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The Return of Jack Collier (Chapter Fifteen)

The Return of Jack Collier

A Jack Collier Story

By Brett N. Lashuay

 

 

Last week’s entry can be found here.

 

 

Chapter Fifteen: Found him

 

            It took six days (that I don’t intend to describe) to find her. I do not wish to report them, because it would sound like I was being hard on Texas. David Eller was about the worst Texan I’ve ever met, a drunk who never stopped calling his daughter ‘that bitch.’ Her friends were a little better, but less helpful since meeting Pa Eller at least gave me some serious clues about why she ran off.

 

            Still I found out that she lived in an apartment in the suburbs of Dallas, which was pretty far from where her father lived. I won’t say now how I got the information because I told the person who told me that I would keep them out of it. Besides, it really isn’t that interesting. It was just a lot of grind and while explaining it might make for a more complete story, just thinking about it bores me rigid. The point is, that I found her.

 

            The apartment complex was like every other apartment complex I’ve ever seen. It might have been in Michigan really, except for a few differences. I was surprised to see a patch of woods behind the complex that would have blocked out some of the noise from the nearby highway. It was just a bunch of rooms, piled together into a long rectangular building, with the doors leading directly out onto the street.

 

            I saw an old Ford Tempo pull up and I saw the girl who looked like the yearbook photo I’d seen. She looked thin, tired, and a little scared. When she got out, I saw she was wearing a waitress’s uniform over her thin frame. I couldn’t help but wonder what a few weeks on a proper diet would do to her. She was pretty, but there was something wrong there.

 

            “Cindy Eller?” I asked as I approached her.

 

            “Yeah?” she looked at me and realizing she’d never seen me before added, “Who are you?”

 

            “Does Cole King live here with you?”

 

            “Yeah?” she raised her left arm to push back her straw blond hair and I caught the dark splotch on her bicep, hiding just above the spot where the sleeve ended. “But who are you?”

 

            “I need to see Cole,” I said.

 

            “Look Mister,” she said, “you’re going to have to tell me who you are.”

 

            “Someone who knew Cole before he went to jail.” I raised my eyebrows at her. “You dig?”

 

            “Oh,” She said and put her hand to her lip, and that splotch of a bruise just poked out. Maybe you’d have to be observant to see it, maybe you had to know you were going to need to look for it, maybe I’m just suspicious.

 

            “Yeah.” I reached to my back pocket where I’d stowed the leather persuader. “I need to see him.”

 

            “Okay,” she smiled nervously at me and turned around to walk to the door.

 

            I pulled the persuader out of my back pocket and palmed it up my right sleeve. When I wanted to, I could bring it out. I sort of guessed I was going to want it. She opened the door and turned her head over her shoulder to tell me to come in. The place was done up with things from Kmart and thrift shops, and pretty sparsely at that. It wasn’t messy, but it was definitely untidy. She looked around as we came in and I noticed her shoulders slump perceptibly. She wasn’t going to complain to me about Cole’s habits, or how the place was clean when she left, but she was thinking it.

 

            “Cole!” she shouted up the stairs. “Someone here to see you.”

 

            “Aw, what the fuck?” he demanded and began to move around. I saw her flinch a little when he spoke.

 

            She walked ten steps from the stairs to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator as feet began to clump around upstairs. I walked to the small, narrow kitchen and looked at her as she opened the door and pulled out a carton of orange juice. She looked up at the ceiling and made a face that I didn’t like. She looked like she would really like me to stay between her and Cole.

 

            “Cole’s your cousin?” I asked.

 

            “Yeah.”

 

            “You pay for this place?”

 

            “He’s between work,” she said as the feet moved around up there.

 

            “You mean he’s afraid to find a job because they’d find him and take him back to jail?” I suggested.

 

            “Well,” She looked at me, and looked scared.

 

            “Has he been beating you up?” I asked.

 

            “Mister,” she said, “don’t get involved, Cole hurts people.”

 

            “Who the fuck is here?” Cole said as he came down the stairs. She cringed a little, and looked like a trapped animal. I looked at her and put a finger to my lips, I then came around the corner to look at him. “Oh shit.”

 

            “Hi Cole,” I said, as our eyes met.

 

            “I heard you were dead,” he looked fitter, less fat and more muscle. Of course that’s what happens when all you’ve got to do is lift weights and wait out the time.

 

            “Nope,” I shook my head. “Not dead.”

 

            “What’d you let him in here for?” he shouted and Cindy fell back against the wall and slid to the floor.

 

            “I’m sorry,” she cried suddenly.

 

            “You’re gonna be,” He shouted and started a hand out.

 

            I brought the persuader down on his right hand as he reached out. There was a delightful snap that filled the room, followed by another as I slapped him across the cheek with the sap. He fell backwards and tripped over one of the chairs for the small dining room that was half connected to the kitchen.

 

            “I’ve not been here five minutes,” I told Cole, “And she’s cringed twice and actually fell to the floor, going into a defense posture. You are in a lot of trouble.”

 

            “Please mister!” she sobbed at me. “You’re just going to make it worse.”

 

            “Shut up!” I snapped at her and gave Cole a good swift kick in the side. “Get up you piece of shit.”

 

            He got to his feet, and I kept myself between her and him. She sobbed behind me, but I wasn’t about to turn around to look at her. He looked like he would like to kill me, but he didn’t have the stones to raise a hand at this point.

 

            “Go sit down,” I pointed to the couch that was sitting in what had to be the living room because there was only the tiled kitchen and the single large room to be seen and there was a couch there. He looked at me and then did what he was told. I then turned slightly to Cindy “You stand over there in the corner. Keep the table between him and you.”

 

            “Please,” she was crying now. “He beat up Kyle so bad, you’ll just make it worse.”

 

            “Go!” I shouted and she moved, doing what I told her to do.

 

            When she was standing behind the round table, which would keep her at least a little safe if Cole decided to suddenly charge, I reached back and touched the holster on my belt. I’d packed a special surprise, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use it yet. I looked at Cole, who probably could have started beating me up if he wasn’t such a coward. I’d proven to be the biggest and meanest on the block though, so he just tried to burn holes in me with his eyes.

 

            “You know what I’m wondering?” I asked Cole after a moment’s pause. “Did you kidnap Jill because she reminds you of Cindy, or are you with Cindy now because she reminds you of Jill?”

 

            “Fuck you,” was his witty retort, so I gave him an open handed slap across the face.

 

            “There is a lady in the room,” I said.

 

            “There’s a little bitch,” he snarled and looked at her. “A little bitch whose gonna be fucking sorry.”

 

            “Cole,” I brought the sap down on his right hand again, which produced another howl of pain.

 

            “Please!” she shouted at me. “Please, don’t.”

 

            “Take your shirt off,” I snapped at her, taking a step towards her. “Take it off! Now!”

 

            “Okay,” she sobbed.

 

            She was too scared, stupefied with terror perhaps. She pulled the shirt off and it was pretty obvious looking at her front what had been going on. She started to fiddle with her bra strap and my sense of decency managed to kick in just in time.

 

            “Hey!” I shouted. “Keep your bra on. I’m not getting a cheap look here, I’m proving a point, now turn around.”

 

            She did as she was told and my blood started to boil as I looked at the map of bruises, fresh dark purples and blues laid on top of older yellowing marks. I barely looked at Cole, just let my hand fly and caught him across the left side. The fact that I hit him in almost the same place on his left side as I’d hit him on the right side was coincidental, although the twin bruises on his face did give a nice symmetry which his work clearly lacked.

 

            “You can put your shirt back on now,” I said looking at her again.

 

            “Okay,” She squeaked and started to put her shirt back on.

 

            “Oh Cole,” I almost whispered. “You are in so much trouble. Is it something about girls born at that time? Do you have some sort of thing about the mid-nineties?”

 

            “Mister,” she whined.

 

            “You can’t do nothing without me!” he shouted at her suddenly. “You want to go back to sucking your daddy’s dick? You’ll be back with him by six if anything happens to me you little bitch!”

 

            “Shut up,” I said and brought the sap down on the top of his head. He slumped over and fell flat on the floor.

 

            “Mister,” she said.

 

            “My name is Jack,” I said. “You want to get out of here?”

 

            “I can’t go back to my father,” she almost started crying.

 

            “Go upstairs and grab what you need,” I told her, while looking down at the prostrate form of Cole King. “Clothes, books, jewelry, whatever. I’ll take you where ever you want to go.”

 

            “But, won’t they?”

            “No,” I said. “You go upstairs and you get your things. We’ll have to leave the furniture and shit, but I assume that stuff doesn’t matter, does it?”

 

            “I guess not,” she said.

 

            “Okay,” I told her, and decided to risk my luck. “I’ll take care of things, just trust me.”

 

            “Okay Mister…” I looked up at her and she stopped. “Okay, Jack is it?”

 

            “Mister Collier if you’re nasty,” I said.

 

            “What?” she sort of smiled in confusion.

 

            “Nevermind,” I smiled back. “A girl my age would get it. Go on, Cole and I have got to do some talking.”

 

 

October 4, 2010 - Posted by | Fiction, Jack |

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