As she entered the dimly lit room, the echo of her riding boots and rhythmic step sounded off the black walls. She walked with purpose in her charcoal leggings and leather moto-jacket. This wasn’t her first rodeo. After 19 cases, she’s seen a lot. She stopped to take off her black beret and shake out her curly, raven hair that fell luminously around her. She took a quick glance around before placing her hand on the wall. She shrugged, “Eh, not too cold”. She marched towards the center of the room and performed a quick left to right pan of the area. “Where could he be?” She stopped before clearing her throat and calling his name, “VINCE? Vince Miller?! Are you in here?”
Just then, she heard a soft shuffle to her hard right. She narrowed her eyes to get a clearer view. Slowly, a shadowy figure emerged out of the darkness and into the soft light. As he came forth, she was taken aback by his good looks. The shaggy caramel locks, hazel eyes, and broad chest was quite a change from the bloodied gauze she’d seen previously. “Such a handsome, young man to be in such a shitty position.”, she thought. He appeared shaken and looked helpless. She cocked her head, “I assume you’re Vince-” -“WHO ARE YOU?”, he nervously interrupted. She paused and slowly extended her hand as if coaxing a child out of the dark, “I’m Norah. Please don’t be scared. I’m not here to hurt you anymore than you already have been. It’s ok.”
Almost immediately, his bottom lip began to quiver and his eyes welled up with tears. He crashed to his knees, dropped his head, and began to sob uncontrollably. She took a step back in shock as she watched him rock back and forth letting out cries and inaudible words. Readjusting her posture, she cleared all expression from her face. Despite this being unusual, she was still a professional. She still had an assignment. “Look, kid.” she started, “I can’t get involved. Whatever happened is what happened. I’m supposed to getcha outta here and bring you back to your folks.” With that, he began to sob even louder as his hands became a mess of tears and mucus. Her eyes rolled back with a quick hefty sigh, “Jesus, kid. You’re killin’ me. We gotta go!” He looked up at her and cried out, “I can’t go back! Not to HIM!”
Her look of frustration was now that of concern. She dropped to one knee in an attempt to meet his eyes. “Look at me..look at me, dammit! Him who?” She wanted so badly for this one to go routinely. It was her 30th birthday, after all. She didn’t even wanna work today. Of course this one had to get weird. He lifted his head to reveal his glistening and reddened face, “My Dad. He’s going to kill me.”
She rolled her eyes once more, “Wad’ya do? Crash the car or somethin’? Please, kid. Gimme a break. Your Dad just wants to see you again. Now get up and let’s go!” She stood up and held out her hand. His eyes fixed on the floor. He whispered, “I can’t help it. I love Paul. ..I tried so hard to fight it. Honestly, I tried…I TRIED!” She narrowed her eyes and shook her head. She had to know now. “Ok, kid. Just so you know, I never usually ask details. Given that this couldn’t get any weirder, I’ll ask. ..What happened?”
He swallowed hard and choked back some tears. He took a moment so as to not “lose it” again, “Paul and I had went out with a few of our football buddies and some guys in our civics class. It was Tom’s 16th birthday. So we stole some of his Dad’s Molson and we went down to the creek. We were laughin’, carryin’ on, talking about how he had finally fucked Julie McClintock in her folks’ barn. Ya know, just bein’ us. None of our friends even suspected Paul and I and what we had. When the night was over, Paul drove me back to my parents around 11. My old man usually goes to bed around 9 so he can get up and work the early shift at the mill. When Paul pulled into the drive, we snuck in a quick kiss. I got out and waved goodbye as his truck pulled away. When I turned around I saw my Dad sitting in the dark on the porch swing. I was scared shitless but I had hoped maybe if I played it cool it would throw him off.” Just then Vince’s breathing picked up and the volume of his voice quickly escalated, “Then..then he stood up and I saw the bat. THE ONE HE BOUGHT ME WHEN I WAS 12! HE-HE-HE…HE HIT ME SO HARD! I COULD HEAR MY NOSE BREAK INSIDE MY HEAD! I WAS DOWN..AND-AN-AN-HE-HE-KEPT ON WHEN I WAS ON THE GROUND! HE HIT MY BACK SO HARD THAT I COULDN’T FEEL MY LEGS ANYMORE! WHY DID HE DO THAT?!..WHYYYY!!? I CAN’T HELP THAT I LOVE PAUL!.. I LOVE HIM!”
Norah darted for the floor and scooped his limp torso into her arms. He sobbed as she pet his head. She whispered, “Shhhh..I’m so sorry.” She held him for a few more moments before raising her lips to his ear, “Now, you have a decision. You know the state you’re in. You can come with me..or..you can slip. Either way..”, her voice lowered an octave, “This is getting taken care of. I swear it.” Her hands moved to his shoulders as she gently pushed him back to see his face, “I want you to think about it. I’ll come back for you. I can’t wait too long, though.” He nodded in agreement then said, “Wh-what’s your last name, Norah? In case I wanna thank you if I decide I don’t wanna slip?” She stood and said, “Seizhelm. Norah Seizhelm. But kid that’s the thing..You won’t remember me, this conversation, or this moment. ..You’re not supposed to.” With that she pivoted with haste and started out into the darkness.
She gasped for air as she awoke in the hospital chair next to Vince’s bed. That rush back to her physical- being she still could never get used to. She caught her breath and regained her composure. Then she slowly turned to survey Vince’s bloodied body once more. She was pissed. This coma-case was definitely one for the books. After looking him over one last time, she quickly turned, put on her beret, and started for the hospital hallway.
As she entered the hall, Vince’s parents shot up from the hard, plastic chairs and nearly knocked them over. “So? What? You couldn’t bring him back?!”, his Mother panicked, ”Is he dead!? Oh God! Who would do this to my baby!?” Norah looked at the floor as she answered, “He’s thinking about it.” At this, Vince’s Father became enraged, “I knew you were full-o-shit! Ain’t nobody heard’a no coma-fisher!” Just then, Norah grabbed him by the collar and shoved his 5’ 5” lanky frame against the wall. She knocked the wind clean out of him. She got within one inch of his face, “I know what you did, motherfucker. I also want you to know, that when you least expect it, Xora and the rest of his buddies are gonna rip you from sack to sternum. Then they’ll leave you hanging from hooks so they can drip dry your insides and use them for jerky.” She abruptly let go as he sank to the floor. As she marched out, she knew she wasn’t bullshitting.
She’d seen it before.Share This Post:by