The Black Butterflies: Chapter four
December 10th, 1992
There was a moment or two of confusion, when I floated back to reality. First thing was that sun was streaming in through a window, directly on my face. Even before I opened my eyes I could hear the faint flutter of curtains over me, flapping softly with the wind and the distant hum of a lawn mower.
When I opened my eyes I was confused as to how I was in bed, in a room that was unfamiliar to me. The room was small but was well furnished with a dresser, fan, television and a desk and chair set. On the desk was my laptop.
It was a room in someone’s house, probably the space of a teenager. What was I doing here?
And then night came back to me. I was a prisoner!
I jumped off the bed and headed to the window. It was burglar-proofed, keeping un-wanted guest out, but keeping possible kidnapped ones in as well.
I looked out at what appeared to be a regular neighborhood, from what had to be a two-storey house. I could see houses in both directions as I strained my neck. The lawn mower was not running any more but I could hear activity in the house, somewhere below me.
Pots and pans were knocking around, a television was on and a hint of classical music.
I was dressed in grey track pants and white t-shirt. My skin was clean so I must have showered and changed. Except I could not recall doing any of that.
All I remember was the car and passing out in it.
I walked to the door and tried the brass handle. It swung open easily and I remained frozen where I stood, my bare feet rooted to the well carpeted floor. The house was wooden and I was certain that my footsteps would be echoing all over if I ventured further. The door itself did not creak and I remember being grateful for that.
After a few moments of uncertainty I tiptoed out into the corridor and peered left, then right. Nothing either way, just more doors along the corridor, so I stepped out and looked over the railing down into what I knew would be the living room.
I was right, below me was a fully furnished room and two men sat at a table, one was reading a newspaper while the other was looking at the television set on the left.
I was in strange house all right, but was I still a prisoner?
I stood for a few seconds looking down at the men wondering what the hell I should do. I knew the general layout of these houses. They were Victorian and the bedrooms and bathrooms were on this level, on my right would be a staircase that would lead me to downstairs. But that would be the only way, no short cuts or things like that. A real fire hazard if you asked me, having just one way in and out from the second landing, and a real kidnapping hazard too I surmised.
Suddenly the door on my right swung open and there standing before me was Cassius.
I had to admit that I was shocked and confused and happy all at the same time. Happier than anything else though, that I knew someone in this place, who could help me not to lose my sanity, or whatever was left of it.
“Cassius?” I asked lamely.
“No the Duke of York, keep your voice down.”
“Good to see you too and I am fine thanks for asking,” I challenged indignantly.
Cassius waved me to silence and peered over the hand railing, into the downstairs section. I heard the voices go to what would be the front door, thinking that they sounded vaguely familiar and after a few moments the door opened and closed. I stole a glance below.
“You can come down now.”
The voice from below offered, and Cassius nodded. I simply followed him.
Standing below in the living room was Patrick Stewart, smiling as though he just won a microwave over at the church raffle.
“Come on gentlemen you are just in time for breakfast. Let’s walk to the dining room.”
We followed our host to the dining room where breakfast had already been laid out by someone. The smell of eggs, toast, sausages, coffee and juice filled the air.
I was hungry immediately and sat down at the table, ready to start. Patrick sat at the head himself and began eating without any formalities. I followed suit and watched as Cassius shook his head in silent dismay. I nodded in agreement, we non-English men had no class.
“Who was your visitor?” Cassius asked.
“One of my officers, I was working out some security details with him.”
“Good, the sooner we get on with that, the better,” Cassius admitted.
“I see some people were too hungry to wait.” A female voice offered and we all froze.
I spun around and looked at a well-dressed female in her business suit, briefcase in one hand, and her cell phone in the other. Cassius stood and half bowed.
“Lady Arlene, Good morning you look splendid.”
She walked over to him and smiling kissed him on the cheek.
“Please have a seat.”
He continued pulling out her chair next to him. Man I hated this English gentleman nonsense. I swore that stuff like that was relegated to the movies and books only. My fingers were covered with bacon and eggs and I was sure that crumbs were falling from my face. I half-rose, and smiled.
“Lady Arlene, forgive the English and their poor manners. I am Lord Daniels a guest of this fine house. It is a pleasure to be in your company on this lovely morning,” I said and sat down.
I thought that she would see through my obvious sarcasm and take offense, but she simply smiled.
“No sir, the pleasure is mine.”
Both Cassius and Patrick looked at us. Patrick for one had never stopped eating.
“Young man, there are crumbs all over your face. Have you no decency?” Cassius asked.
I gave it a moment’s thought and then shook my head. Half standing again,
“No sir,” I offered and returned to my eggs without further delay.
Breakfast continued without further interruption or incident and I was vaguely aware that Cassius and Arlene were busy carrying on some conversations about law or some other boring topic, while they picked at their meal.
I, like Patrick, continued to focus on one of the more important matters at the moment: Eggs with bacon and juice, or coffee?
We went up to the study after breakfast and I discovered that room was the one on the left of where I had slept. The study itself was a small room but neatly packed with rows of books on different topics.
A neat mini library outfitted though with desk and chairs and even a computer. It was cozy, well carpeted and smelled of apple air-freshener. I liked it immediately and made it my new favorite place in the house.
I was offered a tour by Patrick and admired the neat clean settings of everything. Nothing was out of place or dusty, no pictures were hung crooked, or walls needing touch-up paint. I had even peered out of the kitchen window, to an immaculate sculptured lawn with a bank of flowers growing along the wall. This seemed like a picture-perfect house, newly built and moved into.
I was informed that the house was actually Patrick’s and his wife Linda’s for at least fifteen years. When Linda was alive she had grown the garden and done all the decorating. She was the neat freak as Patrick called her, and after she lost her battle with cancer, he had continued to preserve the house just as she left it.
Arlene was twelve when she died and had done her small share to keep the memories of her mother alive. The house was in her taste, every room with every fixture. Nothing was Patrick’s really; he knew that and liked it that way for some reason.
I had even thought that someone came over at least to cook and clean, or at least tend to the garden. Patrick smiled then proud that the image of a well-maintained house was still the first impression that strangers got. He in fact did it all, including the gardening and most of the cooking. Arlene helped when she had time, which was not often. He minded little, in three months he would be retired anyway and would have all the time in the world. He was content to allow Arlene to focus on her career for now.
The four of us sat at a small cedar table that had a small window overhead. Over the window was an air-condition unit. I must have been staring at it because Arlene offered:
“We have the unit because we could never get that window open, even by standing on the table and using force. Must have been painted shut over the years,” she shrugged in conclusion.
I noticed that anyone who really wanted the window open would have to stand on the table anyway, as it was so high no one could reach it, or even look through. It was also facing the side away from the sun, so the light provided was not much.
I nodded as if she had un-covered a deep mystery for me and sat next to her at the table. Patrick and Cassius sat opposite us facing the little window and a shelf of books on War and Religion.
“Where do we begin?” Patrick asked to all of us but to no one in particular.
“At the beginning I guess,” Cassius offered.
“We need to put the light on a few dark corners for sure,” Arlene said.
I said nothing awaiting my turn to roll the dice.
“I will tell you all that I know up to this moment,” Cassius began.
And the silence meant that we all agreed. Arlene set the tape recorder which she had, identified all the people in the room, and whose voices would be recorded. She nodded for Cassius to begin as she completed that part.
“Mr. Daniels called me a few days ago and told me that he had some information that would help my case. I would be lying to tell you that I believed him immediately, but I was a few days away from closing my first case without having real results, for the first time in twenty years of service. I thought what the hell I had to lose.”
“You mean besides your life?” I asked and was greeted by Cassius’s cold stare as he continued.
“I decided to meet Daniels as planned in Woodford Square. When I got there two hours ahead of schedule I noticed that there were people staking out the place. I was not sure if they were with Daniels or not so I laid low and drove around a few city blocks. I however had the good fortune of seeing one of the men following Daniels and so I realized that he was a possible target.
When I met him we never got time to speak as we were attacked. We survived because of some timely intervention by your men Patrick and then I offered him to you.”
“I ordered my men to take you to the army barracks then, the only safe place I could think of and placed you in the care of a mutual friend of Cassius and me.”
“Captain Wren,” I added. Patrick nodded.
“The decision to send you off the base with Special agent Anderson was one that Wren made without consulting us. He thought that you would be safe in the hands of the capable Anderson,” Patrick continued.
“But we were safe and not many men would have been able to survive such an ambush,” I said.
“True, but you were still followed and attacked because of someone in the army.”
I said nothing.
“No one knew that you were leaving and not many knew that you were even there. Wren knew and of course Anderson, he must have said something to someone at some point before you left.”
Again I let the silence between us hang.
“Wren was here this morning and we have some leads on who leaked the information, but all that seems trivial now seeing that he has to bury a son in a few days.”
“What?” I asked incredulously.
“Special Agent Anderson was Wren’s step-son.”
My heart grew heavy then and the little room just seemed a smaller at the moment.
“When I spoke to Wren and he mentioned your trip to collect your things, we tried our best to at least meet you and cut off any possible ambush. We were too late and when we got there, the shooting had just begun. The three of us took you out of there.”
I guessed at that point that the guy out of breath behind me was Cassius and the driver was Patrick. The lady with them was the beautiful Lady Arlene.
“I thought you were a lawyer?” I asked.
“Police Prosecutor actually, but I needed to go through all the regular training.”
“And then we brought you here,” Cassius continued.
“You do not remember?” Patrick wondered out loud.
I shook my head and they all simply shrugged.
“And where exactly are we?”
“This is Spring Gardens. We decided to bring you to my house as it would be safe for you here. This is a quiet neighborhood and you would be able to live longer than Christmas. You can’t go outside during the day though. Let us keep the risks to a minimum.”
I nodded, slowly drowning with all the information swimming around me.
“We have to call in some favors from some people high up and we might even have to take you out of the country,” Cassius said.
“Tonight on the news they are going to report that an un-identified guest of the state was killed at the barracks along with Greg Anderson. As it stands we secured the house in Manzanilla so no one knows what really happened. We will provide images of both your bodies leaving under army guard for the press. One body will be Anderson the other will be one of our so-called favors. The faces are both burnt beyond recognition so it won’t matter. As it stands, the attackers will assume mission accomplished.”
“Then what?” I asked trying to keep up.
“Part of our team captured two of your attackers last night. I spoke to Wren and he told me that one of the men did talk. The other had promised to say nothing even if faced with death. It was a promise he kept. When the other saw his associate killed by real army men he talked. The choice of getting killed instead of helping bring the right people to justice weighed heavy on him. He is helping us.”
“But they can’t really kill him for not talking can they?”
Even as I uttered it I heard how surreal it sounded.
“Well he really wasn’t killed. A shot was fired in the room next door and an already dead body dressed in his associate clothes was shown to him.”
I smiled faintly. “You apparently have a lot of extra dead bodies hanging around,” I offered.
The three of them simply smiled along with me.
The plot grew thicker as lunch drew near. The air itself seemed to grow heavier as we talked. The implications grew as well and my freedom danced ever so slowly away. The possibilities of walking the streets as a free man was a far-away notion and I was certain that to live beyond Christmas itself would be a feat.
Of the two men captured and questioned one was a cousin of Anderson, a distant one, but the same blood ran through his veins, in any event. In conversation Anderson had indeed mentioned me to him along with the fact that I was a guest of the state because of something that I had witnessed. This was at a dinner party for the new Mayor of Arima chosen in a by-election, two days ago.
Anderson had met his cousin there and the talk was leaked. His cousin Brad Brebnor, was also a police officer who knew of me, and mentioned to Anderson that he had heard through the grapevine of someone in the under-world offering a million dollars for my body. Dead or alive, but preferably the former.
Anderson had simply dismissed it, but Brad had not. He decided to cash in on the prize and, by leaking information from the un-suspecting Anderson, planned the attack with two other men. His last associate was a female driver, who would work for the smallest part of the bounty.
The plan might have worked, had it not been for the intervention of Patrick and his team. A quarter million dollars had already been collected and the men were schedule to collect the balance when the body of Daniels was produced.
“Would that be tomorrow?” I asked, very intrigued with the discussion and started to wonder:
Was this the way these criminal minds worked? Was planning the murder of someone really just a matter of business and not affected by morals?
“Yes after the news tonight we will let Brad make the call and the arrangement to collect the rest of his money. His driver escaped, but we intend to arrest her by this afternoon. The fourth guy was killed.”
“Why is he helping?” I asked.
“Because we negotiated to make him a state witness and testify against the people who hired him,” Arlene added.
“Is that legal?” I questioned.
“Technically,” was all she would say.
I did not like that answer.
“Who hired Officer Brad Brebnor?” I continued, keeping the questions flowing.
“He said that he met a guy named Scarface, someone he knew growing up and from the under-world as well, running guns and drugs. This Scarface was the same one who mentioned the bounty on your head. Brad told Scarface that he could get you for the asking price. Apparently they were at the dinner party for the Mayor that night as well. The next day Scarface calls and says they have a deal and meets Brad a few hours before the hit, with the quarter million dollars.”
“So we must find Scarface,” I concluded.
“He is only the lead man. The real person that ordered the hit is who Scarface really works for. We need this to work like clockwork. We wait for Brad to call and make the arrangement for the balance of the payment. Hopefully if we get one man we get the other.”
I had a headache. It had been slowly creeping up on me earlier, but was now banging away full speed in my head. I needed a break from all this and a drink. No ice or chaser, hell, maybe even no glass.
“There is something else that we missed,” Arlene said suddenly.
I was aware that she was recording the entire conversation and that she had kept making notes on her yellow legal pad.
“Cassius, you said that Daniels called you and you agreed to meet him.”
“Right?” Cassius said, not following.
“How come you were ambushed then? Who could have known that the meeting was set on that day, at that place?”
“And at that time?” I finished.
The place grew still. If the need for a break, or air, or both was urgent before, now it was even worse than ever. Cassius thought for a moment and shook his head. He had no answer that made sense.
“Maybe the phones are tapped?” I offered.
“Actually they are not, but they are networked,” Patrick explained.
I knew then what he meant and it made some sense.
“In big corporations they sometimes put phones on the same lines. What happens is that if four of us work out of the east section on level two all our phones would be linked, so if I made or received a call and anyone picked up their phone, they would hear my conversation. They have the same system in head quarters where the phones have one main line but many extensions.”
“Who are the three officers that share your line?” Arlene asked.
“Officers Nurse, Ward and Scott.”
“Okay we need to put these men under surveillance immediately. I will get the judge on the line with warrants to search their houses.”
“I will get a team on them now,” Patrick said.
“Daniels, you see what I mean when I tell you to stay low. The people who want you dead mean to get their wish. Your story, which you still have to tell us, must be worth telling. When we meet tonight we could talk about it over dinner okay? In the mean time I have also enlisted the continued help of Agent Jayson Holder, he might be a good man to have around and he’s already familiar with the case.”
“What’s his job now that I’m supposedly dead?” I asked seriously.
“We’ll fill him in on the truth. His main job would be to keep an eye on you. Always.”
“Seems to me like the more things change, the more they stay the same,” I offered and elicited no further responses.
The meeting came to an impromptu end at that moment. I still had some questions to ask but I would take the time to properly formulate them. Besides, I needed to lie down and take all this in. The more time I had to allow this to soak before dinner the better.
There was no doubt in my mind that I had indeed roused the wrong giant and I was convinced that the eventual fall-out would stretch for miles when the smoke cleared. All I could hope for was to be alive to see it to the end.
Dinner was served on the patio, overlooking the backyard and the garden below. The houses around were eerily quiet. I was informed that the area was normally like that. The house behind us was empty and Arlene told me that one of her father’s friends lived there.
He was away on vacation, in Florida with his family. His house was the closest and blocked off the back area. Out on the patio at nine, no-one could see us, except maybe the man on the moon.
The moonlight was magnificent. I had spent the last half hour walking around the garden itself taking it all in and thinking. My heart had kept at a steady beat since the meeting and my thoughts and feeling had been mixed also. The matter at hand overwhelming and my doubts were many.
How hard would it be to forget this whole thing and move on?
Except that somewhere in me I knew that there would be no moving on from this, maybe a moving under but not on.
I was already tired though and concerned that I continued to pull people into my mess. Agent Anderson for one was someone who had died for nothing.
While he had talked; I doubted that he thought discussing this case, to a member of his own family, would have resulted in his death. His father had put me in his care and I had caused his death, even if it was indirectly.
And what about the people who had me now? I thought.
I had three people who had taken me in, because of something that I saw. I was a complete stranger to them and could be the cause of their deaths as well, if I stayed. The desire to just disappear was great and would have worked if I knew where to go. I wondered that night if I could leave the country, before all this got worse.
My thinking was interrupted as I was called up for dinner. The dinner itself was nothing like breakfast, as the mood was sober. I guess the steak and beans tasted great, but I ate more out of having to, than wanting to. The talk that spilled around was small and un-important. When dinner ended, we all helped to clean up.
I remained a little longer alone with my thoughts, before going up to the study. The air outside was cool and the rain could be smelt in the distance. The rain was not as much on my mind as the fake images of my body being taken out of the barracks.
We silently watched the news reports earlier that evening. I was supposedly shot by Anderson, who in turn killed himself. Our bodies were both taken out, covered in blue sheets and transported to the forensic science center. Grainy images of us, were plastered on the screen for a brief second and Captain Wren was pictured hugging his wife and younger daughter. He had no comment to make.
The images kept repeating themselves in my mind, just a constant roll that appeared to be stuck in the same loop. We kept coming out of the barracks, on the way to our final, surreal ride. Our bodies draped in blue and a half dozen somber faces around.
At least it looked real. And then I remembered that it was. Greg Anderson was really dead and it was just a matter of time before I met him in the darkness that waited.
When I finally went up to the study, everyone was as quiet as at dinnertime. The tape recorder and a fresh packet of tapes were present, along with Arlene’s yellow legal pad.
I sat where I did earlier and cleared my throat.
My story did not take as long as I thought it would. I was glad it was over with and that I should not have to repeat it. The only other consolation was that if anything happened my story could be used on tape. I had officially identified myself, my location and the date. I gave the basics of my life and some information about my job over at The Weekly Special, information that a stranger would not know off hand. I did mention that I had seen three men on the beach, two of whom I could readily identified.
I gave them Judge Clarence Scott’s name and watched as the reality of what I was saying settled in. Judge Scott was after all the most senior High Court Judge in the country. The revelation left an awkward silence and I know that at some point both Arlene and Patrick must have crossed paths with him.
It was their reactions that forced me to withhold the second name.
“Just let me think about this other guy a little more,” I offered lamely.
I could almost hear the concern by my decision to hold back information, conveyed in a heavy silence.
“Why, what difference would it make?” Cassius challenged.
“Listen it’s been a long day for all of us. Give me a little time.” I countered as my defense, waiting for the disagreements.
“Fine,” Arlene said first. “We have time,” she added and I saw Patrick nod in agreement.
Cassius on the other hand disapproved, but he was out voted and continued to sulk over a report that he was reading.
Arlene continued to explain the taping was a precaution, in case I died before the matter got to trial. I was glad of the security, but my mind did not want to focus too much on the negative, I had done that enough already. I read all day, unable to sleep and was actually in the study for longer than I had expected.
“I got a team on your possible eavesdroppers,” Patrick stated matter-of-factly.
“I have warrants to search their houses as we speak.”
“You guys will not believe what Wren called me with today?”
“Try us,” Cassius said.
“The guy that got killed in the ambush at Manzanilla was an officer. Peter Nurse to be exact, one of the guys that you named this morning.”
“Like I said, it will take a lot to surprise me now,” Cassius admitted.
“Is it possible that there was only one person in on it or do you think that it might have been all of them?” I asked.
“We cannot afford to take any chances,” Arlene said.
“The team will call me as soon as they have anything important.”
Like clockwork the phone rang. Patrick got up and took the call at his desk. The call was brief as well as hushed and we tried to listen without making it obvious. Cassius was trying to decide what the next step should be.
“That was Wren,” Patrick said re-taking his seat. “He said Eric, also known as Scarface just called, claimed he saw the news. The plan is to meet Brad Brebnor at five tomorrow afternoon on Independence Square. He would call again in the morning.”
“Well so far so good then, assuming of course he doesn’t double cross us,” Arlene admitted.
“Wished the teams could pick up something at the houses,” Patrick added.
“Teams?” I asked.
“Yeah we wanted the element of surprise so we ordered three teams to hit together,” he explained.
“Wait a minute,” I said standing up. “Wait a minute here!”
“What?” Cassius asked.
“Who gave you the warrant to search the houses?” I asked Arlene.
“The Attorney General called the judge,” She said calmly.
“Do you have her number, which judge gave the order?”
“Daniels I do not know, what is your point though?”
“Call the AG and find out which judge.”
Reluctantly Arlene got on her cell phone.
“Daniels what is it really?” Cassius asked sounding concerned now.
“Something is wrong here, Patrick call off the teams now, please.” I said.
Arlene’s call connected:
“Hi Alicia, sorry to call this late, how are you?”
“Well I need to find out, who was the judge that gave you the order today for me?”
“Okay,” Arlene hung up with the Attorney General Alicia Nurse still talking.
“Call them off daddy!” Arlene said as it now became clearer.
Patrick got up and headed to the phone with the confusion still etched on his face. Even before he got to it, the phone rang. Slowly he got it up to his ears. I was vaguely aware that we were all standing now and I guess that our collective hearts were not beating.
Everything stood still, even though the time that elapsed could have really only been seconds. We watched as Patrick went white and he leaned on his desk. He was listening to the other voice that seemed bent on delivering his message from hell.
Patrick looked like he wanted to tear the phone from his ear and throw it across the room, but it seemed stuck to his face and he was compelled to listen.
“Tell the men hold their line, I will be there now.”
He hung up and looked at us.
“I cannot believe that I failed to make the connections before.”
“We all failed daddy.”
“I should have known better!” Patrick shouted and we all cringed.
“Can someone tell me what the hell is going on?” Cassius asked.
“Two of my SWAT teams just got blown up. Seven men in total dead and about fifteen people injured.”
“What?” We all said together.
“The homes of Officers Dale Scott and Peter Nurse were rigged with explosives. The men got caught off guard.”
“What are the connections that you should have made?” Cassius asked still feeling around in the dark, waiting for the switch that had already gone off in our heads, because we knew these people.
“The AG who got the order for me is Alicia Nurse. Peter Nurse was her brother.” The words hung heavy in the room.
“The judge that gave the order was Judge Clarence Scott. Dale Scott is his son.”
Patrick left to meet his men at the residence of Dale Scott, on Prince Edward Drive, Westmoorings. He had made a call to the Director of Public Prosecution, Henry Salem Jr. and asked for warrants for the arrests of the officers in question.
The searching process was now unnecessary. He needed the warrants, and there must be some judge that could get them signed tonight.
His head was spinning with the details of the present situation. They were dealing with people who had countless connections, and hell bent on beating the system.
On that night unknown to anyone else, Patrick Stewart had doubts about the case they seemed to be falling headlong into. It was the second time in his life that he felt this helpless.
The first was the night Linda died and he had watched, as she slipped away. If Arlene was not there to be his comfort in the days that followed, he would not have made it. Patrick believed that he had every right to be scared.
When he left the three of us remained in the study a while longer. The tape had in fact kept running the entire time and Arlene took it out and continued with a new one, adding to the pile that already had three. She labeled the last one and spoke.
“The three of us are present and will continue these recordings. Patrick Stewart has left to attend to the service of his men.”
“It would look like this matter is a lot bigger than we could ever imagine. I think that it is time for Mr. Daniels to tell us who was the other person he saw on the beach. He has already mentioned Judge Clarence Scott and the connection was made that his son Dale Scott is in fact a part of this entire plot. We have also discovered tonight that Attorney General Alicia Nurse and her brother are also a part of this. We cannot at this time determine who is responsible for what but the plot as they say thickens.”
“My name is Detective Cassius Charles, connected to the Scotland Yard England. I believe that there are two groups at work here and we should work with the possible theory that neither is associated with the other. The first group would include the drugs and possible gun traders that directly implicate Mr. Clarence Scott and his son Dale Scott. The second group would include the persons that are hired to ensure that what Mr. Daniels saw, never goes public and are bent on murdering him. This group implicates Ms. Alicia Nurse and her brother Peter Nurse. It is possible that there are people involved in both groups.”
The silence that followed was hardly different from the kind that had been haunting us all day long.
“Where do you have the information that you claim?” Arlene asked changing tact.
“I have the pictures that I have taken and made two sets of them. They are being kept at two different locations. I would like us to copy these tapes and place them at two separate locations as well.”
The tape was stopped then as the phone started ringing. Cassius went for it and I took that time to use the washroom. When I got back out the hall, the study was empty. I walked downstairs and found Arlene in the driveway. Cassius himself was now leaving.
“Where is he headed?”
“Daddy called for his help with the bombings. Apparently they asked both the Judge and the AG to come in for questioning.”
“Yeah, there is no time like the present.”
“Am I in your care then?”
“Unfortunately you are. And while I am on duty you will address me as Inspector Stewart.”
“Yes my lady.”
The rain that had been threatening all night finally came down in torrents, and we hurried inside.
Arlene and I talked for a long time that night. With the rain drumming on the roof, we sat on the patio covered in blankets, watching it pour down. The moon was barely visible now and all I wanted to do, was stare up at the vast sky.
I did not want to talk and certainly not about the whole crazy mess. I had no real reason for not telling them who the other man was. Yet a part of me kept holding on to the information as if by not speaking, that would force it to go away. I was glad that they had not decided to pressure me into talking.
“Who are you?” Arlene asked suddenly.
I smiled, “Edward Daniels.”
“I know your name but really who are you? Have you ever thought about that?”
“Yes I have. Have you ever thought about it?”
“Yes. I am a little girl in a grown up world. Missing my mother but grateful for my father. I am lonely and afraid at times, but at times I am brave enough to kill lions. I am afraid of thunder, but not afraid to die.”
“Can you see death then?”
“I am not afraid because I believe that I will get the chance to see my mother whom I love.”
“Did you see her die?”
“Yes, but it was long before the actual day on her death certificate. For me she had been dead a long time. And I would rather watch her die a thousand times than watch her suffer once.”
I half smiled.
“Who do you belong to Daniels.”
“To God, I think.”
“God. Do you believe in him?”
We said nothing for some time, choosing instead to listen to the rain. I could smell the sweetness of it as it poured now, and imagine that the place would look like new as always when it was done.
I had stood so many times in my own room, looking at the rain as it stung my window pane and on some days, I would open it up and let the rain blow in, with the wind. It was the only right thing to do I believed when you cried, that way no one could tell the difference between your tears and the rain.
“What do you hide?”
“Nothing,” I lied.
“Then will you tell me what haunts you?”
“Someday maybe, but not tonight.”
“What if we never get tomorrow?”
“It’s not tomorrow that haunts me Arlene, it is yesterday.”
I had said more than I really should and I tensed. Waiting for her to probe deeper and knowing that I would not be pleased if she did. She must have felt the moment. We were on a topic that was deep and it was something that would eventually be revealed. Arlene was smart enough to know now was really not the time.
She should know. She had lost her mother and knew that at times people probed. At times what we sufferers wanted was our own time and silence. Not pity and questions.
We stayed that way until sleep came. I have no way of knowing what Arlene dreamed that night. I dreamt of the time before the rain was my friend. Before I had to hide my tears and cry in its comfort. I dreamed of a time when I was truly free and love itself had made living worthwhile. At times I dream of this moment as it seems to be only in my sub-conscious, I am never able to remember all the details as they were, but I know that the sun shone then and I was happy.
Editor’s Note: Wired868 has been authorised to publish excerpts from Kirk A Inniss’ maiden novel, The Black Butterflies for readers. Click HERE to read from Chapter One, Part One.