Things You Don't Mess With

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
Two men travelling for an unknown cause, to an unknown destination with a three year old child . . .

Submitted: July 20, 2012

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Submitted: July 20, 2012

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It was a beautiful June day as a black SUV sped down a deserted road. Inside this particular black SUV were two middle-aged men, and a small boy only three years old. The driver was a slight man who had a high balding forehead, with a light dusting of strawberry blonde amongst the remaining hair. His companion was slightly shorter and heavier, and had brown hair combed to the side. Each of the men were donned in black, and their faces were smooth from any line that could specify emotions. Their young passenger on the other hand chattered happily to himself as he played with his worn stuffed dog and small toy car. His small sandaled feet dangled in the car seat as the road gave the car an occasional bump in their journey.

 

"It's too bad Jessie wouldn't come." The driver said calmly.

"She can't stomach these things; you know that." Came the monotone reply from the passenger.

"You know Paul, I can't say I blame her, it is easy to burn out in this job. Especially for women." The driver chortled to himself at his comment.

 Paul remained quiet for a moment."They do seem to have a problem when it comes to children. Ed the next turn is up here."

 

Silence ensued after the simple direction as Ed, the driver, veered off the road onto a major highway. A full hour passed before anything else was said between the three passengers, and in that time the small boy in the back had managed to tucker himself out and fall promptly asleep.

 

"We should stop for food soon. I saw a turn off for a restaurant on the last sign." Ed said as he checked his rearview mirrors carefully.

"Sounds good to me. So does she know that we are bringing him back?"Paul asked suddenly as he glanced back at the boy who still was clutching his small dog.

"No. You remember what her reaction was when we took him away. She nearly found the entire base and she would have dismantled it trying to find him. It's better if she doesn't have any contact." Ed turned off the highway and pulled into the restaurant parking lot. The sign above read Gabriel's Grill. It was well maintained, and looked clean which suited their needs sufficiently.

 

"We will stop for an hour and then get back on the road. We should get there by mid-afternoon." Paul unclipped his seat belt and stepped out of the car as though he had only been sitting for a quick 15 minute drive, instead of 3 hours on a plane and 3 hours driving. He opened the back door and awoke the child by unclipping his seatbelt.

 

"Charlie we are going to have some food now okay? Time to go inside."

"Mommy?" Charlie asked rubbing his eyes as he began to be aware of his surroundings.

"Not yet." Ed called out as he clicked the locks on the car.

"Soon Charlie. Another few hours and you'll see her again." Paul added to Ed's statement as he lifted his passenger out of the car seat.

The child and man remained holding hands as the trio made their way across the parking lot to the front doors. There were only a few other cars in the lot and in one of them was an elderly man fast asleep. This did not interest Ed, or Paul though. They walked with determination and with a goal in mind. Their backs were rigid, and even though Charlie zigged and zagged in his lope, his body was aimed in one direction only.

 

They were seated immediately upon entering the cold shadowy restaurant, and the hostess commented on how adorable the little boy was. His big dark blue eyes peering up at the world with such wonder and awe . . . it made it hard for anyone to resist him. The waitress complimented Ed and Paul on their bravery on raising a child in a gay household, and the only response she got were two stony faces. It had not been the first time that mistake had occurred, and it would not be the last. As she hurried away to fill their orders the two men took it upon themselves to talk quietly.

 

"It's hard to believe that this three year old is the savior." Paul clucked as he watched Charlie standing by the aquarium of lobster across the dining area.

"I know. When you look at him he is just an ordinary little boy, albeit an incredibly behaved one." Ed laughed as Charlie continued to be completely absorbed in what he was doing. "What makes it especially miraculous is how he was conceived."

 

Paul's face turned even more grim than before. "The product of rape. An unfortunate circumstance for sure." The two of them zoned out momentarily as they stared off into space wondering at the awe and mystery that surrounded their ward.

 

"His mother is to be commended. Keeping him, working, loving him the same amount as if he were conceived with a mate of her choosing." Paul continued his eyes still transfixed on nothing but air above Ed's head.

 

"Yes. Shame we had to take him away. Luckily for her it's clear that he is not meant to be surrounded by our faith groups during his upbringing." The two men allowed another long stretch of silence to ensue as Charlie returned to them and settled into his booster seat in time for their meals to arrive.

Charlie continued to fill the space with questions about lobsters and what happened to them when they were removed from the tank. This took up the rest of the time in the restaurant, and only subsided when they loaded him into the car.

It wasn't long though that the two men grew weary of the child's yammering and so they turned on the CD player to the one band that would silence and soothe Charlie like no other.

The Beatles.

 

Neither Paul or Ed had children. They had abandoned the possibility of that life when they joined their religious order. Their jobs weren't always morally sound, and they were asked to sacrifice personal lives in exchange for what they believed to be the greater good. In the process, the small voice that used to be a conscience was silenced, and they gradually became shells that worked for the ones that were believed to be "enlightened". Women in their work tended to have a harder time cutting off the maternal instinct in cases such as this one. Removing a two year old from his mother's care in order to see if he is destined for greater things was something only a select few could handle, especially when they were also asked to monitor the family after the child had been removed. Some even went insane with the guilt as they watched some mothers break down, or in extreme cases; take their own lives.

 

It was mid afternoon when they pulled into a parking lot in a worn down city. The city had once been polished and of high status, but all that remained were the tainted buildings and people that were left behind after they had been used up. A dentists office, a convenience store, and a bakery were the only remaining open stores in that particular plaza. As Paul and Ed unfastened their seatbelts, they looked at each other for a brief moment, both aware of the gravity of the situation at hand.

They turned off the CD that had been playing on repeat for the last part of their journey, and stepped out of the car. They unbuckled Charlie and set him down on the ground.

 

"Charlie you are going to be a big boy and go into that bakery okay? After that you are going to be fine." Paul said to the small boy who despite his earlier nap looked tired again. Charlie nodded his head as he glanced wearily at the plain front of the bakery.

As he set off walking, the two men got back into the car and watched his progress through binoculars. There was an older woman in her late 30's working, and then there was the 19 year old with her long brown hair, and large brown eyes. Her son resembled her in many ways . . . but it was clear that he carried many physical similarities to someone else as well . . .

*

 

It was just another day of work to Eva. The few customers that came in were usually rough or families that were barely making enough to pay for food. That was how it had always been though . . .

Eva hadn't minded in her entire life that she was trapped in the cycle of poverty, or of overexposure to the cruelty of mankind. She had what she had wanted out of life: a highschool diploma, a job she didn't mind, and her own apartment. That was all she had ever desired, she didn't feel as though she needed anyone. Her parents weren't horribly cruel, but they were distant. Uninterested and cold to their daughter and their son. Eva's brother had died two years prior when a car had sped into him and took off, and even then her parents carried on their usual routines.

No, Eva hadn't cared deeply about anyone other than her brother her whole life; until Charlie.

She had been walking home late at night after forgetting her purse at the bakery when a man had attacked and raped her. Eva would never forget the sinking feeling she got when she realized her screams and cries were swallowed into a night where no one and nothing could stop what was happening.

It was strange to think of that night compared to when Eva had found out she was pregnant. When she heard the words from her own doctor that she was carrying a child as a product of rape . . . she was in silence for two days.

After she found out, the memory of her rape dimmed slightly as she felt warmth within herself. A life she already was attached to and loved completely and unconditionally in a way she never knew to be possible, had begun.

 

The first moment she held him she had cried. It was the day she wanted more in her life than just a quiet apartment and a steady job. It was the moment she wanted better for herself so that she could give the most to her son. Eva's brother Thomas had left all of his money to his sister and his nephew, and with that money Eva was going to place a down payment on a house in a small safe town an hour away from the wasteland city she had lived all her life.

Then the two men came. Talking about how her son was Jesus Christ reincarnated. There to save the world . . . She told them to get away from herself and her son.

 

They took him from her while Charlie was at daycare, and she knew they were somewhere watching when she went to pick him up after work and discovered the police there questioning the owner of the daycare. Eva knew that they saw her fall to her knees, and completely collapse in hysterical tears as the police told her that her son had been taken.

Every part of Eva died in that single moment of time. She couldn't fathom her life without her child, and trying to think about him gone for even the fraction of a second was 10 times worse than a painful death.

She took the money that she was going to use on the house, and instead chased the ones who had taken him "in the name of God". She had almost caught up with them when the trail suddenly went cold.

Eva was reduced to nothing after that. All she could do was wait everyday for her son to come back to her. She thought of him every day, and missed him more every day.

 

So on the sunny June afternoon she stacked the loaves of bread behind the counter as she always did lost in her thoughts. The bell on the door jingled as it declared a customer entering.

When Eva turned around, she didn’t' see anyone there. It wasn't until a small movement from the floor drew her attention that she looked down to see the three year old staring up at her, clutching a dog she had given to her son Charlie when his uncle had passed away.

 

Eva felt her knees weaken as she stumbled out from behind the counter towards the little boy who she thought she would never get to see again as long as she lived. He smiled at her and said.

"Hi mommy."

Eva collapsed on the floor and hugged her son as tears streamed down her face like rivers. The feeling of love overwhelmed, and choked her as she held on to him as tightly as she could. She was never letting him go, ever. She loved Charlie more than absolutely anything in the world, and she was going to give him absolutely everything she could so that he could have the best life possible. She knew that Charlie was special in the world, but it didn't matter if he was Jesus Christ's reincarnation or not, he was hers. He was the most precious part of her.

 

"I love you Charlie."

 

*

 

Ed walked out of the restaurant bathroom to where Paul sat calmly with the car keys in hand. The two men decided to grab an early dinner then return to catch their flight back after they had dropped off Charlie. As they left the restaurant and crossed over to their car, they noticed something peculiar about it.

There was the shadow of a person leaning against the vehicle.

 

As they approached Eva walked out from beside the car. Her face as emotionless as their own, and her attire was all black.

"I've looked for you two for a year now." She said quietly.

 

The two men looked at each other briefly before looking back at her. "How did you find us now?" Paul asked tilting his head to the left side.

 

She shrugged briefly as a response, and didn't say anything to answer their question.

"You made a mistake." Eva said instead.

 

"You don't believe your son is the savior?" Ed asked sounding completely surprised for once. Paul shot him a look to inform his partner how much of a fool he was.

"No. I know Charlie is the savior. Your mistake was thinking that I was Mary. The virgin who gave birth because God chose her."

 

"Well yes, the rape did take away your biological virginity, but emotionally, spiritually, and mentally you are a virgin." Paul said skeptically as he watched Eva with growing suspicion.

 

"I don't mean virgin in that regard. I know I am a virgin in those categories, but virginal also symbolizes purity and a form of perfection. I am neither of those. However, I have a theory of my own. Mary in the Bible was a dutiful and good woman; I don't doubt it. What I disbelieve is that she didn't at some point have to protect her son in a way that was less than holy." Eva paused as the two men conveyed no emotion at her speech.

"You see, I know you two. More than you think I do. Neither of you have wives or family because of your work; and that is because you need to be cold. What you don't know is how deep love can be. You fail to realize how the last thing you should mess with, is coming between a  mother and her children. You might do some dark things believing that you are doing it for the greater good, but what you don't realize is there isn't a dark place I wouldn't go for my son, and it doesn't matter about the greater good. All that matters is Charlie being safe with me."

 

For the first time in years, both Ed and Paul began to feel the small tickle of fear in their chests as Eva straightened her shoulders. For the first time in almost a decade they began to actually feel something . . . and that something was the minute understanding that they had crossed someone and something much bigger than they originally realized.

 

Eva looked them both in their widened eyes with her own piercing brown ones.

"If your leaders are so "enlightened", make sure they get my message: Stay away from my son and myself, or nothing from Heaven, Hell, or Earth will be able to save you." Before there was a response, Eva pulled a gun from the back of her jeans, and shot Ed in the chest. As she turned the gun to Paul, she saw that he was ready and waiting for it. She saw that he had wanted it for many years. She saw that there was still humanity in him screaming to get out that couldn't take another moment of the life he lived.

Eva walked up to him and placed the tip of the gun into his forehead as he looked at her and said:

"Thank you. Take good care of him Eva."

She pulled the trigger, and spilled his brains all over the pavement next to his partner. His eyes remained open with the same emotion they held before his death, only now they stared at nothing. Eva looked down on Paul and continued staring for a moment. She knew Paul better than he realized . . .  in fact she knew exactly who he was.

He was Charlie's father. 


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