Groans of lustful excitement came from the bedroom downstairs belonging to his Mother, Kate Crown. Squeaky springs rang through the floor to reach tender ears. Dale Crown, aged nine, covered his ears to block out the sounds before he hid his head beneath the covers. What was his Mother doing. To who did the the other voice belong. The front door of the house opened and closed many times during the night. Sometimes screams came from the room. Dale pulled another pillow over his ears so he was able to go to sleep.
Each morning he'd wake tired and crawl from his bed, drag on his clothes, creep down the steps to gobble down what food he found in the cupboard to eat. He washed his bowl in the sink and left it to drain. Placing a couple of pieces of fruit he'd stolen into his bag he trundled off to school. On reaching the school gate, he'd run his fingers through his tousled hair in an advent to look like he had combed it.
Forcing a pleasant smile to his lips he walked into the school yard ignoring the snide remarks, and whispered talks behind open hands while the eyes of the whisperers followed his every move. He ignored them all. Kept to himself most of the time. Then came the day a bully moved into the neighborhood making his presence felt by those who didn't belong to the wealthy section of the town.
Colby Henderson lived on the hill with his parents. His Father had become the newly appointed Mayor of Banyo Crossing. Mayor Rowdy Henderson had wandering hands and lustful eyes for every female who chanced to take his fancy. His wife, Joyce, put up with his roving ways because this meant she didn't have to put up with his unhealthy sexual activities. He had hidden his preferences until a few years into their marriage and she had conceived to produce their son. Not long after the baby was born he began to force his held back ways to achieve his pleasures leaving his wife bruised, and traumatized. Believing the first time was only a one off she soon found out he wanted his type of sexual activities every time he needed to ravage, and injure a woman for his self-satisfaction, her forced her into the bedroom. Some days she was spared because he'd found a new playmate to his own satisfaction.
Now, Mayor Henderson had to find his jollies elsewhere because he knew his wife meant what she said the last time he'd forced his way on her. “You Heathen. You are the Devil reincarnated.” In her attempt to show she meant every word Joyce snatched a revolver from beneath the mattress to point it at his chest as he lay in the rumpled sheets, and covers, from where she stood shivering beside the bed. “If you ever attempt to enter my bedroom your life will be at risk. Your days of abusing me have ceased from this moment on. I will leave you taking my son, and my money.”
“You wouldn't have the guts to leave. Think of what your snooty family will do to you. They will send you right back to me,” he scoffed at her threat.
A hideous laugh left her mouth and her finger tightened on the trigger of the revolver. Her husband didn't like the madness twinkle in her eye. He quickly untangled himself from the mess of covers, and sheets, to roll to the side of the bed to reach safety. The first bullet pierced the mattress, where he'd been a second before. Another one hit the side of the mattress as he bounced off of the bed. She kept firing until he rushed out of the bedroom doorway. On the slamming of the door behind him, the firing from the revolver stopped. Frightened eyes of the staff watched from partly opened doors appalled at what had just happened. One of the maids smiled a self-satisfied smile.
“Pity she didn't hit him where it hurts him the most,” Maid Ryan announced, before she flounced off back to bed.
“What's got up her nose,” whispered one of the males from across the hall.
“She has to patch up the Mistress each time after he's dished out his kind of fun,” came a reply, not wanting to explain to the men what had happened to her friend.
The next morning, Mayor Henderson sent one of the maids up to collect him some clothes from the master bedroom. He had no intention of going any where near such a mad woman. He dressed in the study where he'd spent the night, eaten the food which had been brought to him, then he went to work.
When he returned in the evening, he prayed his wife had come to her senses in the light of a new day. He walked into the family room where she was seated reading a book. He watched for any sign of the madness he had witnessed the night before. He slowly lowered down on to the chair opposite her. “How are you. Are you feeling better.”
“Never felt better,” she cast him a secretive smile.
“Good. You were acting weird last night. I'll go up to our room and change for dinner.” He stood to leave the room feeling a little relief, until she spoke.
“Your clothes have been moved to the room at the opposite end of the hall.” He turned to see if she had been joking. “I'm keeping the room with the bullet holes. You enter the room at your own risk. I have bought more weapons to protect myself, and our son, from you.”
“I haven't laid a hand on our son. What are you accusing me of.”
“He has become a very angry boy. He was on the point of being expelled from the last school before we moved.”
“What for. Why didn't you tell me. I'd have had a talk with him.”
“He'd never have listened to you. Colby is following in his Father's footsteps. Leave him to me.” She went back to reading her book
Dale came home with another bloodied nose caused by the fist of Colby Henderson. He usually made his way to the bathroom before his Mother found him in such a state. Today, when he walked in through the front door he smelt food cooking. Slowly, and quietly, he made his way to the kitchen door to find his Mother humming while she stood by the stove attending to the food. Connie rarely cooked anything more than by opening a can to warm the contents for them to eat. Another worrying question came to his mind. Where did his Mother find the money to buy real beef, vegetables. He prayed she hadn't broken her promise to him and had taken to stealing, again.
'Hmm. The food smells great. What are we having.”
“Oh, I didn't hear you come in. We're having roast beef, vegetables, and Apple Pie with Custard,” Connie answered with a rare, happy smile for her son. She had even taken time to comb her hair and put make-up on her face. Dale cast a suspicious look at his mother as he searched for other changes to the kitchen. Kate turned then gasped at the dry blood on his face, and shirt, dropping the spoon on to the floor before she raced to his side. “What happened. Did you have an accident. Do you need to go to the doctor.”
“Don't fuss, Mum. It's just a blood nose. I'll go clean up and change. Won't be long.” Dale dropped his bag near the door before making his way to the bathroom. By the time Dale returned to the kitchen Kate had set the table ready to dish out their meals. Both ate in silence, not wanting to ask too many questions of what had happened, and where the money had come from to buy the food. When the dishes had been washed, and dried, and put away, Dale excused himself on pretext of heaps of homework. He grabbed his bag and ran upstairs to his room and closed the door.
Dale listened for the television to go on and settled down to do his homework. He didn't have much left to do because he had worked on it while he sat in detention. Colby, who sat on a chair a couple of rows behind him had thrown a pencil sharpener at him on the back of the head. He yelled. Picked up the sharpener to toss it back at Colby but, the teacher turned from the board to catch him in the process of taking aim at Colby.
“Dale Crown. Put the sharpener down. Grab your books. You will spend the rest of the afternoon in detention,” announced the teacher. Some students smiled because he'd been caught. Others pretended to be busy with their lesson. Shoving the sharpener into his shirt pocket Dale escaped from the class but, Colby waited for him when he walked down the road to his home. There he beat up Dale to retrieve his sharpener and walked away leaving his small opponent bloodied, and bruised. A scream from downstairs didn't cause Dale to worry, at first, thinking it came from the television. He kept working until another scream followed by a male voice yelling abuse. Tossing aside his pencil, he shoved back his chair to make his way down the stairs to go to the lounge room. The turning of the knob alerted him to take cover in the linen cupboard. He peered through the slats of the door to stare at the man who exited from his Mother's bedroom to go to the door. Dale must of made a sound because the man turned around to search for the person who might be witness to his being in the house. Finding no one, he closed the door behind him and left.
Dale came from his hideout, rushed toward the back door to reach the far side of the house, where he stood behind a bush to watch where the man went. There was a feeling in Dale of having seen the man somewhere recently. The next day he was sure when he saw the man drop his son, Colby, near the school gate. He'd deliberately left home early to go to school to give his Mother time to fix up what ever damage had been caused to her. But time had come for him to try to protect his Mother being the man of the house. All day different scenarios of what he might be able to do flashed through his mind. By the end of the day he held a broad smile which lit up his face, even when Colby shoved him sending him sliding along the gravel to skin his legs. Colby stomped off disgusted he hadn't made Dale cry wolf, or scream for help
Colby walked around the town to search for away to hurt Dale. And to think about all the trouble in his home between his parents. The situation had declined further since the move to Banyo Crossing. He didn't have enough money saved, as yet, to leave home. Colby shivered at the thought. No. He couldn't leave his Mother. She was a female. Not able to protect herself. A ten year old didn't warn enough money for an ice-cream let alone money to support his Mother. Venturing down a back lane he dived behind a large bushy plant. Parting the leaves he watched his Father park his car, step from it, then make his way to a small, two story house. He didn't even knock, just open the door and walk in closing the door behind himself. Moving around to where his Father had parked his cay, Colby waited, and watched to see who lived in the house. Very soon he wished he hadn't stopped when screams came from the house, muffled screams he had heard many nights from his paren't bedroom. In a fit of rage, Colby picked up a rock sending it toward the side window of the car smashing it. He rushed to the car to grab the money from the car where he knew there was some stashed. In with the money he found a revolver. The noise of the alarm in the car hurt his ears. He grabbed the bundle of money and the revolver, streaked off to hide well back in the trees far from the road. Colby had just dropped to the ground before the front door of the house opened and his Father came through the doorway struggling to step into his trousers while he made his way to the car. The opened front of his shirt flapped in the wind while his fingers worked to do up the buttons, tuck in the bottom into the waist of his trousers, then do up his belt. Moments later, his shoes came flying out of the front doorway of the house before it slammed shut.
Colby arrived home to hear his parents having a stilted conversation in the family room. Taking up a position behind a large potted palm outside near the sliding door to the room. Colby listened to what was being said.
“You must have had to leave your trollop in a hurry,” his Mother pointed to his Father's shirt. “Did the husband come home early. Didn't have time to dress respectively.” Joyce watched while he undid the buttons to put them in the right holes.
“At least she knew what to do for a man.” sneered Rowdy Henderson. “She never complains about what I do to her.”
“I suppose you pay her enough to keep her mouth shut. Or do you have something on her so she has to keep her mouth shut.”
“Your not interested in keeping me happy so why be interested. I don't ask if you have a docile puppy you can train to your old-fashioned way you call sex.”
“You had better watch your back, Rowdy. Your luck will run out one of these days. I won't be there to bail you out.”
“Don't go threatening me, Joyce. Or I'll show you how I really like my sex.” Rowdy made a threatening step toward her but stopped when she produced the revolver from beneath the book she had on her lap.
“You wouldn't dare shoot me. You'd end up in jail,” snarled Rowdy, taking a step backward.
“No, I won't. I have too much evidence on your activities.”
“You bitch. You hired a detective to find evidence on me. He reached for a crystal vase on the mantle above the fireplace. His fingers closed around it in a white knuckled grip before he lifted it upward, a red mist of rage crossing his eyes.
“You had better put the vase down before I have to protect myself,” warned Joyce, raising to her feet, pointing the revolver to the middle of his chest.
Neither of them noticed their son outside the door being a witness to their daring each other to cross the line to commit murder. His small fingers tightened around the handle of the secateurs the gardener had left near the palm. Taking aim, he threw them as hard as he could at his Father, the point of the secateurs pierced the arm holding the vase. The vase dropped to the floor to smash. Blood spurted from the cut on his Father's arm. Both parents turned toward the door to see who had thrown the object. Shocked to find their son standing there his face pale as milk before he turned to run away from the scene playing over, and over, in his mind, while tears blurred his vision.
“Now, look at what you have done to our son,” screamed Joyce at Rowdy, standing there holding his hand over the cut to stem the flow of blood. She rushed from the room to go in search of Colby leaving Rowdy to take care of himself. Coming to his senses, Rowdy walked from the room to push past the house staff, who had come to see what had happened, to go to the bathroom to grab a towel to wrap around his arm. All watched while he marched toward the back door and outside, held breaths whooshed out at the sound of the car starting to then be driven away from the mansion.
All the staff helped Joyce search for Colby but he wasn't found. The moon had risen ant there wasn't any sign of Colby. Food and coffee, was brought to the family room but none of it was touched. Sad, worried eyes, watched to see what Joyce would do. Sympathy for the poor woman tore deep into the hearts of the watchful eyes.
Joyce stopped her pacing to make her way to her bedroom. She changed into a dark pair of jeans, black long sleeved skivvy, pulled an old pair of runners from the bottom of the wardrobe to put on. Next she went to the duchess to twist her hair up on her head and pinned it in place. Taking her outdoor black hooded jacket she put it on and lifted the hood to cover her head. A black scarf she shoved in one pocket, the revolver along with the bullets, she put in the other and zipped it closed. She grabbed her car keys them made her way down the back steps to the garage, backed out her car and drove away.
Sensing trouble was about to bring this family to its knees, the wise eyes picked up the bag packed ready with the one object sure to do the job, made to leave to follow to watch what action unfolded.
Rowdy drove to the nearest clinic to have his arm attended to. He was rushed in to have his arm cleaned, and stitched. When asked what had happened he side stepped all the questions wanting to be out of there before someone decided to call the police to make him give a statement. When he was finished he paid and quickly left. The doctor warned him of the danger of trying to drive the car with his newly stitched arm but the warning went unheeded. Rowdy drove to the nearest bottle shop and purchased a large bottle of rum.
He drove around for a short while before he headed in the direction of the home of Kate Crown. He's start there. Her place is where his day had moved from bad to disastrous. His world had begun to fall to pieces since he'd taken up with her. She had to pay for making his life hell. She hadn't tried to stop him from progressing the way of his Father. Women were nothing but a mess of trouble. Giving the come on to every male they meet then not wanting to hand over what he'd been promised with their sassy ways. His Father had warned him to watch out for their devious ways. He brought the car to a skidding stop within a metre of Kate's house. He got out of the car, grabbed the rum bottle, then stomped his way to the front door, kicking it open with his booted foot forcing it back to hit the wall.
Kate rushed from the kitchen where she had been sitting waiting for Dale to arrive home. She had been shocked to find the door had splintered from the hinges, and a raging Rowdy storming in with a bottle in the hand of his bandaged arm.
“You broke my door,” Kate yelled at him. “Who do you think you are. You can't charge in here any time you please.”
“Oh, yes I can. I'm the Mayor,” he snarled. He grabbed her by the arm to drag her toward the bedroom. “Time to party.” He let her go to open the bottle but Kate tried to escape from the room but she wasn't quick enough Grabbing the back of her dress he forced her back into the room to shove her down on the bed. “Stay there and don't move, if you know what's good for you.”
Scared. Kate stared at the monster opening the bottle, her mind searching for a weapon, or a way to escape. He dropped on the side of the bed and held the bottle to her lips and made her swallow the rum he poured into her mouth. She spluttered spurting a spray of rum from her mouth while she fought to catch her breath. He stood to rip off his shirt, his trousers were quickly disposed of, along with his shoes, before he took a long swig on the rum and fell on top of Kate ravaging her body, and ripping away her clothes. Neither of them heard the click of the revolver.
“Get up, Mister,” Dale warned, from where he stood at the doorway. “Leave my Mother be.” Danger echoed in Rowdy's head. He turned his head to face the child standing there with a revolver pointed at his back.
“What do you think you are doing with that, boy.” He made slow movements so as not to have the boy accidentally fire the weapon. Holding out his good hand he ordered. “Give it to me. You aren't holding a toy.” Dale smiled.
“Yes, Sir. I know it's not a toy. Do as you are told and step away from my Mother.” Dale watched his Mother scramble from the bed to grab her robe.
“Dale, Honey. Where did you find a gun,” panicked Kate.
“Him.” Kate turned to glare at Rowdy, who's face turned a pale shade of green.
“He gave you a gun. When.”
“He had it in his car.”
“Didn't think you would die by your own weapon, did you.” Dale waved the revolver at the Mayor. 'Move over to the window.” Rowdy did as he was asked, his head spinning and his stomach churned.
“Dale, give me the gun,” Kate pleaded, holding out her hand. Dale shook his head. He lifted his arm to aim for Rowdy's head. Before her had time to pull the trigger the glass of the window exploded sending shades into the room. One after another, a stone hit Rowdy, followed by a shot from a gun, and then an arrow pierced his back to come through to the front, sending Mayor Rowdy Henderson flying across the room to fall dead on the floor, missing Dale, and Kate on the way. Dale fired the revolver he had but the bullet didn't reach the intended target, coming to rest in the ceiling. Kate screamed. Dale dropped the revolver, vomited on the floor before making a run from the room, to race to the bathroom and lock the door. He collapsed on the floor with his head over the toilet bowl.
Kate rushed to the phone to ring the police, and the ambulance. Within a short time the emergency services came to a stop at her home with their lights flashing, and sirens wailing. People came rushing through the doorway to find a distraught half clad Kate curled up in a lounge chair. She had enough energy to point to the bedroom.
“What happened here?”
“He forced his way into my home, tried to rape me, forced me to swallow some rum. My son had a gun. The window exploded and he fell to the floor,” Kate rambled.
“Where is your son?”
“In the toilet. He won't come out.”
“Who fired the arrow?”
“Arrow. We don't own an arrow.”
“Do you own the gun?”
“ No. Dale said it belonged to Mayor Henderson.”
The policeman walked to the toilet where he coaxed Dale to come out. He, and his Mother, were bundled into the ambulance to be taken to the hospital to be checked out. A policewoman went with them to protect, and guard them. Who ever had used the arrow might have been there to kill Kate, not the Mayor.
While the police were busy in the house, Colby walked in to stand staring at the body of his Father in stunned shock. “Who are you. You shouldn't be here,” said Detective Rose.
“Is he...dead. I didn't...mean...to do it,” stuttered Colby.
“Do what, Son.”
“I threw rocks through the window.”
“You did. Can you show me where you were standing.” Colby lead the way to where he had been standing. “Did you see an other persons around here.”
“Heard some noises but I didn't see anyone. Can I go home to my Mother, now. I need to tell her my Father can't hurt her any more.” Detective Rose walked Colby to a car to take him home. He had a suspicion there were more answers to be collected at the Mayor's home.
Joyce was met with her household in an uproar when she walked into the house. “Mary Ryan has started labour, Mistress. What do we do. She won't let us call for an ambulance.”
“You call for an ambulance while I attend to Mary.” Joyce tossed her jacket to a chair when she entered the room. She checked Mary over. “I'll rush upstairs and change. Keep an eye on her.” Her hand went out to grab her jacket but it wasn't there. She shrugged her shoulders and kept moving.
When Detective Rose arrive at the home of the Mayor an ambulance had just arrived. The attendants were being shown into the house so he followed. Colby rushed in to beat everyone to the room to stop at the doorway. He took in the scene before he collapsed to the floor. He was quickly moved by members of the household staff and taken to the lounge room until the other matter had been sorted.
“Who are you,” shouted Joyce, watching the strange man standing at the back of the action. “Are you the Father of the baby.” He shook his head then reached into his trousers pocket to produce his badge. “Oh. Why are you here?”
“Brought your son home, Mrs Henderson. I take it you are, Mrs Henderson.” She nodded, but kept holding Mary's hand. On the last scream, the baby appeared and Mary began to laugh in a mad way, as though the birth of her baby had sent her well over the edge. The paramedic went to hand Mary her baby girl but she refused to have anything to do with her.
“Take it away. It belongs to the Devil. The devil created it. Give to the Mistress to take out and shoot,” yelled Mary, turning away to bury her head into the pillow. Accept for the noise of Mary crying, and the baby, the rest were staring at her in shock.
“Do all Mothers act like this,” asked Detective Rose. When no one answered he walked over to the bed to touch Mary on the shoulder. She lifted her head to to look at him. “Why don't you want the baby.”
“It was created by the Devil in the act of a sin.” Mary gurgled with a weird laugh. “I killed him. He can never hurt another woman.”
“Killed who?” Detective Rose had a feeling he knew the answer. “How did you kill him?”
“My trusty bow is true and straight. Long may the Mayor rot in hell.” Her eyes roll back and her body went limp.
Joyce took charge of the baby while the paramedics took care of the Mother. She made her way around to stand near Detective Rose. “You said you brought my Son home.”
“I did. He was found at the scene of the murder of your husband. Said he killed him with a rock. So I now have two persons who have admitted to killing him. One with an arrow and another with a stone. There is still another person to be found because he was shot as well.
“You don't have far to look,” announced the butler stepping into the room. “I did it.” He handed the revolver over by holding on to the barrel.