By Joey Jules
Stephen stood at the entrance with his hand on the door nob. He was growing tired of the conversation. “I told you, you have the wrong place.” he said for the second time to the man standing on his front porch.
“I know what I saw, and this is the right place! The man exclaimed. “You have my wife and she is in there, so let me in or I will go through you if I have to!”
Stephen frowned. “Listen sir, I don’t know you or your wife. She is not here. You need to leave right now!”
The man’s eyes narrowed. “I will see her again, and believe me, you and me are not through with each other!” The man turned around, stepped off the porch in a huff and stormed away.
Stephen sighed. He watched the man walk down his gravel driveway until he was out of sight, and shut the front door, engaging the lock with a click. The last light of the day was shone through the cabin window. He went and sat on the sofa and lit himself a cigarette, inhaling deeply and savoring the sensation of nicotine running through his veins.
It was a cool autumn night, and the cabin did not have any furnace or central heating. He got up and placed kindling and wood in the fireplace, dousing it with lighter fluid. After lighting the fire, he poured himself a whiskey neat and sat down.
Stephen was up at the cottage for one reason, to enjoy himself for a few weeks. He enjoyed the time out in the woods, away from the city. With the nearest store or town over two hours away, and no cell phone reception to speak of, it was the perfect escape to a more uninhibited existence. The only other humans in proximity were the few that were visiting their own cabins in the vast area, and of course the man with the RV who had come to Stephen’s cabin in search of his wife.
Stephen sipped his whiskey, watching the flames dance in the fireplace, satisfied with what he had done. He listened as the wood crackled under the heat. “Oh how fury can rise from a spark.”
Focused on the dancing orange and red hues of the fire he began to totally disconnect from the world outside him. Suddenly a loud and abrupt pounding started at his front door, rousing him from his trance.
He sat up straight, startled. “Open the door you god damn liar!” Stephen heard the voice yell on the other side. “Tracy, I know you’re in there. Let me in! I am coming to get you!”
Stephen saw the doorknob handle start turning, and he could hear the sound on the mans hip hitting against the door in attempt to open it. The attempts became louder with greater force when the man on the other side of the door realized it was locked. Stephen quickly scanned the room and saw the fireplace poker sitting in the tray. He went and grabbed it, approaching the door as the pounding continued.
“I told you to go away!” Stephen yelled at the man on the other side of the door.
“I told you to open up but you won’t listen to me!” The man yelled, just as the loud blast of a pistol erupted. The door lock splintered and fragmented from the bullet. The man then kicked open the door, holding a revolver in his hand. He glared at Stephen with homicidal rage in his eyes.
“Where is she you son of a bitch!?!” He yelled. “Where the FUCK is my wife!?!”
Stephen froze. The poker was in his right hand, his arm down at his side. Stephen angled his body sideways to conceal the poker. “Listen, please calm down.”Stephen pleaded.
The man pointed the gun directly at Stephen. “No! I will not calm down! I want my wife back!” He screamed. “What did you do with her!?!”
Stephen raised his left hand. “Okay, okay! Listen, just put the gun down. I will show you where your wife is.” He said, his was heart pounding.
The man was grinding his teeth at him, and his finger was tightly squeezed around the trigger of the gun, nearly depressing it all the way and activating its deadly potential. “You better! I’m not fucking around with you!” He screamed.
Stephen walked up to the man slowly, still holding his hand up. “If you want your wife, she is in there.” He said, gesturing to his left hand to the area west of the front door. The man turned his head and saw the staircase that lead to the loft of the cabin. Beneath the stairs was a small door that was presumably for a closet. A large roll of burlap stood up right next to the door.
The man scowled. “You better not be lying! She is in there?”
“Yes.” Stephen smiled. “Don’t worry about your wife. I think she is nice and cozy.”
The man’s face contorted in rage, and for a moment Stephen thought he was going to pull the trigger and blast him right in the chest with a 9mm bullet, but the man seemed to reason to himself otherwise.
“You better not have hurt her, or I will blow your sick twisted ass to hell!”.
The man took backward steps towards the closet door, still facing Stephen, his arm holding the gun extended.. When he got there, he tried opening it with his free hand.
“It’s got a latch on it”. Stephen explained. “You’re going to have to unlock it I’m afraid. “
“You locked her in a closet?” The man exclaimed. The man quickly turned and holstered the gun in the waistband of his sweatpants, using his now free hand to open the latch. “Tracy! Are you in there?!?”
Stephen took advantage of the moment and closed the distance between him and the man in his house. As the man turned around and drew the gun to the sound of footsteps, Stephen swung the poker, hitting him on the side of his head. The man tumbled into the burlap roll next to the door, the pistol firing off. The bullet missed Stephen by mere inches, hitting the wooden wall of the cabin, sending splinters flying. As the man fell, he grabbed the burlap to try and stable himself, but both he and the roll tumbled onto the floor. Stephen struck the man again with the poker, this time hitting him in the spine.
“Arrgggg!” The man screamed as he crumpled. After a brief moment, he rolled his body to face up so he could point the gun at Stephen for another shot.
Stephen kicked him directly in the jaw, knocking the man’s head back and causing the gun to fire wildly, with the blast ringing in the room and echoing in his ears. Plaster fell from the ceiling where the bullet found its mark, and with another swing of the poker, Stephen struck the man in the hand, knocking the pistol from his grip and onto the ground. Stephen quickly picked it up, and pointed it at the injured man on the ground.
“You mother fucker!” The man screamed. “Where is she”? He used his unwounded hand to clutch the side of his head where Stephen had hit him. Dark red blood ran down his face. “You lied! She was not in there!” He began sobbing. “Where is she? What did you do to her!?!”
“I told you” Stephen said. “She is in there.”
The man groaned. “What do you mean in there?” He asked, he jaw was starting to become discolored from the bruising.
“I didn’t mean the closet” Stephen smiled and motioned for the burlap. “In there! See for yourself.”
The man gave Stephen a distrustful look, squinting his eyes at him, but crawled to the burlap roll. The man made a sound in his throat as he approached, scanning the form that was covered by the burlap. “What the…” He said, as he started pulling the strings that bound it.
Stephen smirked, bemused. “Did you find what you were looking for?” he asked.
“Oh my God, Tracy!” The man shouted. His sobs turned into crying. “You murdered her! You killed her!” He shrieked. The man held his wife’s head with his good hand as the tears streamed down his face.
“Yes.” Stephen smiled. “I told you, wrong place.” The pistol fired.
Stephen sat in front of the fireplace. A cigarette burned between his fingers. He was holding the whiskey neat in his other hand, watching the smoldering embers of the fire. “Remarkable, how something so passionate can fade into nothing but a memory”
A knock came at the door. Stephen put out his cigarette and stood up. He grinned as he looked over at the two burlap rolls that leaned against the wall next to the closet door. He went to the door and opened it.
“I know he’s in here!” The man on the front porch yelled. “I saw him go in.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Stephen said, sighing. “You have the wrong place.”