The Strange Shape of Anne's Grief Part 34
by Shane Migliavacca
The Strange Shape Of Anne's Grief chapter 34 Deputy Harold Olson
He was close now. The house wasn’t that far away. Thank god. Damn, this girl lived out somewhere in East Jesus Harold thought. He’d got lost once already, taking the wrong turn off a ways back and he had to turn around and go back. Sure he could have called dispatch and asked for directions, risking ridicule from the sheriff and his fellow deputies. Being called Scrotum was bad enough without adding another nickname to their arsenal of insults.
The snow was still falling. The road was getting slippery. His eyes burned from the white all around him. He’d grabbed a quick nap back at the station. Fatigue had retreated for awhile. Now he could feel it inching back. He had to be careful, between the weather and his tiredness. He after he brought this chick to the station Pinbacker would let him go home. Harold was sure he could sleep for a couple days at least. The idea sounded so good.
He was pretty sure Anne went to school with his older brother Vern. She hung around with that tomboy chick. Anne wasn’t a bad looking number. Not for this town anyway. At this point he’d settle for one of those heifers that worked at Stop and Shope. He’d tried and failed to get Dana’s attention at the station. Sadly she appeared to have a thing for the sheriff. How she was a deputy was beyond him. She was way too hot to be a cop.
He pulled down the driveway. It hadn’t been cleared out yet. The built up snow since this morning made progress tricky. The ties slid on spots of ice underneath. After a couple tense minutes he reached the house. Harold could have parked and walked the driveway. Fuck that. He wasn’t getting his damn feet wet. There was no other cars around. Was anybody even here?
Harold triggered the car radio.
“Vicky, I’m at the Marsten house. Don’t think anybody is home, might as well give it a look while I’m here.”
Vicky acknowledged. Her voice distorted by radio static.
Getting out, Harold adjusted his jacket and pants. Couldn’t be looking sloppy. He fully intended on trying to get a date with Anne. There was talk around town that she was a bit strange. Living out here with her mom. Didn’t really matter to him. Again at this point he’d take strange. He’d hoped this uniform would get him some respect when he’d joined. Respect his father and brother didn’t give him. He’d hoped it would get him tail too. Neither had happened yet.
His brother got everything he wanted. Their father’s respect. The good jobs. The women. Hell yes he was jealous of his brother. He didn’t hate him for it. Didn’t treat him any different. He’d always been there for Vern. Always helped his brother out whenever he asked.
Harold looked at the house, whistling. “Talk about your Gothic.”
The wind howled through the wide open area. Blowing over the flat land. Squinting as snow and cold stung his face, Harold felt as if he was being watched. He looked up trying to see if anybody was in one of the windows. A chill separate from the winter wind ran down his spine. The insolation was getting to him. There wasn’t a soul around.
“Pucker factor ten.” He said. Talking to himself helped his nerves. Unclasping his gun holster. He highly doubted he’d need a gun for this. She was just some blue collar chick. The idea of it being ready reassured him.
He knocked on the front door. The paint was cracked. Some flaking off at his touch. There was no audible answer. Looking down for a doorbell, he didn’t see one. So he knocked again. This time louder.
“Anybody here? Hello?”
Harold jumped back. What the hell was that? He pulled his service revolver out. His eyes darting over the area.
Did that come from behind the house?
It did. Holding his revolver he walked through the snow, crossing the yard to edge around the house to the backyard.
There it was again. Was somebody shooting? His feet felt numb as snow snuck into his shoes. Would this give him frostbite? Would he lose his toes?
Man up Harold. Suck it up.
That’s what his dad would say. Just think of his bed back home. He could sleep as soon as he got this shit over with.
Peeking around the corner he saw the source of the noise. The backdoor was unlatched. Blowing back and forth in the strong gusts. Embarrassment crept in. Fuck what an idiot he was. He could see his father looking at him, that ashamed look on his face.
You’re a real pansy boy.
Maybe so. No! No, fuck that shit. He was a man. No matter what his father thought. With a new found confidence he walked purposely towards the back door. Stopping the outside door as it swung back out. The inside door was slightly ajar. A trail of snow leading into what looked like the kitchen.
“Hello? Miss Marsten?”
Harold pushed the door open with the barrel of the gun. His heart doing jumping jacks in his chest. What if the killer was here? Came here and offed Anne and her mother. Lying in wait for him.
Shit! Shit! Shit!
He’d never get some sleep now. There’d be a ton of questions. A report to fill out. Looking over the crime scene. Fuck. This day just kept getting worse. Harold you’ll be lucky to get home at all today. The thought pissed him off. Why’d this shit have to happen to him? Perhaps he could just radio back. Tell them the place was locked up. Nobody home.
What if Anne or her mother where dying somewhere inside? Could he live with that?
Shit. He should have become a lawyer like his mom had wanted. He stepped into the house Too late for any of that shit now. He was inside. The door hinges creaked as he closed and latched it behind him. If it was a crime scene, he was in the middle of it.
The kitchen was a mess. The table was littered with crumbs and bits of food. Dirty plates and cups sat in the sink and on the counter. A foul rotten smell hung in the air. What the hell was going on here?
Moving as quiet as he could Harold remembered playing war with his brother in the woods behind their house as boys. Far into the woods there was an old abandoned skin mill. They played there as kids all the time. Back then Vern had a mean streak. Harold could still remember the terror he’d felt when his brother decided to stalk him with his BB gun. Vern had told him it wouldn’t hurt. It would be cooler, make playing war real he’d assured Harold.
That was a lie because the BB gun hurt like fuck. Harold could still feel the sting of those damn little things hitting him. Still hear his brother maniacal laughter when he started crying from the pain. Vern got angry with him when he quit playing. Threatening to beat the hell out of him if Harold told their father about any of it. Vern had thankfully mellowed a lot since those days. The mean streak faded away.
A gentle sobbing came from one of the rooms. A ghostly mournful weeping.
“Hello?” Against his better judgement he called out. Anne or her mother could be hurt. He had a gun, He was a trained deputy. There was nothing to fear.
He found the source of the crying in the dinning room. Sitting hunched over the table, their back to him was a woman.
“Hello? Miss Marsten? Are you okay?”
His wet sneakers squeaked on the hardwood floor as he moved towards the sobbing woman. By the color of her hair, he guessed it was the mother.
He reached out to touch their shoulder. “Are you alright? Do you need help?”
Before his fingers touched her the woman stood abruptly. Surprising the deputy and sending their chair careening to the floor. The woman turned. Their weathered face streaked with tears. Haggard with age. It had to be the mother.
“What’s wrong miss?”
Too late he saw the flash of metal in their hand. A steel kitchen knife slicing through the air. Cutting a red gash in his cheek. Air whistling through the new opening in his face as he tried to speak. Shock and surprise clouding his trained responses. Bringing his gun up too late. Another flash of cold metal severed his thumb. He watched dumbfounded as it fell to the floor rolling under the kitchen table.
“Leave my baby alone!” The woman screamed, slashing at him.
He managed to squeeze a shot off. Pain and fear clouding his aim. He Missed the woman by a couple feet. The bullet burrowing into the table top.
The woman lunged towards the young deputy. Burying the blade into his chest. Ripping through his jacket, shirt and finally his flesh.
Harold tripped. Sending them both toppling backwards. Harold landing hard on his back. The woman on top of him. His service revolver fell from his hand as he tried to catch himself. It slid under a nearby china cabinet. Terror and anger fueled Harold’s next action as he pushed the old woman off him. Sending her back a couple feet.
“Get off bitch!” Harold scrambled too his hands and knees. He could feel his gts coming out of his gut. He was too terrified to look, to confirm what he feared.
“Leave us alone!”
Harold tried to get up, slipping on his own blood. Falling against one of the walls. Leaving a trail of crimson on the wall. The woman had recovered. Crawling toward him with the kitchen knife.
“Leave my baby girl alone!”
Harold tried pushing the woman away. The blood loss was draining his strength. He only manged to push her away briefly.
“Please. Let me go home.”
The last image he saw was the blade descending towards him. The last words he heard was the woman’s.
“Go now.” She said.
Harold let out a sigh as he slumped to the floor.
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