I know what I saw. It had happened it wasn't a dream. Maybe I always should have suspected this.They had always been strange people. I still remember the day that the movers arrived. I had been writing in my office and the squeal of the brakes had prompted me to look out the front window. Nothing unusual at first. A sea of different faces hauling the contents of the two large trucks into the house across the street. I sighed loudly. I felt relieved that at last the place would no longer sit empty.
It was much later in the day, I had started dinner when I thought I heard screaming. I had dropped the wooden spoon that I was using to stir sauce. By the time I made it to the front yard it was dreadfully quiet. The movers had gone and there was only a silver SUV in the driveway. I collected the mail from the box and returned to the house certain that I had overreacted. Then just five days later my suspicions grew again. I walked straight over after my husband had left for work. Before I could knock or attempt to ring the bell the front door flew open.
I had expected to see the tall blonde woman that I noticed coming and going but here in front of me stood a younger version of her. The girl had on a white t shirt gray sweatpants and pink bunny slippers. She looked me up and down. I smiled and waited for her to say something. When she didn't I realized how awkward this was.
"Hi, Hello I'm Maggie. Are your parents home?"
Without so much as a handshake or a smile, she turned her face
away from me and shouted.
"Mom there's a lady here!" I was about to thank her when she turned from the doorway and bolted away from me. I had never been treated so rudely but then again I had no children of my own.
Then just as I was deciding if I should enter or return home, my new neighbor greeted me.
"Hi can I help you?" She was much prettier up close. With a small nose, big green eyes, full lips and a long straight blonde ponytail that she wore high on her head.
"Im Maggie. Your neighbor I live in the white house..."
"Oh that's good. I mean it's good to finally meet someone. Come in please. I'm Jane."
She waited for me to enter before shutting the door. I handed her the tray that I had held in my arms. She grinned a genuine look of approval.
"These are for you. Brownies I baked them myself."
"That's so sweet. Thank you Maggie very much. How lucky we are
to have a neighbor with a sweet tooth."
I laughed though I wondered if I had just been insulted. Jane and I had coffee and chatted about the weather, the news and how nice our neighborhood was. In just a few minutes I learned their whole back story. Jane used to work in sales but now she sold jewelry on the internet. Jane's husband Michael worked sixty hours a week at some pharmaceutical company and her sixteen year old daughter Avery was on the honor roll.
Months passed by and I assumed they had settled in. I invited Jane to lunch on more than one occasion but she always declined. I tried to push them out of my mind. Just because we were neighbors didn't mean we had to be friends. It was unusually warm for November. I knew we wouldn't have too many more days like this so I decided to stretch my legs and go for a walk.
When I returned to High street I noticed that their garage door was wide open. But with the weather being so mild I thought nothing of it. I strolled down the sidewalk and was about to cross into the street when something stopped me. I could hear them. Jane was sobbing. Then she was yelling and then Michael was yelling too.
"You are not to question me again! Do you understand me?"
"No I never give you grief! Why wont you just answer my question?' Jane screamed at him.
The screams were followed by what sounded like someone being smacked. I ran as fast as I could to my driveway and then the safety of my home. That night I confided in my husband Paul. I told him everything they had said and every sound I had heard. His reaction shocked me.
"Really Maggie are you sure that's what it was?" I stared at him as if he had spoken a foreign language.
"Yes I know what someone hitting someone sounds like! I heard it and I should have called the police." He eyed me suspiciously.
"And tell them what? That your neighbors were arguing and you think maybe someone got hurt?"
"Yes Paul she got hurt! And they were fighting not arguing there is a difference!" He went to touch my arm and I pulled away from him.
"Maggie you need to calm down. I hate to see you like this. Isnt it possible that maybe it was just a fight and nothing more?"
I turned away from him afraid to meet his eyes. How could he not believe me? But more to the point how could he not be concerned for Jane?
We didn't speak of it again but that didn't mean it hadn't happened.
I kept to myself the next few days. The nights were harder for me. I began to stay up terribly late and often found myself in my front room. I would lear out our front window to see if there was movement at their place. The lights were hardly ever on and I had begun to feel foolish. On Friday night after a second glass of wine and after I had finished watching another late night movie I heard something. I muted the TV but now there was silence.
I took my glass and headed for the kitchen. I yawned placed the glass in the sink and made my way towards the stairs. Just as my fingers touched the railing lights came on across the street. I stood still. It was probably nothing. I thought that Michael had forgotten to bring their trash cans to the street. I headed for my office.
I took a deep breath and parted the curtains. The driveway was empty. I'm not sure for how long I stood there. I waited and waited. I yawned again. Look at you you're completely overreacting. I was angry at myself. I had just looked away when their front door opened. Then there were shadows moving pasted the windows. I rubbed sleep from my eyes and strained harder to see.
I could hear voices but I was having trouble making out the words.
Michael exited the house quickly and went directly to his Cherokee. He unlocked the vehicle, opened the trunk and
disappeared back inside. I held my breath. So afraid of what I might see. The front door closed and I felt as if I was in a dream. Then seconds after, the wide garage door opened. I exhaled deeply. Again there was Michael making his way from inside the garage to the trunk of his jeep. He had what appeared to be several long large black trash bags.My breath caught in my throat.
He placed it into the trunk, looked over his shoulder and returned to the garage. I angled myself away from the curtains but made sure I could still see. He made one more trip to the trunk of the jeep and began to toss several items inside. The first appeared to be a tote of some kind, the second item looked like a cell phone and the third and final item were car keys. I froze unable to believe what was happening. Michael slammed the trunk and returned to the house. I ran out of the room towards my charger and cell phone on the end table of our den. I took a huge breath turned on my phone and dialed 911
I waited at the front door. The officers had assured me that was where I needed to be. Paul paced the hall behind me.
"Now you'll see. In just a few moments your going to see I was right.
I only wish I had done something the other day." Paul said nothing. We waited for what felt like an eternity. The talking finally stopped. Michael smiled and shook their hands and I saw him going back inside.
I gasped loudly. Paul was suddenly at my side.
"What is it? What's happening?"
"Nothing! They are doing nothing. He fooled them but he hasn't
fooled me. Come on let's go."
I toar open the front door before they even saw me. Paul was
trying to catch up.
"Maggie you need to settle down. Let them talk to me."
"No you were asleep you have nothing to say. They need to listen
to me." Paul placed his hand on my shoulder. The two uniformed officers returned with a warning. That was meant entirely for me.
The older of the two looked directly in my eyes.
"A false report is a serious crime." I almost lunged at them.
"I know that! Of course I know that! I know what I saw. He killed
his wife and disposed of her body. Ask to look in his Cherokee.
Please make him open the trunk. She's in there. You have to
believe me please."
The tears had started streaming down my face. Paul tried to get a hold of me but I took off at full speed. I could hear them shouting at me to stop but I had no intention to. I pounded my fists against the door of number ten High Street.