Saturday, October 26, 2013

The House Part 4

             Her son and husband were in the ground less than a month when she sold her son’s land. All her other properties in Panama went next. Her husband was not a superstitious man but Maria Bustamente was. She sold it fast and cheaper than it should have went for but she wanted out. She sold all her possessions next. When she boarded the plane, to fly to her sister’s home in Brazil, she only owned the contents of the two suitcases she took with her. The ladies who had made up her inner circle loved the sensationalism of the story and the rumors were flying. They took great delight in her sad predicament but they all had the common decency to appear grief struck and horrified as they spun their tales. All of the women that is except for one.
                Julia Vega never got involved in the gossip. The women praised her for it but secretly despised her holier than though attitude. They were sure she was stuck up and as a result there was a lot of gossip about her whenever she left the room. Julia was pleasantly unaware of the spewed poison that crawled out at as she left. Julia worked at being appositive person, as anyone should but usually didn’t. She had her bad days but those were for her to know about; and perhaps a confidante. She firmly believed you got back a lot of what you put in. It was a motto that her entire family lived by and it had served them well. They were business owners in 4 different countries and 2 continents. Julia was working on developing her family’s company in its 5th country. She was doing well. She was the one who bought Maria Bustamente’s land. She was not interested in it but she wanted to help the woman leave it behind. She had paid a fair price for both of them. Enough for Maria to not feel cheated and yet not enough that Julia regretted the decision. She had no plans to touch the land or do anything with it and she turned the land over to be sold by a realty company. There it would sit for the next 3years.
                It was only a passing fancy that brought her to the spot of land she owned. She would identify with it much like Javier Jr. had. It would completely capture her imagination and she drove home thinking of what to do with the land. When she got home she began searching her files. Maria had left her with everything about the land including Javier’s resort blueprints. When she found them she rolled them out and she knew that Javier was on to something. He just had the layout completely wrong and she began to sketch her rapidly forming idea. She didn’t sleep that night but that did not stop her from taking her plans to her developer. She had got the ball rolling but unlike the Bustamente she did not need to go and oversee the work. She had people for that. She decided that she did want to see it in progress. She would visit on the occasional weekend and for that she would stay in a relatively nearby resort. It was actually forty five minutes away but she wanted the creature comforts the resort could provide.
                Her first visit was during the second month of construction. Everything had been going fine. The foundation had been laid for the footprint of the main reception and it was in the process of being framed. The bricklayers were hard at work when she showed up on a Saturday morning. She knew this would be the case because they expected her. She knew it was never quite going at this frantic of a pace because they would be past this stage. She did her part and praised the group to the construction foreman. Then she went for a walk of the grounds. It was the rainy season and there was quite a bit of life happening as she strolled. She came across a stream of rather large red ants taking the fallen blooms of a tree to their colony. She giggled as she watched them carry blooms that were bigger than they were to the nest. She pictured a bunch of baby female ants asking for flower decorated walls and their dads went out to make that dream a reality. She knew this wasn’t what ants did but she could still enjoy the thought. She started on her walk of the grounds again and once again felt extremely pleased that she had decided to take this project on. She did notice the vultures watching between the branches at the top of the trees. When her walk was finished she went back to the resort and indulged herself by spending the rest of the day by the pool that overlooked the ocean.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The House Part 3

It had been a week and after not hearing from his son, Senor Bustamente, Known simply as Senior, headed to him. As he had been getting ready to go he had assured his wife that everything was fine. Despite the many reasons he listed for her as a possible reason their son had not been heard from in a week, he knew that Javier Bustamente Jr. was a good man. He would not leave his mother to worry about him unnecessarily. He was conscientious and cared how his actions affected others. He would not spend a week ignoring emails, text messages and phone calls ever. He did not want to admit it, even as he made the drive, but he was very scared about what he would find when he reached his son’s temporary home.

                The drive was made longer by his fears but he was finally at the town. He drove down the streets until he reached the little rental and saw his son’s car in the driveway. He couldn’t help it; he felt relieved and extremely upset to see that his son was at home. He pulled next to the car, put it in park, turned off the car and put on the emergency break in mere seconds and he flew out the door like he was still a young man bounding with energy.  He pounded on the door feeling the relief and anger come out through his fist as it banged through the door. The door did not open. His son did not welcome him in. He felt the panic start pushing all other feelings away. He began pounding on the door hard and yelling for his son to come to the door. He chose to focus on his anger and not his fear. He yelled threats and warned that he would kick the door in. He tried the handle and found it locked. He yanked and yanked on the door and began bouncing off of it.

                “No senor, no!” came a frantic cry from behind him. He turned toward the direction of the sound and he saw a small Chinese woman running across the street toward him. “No derribar la puerta! Es mi casa, tengo la llave!”

He stopped yanking on the door and waited as she came near him. She continued to speak as the distance rapidly closed between them. “Usted es el padre de Javier, ¿no? Hemos estado preocupados por él, porque no lo hemos visto desde hace semanas.” < You are Javier's father, right? We have been worried about him because we have not seen him for a week.>

“¿Cómo sabes que soy su padre?”, Senior inquired. The woman waved the question away by simply point at his face. “Why haven’t you looked on him before now?”

“He is paid up through next month and we do not really know his habits. A lot of people come to this town for privacy and we respect that. I was thinking about invading his privacy since last night and I came running when I saw him emerge from your car. As I got closer I realized you were his worried father. Then I saw you trying to break in the door and I ran across the street.” She slid the key in the door and opened the door. She moved out of his way and allowed him to be the first to enter the rental home. He called out for his son but this time it was quieter and less hopeful. It was the smell in the house that made him lose hope. It smelled like death. The tears were falling before he had even made it fully into the kitchen. He was not a man who cried easily but that smell told him it was time to mourn for his son. His pace quickened as he found the kitchen empty. The living room was empty as well but abnormally tidy. Except on the coffee table there sat a big black feather. Senior knew this type of feather very well. He used to shoot birds on his father’s farm as a boy and he knew a feather that size and shape came from the tail. He picked up and examined it and felt a wave of revulsion come through him. He was not a superstitious man, not merely because he was a very head strong man, but because he didn’t have time to waste on worrying about superstition. So the revulsion and dread inspired by that feather were very unnatural. He dropped the feather from his hand and walked slowly toward the bedroom. He feared the worst. He had no idea what his worst fears were until he walked through that closed door.

The stench in that room doubled him over and he began throwing up. He was tightly closing his eyes but he had already seen too much. He had seen the blood. It was everywhere. The dark spot in the middle of the bed where his son must have been severely wounded, the dried blood at the outskirts that was that peculiar reddish brown color and the blood splatters all over the wall. He could not move and he could not warn the woman to stay back and her blood curdling scream sliced through the air. That was when they heard movement. That was when the leathery flap of wings hit their eardrums. The woman turned and ran but Senior was too panicked to do anything but convulse with dry heaves. They tore through his body but he could not stop them even if he was aware they were happening. Something had snapped and Senior was no longer in control of his own mind. That was why he didn’t move when the vulture flew through the window and landed on the bed. It was also why he didn’t move as others emerged from the bathroom covered in gore. The police would arrive 10 minutes later and begin shooting the birds as they continued to attack Senior. They were already too late by the time they got the birds away from him.

The House part 2

Javier did not leave his house early the next day. He spent most of the night, after waking from his crying fit, awake and afraid. It was not until dawn, when he could finally see outside, that he was able to rest. The vultures from the evening before were gone and he found a wave of exhaustion hit him. When he finally emerged in the afternoon he looked like death. His face was an unhealthy pasty color and his eyes were bloodshot. He was unusually jittery and his head darted around looking for the vultures. He did not find any but that did not help him to relax.

Javier was debating just going home and managing the construction from afar. He was even considering selling his land and restarting his dream somewhere else but Javier had a stubborn streak and in the light of day he allowed the stubborn streak to dismiss his fears; sort of. He still looked like a man who was on edge and his neighbors could see it and they went inside instead of greeting him as they usually did. Had it not been for the call from his pavers today he would still be in bed; hiding from the world.

The drive was uneventful as was his arrival and wait at the job site. The pavers were late but not as late as he had expected. His experience with construction guys was that punctuality wasn’t their thing. So only being slightly late seemed like a good deal. The guys were fast and efficient and soon Javier was driving back to his rented home and he still had daylight left. As he drove in the gate of the property he let out a breath he had been holding. There were no birds. He went inside.

That was the last time the neighbors saw Javier.