Authors: D.W. Brown
D . W . B R O W N
LIBRAR Y T ALES PUBLISH ING
Library Tales Publishing, Inc.
511 6th Avenue #56
New York, NY 10011
Copyright © 2015 David Brown.
Published by Library Tales Publishing, Inc., New York, New York
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the Publisher.
unning from his past, Kevin Black suddenly found himself back in the small town of Taos, New Mexico. He was only nine years old when he’d left, and the only reason he had come back now was the pull of the place. He hadn’t heard the mysterious humming sound in over seven years, so when it started again, he knew he had to return before he was forced to do something he’d regret.
The people in Taos seemed friendly enough, but Kevin lived a lonely existence nevertheless. He still had a little money hidden away underneath one of the floorboards inside the cheap motel he’d rented when he first arrived six days ago, and he was thankful he’d only be there for a short time. If all goes well, he thought.
It was hotter in Taos than he was accustomed to, but then again, spending the majority of his thirty-two years in the northern part of Michigan meant that most places were hotter than he would’ve preferred. Still, a small part of him missed life in Taos at times.
Once his older brother Wayne died, he was finally able to breathe easy again. Since they didn’t get along very well, Kevin felt better after Wayne’s claim to his parents was finally severed for good. Sure, he was jealous that Wayne got all the attention, who wouldn’t be? While he was often on the receiving end of his father’s looks of disappointment, Wayne could do no wrong. Kevin just hoped that was all in the past now. He didn’t want to come back and rehash what he’d done to finally rid the world of his cruel brother every day.
Kevin’s current room was a total dive: the carpet was so dirty that it turned your socks or bare feet a dirty blackish color, the big roaches roaming around at night often woke him up when they ran into the baseboards, and the bathtub was so grimy that he chose to shower with his flip flops on, to avoid getting a new and possibly undiscovered flesh eating disease. Regardless of the filth, the place was cheap and it had a kitchenette, which was key for Kevin because the last thing he wanted to do was eat fast food for every meal.
Outside in the hot air, Kevin found it hard to concentrate. Of course, this could’ve been due to his abrupt departure from the north more so than the heat itself. Thinking back to his past, he still didn’t know why it happened, but for some reason, he just couldn’t seem to stop himself. It was the only way to silence the strange humming sound in his head. Once he took care of the first one, whatever was driving him seemed to get a taste for it and had to have more. He prayed he was through with it all, that the priest from the insane asylum where he’d spent seven long years of his life was finally able to help him put that stuff behind him.
As he sat inside his hot car without air conditioning, preparing to head to the market for some groceries, Kevin’s mind suddenly drifted back to his ride down south. The trip from Michigan all the way to Taos, New Mexico took almost three full days on the Greyhound bus, and on the third and final day of the trip, he remembered waking with a start, scaring the older woman seated next to him. She quickly gave him a look of disgust, and took another seat towards the rear of the slow moving transporter.
The temperature on the bus felt like it had dropped a good twenty degrees during the last few hours of the ride, and Kevin’s first instinct was to yell at the driver to turn up the heat. He was glad he hadn’t, as he realized the reason for his being so cold was due to his own sweat soaking through his clothes. He didn’t know why he was surprised. The same thing happened most of the nights he’d dreamed while inside the asylum. Placing his head down inside his hooded sweatshirt, Kevin blew warm air out from his mouth in an effort to warm himself.
Pushing the button on the side of his watch, Kevin saw that it was already four o’clock in the morning. The estimated arrival time into Taos was seven, so he still had a few hours to go. He turned on the small overhead light and cracked open the paperback novel he’d found lying on a table inside the bus station. He only read fiction on occasion, but he’d picked up the book to help pass the time on the long trip. Since he rarely read while inside the psycho ward, he’d never heard of the author, Harlan Coben. Judging from the brief synopsis on the back of the novel, it sounded decent. It was titled
, a story about a teenage girl who went missing, was presumed dead, and her family’s never-ending search for her or her body.
When the book failed to keep his attention, he threw it onto the seat next to him and wondered,
Why would the humming suddenly start again after remaining dormant for all these years?
At some point, he dozed back off to sleep, and this time he didn’t dream.
When the bus driver announced, “We just arrived in Taos”, Kevin snapped out of his stupor and gathered up his meager belongings. This basically consisted of one small duffle bag with a change of clothes, an old worn out hat, and his recently acquired novel. He debated leaving the novel on the bus, but thought it might come in handy if he was stuck in another ‘time to kill situation’. Those words caused another chill to course through him. He prayed that the hum hadn’t called him back to this place with intentions of making him do it again.
Just as they were about to exit the bus, a medium-built young man hopped on and started talking. “Folks, before you can enter into Taos proper, you’ll have to meet with one of our city council members inside. We have to make sure no one visiting our town plans to trespass or steal from the locals while they’re here. I understand what an inconvenience this might seem, but it really has become a necessity.”
Looking around, Kevin was surprised that no one else on the bus appeared to have a problem with such a preposterous idea. They all acted as if they were stuck in some sort of stupor, like cattle heading for the slaughter. Not wanting to make waves on his first day back in town, he decided it best to follow suit. Still, the very thought of such a thing seemed unconstitutional, in the least.
He filled out their stupid form, which basically stated what his business was in town, and a promise not to bother the locals there. After handing it to the man, Kevin waited patiently for him to read his entries.
“Normally we try to discourage folks from taking up residence here, Mr. Black, but since you used to live in the area, we’ll make an exception.”
Kevin thought it strange, but once again, he was alone on a deserted island in his thinking. Everyone else did as they were told, and were marched to the slaughter line.
Coming back to the present, Kevin fired up the old Pontiac Bonneville that he’d purchased as soon as he arrived in the state. The car had over 200,000 miles on it, but appeared to be in pretty good shape otherwise. Other than a little rust here and there, it ran fine. When he handed over the $1,500 in cash to the salesman, he was once again reminded of how much the priest had done for him during his time at the asylum.
Kevin knew he never would’ve gotten such a good paying job if the priest hadn’t pulled the strings that he had. He had little experience, and had just spent seven years locked away for murdering nine people. Would you hire him? Still, the time he spent reading and writing while in the nuthouse, greatly helped him qualify for the editing position with Riley Publishing Company in the southern part of Michigan. Thankfully he only had to edit the nonfiction stories that the company received, because he just couldn’t seem to get into some of the off the wall stuff people seemed to come up with on the fiction side.
Drifting back to the present again, Kevin found himself perusing an assortment of fruits at the market, when he suddenly caught sight of a young woman having what appeared to be a rather heated discussion with one of the workers there. Moving closer to catch wind of their conversation, he heard her mention something about her sister, and that’s when the red-faced worker simply turned and left without saying another word.
“What are you looking at?” she yelled in Kevin’s direction.
“Me? Oh, sorry. I’m new to the area and…and I guess I was just being nosey.” Kevin replied, not really knowing how else to respond.
The woman’s anger quickly dissipated, and in its place came a smile—a nervous one, but a smile nonetheless. Making her way over to Kevin, she stuck out her hand and said, “I’m Amanda. Amanda Billingsley.”
“Mr. Nosey,” Amanda interrupted, still smiling. “Kevin Black, a.k.a. Mr. Nosey. Are you from around here, Amanda?”
“No. Well, sort of. I used to live here when I was younger, but we moved away after…when I turned twelve.”
The pause by Amanda wasn’t lost on Kevin as he said, “You did? Look, I know this is going to sound crazy, but I used to live here when I was younger too. We moved when I turned nine. How long have you been back?”
“I’ve been here about a month now. How about you?”
“Just got in a week ago. What brings you back to this sleepy little town? It’s not exactly on the top of the
Best Places to Live in America,
“I…I’m looking for some information about my sister. And you?”
“Just needed a change of scenery.” Kevin replied, knowing better than to tell her that he’d started hearing the hum again or about the incident he’d experienced down in the old tunnel. “So what are you trying to find out about your sister?”
“This might sound a little much, but I think someone around here had her killed.”
“Had her killed? Why do you think that?” Kevin asked, trying hard to mask a look which basically said,
this girl is crazy
. He wasn’t prepared for Amanda’s response, nor was he interested in hearing more from her at that point. He had enough of his own problems to deal with; the last thing he wanted was to hook up with a crazy woman.
“It’s a long story and judging from the look of shock on your face, one you probably wouldn’t believe. So, I’ll spare us both the time and the embarrassment. I have to get going. Keep a wary eye out around here, Kevin. These people can’t be trusted.” Amanda warned as she turned and headed for the door.
Since the parking lot for the grocery store was no bigger than that of a gas station, Kevin watched as Amanda got into a big Chevy Tahoe SUV, and spun her way back out to the road. It was obvious that she wanted the store clerk to know how she felt about his lack of help.
Forty-five minutes later, Kevin returned to his new home at the roach motel and whipped up a dinner of canned green beans and canned roast beef over Texas toast. It wasn’t 100 percent home cooked, but it was better than eating fast food, in his mind.
Needing to get some fresh air and walk off his dinner, Kevin left his motel at around eight at night and headed north back in the direction of town. The motel was only about a mile and a half from the town via Highway 115, and the only thing along that particular stretch of road was a small grouping of newer apartments.
The clear blue sky seemed to hold out each of its stars, as if to say,
up here, look at us. Aren’t we looking amazing tonight?
Kevin found himself spinning around doing just that—taking in each one.
As he neared the apartments, Kevin noticed what he thought was Amanda’s white SUV parked in front of one of the apartments, and the door appeared to be standing wide open. Straining to get a clearer view of the license plate, he realized it was indeed her vehicle. The plate read: 1PRSN, something that had automatically stuck in Kevin’s subconscious for some reason, when he watched her leave the grocery store. It could’ve been the fact that he’d often considered himself one person against the world.
When he heard Amanda’s screams pierce through the silence of the night, he took off running in that direction. He arrived at her front door, out of breath and fearing the worst. Slowly, he made his way into her apartment. Right away, he saw signs of a struggle: broken glass, overturned furniture, and what appeared to be a body imprint in the drywall on the right side wall of the foyer. “Amanda? Hello? Are you okay?” Kevin asked as he slowly peered around the corner towards the bedrooms.
The sound of breaking glass gave Kevin momentary pause. “I’ve already called the police,” he yelled, knowing good and well that he hadn’t. “They’ll be here any minute.”
Finally getting up the nerve to move forward, Kevin cautiously made his way towards the open door of Amanda’s bedroom. His mind conjured up images of her body lying on the floor in a pool of her own blood. Unfortunately, he knew more than most about these things, because he’d been on the other end on numerous occasions. He didn’t like the feelings he was experiencing on this side.
“Hello? Are you in there, Amanda?” Kevin yelled outside her bedroom doorway. His heart thumped so loudly it made it hard for him to focus. He could feel his body tremble, making it hard to get up the nerve to move found. A strong sense of déjà vu hit him as he moved across the threshold of Amanda’s doorway— this time he wasn’t holding a pillow in his hand, getting ready to snuff out the life of his ex.
Getting no response to his question, he cautiously moved deeper into the ransacked room. Clothes were strewn about on the floor, the queen mattress from the bed was flipped over near the window, with…with blood splattered all over it and the walls. Picking up pace, Kevin went over to the mattress, and that’s when he saw a woman’s foot sticking out from underneath.
Quickly tossing the mattress aside, Kevin looked down on Amanda’s unmoving body. She had two stab wounds to the chest, and they were both bleeding profusely. Feeling for a sign of life along the right side of her neck, he was happily met with a faint pulse. Grabbing a discarded blouse up off the floor, Kevin bent down and applied pressure to her wounds as best he could.
When blood suddenly splattered down onto Amanda’s face, he knew right away what was happening. The nose bleeds were back. Using the sleeve of the blouse, he applied pressure to Amanda’s wounds with one hand and pinched his nostrils together with the other.
Knowing his efforts were futile, Kevin temporarily released the part of the shirt covering Amanda and pulled out his cell phone to call the police. After explaining what he thought happened, he went back to task of saving as much of Amanda’s blood as he could.
When his nose finally stopped bleeding, he began to hear the humming louder than he’d ever heard it before. His head started pounding, as an instant migraine headache assaulted him from all directions. Releasing the shirt covering Amanda’s wounds, Kevin put his head between his legs in an effort to battle his pounding head. Five minutes later, the pain intensified to the point where he started banging his head against Amanda’s solid cherry bed, in search of some relief. He did this three or four times before losing count and passing out.
When he came to, Kevin found himself in handcuffs, riding in the back of an ambulance. Struggling to sit up, he turned to the EMT on his right and asked, “Is the woman okay?”
“Just try and get some rest, sir.” “Rest? I can’t rest! Is she okay?”