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Evil Is A Winding Road

dafletcher55@twitter.com; D. a. Fletcher.com; facebook.com/D. a. Fletcher.54/dfletcher@f3wsinc.com

Excerpt

Some men embrace their destiny propelling themselves from a lowly status of normalcy to greatness. This attribute is true of me. It will probably become a character staple of any foe of my choosing.  Other men dwell in fear and shame keeping their heads down hoping to never be noticed in their meager lives. They follow every rule. They are always kind to children. You can rely on their faithfulness like any Wright men who take on their roles as law enforcement officers. Sadly, their efforts fail to bring them substantial rewards. I, Tempest Sanguine am not one of those men.

It’s not that normalcy does not prevail in my world. Normalcy is one of my most treasured elements when the first ray of light touches my face. It is in those quiet moments my depraved power draws out a meticulous path in the wash of the morning sun. For years my ritual never deviated from routine scans of quotes scattered within treasured leather-bound editions. My current lingering quote . . . . The shadow of age does not deter me. Nor will the virile men stop me. For the scent of a rose bends the steel that reaches my door. I make my destiny in the face of innocents. My wealth is forged on thrones of the powerful. . . Although the author does not come to mind, this is one of my favorite morning declarations. I use it as a reminder of my purpose.

Lately, I am finding this task of purpose a bit tedious. A like mind is becoming more desirable. Together we could manipulate my circumstances. Like any diligent mentor, my tidbits of wisdom would be enough to keep my new protégé roped in newbie status. My seditious bend toward enlightened appetites sets me apart from others in every experience. It also assures me any protégé’s anomalies would also never be understood in this world. The challenge lies in finding such a mind. From conception to birth my relationships have endured the mundane. Life with my parents was hardly tolerable. Something was always getting in the way. Since childhood, my longing for a companion evolved.

It soon became apparent I would do without a precious friend. My only anticipation was my consciousness of the presence lingering at my bedside in the dark after my mother left for the night. As a boy, my waiting kept me hopeful I’d find a mentor for sharing something unique in the darkness. Early on it became apparent that acceptance nourished my cravings. It was akin to my own mother suckling me from her breast.  My needs were an abyss recognized only by my mother. A mother sees these things in the eyes. The horror in her eyes betrayed her. On that morning fear danced in my mother’s eyes. Her irises were pools of fear.

Dear mother contemplated how she could have possibly groomed what stood before her eyes. She looked upon me as if the taste of blood would be sweeter nectar than breasts that had suckled me. The experience was most unsatisfying. It was a special moment when she realized whom and what she had birthed. I gave into my insatiable urge to biting down hard. When my mother slapped me, I released her nipple from my teeth drawing my first blood. It gave me an exhilaration that I have never been able to repeat until my first kill.

One day great minds will trace my feats back to my departure from my mother’s womb. They will understand an all-consuming austere force arrived with me at my birth. Expeditiously, scientists will pursue genetically altered inoculations to champion rescue efforts on behalf of other unsuspecting babes from peril. The smart money should be on harvesting these dark mentors for battle. Eventually, the task to suppress my appetite became a ritual.

School administrators and my parents swiftly shuffled me from school to school. Time passed slowly. Ciphering quadratic equations between visions of my classmates decaying bodies floating through my head helped to speed things up. It was always the same until fate took hold. Today the drone of the court’s steel nets clattering incited me to ravenous states. Visions of tiny heads severed from their mutilated bodies scatter my thoughts. It was the most satisfying exercise of the day. Fate pushed me towards a much more rewarding sport. The opportunity was brought on by the daily neglect from our teachers comparing notes of undesirable students.

It was the accepted cue for activities on the east side of the playground to shift. Favor finds us all. Fate allowed me to become privy to the one weak spot our playground bully possessed. A spotted breed kitten whose last meal probably came from an alley somewhere nestled in the playground bully’s arms. They were an odd lot. Its shabby charcoal stripes matted against amber fur was a prime target. The bully’s testosterone skewed body cuddling a whiny animal was a humorous site. It made me wet with appetite during the entire recess.

Once lessons commenced I feigned a reason to visit the school nurse. It wasn’t a difficult task. It was common for students to avail themselves to the clinic after a scorching PE session. Cafeteria surprise meat and sixty minutes in the noon sun was a tormenting combination. Today was my turn to benefit from the school’s culinary choices. My scurrying towards the clinic was the obligatory detour to my proposed destination. It was not so easy avoiding prying eyes. Students noticing me were envious to distraction until a wooden ruler prompted a return to their lessons. Hall monitor eyes were no less prying.

“Young man, wait.”

Man, the school counselor volunteering as fifth period hall monitor. My timing was completely off today.

“Yes sir?”

The counselor’s eyes dropped to the paper in my hands before I could provide any expected excuses. His gesture requested my note be visible. The presence of my teacher’s signature on the note was my only reprieve. Sufficiently placated, the counselor made his way down the hall spewing his usual banter over his right shoulder.

“Be on your way. Don’t disturb your fellow students.”

The rest of the school staff observing me paid little attention once they spotted the piece of paper in my hand. I was free to roam at leisure as long as I remained in the wing attached to the school clinic. My final detour positioned me at the base of a window left carelessly propped open granting access to the playground without encountering any school officials. A thirty-second dash across the basketball court took me right to my prey. The kitten was lapping up milk from a make shift milk carton bowl.

The spot was a favorite hide out for older students. It was called Nature’s Bench. It was completely out of sight. This mass of stone is surrounded by foliage and other chips of stone. Nature’s bench offered a refuge from suspicious truant officers and meddling patrolman when Neanderthals were lucky enough to find a partner for making out. That was never my intent. Once in a while I would follow couples to watch. Today I approached for different reasons. The school bully would be in for a surprise when he lured the next girl back here to see his kitten.

Everything was perfect for exacting my revenge. At least five other stones were within my reach. The tips of my fingers searched for the most appropriate stone to fit within the grasp of my palm and still do the job. In my mind, every detail was still as clear as the number fifty-five illuminating on the police car’s side doors. Blue and red flashed lights beaming across the top of the stone bench.

Our proximity was close enough to read his name tag. It spelled C. – A. -W-R-I-G-H-T. It was forever burned in my head, fifty-five and Wright. My breathing dropped with disappointment. Sounds of nature hid the dragging of oxygen moving through my lungs. Perspiration settled across my forehead as if my body was signaling the rest of me to accept imminent denial. The chill in my veins almost stopped my heart. It was evident my plan was foiled by this rookie. My vision blurred as I visualized him on the ground with a bashed head. Officer Wright’s twang filtered the static of his radio.

“There’s nothing here. It must have been a stray or something. Sarg. I’m returning. This is fifty-five…”

The rookie walked right past me. His pace was methodical. It was as if he sensed my presence. My urge to direct my anger was forced inside. For the first time, my senses were awakening at school. The leaves rolling across the concrete were a stark contrast to the collage of colors usually found on a playground. Those tattle tale signs of intrusive gym sessions dissipated against the backdrop of academics. The timing privacy offered could not have been any worse. Officer C. A. Wright had spoiled my first kill and risked himself without any knowledge of his efforts. It would have been hours if not a day until my intended work would be discovered. The officer’s flashlight beam striking across the tops of those stones spoiled the eroticism of the moment. Delaying my gratification for more tawdry surroundings forced me to return to class defeated. Now the sound of another Wright interrupted again.

“Fifty-five? What? Sanguine, there is no fifty-five sign any where in sight. I’ve made a turn on to the wrong road. All these wrong turns are costing you dollars.”

Sanguine ignored Wright’s attitude focusing on the anguish of delayed gratification. Thoughts of wrong turns robbing him of reprisal catapulted Sanguine in anguish. Wright’s broken words had brought him back into the brink of rational conversation. Sanguine composed himself commanding a response.

“Oh, yes, Wright. Your plans to return home would have to wait. Your uncle’s delight will be well worth it. We sporting kind have our ways.”

The delay in cellular disconnection occasionally serves a noble purpose. My suspicions are now confirmed. Now Sanguine dismissed the rigors of idle conversations and a weekend of sport. He relished in the thought of everything being tied up neatly into one small mishap with no one being the wiser. Sanguine had no way of knowing his sources were correct. Easy money was known to corrupt the soul. Transactions with the feeble failed to provide reliability. One simple electronic malfunction had made it possible to verify what thousands of dollars could not buy.

I will never forget that voice. Those eighteen words almost ruined all my plans. It was months later before I could work up the nerve to act in the unforgiving light of the school grounds. Only the stupid ones risk acting out in the open. The brave dare not. The thought of sacrificing his surprise for bullies cutting classes truly pained my spirit.

It had been years but not much had changed. It was all coming back to him now. Eighteen words had made the difference between discovery and destiny. The omnipotent power had stepped in once again. It was working now. It was the simplicity of three statements. There was no longer a need to concoct any excuses. No imaginary assignments or corrupt employees would be needed to take care of this loose end. Thoroughness with details had allowed me to go undetected in my obscure community. Millions of dollars hinged on my penchant for resolving details. It’s a quality foe and friend must never abandon. Those Wright’s snubs to details are soon to be my fortune. Once I can accept the bid and assume my rightful place my place. Sanguine imagines his accolades.

“Tempest Sanguine, We welcome you. It’s an auspicious occasion to induct someone of your stature. Gentlemen raise your glasses.”

The sport of this weekend would be a small concession. Sanguine would consider the weekend an interesting opportunity to network with influential guest and mollify his appetites if either man proved to be a formidable foe. Everything was in place to appease his other guests. Sanguine’s revelries were legendary for their pageantry. His staff was groomed to gorge guests with decadent fare and ostentatious events. Everyone except those in attendance of the obscured rooms would leave with enough tales to amuse themselves once they recovered.

It’s not often that one gets to see what goes on behind some of Kentucky’s most palatial homes after the Derby. Most of the world thinks it’s just bourbon and horse farms since the tobacco industry took a nose dive. Guests at the Sanguine estate never managed to reveal anything different. Those lingering in obscured rooms weren’t any different. The beautiful people showed up and went home oblivious to their part in depravity. They, like the rest of the world would be surprised if not mortified, to know the influence this part of Kentucky yields on government and industry policy. It would be an even greater surprise to discover the impact all their rejuvenation pills had on the daily lives of one another.

Sanguine believed the quality of life flutters around surprises. His favorite musing ­- Most of our lives is but a minute in the universe abridging nature’s functions . . . or at least those are words that cemented themselves in his mind. Those words had taken him through trying moments of his childhood when denying his urges pushed his limits. The satisfaction in believing he had control of the relationship with a dark mentor made up for everything except for one detail he hoped to soon to be a distant memory for him.

The background twang of Unc’s voice lingered in my ear long distracting from the conversation with Wright.

“It’s all settled, Wright. You and your charge should take care to arrive before dark. Around here private roads bear discrete markings.”

Nothing had changed about its texture. The fast succinct delivery pushed out messages with urgency. One had to listen closely to realize the last letter of every other word was dropped. This was an odd quality in the speech of a cracker jack detective. Retirement hadn’t helped Unc to break the habit. A. L. Wright’s voice offered a more tangible distinction.

“GPS is calibrating as we speak.”

Unc’s voice filtering into his radio had revisited me over the years. The old man’s voice was definitely memorable. He had no reason to remember mine. To him, nothing about me as a young boy merited anything beyond a first glance. Now even my desire to be curt with Wright would not sabotage such a refuge. Adequate directions and then off the phone is my best approach.

“Sometimes GPS may not route them. You will be taking the third road to the right off the exit once you cross the county line.”

Normally Wright wouldn’t take his eyes off the road driving unfamiliar territory. He didn’t like hands on calls while driving. He didn’t trust his rental. Wright’s eyes went right to the in dash LED screen.

“Wright, take note. Private roads are unmarked. Locals covet their privacy. You and your charge will want to arrive before dark.”

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