By Keosha Moon
Friday, September 13, 1979, was a day like no other. The sky was ebony dark,
with howling winds, and an atmosphere that possessed a certain boisterousness.
Hail descended upon the earth with a force so sadistic that car windows were
being shattered instantly upon impact. On a day such as the aforementioned, one
would be safe in assuming that no one in their right mind would be outside
wandering aimlessly down the dark, uninviting, and solitary streets. Contrary to
popular belief, some eccentric people relished in this type of sordid weather.
Meredith was among this infinitesimal population. In fact, these happened to be
among the days she enjoyed most. She felt as though they shed an eerie albeit
fascinating realistic light on a world that she otherwise saw as falsely
personified. Meredith Seeay, a 34 year old computer technician residing in
Gloomsdale, Pennsylvania, was a loner. She had not one friend in the world nor
did she have any immediate family. If she were to turn up missing one day,
months could pass before someone even noticed her missing existence. She was not
what one would term a “bad” person but rather she was “misunderstood”.
She had come to terms with the fact that this was how things had always been and
there was no foreseeable change in the future.
After leaving work on this stormy day, she decided to take an unfamiliar route
to her modest living quarters located on the outskirts of the town’s worst
neighborhood. This neighborhood had a silent reputation for being a mafia run
neighborhood. Unlike many other citizens of Gloomsdale this neighborhood did not
in any way make Meredith fearful of traversing through it. She began meandering
along paying close attention to all of the details in the neighborhood
analyzing, processing, and storing as though she were an investigator. So
engrossed was she in taking in all of her surroundings that she failed to notice
the quiet scuffle approximately 50 feet before her. She proceeded to walk until
she was within five feet of the fracas and was stopped dead in her tracks by the
horrendous inhumane sight that her eyes witnessed. There stood four large burly
men of the Italian persuasion pulverizing this tall lanky Hispanic man who was
bound at the hands and feet while hanging from a lamppost by a chain that was
wrapped around his hands. The sight of the bloody visage and lifeless body of
the young man frightened her to the point where she made a slight squeal. This
squeal changed her life, for at this moment the four brutes looked up and
realized her presence for the first time. With fury in their eyes, they looked
at her. With trepidation in her heart and disbelief in her eyes, she looked into
the faces of the villainous individuals. Within a split second, decisions were
reached on behalf of both parties. On Meredith’s end, the decision was to run
in hopes of escaping their wrath. On the other end, the four men wanted to catch
and detain her with the intent of ensuring that the story not be told to anyone.
They were willing to do this by any means necessary. For four blocks, there was
a mad dash with Meredith in the front and the men on her heels. She hung a quick
left and ran into an abandoned warehouse. There, she lost them by hiding in the
overhead heating ducts. She waited there, scared to move, for what seemed like
an eternity, but in actuality was six hours. Finally, she got the courage to
leave. She wasted no time in getting to her apartment, all the while very
sensitive to every movement around her. Once she reached her home, she closed
the door and fell against it and down to the floor with a thud.
thoughts began to race through her mind. Should she tell? Would they continue to
look for her? Should she exile herself to another country? Should she keep quiet
and forget the face of that helpless man? So many burning questions, yet she
held no answers. She did something that she rarely did. She prayed. It was not a
long drawn out prayer, but rather a short prayer asking for guidance or perhaps
an omen. Within one hour, she got one of the things she asked for, an omen. This
omen came in the form of a telephone call from a stranger. Apparently, there had
been a sixth person. That sixth person was the lookout. As the younger brother
of one of the four men, he had been forced to take on the role as lookout.
Overcome with anxieties and feelings of guilt he wanted to go to the police. He
felt strongly that his case would be more potent if she were to go with him. In
his eyes this was the only route to safety for both of them. They agreed to meet
at 5:00 am at the same abandoned warehouse.
She arrived ten minutes early in order to check out the scene. Likewise, she
wanted to find an optimum spot for hiding in case this was all a ploy by the
four men to capture her. He arrived but much to her surprise, he was not alone.
A shadowy figure loomed behind him. She did not emerge from hiding space until
finally they gave up and left. She stealthily returned to her apartment. Within
five minutes of her arrival, she received a phone call. She picked up the phone
and anticipated the voice of the caller. “Hello?” She recognized his voice
and spoke. “Who did you bring with you?”, she asked in a venomous voice. He
explained that that was a friend of his who also knew of what went on and was
interested in helping. After all matters were cleared they set yet another
meeting date this time with stipulations in place.
At that hour of the morning she was quite surprised, and pleased, to find that
the coffee shop was not crowded, as usual. She quickly chose a table near a
window which afforded a clear view across the busy Avenue to the Metro Station,
the bus stop and the parking lot. This time there would be no surprises. From
her vantage point she would see if he came alone, as promised. Any sign of a
third person and she’d be gone.
© 2001 Keosha Moon
© 2001 Howard University.
(First Published in limited print edition, An Anthology of Verse and Prose, by the Composition for Honours Class, Howard University, Spring 2001. Professor E.R. Braithwaite)
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