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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

K. A. Williams—The Burglar

89_ym_burglar2_cfawcett.jpg
Art by Cynthia Fawcett 2021

The Burglar

 

by K. A. Williams

                                                

 

 

I watched the house until the young man left. The lock was easy, thanks to my ex-con cousin's lock picking lessons. Even though there was no security system sign in the yard, I was nervous as I stepped inside. Seconds ticked, no alarm screamed in my ears. When I reached out to close the door, something hit me in the head.

The next thing I was aware of was a headache and then I discovered that my wrists were tied behind my back.

 The young man who must have knocked me out was sitting at the kitchen table across from me. I studied his face. It was possible.

"Why did you break into my house?" His voice, like his gaze, was more curious than angry.

My throat went dry and I swallowed nervously. "Have you called the cops?"

"I'm asking the questions," he stated, leaning forward.

I looked at my scattered stuff. On the table were keys, burglary tools, and my open wallet. My driver's license lay face up in front of him. Everything had gone wrong.

 I finally responded. "You don't have a security system."

He shook his head. "Other houses on this street don't have security systems either. I was looking out my bedroom window when your car came down the street, stopped at my mailbox, backed up and then parked two houses away. I watched you while you watched my house. I knew you could only see the front door, so I drove off, parked on the next street, cut through a neighbor's yard, came in the back door and waited."

"Then you haven't called the cops." I relaxed a little.

He frowned. "I will if you don't start telling me the truth."

I did not want the police involved, I was violating my parole by being here. "Take the keys. Go to my car. There's an envelope on the back seat." He waited for me to say more. I didn't. He grabbed up the keys and left.

When he returned, he slapped the envelope on the table and sat across from me again. He didn't open it. Instead he chose to compare the envelope's address with my driver's license. Then he gasped when he recognized the return address which was his own.

He stared at me, his dark eyes wide. "I didn't mail this - who did?"

"Did your aunt have a lawyer and a will?"

"Yes."

"Then her will must have told her lawyer to mail that old newspaper clipping and her obituary to me," I guessed. Her obituary had said she lived here with her only living relative, an unnamed seventeen year old nephew.

He opened the envelope and glanced at the clippings. "Why?"

I'd done some thinking about that since I received the envelope. "Your aunt's death wasn't sudden, she had time to think about her past before she died, right?"

He ran his fingers through his dark hair and nodded.

I didn't say anything else.

"Why did you ask me that? Tell me what's going on or I will call the cops now." He started to rise from his chair.

"Read the old newspaper clipping. See my name and address? I broke in to hunt for the blanket."

"The blanket?" he echoed, reading the old clipping.

I sighed, closed my eyes, and remembered. "We were at the park when our baby was kidnapped. We had just left him alone for one minute. We went to the police and we waited for a ransom call but the only calls were phony. We all knew they were phony because of something that wasn't mentioned in the newspaper only the true kidnapper would know about. The blanket. My late wife had stitched our baby's name into the blanket with red thread. We kept hoping,  but the real kidnapper never called."

I stopped and opened my eyes. He wasn't there. Had he decided to summon the cops after all? Desperate, I struggled against my bonds. No luck. Sweat covered me as the minutes slowly passed.

 

Suddenly something dingy white landed on the table in front of me. I stared in wonder at the faded stitches. Then I couldn't see the letters anymore for some reason. I could feel my wrists being unbound and when they were free, I held the baby blanket with trembling fingers ignoring the tingling feeling in my numb hands.

I looked across the table - he was back in his chair. "I'm Bobby," he said. The kidnapper had kept both his blanket and his name. "So my, uh, 'Aunt', lied to me about my parents dying in a car crash when I was a baby, and you're my father, right?"

I smiled, nodded, and realized that for the first time since that horrible day in the park, I was truly happy. With my cousin's help I had been able to afford to keep the same house, even after my wife's long and expensive illness, in the hope that someday the kidnapper would contact me. We'd had no other children and I was sorry my wife hadn't lived to see this wonderful day.

 

 

                                                                The End

 

First published in The Rockford Review in 2007.

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Art by Cynthia Fawcett 2021

K. A. Williams lives in North Carolina and writes speculative, mystery/crime, general fiction, and poetry which has been published in various magazines, including Yellow Mama, Theme of Absence, Aphelion, 365 Tomorrows, Scarlet Leaf Review, The Blotter, Tigershark, and Mystery Tribune. Apart from writing, she enjoys rock music, science fiction movies, and CYOA games.



Cynthia Fawcett has been writing for fun or money since she was able to hold a pen. A Jersey Girl at heart, she got her journalism degree at Marquette University in Milwaukee and now writes mostly technical articles about hydraulics and an occasional short story or poem on any other subject.                                    

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2021