Never stop learning; it’s never “too late”
For the last 2 years, I have been taking writing courses at U.W.O. I love it! I have been truly challenged and am learning so much. I feel so alive! For many years, I have said to people, “I need to write a book.” Well, a couple years ago over Christmas holidays, I was feeling bored, unfulfilled and as though I was wasting my life. I was meant to do more. I felt it deep down inside. I opened my computer late one night, searched writing courses at U.W.O, and registered. That’s it. It all starts when you take that first step. Just one step is all it takes. My current course is Writing Mysteries and Thrillers. It’s a bit of a stretch for me, or so I thought. One of my classes was on blogging, and now I have a blog. Listen ladies, I don’t care how old you are right now…you do not want to have regrets and unfulfilled wishes. If you have always wanted to do something, go somewhere (after Covid, of course) or learn something, take that first step. You deserve it and you are the only one who can make it happen.
A sample of my thriller short story!
WARNING! deals with mature content including conflict, violence, sex and criminal activity. DO NOT read if these subjects will bother you. This is a work of fiction. If you are not at least 18 years of age, I recommend you do not read this.
The knocking was distant but so annoying. Annie blinked to clear her vision. What the hell is that glow? Was that the phone ringing? She stumbled off the bed. Wait, why are my jeans undone?
The next morning, Eileen handed Annie a coffee. Neither of them remembered the whole night, just bits and pieces.
“Can I ask you something?” Eileen asked
“How do you feel this morning?”
“Physically, fine. Why? How do you feel?”
“Good. Do you feel hungover?”
“Annie, why can’t we remember what happened last night?
Trista was full of questions on the ride home.
“Mom, why didn’t you answer the door last night? What were you doing in there?
Annie frowned, paying attention to the road. What did she do last night? She wracked her brain.
“Mom, I called that guy’s house but no one answered. I got scared so Jana and I brought Duke over. We knocked, and yelled, and Duke was barking, but no one came to the door. Mom, I thought something bad happened to you.”
One big tear-drop rolled slowly down her little cheek. Annie held Trista’s hand, her heart breaking for her young daughter.
“I’m okay, baby.”
As soon as they got home, Annie called Eileen. They tried to piece together what happened. The fact that her jeans were undone was the most upsetting. She remembered asking the guy about it and he said it was because she woke up earlier to go to the bathroom. “I guess you were too tired to do them back up.” he said, without looking at her. She remembered the glow, and seeing Stephan sitting at his computer, the room in darkness. There was a little cabinet on the wall facing the bed. It had a hole in it, like a bird house. The little door was open, a key on a string in the lock.
“Well, I went straight to bed after we came home last night, but Gord saw you two walking Stephan’s dog past the house, laughing and having a great time. He assumed you were hitting it off so he wasn’t worried.”
“I walked his dog with him?
“What the fuck! I do not remember that. Eileen, what the hell happened last night, and why don’t we remember it?”
Eileen’s voice was serious; “Your jeans were undone right? Annie did you shower yet?”
Her stomach turned. She started to feel shaky. “I was just about to.”
“That asshole slipped us something, Annie. If we drank so much that we can’t remember, wouldn’t we be hungover? At least have a headache? We had one drink! One drink, Annie.” “Go to St. Joe’s, the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Department. They’ll do a date-rape-kit.”
The nurses and the counsellor were so kind and understanding. Annie was interviewed by two officers; one was female. All the questions made her feel sleazy and irresponsible. But all she did was go to a friend’s house to sit around the fire…Her daughter was safe, in Eileen’s house having a sleepover with her older kids. Annie couldn’t help but feel embarrassed, confused and scared. There were forms to fill out, a swab test to see if she was sexually assaulted, blood tests, and the “black light test.” Every inch of her body, including her hair, in her ears, between her toes, was looked at and assessed in great detail. It was humiliating. She felt numb. The police officers took her clothes, all of her clothes; in a bag with the incident number and her name on it. The hospital gave her a royal blue sweatsuit to wear home. No bra, no underwear, no socks. The blue suit of shame.
The detective called. Melanie was her name. Thank God it was a woman. She questioned Annie over and over but she had very little information to give her. Why are they interrogating me?
“How do you know this Stiofan Devland?”
“I don’t. He’s Eileen’s neighbour. All I know is his name is Stephan Devland. Apparently, he has no friends and he’s been bugging them to come over. Eileen kept using her baseball games as her excuse not to, but now that baseball is over, no more excuses. She didn’t want it to be just the three of them, so she begged me to go too.”
“Okay. Well, we got the Tox-report. There was a drug found in your blood. Apparently it’s prescribed for people who have stomach cancer. Is this a drug you’ve been subscribed?
“NO! What the hell…what is happening here? Oh my God; he fuckin drugged me? And Eileen too…”
“And an overdose causes amnesia. That’ll be why you don’t have any memory of the night in question. You should speak to your doctor about that, or a therapist; maybe both. I would suggest both.”
The toxicology report was all the cops needed to amp up their investigation. Annie waited. There were days that she was still in disbelief. Why me, Annie wondered. She had never met Stephan before that night.
Eileen called frequently to check on Annie. Gord, a butcher, joked he would cut Stephan’s dick off if he ever came near them or Annie, ever again. After talking to the neighbours, Gord was even more pissed off. A few of them said that Stephan was weird, anti-social, and creepy. Eileen tried to keep Gord away, but he couldn’t resist the urge. He stormed off, “I’m gonna give that creepy fuck a piece of my mind! If that bastard ever comes near you girls again, I’ll make him regret it!” Gord felt bad that Annie was going through this, and he said “No kid should have to go knocking on some stranger’s door in the middle of the night, worried for her mom’s safety.” Gord was going to make sure it never happened again. Ever.
Eileen wondered if Stephan was originally targeting her. Was he targeting her kids? She became more vigilant, paying attention to when Stephan left his house, when he returned, and if there were ever any female “visitors”. Eileen and Gord just couldn’t let this go, so they talked to neighbours again, this time to warn them about their suspicions that this guy was a creepy, porn addicted sick bastard who can only get a woman by luring her. One neighbour admitted that Stephen talked about his past once, while having drinks around the fire one night. “Guess his mom was an alcoholic and left the family; she used to tell everyone in town that their last name, Devland, meant “misfortune” and she wasn’t going through the rest of her life with that last name. He said he was bullied as a kid, because his dad nic-named him Fanni; had something to do with how his name is spelled or pronounced in Ireland. Anyway, these kids used to say he and his dad must be losers because they couldn’t even keep his drunk mom from leaving. So, he was called Fanni Misfortune. To get away from the bullying, he poured himself into woodworking and as a teenager, started watching porn. Figured he’d never get a real woman. Yeah, he’s kinda twisted.”
Annie was in a daze half the time, still trying to remember what happened. Whatever happened, it was clearly against her will and that made her absolutely livid! It was sickening not knowing. It enraged her that her little daughter was dragged into it. It was supposed to be an innocent, fun sleepover for the kids, and one drink around the fire, for the adults. She knew from the hospital test results that she was not raped that night, thank fuckin God, but there were so many other possibilities. All she remembers is him asking her if she would help him make the drinks. She remembers standing at the kitchen counter beside him, then waking up on the bed in that little room. Nothing in between. It was making her crazy, not knowing what happened, and not hearing from Melanie, the detective. Annie’s worst fear was that this creep made some kind of porn video that night and she may never know. Her fears were getting the best of her. How can your mind just be blank? Her doctor said that with amnesia, she may never remember, or she may randomly remember snippets of the night, or she may one day be triggered by something, and remember the whole thing. Annie felt abused, robbed of her dignity. She was infuriated!
Melanie called Annie at work. Annie could hear it in her voice. She braced herself.
“We interrogated him. We watched him. We followed him. We requested a search warrant, but we didn’t have enough evidence to get one. Judge refused. I’m so sorry.”
“So, now what?” Annie asked, shaking.
“Now…nothing. There’s nothing more we can do.”
“That fucking sick bastard drugged us and who knows what else, and you can’t do ANYTHING?”
“Listen, I know you’re upset. You have every right to be. Do NOT go over there. Do NOT do anything you’re gonna regret.”
“Annie…listen…off the record, we can’t prove it, but I know he did it.”
Annie was absolutely enraged. Her jaw felt tight. Tears fell to her burning cheeks. She was shaking from adrenaline. That fucking creepy bastard! I am not letting him get away with this. It was her lunch hour and it was all she could do to keep herself from driving over to that bastard’s house and going ape-shit on him. I’ll slash the rest of his fucking tires; throw rocks through his windows. I don’t give a shit if I get charged. This is fucking bullshit! He gets off Scott-free and I have to live with this forever? No way, asshole! She called Eileen and told her the news.
“You gotta be kidding me! Once again, a guy abuses a woman and she’s left with all the bullshit, emotional scars and trauma…feeling like it’s her fault, and the cops do nothing! That fucking bastard! I’m ready to go over there with my bat and take a round out of him. I’m sick and tired of men abusing women and getting away with it!”
“Mom! That investigator is at the door.”
“Hi. Come in. Melanie, has something changed? Did you finally get a warrant?”
“No warrant. But…something changed, yes. We found a key on a string, in the lock of that little cabinet that faces the bed.”
“Okay. Annie felt nauseous. What did you find? Wait, I thought you were done with the investigation?”
“It’s now a murder investigation.”
“Oh, shit…But what does the key have to do with it?”
“You tell me.”
“Please. How the hell would I know?”
“Hm.” The detective tapped her pen on her little black book for a second. “There was a camera inside that cabinet, aimed at the bed. I can’t tell you whether there were any pictures or videos with you in them. I’m sorry. I know that was a fear of yours. The door of the little cabinet was open, key in the lock. The camera inside was smashed. So was the computer. Actually, so was the door. Someone used some blunt force to break in to that room. Stephan was found lying on the bed in that little room, naked. Someone took string and wound it round and round, so tightly around his…uh…penis, that the tissue died; necrosis. It was black.” Melanie smirked, almost let out a laugh, “looked like a pork roast.”
“But how would that kill him?”
“It didn’t. Autopsy report says he died of a drug overdose. Choked on his own vomit. He was full of every kind of drug found in his house and his mouth was taped shut with duct tape. Oh, and the killer left a note. In red marker. On his forehead. It said “Your Misfortune.”
PERSONAL NOTE: Never, EVER seek revenge. Never take the law into your own hands. Report to Police and let them do their jobs. Again, this is a work of fiction written for an assignment for my class. If you have been assaulted, or are not sure if what happened is assault, call the police. No one EVER has the right to force themselves on you.
WHERE TO FIND HELP IN LONDON, ONTARIO
London Police Service– https://www.londonpolice.ca/en/services/reporting-sexual-assaults.aspx
London Middlesex Health Unit– https://www.healthunit.com/sexual-assault
Anova– http://www.anovafuture.org/ (I highly recommend this website)
Thank you for reading. Check back next Sunday for my next post. No more violent stories, I promise!
Carol Paino~ Parts Of Ourselves