Wilma, Chapter Two.

Posted: August 21, 2015 in Horror, Literature, Short Stories
Tags: , , , , , ,

Here’s chapter two of Wilma to read on this dreary overcast day! It introduces you to the second protagonist, Colin Romero, a bookish teenager who’s trying his best to escape the side effects of his broken home and the hands of his abusive drunkard father. Fun fact the protagonists both pay homage to horror industry veterans, Colin’s being pretty easy to figure out. Brownie points to whoever can figure out who Roger Ashman pays tribute to! Enjoy my lost ones! ❤

WILMA - Chapter Two - Dean Sexton

His name was Colin Romero, and the day I met him I almost kicked him out of my store, my first possible customer in weeks and I was ready to toss him out. He came into Wilma’s with his back-pack slung over his right shoulder drooping toward his ass. I could see it was overloaded by the expression of exhaustion on his gaunt face. I didn’t know it then, mainly because I thought every adolescent hoodlum that walked the streets of Smithville was a crook, but that bag was full of books.
He walked into the store, lugging his heavy knapsack around as his hazel eyes darted around its interior, looking like a teenager who‘s just stumbled into his first titty bar. He trudged through the shop, his bag swinging like a nylon pendulum as he gawked at the floral display I’d set up at the front of the store. Valentines day was coming up and I’d put together several bouquets of roses on a table. There were roses of every color, red, pink, white, but his eyes kept returning to the black ones, as if he were staring at an impossibility. Every time that pendulum hanging from his shoulder swung I felt my teeth grind within my trap, I was sure the clumsy fucker was going to knock over a flowerpot or worse swing it straight into the glass cooler where I kept a variety of flowers for custom arrangements, but it never did, the boy was as graceful as a ballerina, minus the tutu.
I watched him walk around silently, my eyes never leaving his tiny mitts, (as I said before there was a time when I thought that every kid in the shit-ville was a crook), as I waited for one of them to reach out and stuff something into his knapsack.
He didn’t notice me sitting behind the glass counter, my callused hands folded atop its surface, my head tilted slightly to one side. I had a nice vantage point behind a pot of mums and the cash register.
Eventually he reached for his knapsack, and like a spider anticipating the moment when the fly becomes tangled within its web I slid out from behind the counter, teenage criminal was on the menu, and I couldn’t wait to sink my fangs into him.
I placed my grey hair dusted mitts on his shoulders while one of his hands disappeared into his pack and began to squeeze, just tight enough to put a little shock out of him. No pain, just fear.
“Shoplifting is a major crime,” I growled as I let my fingers slide down his chest, letting them sink into the concave between his collarbone and shoulders.
“I wasn‘t, I mean I know sir, I m-,” stammered Colin as he wriggled to free himself from my grip, discovering that there was still some power within this gaffer’s paws.
I grabbed the arm that had disappeared into his knapsack and tugged it free. I’ll admit I was a little embarrassed when I saw what was clutched between his fingers, and I’m a man who doesn’t like to admit anything nearing embarrassment. It was a book with a crisp red flower on its cover, Deciphering the Rose, by Lawrence Tate was written across it in a fancy cursive font. I let go of his shoulders and brought my hands down to my hips. I was in a situation, a delicate one. I’d more or less assaulted the kid and he knew it, I had to think hard about what came out of my mouth at that moment or else I was liable to find myself out of a home and a business, stink-hole or not. I stood in front of him looking like an elderly, handicapped gorilla, swaying from side to side, my face an expression of idiocy
“It’s the black roses, they don‘t exist in nature,” stammered Colin as he clutched his book like a bible against his chest, letting his knapsack droop further toward the ground. I glanced inside it as I stared at him and noticed it was loaded with books.
“Reaching into your bag like that in a store is a good way to find yourself in a pile of shit boy,” I grunted as I scanned the contents of his backpack.
“I know, I was curious,” he said pleasantly, running his free hand through the shaggy sandy blonde mess atop his head.
“Stupid is what you were,” I said, narrowing my eyes as he stared back. He shrugged and lowered his head. I was beginning to see why this kid was such a bookworm, apparently human interaction wasn’t his thing, something we had in common.
“I’m sorry sir, I’ll leave,“ he said, bending over to zip up his knapsack. For a kid who had nothing more to hide than a bunch of books he sure had the jitters when it came to talking to me, and as he leaned over I got a clear picture of why. On the back of his neck were three swollen, purple finger length bruises. The kid was someone’s punching bag.
“No trouble kid, just, try to be more cautious,” I said looking at the plum colored bruises that raised from the flesh beneath his hair line. Someone was beating on him, and I had a pretty good idea of who it was.
Colin’s father was Richard Romero, the town drunk, a man I’d grown to know and loathe.
Rick was the type who spent his weekends at the bar, and when I say weekends I mean weekends. He’d hit the legion at opening and close the place down and that meant Colin was left to his own devices, left alone to wander a shitty country town that had little more to offer him than a twenty-four hour Tim Horton’s and a Giant Tiger. Colin being a resourceful boy and one who understood a good thing when he saw it, used his father getting liquored up at the local watering hole as an opportunity to explore, a chance to get away. Now Smithville is a place that doesn’t have a whole lot of landscape to explore, there’s the 20 mile creek, a murky slug of water that starts at the border of Hamilton and travels through Smithville, splitting the town in half before spitting itself into the Chippawa Creek near Wellandport. Aside from the filthy channel of water that’s welcoming to no creature other than the pike, snappers and suckers that call it home there’s a dismembered railroad track and more farmland than your eyes can handle. In fact you’d be hard pressed to find anything interesting if you were a fourteen year old boy, but in all the time I knew Colin I never once heard him complain. I guess anything is better than sitting in front of a bar, basking in the stench of flat beer and stale cigarette smoke, listening to stories of men who’d been defeated, men who’d lost it all, men whose only savior was the bottle, broken men, men who’d be better off if someone put them down like wounded animals. Rick was one of those men, his wife, Colin’s mother had left him a year after his birth. I’d heard him mourning her on one of the few occasions I found myself boozing within the Legion’s dingy basement, how he’d have given her everything if she’d have just let him, how if she stayed they’d be sitting pretty, the three of them living the life of luxury. Typical drunken banter. The part he always left out was how the drink was what really drove her away, how his problem with the bottle was why she took her son and fled, fled from the late night screaming matches and four am beatings, from having to explain to her parents that the bruises on her cheeks came from her inescapable clumsiness, and the black eyes as well. What really drove her away, and this is my reflection on the matter of course, was the night Rick snuffed a cigarette out on Colin’s head. He was no older than ten months and Rick had been into the cups heavy, he said that the boy was a curse, that he’d crippled him and stolen away his youth, hindering his dreams.
You hear things in small towns, you either believe them or disregard them, it wasn’t until I saw the scar on the boy’s hairline that I discovered just how sick Richard was. I’m glad the bastard’s gone.
“I will sir,” he said as he tucked his book into the front pouch on his knapsack. He half smiled at me and started toward the front door, lugging that damned backpack over his shoulder.
“I dye them,” I said to his back. “The roses, I dye them, and my name isn’t sir, it’s Roger Ashman. Sir is a name for a fucking knight…and I‘m far from chivalrous.”
“Really? Why?” Asked Colin, releasing the door handle and gazing at me with intrigue.
“I started doing it for funerals and around Halloween,” I said as I motioned him closer.
“How,“ asked Colin and for the first time I noticed just how inquisitive he really was.
“I fill a vase with water, and ink,” I said, giving him a friendly wink. “Then I just dunk them in.”
“They’re pretty neat.”
“They are aren’t they?”
I’m not sure why I did what I did after our clumsy introduction, perhaps it was the bruises on his neck that forced my hand or his misplaced enthusiasm for botany, more than likely it was because I’d become lonely after Wilma left me. For whatever reason, I doomed that kid to a lifetime of nightmares.
“Say kid, you interested in a job?”

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