Angie slides the key into the lock and gives it a turn, excited to see the inside of their home. She pushes the door open and gets a whiff of cleaning chemicals and faint traces of dust. She walks through the living room as a hefty man walks past her carrying a box. “Scuse’ me, kid,” he says winding around her, he wore overalls that said Joe’s Moving Crew across the back.
“Your room is upstairs on the left. Wanna go check it out?” her mom calls from outside. Angie doesn’t turn to reply, she just scurries upstairs in excitement. The second to last step makes a loud groaning sound as she jumps off of it and lands in the hallway. Running one hand across the left wall she grips her fragile fingers around a door frame and twists herself into a room. The floor was bare wood, a change from the rest of the house being carpeted, with excessive wear among the boards. Scratch marks, scuffs, and a few lonely twisted nails added decoration to the floor. A fresh looking paint job was slathered on thick and what seemed to be in a rush, drip stains and smears hit the edges of the double window frame that looked out towards the front yard.
“I really hope this isn’t my room,” she says aloud. She takes a couple of steps forward and sees her mom talking to the elderly man from next door. His face was twisted with bundled wrinkles creasing his forehead and eyes into an image of pure anger, or at least she thought it was. The man pointed towards the house then turned back to the moving truck. A black man with sun shades clipped onto his collar stares in confusion while trying to balance a large painting in his hands. A skinny white guy shakes his head, out of sight of the elderly man’s gaze, and bends over to pick up a box labeled ANGIE. He nudges his head in the direction of the house, then him and the black man continue moving inside as Angie’s mom continues to try to deescalate the situation.
Angie’s curiosity etches into her thoughts and begs her to listen, they just got here, what could be the reason behind the altercation?
The skinny white mover, known simply as Bailey, according to his name tag stitched onto his shirt, walks by the room and stops to look at Angie. As she bends forward to gaze out the window, her shirt pulls up revealing the small of her back. Bailey moves his eyes downward and is nudged by the black mover, Carl. Carl nods his head towards a room door a few feet away and carries in an overstuffed box, clothes were peeking out of the tips as it was lazily packed together and taped criss-crossed by Angie. Placing the box on the ground he stands up and stretches his back. Bailey steps in with a sly grin, a gap between his two front teeth exposed.
“What’s wrong with you? Girl’s a skipping stone past puberty.”
Bailey places both hands up in defense. “Ay, nothing wrong with checking out forbidden fruit, long as you don’t take a bite,” he lets out a laugh that quickly dies out when Carl’s expression turns more serious. “You keep your hands and your thoughts to yourself. Just cause this company gives jailbirds another chance to fly don’t mean we all come from the same nest.” Carl walks out and hustles downstairs. Bailey scoffs, looks down and sees the tip of an orange tank top sprouting out of the box. A lump forms in his throat, cautiously he bends down as if sudden movement would cause the box to collapse, and wedges his hand into the creases of the side. Fingers maneuver past rougher materials, thick jeans, until the familiar touch wraps between his pointer and middle finger. Pulling them back he receives a pair of p*****s, another form of “forbidden fruit”. He slides them into his pocket, and turns around with a bigger grin than before.
Angie steps past him and walks ahead of him down the stairs, his eyes once again locked onto the young teen. An elbow rams into his chest damn near knocking the air out of him. Carl stands in his way, a heavy box in his hands. “Take this to the basement, after that it’s your lunch break.”
Bailey creases a smile and whispers, “F**k outta here, you ain’t my boss-”
“I’m not asking you,” Carl leans forward, the musky scent of sweat and peach cigars lingers towards Bailey’s nose. “I’m telling you.”
Bailey grabs the box from Carl and mutters, “Yeah, got it.”
He strides around a couch in the living room and uses the heel of his boot to stretch the basement door open. It was too dark to see past the first five steps, yet he trudges his feet one by one guessing his placement until the feel of the solid concrete gives him comfort. “B*****d thinks he’s better than everyone cause he got caught stealing a car. You ain’t s**t, Carl,” Bailey huffs and carelessly drops the box onto the ground, it makes a loud thud with clangs of metallic sounds in the box. He rummages around his pockets and pulls out a pack of Strikers, poking a cigarette in-between his lips he reaches into the other pocket and retrieves his box of matches. Opening the box he picks one out and aims to hit it across the side of the container when he hears an odd sound. It sounded like a child, more particularly a girl. It sounded as if she was giggling.
Bailey looks over towards the canvas of swallowing darkness and mutters a “Hello?”.
A flop hits the ground as a pink sandal lands just in front of him. The voice giggles again with a peculiar sense of emotion, teases of more than just joy. He bends down to examine the sandal, before looking back towards the stairs. His rational thinking pictured him going back upstairs, but his instinct was to follow the trail of breadcrumbs. He pulls his phone out to turn the flashlight on, a notification pops up giving him a warning of a low battery, it wouldn’t last long. He aims it forward and sees the other sandal sideways, a few feet away something else was nearby. He takes steps forward and sees a pair of shorts, if you could call them that, they would barely be able to cover much. The laugh ensues once more catching more than his attention, it caught his primal instinct of what perversions were made of. At this point he didn’t care if he got caught again, he continues walking and finds a shirt bundled up on the floor. He picks it up and stuffs the top half of it into his pocket, still aiming for the end of this trail. His light comes across a pair of feet, pressed together with knees bent upwards in a sitting position, slender arms wrapped around the legs while her face was behind the knees, still giggling.
He aims the phone upwards as it goes out, the battery indicator telling him his luck had run out.
“Awe, we were just having fun,” the voice says.
“Oh I got you, baby girl. Just hold on,” an excited Bailey replies while digging into his pocket for the matches. He slides his hand around the box, pulls a single match out and runs it down the side. A flame comes to life, only in a small amount but enough for him to get a better look. An empty space vacates where the once young girl was sitting.
“What the hell?”
A grip from an unknown force grabs his neck and slams him face down into the hard floor, Bailey spits out blood and one of his front teeth in an unexpected cry and reaches out for anything. The exit to the stairway becomes smaller as he slides away in a quick motion. His right leg slithers into a gap in a wall but hits his pelvis, whatever was pulling him was determined to make him fit. He pushes his other leg against the wall trying to gain the upper hand, instead the force releases him just enough to pull him again but with more extreme. His pelvis dislocates and blood begins to seep into the crotch of his overalls. Bailey screams through his damaged smile. Again he’s let loose just enough to ram into wall hard enough to separate meat from bone on his loose leg. Pulling relentlessly, his leg shoots outwards to his side becoming neighbor to his head. Rolls of muscle curl up and out as his leg shaves meat off inch by inch, the bare bone scraping against the edge of the hole while reeling his body in. Bailey spits out blood and bile, giving one last strain to push himself away, only to hit the ground. His cold eyes stare at the ceiling, bit by bit fading away until his fingers glide past the folded pieces of meat near the hole. A clawed hand reaches out wrapping its paw into the pile then brings it back into the hole.
“Where’s Bailey?” the burly man asks Carl as he climbs into the passenger seat of the moving truck.
“Went out to lunch, hope he stays gone this time,” Carl reaches for a pack of peach cigars, sticks one his mouth and lights it before pulling out of the driveway.