the psyche, or the self. A psychological aspect of the works of Carl Jung, and Sigmund Freud in Europe. "Have you seen Charles Olsen?", he asked him.

"Charles is in New Mexico", he told him.

"How do you know?", Brand asked.

"He was with the Myerson Group of tax lawyers at their annual retreat", Bertrand answered. He lit up a cigarette.

"May I have some?".

"Yes", Bertrand smirked.

"I was thrown out of their retreat last winter".

"I heard about that. They have standards, and strict rules".

"Yes, I know".

"I tend to neglect rules".

"Excuse me, do you want some Chinese from Wong's?", Bertrand asked him.

"Yes, please", Brand answered. Outside, in the darkness, the yells of taxi drivers continued to take over the city of New York, as Bertrand grabbed a butcher knife in his right hand. He slashed at the cheesecake in the kitchen.

And his guests screamed in horror.

_______

"Jesus, Bertrand. You're spilling the cake".

"I don't believe in spilling the cake", he stated.

He cut up the cake, and placed three slices on several plates. Bertrand smiled, as the psychosis in his brain was a neurological impairment, caused him to be emotionally distant from people, and caused mass delusions of anti-behavioral symptoms, created a sense of death to those who he loved, or disliked. 

"Eat!", Bertrand yelled.

Rose and Brand did as they were told, before they both felt their blood go cold.

__________

Bertrand smoked a cigarette.

He was smoking since he was fourteen.

He looked at the New York skyline. The rain beat downward, like a boxer in the ring bashing into his opponent in a feverish attempt at a knockout. But there wasn't a referee to say who was the winner, and who was a loser. Bertrand's behavior stemmed from a sense of disassociation in his teenage years from reality. He separated himself into parts: the young boy; the teenage boy; the man in his twenties until the here and now. 

"How did you get a get a picture of Anthony Perkins?", Brand asked him.

"I critique movies and plays on Broadway. But I love crime noir novels, too", Bertrand answered. He looked out of the window. In the library was a hardcover of 'The Executioners' by John D. MacDonald. The revenge tale was a favorite of Bertrand. Bertrand flicked the rest of the burning red and orange colored cigarette into the silvery ashtray, seemed amused by the sharp knife. It wasn't dripping blood from a wound to some intruder he killed; it was a knife that cut into the cake; it was slicing here and there, as if the end of the knife had severed the tired knots in the cake into tiny fragments. "Look here, Rose. The segments are enticing the eater to eat", Bertrand smirked. He smiled. She cast a nervous look at the cake, symbolizing a sense of dread in her heart that was thumping harder and harder. She breathed in the air, and regained her sense of worth; she stared at Brand.

He peered out of the window, and sighed.

________

"It's not something to feel attached to someone", Bertrand stated. He saw the hibiscus flowers in a glass bowl. He poured water in it, as the darkness filtered across the apartment. Other voices shifted outside; other neighbors' voices whispered in the hallway. Bertrand opened the apartment door. 

He saw Morse Campfield, Jr., the actor, smiling at him.

"Bertrand, I thought it was you". 

Bertrand glanced at the twenty-one year old man.

"Where's Daniel?", he asked him.

"He's at the Opera", he answered.

"I'm having a small party at my apartment. Would you like to come?", Bertrand asked him. Morse, who was his real name, smiled. He was twenty-three, and was compared with a young President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

He approached apartment #283a.

Bertrand opened the door.

And let Morse inside.

________

Rose glanced at Morse. 

"Good evening, Morse. I heard you were acting in a play", she said.

"Yes, it was Hamlet, the Shakespeare classic".

Bertrand closed the front door.

"It's a savage evening tonight", he stated dramatically.

"What do you mean?", Rose asked him.

"Time is short in the scheme of things", Bertrand answered enigmatically. He lit up another cigarette, as he put on a Jazz record on. The soft music played, and the small group danced for the next hour.

________

Bertrand stopped smoking.

The cigarette jar was half-full.

The Grandfather clock chimed ten-thirty in the evening.

"Time for all of you to leave, until tomorrow. Good night!". Bertrand opened the door. He kissed Rose, shook Brand and Morse's right hand. He closed the door, and locked the apartment up. He went to the toilet, and washed his hands. Afterwards, he brushed his teeth. He then was dressed in his red pyjamas, and yawned. He turned off the needle of the record, and went to bed by eleven o'clock in the late evening.

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© Copyright 2019 Robert Helliger. All rights reserved.

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