Sunday, April 8, 2012
The Cave By Pixie Fluttering
There wasn’t anything wrong with him. He was almost too perfect, Rule thought as he looked over the credit and past history of his newest potential tenant. Mr. Greyson seemed to have no flaws; nothing that would imply that he had at least made one mistake. Rule didn’t know why that bothered him, but it did. There was something just not right about the man but on paper, there was nothing and that was all he could go by. With so many standards and laws, he could not afford to have a vacant house based on a personal dislike. Still, his instincts were usually right and he would have to set them aside under these circumstances.
Rule pulled his briefcase from the backseat and clicked the lock on his key ring. The diner looked almost deserted this time of day. It was past breakfast and just before lunch. He had phoned Mr. Greyson last evening and asked to meet with him. Mr. Greyson seemed overly excited.
He nodded a greeting to the balding man behind the counter, as he entered and spotted Mr. Greyson sitting at a table at the back of the diner. A waitress approached him before he had a chance to sit down.
“Just coffee,” he said, placing his briefcase next to him in the booth.
“How are you this morning?” He directed his question to the man sitting across from him. Mr. Greyson appeared calm; his suit fit him to perfection and spoke of an understated quality.
“Fine, fine,” he answered.
The waitress poured coffee while Rule took out a folder.
Mr. Greyson took a sip of his and set it down, cradling it with both hands. He waited while Rule opened the folder and took out the usual lease papers.
“I’ve drawn up the lease and it’s fairly standard. It requires a 30-day notice upon vacating etcetera, leaving the premises as you found it,” he said while turning the pages. “There’s a no pet clause,” he added before turning the documents over to Mr. Greyson.
“I’m curious as to why you’ve come to our small town, if you don’t mind me asking. There isn’t much to offer here, though I can see by your impeccable history, you’re quite the businessman.”
Mr. Greyson cleared his throat while perusing the papers.
“Well, my consulting firm has been highly successful. Yes, indeed, it has and I’ve put away quite a sum of money,” he added before turning to the last page. “I wish for a simpler life. There isn’t anything more complicated than that. Have you a pen?”
Rule reached to the inside of his jacket and handed a pen to Mr. Greyson, who scrawled a signature to the bottom of the page. Rule took back the papers and added his own.
“Everything is in order. All that is needed is your deposit and I shall hand you your keys.”
“Oh, yes. Of course,” Mr. Greyson produced an envelope and he and Rule made the exchange.
“Welcome to Providence, Mr. Greyson,” Rule said as he shook hands with Mr. Greyson. “I do hope you find what you are looking for.”
“Thank you Rule. I’m sure that I will. Indeed, this has been one of my more successful ventures and I cannot wait to see how it all unfolds.” He shook Rule’s hand with more exuberance than necessary and left without another word.
Rule sat for a moment. The back of his neck begged him to rub the prickles out but he forced himself to refrain as he grabbed his briefcase and left the restaurant.
He was distracted as he pulled his car onto the main street with Mr. Greyson on his mind. His distraction caused him to miss his turn and he found himself on the street where Fae’s house was. She had crossed his mind several times during the past several days and he wondered how she was faring in her new home. Why he wondered, he couldn’t say. He generally minded his own business when it came to his tenants. He did not like to get too involved in their lives. He dismissed Fae and drove on toward his house.
Not bothering to put his car into the garage, he took the steps up to the porch and stopped just short of the front door. It was ajar and the splintered frame hung as if someone had kicked it open when prying the lock hadn’t worked.
He hesitated. There was no way of knowing if the intruder was still inside. He ran back to his car and opened the trunk searching for something he could use as a weapon. Irony crossed his mind for a second. He grabbed the cross bar and felt the weight of it in his hand. It would have to do, although a baseball bat would have been better.
He cursed having been such a studious child as he paced himself back to the porch. Standing to one side of the door, he listened for any movement. No doubt if there was someone there, they would have already been alerted when his car pulled into the driveway. He blessed his heritage for his exceptional hearing as he pushed open the door.
Nothing appeared to be out of place in the front room. Even the newspaper that he had read and strewn all over the sofa was the same. Silence met him in the kitchen as well and a sense of dread filled him as he peered up the stairs.
Holding the cross bar with a firm grip, he took one step at a time, careful to avoid the steps he knew creaked. It was easy to remember them since it was the same ritual every morning. He got to the landing without a sound and eyed the closed doors. The bathroom was at the end of the hall and three bedrooms; one of them his office.
Why his instincts led him there, he didn’t know. He wrapped his fingers around the knob and took a deep breath.
Pushing open the door, he raised the crossbar, ready to be met by whoever had broken into his home, but there was no one. Nothing. He was relieved and disappointed at the same time. Rule had nowhere to put his anger at his home being violated. Someone had come into his personal space and left him with nowhere to place his feelings.
He left the room and checked the others briefly, somehow knowing that whoever it was had left, and went back into the office.
Glancing around the room he made a thorough inspection and began to notice that this is the room the person had deliberately come to. The library book he had been reading was still open on his desk, but there were pages ripped from it. He frowned at that; distracted by the fact that he would have to pay to replace it. He walked around his desk. Drawers had been left open and some of the contents had spilled onto the floor. The lock on the file drawer was broken. He laughed out loud in the empty room. The intruder was not very smart or he would have noticed the keys to it in the center pull.
Rule sat and spun his chair to face the back of the room. The box he had made was not where he had left it. The books and magazines he had stacked on top of it were askew and after removing them, he opened the lid. Everything was gone except for the notes he had written. His journals; the books his grandmother had read to him. Gone.
The realization of what was missing sat upon him like lead. It weighed on him and pushed him to the floor. Whatever had possessed this person to have broken into his house in broad daylight was strong enough to have found something specific. His things. His memories. His personal words; every thought he had ever had was now in the hands of somebody else.
He felt sick as if he had been violated and sat leaning against the wall, staring at nothing until morning came.