Authors: Ray Garton
THE NEW NEIGHBOR
Copyright © 1991 by Ray Garton.
Published by E-Reads. All rights reserved.
My thanks to the following people for their invaluable help: My wonderful wife Dawn, Steven Spruill, Karen Leonard, Steve Rubin, Brian and Tanya Hodges, Richard Curtis, John R. Douglas, Damian Wild, Rhonda Blackmon Walton, Cindi Loftus, and my terribly entertaining Facebook friends.
This book is for
Latrice and Ken Innes
Manic Mom Chainsaws Husband and Son In Crazed Attack
A mild-mannered housewife became a manic mom and took a chainsaw to her family until her desperate, bleeding husband blew her away with a shotgun!
35-year-old Marie Prosky, a housewife in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, turned into a bloodthirsty butcher one afternoon, fired up her husband's chainsaw and used it to split open the skull of her sixteen-year-old son Gordon. The terrorized teen died instantly, but not his father, who bravely stood up to the buzzing butcher.
37-year-old Ronald Prosky, a reporter for a prominent Chicago newspaper, was seriously injured. The wicked wife used the chainsaw to cut into her husband's face and slice off one of his hands.
In spite of his injuries and loss of blood, Prosky was able to get to the shotgun and blow his wife to kingdom come!
While the gutsy gunman teetered on the edge of death in a nearby hospital, local police officials tried to piece the case together in search of answers, but are still unable to give a reason for Mrs. Prosky's bloodthirsty buzzing....
One Year Later
It was under the light of a fat, bright moon on a dead summer night, while her husband Mitch slept off a fifth of cheap whiskey, that Connie Padgett sneaked out of their stubby bullet-like trailer with a small suitcase packed with the few things she could not leave behind. Her feet clanked on the three rattly metal steps below the trailer's door, then crunched in gravel as she closed the door carefully, silently. She limped painfully because, a couple of days ago, Mitch had thrown her against the night stand and she'd bruised her hip.
Through the trailer's window Connie could see the shimmer of their small black-and-white television, playing for its unconscious viewer, who was sprawled on the sofa breathing noisily through his mouth. As she turned and looked around her, she saw the same glow—sometimes gray, sometimes a hazy blend of colors—coming from nearly every trailer in the court, like frightened ghosts trying desperately to escape their small box-like prisons.
Connie walked past Mitch's rusty, battered Chevy pickup to the edge of the narrow graveled road that ran down the center of the Cherry Tree Trailer Court and looked around for the last time. At twenty-three, she'd spent the last two years at Cherry Tree, watching the Kansas flatland that surrounded it grow flatter and seemingly more vast while Mitch lost one job after another. The gap between jobs grew a bit longer each time and was filled with a bit more drinking and progressively chillier silences. In two short years that now seemed a lifetime, Connie had come to this: sneaking away with a single suitcase of personal belongings, wondering why she had ever married him in the first place.
He'd been different back then, two years ago; he'd been charming and warm and full of enthusiasm. The plan had been that he would work until they could afford to send her back to school, at which time she would finish her education and begin teaching. But it didn't work out that way. One job after another failed; he began drinking; he stopped looking for work, until they were finally so broke that she had no idea how he could afford the booze he brought home every night, let alone the gas it took to get him to the store. And, of course, along with the booze came the screaming fights, the swinging fists. It seemed inevitable and she had not been surprised.
But she hadn't expected what began to happen six months ago.
They got a new neighbor, a beautiful woman who turned the head of every man in the trailer court, including – maybe especially – Mitch's. During the day, he did favors for her; he worked on her car, repaired broken appliances and even painted a cabinet for her – with his own paint. In the evenings he drank, of course; he sat in front of the television with a bottle and a glass, looked angry and snapped at Connie, said horrible, hurtful things and sometimes struck her or threw her around the trailer. All of that was bad enough, but late at night he did something else that Connie thought was even worse. He went for walks. Of course, he couldn't stand up without swaying, but around eleven or so each night, he struggled off the sofa, slurred something about needing some fresh air, and went outside. He was always gone for hours. She had her suspicions, but wasn't certain until she followed him out one night.
He went over to her trailer. Connie had watched as the entire trailer rocked with their rutting. It was one thing that he was having an affair, but Mitch hadn't touched Connie in months. That was when she decided to leave.
She walked down the narrow road that ran through the trailer court, trying not to look at the trailer in which her husband's lover lived, but unable to keep from glancing across the way to the candle burning in the trailer's window. It was there every night, its flame winking in the darkness. Although Connie was ashamed of the thought, she often wished the candle would burn the trailer to the ground.
Looking at her watch, Connie realized she was early; she'd called a cab about two hours ago and it wouldn't arrive for about another ten minutes, so she took her time walking away from her home, glancing over her shoulder at her trailer now and then, half hoping Mitch would stick his head out the door and ask where she was going, maybe beg her to come back; maybe even tell her that he really did love her and promise that things would change. She had no idea what she would do if that were to happen, but she couldn't help wishing, hoping that the last two years of her life had not been wasted.
She walked slowly, watching that candle in the woman's window. There was a shapeless heap on her front porch: one of the two Dobermans. She kept the other one inside, walked both of them twice each day and treated them like royalty. They were named Cain and Abel and Connie couldn't help feeling that there was something sinister about those dogs. Watching them walk on each side of the woman every day reminded Connie of every evil queen and wicked stepmother she'd read about in fairytales as a child.
Connie stopped. The dog on the woman's porch lifted its head, ears stiff, and gave a low, throaty growl. On the opposite side of the trailer Connie spotted movement in the darkness. Bushes rustled and footsteps crunched over the ground.
A short squat figure emerged from the dark edge of the road. It looked to Connie like a dwarf. She stepped back into the shadows and hugged her bag to her stomach, holding her breath as the figure crept around the woman's trailer toward the porch and the Doberman, limping awkwardly into a pool of light from the window next door.
Connie dropped her bag when she saw his face. He turned to her suddenly, so she could see him fully, and she shrank back, horrified.
The Doberman stood, growling, and the man moved quickly. A long gleaming blade appeared in his hand with a metallic hiss and he waved at Connie, rasping, "Go! Get away from here!
!" Then he rounded the trailer and lunged for the dog as the porch light came on and the door opened.
"Oh, my God," Connie whimpered, bending to grope for her bag. Clutching it, she stood and glanced once more at the trailer across the road as the glinting blade swept down and the dog made a long guttural sound that made Connie feel sick. Then the man cried out as the dog fell off the porch and the woman – Mitch's lover – appeared in the doorway, growling, "
!" with surprised recognition.
Connie ran toward the trailer court's entrance, praying that the cab would be waiting for her, but seeing clearly that it wasn't. She ran away, heading for the road and deciding to wave down the first car that came along, when –
– the man's voice ripped through the night as he screamed, "No! Die! You should
The woman laughed and there was another sound. It was a sound Connie had never heard before, but she knew it was not human. Halfway to the road, she tried to run faster without falling because now there were footsteps behind her, also running, and the man was screaming, "No, I killed it!
I killed it
Gravel crackled like frying bacon beneath the tires of the cab as it pulled to the shoulder in front of the trailer court. Connie laughed with relief as she gasped for breath, waving at the driver, crying, "Open the d-duh-door! Open the door!"
"You the one who called?" the driver asked through the window.
"Yes! Please! Open the – “
She stumbled and fell forward and her bag skidded over the gravel away from her, but she scurried to her feet instantly, ignored the bag as she threw herself toward the cab, tore the door open and fell into the back seat. She screamed when she turned to pull the door closed and saw the man right behind her. He pushed into the cab, slammed the door and shouted, "Drive! Drive now!" But the man wasn't the worst of it. The real reason for her scream was the black thing following
. It rocketed toward the cab, two or three feet off the ground, flapping broad wings that seemed to be made of dead skin. And the sound it made ...
Connie wanted to vomit.
Uttering a babble of curses, the driver put the car in gear and threw gravel behind them as he drove away.
"Faster!" the man said. "
Connie felt numb, drugged, detached from her body, and stared open-mouthed at the man's face, not wanting to believe what she was seeing. Looking down, she saw the blade and, even worse, the hand that held it.The hand wasn't real.
"Don't worry," the man gasped, his chest heaving. "I won't hurt you. I came to help you." He reached out to touch her arm and she pulled back, pressing herself to the opposite door. He put his hand back in his lap and whispered, "You can never go back there again. Ever."
A quiet rustle passed through the congregation as Pastor Jeremy Quillerman stepped up to the pulpit. He was in his mid-fifties, with a round belly that pressed against the powder-blue shirt beneath the coat of his dark-gray suit. He walked with a limp, the origin of which was a mystery to everyone at the Christian Fellowship Non-Denominational Church. His right hand had small mangled nubs where his last three fingers used to be. The remaining thumb and forefinger latched over his bible like fleshy hooks as he placed it on the pulpit and smiled at his congregation. His face was soft, gentle, lined with the creases of countless smiles. His silver-streaked black hair was cut short, carefully combed and thinning on top. His thick mustache was dark but had a white stripe below each nostril.
The gentleness of his face, however, was offset by his eyes. The left eye was glass and, as a result, was wider than the right and bulged slightly. From the inside corner of the eye a pale scar, smooth and slightly glossy, crawled up over the bridge of his nose and up the center of his forehead, stopping just short of his receding hairline. The right eye was both hard and sad, as if it had seen too many things that were at once horrifying and heartbreaking.
Pastor Quillerman began his sermon the way he always did: as if he were having a quiet conversation with a dear friend.
"What is evil?" he asked. "Where do you suppose it nests? Is it easy to recognize? Will we always know it when we see it so we can steer clear? Or has the master of deception fooled us with a perfectly executed shell game and led us to believe that evil is lurking just around the corner or right behind us ... when it is, in reality, directly under our noses?"
The Pritchards were sitting halfway back from the front in the left column of pews, George with his arm around Jen, who had turned sixteen yesterday and who fidgeted beside her seventeen-year-old brother Robby.