Rough Work Part II

Rough Work Part II

by Adam Huddleston

Here is the continuation of last week’s story.

Lucas alternated hammering his fists against the Waldon’s front door and jabbing repeatedly at the bell beside it. A minute later, the door creaked open and Fred Waldon stood in the entrance, his massive frame eclipsing the light coming from his small kitchen.

“Lucas? What’s wrong? It’s nearly eleven o’clock.”

“Have you seen Kim or the kids today? I just got home and the car is in the garage but the house is empty. I can’t get ahold of her on the phone either.”

Fred took the frightened man by the elbow and led him into his home.

“Sit down, son. You want a drink?”

“No. No, I’m fine.”

Waldon grabbed a couple of longneck bottles from his fridge and sat down in the chair opposite the younger man. He twisted the caps off with large, calloused hands, handed one to Lucas and waited for him to speak.

“She didn’t say anything about going anywhere tonight. And the Suburban is in the garage so someone must have picked them up. I mean, the kids have school tomorrow and all, so why would she take them somewhere?”

Fred remained silent, sipping his pilsner. When his visitor had quit speaking for a minute, he cleared his throat.

“Relax, Lucas. Drink your beer and relax. What if I told you that your family is alright? Would that calm you down some?”

“What the hell, Fred? What’s going on? Where are they!” Lucas started to get up, and with a speed belying his size, the older man sprang to his feet and pressed Lucas back into his seat.

“Be still, son. Finish your drink. They’ve been chilling all day.”

Lucas kept a firm gaze on his neighbor and did as he was told. When the only thing left in the bottle was a thin line of foam, he lowered his eyes and began slowly peeling off the label. Feigning what he hoped was calmness, he began making an inventory of his surroundings. If the situation turned south, he wanted to know if he could escape. Regardless, he planned on keeping a firm grip on his empty bottle.

The older man nodded at Lucas’s free hand. “You cut yourself?”

Lucas looked down and reflexively closed his hand into a fist. “No sir. Been painting.”

Fred gave a small grunt and continued drinking.

“Okay, Fred. I gotcha. Everything’s cool. We’re good.”

The older man stood up and leaned over Lucas. “Damn right we’re good.” He reached one grimy hand behind his back and that’s when Lucas made his move.

Holding the glass bottle by its neck, he swung downward as hard as he could in a large arc. Fred’s eyes went wide for a moment, then the bottle connected with the top of his balding scalp and split the skin open. Warm blood splattered Lucas’s upturned face, running into his eyes and mouth.

“Whaaa-,“ Fred moaned. From a holster attached to his belt, he pulled a small pistol. Lucas swung the bottle again, this time cracking his neighbor’s left temple. Fred dropped to the floor, twitched twice, and lay still.

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