Free Read Friday: Everett Park

© Can Stock Photo / Anna_Om

E is for Everett Park


Authors note: Years ago when I first started writing I was challenged by a friend to make an  innocent place of his choosing appear sinister, his choice was a kids playground. Wow, talk about handing a prisoner the key to his cell. A kids playground? Did he not know the secret things that happened on a kids playground? Things parents never hear about, that sometimes come back to remind us after we've gotten older that kids can be downright evil. Here's to doing this story justice, I hope you'll tag along.

It usually doesn’t take much to spark a memory, good or bad. After all, what has come before will always define who and what we are today. While we may have grown older, maybe even wiser in some cases, at times the past grows restless in its shadowy crypt and reaches out to remind us it’s still there, waiting. It could be the way the sun slants through our window, a sound we haven’t heard for years, or even a smell that has the power to transport us back to a time and place we thought long forgotten.

For me it was an article in the paper, a single paragraph tucked away back on the third page, between an ad for the end of summer sale at Randolph Galleries Furniture, and the tail end of a story continued from page one. Just a gathering of words on a piece of paper, nothing more threatening than soy ink on newsprint. It was what the words said that opened the door to a memory I thought I had successfully walled myself off from.

The story didn’t speak of that day in October when I was only twelve. There was no mention of chilly evenings at the tail end of hot afternoons that were getting cut shorter with every passing day. The heat of summer had yet to relinquish its grip entirely, the grass was still green, and the leaves had begun to turn, but had yet to fall. There was color on the ground. A vivid, red, the shade of freshly spilled blood that was so bright against the dusty ground.

I saw it all with my minds eye as I held the paper in my shaking hands. The small heading above that solitary paragraph was a single line of type that read.

CITY CLOSING EVERETT PARK

I didn’t need the story underneath the title. Just the name was enough to spark the memory and bring it back from where I thought I had securely locked it away. But none of our memories are ever really locked away are they? Especially our childhood memories. For they’re the most powerful, coming from a time when we are at out most impressionable. So strong in fact that as I stood there staring unseeing at the open paper in my hand, I could smell that day, and it smelled of death.

Everett Park was more a playground than a park. A dusty field at the end of South Water street. Tucked into the woods in such a way it was difficult for our parents to see what we were doing, unless they entered the playground, which they rarely did. I’d like to believe they trusted us to be good and do what was right. But later, as I’d lay awake in bed reliving that day, I sometimes wondered if maybe our parents stayed away because they were expected to.

Maybe what happened that day had been planned by others outside our small group, and we were nothing more than puppets in some diabolical plot. Maybe it was a right of passage and our parents had done the same thing as children themselves.


To be continued!


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Free Read Friday: Destination Unknown

Photo courtesy of Olivier Guillard


Read this story from the beginning HERE!

Destination Unknown



That’s the sixty four thousand dollar question. What will happen to me after I die? Those who believe in god tell us that after death we will either go to heaven, or hell, depending on how we lived our lives. I’d always figured there was a room reserved for me in hell, and until the moment I escaped my cell, I’d never given it much thought.

But if that’s the hell waiting for me I want no part of it.

And that was just some small town hole in the wall cell, now I’m at the Polunsky Unit in Texas, waiting for my one way ride to the death house. The guards keep pretty good track of that for us, counting down the days as they pass uneventfully, they‘ve even got a wall calendar out where everyone can see it, you know the kind you can pick up at any dollar store for a buck. It has a picture of a cat hanging by one paw, with “Hang In There,” printed beneath it in big letters. So you can see why I don’t like calendars.

The guards told me on my first day here that I should feel special. The cell I’d been assigned had once been inhabited by none other than Angel Resendiz also known as The Railroad Killer, and had been executed in oh six. That information was enough to keep me from stepping across, hell it was enough to keep me up at night, I know that evil son of a bitch left his imprint on my cell, and created an alternative persona on the other side that was patiently waiting for me to step across.

I wonder what he saw as he waited for his appointment with the death chamber? Was he even aware of what lived just beyond his view? Probably not, after all, he was considered sane by those who tried him, but I find that hard to believe.

I can feel his presence in the shadowy corners of my cell where the light from my only lamp fails to reach, watching me while I try to sleep. I can hear it at night while the others around me dream of life beyond the four dreary walls of their cells.

Like rats in a wall they scratch at the fabric between our world and theirs seeking a way over. Every night I listen to them and their incessant scratching, wondering what I’ll do if they manage to get through. I know what I’ll have to do, the only thing I can do, I’ll have to step across and run like hell.

So I just wait and listen, and watch. I know on one of those calendar pages there’s a day circled in red that’s meant for me. My lawyer told me the date while promising to do everything he could to have my sentence commuted, but I can’t remember what it is. Funny isn’t it, that I’ve forgotten what day I’m scheduled to die.

But there’s always hope, maybe the lawyer will come through and get my sentence commuted, hell while we’re dreaming why not aim big, maybe the governor himself will pardon me. Or maybe while I’m being transported to the death house, I’ll just step back. I’ve never done it from a moving vehicle, but there’s always a first time.


The End

If you've been enjoying what you've read why don't you stop by my one of my Author Pages listed below to check out my other work. 





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Free Read Friday: Destination Unknown

Photo courtesy of Olivier Guillard

Read this story from the beginning HERE!

 

Destination Unknown


That pretty much summed up my life, living day to day, a nomad on the open road. I’d never had a bank account, didn’t understand the first thing about saving for the future, like I had one. Every dollar I took was wadded up and shoved into my pocket as I moved through life, staying among those I understood, and shunning what I couldn’t comprehend, like the schools of fish from that aquarium so long ago.

I thought I had it figured out, and for me I did, when my cash got low I’d check out a bank, measuring the distance from the street corner to the interior of the vault. That night I’d show up outside, slip in between, and walk into the vault. Most times I was right on target, emerging from the in-between inside the vault where I would fill my pockets with what I needed from the teller drawers stored inside, then be on my way before anything from the in-between got close.

I had to always be aware of that, those creatures on the other side, they were always on the prowl for me. Circling my last known location in a spiral that would bring them to the point where I crossed over. I never waited to see what they were, afraid if I did I might never escape.

I learned early on to ignore the blocks of new bills wrapped in plastic that were just sitting on the shelf in plain sight. Tried to bring one across but was unable to do so, and it fell to the floor of the vault where it lay until the following morning when the manager opened.  He must have been the suspicious sort as I learned later when the police pulled me in for questioning. It appears they found my fingerprints on the block of cash and wanted to know how I found my way into the vault.

There was also the matter of the missing cash from the teller drawers. Some of the bills had been marked and of course the police found them wadded up in my pocket. They hammered at me for two days, wanting to know who the inside man was, how did I circumvent the alarm system, and so on. Had I told them the truth they wouldn’t have believed me, besides that was my ace in the hole, when they locked me up all I had to do was slip across into the in-between and be on my way.

Or at least that was my reasoning. The reality of course turned out to be quite the opposite.

After a couple of days they gave up and charged me with grand theft, I’d taken nearly five thousand dollars. A mere pittance really when compared to what many of these banks made in interest and fees. I was tried, found guilty of course,  and sentenced to five to ten years at the state prison. The night before my transfer from the city lockup I decided it was time to go.

You know how they say some places give off a certain vibe? Like abandoned mental hospitals that years after their closure are still filled with the despair of their former patients. The terror and fear of these lost souls who appeared abnormal to the general public. In reality they were attuned to things beyond the understanding of the so called sane among us. Secret things and places that existed in a shadowy realm.

Jails are like that, the walls seem to absorb the energy of those incarcerated. Oozing with helpless terror, fear, and sometimes unimaginable evil. I didn’t know the history of the cell I was in, but there must have been some pretty bad shit that went down in there.

When I crossed over it was like nothing I’d ever seen before. The landscape around me was one of shadows dancing in an endless night with the screaming cries of past victims echoing all around me. But that wasn’t the worst of it. I don’t know who had been in that cell before me but they had been one evil son of a bitch. Their presence was in that dark landscape, a predator stalking its prey, and I felt it on a purely emotional level that made me feel like someone had kicked me in the gut.

It moved through the darkness, zeroing in on me almost instantly, scrambling towards me in a shadowy form that resembled a massive spider. It was and it wasn’t, if you catch my drift, I was looking at something my mind could not comprehend, so it created what it  was familiar with. It moved through the emptiness in a jerking motion, stopping and starting, then stopping again as it watched me with a multitude of eyes that all said the same thing.

We want you.

I felt its need like a thousand tiny hands clambering all over my body, pulling at my clothes, my flesh, my hair and face. It was the most frightening thing I’d ever felt before or since. I managed to get away, but I’ll never escape the memory of that nightmare landscape. It will follow me to my grave, and that is where the real problem lies.

When I take my final walk, and they strap me down to that gurney, and as the fluids designed to kill me flow into my body, where will I go?

To be continued!

If you've been enjoying what you've read why don't you stop by my one of my Author Pages listed below to check out my other work. 





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That's 2 complete novels and a 
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Absolutely Free!