Dead, he said. His words carried the usual weight of someone who is not used to death, someone who maybe fears an unsettling reaction from the receptor of those grim news he had to deliver; after all, the only thing scarier than the absence of emotions is their very display. I wanted to laugh, really, tell him to not be so frail and hesitant, it is nothing but pathetic. Yes, Lucas has been dead for years now! Shout it! Proclaim it! Do not be faltering, looking at me as if I was the poor man who got the news too late. Of course I knew he was dead. I live right next door. What a stupid creature.
"Yes, I knew that" I replied. "I just saw some movement around here and got suspicious. It's been quite a while since someone had dropped by to check the house".
Well, that was a white lie, mea culpa. I myself used to drop by everyday.
"Oh, I see. I'm Caleb, his son."
Oh, Caleb; I remember Lucas telling me about him. I bet this kid still cries over his father's death. I can't help but roll my eyes when thinking about it. So very pathetic! When Lucas' was alive, Caleb never came to visit. I recall when my neighboor and I watched football together; he always, invariably, mentioned how his kids were dreadfully ungrateful. And when he died, well, suddenly they loved their papa. Now that I think about it, I think I remember Caleb from the funeral. He cried his eyes out. He did the eulogy. It was absolutely ridiculous.
"Oh, yes, I'm sorry about that. For a moment I didn't remember you".
"I live next door, kid. My name is Herman, I was your father's friend, you and I met at the funeral."
"What a air head I am, sorry! I remember that." He politely answers. "You're Marjorie's husband, right?
"Yes, that would be me."
"I spoke to your wife about two or three times after my dad died, she is such a nice lady. How is she?"
Obnoxious. Sucking the life out of me. Absolutely unsufferable. Marjorie still suffers from severe verborrea, that stupid shell of a woman, and I couldn't despise her more if I tried.
"Great, really. Each day more in love with her" I smile. "How are you doing?"
"Well, very well. I came here today to see how the house is. I'm considering selling it. My wife is pregnant and with the baby coming I really need to get some money..."
I shiver. Sell the house? That bastard! He cannot sell the house... It is simply impossible. I cannot lose it.
"Oh, you really should think about it. The real state market is dreadful this year."
"Is it really?"
"Yeah. You know, I myself am a real state agent, and I can tell you for sure you will probably sell this house for about 20k less than you would if you had sold it last year. You should wait for the next season of high prices."
"Shit. That really sucks. And when is that gonna happen?"
"Hm, I can't be quite sure. You can give me your number though, when it happens I tell you".
"Herman, thanks, really. Marjorie's got my number, maybe she can give it to you" Caleb sighs and runs his hands through his face. "It's been 10 years, can you believe it? And that murder... I still can't let go of the house. It's like my dad... Like he's still here."
"I know." I sigh. "I know, Caleb, but you will get through it."
Lies. No one ever gets over a murder, that's the beauty of it. When a life leaves this world like that, by the hands of someone else, it's so antinatural that it marks; marks the people, the place, marks the day it happened, the memories, everything. Death is the only thing that survives through the years. Caleb will never get over it and neither will I; in absurdly different ways, of course.
"Well, kid, I should get going. Marjorie must be serving dinner right now." I excuse myself. "Keep yourself strong, Caleb. That's what your father would've wanted. And congratulations for the new baby".
"Thanks, Herman. Have a good night." Caleb waves me goodbye and I leave.
As I walk away, I turn around and see him waving at the door. It is astonishing how he looks like his dad; the tall forehead, the slender figure, the greasy blonde hair brushed back... I could almost picture the streaks of dark red blood running down his neck like waterfalls, his eyes glazed over staring at the ceiling, just like his father's in that night ten years ago.
I can't help but feel deeply unsatisfied while I walk home. Somehow, if I don't go inside that house everyday, walk around it, sit on the floor and breath its air, my evening is simply not good. My day sucks. Everything is out of order. That house is the only place I can truly relax, and while that man is there, I can not do it.
When I go there, it's almost as if it was happening again. I remember it so clearly; the night that I was terribly annoyed by Lucas' nasty dog that just wouldn't stop barking at 3 a.m, the fight I had with Marjorie earlier that evening, and the constant, inconvenient, crazy thought I had been having for weeks... I just couldn't take it off my head. I needed to do it. And, that night, I decided I would.
Of course it wasn't a sudden idea. Things like these take time do grow, to develop, you know. I, on my part, had been feeding mine like a pet since the day Marjorie invited him over for dinner. Goddamn it, didn't his mother teach him to use a fork? And his laughter, his scent, his vocabulary, it was so vulgar and disgusting. He kept patting my back whenever he told one of his many pathetic jokes. Now that I think about it, I don't quite understand how I didn't kill him right there and then.
In the fatidic night, I remember getting up silently, getting the axe, going to Lucas' house. I stared at him for some good minutes while he slept. I never liked him. I was repulsed by his good manners, his joyful spirits, and that habit of calling me every freaking time I went to get my mail. He was so... Nice. Poor Lucas. He was a victim of my loathing. I pity him. He was asleep, he woke up, and there wasn't even time to scream. He died pretty quickly.
I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I did; finding out how good of an actor I am, pretending it wasn't me, crying and asking the good Lord why do the good die soon. I honestly thought I would get caught, and I couldn't care less if I was, honestly. Yet, no one ever found out it was me; some common murderer with no alibi showed up. And it felt so much better that way.
It never happened again. I was satisfied by only the memories of that night. It was an one time thing.
When I get home, Marjorie's is serving dinner. She looks silently at me, those pathetic subservient eyes fixated on my face, and I smile at her like the good husband I am.
"It was Caleb, Lucas' kid." I sigh. "Nothing to worry about."
"Oh, I see." She replies. "Poor kid, never quite got over his father's death. It was so terrible."
"Indeed". I reply, containing my urge to smile. "Indeed it was."
And as she served the chicken on my plate, I felt this funny feeling on the pit on my stomach. I knew what it was. The rush of the blood on my veins, the fast beating of the heart, the sweaty hands...
"What is it?" Marjorie asked.
"This creepy grin in your face."
"Oh," I chuckle as I reply. "I just had a crazy thought..."
Life's funny, you see. You feel one thing one time, gives in to the feeling, say that is it, it will never happen again, and all of a sudden... Well. All of a sudden, it comes back.