Adam Longo was still and quiet atop his perch at the abandoned Grainer Falls shoe factory. He was looking down upon the people surrounding the body. Some were squatted and taking photos. Others were scribbling notes and shaking their heads. Others still were talking on cell phones and with each other — dark whispers of a tragedy unfolding like layers of Christmas wrapping paper.
One of the investigators suddenly looked up when a pigeon fluttered, and Adam Longo closed his eyes to hide. “Maybe he fell, and then the animals got to him,” the man said to his peers without looking at them, his eyes still fixed upon the rusted rafters. “You know how these stupid kids are always screwing around in here. Damn fools think they’re going to live forever and do crazy things… Like climbing around where they shouldn’t.”
A woman kneeling beside the body of Andy Bliss turned her head to look up at him. She wanted to call him an idiot, but she didn’t. “There’s no sign of fall trauma. Not at all,” she said. “You should rethink that theory… Detective.”
He shrugged off her comment for the moment. “I merely suggested a possibility, Ms. Lassiter. That’s what we like to call investigation where I come from.”
The woman laughed to herself. “I’ll be sure to never go there then.”
He quickly turned his attention from what was above him to the woman examining the dead boy. “Are you criticizing my work?”
She looked up at him confidently. “Yes.”
“Well stop,” the detective said. “We got a dead kid here. This isn’t the time to be stepping on people’s toes. Got it?”
“Whatever you say… Detective.”
Veronica Genesis clutched her schoolbooks as she walked down the sidewalk on a warm afternoon. She stopped in front of Rude Rudy’s run-down house and looked at it. His bike was toppled in the front yard, so she knew he was home. She steadied herself, walked up to the door, and knocked.
A few moments later, Rude Rudy appeared in the open doorway. He glared at her. “What the hell do you want?” His orange hair was a bushy mess. His shirt was stained with food or milk.
She was angry at herself for ever becoming involved with such a loser who didn’t realize he was a loser at all. They’re the worst kind of loser, she thought to herself. “I don’t want to go steady anymore,” Veronica bluntly told him.
He scoffed at her, but inside he was hurt. “Good,” he stammered. “I don’t want to go steady with you either. You’re not any fun at all. You’re just way to into yourself… Besides, there are tons of babes I could replace you with.” He slammed the door in her face.
She knocked again and he yanked the door open. “What!?” In some small way Rudy hoped she had reconsidered.
“I thought you might want to know that Adam Longo is alive… Sort of.”
“What do you mean sort of?” Rudy wondered.
“He showed up at school, but he was different. He was acting weird.”
Rudy laughed. “There’s nothing different about that. That kid is weird.”
“I’m serious,” Veronica stressed. “If I were you, I’d be concerned.”
Rudy shook his head at her. “He’s the one who should be concerned if he comes around here.” He poked his head out and looked up and down the street to steady his sudden creeping doubts. “Now get lost,” he said, and he slammed the door in her face again. Veronica flipped him off from the other side.
Adam Longo waited until they removed the body of Andy Bliss and secured the scene. When they were finally all gone, he leapt from the beam and floated down to the floor of the factory. It was dark. But somehow, he could see through it. He walked to and pushed on the heavy metal door that led to outside. The sudden rush of the fresher air felt good to him, even though he wasn’t sure if he was breathing air like he used to. He looked up at the sparkling stars and the 100-watt lightbulb moon that hung there like a bleached Chinese buffet plate. He turned back once to look at the brooding factory crawling upon the lightweight veil of darkness like untamed vines before he started walking toward the scattered glow of Grainer Falls.
When he emerged from the suburban brush, he knew just where to go, even though he wasn’t sure how he knew. So many things were different now and becoming more different every day and night. He roamed the streets like it was Halloween. He touched his cold face and thought it must be a mask.
He kept to the shadows, softly crawling through the dark spaces between the streetlamps and their fizzing pink light, like a raspberry in champagne. He caught a smell in the air and suddenly turned his head toward a white house with a high window that glowed golden yellow. He moved closer, undid the gate, and moved up the walk. At first, he stood on the porch at the front door. He could hear a man and woman talking inside. He lifted his fist, but just before he was about to strike the door with his white knuckles, he quickly withdrew it. He came off the porch, stepped back out into the yard, and looked up at the high window again. He saw a shadow move against a wall.
“Veronica,” he mumbled to himself in a strange voice that was not the voice he remembered having. He mumbled again. “Veronica.” He floated up and brought himself down on a lower pitch of shingled roof just below the window. He carefully peered in through the glass. She was standing in front of a full-length mirror and looking herself over. She placed her hands on her chest and shook her head in disappointment with her body. Veronica moved away from the mirror and sat down at a desk and opened a laptop computer. Her face was quickly bathed in the light of burning technological fuel. A moment later, her young heart jumped, and her head quickly snapped around when there came a light knocking on her bedroom window.
MORE TO FOLLOW
You can read the previous part of this story HERE.