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.