I am happy to report I have accepted a freelance…
Here’s another finalized chapter in my forthcoming novel, Demiurge, which revolves around a tragic massacre in a suburban town and the aftermath of those left in its wake.
Demiurge – (Noun):
a : a Platonic subordinate deity who fashions the knowable world in the light of eternal ideas, a tinkerer, an artisan.
b : a Gnostic subordinate deity who is the creator of the material world and the evil there within, an incomplete, lazy or blind creator of chaos.
The future is but a question mark
Hangs above my head there in the dark.
Can’t see for the brightness is staring me blind
God bid yesterday good-bye.
Bring On The Night
I couldn’t stand another hour of daylight
The words echoed within the confines of Quincy Davenport’s car as he sped down the highway. He’d always been a fan of the song but in light of everything, it had taken on a new haunting meaning.
Truly, he could not stand another hour of daylight. Not on this day. Bring on a night that never ends, for his nightmare had just begun.
He always felt safe within his car, it was more a home to him than his apartment or anywhere else he’d lived in the last few years. There, within this small space, lay the ability to go anywhere, a freedom not easily found.
Right now he wished he could go anywhere but where the road was leading. Back to his parent’s home. To bury them. And his brother.
When the officer on the line had said this, Quincy at first thought it was some sort of practical joke Marty was playing on him. He was always looking for some way to tweak his older brother. Probably the jealousy of escape which Quincy had enjoyed ever since college.
That they had all perished wasn’t even the part he couldn’t begin to comprehend however. It was the nature of their deaths. The officer had been brief but had said it was suspected foul play and that his younger brother was the primary suspect.
Now, this HAD to be a joke.
Quincy played along until he happened to turn on the TV a moment and was met with the stunning sight of his own parent’s house frozen on to the screen. The caption below said: “Home To A Murderer?”
The officer had continued to talk but it had turned to static in Quincy’s ears. He watched, jaw dropping as the news reporter on screen detailed a scene of multiple shootings, apparent house burning and the cold blooded murder of 20 people. Then an image of his brother came on screen. It was a moody picture from a year or two ago. It fit the narrative of a dangerous mind, but not the person Quincy knew.
This can’t be real. Somehow, the news station was in on it too.
He flipped channels and saw much the same thing no matter where he went.
“We need you to come identify the remains as soon as you can.”
He dimly acknowledged this to the officer.
“Where were you last night?”
“Were you in town last night?”
“No, I don’t live there. I haven’t for a while.”
“I see. Were you with anyone who can verify your whereabouts last night?”
So much for making it a one night stand with Brandi. Now, she’d have to become involved.
“Understand: We don’t suspect you of anything. We’re just trying to establish a timeline for anyone connected with the apparent murders.”
Murders. The word didn’t sound right. It was a word Quincy heard mentioned in the paper or on an ignored evening news program. Something that happened far away from his sphere of influence.
“Please accept our deepest condolences. We will speak with you further when you arrive in town.”
At first, he thought about flying home. It was only about a 2 hour flight. Yet, the comfort and power in driving there himself just made more sense.
He wanted as much time as he could spare to himself. Once he arrived in town, he knew he’d be bombarded.
The news reporter had already mentioned his name on air and said how he couldn’t be located at present. Which meant they were looking for him. Probably to get a statement and then parse it for meaning or motive.
He’d turned off his cellphone because he was getting random texts from numbers he didn’t know. He had very few contacts anyway. By now he was sure his voicemail box was filled to the brim.
What the fuck had happened?
None of this made any sense at all. Marty had a funny sense of humor but Quincy had never once seen him act violently. In fact, he was more likely to make a joke than throw a punch. Even to defend himself.
Quincy vividly remembered being a junior in high school and having to beat the crap out of a kid who had been picking on Marty in junior high. When he told him he should stand up for himself more, Marty had just shook his head.
“If I fight back today, I’ll just get it worse tomorrow or next week. Better to show them I can take it, they’ll eventually get bored and pick on someone who gives them the reaction they want.”
The highway was dimly lit, with a light every hundred yards or so. Still, no one else was on the road at this late hour. Quincy enjoyed night driving. Not just for the lack of traffic but for the feeling like he was doing something in secret. Just a little scheme between himself and the pitch black of night.
Music continued to filter into his head, which was good since he didn’t want to think anymore.
Memories had flooded in as he packed up to leave his apartment. Memories of his family together on vacation, the few times they did everything as a group. Usually, it was one parent or the other or none at all. Quincy had grown up knowing how to do things for himself.
It wasn’t that his parents didn’t love him or Marty. They both worked hard so their sons could have a comfortable life. Quincy had attended the best college in the region and that wasn’t cheap. When he and Marty made a sports team, they’d always get the best possible equipment.
Upper middle class. That’s how he had described it to friends. They had to work for the things they wanted or needed. That much had been instilled into them growing up. But the idea of buying their way to happiness had become a common theme in the house. That and the belief that appearances mattered.
Could that have been the motive? To show how unsettled this seemingly put together family really was? Mission accomplished then.
Still, that didn’t make sense. Marty would never hurt anyone else to prove a point. At least the Marty he knew.
A deep pang of guilt struck him in the stomach. He suddenly felt hot tears forming in his eyes. Why had he gone so long without really talking to him? Maybe he had needed to get something off his chest and not had his brother to talk to?
He struck the steering wheel hard, wanting to inflict pain upon himself. He succeeded in a momentary sting but nothing more.
Wiping away tears as he crossed state lines, the emptiness began to engulf him. He had relatives, sure but they’d never been particularly close. Just holiday visits and everyone once in a while, a random email or text. He imagined they’d all be there to see him. He felt indifferent to them but knew that what they represented now was all the family he had left.
He was the only Davenport in West Spring Hill.
What would become of the house? The dog? There was no way he could move back there and the sight of this house now no doubt was filling everyone with grief and anger. No, it would have to be sold, as quickly as possible.
As for the dog, he supposed she could come and live with him. He wondered a moment if his apartment even allowed pets. Maybe they’d make an exception for the son of a murdered family.
He was getting fairly close now and could see the snow had grown around him. It seemed almost like giant white walls closing in around him.
That’s how he felt too. Walled in, as if he was driving himself in to a place where there was no escape.
Still, the snow had a silent beauty that he always liked. The weather was more mild where he lived now. Sure they’d get some snow, maybe even a storm or too. Yet, the snow in this area was heavier and yet less fierce.
He remembered many sledding adventures with his brother growing up now. How they’d pray for a day off from school so they could just wander freely. Nothing made a day more complete than being completely numb, red-faced and covered in bumps and bruises from falling down a mountain.
Those are just strands of old thoughts now though. Only he remained with those moments intact. He couldn’t find anyone who could reminisce with all they had done since so often it had just been the two of them. At least, until they both discovered the powerful allure of girls. Priorities shifted steadily after that.
Marty had been so upset the first time Quincy told him he was going out and couldn’t hang with him. He had a date, which Marty felt was gross and a waste of time.
It had been in the end. The girl involved didn’t even want to hold hands with him, to say nothing of a kiss or putting out further. She was using him to get her crush jealous and so began a lifetime lesson for Quincy: people could use others without feeling much regret or remorse. At least, not right away. He wondered if he’d see Morgan in town again. Would she cry? Did she end up marrying that douchebag she always liked? Why did he care still? There’d been plenty of others since her. Nothing lingered like that first broken promise of love though.
The snow invoked such a strong response in Quincy’s memories that he only began to notice how low on gas he was as the car began to sputter.
Stopping to fill up, he briefly wandered the small aisles of the convenience store. Debating between which form of junk food he could eat to fill the void in his stomach left much to be desired. He settled on some popcorn and a can of soda. As he paid, he noticed a nearby paper with his brother’s face splashed on the cover. A funny expression was on the cashier’s face but he either said nothing out of respect or lack of English. He felt sick to his stomach and threw out the food as soon he returned to his car.
Had the cashier recognized him from the paper too? Or his name on the debit card? Suddenly, his was the most famous last name in the country. Martin Davenport too was no doubt on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Along with the words Monster and Murderer.
As he sat in the gas station, he began to shake. At first, just a tremor in his hand, it spread to his legs and now he was a mess of tears and uncontrollable sadness.
Alone at this anonymous stop, surrounded by the night.