Jack’s Apartment (part 7)

Jacks Apartment
by Thadd Presley

He woke sitting up on his couch. The quilt had fallen in the floor and was laying too close to the heater. He could see steam rising from it. Sunshine streamed in through the windows,brightening his living room.
Then the knock came again. The same three booming knocks. He looked at the red, digital numbers of the clock blinking 12:47 PM

“Damn, the electricity must have gone out,” he said to no one. Then, to the knocking, he yelled, “hold on.”

“Jack,” someone called. It was a familiar voice. “You in there?”

“I said hold on. Just a second.”

Two sleepy steps brought him close enough to the only window for him to see the red pinto on the curb. It was Adam come to visit him. He opened the door.

“Mornin’ Adam.”

“Boy you’re a light sleeper,” Adam joked.

“Lucky I slept at all.”

“Sorry to hear it,” Adam sympathized. “I hope you feel up to coming to the food drive?”

“I had the craziest dream,” Jack began without being asked about the dream. “Something I hadn’t felt in along time.”

Adam saw the unsettled look in his eyes. “You have to give it time, Jack. It’s been a long time since you lived alone. It will get easier. Perhaps, it’s the temptation manifesting itself…”

“No, it’s not that.”

“Have you had urges…”

“Yeah, I guess, but no not really. I haven’t had time to think about all that. Trust me, that’s not what this is.” Frustration was showing in his voice and Adam heard it easily.

“Well, tell me about it on the way to the church. We have a food bank to stock. I’ve got some coffee in the car. Maybe I can help you figure out something that will help you readjust to your new surroundings.”

“Do you believe dreams have a meaning,” Jack asked,turning from the door, allowing his friend to enter. Then, without letting him answer, “I mean, I know what it’s about. I remember it perfectly, but you think it might mean something in the real world?”

“Maybe, probably, maybe not. What was it about?”

“You’ll think I’m crazy.”

“You are crazy.” Adam said smiling. “Or, maybe you should be.” He put his hand on Jack’s shoulder. “Look, you probably just slept wrong.” He pointed to the couch as if it was proof.

“It’s not the couch, Adam. I’ve slept on way worse at the church and at the clinic.”

“Well, we’ll pick up my daughter’s old bed after the food drive just in case. I don’t want you sleeping on that old thing anymore. Who knows where it’s been. And then, tonight, we’ll have a few beers and talk about your new life. It’ll make a world of difference to talk about it and work out a few details of the coming week.”

“No, no, my stuff’s s’posed to be here today.Matter of fact, I should stay in and wait on the movers. Plus, I want to look around and see the best way to get started on the renovations.” But that wasn’t the only reason he wanted to stay.The dream was still fresh in his mind. He could hear the girl’s voice so clearly. He had to get that key, had to help her.

“Well, you going to tell me about the dream or not,”Adam asked, looking around the room. “It’s probably got something to do with this place.”

“That’s it exactly. It is this place. Maybe it’s the whole building.” He closed his eyes, trying to close out the locked door right in front of him, trying not to see his dream.

“Well, it’ll pass as you get used to it. Now, when do the movers get here?”
“Noon-ish,” Jack answered. “I just have the few things from the storage unit. No reason to pay forty bucks a month while I have all this room. I can put stuff in one of the other rooms until I get around to cleaning it up.”

“Yeah, I suppose you could. Tell you what. I’ll give you a call tonight.”

“Just give me a few minutes before you leave. I want to tell you about the dream.” He was starting to feel uncomfortable again, claustrophobic. “I need to tell someone.”

“Wow, this is really got a-hold of you, huh?” Sweat was visible on Jack’s face, and Adam realized then that his friend was actually shaking. “OK. Start from the beginning.”



Copyright Thadd Presley — All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Rubbish Day (part 3)

Thadd Presley

For a while, Jerald allowed them to race with him side by side, speeding at nearly eighty on the newly black-topped road towards Crossville through the community of Deer Lodge. When the Honda’s wheels lost traction, it spun the car into the shoulder where it began to fish tale wildly.

Jerald’s heart leaped into his chest.

Just when it seemed the G-forces were going to take the car over into a roll, a stroke of remarkable luck sat the car down hard on all four wheels. It swerved back into traffic, not far behind Jerald.

That was close enough for Jerold. Too close. All he wanted to do was scare them a little. But it couldn’t take him away from getting to see his daughter. He slowed the Porshe to the posted forty MPH and said her name. How had he allowed these kids to get him so out of control? It nearly ended the very important things he had to do.

This visit to his daughter’s new house in Crossville was already going to be a bad situation. One that would require a good helping of courage and decisive action. It was imperative that he remained calm and clear-headed. Not a word of his introduction could be out of place or his daughter would suspect that something was wrong before he got the chance to fix her situation once and for all.

Once and for all, he thought.

Yes. It would be just that.

 ONCE because it would only take once; and, FOR ALL, because he wasn’t doing it for himself. He was doing it for his daughter, his wife, and everyone who might have to interact with the man. Jerald was doing this FOR the benefit of ALL.

Suddenly his nose began to burn and tears blurred his vision. Just the thought of his daughter being mistreated was more than he wanted to know.Also, the shock of the near accident possibly had something to do with the rush of emotion. He allowed it to wash over him.

It was enough to cement the fact that he couldn’t get sidetracked by distractions. Anything that might cause a show of emotion at his daughter’s house would ruin everything. Hiding the immense and deep anger he had toward his daughter’s boyfriend, would be hard to control on it’s own.

He shook his head, as if scrambling the thoughts that were beginning to stack in his frontal lobe. He saw no need in letting the idea of consequences gather against him. Nor could he allow the idea of his daughter’s freedom psyched him up before he actually had accomplished something.

He knew then that he needed a moment of peace before he went any further. He had to take a breather.

He pulled off the highway onto a familiar dirt road the locals called Rocky Hollow. The road was rough on his Porsche, but he’d been down it many times before and was sure he could get in and out without much trouble.

 Jerald enjoyed swerving around big ricks and through the mud puddles. Above him dark clouds began to blow from over the mountains giving the woods a dark, fairy-tale atmosphere. At the end of this road was a deep rock quarry where he and his friends used to swim as teenagers. But he hadn’t been all the way to the ledge in more than twenty years. He’d smoked his first cigarette on the ledge and drank his first swig of whiskey there.

Jeez, that was over forty years ago.

He knew the area well and was looking forward to seeing the water again.He made so many memories in this one place, it seemed wrong that he never brought his wife her and had a picnic. But then, perhaps that wasn’t wrong. He had the right to keep it a secret if he wanted.Maybe something in him didn’t want to tell her about the quarry.

 It was his secret place. No one from his adult life knew anything about it or the things that happened there.

Just as he got to where the trees opened up enough to see the ledge, he saw that all the water had been drained.



Copyright Thadd Presley — All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.


Jack’s Apartment (part 5)

Jack’s Apartment

Part 5

by Thadd Presley

During the meeting with the landlord, she told him that the fourth floor had been used as storage area for years. She talked a bit about her father passing away and leaving the building to her.“My brother got the money, and the yacht, and the hotel. All I got was this run-down place.”

“But, why was the fourth floor empty?”

“He had plans for it, I guess. He was always a dreamer. Fact is, he won the building in a high-stakes poker match during one of the worst years of his life. He lost everything and bet everything he had on a single card.

“As you can see, he won.”

Jack smiled. He liked to hear stories of people making good on a hunch. Jack wanted to ask about her brother, but she didn’t give him a chance to ask.

“My father was deeply into drinking, gambling and he didn’t go to church until he meet Adam and found a better path in life.”

Jack thought it was a lot of information to be telling a stranger. But, they had someone in common through Adam and that made them far from strangers.

“There could be rats or bats or anything up there,”she told him. “I haven’t had anyone in to clean the place and I haven’t actually been up there in over a year.” She looked out over the river that passed in front of the restaurant where they had lunch. “When you get your room finished, we’ll see what we can throw away, but you might find treasures up there.” She smiled. “I think the last tenant of the fourth floor was in his early seventies.He was a bit of a pack rat. He kept everything and I’m sure you will run into it.”

 “Treasures would be great,” he said and assured her he wouldn’t steal anything. He was afraid if he stole from her or lied to her, drugs and death would surely follow. He wondered how much Adam had told her about his situation. “I don’t need anything fancy, just a job and a quiet place where I can get used to being with my own thoughts again.”

She smiled at that and explained again that room wouldn’t be suitable for human occupation until he gave it a bit of love and care.

He liked that she used the word “love.” It gave him a warm feeling of acceptance, a thing he hadn’t felt in a longtime.

*     *     *     *     *

We need you, Jack , the voice snapped again,sending a frosty bolt of lightening down his back, forcing him back to the present. It seemed to come from all around. Goosebumps sprang out on his arms. The urge to pee suddenly returned, and he quickly turned from the sink, which continued to run nothing but cold water,and faced the toilet.

 Once finished, he washed his hands and made his way to the kitchen, only looking into the living room to check the heater. In the kitchen, he knew he couldn’t stay and that he was going to call Adam. But, not quite yet. First he made a sandwich from the leftover macaroni and carried it to the warmth of the couch where sat down.

He used his foot to pull his small electric heater toward him and watched the locked door to open any minute. Listening for the voice, trying to steel himself against it if it happened again. He thought if he sat and waited, he would know exactly where it came from, but even before he finished his sandwich, he started to doze.

His dreams began immediately.



Copyright Thadd Presley — All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

An Arm and a Leg

An Arm and a Leg

by Thadd Presley

The teenager’s scream momentarily filled the bedroom like an expanding marshmallow. Everyone watching felt the electric shock of pain as the bone snapped. Then, with a plop, the finger fell to the hardwood floor.
And just like that, for those who paid to watch a live amputation, the show was over. But, the act was captured on four devices and uploaded for an online audience who would pay to watch it again and again if they so desired.


“How many online now?” Adam asked, holding a fluffy, red-stained towel around his throbbing hand.
“Thirteen thousand watched it live.” Mary chimed. “And it’s going up.”
“Donations? I want to know how much money. I can’t see the screen.”
“O.K. O.K.” She said quietly. “It’s over eighty thousand. Eighty-one, now. No, eighty-two…”
“Yes!” He had done it. Cut his own finger off for money and it was worth it. “That pays off my student loans and mom’s house with some left over.”
“A bunch left over it looks like to me,” Mary commented as she watched the donations cross the hundred thousand mark.


Adam felt a wave of dizziness passed through him as he laid back in the chair. “You think I’ll need to put t in ice for the hospital?”
“Yeah, for sure.”
“O.K. Let’s just go. Maybe they can sew it back on if we get there in time.”



Copyright Thadd Presley — All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Jack’s Apartment (part 2)

The apartment he picked out on the fourth floor had a small table in the main living room, where he sat with his macaroni. On his left was a doorway to the only bedroom, which was really small, and beside that, a door opened onto the bathroom. There was a fourth room, but it was locked and so far had been inaccessible. He had keys to all the rooms on the fourth floor since part of his rent was going to be repair work, but none of the keys opened this door. The lock was older, probably left over from a century before, and because it was his first day in the apartment, he didn’t want to be a pain to the land lady, especially if it meant she would have to drive all the way back into the city and open it herself. She would be back in a few days to inspect the work he’ d be doing and make sure he was as good a carpenter as Adam said. He could wait and ask her about the room then.

For a moment, with food paused in mid flight to his mouth, he thought about when he’d met her. She was younger than he’d imagined when Adam told him about her, and she was beautiful. She asked him questions about his past and where he used to work. She reminded him that the floor had not been used for thirty years, so he would have to wear a mask when he worked.

“Who knows what all is considered toxic these days. The paint is lead based, I know that for sure; the tile has asbestos in it, as does the insulation and ceiling tiles, and probably there would be more than that. Do you understand that you have to wear the mask? It is very important.”

“Yes,” he answered.

“Legally, no one can live on the fourth floor yet, but since Adam has been so good to us in the past, I’ve decided to make an exception. What we need to do is get your room up to code and as close to livable as fast as we can, both for your health and in case of any problems we might have with the inspectors.”

“I understand. I’ll start in the apartment and work my way into other areas.”

Then came the question he knew was loaded. This was where she would decide everything. “So how long do you think it will take to do the entire job. I mean, the floors, the doors, the trim and painting, we have to replace the ceiling and there will be more, lots more, when we get into it deeper?”

She smiled when he said, “four months should get us to a good point. After that we will know exactly where we stand.”

“I’ll know where we stand in one week, Mr. Solsbury. I want to start renting that floor as soon as possible.”

“Yes, ma’am. Four months is just my guess right now.”



Copyright Thadd Presley — All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Jack’s Apartment (part 1)

Jack’s first day in the apartment was a new lease on life. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do first. But it was an answer to his prayers, and, yes, Jack was now a praying man. God wasn’t always on constant call when it came to Jack’s old life. However, since he began his life after drugs, he was in constant communication with the man upstairs. But, this was more than Jack could have asked for. He never knew gigs like this existed. The idea of “cup runneth over”truly had a meaning now, and Jack felt like a human being for the first time in years. But, Jack was logical. He knew that it wasn’t all God. Jack owed a special thanks to Adam, the man he met while in the county rehab.

Adam was a preacher of sorts, who spent time with addicts and gave them hope. But Adam was much more than a counselor to Jack. Adam was a guiding light and a mentor. He helped Jack and gave him a chance to work at the church and prove himself as a carpenter, which had been instrumental in getting the job at the apartment complex.

He thanked Adam as he sat alone for the first time in a long time,with his dinner on his lap, and thanked God for his apartment, which was on the fourth floor of the Wartzburg Building. It was only a small, cheap, four-room cracker box, but he lifted his head toward the roof, as if he could see into heaven, and asked God to come into his home. It was a quick prayer, just something to bless his food and to invite good spirits to his new place. But he knew it was important, because he didn’t want to forget about all the good things that had been happening to him lately, nor did he want to forget what drugs had done to him.

Before he left the rehab center, he thought that he’d be happy out in the real world, away from the clinic and all the church meetings, away from all the drug addicts and the whiners. But, he wasn’t. Over time, he’d come to like working for the church and he liked the few friends he’d made while living at the halfway house. He liked that his life was on a new path, but he was more afraid everyday. Afraid that he’ d mess everything up now that temptation was at every turn.

 What he felt then was suffocation. Anytime he thought about running into old friends or what he was going to do if he started wanting a hit, a panic quickly closed in on him and crushed his goodness. His ideas of a good life and of the spirit who he’d prayed for began to wilt as if something didn’t want him to have a good, new life.

He just felt so alone.



Copyright Thadd Presley — All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Corporate Friends

Corporate Friends is the newest novella by Thadd Presley. Available for Kindle.

This is not a story for the young readers. It details the great evil people will commit for their love of money. This is a dark tale of a friend stabbing another friend in the back.  Dark sexual perversion, pure evil, gruesome deaths, unabashed hatred, treachery, and greed is what “Corporate Friends” explores.

https://www.amazon.com/Corporate-Friends-Thadd-Presley-ebook/dp/B07FXSXR88
Sexual perversion, torture, death, kidnapping, and the abuse of friendship is explored in this short novella. It is not intended for children.

When you purchase a copy of “Corporate Friends” you are supporting my dreams and the continuation of free short stories on Fiction Weekly. Thank you for your visit and for reading. Even if you don’t buy the book, I truly appreciate you for being here.

You’d Better Learn

You’d Better Learn

Thadd Presley

“This isn’t how it has to be,” John told the big man holding the bolt cutters.

“I’m tryin’ my best t’ hold everythin’ together, but…” He looked toward his wife. “Just look!!” Sobbing, he slowly lifted his free, undamaged hand and pointed. “Look what I come home to.”

Blood was dripping from his hand and running in streams down his forearm. When he focused on the blood drizzling from his elbow, he felt waves of dizziness flow from his head to his mid-section. “She’s here sucking up the profits while I’m out working.”

“So, that’s where your money’s goin’. Big Daddy wanted me to find out what’s going on with you.”

The giant man, held the mouth of the bolt cutters out waiting for another finger — John’s ring finger was next in line — and focused his attention on the woman huddled in the corner of a dirty sofa crying. “That true? You stealin’ Big Daddy’s dope?” He waited for a response; patience wasn’t his way. “Hey, you hear me? Look at me! You smokin’ up your man’s money and making him late on his payments?” His voice demanded an answer.

She started to say something, but her voice failed.

“Tell me somethin’, John, seriously?” the the big man asked, “what should I do? You want me to take another of your fingers or do I take one of hers? Big Daddy wants two fingers. Today!”

“Just tell him…” Large tears fell from John’s eyes. “I man, ask him to give me more time. I’ll have his money. Just…”

“I’m telling you, your time’s up. He’s using you to send a message to everyone else. After this he’s finished with you.”

These words meant more to John than losing his fingers. He couldn’t survive if he didn’t work for Big Daddy. “Come on, man. Just take the other finger, but don’t cut me off.”

When the executioner cut the ring finger from the hand, the bone popped loudly as it broke. The little finger didn’t do that. It just kind of crushed up and squished off. It hurt, but not like the ring finger. When John screamed, his wife joined him with a short yelp.

Lying in a pool of blood were John’s two fingers. As blood dripped on them, adding to the already significant pool, the ring finger twitched and almost rolled over. John thought it was trying to crawl away, then he realized his wedding ring was still on the finger.

Why hadn’t he thought of that?

“O.K. My job’s done here, John. I didn’t enjoy it, you know that.” He let out a long breath. “I’ve always liked you, we go back, so be sure to have the money by Friday. I don’t want to have to…” He looked around the room, which silently assured him he would be back on Friday. There was no way would he have the money.

“What? What’s on Friday?”

“I got to get that money, brother. Seriously.”

John looked up from his dismembered fingers and spoke, his voice barely a squeak. “You mean, I still have to pay? Even after…”

The big man shook his head. “Don’t tell me you don’t know why I came here today. After all this, you going to sit there bleeding and tell me you don’t owe Big Daddy? Look here, this is just a warning for what’s coming next. Don’t you think it might be in your best interest to pay him?”

“But my fingers? God!”

“I asked you. I gave you a choice. You’ve always had a choice.”

“But, I really have to pay Big Daddy all the money?”

“If you don’t, I’ll have to shoot you. Or maybe you’d rather it be your wife?” He looked over at her. “She’s the problem anyway, right?”

John stared at the floor, not wanting to look at his fingers, but he couldn’t take his eyes off of them. Is this really happening? He wondered if there was a chance of him waking up and everything being alright..

“Am I? Is… this really happening?”

The big man slapped John in the face, not hard, but hard enough to lay him back in the recliner. “Yes, you are and yes this is. Now, stay with me.”

John didn’t know what the man had said, but he answered, “Yeah, right.” A shutter went through his body. “You’re right. Yeah…”

“You’ve got to get him to a hospital.” He told the wife. He eyes were half closed, but she seemed concerned.

“What do I say to them?” She whispered.

“Tell them you got your husband’s fingers got cut off by a big man with bolt cutters because he owed for drugs.”

“Really,” John asked. The world was growing black around the edges. “You think they can help?”

“Woman!” The the executioner said. “You got to get your man to the hospital, now.”

She looked up at him, eyes yellow and dull. “But really? What do I really tell them?”

“Tell them you had to bring him to the hospital because if you didn’t a really big, black man said he was going to kill you.”

Her eyes blinked slowly, showing a want to live. She didn’t have a good life, but it was life. “Really?” She asked.

“Yeah, really.” He pulled his pistol from under his arm. “I’ll kill you if you don’t.”

Slowly, she stood up and started toward her husband. He wasn’t looking around anymore. His head was leaned back, eyes glaring at the ceiling. “I think he died.” A high pitched squeal escaped her throat and then she started crying. “Do…do you think he’s dead?”

“He will be very soon.”

Grief seized her for a moment, but then the big man saw relief flood her face. “I’m going to miss him so much,” she said beginning to cry louder. “He was my high school crush. We got married right after graduation.”

The moment was lost when the executioner spoke. “Big Daddy wants his money, don’t forget why this happened. He doesn’t care who pays it, as long as it’s paid. Don’t let this man’s life be a sacrifice for nothing. I’m coming back on Friday.” He started to get up, but he pulled back when she started to reach out to him. “Don’t touch me. Get back.”

“What! Wait! I can’t get that much —”

“You’ve almost a week.” He stood up. “You can get some of it. Just show some effort.”

“I’ll don’t know how to get twenty thousand—”

“You’d better learn.”

She sat back on the couch after the big man walked out of the small apartmen and silence filled the room.

The End

 

The Circus Came To Town

When I was a child, I did something terrible by not speaking up when I should have. I saw something so frightening, I was too afraid to report it. I couldn’t even tell my parents about it. It has haunted me throughout my entire life and I have been seeing her face more and more lately.

Now as an adult, I live everyday with my cowardice, knowing that I allowed the unspeakable to continue. I can never take it back, I will never live it down, but I must try to get it out of my head somehow.

 

The Circus Came to Town

by Thadd Presley

Damp, dark,
a clank, a spark
a white light,
so bright
my eyes
shut tight.

It was years before,
when I was only a boy
a circus came to town
with elephants and joy

A tent
so large
all the people in town
could come right in
and look at the clowns.

In my delight, I got lost
For my family I looked
and down a dark hallway,
I saw a little girl was took.

A thick curtain fell down,
and covered the way.
I didn’t see anything
But I heard the man say.

“Come one, come all,
Gather around ya’ll.
See the beautiful Chinese
and the Japanese dolls”

But this girl I then saw
was so skinny, so thin,
with long, blond hair
she was locked up tight
a chain under her chin.

She was scarred and so young.
She spoke up quickly,
she whispered:
“Get out of here! RUN!!!”

Her eyes were so wide,
from the shock of my sight
she shook in her cage,
and her necklace of chains

“RUN!!” She cried,
“they’ll be back again!”
Afraid for my life,
Finally I did.

I stand here now
Before the world
To tell of that place,
those chains,
and that girl.

Old Man’s Last Say

The Old Man’s Last Say

by Thadd Presley

“The worms can have him, for from them he was made,”
the lady remarked as she looked on the grave
and chopped at the dirt with a long handled spade.

She had buried her husband late in the day.
“The sun is too hot, we’ll wait for the shade.
I know he will rot, but he’ll not do it today.”

He was put away quickly, with no friends there to pray,
And when it was over, I remember no-one had stayed.
“Now that he’s gone, I’ll can get married this spring
with all of his money, we can buy the best things.”

But, that wasn’t the end of what that man had to say.
The ground suddenly shook all around the grave.
A great voice rose up and declared from the clay.

“You might have succeeded in ending my days
but you’ll never outlive your hate and disgrace.
I curse you this day ’til the last breath you take
A widow you are and a widow you’ll stay,”

To a cold, whining wind, his voice then gave way
and the widow never married and wasn’t seen since that day.
I come to this hill and stand near their graves.
I remember what mother told me on her final day.

Years later, in tears, she weakly proclaimed:
“I killed your father. It was my greatest mistake.
But love will always conquer a heart filled with hate.”