A Tiny Novellete by BD Scott
Dodging gun shots in his direction meant diving to the pavement and smashing his face. Instead, Ormond took off in a mad sprint down the back of the house toward the fence, hoping none of those bullets would find their target.
“Can’t believe this. I’m gonna die like this?”
Climbing a fence with surprising strength and agility, Ormond’s hands gripped the chain-links with all their might. Once flipping his legs over the top, he fell at an awkward angle to the pavement. When his elbows cracked on the asphalt along with the flat of his back, he yelped. Without a second wasted, his crazed panic had him sprinting off and holding his injured arms tight to his torso. He ran into the deep blackness of night, toward streetlights and screamed to hail a taxi, which drove passed him. He tripped, fell a few times more and gasped hard. Ormond hadn’t run like this for quite some time but this urgency was about keeping a promise, a promise of duty to someone who trusted him.
He hollered while he forced his other arm up and hailed a second cab that rushed passed. Unsure if he could last much longer he hailed the third cab with one of his injured arms again. He thought this cab passed him up as well. The cab slowed and parked in front of Ormond. The door swung open.
A man with a strange accent enthusiastically offered, “Enter, young sire!”
Ormond climbed into the vinyl backseat. “ER. Please.”
His anxiety rose with thought of being followed hanging in his head. Within minutes, the blackness behind the taxi proved no one picked up on his escape. He threw a five dollar bill at the driver, who spoke in his native language. Ormond swore the man threw insults upon his exit. Soon after rushing into the ER, he collapsed in a faded blue chair, half-awake and in pure suffering.
“Let me see those hands and elbows,” Lisa, the ER nurse, requested.
Ormond gingerly straightened his arms out.
“You don’t need stitches, possibly an X-ray. For now, a bandage, ice, and a lot of rest is in order. Let’s get your name and such into our system. What happened?’ Lisa queried.
“I can’t say.”
“Well, whatever you did, it nearly took your arms off.” Lisa stated with a tone of judgment.
“Some men are after me.”
“Who? Why?””Lisa insisted.
“I noticed something I shouldn’t.”
“All right. Say what you need when you’re ready. Then ~ the police.”
Once clearing his throat and nodding, Ormond tried to bend his arms to rest them on his lap. Other pains revealed themselves in his low back. Ormond leaned forward and groaned out, his mind freaking out about the prospect of the police coming.
“Ormond!” Lisa yipped as she caught him from falling over and eased him onto a nearby patient table.
“C’mon. Just lay down here, Ormond. I’m getting you a cold pack, water and some pain meds.”
The urgent care facility seemed to lay in partial ruin from the looks of the walls and doorways. However, it had enough medical equipment and staff to ease the sufferings of the many that passed through the doors night after night.
While waiting he managed a small smile and remembered Lisa from college and their joking through the general mandatory classes back in college. They built a lasting trust. It seemed they could pick up where they left off, even if months passed between get-togethers, which occurred less and less in the last several years.
The memory expanded to when he cared for Lisa’s mother, after she had been injured from a work related fall. Preparing meals was his end of the bargain. Lisa continued to work to keep her mother’s bills paid. They never called themselves a pair even though they had worked well as a unit. Maybe it was because her mother died from natural causes and keeping in touch afterwards lost its purpose. He wasn’t sure. It was by blind luck he found her in the ER.
His thoughts shifted to his objective, wondering if he was well enough to handle it. He had a promise to keep to someone. And it wasn’t to Lisa. After this thought fatigue took over.
“Just a short nap.” he said to himself.
Lisa completed her rounds, after which she checked on Ormond. She wondered about what he had seen. Despite his obvious pain, she picked up the fright in his eyes.
“Maybe it was nothing. Sleep and heal. I still love you,” Lisa softly said kissing his forehead.
“Where is he?”
Raul was leaning against the front of the big wooden desk with his arms folded.
The office was a small one, housing two leather chairs. Flanking the desk were two very sexy young ladies.
“I, I shot him.” The cool headed Luke responded while inspecting the mechanics of his handgun. “Nice piece you lent me.”
“That was not a gift, you ass,” Raul responded with distinct irritation while tearing the handgun away from Luke. “Now answer me.”
“I don’t know. He bled out?. Probably dead tho. That silencer worked like a charm boss.”
Raul took the butt of the handgun and slammed Luke in the skull. Luke collapsed in pain, moaning expletives. The ladies looked on dispassionately.
Luke was a greasy sort who did regular dirty work for Raul. This henchman had no professionalism to him. But Raul reasoned loosely he was the best this part of town offered.
“You are freakin’ useless.” Raul emphasized as he kicked Luke in the abdomen.
Luke’s angry thoughts erupted about how much he wanted revenge for being beat-up regularly. Or reward for putting up with Raul’s shit.
Raul rambled about a rule that detailed he never went out canvassing for his foe alone. It was standard practice. He was trying to protect his mother from an attacker Luke followed, shot at and lost en route.
According to Luke’s report after his groaning and moaning, he recounted how Raul’s mother’s screamed after a man called Ormond. So Luke phoned Raul asking what to do. Raul gave the order to kill. Luke gave chase and shot Ormond, supposedly.
Raul felt forced to break his number one rule.
“Sometimes, ya gotta do things yourself.” Raul concluded while slapping his .45 with a fresh magazine.
“You, you idiot, stay here!”
Raul had grabbed Ormond’s address from Luke’s back pocket, who found it in Raul’s mother’s kitchen table before losing Ormond.
Luke still writhed in pain on the floor.
Raul emphasized,”I ought to shoot you myself, Luke, ya sloppy shit for brains. Ya coulda gone straight to this bum’s home yourself to finish the job! Get outta here!”
Raul then kicked Luke in the abdomen again for added emphasis. The even-louder groan from Luke almost satisfied Raul. But not quite.
While propping his leather jacket collar up and dismissing his lady friends, Raul got into his Corvette and drove like a demon toward Ormond’s place, intending to break the locks and make a mess of the place, all while searching to discover where Ormond was hiding.
Once there and finding nothing, Raul discovered a random list of contacts left on a desk in the den.
“No cell phone? You’re old school ya little shit and now with this list, you’re mine, you bastard.”
In this same poorly lit den, Raul gave the nearby mirror his signature evil grin. It signified the hunt was on. “You should do the dirty work yourself from now on. The day is coming when luxuries like this are mine,” Raul said as he lit up the list with a small flashlight.
“Let’s see who we have here. Oh my. Who are Lisa, Alice and Gabrielle?” Raul questioned to himself with an evil smile.
After studying the addresses, he chose his target and drove off. Raul’s wheels spun off raw rubber smoke into the air.
Ormond woke up and cursed himself for sleeping off. Something was still wrong. And it hung in the air, suspended in action and ready to smack his face.
He got off the bed and walked to the washroom. While there, Ormond found an old man who said his name was Mr Still. He was wearing oxygen. He claimed he had seen Ormond’s face before. In knee jerk panic, Ormond smashed the man in the face with one of his pained arms, knocking him out with the hospital gown spread wide open and his legs splayed.
His class ring gave the punch a little something extra. Ormond slipped into pure panic and hurriedly kicked the body around to make it seem like a slip and fall. He added blood from the old man’s face to the nearby arm rail for effect. Paying no mind to the believability about his cover-up, Ormond checked to see if the man woke up. The old man was dead. Ormond, forcing his breathing to slow down, washed his hands carefully despite his arm pain and got dressed. A slip of folded paper with an address on it fell to the floor from his pants.
Peeking around the ER room doorway, he grabbed pain medication from the hallway nursing cart. Without making a sound, he slipped out the nearest exit with no one paying any mind.
That was easier than I thought, but whoever is chasing me could be anywhere. Gotta keep moving.
His growing paranoia had him hoping Lisa would find a simple slip and fall issue and forget about him.
Unsure of that happening and guilt riding hard upon his consciousness, Ormond knew he had to keep a promise and rushed off.
After pushing his way through the exit door, he hailed a cab, mentioned the address and slumped in the backseat.
Once there and paying off the cabbie, Ormond slipped his coat over his head as he ran to Lucy’s front door.
“Lucy?” he called through the screen door.
“Ormond? Is that you?”
“Shh, yes!” He retorted in a harsh whisper.
“Come in.” Lucy was upright and moving? He last remembered her in pain, writhing and calling after him.
“Someone helped you, Lucy?”
“Yes, hun. I have terrible bruises. Where did you go? I called after you?”
“I was trying to catch the guy who attacked you. Then he turned on me. Didn’t you hear the shots fired and call the police?”
“I know nothing about guns but…”
“You didn’t call the police?”
“Help came. What could I say to the police? You and the attacker vanished.”
“Oh,” Ormond answered, confused about the way she responded.
Ormond settled in after figuring out no one took stock of his struggle to run away from the emergency room. He gave Lucy the meds she would need to heal up.
“You didn’t!” Lucy yelped in gratitude.
“Oh yes, I did. I yelled I’d be right back while you were yelling at me last night. You didn’t listen to me, did you?” Ormond said with a smile for the first time today.
“You gotta scream louder, but I’m keeping you anyways.” Lucy sang with a loving tone. “There’s someone I want you to meet. You sure know how to stay honest to someone. Can you stay longer?”
“I suppose so.” Ormond said, now forcing a smile while hiding his paranoia. “I need to sit down. May I?”
“Of course, dear.”
Ormond still had his coat on which covered his injuries and thickening fatigue. Lucy made her phone call as Ormond calmed himself enough to rest on the couch in her living room.
Raul slipped into the homes of Gabriele and Alice looking for Ormond. He found nothing about Ormond anywhere. His frustration and anger were building.
“Luke said you might have bled out. Let’s see what Lisa has to say at the ER,” he sneered, screeching his tires even louder.
“Now I gotcha, ya bleeding idiot. After I’m finished, you won’t be bothering anyone’s mother ever again!” Raul roared while speeding up toward the ER.
“Ma?” resounded Raul’s loud reaction to his cell phone call.
“Raul, come home. There’s someone I want you to meet.”
“Not now Ma.” Raul commanded.
It had no effect.
“That’s no way to treat your mother. Get over here, now!”
Raul growled and hung up. She was the one woman he could not get under his thumb. He drove even faster to the local ER despite his mother’s request. Raul got into the ER feigning a strange stomach ache. Once inside, the routine check on his vital signs were completed. He waited for a quiet moment to poke around. Raul did not understand where to hunt first as ER rooms did not post names of those inside.
He mentioned the need for the washroom. Along the way he peered inside each room as if he were a lost puppy. A folded paper on the floor of a nearby room caught his eye. The numbers were in huge print and all too familiar. In an instant, he knew the address.
He sensed activity nearby and snuck into a small room which turned out to be a washroom, with an old man on the floor motionless and recently deceased. A few seconds later, Lisa walked into the same room calling for Mr. Stills and Ormond. She searched and knocked on the washroom door.
As she opened it a gun pointed straight at her.
“Say anything and you die, Bitch! Or should I say, Lisa, as the name tag says? Hide the old bastard.”
Doing as told, she tucked the body in the small corner of the washroom, out of sight. She had no time to assess the man’s injuries or whether he was alive.
“You’re going with me. Right NOW. Tell the others your boyfriend is here and you’re going on break. Do it now!”
Raul held the gun, inching closer to her face.
“Don’t you dare indicate you need help or I pull this trigger.” Lisa remained stone-faced somehow managed to tell her coworkers she was going on break.
With gun hidden in his pocket, Raul walked her out, making it seem as natural as possible. The stoic expression on Lisa’s face hinted nothing was wrong. Her well practiced expression of calm came in handy. Handy enough to save her life, she hoped.
“In” Raul urged while opening the deep red 1976 Corvette car door.
“And buckle up,” He chuckled in an evil tone.
The glove box opened to reveal a mechanical arm. At the end of it was a designed iron hand with another gun pointed at Lisa’s face.
“How many guns do you need?’ Lisa asked, not expecting an answer.
Raul smirked, “Occupational hazard control. And you are about to meet my mother. She wants me to meet someone. She’s gonna meet someone too. How sweet. While we drive, you tell me where Ormond is or you die!”
“How do you know Ormond?”
“None of your business, Now where is he?”
“I don’t know.”
“Yes you do. Now talk!”
“I don’t know.”
Raul drove in, parked with a harsh stop, grabbed Lisa from the front seat and pushed her out and toward the front door.
“You had better figure out a better answer than that!”
Raul’s phone went off. “Momma, I’m outside the damn door,” Raul hollered.
“You’re not off the hook yet, missy,” Holding Lisa’s gaze for effect and his hand over the receiver, he continued with his phone conversation.
“There’s someone I’d like you to meet. You’re gonna like this little one I discovered. She’s a nurse.”
After shutting the phone off, Raul all but shoved Lisa through the front door. Lisa was unsure whether to scream for help or laugh at a tough guy with mommy issues.
“Oh, hello my dear! How are you? Come in. Have a seat please.”Lucy said.
Lisa sat with suspicious eyes, wondering what this fuss was all about.
What does visit this have to do with finding Ormond?
Much needed to be explained but no one was saying anything that made sense.
“You said you had someone for me to meet too, Momma. You know, I was busy working when you called. Never call me during the day!” Raul scolded.
“How dare you talk to your own mother like that?” Lucy half-angrily shot back while twisting Raul’s cheeks with her fingertips. Playfully he slapped her hands away. They laughed. Lisa thought this was getting weirder by the moment.
“Oh my manners, where are they? Would you like something to drink, my dear?” Lucy asked while explaining daily concerns with Raul.
“It must be a cold one. The stove’s been broken. There’s a young man who brings me dinner every night because of this. He is here and the one I want you to meet. I think he’s sleeping. Poor thing had a bad night it seems. Let’s see if he’s awake.”
Raul reminded Lisa that she was still at gunpoint. It hid in his jacket pocket. He sat there with a smug smile on his face.
“You know, you’re kinda sexy in scrubs.”
Lisa sat stone-faced and dared not sip her cold tea.
This family is fucked up, she minded.
Lucy awoke Ormond, who smiled as his eyes fluttered open.
“I made tea. And there are people here I would like you to meet. Are you up for it?”
“Alright,” Ormond replied while rubbing his eyes.”Sorry to doze off like that.”
“Come on in hun. I’d like you to meet my son and his girlfriend, I think. She’s cute. Better keep your eyes to yourself. Raul gets uppity.”
“Alright,” Ormond agreed with a hint of embarrassment that seemed premature.
The second Ormond walked in the kitchen, Raul pulled his gun on him. Ormond dropped to the floor as Lisa shrieked.
“Found you, Get away from my mother you mutherf…”
“What are you doing Raul? Put that gun down now!!”
Raul tilted his head, like a dog which hears an odd musical tone.
“Ormond brings me my dinner every night like a good boy. He came recommended by my bingo group, you know.”
“He saved me the other night from that intruder. Put that gun down? Listen to your mother!”
For a long series of moments, no one knew what would happen next.
Raul pointed the gun at Ormond again only closer.
“You mean this is the intruder who caused your hip and arm pain that night!”
The gunpoint twisted closer to Ormond’s face.
“No, Ormond was already here giving me my meal. I don’t know how the intruder got in but he pushed me over to get to Ormond. Ormond ran off and the intruder chased him. I screamed for Ormond to come back because I needed to stand up and couldn’t. When Ormond didn’t come back, you arrived soon after. What’s wrong with you Raul? Put that gun down!”
Raul lowered the gun for a moment.
“Describe your intruder, Momma.”
“Well, he was a bit short and had an ugly tan. His voice was rather high pitched for a guy his size. And…”
“Shut up, momma.”
“How dare you say that?” Lucy protested as she batted him with the wet end of a dishtowel which made Raul flinch.
“Alright, everyone calm down a second. Let me think on this a minute. And no one moves or I raise my gun.”
“No. You are being rude to our guests. Come, tea is ready, Raul.”
“Fine, serve.” Raul conceded with his anger building again. Flipping his cell phone on, he made a call.
“Git over here now. I’m at Mother’s. You know the address. Today you get promoted.”
“Make another tea, Momma. One more visitor is due. When he gets here everybody goes in the other room and stays quiet. Got it?”
All nodded. So did momma. All Lisa could think was how messed up all of this was. Ormond just sat quiet, not knowing what to think.
I’m getting promoted, thought Luke. Even though his gut commanded him not to go, his brain erupted with elation.
“Finally, Raul sees me as an asset. I’m tired of being a battered employee..” Luke muttered as he drove.
Seeing Raul’s corvette was a sign of comfort to Luke. It was just a visit to his mother’s place, no big deal. His old 76 Red Mercury pulled into the drive and he went to front door, knocking like a kid ready to collect Halloween candy.
“Luke, come in. Have a seat,”Raul greeted with a hint of a smile.
“So, where’s your mom?’”
“Shh, she’s resting. Have a cold tea. I had her make it for you.”
“Thanks boss. So, what’s up?”
“Luke, you have been family for how long now?’”
“Raul, what does that have to do with anything?”
“Everything. In this family, honesty is tops.”
“Yeah, so what?”
“You said you shot your man the other night.”
“After I shot, I didn’t hear nuthin. He got dead. The guy who hurt your mom.”
A long quiet moment passed.
“Show!” Raul commanded.
Ormond took a step, revealing himself in the kitchen doorway.
Immediately guns cocked and pointed. Luke pointed his at Ormond. Raul pointed his at Luke.
“Why you gunning at me? I’ll take him out now and promote me like you promised!”
“Oh Luke, you haven’t learned the first rule of family have you?” Lucy added, who was pointing a gun of her own at Lisa to keep her quiet and hidden from everyone’s view.
“What’s the first rule, Luke?” Raul demanded in a father-like tone.
The pause in the air indicated he should continue talking.
“So what if was me here the other night, boss? I just wanted to spook yer mom’s visitor and save her from an intruder. To get on yer good side. You kick and punch me for no reason these days. I wanted a role in this gig you got on the street. You’re the shit, ya know?” Luke nervously muttered, even though his gun was locked and loaded.
“Let me finish this guy and we’re settled?”
“Sure, ok,” Raul said as he shot Luke straight to the head with his .45 and silencer.
Luke’s body slumped to the kitchen floor.
“Gun’s down,” Raul said, while asking, “Ma, why did you need saving if you already had a piece to begin with?”
Ignoring his question she ranted,”You never come around anymore. Family is everything. Remember? So when I heard about a fella who came around with food, he was kinda like a son to me. Don’t hurt Ormond, he’s a good boy.”
Everyone instinctively lowered their guns, sensing another argument between mother and son.
Lisa, Ormond, Lucy and Raul all stood in the kitchen in uncomfortable silence for a minute and the heated discussion abated.
“I have to sit down. My bruises you know. Ormond brought me meds. You brought me a nurse, Raul. You took out my intruder. I feel so loved right now.” Lucy said, crying tears of gratitude.
“I can see that, ma. Your man here had plenty of chances to attack me tonight and didn’t take ’em. Plus I know what he did at the ER. Missing a stone from your class ring off someone’s face, Ormond?” Raul asked while holding up the stone that had been lodged into Mr. Still’s face.
Ormond’s face took on a sudden pale tone.
”Why did you come back here to my mother, Ormond?”
“I brought yer ma her meds. I made a promise and I kept it. What else do ya want?”Ormond meekly defended.
Raul stared hard at Ormond, pondering his next question.
“Don’t nurses get fired if anyone dies on their watch? Or possibly investigated with no pay? Raul continued turned to ask.
Lisa, still stunned in silence, looked down.
How is momma’s boy aware of hospital policy?
She knew she was a part of a murder situation, recalling the imprint of the ring on Mr. Still’s face. It was Ormond who killed him, not Raul. But she didn’t want Ormond in jail because she still loved him.
“So here’s what we’re gonna do.” Raul announced.”No one gets investigated or charged. Issue the ER a resignation or just don’t show up. Don’t job rules require an employer to dismiss abandoned employees after a week of no shows, Lisa?”
Lisa reddened in silence.
How does he know this shit?
His command ruminated for an uncomfortable minute.
“Lisa, let’s review. How did that man die in the ER today?”
“Slip, fall and dead,” Lisa said, picking up the hint.
“There’s no possible way Ormond and I did it then, yes?”
“Right. I have no hard proof, ring or no ring imprint.”
“That’s right. Ormond, you got nobody to fight for you so you have owe nuthin to no one because now, you two are living here now, for free. But we all remember what free means,” Raul said with a laugh.
“You attempt to leave or contact the outside world, you die.”
Silence hung loud in the room for a very long sixty seconds.
To Raul, the thick quiet meant all agreed and everyone was under his control now.
“I don’t need a henchman. Come here you two and gimmee a hug. You both taught me a lesson today. I can handle my own affairs alone. I think I grew up a little, dontcha think?” Raul added while winking at Lisa, who remained speechless.
Lucy waited for her moment to speak.
“Welcome to the family!” she exclaimed.
“Now move that dead body down into the cellar and into the freezer while I make dinner with Momma.”
Raul laughed out loud with Lucy.
Ormond and Lisa, who remained befuddled by this fast developing hostage situation, dumped the body into the large freezer in the cellar under the threat of Raul and his gun held ready at the top of the stairs.
“What are we gonna do?” Ormond whispered in the guise of the darkened cellar.
“I don’t know, Lisa. They can’t hold us at gunpoint all day and night.”
“So we can decide how and when to get out of here.”
“But you killed someone, Ormond!”
“I didn’t mean it! He said he remembered me. I thought he might be the one chasing me the other night.” Ormond said as he looked down, with a tear falling down his face.
“I know now that wasn’t possible.”
Lisa put a hand on his shoulder. “Yeah, the old guy was seventy and using a walker.”
They paused for a moment. “Look, I love you. I always have. Why did you disappear after my mother died?’”
“Ormond? Lisa? Dinner!” Lucy yelled.
“We talk later, when she’s sleeping, then we slip out and get out of town, Ormond. Ok?” Lisa whispered.
“But what about Raul, that guy’s a nutcase!”
“Coming!” Lisa yelled back, pressing her fingers to Ormond’s lips
“Now,” Raul demanded while reloading his handgun for effect.
All sat down at the table.
Lucy took sips of her soup, Raul followed in kind.
Within a few minutes, Raul struggled to breathe.
Ormond and Lisa took notice and did nothing. They concluded it was an act, drawing them into another one of his drama sessions. The table jumped as Raul’s head dropped into his soup and his body relaxed with dramatic stillness.
“Check him.” Lucy said calmly to Lisa. Lisa hesitated by shooting glances at Ormond for permission to do anything. He shrugged.
“Check him, please,” Lucy asked with a gentle tone this time.
Lisa checked his pulse in three spots, neck and both wrists as she was accustomed to doing in the ER. Raul was dead.
Lucy said, “He hated being my son. His mouth was too much, reminded me of his father. Today, Raul stepped over the line too many times. It’s over now.”
Lucy’s slurping of her soup got louder. Ormond and Lisa sat stunned.
“Eat up kids. Soup’s getting cold. You know you have to stay here now. We all have blood on our hands more or less. No one can really say good things about anyone now, can we? And leaving means we’ll have the police hounding us. It’s best we make do and remain a family,” Lucy reprised while holding their hands tight with affectionate squeezes.
“Welcome to the family.” Lucy whispered gently with a smile, her hand caressing her .22.
“Now eat up.”
Both of them looked down at their soup in terror!
~endBD Scott, Author, Producer of Bestshorthorrorstories.com & Founder of Friedrich Imagines, Ltd. a media production company