Protagonist is a near homless paranoid schizophrenic.
| Pale Horse:|
Mr. Henry's child-support
"Some are born mad. Some remain so."
-Samuel Beckett ,Waiting for Godot
From behind the jagged horizon of the lower East Side, a greedy red sun rises, stretching the fingertips of it's morning rays through the filthy corridors of the city. A coat of red gold to add to the browns and yellows of burnt out alleys and street corners. The air, quickly polluted with the dense fog of car noise and shouted obscenities, blankets the population in a fluorescent haze. The streets become alive with the bustle of movement as men and woman hastily step over the stirring homeless and prepare for their endeavors; preparing to make their ends meet by whatever means necessary.
The sun's glare climbs up the side of the decaying Greenfield's apartment complex, one of the many subsidized housing projects built to suppress the decaying moral fiber of the city. Through the grime stained glass, past the rotted horizontal wood blinds, and onto the closed, squinted eyes of a parallel man, the sun pours its bright irony. The man spits a curse from under his breathe as he rolls to his side in a vain attempt to avoid the sunlight. His drastic kicks and constant shifting could not find him a comfortable spot on the stained, sheetless mattress. It took the assistance of a resolute sigh to give him enough morale to raise himself to a seated position on the stiff bed. He was still fully dressed in his worn Coleman's boots, stone washed jeans, loose white shirt and heavy green military style coat.
His moody obsidian eyes scan the cramped apartment for some sort of time telling device, but to no avail. As he rises to his feet he takes a moment to absorb the confines of his last minute sanctuary. It's no more than a few strides from the mattress to the front, double latched door. The corners of the gray walled apartment are piled with garbage, some papers, and remnants of food containers. A coffee table, juxtaposed to the bed, has a empty pizza carton and an over stuffed ash tray with half the butts scattered across it's surface. To the left of the table is a thick brown love seat, made of scarred suede, which is occupied by a stained pink and white carnival bunny.
The man moves to his right towards the kitchen, which is only separated from his current room by a length of cheap wood and tile counter tops. He ignores the refrigerator and rummages through the mostly empty cupboards, disregarding the few brightly colored plastic cups and paper plates. In a small compartment above the refrigerator he finds a quarter bottle of Jack's Bourbon and nearly stumbles over himself as he stretches up to reach it. The man licks his lips as he hastily unscrews the top and grants himself a heavy swallow. Wiping his mouth with the sleeve of his left arm he turns to face the carnival prize.
The matted pink and white rabbit seems to know his middle name, referring to dark haired man as Mr. Henry, in subtle whispers. The phantom of a man flashes a quizzical eye at the rabbit as he edges around the counter towards the stuffed animal.
"And what business do you have with me, rabbit?" The dark haired man asks, not bothering to hide the venom in his voice.
The dirty, inanimate plaything stares back a response through it's almond marble eyes.
"A belly ache, you say? I'm terribly sorry to hear that. I find it hard to stomach these living conditions as well. Perhaps a steady diet of..."
The lifeless animal continues it's motionless glare towards the broad shouldered Mr. Henry.
"How dare you cut me off in the middle of my credible suggestion. If I didn't know any better I would...what? Is that so? Did he now...?"
With a few eager steps and another swig of the black labeled bourbon, the complicated man glides towards the stuffed animal and towers over it. Muttering his understanding to the hare's implications, Mr. Henry plants a boot on the body of the animal and with a strong grip around it's neck, tears the plaything nearly in half. Cotton spills out and floats lazily to the couch and floor. From the opening in the rabbits torso the handle of a sharp kitchen knife is revealed, Mr. Henry removes it and places his bottle on the coffee table. With a free hand he probes the innards of the carnival prize, and comes across a hard wad in a plastic zip lock bag. With sobering determination he removes it, brings it up to his face and casts a humorless smile; a wad of hundreds.
Phillip Henry was always good at knowing the best time to make an exit and all things considered, this was a good time. Stuffing the wad of bills into his coat pocket, he unlatches the chain and top lock, opens the front door and makes for a speedy escape. The yellow walls of the hallway are riddled with water stains, holes, and graffiti but Phil does not bother himself with these details. Scanning down both ends of the empty hall he makes his way towards the stairwell on his left. As he begins his descent down to the first floor he finds himself detained, his coat snagged on a corner of some sort.
"Sir? Sir, please..." The tiny voice of a boy no older than nine rattles in his ears.
"What the devil?" Phillip Henry looks down to see the young child gripping the corner of his coat. He turns his body to face the boy only to see him jump back with wide eyes. Phillip almost slaps himself for forgetting the knife was still in his hand. With a quick motion he puts the arm behind his back and leans towards the freckled, red headed youth. "What is it child?"
"My mom..." He stammers "She's hurt...and she's fell." Phil sighs at the inconvenience.
"It seems I must perform a list of charities today, huh child?" The boy, after a perplexed stare, turns to point in the direction of his apartment door. While the kid was facing away Phil notices a few blood stains on his jean overalls and decides that this matter can only go from worse to terrible. With measured steps Phillip Henry approaches the dull red door of room number 208. The door is ajar and from the 2 inch crack Phil can hear the labored breathing of a female. With his right hand involuntarily gripping the knife, he uses his left to slowly push the door open. He could not have been more right.
She was in her late twenties and very attractive. She had diamond blue eyes which dart quickly from the broad frame of the man at her door to the sharp knife protruding from his grip. The woman was on her back with her right arm resting on a fallen chair behind her, for support. It was obvious the woman had fallen down, as the boy had explained, but he denied to mention that she was pregnant and very much in labor.
The woman's flower dress was soaked and clinging to her legs and waist. She sat in a large pool of blood and embryonic fluid, panting as she unsuccessfully tried to force herself to sit up. Blood was everywhere. It was pouring from a cut on her brow, it was in large spots all over her dress and up her arms, and it was in streaks where the woman had crawled in a vain attempt to get help. She was sweating and too weak to speak anything more than a whimpered help.
With a violent contraction, her body cringes, and her mouth is involuntarily forced open but she fails to let out a scream. Her face pales from the lack of blood and her eyes begin to flutter with the first signs of slipping consciousness. Phillip Henry can do little more than look at the woman, then down to his knife. The type of pain she is going through is abnormal. Phil knows there is no way she can get any kind of medical attention in time, she's doomed. Her baby is doomed. The light from the midday sun shining through the windows casts a gleam on the blade in his right hand.
Phil takes three long strides towards pretty, young woman. Her tears mix with the sweat profusely pouring down the side of her face as she watches the knife approach. She lets out a cry from a painful contraction and another large pool of blood spills from her cervix. Phil squats down in front of her and grips her knee with his left hand for balance. "If there is a god you pray to..." Phil offers coolly "pray she hears you this day."
The woman's screams are heard down every hall and in every room of the Greenfield apartment complex...
Police officer Matthew Arden does not like stopping for house calls in this neighborhood. Dispatch had told him that they had received numerous calls of a domestic disturbance in the projects off 7th and Grimmer. Matthew was not a stupid man, he would usually ignore these frequent, low priority calls but dispatch insisted on it's urgency. Other units were already on the way but Matthew was a family man and back up, in his opinion, wouldn't arrive soon enough. As he stepped out of his vehicle, he took a moment to eye the seven story building. Anyone of these whack's could be brandishing a gun or worse. Matthew had a wife and two kids.
He makes his way through the lobby and up the stairs to the seconded floor. The tenants were huddled in small bunches in front of their doors speaking avidly about the situation. Almost all at once they try to explain their personal version of the story. "Calm down, please." Officer Arden retorts to the hum of the crowds "Just stay clear of the hall and stay inside your rooms. There is nothing to see here." With the sigh of repetitious procedure he makes his way to the open door of room number 208.
There stands a man facing the door in green jacket with blood on his torso and up his sleeves, his right hand holding a dripping knife. To his side, on the ground, is a woman in a wet pile of blood and a slimy solution, cradling a new born baby. Fragments of umbilical chord are found in chunks throughout the vicinity. Her dress was hiked up enough to see the devastating birth that just took place, the birth of a baby dying from asphyxiation, chocking on the noose of it's own umbilical chord. Officer Matthew Arden turns his head and vomits.