Their Legacy

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 23, 2019

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Submitted: October 23, 2019

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A A A


Please, God, let him phone me now. Dear God, let him call me now. I won’t ask anything else of You, truly I won’t. It isn’t very much to ask. It would be so little to You, God, such a little, little thing. Only let him telephone now. Please, God. Please, please, please.

She waited and waited. Desperate, trying to imagine what it would be like once she was called upon. Maybe she’d be saved, maybe not. Maybe he wouldn’t be able to give her any good news. But it had been so long, and she’d waited…

Why am I waiting?

 Thinking back, she couldn’t remember when she’d started waiting for the first time. She could’ve sworn that it had been days, weeks, months. She could imagine how her skin must look, dead and decaying. Stinking up the dim room. She had to be careful about the smell. She had to be careful. If she wasn’t, then they might come back. And them coming back would mean she’d be killed for good.

Almost shocking herself out of her begging stupor, but not quite enough, her head snapped back to the telephone. And she let her thoughts wander as her pleas soared to the heavens once more, unaware of the cord that lay disconnected at her feet…

 

******

 

It was a gloomy day. Great, I thought to myself, this is exactly what I need today of all days. Straightening my navy blazer, I steeled myself for what was to come. I shifted my briefcase from one hand to the other. It wasn’t because it was heavy. No… it would need to contain something other than a couple of sheets of paper for it to be that. With a sigh, I took one last look at my reflection in the glass in front of me. My hair was scruffy, after my rush around the entire bus system to find myself there. My eyes were pinched from the previous night’s lack of sleep. I forced myself to smile, however, it just looked unnatural and predator-like. I decided to refrain from smiling.

Better go in now than to go in late, I muttered under my breath.

Holding back a groan, I took a couple of steps to my right and into the building. Westridge Middle school for Troubled Youngsters. It was a new school, barely three years old. And it was already having quite a few difficulties in staying open. When the governor had given the inauguration speech back then, he’d mentioned something along the lines of needing an innovative solution to reducing delinquency in the state. This was his genius solution.

In theory, I couldn’t say I disagreed. The school was meant to be one of the most innovative methods of interactive learning, with highly-skilled teachers and awesome counsellors. And at least, the outside of the building sure looked the part. But on the inside, the school much resembled a strawberry in late May; the overripe sweetness giving way to a sickening aftertaste.

I confirmed it for myself. The students looked placated enough. The teachers going from class looked cheerful enough. But there was this wary atmosphere, beyond scared, of what may happen should someone deviate from what was expected. Careful not to express my thoughts, I absorbed everything, everyone. Glancing furtively around the school’s foyer, my eyes landed on the receptionist who had already spied me out from behind her laptop.

“Hi,” I said, going straight to her desk, ignoring my misgivings of the school. At least until all this was over. “I’m here for an interview with a Ms… Bern?”

Waiting patiently, I saw the students sizing me up. They were probably wondering what I was doing there. Honestly, I didn’t know the answer to that question. I’d gone to interviews all over, but no one had seen fit to hire me. And I knew why…

“She can see you now. Go straight down that hall. It’s the last door to your left.”

I smiled and nodded in thanks, forgetting my previous mental note not to. What’s done is done, I thought, consoling myself. I made my way down the corridor. The overcast day outside seemed to be nonexistent there. Illuminated with a soft glow, and walls decorated with soothing contemporary paintings, you wouldn’t have recognized that corridor as a part of a school in today’s education. I hadn’t noticed that I had made it to the end of the corridor, until the door to my left opened, revealing an elegant woman, young, waiting for me, fixing her glasses as she asked, “Cole Harrison, I presume?”

 

 

*****

 

 

Where is she? Where?? I need to find her, I must. Angela! Please, answer me! I need you…where are you, Angela?

I could imagine her perfectly. It’s like I’ve spent my life studying her, memorizing her. I knew that there wasn’t a single part of her that I didn’t know, that I didn’t love, that I didn’t need to survive.

Angela. Where did she go? I want to see her soft brown hair again, be able to feel it. Her eyes, a cold grey to many, but to me, they were simply the most piercing of Cupid’s arrows. What was I going to do without her? I need her to be by my side. And she will, once I find her. She will never leave me again. I swear it on my sanity. No, I swear it on my love for her.

I was alone for so long. Then one day, as children, we met. We were in the same class throughout elementary school, but we only really met on that one day. She would draw on the ground during recess, and on that day, I had walked all over one of her chalk drawings by mistake. She got mad at me, her eyes ablaze with a cold fire, but I somehow made it up to her. I offered her a piece of chocolate. She forgave me, and we slowly became friends after that. I’d talk to her for what seemed like hours, while she drew and drew and drew.

When we grew up, she started hanging out with her female friends, instead of me. I’d let it go, telling myself that it was just because she was going through a phase. I’d get to see her once she’d be ready to talk to boys again. Little did I know, she was talking to boys. Just not to me. I felt my heart tear out whenever I saw her after that, almost constantly clinging to one of the scum from the football team.

Didn’t she know that that hurt me? Didn’t she know that she belonged to me, and just me, forever? She was taunting me, teasing me, I knew she was. She had to be. She was poking fun at me, but she was sharing the joke, too. She was laughing at them, too. Of course, she wouldn’t really be hanging out with those snot-nosed athletic freaks because she wanted to. She wanted to see my reaction. She wanted to make a joke out of those dogs. So, while my heart cried out to her, I laughed along with her farce, letting her know that I was onto her joke by carefully ignoring her presence when the other guys were around…

College arrived soon after. Angela… I wanted Angela more than anything by then. I approached her, hoping she was done with her little playtime with the other boys. I courted her, threw in everything I had. But she wouldn’t stop. She was in too deep. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I wasn’t supposed to be ignored like this. No no no no no no no! This won’t do. She has to be playing.

But why won’t she play with me? Why won’t she even acknowledge me? It was time. Please, Angela, I beg of you. Ignore them. Please. I don’t want to do something you’ll regret. You know I love you. I’d adore you if you’d let me.

She never came back. So,

I

took

her

back.

I

took

her

far away

to where

they will

never

find her.

 

*****

 

The interview didn’t go so well. I expected as much. It was beyond surprising that they had decided to call me in for an interview. I could’ve sworn that a school with such high standards and with such high surveillance from the public eye wouldn’t even be caught dead with meeting someone of my reputation.

Feeling a mixture of relief and dissatisfaction after the half-hour interview, I’d decided to go to a café a few blocks away. Then, with a steaming cup of mocha in my hands and an apple pie waiting to be eaten, I let my thoughts drift. The café, with its cheerful décor and minimal patronage, provided little of a distraction. However, it reminded me of a happier time. A time when a gloomy day would have been just as perfect as a sunny one.

I was transported back in time. Angela. She was a pretty one. Popular, too, even in college. I’d often see her walking across campus, almost always surrounded by friends. Of course, at the time, I didn’t know much about her. She was in my course, and we were both studying to become educators. But we didn’t talk much. I myself wasn’t much for socializing with people, in general. I’d been quite the popular guy myself in high school, but that was only because my best friend had happened to be able to make friends as easily as breathing. But in college, that fake friendship with so many others had disassembled. People continued to stick to my best friend like glue, and I just drifted away, searching for some peace.

One day, I just so happened to be finding that peace in one of the college’s outdoor study areas. I had found a bench and, ignoring the rest of the world, I started drawing. I drew without realizing what my final product would be. A face slowly emerged out of my sketches, followed by the vague impression of a female body. The figure’s ear started to grow pointed, and wings sprang from the image’s back. I lost myself in the activity, slowly coming to a stop when I notice a presence hovering behind me.

Not bothering to look behind me first, I demanded, “Can I help you with something?”

I got nothing in reply. Is there no one standing behind me?

Looking back, I indeed saw a girl staring open-mouthed past me and at my sketch. Blinking back my surprise, I realized it was her. Angela.

“I didn’t know you could draw.” She said it so smoothly like it was merely a fact. “It’s beautiful.”

It was my turn to stare in surprise. Angela, the person I’d had a crush on for a while, was talking to me. I shook myself out of my stupor. “Um…thanks.” The word bank in my head dried up and I wasn’t sure how to keep the conversation going. I doubted I’d have the courage to talk to her again after that day. But it was she who came to the rescue.

“I’m so sorry for interrupting you like that,” she hurriedly apologized, misinterpreting my lack of social skills as annoyance with being disturbed. “I didn’t think you could see me. And your drawing was so amazing that I wanted to see more of it.”

I was star-struck, to say the least. But I forced myself to act. With a smile, I said, “There’s no need to worry. I’m Cole, by the way.”

I offered out a hand while saying that last part. She took it, laughing as she did so.

“I already know who you are. You’re in most of my classes,” she managed to say, a teasing grin spreading across her face. “I’m Angela. Pleased to officially meet you.”

Soon after, I found myself being approached by her more and more often. We’d started messaging each other after school, and after a year of hanging out as friends, I finally got the guts to ask her out. She was between boyfriends at the time, and I wasn’t sure if she’d give me the time of day. I wasn’t anything like the type of rugged All-American stud that she usually went out it. But she accepted.

We graduated from college, and we were both still going out with each other. We went out into the world and started working. With that came so many challenges. However, the best part about working was that I could earn enough to propose. And I did. And she accepted. We got married, found a house in the suburbs and were just about ready to settle into a joyful life with each other, starting our own family.

Glumly, pulled into the more recent past, I stared into the dark depths of my cold mocha. That’s when things started heading south. One day, a couple of weeks after we found out she was pregnant, she disappeared. Her car was gone, and some of her clothes were, too. I couldn’t understand why. I called her and called, but she never answered. I never received any word from her. I thought back to what I might have said or done that might have upset her, but I could come up with nothing. I contacted her friends and family, but no one knew what had happened to her until eight months later…

The police came to my house. They asked about Angela. They told me to join them at the police station. They had found my wife’s body, freshly murdered, abandoned in a shallow grave at the park. They were suspecting me of her murder, saying there was a sign above her shallow grave: ‘To my dear Angela, may our love be united once you return to me.’

It was a mistake. It must have been. I told them so. I told them I had filed a report saying she’d up and disappeared almost a year before with our unborn child. They thought I’d kidnapped her. I asked why I’d do that to my own wife. They didn’t answer me. They never had enough evidence to imprison me, thankfully. However, the media coverage had been extensive. I lost my job and, until now, I haven’t managed to hold a job at a school for longer than 2 weeks. I’m sure that parents don’t want a suspected kidnapper to be teaching their children.

I stood up. Paid at the counter, leaving my mocha and apple pie untouched. My memories had left me too down to ingest anything.

The worst thing about my situation… I never said goodbye to my wife. And they never found our child.

 

 

*****

 

 

Mommy never left this phone. Mommy would never leave this house. Mommy is going to be so happy I followed in her footsteps.

Sitting down on the dusty floor of the basement was a five-year-old girl decked out in a dress a size too big for her. Next to her was a telephone. Her daddy said that her mommy loved to sit by the phone, waiting for it to ring. She would stay there all day and all night, never budging once. He told her he liked to play a joke on mommy, and she used to love it so much. He used to keep her mommy in a small room, in the dark, for hours and hours, and they would see how long it would take for mommy to stop calling to get out. In the beginning, mommy was really good at the game. She would last for the longest time… But her daddy wasn’t happy. Then, mommy started to get really bad at the game, but she won anyway because it made her daddy happy.

The little girl thought the game was fun. She wanted to be just like her mommy. She wanted to play the game. But her daddy wouldn’t let her. So instead she waited by the telephone until her daddy came back home. Once he’d be back, maybe she can ask him to teach her something else about mommy. Or maybe he could continue teaching her how to count in fives like a big girl.

Sated with that conclusion, she sat still. Only muttering under her breath, practising – Daddy will be happy – what he’d taught her, “Five, ten, fifteen, twenty twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five…”


© Copyright 2020 NathalieDFerrante. All rights reserved.

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