the disappearance of a neighbor and friend leaves questions...
|Prompt:” Couldn’t you hear me knocking?” she asked.
“No…Um... I was…”
Shirley stood at the door knocking. She knew Jeff was in there.
“His car was here, why he wasn’t answering?” she thought.
She kept knocking. Still no answer and no movement in the living room of this house she was standing at the front door of. She began to get worried for her friend Jeff, who was not in the best of health anyway. Finally after about twenty minuets of knocking, getting louder each time, she decided to go around back and see if she could see something.
She removed her high heels she had on and made her way to the gate on the side of the house that would lead her to his back yard, she knew he doesn’t go back there anymore and it was always unlocked, mainly for her to use his pool.
She opened the gate slowly; a small squeak flew through the air as she did. It was a while since this gate was used and it was in need of some oil. She passed into the back yard slowly hoping her friend was okay, or that she would catch him in an embarrassing position.
As she came around the corner of the house, she came to the screen door of the pool enclosure. Looking around she found nothing moved or out of place, even the pool, with its bright blue water, was as calm as a mirror. The sliding glass doors which lead to his bed room and the living room were closed, not too uncommon with the humidity as high as its been.
Shirley was trying to be as quiet as she could, just in case, when she moved up to the door which lead to his bedroom, and gently placed her ear to it, hoping to hear something to calm her nerves, which by now were severely frayed from worry. As she listened for anything which would give her a hint of his whereabouts, but all the while it was dead silence, which she guessed isn’t any better then hearing him in bed with his new girlfriend. Feeling satisfied with that he wasn’t in that room, she crept down the wall to the sliding glass door which was in the dining room, slowly and quietly placed her ear against the cold still glass hoping to hear something. But as before, she heard nothing but dead silence.
But just as she was going to move down the wall to the door which lead to the living room and enter his home there, out of the corner of her eye she noticed the security bar missing from that door.
“Strange!” She thought,” Jeff always keeps that door bar on the door and this door locked.”
Against her better judgment she gave the door a bit of a tug, surprisingly it opened easily and silently. Biting on her bottom lip as she began to decide whether or not she was going to go into his house, knowing it was a crime and that he could have her prosecuted for breaking and entering. She decided to go in, out of concern and hope if he is inhere that he would understand her presence and not press charges. She gently placed her shoes on an outside table and stepped slowly into the carpeted house and closes the sliding door behind her. Hoping to hear some sound of him somewhere in the house she stood still, and listened.
The sound of dead silence filled her ears with its noise, and it also filled her heart with deeper concern about his safety. She looked around the dining room, his crutches leaning up against the wall in the corner, everything was in its proper place and by the looks of the dust she saw as she looked around, no one touched it or cleaned it in weeks.
“Dusty,” she thought,” Jeff, what is wrong with you, you are a neat freak and would have never let this place get like that.”
Tiptoeing as if someone was listening for her, she moved into his bedroom and, like the dining room, everything was in order. The bed was made, shoes in their place on the floor beside his bed, cane leaning on the ‘changing seat’, as Jeff called it over by the closet, with his clothes in a crumpled up pile in a place which reminded her of Jeff when he wore the clothes, just he wasn’t in them, Even his wheelchair just across the room from his chair, for days when he just couldn’t walk any more.
Extremely worried, she stopped tip toeing as she checked the master bathroom, the kitchen, garage, and his office. By the time she finished checking the whole house, she was in tears as everything looks as it should, but it looks as though it hasn’t been touched in a long time, which didn’t make sense because she saw him about three days ago.
She knew how his health was getting in his age; she called her Husband Eric on he cell phone which she had in her pocket of the jacket she wore.
“Hello,” He answered unaware of what she was doing.
“Eric?” she asked him.
“Yes, Shirley, its me,” he remarked, “what’s up?”
She then proceeded to tell him about what was happening and what she found.
“You what?” he spoke up, obviously upset that she would break the law like that,” You broke into his house? What were you thinking?”
“Eric… there is an inch of dust on everything,” She continued, “I found his clothes on his changing chair in such a position like he was sitting there and simply was taken out of them, leaving them there.”
“You said there was an inch of dust on everything?” He questioned, as he knew Jeff was one of the cleanest people he knew, and he remembered it was almost like a hospital. He half expected a Doctor to come walking around the corner when they visited him.
“What should I do?” she stated as she started to get very upset about it, after all he was the best friend she had ever known, almost like he had known her all her life.
“Call the police and then wait for them outside,” He spoke up,” and don’t touch anything more. I’m on my way.”
She nodded and the said, “Okay.” To her husband before ending the call, putting her phone away and leaving the house, as instructed, then calling the police.
Across town, her husband Eric had explained things to his boss, who agreed with his that he did tell her the right thing to do, got into his semi-new car and began to make his way towards home. He couldn’t help but be amazed that his house was like that. He was very worried, as Jeff had always been his friend and drinking buddy, ever since college, before the accident.
It was about one o’clock in the afternoon and traffic that Eric encountered was almost unusually heavy for this time of day, it seemed to follow him with each turn he made. But finally he had pulled down his street, and saw nothing but a solid wall of police cars, and a line of, what looked like, yellow caution tape, in front of Jeff’s house.
Eric quickly parked his car as close as he could, with all the emergency vehicles blocking the road, and made his way through the maze of ambulances, police, and fire department vehicles towards his house and a frantic wife, who could use his strength right now.
“Excuse me, sir,” a uniformed police officer said to Eric, stopping his procession across the yellow crime scene tape,” This is a Crime scene, you can’t go in there.”
“B-b-but, I live in there and my wife was the one who called you people,” Eric said his voice obviously had been filled with fear for his friend.
“Let me call the detective in charge,” The officer said,” And see if he thinks your ok to go through.”
“Ok,” Eric said as the officer reached the microphone clipped to his shoulder.
” Detective Stratus?” the officer said, “I have here Mister Eric, the husband of the lady who called this in here at the tape. May I let him in?”
“Yes,” was the only sound that came through the radio.
As on command the officer raised the yellow tape and waved Eric through then dropped it, and resumed his post without question.