By Nick Durham
Brian stood outside his father’s house, staring off into the distance. He wasn’t really looking at anything in particular, just staring into the sky. It soothed him, soothed his mind from what he just witnessed on the tape. There wasn’t much bile left inside him to release anymore. Actually, Brian realized his stomach was surprisingly more or less settled, which in a moment of clarity, he thought to himself was quite strange given the circumstances. His thought was interrupted by Laurel coming outside, lighting up a cigarette. She tossed the tape down on Brian’s father’s porch, making a clack sound as it landed on the wood.
Laurel didn’t say a word. She sat down in the lone chair on the porch, an old rocking chair that creaked with each movement as she rocked and smoked. She sat and stared off into the distance, just as Brian had been doing before she came out. Neither said a word. What else was there to say? The silence continued until Laurel finished smoking her cigarette, stomping it out under her foot.
Why is he doing this to you Brian? Who is he?
Laurel, said Brian, not facing her but still staring off away, I wish I knew. But I don’t. I don’t know shit. I know about as much as you do.
Bullshit, said Laurel. You’ve got to know something or have some kind of idea as to why this is happening.
Brian turned around, facing her. His face flushed and his eyes red. Laurel, I don’t know a fucking thing. I swear to you. I have no idea who this guy is or why this is happening. God fucking dammit. If I fucking knew, we wouldn’t be here right now.
Brian, said Laurel surprisingly softly, maybe we should just go to the cops. Fuck the risks.
No, said Brian. I won’t risk that.
Why not?, yelled Laurel. Is it really because you care about everyone and are afraid of this guy? Or is there something you’re not telling me?
Brian’s body snapped around facing Laurel. She’d never seen him move so quick. What the fuck is that supposed to mean Laurel?, he snarled.
I think there’s something you’re not telling me, said Laurel, her eyes meeting his.
Laurel, muttered Brian, I promise you, I don’t know anything. I have no idea what’s going on or why this sick fuck is doing this and targeting me. I swear to you, I don’t.
Then let’s go to the fucking cops then!, she yelled at him.
No. For the last time, no, said Brian, keeping his eyes locked on hers. I won’t risk anything happening to you.
Laurel’s left eyebrow raised as those words came out of Brian’s mouth. Brian, fucking really?
Yes Laurel, he said turning his back on her. I still love you, you fucking cunt. He couldn’t hold back the laughter as he called her the c-word. Brian didn’t know exactly why he thought it was humorous, but he wasn’t lying to her: he did still love her.
Laurel got up and turned Brian around, facing him once more. You’re a piece of shit Brian Dobbs. And yes, I am a cunt, that’s no bullshit. And I still love you too, otherwise I wouldn’t fucking be here. Their eyes never left each other’s direct line of sight, even when they both leaned in for a kiss. They held onto each other tight for a split second before Brian pulled himself away.
We should get out of here, said Brian. Last thing we need is my dad catching wind of any of this yet.
Laurel and Brian got back into Laurel’s car and departed back to Brian’s place. Not much was said between the two of them. What else was there to say really? The silence between them wasn’t an awkward one though, more one that had a sense of understanding to it. Laurel was going to stick by Brian until all this got sorted out, until the bitter end.
While pulling up to Brian’s house, a young girl on her bike whizzed past the front of Laurel’s car, causing her to slam on the brakes. Brian glanced at the girl and recognized her as one of his neighbor’s kids. What was her name? Jen? Jane? Something with a J…has to be something with a J.
Jesus Christ kid watch where the fuck you’re going!, yelled Laurel at the girl who couldn’t have been any older than eight. The girl looked more annoyed than upset that a grown woman was hanging out the side of her car window swearing at her, but Brian decided to try to diffuse any hurt feelings. She was a kid after all.
Don’t listen to her honey, said Brian. Are you okay Jenny? The girl’s eyes got wide and she spoke up in a high pitched voice My name’s Maria you dick! Brian was dumbfounded, but became even more dumbfounded when the kid flipped them both off with both fingers. Laurel’s laughter couldn’t be contained. Brian hung his head down low as Laurel finished pulling up to Brian’s house, still laughing heartily as little fuckface Maria rode off on her own way to the opposite end of the street.
Well, that was interesting, said Laurel, trying to keep the rest of her laughter subdued under her breath.
Yeah, it sure was, said Brian. Brian stared out the windshield trying to hold it together, but he lost control and started laughing like a maniac. Laurel joined him. This day definitely did not go how either of them had planned it would to say it lightly. Brian should have been thinking about his film, and his future, and getting the fuck out of town. Laurel should have still been sleeping off the night before.
It wasn’t until they got out of Laurel’s car that Brian noticed his front door was open. Wide open. And it wasn’t until both Brian and Laurel slowly approached the door that they realized there were blood drops splattered on the ground and floor leading inside.
Laurel, stay out here, said Brian.
Fuck off Brian, piped up Laurel. We’re in this together remember?
Brian nodded his head and he slowly walked inside, careful of not stepping in the blood drops. All of which were lined up, almost like a trail. A trail of blood, Brian realized to himself, that he followed into his bedroom. Laurel held on to Brian’s hand from behind and slowly followed him into his bedroom, and both saw together what was displayed on his bed.
Something spelled the word out right there, neither Brian nor Laurel realized what it was just yet, it was only upon getting closer that Brian realized it was spelled out with human fingers. Severed human fingers. All perfectly pointed and curved to spell out LEGACY. Right on top of the comforter on Brian’s full size bed.
Holy mother of fucking God, exclaimed Laurel as she turned her head away. What neither of them noticed right away though was what was right below the word. Another tape. A tape with a label on it, saying PLAY LATER.
Laurel, said Brian. There’s another tape…
Jesus fucking Christ, said Laurel. This shit is never gonna stop.
Brian’s phone rang. He pulled it out, and it read UNKNOWN.
It’s him, said Brian. It’s him again.Â Laurel looked at Brian, her focus wavering between Brian’s face and the ringing phone in his hand. Brian gave Laurel one last look before he hit accept and answered.
Hello?, said Brian.
Hello Brian. That voice again. You’re home by now I take it? Went to go see dear old Dad?
You’re watching me huh?, said Brian.
No Brian, said the voice. I’ve been watching you and Laurel both. She’s quite lovely underneath all the doom and gloom isn’t she?
Look, said Brian, what are you pl—-
No, interrupted the voice, you look Brian. I’m calling the shots here. Not you. Now look at your bedspread. Give it a good hard look for me.
Brian turned back and faced his bed, looking at those fingers splayed on his comforter.
I want you to remember that word Brian. Etch it into your brain forever. Never forget that word. Soon, you’re going to learn what it means. What it really means. And I will teach you that.
Yes Brian, said the voice. And you will learn. Very soon. In the meantime though, you’re about to have company. Good luck to you Brian, we’ll talk soon.
The voice hung up abruptly, but before Brian could even react, he and Laurel overheard a clutter of footsteps from inside his home. Brian and Laurel looked each other and began to exit the bedroom, only to find themselves looking down the barrel of a gun in the hands of a police officer.
FREEZE! HANDS IN THE AIR! yelled the cop.
Both Brian and Laurel raised their hands as they were told to do, and noticed that there were at least three or four more cops looking through Brian’s home, along with another one wearing a suit and tie. He approached both Brian and Laurel.
Brian Dobbs?, asked the cop. You’ve got some explaining to do.
What are you talking about and what are you doing in my house?, said Brian.
We got a phone call about suspicious activity. How about we a take a ride down to the station yeah?
You have got to be fucking kidding me, mumbled Brian under his breath.
This day really was not going how anyone had planned it would after all.