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My Caution Tape Angel
Author's note: My Creative Writing teacher from a year ago inspired me to try to express my creative mind in the form of a book. I hope that everyone who reads this will feel the same way i did when writing it.
I sat in the third row of pews at my small town church. The smell of peaches filled the room as the crisp summer breeze whipped around inside Bogart Baptist church. Pastor Michal was rambling on about the new sermon series called “Haukana Matata” and how it will solve all of our problems.
The only thing I could focus on was the pastor’s son…Liam. The family was still new to our small town in Georgia, and Liam looked as lost as a lamb without a Shepard to help guide him. A few moments later my mother and step-father came and shook me back into reality. “Lilly, Lilly dear. Come along we must drive out to pappys farm, him and Grammy are having us for dinner” “Comin’ mamma” I say as I gather up my bible and notebook.
Right when we walk out the two wood doors, Liam and his mother Sara, his sister Makenzie and his dad stopped to invite us to a barbeque on Tuesday. Of course I was only looking at Liam, but I could hear momma talking about pappy’s farm (like always!) She always seemed to do that around people she considered better than us. I guess it made her feel like she had something they didn’t. I could tell that pastor Michal was getting impatient with her cause he kept sighing heavily and tapping his foot.
Anyway back to Liam! His longish blond hair barely hit his eyebrows, and his eyes were like crystal blue lakes. The baby pink polo shirt he was wearing made his cheek’s seem extra rosy. As I slowly snapped back into reality… again. I noticed that his perfect white teeth were smiling at me. ME! My thoughts were running a mile a minute! The pastor’s super cute son was smiling at me! What did this mean… You know what who cares! I think right before smiling back at him!
In the car on the way to grand pappys, I got a text message from a number I have never seen before… 404-927-8872. It said “Hey Lilly, you’re really pretty. I am so happy to have met you. Want to grab a lunch one day? –SA” SA? Who was SA? How had they gotten my number?
So many questions were floating in my crowded mind. Finally, my shaking fingers managed to type out “Who is this, do I even know you?” My freshly painted nails hover the send key until it hit its button hitting fate. As I waited for ‘SA’ to answer my text, I put my headphones in and sweet sounds of ‘Mercy Me’ flew into my ears. Suddenly, the alert of a text rang in my ears. I think I jumped in my seat a little and my heart raced while I opened the message. “It’s Liam. Liam Mcmann? ‘SA’ stood for secret admirer, but it’s not a secret anymore!” My heart leaped. The pastor’s super cute son liked me, and even better, I liked him.
Grand pappys house was on a small peach farm just outside of town. Before I was born they got an award for having the farm in the family name for over 250 years! So I’ve been going there my entire life. The whole house smells like pine trees and vanilla pie (they love that vanilla pie.) “Grandma! Grand-pappy! We’re here!” I yell up the old rickety stairs. Moments later an old prune like person in a yellow dress and curlers walked down the stairs. The fuzzy pink slippers I got her for Christmas were all tattered up on the toes and the sole seemed to be coming undone like they’d been worn on several occasions.
“Oh, Lilly I am so happy you could come, the neighbors will be joining us at supper tonight, is that okay?” she asked reaching the bottom of the stairs. A small groan left my mouth. I hated the neighbors. They always had a small hint of whiskey under their breath and always looked like rag dolls. “Grandma, I don’t like the Hills, they are so weird” I say even though I know it won’t help. “Oh dear, no not them, they moved out a while ago! A new family lives there now. The Mcmanns, they are very nice people.” Had grandma just said that? Is the awesome family from the church really coming to the big yellow house?!? The whole world seemed to fall into a silent heap. The old doorbell rang at last, and I fixed my hair for the 1,00oth time. Liam Mcmann and his family seemed to waltz into the room.
The whole house seemed to glow as they set foot into it.
The parents and Makenzie went into the parlor, leaving me and Liam in the kitchen alone. He was blushing like crazy; he pulled out his phone, typed something, and stuck his phone back into his pocket. My phone buzzed almost immediately after. It was from Liam, “Will you be my girlfriend?” Write as I was about to reply ‘yes’, I heard a scream from the parlor. It was shrill and high pitched. Under my breath I muttered a prayer of safety over us all. Liam darted through the entry door first, and I followed close behind. I knew that scream, it was Momma’s. And when I did reach the parlor, Momma was gone, and everyone else was tied up and blind folded. Except for Pastor Michel… but he joined me and Liam at the door seconds later and took in the horrific sight.
The bright blue and red lights flashed in the window. Body tape lined the parlor. We were outside now, huddled up on my climbing rock. Grammy was sobbing, saying how much she missed her baby, and the Mcmanns were all praying. I had no idea what to do. Me and my stepdad Mike didn’t get along well. So we awkwardly stood by the porch. Grandpappys truck came up rattling up the path, breaking our silence. Though grand pappy was 78 years old, he still all over the place like he was 30. His tattered old cowboy boots fell from the car door with him in them, landing with a crunch on the ground. He hobbled over to us and as soon as he saw the police tape his face turned a ghostly white.” The BB killer has hit our small town”, he squeaked in his deep voice, “BB stands for body bag… He kidnaps em and puts em in a body bag for later when he comes back and kills em at the same spot he took em!” he looks at his old boots, probably to hide the tears from me. I haven’t ever seen grandpappy cry and I don’t want to today. I turn away but I see Mike drop something from his jacket pocket and get into his little mustang. The tires slowly spin off and start to drive to the house. I know that because it’s about the time that his “work partner” calls him and I don’t think he wanted Gamma and Grandpappy to hear his conversation. Finally I decide to look at the piece of paper that he dropped. It was a note for me. That’s funny… When could he have written this? Unfolding the note I see these words:
‘Lilly honey without your mother here I see no point in having you staying in my house. I will be bringing all of your clothes and things to pappys and gammas house for you. I will keep in touch and I will come visit every weekend… But I can’t stand to see someone who looks so much like your mother around… I’m Sorry.”
Now I knew Mike acted weird. But never this weird! I had always been very suspicious of Mike, he was never at home for very long. Always ‘at work’ or on a ‘business trip’ but he couldn’t fool me. There was always an earring or new perfume coming home with him. But since h is the only “real man” at Macy’s… mom just blames it on that! I guess it makes science… but I still don’t trust him. I think the REAL reason he doesn’t want me there is because he doesn’t want me to rat him out to her when she gets back. If she gets back. *
* * *
* * * * * * * *
* * *
* Three days. It’s been three days since momma has gone missing. Three days of living in the big yellow house. Three days of regret. Liam has come over every day since it’s happened. Sitting under the bright yellow caution tape is where it happened. When I saw the light footprints indent the carpet and just sit there… Mocking me! “Liam?” I ask… “Do you see the footprints in the carpet? Or am I just seeing things…?” he turns his head just slightly, but as he did, his eyes bulged out really big. “Lilly… Call the police! I see the foot prints, and blood on the ceiling! Hurry… maybe they can get here before the footprints go away!”
I ran to the kitchen and grabbed the main line. “Operator? Get me the Bogart police. It’s about the Grimmer Case.” I breathe into the small pink receiver. “Right away Ms. Grimmer!” she says. I think she sounds scared. Her voice seemed to tremble when she spoke. Officer Crowley answered the phone, his voice seemed angry. “Grimmer, what do you want?” I gulp in a breath of air trying to not to sound to terrified… “Yes Mr. Crowley? It’s Lilly Grimmer… Nancy Grimmer’s daughter? We have found footprints on the floor and blood on the celling in the parlor where we last saw my mother. We haven’t been INSIDE the room but from outside the tape we saw them. Will you please send someone to check it out?” I ask, barely moving my mouth. “Of course, we will be right over. Get everyone in the house and take them to that rock of yours. We will be there as soon as we can.”
I put the phone back on the wall and yell up the stairs to everyone that we need to go to the rock, with no time to waste. Then I realize, I haven’t heard from Gamma in a while. She went up to her bedroom about an hour ago for a nap and I haven’t heard from her since! As Liam comes down the stairs I hear her door creek open and her feet shuffle down the long hallway. Thank goodness she is okay. I think to myself. “Gamma? Come on down the police are coming back to the house… They want us outside!” Right before she walks down the stairs to me and Liam, two gloved hands reach out, grabbing her from where she stood. “Gamma!” I shriek, “No!” I lunge toward the stairs but before I could go any further, Liam grabs my shoulder and pulls me out to the rock. My eyes are full of tears, and I feel like another part of me died inside. First my mother, and now my grandma? Why did this person want to ruin my life? “Liam why did you pull me away? I was about to see who had done this to my family and you took that opportunity from me.” I cry into his shoulder, my face burning with tears. I couldn’t make out any other words to say but gone. My mother was gone. My step father, gone. Now my grandmother, gone. Who else in my life would be gone? My heart was almost dead; the only person left to help me was Liam, and he doesn’t even help much. My life had totally switched from a fantastic day with the McManns, to a terrible day of loss.
* * *
* * * * * * * *
* * *
I didn’t want to be in the yellow house anymore. There was too much pain there. My room was blocked off by yellow tape and body lines. Georgia weather in the summer wasn’t terribly bad, so I decided to sleep on the hammock by the river. Being the farthest thing from the house. Between my grandma and my mom, being the closest family to me, my grandfather was the only family I really had left. Ever since Daddy left when I was a baby, Momma, Gamma, and I have been closer than ever since then the three wise men following baby Jesus’ star. For the first time since the murders, I felt relaxed and safe. Swinging on my new bed, in my new room. The outside always made me calm. Cool peachy breezes whipping through my brown hair, laying in the bug plush green field. How can life go on? How can there be happiness around me? Life as I knew it was crumbling around me, losing all purpose. Liam came by later with a new pillow and blanket for me, from their family. We sat there under the stars for about an hour, listening to the crickets chirp and the river flow. I break the silence and say “Liam, do you think that whoever did this is sorry? Do you think the regret it?” he just sighed and said “Lilly… I don’t know. I just don’t know.
My 15th birthday was coming up in 3 short days. The only thing I really wanted was to know who had killed my mother and grandmother. Liam took me to the mall and bought me a really pretty heart shaped necklace. All the while my mind was off in a dream kind of land. It had only been this morning that Pastor Mitchel had told me that the funeral will be on my birthday and that he would be preforming the ceremony. He also told me that I would be preforming my song that I wrote about how family was everything to me. It was pretty much a prayer of safety to the rest of us Grimmer’s. Every night I have had a dream that an angel came to me in the field and told me who had wronged us, but before I could hear the name, I would wake up. Maybe it was just the cool breeze of the outside world that was getting to my head, but maybe it was a sign from momma and gamma. That’s what I’m hoping at least.
The 3 days went by in what seemed like a few hours… But when the day came that the funeral would happen, something happened. Right as I was walking out the door I saw two familiar faces. Mike and Liam were standing by the side of a white stretch limousine. “Lilly, come on the Funeral starts in 30 minutes, and we have to drive all the way to the main town.” Walking down the stairs of the front porch in my cowgirl boots was really hard when you could barely see where you are going because of the tears welling in my eyes. All I wanted was to turn invisible, I couldn’t stand to see all my family and friends there in there black clothes to grieve over my family. Even if it was what you are supposed to do, I didn’t want to see it today. After all, it wasn’t just the funeral, it was my birthday too. The sky was a grayish black and it smelled like rain. Driving out there was hard, and long. Sitting in the back of the long limo, with Liam, mike, grandpappy and the other Mcmanns was something the exact opposite of where I thought I would figure it all out, figure out who had flipped my world to the far other side of perfect. Just sitting, listening to small talk and thinking it all over. Liam was the first to see my eyes get big and my face turn to a sickly white color, “Lilly. What’s wrong? You look like you have seen a ghost.” He says and looks around hoping to have someone agree with him. But before I even opened my mouth, Pastor Michal butted in and started to fill the car with silly stalling things like ‘happy birthday’ and ‘wow look at you too love birds’ but I wasn’t going to have it. All of the pieces were starting to click in my head and I wasn’t about to let that get away from me. “Why pastor Mitchel? Why?” Is all I could squeeze into his rambling. He just stopped, and looked around, hoping that no one else knew what I did. I knew he was the BB killer, I knew his true identity.
All the pieces had clicked. The gloves always in his pocket, the small folded ‘laundry bag’ in his coat, and the wonderful job as a pastor as an alibi. He was the perfect suspect that was never suspected! But his reason… why would he pick MY FAMILY of everyone in Bogart? Well, I guess that hasn’t mattered until now, but I didn’t know it was his entire fault. As we pulled into the parking lot of the funeral home, my mind was scouring through what might have happened. What did he do this? Out of all people why my family? What did we ever do to them? Everything just didn’t make sense. I couldn’t figure out why this had happened to my family. To me! What did my family or I ever do to make the pastor of our church want to kill the closest people to me? I surly remember not doing anything to upset him. Or maybe…maybe the reason he did this to my family was because he wanted the peach farm. I remember now. My mother always talked about the farm and how when Gamma would die the farm would be hers. She always talked about moving to the farm because people would always ask how Gamma is. (Everyone knew Gamma, she was the sweetest person to everyone and she always made people smile.) She talked about how Gamma was getting better and how she would take her to a senior center, since Grandpa barely stayed home. She was getting lonely and the senior center would be a nice place for her to stay, as Momma always said. Gamma was always so cheerful and happy when Momma talked about going to a senior center. She didn’t want to go but you could see she was smiling because she knew Momma wanted the best for her. But was that really what she wanted?
* * *
* * * * * * * *
* * *
Pastor Mitchel had this weird smile on his face, telling me that I might be in danger. Slowly I backed out of the limo, and pushed my back against a tall brick pole. He followed me, still smirking, raising his hand he waved towards me. “Lilly, its best that you don’t tell anyone what you know. At least until I change my family’s name and we move again.” He whispered as he came closer to me. A small white cloth and a teal bottle were pulled from his deep, never-ending pocket. My head flashed from side to side as I struggled to get away from him and his “Forgetful” rags. Just as his hand was about to grab me by the neck, those lifesaving blue and red lights came flashing into sight, and a reassuring voice rang over the speaker, “Freeze Mitchel… You are under arrest for the murder of Nancy Grimmer and her mother. You have said your last prayer, and you can learn how to say more behind the cold metal bars of jail.” The whole scene was crazy. At a funeral for my grandmother and mother, was where there killer was found. I don’t think I will ever forget the dreaded day that this all happened… Or the family either. Besides, they are the family who took care of me after it all happened. Liam and Mackenzie were kinda like my siblings, yet we weren’t related. And that’s ok, because they were angels, my caution tape angels.