Fiction Saturday – “Haight Street” Part Thirty
The new lock was child’s play.
Marlee had been home, caught a few winks, fed the cat and gone back to the Stanyan Street apartment above the bicycle shop to be with and care for Luco. She wouldn’t be back for hours, maybe all night. He wouldn’t need that much time. Not even close.
Dennis Thayer picked the lock in less than ten seconds, entered the apartment, and locked the door again behind him. He set his small box on the butcher block dining room table.
“Here, Kitty. Kitty, Kitty. Come to your Uncle Dennis.”
The cat had moved behind the sofa as soon as it realized that it was Dennis and not Marlee opening the door.
Dennis took a piece of netting out of the box on the table and started to silently stalk the little yellow tabby. He knew where the cat liked to hide. He pushed one end of the sofa against the wall cutting off one avenue of escape. He wrapped the netting over the other end, trapping in the cat – or so he thought. Taking out a small flashlight from his pocket he knelt on the couch and shined the light down on the terrified kitten.
“Hello, little Kitty. Time to come out and play.”
The light reflected golden off the kitten’s eyes.
Not waiting for his pursuer to grab him the kitten launched itself up the back of the couch with claws extended. When he reached the top of the couch he kept climbing, clawing his way across Dennis’ face leaving a trail of deep bloody scratches from his chin, across his eyes and into his hairline. Before Dennis could react the cat was under the bed and huddled against the far wall.
“Want to play rough do we, Kitty? Then I’ll show you rough, you mangy little fleabag.”
Moving slowly and warily Dennis walked into Marlee’s bedroom and closed both doors trapping them both in the room.
Shining his flashlight under the bed he could see the frightened cat up against the wall. It hissed when the light beam hit it.
“There you are. Come here, Kitty, Kitty.”
J.P. hissed again.
“No? You don’t want to come out and play? That’s not very friendly. I’ll tell you what – you stay there for a minute. I’ll be back in two shakes of a cat’s tail.” He got to his feet and went to the dining room, making sure to close the bedroom door behind him. He searched through the box on the table singing softly.
“What’s new, Pussycat? Whoa, whoa, whoa. Ah, there we are. Playtime is over you little furball.”
J.P. Cat was still in the corner, under the bed, shivering in fear.
“I’m back, Kitty. Still don’t want to come out? You’re shivering. Are you cold? Well, here, let me warm you up.’
Dennis Thayer: Psychotic killer, drug addict who hated drugs and other addicts, Sadist, and Unforgiving, killed a small terrified kitten with the barbs of a 50,000 volt taser. He laughed as the young cat convulsed even after it was already dead.
“Now we can both play and cook up a little surprise for Missy Marlee.”
When Marlee returned home seven hours later she unlocked her door and with two steps inside she knew that something was wrong.
“What is that smell? Did I leave something…?”
She went into the kitchen and felt the heat from the oven.
The people standing at the bus stop in front of 1298 Haight Street looked up at the windows of Apartment 6. They heard a woman screaming in horror. She couldn’t stop.
When the police entered Apartment # 8 it was obvious that the renter had abandoned it. His clothes were gone. Food in the kitchen, what there was of it, was old and stale. The one plant in the apartment, a Hibiscus, was shriveled and dead.
In his bedroom the wall that had been covered was bare except for remnants of tape and the corners of torn photographs that were now…where?
After his butchery of Marlee’s cat Dennis knew that he couldn’t stay in the building. He took what he could carry and he was now living out of his mobile sanctuary – his gray van. In the van he was hidden. The Motor Vehicle registration listed the van as being red, but a cheap paint job down in the Mission District fixed that. The police would waste time and energy looking for a red van that no longer existed.
He needed his invisible hideaway so he could carry out the next part of his courtship. Luco was still alive, injured but alive. That had to be corrected.
Dennis didn’t want to go after Luco again. He had to lure the Coffee House Cry Baby out of his apartment – out to where he was helpless and vulnerable. Out to where he would die.
The van gave Dennis mobility. The entire city could become his trap. He would lure Luco into the trap with the most delicious bait.
He had injured Luco; Marlee was traumatized and unable to focus.
The “What’ and the “How” were already decided. All that remained were the “When” and the “Where.”
“Let the cops look for me. I am invisible and in control because I saw her first and I never share.”
Marlee was staying at Luco’s place almost around the clock; partly to continue helping him in his recovery, and partly because she couldn’t bear the thought of returning to her apartment on Haight Street – not after what Dennis Thayer had done there. Any trips to 1298 Haight were just to pack and move her possessions to Stanyan Street.
As Luco grew stronger he tended to help her closet the horror so she could resume her new life in San Francisco. That was something they both needed to do. While they had both been given a second chance there was no guarantee that they would ever be blessed with a third. They couldn’t let Dennis Thayer decide their Tomorrow. They couldn’t let him win.
As each day passed and the police couldn’t find Dennis Thayer Haight Street became more nervous and afraid. Another young Street Kid was killed and dumped in the middle of the night in the doorway of the Bicycle Shop on Stanyan Street.
At night the gray van hid in the fog. Dennis slept and dreamed of his next moves – to draw Luco Reyes to his death and to have Marlee Owen wrap her arms around him. After all, he saw her first