Date Published: July 2013
When crime scene cleaner Charles ‘Yey’ Reyes helps a detective friend solve a Roanoke homicide, he shuns the praise. He quickly changes his mind when his friend is killed while on duty. But this time, his offer to help is rejected by the police captain. Meanwhile, homegrown celebrity Sydney Estes buys a house near town. As the citizens swoon, Yey notices a link between Sydney and a flurry of homicides. Harangued by the captain, local media, and Sydney’s fans, Yey struggles to connect clues which will prove his theories.
Floating, but the ride was bumpy. Two jolts shook him. Vision cleared a bit.
“He’s up,” a voice said. “She only put about thirty minutes’ worth on ‘im.”
“Yep. Hurry up.”
Yey was in a wheelchair. His hands were bundled to the arms. Tried to move his legs–his ankles were bound, too. His tongue was fat and dry. Strange aftertastes lingered. Etta’s tea had been spiked.
“I’m getting hungry,” the first voice said. It was a very angry voice.
Heavy breathing. “Me too. Chinese buffet?”
“Chinee buffayy? I’m sick of that place…”
“What you want, a sandwich?”
” I’ll take a P.B. & J. over that alley cat.”
“That’s a myth.”
“You’ll never know. Hell. Cheeseburger is just as scary.”
The two men pushed him down a hall. The corridor dead-ended with an elevator. Yey was wheeled onboard and neatly swiveled around. He tried several times to look around and see his captors. But his neck was immobilized in some way, too–he could only manage a few inches. All he could tell was that one of them was very fat. His boots were huge, custom-made. Yey heard the heavy breathing, those boots striking the floor. The men snickered at his effort to see their faces. They had clearly done this before.
The elevator dropped one floor. They pushed on, passing no one. It was a fully-finished basement level. Only the ceiling emergencies were on. The innards of large buildings like this could be dark and almost silent, even in full day. The big house had been converted for feeding and housing a large group. The leather restraint straps on the wheelchair, the metal furniture and fixtures–everything appeared very institutional. He caught a glimpse of bunk beds, a sniff of pine cleaner.
Angry voice: “Kibby was looking for you.”
“He wasn’t looking for me, he was thinking about me. His eyes are too slow to catch up and look for me.”
“I hate talking to you sometimes.”
“His mouth is faster than… um… uh… his mind. Heh.”
They wheeled him into an empty room. A complicated power outlet hinted at this being a room for the ill. A place where many medical machines were needed.
Etta appeared next to the chair. “Hello,” she said, smiling down at Yey.
“He’s up,” the angry voice said. “He’s a quiet one.”
“Yea,” said the fat one. “No anger, no beggin’ or fightin’…”
“I don’t imagine he’s got much to say,” said Etta.
“You good, Etta?”
“Go on, now,” she told the men. It sounded like Gone from her mouth. “Go on and let us talk.”
Yey heard them clumping away. “Did you turn off that game of Madden?”
“It’s on Pause.”
Etta watched the doorway until silence fell.
“I knew somebody would show up asking questions sooner or later,” she said.
“That’s… that’s right,” he said. He needed almost a minute to finish his thought. His throat, so dry. The bad tea had nearly swollen him shut. Thirst was a terrible suffering. “I still have more.” He coughed and couldn’t stop, couldn’t…
She waited patiently for the coughing to subside. “Are you thirsty?” she said, when his chest had stop heaving. Her voice was so saccharine, and at the same time mocking.
He nodded as well he could, neck still held by the unseen vice.
“You want some water?”
Yey tried to snarl but he choked on it. White spittle flew from his mouth as he coughed. She giggled.
“I’ll assume you don’t want any more tea,” she said. A small refrigerator was in the corner. She retrieved a bottle of water and uncapped it. He had a suspicion that she would cruelly pour the water down his shirt or all over his face, or maybe guzzle it in front of him. But she very tenderly gave him drink. He could drink a bit at first before losing his breath, and then he accepted larger gulps. Before long the bottle was empty. Not a drop of water spilled from his lips. Yes, they have done this before….
About the Author
Chris DeBrie is an American publisher, author, and artist. He has written hundreds of news and sports articles for a variety of sources. DeBrie has independently published several novels and comic books. He lives in Roanoke, Virginia.
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