Effigy

I hope everyone took the opportunity to read my series, Water for Blood. It was my first real episodic crime story and if you didn’t get the chance, please feel free to click on the link. I’ve just finished a new story which you can read below.

 

Effigy

By Robert C Price

May June Bellamy placed her feet on top of the wooden banister and leaned the lawn chair upright on its hind legs. Deep in a daydream, she sat there in her bikini top and cutoff shorts letting the sun bake her into polished bronze. Her long chestnut brown hair hung over the back of the chair as the tall grass lightly touched the tips.

A mosquito zoomed by in the July heat and eyed her slender legs as the perfect meal. Feeling the gentle tug of the tiny insect siphoning blood, she smashed its body against her thigh, leaving a burgundy stain.

“Nobody rides for free,” she said in a Carolina drawl seasoned with sugar and pepper.

Shadows fell over her lean body as sleep touched her eyelids. She heaved gentle sighs until the clamor from the shed shook her awake.

“He’s up”

May stretched and yawned before wrapping a towel around her neck and strolled toward the door. She gripped the handle and hesitated taking that final step. Once you cross the threshold, the only movement was forward.

“I could be like God and show mercy. Everyone deserves redemption,” May said to herself. But Ricky popped in her mind and that was all she needed to continue.

The aluminum door swung open and banged against the side that it startled Jimmy Carroll. That ticker he’s been treating with Plavix almost burst out of his chest. Vision blurry and head spinning from the Vodka Tonics consumed last night didn’t help him figure out who was walking through the door.

Then it occurred to him, where was he last night?

Was it the strip club? That’s right, The Body Shop. I was in a private room with, uh, what’s- her-name. It started with a ‘D’ I think. Did I have one drink or a lot? Wait, I just had a swig.

“Dammit, a mickey,” he whispered.

“Hey suga’. You alright?” asked May in the most obnoxious southern belle voice. “I was worried about you last night. You went all topsy turvy on me.”

He shook the cobwebs off and noticed his arms were in chains anchored to the ceiling, spread apart in a V-shape. His feet chained in the same way to the floor. The smell of kerosene hung in the air like a fog. There were no windows in the structure and the only air coming in was through a vent in the upper right corner.

“Is that you, Destiny?” as he tried to focus under a dimly lit light bulb that hung overhead. “Where the hell am I? I don’t know what this is, but I don’t do this type of thing.”

“Good. That makes two of us,” she said.

May circled her prisoner. She viewed every pockmark and liver spot that covered his handsome face for man in his fifties. The tailored-made suit he bought over in Chapel Hill was now wrinkled and stained. A un-CEO look for Monarch County First National Bank.

“I want to tell you a story, Jimmy. You’ll love it. It’s filled with romance, betrayal, and tragedy,” as she gestured in grand spectacle.

“Listen here you little bitch, I don’t know what the hell’s goin’ on here, but you need to let me go right now,” as he pulled on the chains, “Do you know who I am?”

She sauntered close to him, inches from his face.

“Of course I do, suga’. You’re the sick perverted degenerate that was obviously not raised correctly as to interrupt my story. Now would you be so kind as to shut the fuck up and let me continue.”

Jimmy looked into her eyes and saw his reflection. His weathered face stared back at him exhausted. It scared him shitless that her eyes could be that black.

“Once upon a time in a land not far from here, there lived a beautiful Princess with the most gorgeous blue eyes you’ve ever seen. One day while in a store, she met a handsome Prince whose family was very wealthy. So much more than her little podunk family. But it didn’t matter, because they fell in love…or so she thought.

It seemed the young Prince had other intentions towards the fair damsel. More lascivious than amorous. As the once budding young woman became deflowered, the young prince moved on to another and married not long after that. This left the Princess heartbroken and unsteady.”

The sound of a vehicle pulling up on the right-side of the shed caused her to stop in the middle of the story.

Ricky Villejune sprung out of his shit-kicker truck just in time for May to peek out the door. He put on that smile that made her quiver below, threw his leather knapsack across his broad shoulders, and walked up to her.

When he was close enough, she grabbed the collar of his dingy white T-shirt, exposed part of his massive chest, and gave him a deep kiss.

“Glad you made it, baby. I was just telling our guest a story,” as she whispered in his ear.

They strolled in, hands held tight like a first date, and faced their captive. Carroll’s eyes grew wide and giant sweat stains formed under his arms as the smell of desperation permeated the air.

“What’s this?” asked the CEO.

“Are you scared, Jimmy?” replied May.

“Hey if this is about money, I can get whatever you need. We can work this out.”

“That’s your answer for everything, ain’t it? Rich people do that all the time. Buy this, buy that. Solves all your problems, huh? You haven’t been listenin’ to the story, so let me finish.”

Ricky parked his butt on a small step stool in the corner next to a worktable and watched his girl in action.

“As I said, her mind became sad and unsteady. The Princess loved the Prince very much and each passing day her heart would break until a miracle happened. A child formed in her belly letting a broken-hearted woman be happy once more.”

Jimmy heard the clang of the hunting knife as it fell to the floor. He couldn’t see how his huge captor twirled the tip on his middle finger like the plate spinners of circus fame. It passed the time before the real wok began.

May continued.

“For years the Princess kept the child a secret from the Prince in fear that it would damage his reputation. Even though the fool took her heart and crushed it, she still didn’t want to cause him any embarrassment. Over time her love grew to hate.

She struggled so very hard to take care of herself and the child. She realized that the Prince had to start paying for his actions.”

The air in the shed stifled the CEO as the walls spun like an out of control merry-go-round.

“I need water, Destiny. I’m so thirsty.”

“You’ll get water when she’s done,” said Ricky from the corner.

“Thank you, baby. Now where was I? Oh yes, paying for one’s actions. So, the Princess, filled with a new determination, decided to contact the Prince and inform him of his responsibility. It was time to start contributing to the development of the child. They agreed to meet in the woods where their lips first touched. Excited, she went out to meet him, but sadly, he did not show. Instead, he sent two young men in his proxy.

They raped her until she begged for her life and then sat her on fire like garbage. Laughin’ all the while.”

A loud thud from Ricky’s blade struck the withered worktable and startled Carroll. With one leap, he wrenched the neck of the prisoner and squeezed with one hand. He stared into Jimmy’s eyes searching for a reason not to snap his bones. All he saw was terror that made him hesitate.

“Hello Dad” was the most he could say.

His lover folded her arms and smirked.

“Honey, you can’t kill him now. That would ruin the surprise,” as she rubbed his shoulders. Ricky turned him loose with a jolt.

“I didn’t know if you were still alive or not. I didn’t have anything to do with those jokers. They worked for my father. I didn’t hire them to do that. Believe me, boy. I never wanted anything to happen to your mother. Just had to scare her that’s all. I couldn’t have a bastard. I had to uphold the name,” said the CEO of Monarch County First National Bank.

Ricky stepped back and shook his head. He rubbed his hands over his face and chuckled at his father’s audacity.

“I was eight years old. I was there. Do you know how hard I tried to scrape that memory from my mind, you pussy? She told me to wait in the car. Wait for her to call me over. I snuck out, just to see. I saw the tail end when they dumped the gasoline and lit her up. I watched her burn,” and then spat in Jimmy Carroll’s face.

As the phlegm rolled down the CEO’s furrowed brow, it gave him the nerve to challenge his captors.

“Do you two poor excuses for white trash know the connections I have in this county? I’m pretty sure the Sheriff is looking for me right now. Anything happen to me and ya’ll get the death penalty.”

The couple looked at each other and smiled, “What made you believe we were in your county,” said May.

 

In the rear-view, May saw the fire engulf the shed and heard the screams of Jimmy Carroll. She drove down the long entrance road singing a song with the radio and a big grin on her face. Justice had been metered. No hindrance for the man she loved since they first met at the group home so many years ago.

Tonight was an effigy to his mother, and in a way, a destruction of her own demons. She might not have had the courage to return to her Grandma Beatrice’s home and strangle her on the front porch.

Shouldn’t had sent me to the home you wicked woman.

On the passenger side, Ricky held his head down and sobbed in his shirt. May rolled her eyes and gave a hard stare.

“What’s wrong with you?”

“I thought this would make me feel better. I wanted him dead, so bad, for Mama, but all it did was make the pain worse. I took my father’s life. I feel like shit, babe,” said Ricky.

May June Bellamy stopped the truck, caressed her lover’s chin, looked deep into his ice blue eyes like his mother and said, “You’ll get over it.”

 

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