I began authoring this story as a screenplay many years ago, from a creative writing assignment in college.
Paul steered his pickup into the driveway of Mark’s house. He withdrew a small bottle of pills out of his shirt pocket and placed them into the glove box. He then slowly opened the door and stepped out. As he began to move away from his pickup, Terri approached from the house. She quickly sensed he was in better spirits that morning.
Terri greeted him with a hug and a smile. “Good morning.”
“Good morning.” Paul looked around. “Where is Mark? I need to borrow my tiller back from him.”
“I like the way you put that,” Terri laughed. “Mark had to go to Dallas to take care of a few things. Are you starting a garden again?”
“Kevin is going to help me plant it.” Paul replied with a casual smile.
Terri sensed the underlying plot and smiled again. “How is he doing?”
Paul answered with true concern, “Okay, I guess. He does not voice his feelings well.”
“Mark does not like the idea of him staying with you. He can be so bull-headed sometimes.” Terri’s facial expression implied she did not like Mark’s way of managing the situation.
Paul shook his head, “I have already let Mark know how I feel about that.”
Terri, wanting to change the subject, showed her perception of Paul’s motives by looking him in the eyes. An impish grin curved the corners of her lips. “So, you decided that Kevin might need something else to keep him here a little longer.”
Paul feigned surprise, though he knew the impossibility of deceiving her. “You are quite perceptive.”
“Will that work out?” Terri seemed hopeful that Kevin would not end up hurting the man that she was closer to than her own father.
“I hope so. I do not want him going off to Oklahoma City.” Paul revealed his deepest fear softly. “I don’t believe he will ever come back if he does. I want a chance to make things right between us.”
The two of them began to walk around the side of the house to the back. Mark’s workshop stood in the center of the backyard. Paul’s tiller sat covered by a tarp on one side. Paul reached out and removed the tarp, then glanced to Terri with a wry smile. She shrugged with a silent reply. He leaned forward and started to lift the tiller.
Terri tried to help him. “Whew! That thing sure is heavy!” she said as she gasped for air.
“Ow!” Paul grunted and fought the reflex to grab his left arm. “I don’t remember it being so big. I figure I’ll push it out to the truck. Ouch!” He rubbed his left shoulder.
“Are you okay?” Terri asked with concern.
Paul nodded as if nothing was wrong. “I just pulled a muscle. I’ll be all right in a minute. I’m not as young as I used to be. After we get it in the truck, do you mind if I come in for a glass of tea?”
“Sure.” Terri followed as he pushed tiller. “The girls have wanted to see you.”
Paul smiled as they reached the pickup. “Now why would you think that?” He winked and then grunted with pushing the tiller forward.
After they had loaded the tiller into the back of the pickup, Paul urged Terri to go on inside while he secured the machine. When he was sure that she was unable to see, he grabbed the medicine bottle from the glovebox. The pill was tiny and not that tough to swallow dry, but it left behind a feeling at the back of his throat that would only disappear once he had something to drink.
When he sensed his anxiety easing, Paul went inside the house. Terri had a compulsion to keep her house as neat as a pin, with everything stored neatly in its place. The year following Carla’s death, he benefited almost daily from his daughter-in-law’s meticulous care of the house. Lately, though, the twins had entered the rambunctious preschool years. It was all she could do to keep up with them.
Paul took a seat on the sofa and waited impatiently for the two little angels to realize that he was there. Tina and Dianna bounded happily into the room to greet him. Paul was ready to welcome them with a smile and hugs for each.
Tina and Dianna shouted almost in perfect unison. “Grampa! Grampa!”
Paul beamed proudly. “Can I get me some kisses from two of the prettiest little twin girls in Texas?”
Their antics tickled Terri as she poured a glass of tea at the dining table. Dianna and Tina smothered Paul with kisses, and he had to resort to tickling them to get them to ease up. Terri approached Paul with the glass of tea, laughing now at the three of them. After a moment, the girls settled briefly, and Paul glanced up at Terri with whimsical eyes. He took the glass of tea and sipped at it appreciatively.
Terri smiled as she took a seat next to Paul. “Can I ask a favor of you, Pop?”
Paul replied with a knowing smile. “If it involves taking these two little dolls off your hands for a while this afternoon, I would love to.”
“Thank you, Pop,” Terri sounded appreciative. “You stinkers are going to spend the afternoon with Grampa.”
Tina and Dianna looked at each other and then at Paul with cheer. “Yeah!”
“Go change your outfits,” Terri told them.
Tina and Dianna kissed, and hugged Grampa again and then ran off. Paul laughed at them as they left the room. Terri watched to be sure both girls were gone, and then turned to him with concern.
“Are you sure that you can manage them?”
“I have spent time with them before,” Paul mocked with a scolding attitude. “Besides, tonight is your anniversary. Let them stay overnight, so you and Mark can have some time alone.”
Terri expressed gratitude for that. “I’ll send Mark after them in the morning.”
“Don’t send him too early.” Paul winked with a hint of mischief.
Jordan Brown went through the empty cell. The warden examined it over with meticulous care for any clue the other men might have overlooked. The guard who walked with him looked over his shoulder with an air of contempt. Nothing appeared out of place or gave any hint for the motive behind the violence that preceded the prisoner’s escape. The warden rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He tried to piece together the puzzle of the escape. He took the serious injury to the guard on duty personally. He had thwarted prior escape attempts, but this time someone succeeded.
“What is the report on Thompson?” Jordan Brown had to remain emotionless on the outside, but his mind churned over the gruesome attack and the words he would have to convey to the guard’s family.
“The x-rays show Sanchez cracked his skull with a hairline fracture.” The guard was not as adept at hiding his feelings for a fellow worker. The anger inflected hatred into his voice. “There was some internal hemorrhaging. They are monitoring him for brain damage.”
Brown glared over the contents of the cell. “I don’t think luck had anything to do with it.”
“What do you mean, sir?” The guard seemed confused.
“Either God or Sanchez did not want Thompson to die,” Brown answered matter-of-fact. “I would wager it was not Sanchez’s choice to spare his life.”
The guard pointed to a picture. “What do you think of this?”
Brown almost dismissed the picture, but then took another, closer look. New troubling thoughts entered his mind, but he quickly pushed them away. He took a closer look at some words scratched into the concrete walls next to the bunk.
“Sanchez lived the life of a repressed homosexual until he ended up in prison,” Brown stated with casual disgust. “Then he found out he could do anything he wanted. Apparently, he had an infatuation for Kevin Fletcher.”
The guard matched his superior’s disgust. It was more than just infatuation. I suspect he was obsessing for this young man."
“Photograph everything in this cell. I have to make the call, but I want to know where Sanchez is going before the feds do. He hurt one of ours, so we need to be the ones who find his sorry hide.” Brown’s professional demeanor returned. “If Thompson does wake up, I need to have a talk with him.”
Continue to read Kevin's Homecoming - Chapter 13
- Kevin's Homecoming - Chapter 13
Angel begins to reveal himself to Kevin and leads him to a group home for children living with profound needs. A painful memory from an early childhood trauma bursts through Kevin's emotional defenses, steering him toward yet another avenue of redemp