Trouble in the Bayou

Reads: 389  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
a short story that follows Junior as he fights his impulse to hide after witnessing something horrific.

Submitted: February 27, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 27, 2016

A A A

A A A


It was a clear and luminous night on the bayou; Junior was out sitting amongst the cypress and tupelo trees, Spanish moss hanging like a gossamer curtain from the twisting and gnarled branches above him.  He could hear the water gurgling and flowing from a little brook just out of sight. The lunar bulb was shining, lonely in the empty sky, spraying silvery-blue light down through the tupelo boughs. Mosquitoes landed lightly on his arm to taste his blood, he brushed them away.  The sounds of the swamp filled the night bullfrogs, grackle, and bats. Everything was peaceful and serene for Junior as he sat wide-eyed and staring off into the night, his thoughts his only companion. Earlier that day Junior and his best friend, Jean-Baptiste, were running around the big swamp looking for crawfish, they had found a few and they were quite good. Now Jean-Baptiste had long gone home to his beautiful wife Maria and there two sons.  Junior was alone again, this was just fine with Junior because he liked, even preferred, to be alone. It wasn’t that he didn’t get along well with Jean, it was just that Jean had a way of being so loud and obnoxious, like most everyone else Junior new, that it sometimes grew tiresome.

Junior was always very introverted and rarely spoke up in class when he was in school or at the factory where he worked now. He only ever had one person in his life that he could call friend and that was Jean-Baptiste De LaFloure. He and Jean went back all the way to kindergarten, where they played in the sandbox together.  When other kids would pick on Junior, Jean would always stand up for him, and Jean would always send his attackers away.  Jean was as good a friend as you could ever ask for and that’s why Junior loved him. 

As the years flew by and Junior found himself an outcast in high school, Jean-Baptiste stood by him.  In his senior year, he was planning for college.  He was very excited to get away from the useless, little town where his tormentors resided. The principal, Mr. Montague called him into the office one day, just before graduation.  Junior walked in, sat down and with trepidation asked, “You wanted to see me sir?” “Yes. Yes, your father tells me you’re thinking about college son, what schools were you thinking of?” Montague said, “Well there is the local university in Baton Rouge, but I was hoping for something out of state maybe, I applied for Mississippi, I haven’t gotten a response back from either school bu-” “Listen Junior, I don’t want you to get your hopes up now. So, why don’t you put this whole college business behind you?” Mr. Montague shot at him from behind the desk.  Junior attempted to answer but before the words could form Mr. Montague had started up again, “You see son, you’re not really cut out for college, you just don’t have what it takes.” “But college is my dream Mr. Montague; I got to get outa this town!” Junior retorted, “Boy your dumber than a bucket a rocks, you aint gonna make it out there and I’m helping you. Now put away those silly dreams and go work for your old man at the sugar factory like you ought.” Junior didn’t know what to say, so he left Montague’s office and went home. 

All these years later, he had still wound up at the dirty old factory. That’s what was on Junior’s mind that night in the swamp, those old and hurtful memories, Mr. Montague was a fat, old man now, and bald, with little pin prick eyes, and too much skin.  He smiled too much and that made Junior hate him even more.  However, he never did a thing about it, just took those memories and those words and pressed them down into his soul where they would shrivel and die, he hoped.

An owl screeched across the sky and pulled Junior from his reverie; he looked down at his watch, illuminated by the silver moon, and realized how late it was.  He jumped up and ran to his dad’s old Ford truck, his dad died last year and Junior had been driving the old beater for about three years now, since his dad went to live in that old folks home over in Shreveport.  Junior didn’t like to think of it as his though; it had always belonged to his dad.  Just as Junior got behind the wheel and pulled the door closed, he saw something, a little flash of light, white and sharp.  He watched a hooded figure disappear into the swamp, and then he drove away.

------------------------------------------------------------

Beau was startled when he heard the roar of the diesel as it pulled away; he hadn’t expected anyone to be out here this late.  He looked to see, and it was Junior’s old blue Ford.  Beau wondered if he’d been seen with the knife. “Nah, not from that distance.” he thought.  He entered the swamp and looked for the familiar path, he’d been coming out here for months now, and it was easy to find his way by the moonlight.  Beau’s soon to be ex-wife, Lindsey, had been making time with a man out here at his cabin.  Beau didn’t know, or care, who it was. He just wanted to make them pay, and tonight was the night.  He crept along the slow moving river, right to back yard of the cabin.  He could see lights on inside, and could just make out the forms of a man, and women in the window.  This infuriated him.  He wanted to run inside and rip them, and cut them, and hurt them. Hurt her, for all the wrongs she did to him, how she had taken his heart and smashed it into oblivion, and now was sucking this other guy off.  “Only to come home and kiss my mouth.” Beau spit with disgust.  He crept up the back porch staying low, came through the door fast and jammed the knife hilt deep in the back of his wife. The man she was blowing tried to stop Beau, but he was soon overpowered and lying in a pool of his own blood.  That’s when Beau realized his mistake, his Lindsey was a redheaded fireball, but this woman was a brunette.  He looked down at the mangled bodies in there awkward angled heaps.  Blood everywhere, on the floor, on his clothes, dripping from the shimmering blade of his knife. All crimson paint haphazardly splashed around the room, like some macabre artists wet dream.  He cried, he was scared.  How could he make this mistake? How could he have slain the wrong adulteress?  “Was I mistaken this whole time?” he thought, “No. No, I’ve been following her for a month just to be sure.” However, he wasn’t.  He wasn’t sure of anything anymore.  Run.  Leave.  Get out of here.  That’s just what he was about to do, when the crypt-like silence was broken by the sound of an old diesel as it roared away.

------------------------------------------------------------

Junior raced home at a break-neck speed, he couldn’t believe what he just saw.  “Why would Beau do this?” he thought. Junior knew Beau growing up; he was his worst tormentor, biggest bully.  He recognized that knife, the same knife Beau used to hold against his throat when he was a teenager.  That knife that Beau had gotten from his grandfather, that’s what made Junior turn around tonight, “Oh why did I have to turn around?”  Junior whipped the car into his driveway, and tore into the house. He stood, pale in the familiar living room.  Junior was trying to catch his breath, while a cold sweat broke out on his brow.  He shivered in the august heat, he was terrified.  What if he’d been seen, would Beau come here next? “Call the Police, that’s what I’ll do.” he told himself.  He reached for the phone, half expecting the line to have been cut, but there was a dial tone. He laughed at his foolish fear. Of course, Junior was safe, there was no way Beau saw him, he was being silly.  He hung up the phone with out dialing, and went to bed.Next morning Junior met Jean-Baptiste at the door, they would ride together down to the factory now and then, for old time’s sake.  Jean was sunshine today like always and beaming at Junior when he got into the van.  “Why are you always so happy, Jean?”  “Because I’m alive Junior, that’s why.” “By the way, what time you get in last night?  You look like you haven’t slept at all.”Truth was Junior hadn’t slept.  He was plagued by nightmares of what he saw.  “Around three.” he said.  “Three?!?  Jesus, Junior what are you trying to do, kill yourself?”  Junior couldn’t bring himself to tell Jean what he’d seen last night; he hoped he was dreaming anyway.  The friends arrived at the front gate of the factory complex at seven thirty, and waited for crusty old MacNaughton, the only security guard, to open the gates.  Junior was surprised sometimes that the old guard wasn’t retired; he had to be 90 at least.  Junior smiled at the man as they were waved through.  MacNaughton just scowled.  In the assigned carpool parking spot Junior and Jean-Baptiste disembarked from the vehicle and headed for the main office, to check in, and receive they’re daily action report.  This report told the men where they would be working that day, and when their scheduled breaks were, among other things.  Junior read his and sighed, “They got me with Beau again today Jean. Where you working at?”  There was no answer jean had stopped walking a while back when he’d noticed the police uniforms in the production directors office.  Junior saw them now too and wondered if they were asking questions about a murder. 

------------------------------------------------------------

Beau saw the police pull in behind him; he smiled and waved, hoping that he was doing a good job looking innocent.  He knew why they were here. They were here for him, only they didn’t know that yet.  Beau saw on the news that morning, about that poor girl and her fiancé.  It was a tragedy, really only 19 and ready to be married in just a short while.  The news said the couple was in Louisiana on vacation in a rental cabin, out in the swampland.  The news crew showed the scene real well,  they tried to sensor the blood out but there was just too much of it.  Beau couldn’t recall the victims names, he didn’t think it mattered anyway, the cops wouldn’t ask that.  Besides Beau knew the only thing that mattered was that his wife was a cheating whore, and he was going to get her for it, as soon as he caught her in the act he would get sweet, sweet revenge.  But first he had to find Junior.  He had to find out what Junior knew.

------------------------------------------------------------

Detective John O’Hallaghan was a stout man, roughly six feet tall and half that  wide.  He knew he should eat better and try to lose some weight, but looking thin and fit was for the rookies. O’Hallaghan himself hadn’t had to do any foot patrolling in fifteen years, he didn’t need to be in shape.  The detective liked the smile he got from  Beau, it seemed really genuine. “Sally you run and get me a coffee, I’ll get started on these boys here. See what they know.” “Sure boss.” That’s what sergeant detective Kim said as she walked toward the main office,  but she hated her boss.  He was a self centered, racist, sexist old pig.  She would never tell him that of course, she wanted to move up the ranks, and to do that she had to kiss-up to that fatass.  She told herself again how terrible a detective O’Hallaghan was, it made her feel good to know that he wouldn’t have closed a case in years if she wasn’t on his team.  He was a horrible investigator and always stank of whiskey. Kim’s name wasn’t Sally of course, it was Kim Min Hee, her closest friends called her Minnie.  The fat detective however called her whatever semi effeminate name came to mind when he saw her. Bastard.  As Minnie approached the complex she took a note of her surroundings, the drab, gray buildings, the windowless concrete walls.  She entered before the lieutenant, letting the door swing shut behind her.  Affectively slowing him down. “Watch what your doing Liz.” O’Hallaghan snorted, as he pushed passed her.  Minnie went straight to the coffee machine and poured a cup of luke-warm coffee from the bottom of the carafe. She knew he would blame her for the bad coffee but she didn’t care.  Together they walked into the managers office.“Uh Mr. Sharpton? I am Detective O’Hallaghan, and this is my underling, Detective..” He looked to Minnie to finish his sentence. “Kim” she said. “Yes of course Kim.” Detective O’Hallaghan look quizzically at Minnie for a moment before deciding she must be telling the truth.  He continued his prepared speech about public safety, and awareness, to get a chance to talk to the employees.  Minnie knew all his tricks and , it appeared, so did Sharpton.  The men argued silently for a moment before the officers decided it was best to get a warrant and return another day.  As they were about to step out they saw two men.  One was definitely a Cajun, about 5’9” and built to look tuff, the other was white with dark brown hair and green eyes, Minnie almost got lost in those bright green eyes, but checked herself before she was caught staring.  The detectives went out to their car and drove away.

------------------------------------------------------------

Junior noticed the pretty young detective look at him, boy was she something else.  He asked Jean if he noticed her, he said “What?  You say something Junior?” “No” he said and as they walked Jean asked Junior if he thought the cops were there about the murder last night.  “I don’t know anything about that.” Junior said, a little too quickly.  “Whoa now you didn’t have something to do with that did you?” “No , Jesus Jean what you think I murdered those folks?” “ Of course not, Junior but I think you know something.” “Well I don’t, besides I wouldn’t tell you if I did anyway I’d tell the cops.” “And you should, Junior, if you saw something last night you need to say so.”  Junior had nothing to say, so he said nothing and went to find Beau so they could get some work done. Jean walked alone for a minute before he ran into his shift partner for today,  Stacy.  Jean always told himself if he wasn’t married to the prettiest thing with two legs, he would definitely go for Stacy.  They talked about the weekend and that poor couple all day long. At lunch Jean caught up with Junior and asked once again if he knew anything. “Listen I told you once Jean, I don’t know nothing.” “ Yeah Junior, but I know you long time and I can tell when your lying.” Junior was tired of this so he told Jean they would talk in the car on the way home, and tried to enjoy his lunch.When Junior finally found Beau, he was sitting all alone in the sorting room waiting.  Junior said hello and tried to act casual. It seemed to work because Beau didn’t try to do anything to Junior. They worked together in silence for some time and when the end of day horn blasted they went there separate ways.

------------------------------------------------------------

Beau had decided that Junior hadn’t seen anything.  He imagined the diesel last night.  Because Junior was such a spaz his whole life, Beau knew he would be able to tell if he saw anything.  As Beau headed home for the night he saw her again, this time getting into the car of a balding, wealthy looking man.  He slammed on his breaks hard enough to bruise his shoulder, and almost caused a collision.  Beau couldn’t believe his eyes.  How could she do this in broad daylight?  It wasn’t enough to hurt him, she had to shame him to?  He whipped around a corner out of sight and watched, he would get her this time, he would make her pay for this. 

------------------------------------------------------------

Back at the station, Minnie and O’Hallaghan, poured through the evidence again, of the latest in a string of murders in the area.  It all started about a year ago when Beau Kompfe’s wife was found dead in her home.  Beau was dismissed as a subject by O’Hallaghan but Minnie still suspected him.  The next murder happened in the hotel on Main St a few months later.  They were seemingly unconnected, Lindsey Kompfe was strangled to death, and Jane and John Doe, found in room 49 were stabbed. Also the second murder was a couple, not a singular person.  Minnie knew that Beau had something to do with it but she couldn’t find the proof.  O’Hallaghan said it was because she didn’t know Beau like he did, he’d watched the kid grow up seen him bring home state for the high school football team, he was a good kid and would never get mixed up in something like that.  Now they were working yet another murder just months after the last.  This one involved another visiting couple not tourists like the last, they were here for their wedding and had been here for a few months getting things prepared.  They told the news crew that the couple was on vacation and that it was probably a murder, suicide. Committed by the man, they didn’t buy it and neither did Minnie.  First, where was the murder weapon?  If it was a murder suicide it would be there.  So as O’Hallaghan told her to give it a rest, she continued to pursue her killer.  That’s the reason she convinced the lieutenant to go to the factory, she wanted another chance to talk to Beau. However she knew O’Hallaghan  would never bring him in.  So she was just going to go ahead and talk to all the workers, maybe one of them was friends with Kompfe and would know something. 

------------------------------------------------------------

Junior and Jean-Baptiste drove home, they talked all about their days at work, Junior told Jean all about Beau in the swamp last night, Jean was shocked. “ Are you sure it was Beau?” “Yeah, I’m sure Jean, it was Beau, same hair same build and my God that knife Jean. I would recognize that knife anywhere.” “ Well we need to call in the authorities, Junior” “ Your right, lets got to the police station.”  Jean pulled the van hard left and made the sharp U-turn with the squeal of tortured rubber, he headed downtown.Beau watched the floozy with the old codger from his thunderbird down the street. From his position he could just see through the big, plate glass window into the living room.  He had followed her here this time, he was in a rush to get it over with, to make her pay, he was tired of waiting.  Beau reached under the front seat of the pale blue convertible, and put his fingers around the handle of his knife, he closed his eyes and imagined the joy he would feel when she was finally dead, and couldn’t hurt him anymore.  In his mind he was in the house with her with a hand at her delicate throat, looking into her eyes as she begged for him to show mercy. Of course in these recurring fantasies, just as in reality, Lindsey would get no reprieve, no mercy only death, painful and hard. He would jamb the knife hilt deep in between her ribs, she would choke on the blood as her pierced heart would fill her pierced lung, and slowly, painfully, she would die and he would be rid of her.  He felt his manhood stiffen at the thought of her anguish.  Her blood, even in imagination, excited him.  Beau got out of the car as the sun was setting, and walked the three blocks to the new home of his wife, he walked up the portico steps and rang the door bell.

------------------------------------------------------------

Junior sat in the van for what felt like hours to Jean, “We been sitting here a long time Junior, you all right?” “ Yeah I will be, just as soon as I get the courage to go in there.” “ Junior, after what you told me, you hafta talk to da police.” “I know Jean, I know. It’s just what if I’m wrong?” “That will be for the police to figure out.”Junior sighed. “Ok lets go in.”Junior And Jean went into the station, just as a distant train blasted its horn, it was a cold and mournful sound to Junior.

------------------------------------------------------------

The seven o’clock train passed as scheduled, and Emily was a little shocked to have visitors at this hour. The last thing she expected however was this aggressive stranger.  Just as she opened the door he rushed through knocking her onto the flat of her back, she went from dazed to terrified in a matter of moments. Then she swan dived into confusion, but that only lasted a minute before terror reared its ugly head once more.  As his wife opened the door all smiles, Beau pushed all his wait into it knocking her back he couldn’t help but shout and spew his anger at her with words, “ YOU BITCH! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME? I’M GOING TO GUT YOU, YOU FITHLY WHORE!”  Beau slapped her, hard, and again. He could see the blood trickling down from her lip, a single crimson trail down her delicate chin.  He couldn’t control himself.  He beat her, repeatedly, until his hands ached. Burned. Until his shoulders were sore from the gruesome exercise.  When he finally stopped all that was left was a puffy and swollen face. Beau sighed and stood up, he was right this time he knew it. But just then the old bastard she was fucking came downstairs, “Emily sweetheart? What’s the commotio-” He stood there eyes fixed on Beau, then they were on his sweet daughter and flitted back to Beau. “What have you done, my baby.. My Emily” The old man knelt beside his battered daughter and wept uncontrollably.  Then he got up and went for Beau.  Beau just stood there. Stunned.

------------------------------------------------------------

Junior found Detective Kim, and gave a description of what he saw. Minnie was very happy about what she heard, not  only was she right, but now she had a witness to at least one of the murders.  She listened raptly to Junior tell his tale.  And tried not to get lost in those green eyes again.  As Junior spoke he struggled to remember everything.  Finally, after what felt like hours, Juniors story was done.  As they were wrapping up there meeting and shaking hands Detective Kim was called out of the interview room.  She said a hurried goodbye and flew out of the precinct.  Beau was confused, he was sure he was right this time, but before he could realize what was happening the old man was on top of him screaming and punching and kicking.  Beau tried to fight back but he was spent. He went down hard and felt the old man again, he was all sinew and muscle, hard as bone, there was none of the frail old man in him, and Beau was conquered.  Beau’s vision darkend and he surrendered to the pulling darkness.When Minnie arrived, she found the scene, the beaten women and the blood.  And as she walked into the house she un-holstered her standard issue revolver.  As she searched the house, she entered the kitchen, there was Beau, unconscious, and an old man standing over him.  She identified herself, and the man could only say “ That bastard, that bastard killed my baby!”  Minnie tried to get more information from him, but it was useless.  She took Beau into custody.

------------------------------------------------------------

After six long months of trial, beau was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences at the Louisiana state mental hospital for the criminally insane, he served three months before he tried to kill a nurse and was lobotomized.  

Junior had taken a liking to detective Kim, and they had been steadily dating for the past two months,  Junior was happy and so was Minnie.Jean-Baptiste and his wife found out they were expecting twins. And detective O’Hallaghan retired after a long career.  Minnie noted that he was far less irritating as a citizen rather than a superior.


© Copyright 2019 D.J. Coupland. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Mystery and Crime Short Stories