Clarita Jenkins slammed the phone down with such force that it rattled the empty plates on the table.
"How DARE they!"
The twenty-seven year old mother paced back and forth, cursing silently to herself. She continued the endless path that she had been wearing into the carpet for the past three days. Not only were the police not finding her son, but NOW they had the nerve to make ridiculous accusations. Sure, Terrence had his problems... Sure, he hung out with some people he shouldn't have, but THAT! He was only ELEVEN for God's sake...
IS only eleven.
How could he even do something like that? And even if he HAD, why would they ask HER about it... like she followed him around twenty-four hours a day or something. How DARE they!
Clarita cast an dark, evil look at the phone, as if daring it to ring.
Screaming in frustration and rage, she stormed over to the phone and snatched it off of the table. She yanked the cord out of the wall and threw the entire assembly across the room. Both the cheap plastic phone and the cheap plaster wall it encountered suffered extensive damage... but at least the phone stopped ringing.
Clarita immediately regretted her action.
"What if Terrance calls?" she said. Clarita was about to run to the phone in the bedroom when she remembered that THAT phone no longer worked. And she had just destroyed the only one in the apartment that DID.
Now she would have to go and borrow a phone from her neighbor.
Clarita was standing in front of her apartment door when someone knocked. She reached out, but stopped herself and looked through the peep-hole instead.
The man outside was hidden beneath a black wide-brimmed hat and trenchcoat, which was quite odd since it was July and hadn't rained in weeks. All Clarita could see was the bottom half of his face... he was a white man, clean shaven with pale, waxy skin.
"Who are you?" she asked.
"I have a message for you," said the man. His voice was strange... low and rumbling, yet musical at the same time. "It is about your son, Terrance."
"You a cop? I ain't got no more to say to you... Terrance didn't know that girl!"
"I'm not with the police. Let me in... we have business to discuss."
Clarita took a second look through the peep-hole, and decided that she'd be better of if the she and the stranger stayed on opposite sides of the door.
"No... no I don't think so, now get away from my door!"
"But I have news about your son, miss Jenkins. It involves a business proposition."
"What... you seen Terrence?"
"I have. And I know where he is right now."
Clarita had the door open before her common sense could tell her otherwise.
"WHERE!?" she shouted at the empty hallway.
"Back here, miss Jenkins." said the man. Clarita turned and saw the stranger sitting comfortably on her couch. He was looking at her with deep, dark eyes.
"How did you-"
"Please... close the door and sit down."
Clarita glanced into the man's eyes and found she couldn't look away. She just looked deeper and deeper... like staring into a night sky.
Without realizing what she was doing, Clarita closed the door and walked over to the couch. She stopped just short of sitting down, however.
"Tell me 'bout my son."
The stranger blinked.
"It seems there has been some trouble," said the stranger.
"What kinda trouble?"
"There was a little girl-"
"I don't want to hear that!" shouted Clarita.
"-her name was Katrina Evans. Four days ago, your son and three of his friends followed little Katrina home from school."
"Shut UP! You wit the cops, ain't you! I told you I don't KNOW about any damn GIRL!"
"But Katrina never made it home. You see, just a few blocks from her house, your son and his friends pulled Katrina into the bushes-"
"- and raped her. They raped her several times, actually. Several times EACH. Oh, Katrina cried and screamed..."
"She was quite a screamer, Katrina was. Your son Terrence had problem with that... so he killed her. And then they raped her again."
"Get OUT of my HOUSE!"
"Several times each. Did I mention that Katrina was only eight years old?"
"GET OUT! You're telling LIES!"
"Lies? Nooo... lying simply isn't necessary any more. Now I just give people what they want. What is it that YOU want, Ms. Jenkins? Wait, let me guess. I bet you want your son..."
The stranger reached into his coat and pulled out a large plastic freezer bag. It was filled with something that looked like tomato paste with lumps of raw beef floating around in it. He placed the bag gently on the table, where the liquid sloshed around inside the plastic for a few moments before settling down.
Clarita just stared at it.
The dark red *gunk* inside of it.
"Poor Katrina. I'm curious, miss Jenkins... what do you suppose drives a child to do something like that to another child?"
"Oh, I can assure you that I was NOT involved. Not this time. This was totally the work of young Terrance and his friends. But why would they do it?"
"...wh.... what's in that... bag..."
"Well, Mrs. EVANS is under the impression that it's poor parenting. Years of neglect from unfit mothers... spending their formative years being cared for by women who are no more than spoiled, impulsive children themselves... that sort of thing. How old were you when you had Terrance, miss Jenkins?"
"Did you even know who his father was?"
"Mrs. Evans certainly knew who Katrina's father was. They're married, you see... and have been for quite some time. As you can imagine, they're quite upset about what happened. In fact, Mr. Evans was quite vocal in what he would like to have happen to the people who raped his little girl. Very descriptive."
The stranger paused to look at the red bag on the table. Clarita couldn't tear her eyes away from it.
"Yes... quite the colorful imagination he has. And what was it he said at the end... ah, yes... 'and when you're done, take what's left to back their mothers in zip-lock bags.'"
"...no. No... Terrance."
"They were even kind enough to donate the bags."
"You... you bastard. I'm... I'm gonna..."
"Oh I wouldn't make too many plans, miss Jenkins. You see..."
The stranger reached back into his coat and pulled out another bag. This one was empty.
"After Mr. Evans had his say about the boys... MRS. Evans had some rather explicit instructions concerning their mothers..."
Copyright 1999 by Marc Washington (Dark Icon)