Genesis

by Ty Spencer Vossler

 

On July, the fifth, hundreds of thousands experienced flu symptoms worldwide. Within hours, they complained that their skin was crawling. Some killed themselves, most were driven insane and clawed themselves to a bloody pulp. Then the virus rendered each body into a gelatinous pile, which eventually dried into a large crusty circle. During the following week, billions died. After six days everyone Haddam had cared about was dead and on the seventh day it was finished—Allah’s day off he reflected bitterly.

The Exodus Virus (ExV) was formulated in a private laboratory by a splinter group of right-wing Christian Fundamentalists, and it more than lived up to its name. After the first wave, a video arrived to CNN—documentary evidence chronicling their efforts in the name of God. The fanatics believed their efforts would make them progenitors of a new world. Toward the end, they linked arms, sang about Jesus, and exposed themselves to their own creation, believing the Almighty would protect them. As credits rolled, Jesus was listed as writer, producer, and director. Almighty didn’t protect them. Disease Control found steaming piles of jelly where humans had once stood, swaying and singing Christian songs.

The second wave took less than a week, and then it was finished. The virus only slew humans, yet the domino effect was more horrific. Technology overcooked, like something forgotten on the stove, sending plumes of toxins into the air. Nuclear reactors melted, fires ran out of control, and then there was silence—the silence of death.

 

Haddam felt guilty for still being alive, and prayed for a few weeks that Allah would reveal the reason. An apparent immunity to the virus should have made him more devotional, yet in his sorrow and loneliness, he developed a taste for single malt Scotch. Thanks to a pilfered generator he watched porn, amazed at the diversity of flesh. For some time he faced Mecca a few times a week just in case, yet his faith was a vapor trail—fading until he had to narrow his eyes to find it in the sky. Since fossil fuel was now in generous supply, he learned quickly how to siphon gas.

Haddam waited five months before he explored what was left of Los Angeles. It took that long for the stench to dissipate. Even so, death clung to the air in memory. He began searching for survivors on January the sixth, his forty-fifth birthday. He ventured conservatively at first, making daylight forays into the city with a gas-guzzling Humvee, and returning before dusk. He lived in a commandeered residential fortress in the Rancho Palos Verde hills that once belonged to a corporate lawyer.

 

Having scoured Palos Verde, he’d only found dried puddles of humanity. Haddam’s first excursion into downtown L.A. proved fruitless and dangerous. He cruised slowly through the dead streets with a bullhorn. Starved dogs chased and leaped at the windows, finally giving up to turn on each other. Many carried jerky-strip remains of the dead in their maws. The ExV seemed to have little or no effect on wildlife, yet family pets suffered cruel fates once the food supply dried up. Darwin’s axiom was aptly demonstrated, and yet Haddam didn’t consider himself the fittest, just the luckiest. He carried a 22 clip 9 mm Glock, a pump shotgun, and plenty of ammo, for when his luck ran out—and he knew it eventually would.

Subsequent searches only compounded Haddam’s frustration. He had difficulty distinguishing between the caw of crows, and human sufferings. Many times his heart leaped at a sound only to find the black scavengers tugging at something glued to the pavement.

On the sixth day, he heard singing. Haddam followed the sound to a Baptist church tucked away on a tree-lined business street across the street from a Holiday Inn. He moved cautiously, shotgun at the ready, and the automatic tucked in his waistband. The front door to the church was open, and a mournful voice came from the dimness within.

She was wearing a dark blue choir robe, and faced the altar. On the wall above hung an enormous wooden cross. Candles burned all around her. Haddam sat quietly in the back pew and waited, not wishing to startle her. As anxious as he was for human companionship, rushing in was foolish.

She sang a morose song about the blood of lambs and sacrificial Jesus. Haddam waited for the dirge to finish. At least she has a nice voice, he thought. Out of the corner of his eye, Haddam saw a dark shape slinking toward the woman. She spun around, and her eyes searched wildly.

“Who is it?” she called, “Is someone there?”

The dog growled, and rose to its full height. Haddam pumped a round into the shotgun, and fired as it leaped. The first shot spun it in mid-air. The woman screamed. Haddam rushed forward to finish it as it kicked its hind legs, and hacked up blood. The woman was still screaming.

“It’s okay, its over now,” he said, walking slowly toward the altar with a calming hand up, “it’s over.”

“Oh God, sweet Jesus!” she wept, hiding her face in her hands.

Haddam stood close by until she was done. Finally, she wiped her eyes, and looked at him. In the diffused light he could see that she was reasonably attractive—a brown-haired Anglo, late thirty’s or early forties. Her legs gave away, and she abruptly she sat on a kneeling bench. Haddam took a few steps forward.

“Luke was mine,” she said. “I thought he was…” she gulped for breath, “he…wanted to eat me!”

“You all right?”

“Yes, I’ll be fine—thank you so much, praise the Lord.” She wiped her nose on a sleeve, and sniffed loudly. Then she stood and faced the cross, “Thank you, Lord.”

“Anyone else?”

“No.” her voice quivered.

“Lived here all this time?”

“Holiday Inn,” she said. “My husband pastored this church.”

“Husband…?”

She shook her head.

“Sorry.”

Cautiously she held out a hand, “Where are my manners? I’m Evelyn.”

“Haddam,” he shook her hand.

“Haddam…?” she waited for him to fill in the blanks.

“I was born in Iraq.”

“So, I’m guessing your not, no of course not—a Christian?”

“No.” He sat next to her.

“Iraq.” she wanted to move the conversation forward, yet stereotypes of Muslims clouded her thinking.

“I came to the United States when I was twenty-three.”

She bit her lower lip, “Alone?”

“Yes.”

“Bound to be others.”

“I’m sure you’re right,” he nodded. “It is getting late. We should leave before dark. I have a place in Rancho Palos Verdes.”

Evelyn gazed at the remains of Luke. “Yes, of course.” She lifted the choir robe over her head and left it on the kneeling bench. Beneath it she was wearing a plain blue T-shirt and a pair of brown corduroys. Haddam flushed when he noticed she was braless.

He helped her to stand and they left the church. She slid into the passenger side of the Hummer. He drove in silence for a while as she sniffed. Then he opened the center console, and handed her a Kleenex. Evelyn stared out the front windshield.

“Hah-dam…” she tried out his name, “did you have family?”

“My wife was pregnant with our fourth child,” Haddam pursed his lips.

“Oh…I’m very sorry. My husband, Frank, and I weren’t able too…his seed wasn’t…”

“Yes, I understand.”

Haddam turned onto a main avenue, and weaved his way through abandoned vehicles toward the I-110. Several dogs chased weakly. Rush traffic normally made the thirty-mile journey into an hours drive, yet Haddam easily cut the time in half. He had chosen the hilltop house for visibility.

I was staying at the Holiday Inn,” said Evelyn.

“Yes,” Haddam’s voice was morose, “you mentioned that.”

“Got a terrific rate,” she giggled nervously.

Haddam chuckled in spite of himself, and then added, “They take pets?”

Evelyn shivered at the gallows humor, yet laughed into her hand as they passed through Torrance.

It’d been a long time since Haddam had laughed, and it freed some of the sorrow trapped in his heart. Yet, his amusement abruptly loosened itself into tears. Images of his children flashed in his mind. He wondered if his beautiful wife was watching from some distant place that he couldn’t reach.

“It’s all right,” Evelyn squeezed his shoulder, “let it out.”

He sniffed, wiped his eyes, and straightened up in his seat, “Sorry.”

“Don’t be—tears help us to grow,” she said in a motherly voice.

Tears are salty, he thought, they grow nothing but pain. As they wound their way into the hills, past homes that sold for more than he’d accumulated over his entire life, the sun began its ritual of coloring the sky pink, then orange, before disappearing beneath the cold waves of the distant Pacific. They arrived to 77 Hilltop Circle—a gated community. Haddam opened and closed the gate manually, and they drove to a palatial Mediterranean residence with a clear view to everything around them.

“Nice place,” Evelyn said.

“Picked it up for practically nothing.”

 

Haddam and Evelyn sat in front of a large fireplace in the family room. Watching the flames was somehow comforting. He poured himself a Scotch and offered her one.

“No thanks, I’m not much of a drinker.”

“I didn’t used to be.” He took a gulp. “There are some things we need to talk about, Evelyn—safety concerns.” She nodded and listened intently.

“It’s absolutely necessary to secure the house every night. Even though we’re thirty miles from downtown, I still get visits from dogs, coyotes, and the claw marks on the entry doors were made by mountain lions.”

“Lions?” She gasped.

“Hungry ones. I’ll teach you to use a rifle,” he said.

“Nights, I could hear dogs,” she remarked. “Once from my balcony I watched a skinny little pony trying to keep them off, but…

“Man’s best friend,” he murmured.

“I think I’d like some wine. Do you have any?”

“Yep. The Durst family kept the bar well stocked. What’s your preference?”

“A dry red would be nice. Durst…that was the name of the family that lived here before?”

“Yeah. I’ll be right back with your wine.” Haddam went to a bar in the living room and returned with a French Merlot. Evelyn smiled at him as he popped the cork and filled a wine glass to the top.

“My goodness, I’ll be passed out with this much.”

Haddam shrugged his shoulders and drained his tumbler.

After a few sips, Evelyn set her glass down. “Tell me, Haddam…what kind of work did you do before the attack?”

“Promise not to laugh.” He said.

She crossed her heart and took up her wine glass again.

“Owned three 99-Cents stores.”

She held out as long as she could but the wine entered her nose. After a fit of coughing her laughter was girlish, and rich. Haddam was beginning to like her a little. Then her face became serious.

“Want to know what I think, Haddam”

“What?” He took a large gulp of Scotch.

“God wanted a fresh start.”

“Hmm,” Haddam looked down at the Berber carpet, and held his tongue.

“I think He was sick—just sick of what was happening in the world and decided—

“For a fresh start,” Haddam finished.

“Yes.”

Haddam poured two fingers of Scotch, and took a long swallow. “Let me get this straight—God let eight billion people die for a fresh start?” Haddam chuckled mirthfully and bowed irreverently. “Praise be to Allah.”

Evelyn pursed her lips. “My husband wasn’t a very strong man.”

“What about us, Evelyn?” His eyes searched her face. “Are we alive because we’re stronger?” He didn’t like her anymore.

“There must me a reason—”

What reason?” He clenched his fists, and gestured around them. “This is not God’s reprisal, it is the work of religious fanatics.”

“You’re strong, I see it in your face,” she tried to soothe him.

“Know what I believe?” Haddam gulped his drink, and stared into the vacant fireplace. “We’re dead.”

Color drained from Evelyn’s face. “Oh no…please, don’t say that…that’s a terrible…” She began weeping.

Haddam touched her shoulder to apologize. Idiot, he thought, that’s not how you treat a guest! Evelyn stood abruptly, and hurried to a bedroom. After staring at the fireplace for a while longer he shuffled drunkenly to the other end of the house, and slept on a leather couch in the office.

 

The following morning, he found Evelyn sitting on a lawn chair in the overgrown front garden reading her Bible. She set it in her lap, and greeted him. “I fixed breakfast,” she tried to smile. “You’ll need to let me know what you like. I was just guessing from what you had. Any special diet needs?”

“You’re very kind, thank you. I must confess ever since…I eat just about anything.”

They sat in the garden, and ate oatmeal, dried fruits, washed down with strong coffee.

“Listen…I want to apologize about last night.”

“Tell me,” she answered, “does your religion talk about the creation?”

He nodded. “Indeed.”

Genesis talks about the first man and woman.”

“The Quran also has that.”

“I just thought…how ironic.” She paused for effect.

“What?”

“The first couple…Adam and Eve.”

He took a bite of oatmeal, “Yes?”

“Our names silly—Haddam, Evelyn, don’t you see?” she grinned and raised her hands into the air.

He thought briefly, “Yes, quite a coincidence,” and took another bite of oatmeal.

“Isn’t it ironic?”

Haddam chewed on a raisin and reflected, A Muslim thrown in with a Christian—Allah has twisted sense of humor.

 

Evelyn put faith into action that evening. She wore a revealing dress found in Mrs. Durst’s walk-in closet—a plunging black number with spaghetti straps. They lounged in front of the fireplace with a bottle of wine. The fire crackled and popped as they sat on the hearth to talk.

“Ah,” Haddam remarked, “you’re wearing one of Mrs. Durst’s favorite dresses. I’ve seen a picture of her in it. Mister Durst was a corporate lawyer, and they had no children. I found their puddles together in the master bedroom when I first came.”

“She had good taste in clothing.”

“Looks good on you. If I had known…” He gestured at his clothing—an old pair of Levi’s and a faded T-shirt with a Nike slash on front.

“I just realized, I don’t know your last name.”

“Al-Mateen.”

“Mateen,” she repeated.

“It means the firm one.”

“My maiden name was, Hobbs and my married name is, Powers.”

“Powers—a good name to have in your line of work.”

“My husband used it all the time to promote the church.” She leaned forward as they spoke, revealing all but her nipples.

Haddam couldn’t avert his eyes. He didn’t remember the last time he’d made love with Nazarene. Like other established couples they had evolved a routine. If they weren’t exhausted by bedtime, then they would connect in the darkness after the children were asleep.

Haddam sensed what Evelyn wanted. She scooted closer to him, and by the third glass, she was touching him lightly on the arm when she wished to make a point.

“We have a responsibility, Haddam.” He heard her say over the pounding of his heart. She touched him again, and the hand remained and her fingers caressed. Then her lips were on his. A log crumbled, and fireflies drifted up the chimney. Haddam couldn’t resist Mrs. Powers, and he more than lived up to his surname.

 

The circle of moisture on the bottom sheet represented a new beginning. They were strangers, mapping new territory in hope that the crushing loneliness would dissolve as easily as humanity had. Many unions followed the first. In days that followed a routine developed—one that Haddam had few complaints with at first. Evelyn used every opportunity to milk him. After each session, she prayed in the garden that a new world was swimming toward her egg. And so it went for the entire first year together.

 

Haddam and Evelyn traveled to small towns in and around Los Angeles, yet finally gave up searching for other survivors. Dogs had no strength left to chase. They raised their heads to watch them pass, and rested again. Evelyn’s pessimism walked hand in hand with her interpretation of the Bible. They shared a responsibility. Talk of children became a sore spot with Evelyn. She spiked Haddam’s meals with Viagra, and he never knew why he grew hard even when sex was the furthest thing from his mind.

Haddam grumbled privately to himself. “Had children and a wife. I’m not Adam. I’m not anyone.” Yet he allowed Evelyn to believe they’d eventually become the post-holocaust first family.

One evening he confronted her as she moped in the family room, re-reading old magazines. “Evelyn…as you say, we must have faith.”

“Faith?” she rejoined, “For Chris’sake it’s been over a year—must be sterile or something.”

“Not this again,” he shot back. “Perhaps you should point your finger in the other direction. After all, I had a family.” The look on her face made him sorry for saying it. Evelyn stormed out of the front door. “You should take a rifle…” He yelled after her. Then, he escaped into the back yard to burn trash.

 

At the edge of the front garden was a grassy knoll overlooking the valley below, and in the distance, the sea. Birds thrived. Thanks to the ExV, all other life proliferated, adding to Evelyn’s resentment. She smelled roses and jasmine. The odor of pine scented the air, and the cool evening air felt good. A child, she thought, a child would make this more bearable.

“Dear Lord,” she prayed out loud, “Need to know you’re there…please.” She looked to the cloudless sky, and closed her eyes.

At first, Evelyn mistook the distant droning for a large insect, yet steadily, the noise grew louder. In the distance, she saw a shadowy silhouette moving up the road on a motorcycle—coming fast.

“Oh, dear Lord!” She screamed, and waved wildly as the bike steeled into another curve toward the top of Hill Drive. He was wearing a red tank top and a full helmet. She ran to the main gate, and opened it as the traveler downshifted and came to a stop at the entry. “Sweet Jesus,” she said.

The rider kept the engine running, and made no effort to greet her. Then, he set the kickstand and dismounted, pulling off the helmet and looking at her. He was a black man of medium height, and his lanky arms were sprinkled with indecipherable tattoos. His head was clean-shaven and he wore a hoop earring in the left ear.

Evelyn hurried forward and gripped his hand, “Hi there! Oh, this is so exciting! I was just praying, and now…you’re here!” Evelyn was hopping with enthusiasm.

The rider half-smiled and let go of her hand. “Seen smoke,” he explained.

“Adam was burning trash!” she turned. “We live right up there.”

“They’s mo?” he nodded toward the houses.

“Just us. I’m Evelyn by the way…please come!” She gestured toward the house at top.

“Hop on,” he narrowed his eyes.

She didn’t know what to do with her hands, and when he lurched forward, she put them around his waist.

“I’m William,” he called back.

“William,” she repeated as she drove to the house..

 

Haddam wasn’t in any rush. Experience advised caution. In his businesses, it was expected that crime would take a bite out of profits, and Haddam honed in quickly on prospective troublemakers. Spying through a front window he’d seen this man’s arrogance in the way he stood, the tattoos, his swagger, and even from a distance, he saw the man checking Evelyn out. “Bad news,” Haddam mumbled. Then he met them at the door.

“Adam, this is William.” She was still dancing with excitement.

Haddam winced at having his name bastardized to fill Evelyn’s warped biblical prophecy.

“S’up?” William stuck out a hand.

Haddam proffered a hand, and William’s squeezed harder than was necessary. He scanned some of the tattoos covering the young man’s arms and neck…the dots on his knuckles. “Where’re you from?”

“Eastside.” William measured Haddam with his eyes.

“Any others?

“Naw, man.”

Haddam was relieved, yet he threw up a feeble prayer that this man would leave the way he came.

“Y’all got sumpin’ to drink?” William’s eyes wandered past Haddam through the open front door.

“Of course,” Evelyn interjected, “You must be starved too…come in. If it comes in a bottle or a can we probably have it,” Evelyn laughed.

“Ice-cold forty do me right.”

Evelyn’s face drew a blank.

“He means a forty-ounce bottle of beer,” Haddam translated.

“I’ll check,” she started toward the kitchen.

“I’ll get it,” Haddam held her back.

Haddam went into the kitchen for a six-pack of Guinness, and then took a side trip into the den. Snuggling the Glock down into the back waistband of his pants, he felt a pang of guilt knowing that bad came in all shapes and sizes. He knew what it was to be stereotyped. For many North Americans, Middle-easterners represented the threat of terrorism. This was different. This was about his tingling sixth sense. Undoubtedly William was armed. The Glock was insurance.

When he rejoined them, William was in full swing, sitting close to Evelyn, talking in full slang.

“So I figure, time for dis boy t’bone out. Dawgs is worm’s meat, but shit…so’s the mudufuckin’ pigs!” William clapped his hands and laughed.

Evelyn gave a supplicating smile. “Yeah…guess that’s true,” she said, trying to decipher whether it was or not.

“Sorry, no forties,” Haddam handed over the beer along with an opener.

“Dat’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout,” William popped a cap and took a long swig. “This’s some’a dat Irish shit…seen me a fuckin’ lion on the way up. Made a little run for me,” he added.

“What made you decide to ride our way, William?” Haddam wanted to know.

“Itchin’ to see how duh other half live. Third grade they took us on a field trip to Marine World up in here. Them trained whales was the shit.”

The Glock pressed against Haddam’s lower spine reassuringly. They sat for next few hours listening to William talk about life in the ‘hood, finishing with, “Shit, who’duh thought dis nigguh be stuck with an A-rab and a crackuh.”

Iraqi,” Haddam corrected.

“Whatever man, didn’t mean nothin.” William drained the last beer beer and burped. “We in this shit together,” he leered at Evelyn.

The sun was low in the sky. Evelyn went into the kitchen, and put together a meal. There’d come a time when it was unsafe to eat from cans and bottles. They’d have to hunt and grow things. When she returned, the men were silent. Haddam stared past William as William read the ingredients on a beer bottle.

“You’ve had a tiring day,” Haddam encouraged. “I’ll show you where you can rest.”

“Shit, I’m used to hangin’ with d’dawgs all night long, pipin’ down on some tight-ass booty, mmm?” He nodded toward Evelyn, and winked at Haddam. “Back in the day.”

Haddam knew exactly what he meant. He signaled to Evelyn it was time to secure the house and prepare for bed. She scrunched her face, and narrowed her eyes. He knew that meant for him to go to hell.

“Well, William, I think we’ll be off to bed.” He pointed, “You can stay just down that hall and to your left. It has a bathroom and shower with hot water. Evelyn made no attempt to get up.

“You go ahead, I’ll stay a while,” she smiled, her head swiveling back to William. “More beer?”

“Tequila?”

Haddam followed Evelyn into the kitchen.

“What’re you doing?” he hissed.

“What?”

“You know damn well.”

Don’t you dare use that tone with me.”

Haddam blushed with anger. Never in a thousand lifetimes would Nazarene have treated him so disrespectfully. He’d seen it on countless occasions—American women leading their men like dogs on a leash.

“Can’t you see, this man is dangerous,” he breathed.

“Oh, I see all right,” she brushed passed him.

He grabbed her by an elbow. “Evelyn please, I have a bad feeling about this.”

“Go to bed, Al-Mateen,” she said, using his last name.

Haddam took a step toward her, stopped, grabbed a bottle of whiskey by the neck, and stomped toward the bedroom. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he turned the Glock over in his hands.

 

“What up with ol’ towel-head?”

“Oh, he’s not so bad.”

“Give me d’stink-eye.”

Evelyn didn’t have a clue as to what William meant. “Don’t fret, he’s just so… Middle-eastern.”

“You and Saddam gettin’ down?” William gave a tight smile, and raised an eyebrow.

Haddam,” she corrected, “what do you mean by…?”

“You know what I’m sayin’ girl.” His eyes were glazed slits.

Evelyn did know. She poured two shots of tequila. The spirit of the Lord was firing up inside, and it was time to witness. Evelyn confessed her desire to have a child, and the belief that she was destined to be the founding mother of mankind.

William listened distractedly, finished his first shot and pouring them both another. Then, he scooted closer. “Tell y’all a little secret, baby,” he whispered. “I got powerful seed. Know what duh nigguh’s call me in the street?”

Evelyn’s heart was in her throat as she shook her head.

Mamba. Ain’t tell you how many kids I done made. Wanna brat?” He drained his glass. “I give yuh one.”

 

Haddam snapped his eyes open. Anger had morphed into depression, deepening with each successive finger of Scotch. He’d dozed with the Glock resting on his stomach. He looked at the clock on the nightstand. It was after three. He’d been out for two hours.

Lifting his head he stared at the weapon, and shook his head miserably.

“Damn fool,” he muttered aloud. Leaving the Glock behind he walked into the living room to make amends, but they weren’t there. Empty beer bottles and a half bottle of tequila littered the coffee table. Perhaps, he thought, they’re in the garden enjoying the irony of satellites still circling the planet. A full moon beat down on him, and for a moment he could make out the rabbit head. Evelyn and William weren’t in the garden. Tomorrow I’ll have to remind them about carrying a rifle outside. Then he realized that he hadn’t remembered one either.

Returning to the house, he secured the front door, and crept down the dark hallway toward he’d offered as a resting place for William. He heard familiar sounds from there. He stood at the door. He reached back for the Glock, and remembered he didn’t have it. The door was unlocked and he opened it a crack. The moon provided bars of light through the open mini-blinds onto the bed.

William grunted, as he drove into Evelyn from behind.

“Oh-God, oh-God, ohhh God,” was her drumbeat response.

He slapped her ass, “Uhhh, like that? Uhhh…aw shit yeah.”

Haddam put his back to the wall, closed his eyes and bit into his hand to keep from losing his mind.

“Awww,” William was a piston now, and the headboard was striking the wall.

“Ohhh, dear Jesus,” she groaned, “Ohhh, nnnn…give it to me baby!”

 

When Haddam returned Evelyn was thrashing beneath William, and he was thrusting savagely. Haddam made out the dark shape of a handgun on the lamp-stand.

“Aw fuck, I’m gonna nut,” William announced.

“Ohhh,” Evelyn lifted her legs high, and then wrapped them around his waist.

“Awww,” he bellowed, “Aw, aw, awww!”

A deafening pop and strobe-flash filled the room for an instant. William rolled off the bed and tried for his weapon. Another pop forced him to give up the notion. Feebly, he pushed himself to a sitting position, “Muduhf…” A shot to the head finished the job.

Evelyn was screaming at the top of her lungs, and the air was thick with smoke.

“Shhh, shhh, it’s all over,” he tried to take her into his arms.

“Get the hell away from me!” She pushed him, and hugged knees to her chest. Her fitful sobs were punctuated by bubbly flatulence issuing from between her legs. She sagged onto the bed.

“He was…” he finished in his head, dangerous.

 

Wordlessly, Haddam carried Evelyn to bed and gave her a sedative. After cleaning her with a warm cloth she finally drifted off. Then, with a rifle strapped to his shoulder he dragged William’s body out to the community tennis court. After piling kindling and firewood into a makeshift pier, he stuffed newspaper into cracks, poured gasoline and placed the body on top. Then he lit it and watched William’s body sizzle and melt. He walked the motorcycle to a nearby drainage canal and fed it into the stagnant water as mosquitoes hovered around his face. Lastly, he mopped up blood in the bedroom.

 

When Evelyn awakened late that afternoon she told Haddam about a terrible dream she’d suffered. Perhaps, he thought, it’s possible for a person to push unpleasant events into an empty corner of the mind.

 

Eight months and twenty-six days later, Haddam delivered a baby girl into the new world. He wiped her clean, and laid the dark-skinned child in Evelyn’s arms.

“Happy now?” Haddam asked Evelyn.

Her eyes narrowed, and then a smiled played on her lips as her daughter attached to a nipple. She was thinking about what might happen if she left certain doors open when the mountain lions came scratching around again.

“It’s a start,” she said.

 


About the Author

Ty Spencer Vossler (MFA) currently lives in Tlaxcala, Mexico with his BMW (beautiful Mexican wife) and their daughter. He is a prolific writer, and has published over seventy works in the past three years, including novels, novellas, many short stories, poems and essays. Vossler’s work has appeared on four continents. He attributes his originality to the fact that he shot his television over two decades ago. Recently, he published, The Eye of Espinoza, (World Castle Books).

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