It slips in like the fog on a spring night Dark, insidious, lending a black pall No joy can be found, oh that can’t be right As depression leads it has that much gall There is no recourse unbearable pain Not physical but real pain nonetheless Although you look you can find no true gain Your house, your life, your mind a cluttered mess Anxiety is its only real friend Paranoia keeps itself always close Sometimes you wish that everything would end You’ll need medication in the right dose Therapy helps if you meet the right one Perhaps one day you’ll once again find fun
Had to take some time out to write a story for my Creative Writing class. So no Shelley installment tonight. Well, unless I go to bed and they start talking to me. Then I'll have to get up and write some more. Anyway, here is a short about Jake and Drew, two original characters.
Hey, Jealousy They say that no one can piss you off faster than a loved one. Well they, whomever they are, are right. Drew loved Jake with every fiber of his being, and had since the day they first met. It truly was a case of love at first sight. But right now, if you asked Drew, he probably couldn’t tell you a single reason why he loved the infuriating bastard so much. It was a beautiful fall Saturday, and they both had off, which was a rarity. Jake worked construction and was usually working overtime this time of year. Drew was a bookseller at the local independently owned book store Carpe Librum. It was almost Christmas, well it was October, which was almost Christmas in the retail world, and Drew most always worked the weekends. So for the two of them to have a day off together? Priceless. They shared breakfast in bed, then shared a shower that was a little steamier than usual. As they were getting dressed, Jake asked Drew what he wanted to do with the day. “Let’s start with a walk in the park,” Drew said. He had sat down to put his socks on, but kind of forgot what he was doing as he gazed at Jake’s naked chest. Jake was tall, about 6’ 3”, and muscular, not bulky, because his job offered him a better body than any workout could. Drew watched that long, lean form moving around their bedroom. “Are you going to put those socks on or just sit there and leer at me all day?” Jake laughed. Drew thought for a minute, “Well, it’s a tough decision, but I guess I’ll put the socks on so we can go out and give the rest of the world a chance to leer at you too.” That really got Jake laughing. “You nut,” he said with obvious affection. Once Drew was ready, they walked out into the day holding hands. Their next door neighbor, Mr. Jones, was already out raking his lawn. They exchanged ‘good mornings’ and talked a bit about the stretch of beautiful weather they had been having. Mrs. Jones came to the door and waved and told her husband that their son, who was stationed overseas, was on the phone. Jake and Drew said to tell him hello, then continued on their way. “I wonder how Mark is doing,” Drew mused. Jake grimaced, “I think Mark has the hots for you.” Drew looked at him to see if he was serious, “Are you kidding? Mark is as straight as an arrow.” “I don’t think so. More than once I caught him staring at you, and I could tell by the look in his eye that he wasn’t wondering if you’d tell him about the latest best-seller,” Jake replied. Drew just shook his head and kept walking. He wasn’t going to let Jake’s jealous behavior ruin the day. The last couple of months, Jake had been acting funny. Not funny ha-ha, but funny not right. He seemed to be on the verge of jealousy where ever they went. If the guy at the store looked at Drew that meant the guy wanted him. If some random stranger stopped to ask for directions, he was flirting with Drew. They hadn’t fought about it, yet, but it was starting to really get under his skin. They turned into the park in silence. Let it go Drew, just let it go. “So,” Drew said brightly, “your turn next. After the park, what do you want to do?” For a minute, Drew thought the fight might happen. Jake was too busy brooding to answer. Then he seemed to shake it off. “Let’s see if Alec and Lexi want to meet us for lunch. It’s been a long time since the four of us have been able to get together.” Drew thought that sounded like a fantastic plan. Alec and Lexi were their best friends, and it was impossible to be in a bad mood around Lexi. She had so much energy that her husband joked if they could hook her up to the house, they’d save hundreds on the energy bill. “Sounds good,” Drew said out loud. “You want to call them or should I?” Jake patted his pockets, “Looks like you’re going to have to. I think my phone is still on the dresser charging.” Drew took out his phone and made the call. Lexi answered and said that that was a great idea and they would meet them at noon at Brenda’s Café, a favorite local hangout. Then she started talking about Andrea, the couple’s new puppy. Lexi and Drew chatted for about ten minutes and when Drew hung up, the comments about Mark were all but forgotten. They eschewed the path in the park, preferring instead to make their own path through the crunchy leaves. They talked about Christmas and what to get Jake’s mom and sister, and whether they should get Alec and Lexi a gift certificate for Menards or just give them money. They also talked about getting something for both of them as opposed to getting each other individual gifts. As they walked, Drew could hear geese honking overhead as they flew south. He could smell leaves burning. What a perfect day. Drew laughed when Jake good-naturedly complained that they were walking his legs off, and they sat on a bench, holding hands, and watching some kids play on the swings. It seemed like Jake was holding something in, but Drew didn’t want to ask what it was and risk another jealous tirade or a fight, so he let it go and just chattered about nothing important. At noon, they arrived at Brenda’s. They knew they still had about fifteen minutes, because Lexi was never on time. The got a table out on the patio and looked at menus although they ate there enough to have them memorized. When Alec and Lexi showed up, just ten minutes late instead of fifteen, they laughed at the excuses and teased her about being early. After they ordered, Alec was telling them about his and Lexi’s plans for their house. They were remodeling, and having a lot of fun with it. Suddenly, Drew heard his name. “Drew? Drew Severson? Oh my god! It is you!” He was practically pulled to his feet and give a big hug. He pulled away and looked into dancing green eyes. The man who hugged him was tall, not as tall as Jake, but a good six foot. He looked so familiar, but Drew couldn’t quite place him. “I’m sorry, I know I know you, but I can’t remember your name,” Drew admitted sheepishly. The brunette laughed. “I looked a lot different in high school. Paul. I’m Paul Johnson.” Paul Johnson was an old crush of Drew’s, and although he hadn’t really thought about Paul in years, he had told Jake, when they were in the “getting to know you” stage of their relationship, about the way Paul had broken his heart. To Drew it was just water over the dam, and he was glad to see his friend. “You look good Paul,” Drew told him. “How have you been? What are you doing these days?” Paul preened a bit, “Thanks. You look good too. Really good. I’m moving to town and I’m here today looking at apartments and houses. We’ll have to get together someday and talk about old times.” He winked at Drew. Jake growled. He actually growled. “Hello Paul. I’m Jake. Drew’s partner.” Paul barely glanced Jake’s way. “Nice to meet you. Drew, I’ve got to get going, but once I move here, I’d really love to hook up, and… chat.” Jake exploded. That was the only way to describe it. The next thing Drew knew, Paul was on the ground, bleeding and out cold. Someone screamed, someone else laughed, and Drew whirled on Jake. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” “That son of a bitch was hitting on you, right in front of me, after he knew we were a couple.” Jake yelled. Drew couldn’t believe it. “Maybe he was, but I wasn’t flirting back. And if you’d given me time, I would have told him in no uncertain terms that nothing, I repeat nothing was going to happen other than friendship. But you took that chance right out of my hands with your Neanderthal act.” “You’re right that nothing is going to happen between the two of you, but there isn’t even going to be friendship. That bastard isn’t coming near you ever again! You are mine!” Jake asserted. “I’m yours. Like a piece of meat?” Drew said in a quiet voice. He couldn’t remember ever being this mad. “Go to hell you obsessive, possessive, ignorant, asshole!” Drew was shouting by the end. He turned on his heel and started to walk away. Jake grabbed his arm. “Let go of me. I hope Paul presses charges when he wakes up and I hope you have to spend the night in jail. Don’t call me for bail either. I don’t want to even look at you right now.” Drew walked home, wondering how such a good day could turn so shitty so fast. He was shaking and he wanted a cigarette badly, something he hadn’t wanted for about six years. When he got home, he locked the door and went to their bedroom, but he couldn’t stay there. Jake was everywhere and it was just too much. He called his friend Julie who was also the owner of Carpe Librum. He asked if he could spend a few nights at her place, and when she gave the OK immediately, without questions, he nearly wept with relief. He quickly packed a bag and left. Julie was at work, so Drew swung by the bookstore to get her key. She told him that she’d be home at five and they would talk about it. Drew nodded his agreement and went to her apartment. His phone had rang about a thousand times by now, and he finally shut it off. He didn’t want to talk to anyone, not even Lexi. He curled up on the bed in Julie’s spare room and let the scene replay in his mind. He still couldn’t believe it. Grumbling about people flirting with him was one thing, but to attack Paul, without giving Drew a chance to take care of the situation himself? Jesus, I’ve got to stop thinking about this. I’m going to make myself crazy. Or sick. He got up and went to the kitchen. He wasn’t hungry though and just stood there looking in the fridge. Realizing what he was doing, wasting Julie’s electricity, he closed the door. He decided he’d try watching TV instead, but that didn’t erase the memory either. What the hell am I going to do? I can’t live like this, I won’t live like this. But what are my options? Break up with him? God, I don’t know if I can. But this behavior is unacceptable. I’m not going to live my life wondering if Jake is going to snap and do something like this again. What the hell is wrong with him? He knows I love him, or he should. I’ve never given him the slightest reason to doubt me, have I? No, I haven’t. His brain just wouldn’t stop. He spent several miserable hours thinking and thinking. Finally though, he heard Julie at the door. She came in and immediately came to sit beside him. “Alright sweetness, what the hell is going on? Lexi showed up asking if I’d seen you, but I lied right to her face and told her no. Now, you’re going to tell me why I lied to her.” Drew sat for a minute, trying to organize his thoughts. He opened his mouth and it was like a flood. There was no coherence, no sense, just a deluge of words. He didn’t even know if Julie was understanding all that he told her, he just let it all out. Somewhere in there Julie put an arm around him and he realized that he was crying. “What am I going to do Jules? I can’t live like this, but I don’t know how I’ll live without him,” Drew said. “Oh honey, you’ll figure it out. It sounds to me like something has been bothering Jake for a long time, and instead of asking him about it, you’ve been burying your head in the sand. Maybe if you push him, you’ll be able to find out what’s behind all of this nonsense,” Julie said in her matter-of-fact way. “You just stay here for a day or two and give both of you some time to cool down, then you can talk to him. Now, let’s eat some ice cream and watch horrible movies.” Julie had a large collection of B movies. She loved every single bad one of them. She picked out her favorites and they spent the rest of the night watching flying sharks, aliens with foam rubber heads, and mutants with bad makeup. Drew even managed to laugh a time or two. For the next two days, Drew followed Julie’s advice. He tried not to think about Jake too much and worked his way through the movies. When he decided that he couldn’t take anymore fake blood and bad plots, he packed his things. The time had come. Drew was going home. When he got to his and Jake’s house, he noticed that the car was in the driveway. Jake should have been at work. Drew had been counting on that, wanting to be there before Jake got home. But he wasn’t going to back down now, so he walked up to the door and hesitated. Jesus, it’s your place too. What the hell? Are you going to knock? Dummy. He walked in. Jake was sleeping on the couch. One of their home movies was playing. It was the one that they had taken when they went to Lake Michigan. Drew watched himself laugh and play in the water. He looked over at the couch and saw Jake’s eyes were open and staring at him. Jake sat up. “Drew,” his name came out like a sigh. “Oh Drew you’re home.” Jake walked over to him and lifted his hand like he was going to touch Drew’s face. He stopped and instead sank to his knees and wrapped his arms around Drew’s waist. Drew just stood there, aching. He wanted to pet Jake’s head and tell him that everything would be OK, that they would be OK. But he couldn’t. He didn’t know if they were going to be OK. “I’m sorry. I’m so damn sorry. I was an idiot, a stupid, stupid idiot. Please Drew. I’m sorry,” Jake kept repeating. “I know you would never cheat on me, I know you would have told Paul that you wouldn’t be anything but friends. I’ve been so messed up the past few months and I don’t know what to say or what to do to make this better. Please, tell me what to do. Yell at me, hit me, throw things. Just please don’t leave.” “Jake,” Drew started. But he stopped. He didn’t know how to say what he wanted to say. He sighed and started again. “Jake, you need to get up. We need to talk about this. I know you’re sorry, but you need to realize that your behavior was unacceptable.” Jake got up. He looked like a kicked puppy. He also looked like he hadn’t slept the last couple of nights. “I know that what I did was wrong. I need you to believe that. I swear to God that it will never happen again. You know me. I’m not a violent man. I just… I… Damn, this is hard. Would you sit down? Please? Let me try to explain.” Drew nodded acquiescence and sat. He did know Jake, and he knew that Jake wasn’t violent. But he needed to get to the bottom of this, he needed to know that it wouldn’t happen again, and that he could trust Jake again. “This all stated a couple of months ago,” Jake began. “I told you that Jimmy and Meghan got engaged and you were so happy for them and you said ‘I wonder if I’ll ever get married.’ And I know this is stupid, but it just about killed me that you said that. ‘If I’ll ever get married,’ not ‘if we’ll ever get married.’ It was like you didn’t even consider me as a candidate for marriage.” “Jake,” Drew was lost. “I never meant anything like that. I’m sorry that you took it that way, but that wasn’t what I was saying. I love you, and of course I’ve wondered if we would ever get married, but it’s not that important to me. Just being with you is enough.” Jake nodded, “I know that, I do, but it just hit me wrong. And ever since then I’ve been making myself crazy wondering if you were sick of me, if you were planning to leave me. Every time someone would look at you, I’d wonder ‘Is it him? Is this the one he’s going to leave me for?’ And even though I knew that wasn’t going to happen, a small part of me couldn’t stop wondering. And then, Paul comes up and he flirting and he looks good and I know that he hurt you, but you told me it took you a long time to get over him, so I wondered if he was the one you were thinking about that day. Then, I lost my mind.” “Did Paul press charges?” Drew wondered. “Yeah, he did. And I spent the night in jail. The next day, over Lexi’s very loud protests, Alec came and bailed me out. He told me I deserved to sit in jail overnight and I had to agree with him,” Jake said very matter-of-fact. “I’m going to have to go to court, pay a fine, and possibly take anger management classes, but I don’t care about that. I’ll gladly take my punishment if you come home.” Drew thought about everything he’d just been told. “You know, it’s insulting to me that you would think I would leave like that. But dammit, I love you and I’ve been miserable, and I want to come home. But if you ever do anything like this again, I’m done. I won’t stay in a relationship where I’m not trusted.” “I won’t Drew, I swear, this was a crazy, stupid, one time deal. I do trust you and for some reason just forgot about that in my craziness. And I love you too and I’ve been miserable without you,” Jake said. “I’ll do anything you say to make it up to you. Please don’t make me be nice to Paul. I will, if that’s what you really want, but I won’t like it,” Jake said in a rush of honesty. Drew laughed, “You don’t have to be nice to him, and after court you won’t have to deal with him at all. I’m not interested in being friends with him. I don’t like the way he came on to me right in front of you. Honestly, I’m not sure what I ever really saw in him. When I think back to how it was between us, I’m glad that things ended the way they did. Sure it hurt, but I learned a lot about myself in the aftermath.” “One other thing,” Jake hesitated a bit, “I’m sorry about the ‘you belong to me’ comment. But, now don’t get mad, you kind of do. Just like I belong to you. Not like a piece of meat, but like my heart. You are my heart Drew.” “Well damn, how can I be mad when you say such sweet things? I can handle belonging to you. It was just the context, the whole ugly scene. It rubbed me the wrong way, but right now it sounds good. Really good,” Drew admitted. “So we’re good then, right?” Jake asked. “Because there’s just one more thing.” He fumbled in his pocket. “I got this about a week ago, I was planning on a fancy meal and candles and flowers and all of that romantic crap, but now seems like a good time,” Jake pulled out a ring box and opened it, showing two etched silver bands. “Drew Severson, will you marry me?” They, whomever they are, say that no one can piss you off faster than a loved one. They are right. But no one can take your breath away faster either. Six months from the day Jake asked, he and Drew exchanged vows in front of their family and friends. Drew knew that Jake wasn’t perfect. He knew they would fight about all manner of things large and small. But he also knew that they loved each other enough to get through all of that, and that was all he needed.
When Doug got back to the station, Deb all but pounced on him.
“Who was she Doug? What was she doing at Engleson’s?” Deb questioned.
“One of the staties recognized her from a bulletin. She’s been missing from La Crosse for about a week now. Her name was Shelley Johnson,” Doug said wearily. “We don’t know how she got out there. But she wasn’t killed there. Someone just dumped her body.”
Deb’s eyes got wide, “I remember seeing that bulletin. I figured she would end up being fished out of the river like those other kids were.” Deb was referring to a string of unexplained drownings that had been plaguing La Crosse for the last several years. “How did she die?”
Doug sat, “She had her throat cut.”
Deb’s eyes got impossibly wider. She clutched her chest. “Oh no, that’s awful. Her poor family. Did you tell them? Or are the state boys going to do that?”
“They took care of it. Thank God. It was bad enough having to tell Julie Swenson about her husband, I couldn’t imagine having to tell somebody’s parents that their child is dead. God, I need a cigarette.”
Deb clucked her tongue, “You’ve quit. But I guess after a night like you’ve had its natural to want one.”
“Chief Harris showed up about an hour ago. He talked with the detective from the state and it looks like they are going to be taking over. I’m going home, shower, and crawl into bed. You should do the same,” Doug told Deb.
“I know, I’m tired as all get out, but I wanted to see what you had found out,” Deb said. “I’ll see you later tonight.”
God that was fun! I can’t believe I did it. And I can’t believe how easy it was. So, who’s up next?
By the time Doug turned on County J, he’d half convinced himself that the kids were probably drunk, possibly stoned, and had called in as a prank. Or, they had found someone who had died of natural causes and panicked. That wasn’t unusual. That had to be what was happening, because the odds of them finding a dead body, an unnaturally dead body, around here was rare. Doug couldn’t remember the last time there was a death with unusual circumstances in this area. Still part of him was excited at the possibility of something out of the norm. Which is just sick Anderson. Someone is dead and here you are hoping for a murder or something.
He turned into the Engleson’s drive and saw Wyatt Thomas standing by the barn. There was no vehicle in sight. How the hell did he get here? Walk? Doug pulled up by the barn and saw the back end of Wyatt’s Jimmy sticking out.
“Thank God you’re here!” Wyatt ran to him. “Kris is in my truck, she’s freakin’ out bad.”
“What are you kids doing out here? Have you been drinking? Smoking a little weed maybe?” Doug questioned.
Wyatt looked as indignant as a seventeen year old can. “We had a couple of beers, sure, but no drugs. You know Kris doesn’t go for that kind of thing since her brother got into all of that trouble a few years ago,” Wyatt stated. “Besides, I’m trying for a football scholarship and if I get caught doing drugs, I can kiss my chances good-bye. Now are you gonna look at the dead body? Or are you going to stand there and ask me questions all night?”
Doug pinched his nose. “Don’t get lippy with me. I need to know why you’re here. And I’m not convinced that there is a dead body. Maybe whoever you saw is just passed out.”
“She’s dead Doug,” Kris walked up and said. “I’ve never seen that much blood before.”
“Alright. You two stay here. Where is she?”
Kris shivered, “About half way down the barn on the right.”
Doug pulled his flashlight out and walked to the open barn door. Here goes nothing. He swept his light side to side. When he got about a third of the way down he could smell something foul. Shit. He’d hunted enough to know death when he smelled it.
She lay on her back. Kris was right, there was a lot of blood. But it looked dry, and it was contained to the body. No pool of blood around her. Her hair was mostly black in the little bit of light that he had. But he could tell that she had been a blonde. Her eyes were open and staring up at the loft above. Doug had no idea who she was, but something was nagging at his brain.
He walked back out of the barn and to his car. The kids followed him, asking questions all the way. “Quiet. I need to call this in,” Doug told them. “Deb, you better call the staties. We’ve definitely got a dead body, and someone helped her get that way,” he told the dispatcher. “We don’t have the facilities to handle this, so we need their crime scene unit.”
Doug Anderson yawned. He hated working nights, but Pruitt had vacation, so he was stuck. He was sitting in his car on Avon Road, wishing he had a cigarette. He needed a cigarette. Sighing, he took a peppermint out of his pocket and popped it in his mouth. His radio squawked.
“Hey Doug. We’ve got a 9-1-1 call about a dead body,” Deb said, with more than a little excitement in her voice.
“A dead body?” Doug questioned. “Who?”
Deb’s voice still carried a hint of excitement, “They don’t know who she is. Kris Porter and Wyatt Thomas called from the Engleson’s. They said there’s a dead body in the hay barn, and they don’t recognize her.”
“OK, tell them I’m on my way. And call an ambulance. Maybe whoever it is, is just unconscious.”
Doug decided against using his siren. Probably nothing. Kids these days watch too much Law & Order, think there’s a case to be solved wherever they go. But he knew Kris Porter. She had a pretty good head on her shoulders. Doug drove a little faster.
The black Jimmy raced down the road. The two people inside it were giggling madly and passing a cigarette back and forth while the music blared. They were young, drunk, and in love.
“Are you sure no one will see us?” Kris shouted over the music.
Wyatt grinned over at her, “I swear babe. The Engleson’s are out of town for the week. My next door neighbor is watching their dog. We’ll have the whole place, especially the hay barn, all to ourselves.”
Wyatt turned the music down, no sense in tempting fate, as he turned into the driveway of the old farmhouse. He veered left and drove around to the back of the big barn the Engleson’s still used to store hay for their three horses. He shut the car off. The sudden stillness made Kris giggle again. They looked at each other and moved together at the same time.
Their lips locked in a blazing kiss. Kris moaned and Wyatt slid his hand down her back to her bra. He started to unhook it, but Kris pulled away. She laughed and shook her head. “No! We’ve done it in here plenty of times. I wanna go in, strip down, lay down, then you can have your nasty way with me.”
“My nasty way with you?” Wyatt laughed himself. “You love it and you know it.”
Kris smiled and opened the door. “Catch me if you can,” she took off, running towards the barn.
Wyatt gave her a minute to get inside. He thought about another smoke, but decided he wanted Kris first. He got out of the Jimmy but left the keys dangling. There wasn’t anyone around to steal the thing anyway.
He walked to the door of the barn. “Ready or not here…”
“She’s been missing since Friday and you’re not worried?” Cody asked Pete, Shelley’s brother.
Pete shrugged his shoulders. “Look, like I already told you, Shelley’s a good person, but she’s flighty. She probably got it in her head to go to Kentucky to see if Kentucky Fried Chicken tastes better down there. She does that sort of thing.”
Cody got pissed. Instantly. “We had plans! Shelley wouldn’t just bail and not tell me! You, maybe. But she would have told me! You don’t even give a shit! Your own sister! She could be lying dead somewhere, or hurt. Shelley wouldn’t have just left without telling someone!”
“Cody, come on man, it’s not like I don’t care about her. It’s just that she’s not always… concerned I guess you’d say, with other people’s feelings,” Pete stared moodily at his feet. “She always…”
“Fuck you man! I’m scared, and worried, and positive that she didn’t just take off. But with you spouting this bullshit, the cops think that she took off all by herself. And I’m telling you, that’s not what happened!” Cody stormed away.
There were flyers all over the billboard. Have you seen my bike? LOST: Cat named Joe! Want to Lose Weight? Group Meeting Tonight!
It looked like people used the thing all of time. Flyers were just layered all over. One more going up today. I just hope somebody looks…and recognizes her. Cody pinned up the last flyer in his bundle.
Have You Seen This Girl? Missing since Friday October 17th, 2014. Please notify the Police, Campus Security, or call this number – 608-663-5555 – with any information! Please help us find Shelley!
Was it a knock that had woken her? Shelley wasn't sure. She had been taking a nap, and she had napped hard. She didn't know what time it was, what day it was, or where she was. OK, wait. It was 3pm when I laid down, so unless I slept all night, its 5:30pm on Friday. There it was again, a knock, definitely a knock. Shelley got up and checked the peep in the door. A deliveryman. I don't remember ordering anything...
Shelley opened the door.
"Hi. I have a delivery here for Kelly Johnson," the deliveryman said.
"Sorry, there's no Kelly here. I'm Shelley Johnson."
"Oh, good. I was hoping I had the right place," he replied. His hand flashed out and the last thing Shelley saw was the knife.