Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Broken Bottle Top Part 1

The following story is about a little boy who witnessed the murder of his father.  Follow the suspense thriller as it develops and see if you can predetermine its ending.  It will be presented in a number of parts.

Part 1      Image result for images of a broken bottle top

I had never liked staying at home alone, whether it was nighttime or daytime.  I like it even less at night.  My stepfather lived in the country and my mother worked as a waitress at a popular hotel.  You know what that meant.  Being an only child, I had to stay at home alone when she was working.  O how I dreaded those nights that she worked!

My father was murdered when I was eight years old.  I had seen the whole thing happen. I saw the assassin and he saw me.  At that time however, he was more concerned about his own safety so he ran.  I saw him several times since then and he saw me too but I was too afraid to tell.  There was a very evil look in his eyes and I knew that if I ever told what I knew, some how he would find me before the police caught him.  That would be the end of me.  I saw my father die and I was afraid to die.  All of this made it a very frightening experience for me when I had to stay at home alone.  I always thought, “One of these nights something horrible will happen to me.”

I waved goodbye to my mum at the door.  I was trembling like a leaf and there was perspiration on my forehead.  If my mum noticed it, she did not say.  As she walked down the narrow path that led to the main road, I almost called her back to tell her what I had kept a secret these seven years.  How it haunted me!  And here I was all by myself again.  This night would add to the many sleepless nights I had endured.  How long those nights were!  Well, I might as well endure it.

I decided to check the television programme for that Tuesday night.  It seemed that I was to have some small portion of comfort.  A comedy was being telecast.  I checked all of the windows and doors to make sure that they were secured, made a glass of lemonade and prepared two ham sandwiches then sat on the sofa opposite the television set.  I forgot my worries for a while and was lost in the humour of the comedy.

I had taken one bite from the second sandwich when I heard a knock on the door.  My heart thumped wildly as if it would burst my chest.  I thought, “Has he finally come?  Did he know I would be home alone?  Was this the moment I had dreaded?” 

I began to wish that I had told my mother the entire story. How my father was murdered, how I knew the man and why he was never caught.  But alas, I did not and now the secret would die and be buried with me.  A louder pounding brought me back to the present crisis. 

“But was it really he or was it someone else?  If it wasn’t he, who could it be at this late hour?”  I checked my watch for the hundredth time that night.  It was 12:25 a.m.  The knock became more persistent.  I cannot recall how long I sat there on the sofa.  Silently I prayed, “Do let him go away.  But him, who?  Who was out there?  Was it he?”

The knock came again.  This time it was so loud that the very louvres in the door rattled.  My trembling increased and I began to develop an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.  “I must do something or else he may break in the door,” I thought. 

There were three choices open to me.  I could ignore the knock and simply pretend to be asleep.  But the reading lamp was switched on and so was the television.  I could slip out the back door, climb the fence and escape.  But I thought, “Suppose he chose to come around the back that same time.”

After some deliberation I decided on the third option.  I called out with a boldness I was far from feeling, “Who’s there?”  There was no answer.  With a slight tremor in my voice, I called out again.  I was hoping he did not recognise the tremor.  I called out two more times but without response.  ”May be he has gone away,” I thought.

By this time the television station had ceased its transmission.  The only sounds that could be heard in the room was the ticking of the clock and the hum of the television speaker.  About ten minutes passed.  

There was no further knocking so I decided that whoever had caused me so much discomfort had left.  For how long I did not know.  I did not have long to wait, however.  As I moved to turn off the television set, I was startled almost out of my wits.  There was an ear splitting rattle along the entire length of the paling to the windward side of the house.  It seemed so loud that I was certain that my next door neighbour could have heard it.  May be, just may be he would come out and investigate,” I hoped in obvious futility.  There was the noise again.  This time it was at the back of the house.  I sensed he was playing a game with me.  Only that his fun was at my expense. The next time I heard the noise it was to the leeward side of the house.  He was playing his game to a well thought out plan.  ”What was his objective?” I wondered.  “Did he want me to let him into the house?  Would he commit his second act of murder here or did he want me to run out of the house?” 

 I am sure he must have been enjoying my discomfort.  How I wish for morning to come and the sweet homecoming of my mother!  I checked my watch.  It was now 1:05 a.m., just forty minutes since I had heard that first knock.  Somehow it had seemed like hours.
My mother would not be home until 6:30 that morning.  What a long night it was going to be!  Could I last out?  Would it be long and tortuous or would it be like my father’s…short, quick and silent?

To be continued...

Stewart Russell © 1979