Things That Go Bump! In the 'Hood
By Robert Adair Wilson
Copyright 2011 Robert Adair Wilson - Cover by Leslie Slova Wilson
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The fact that Nichole was slowly going mad and that no one could do a thing about it was long since accepted by her mother and stepfather. It would only be a matter of time and soon there would be nothing left to do other than sign the papers and arrange for weekend visits to the institute. No one was more acutely aware of this than Nichole herself as she lay on her attic pallet. The wind blew in from the west with such a force that it lifted and rattled the asphalt shingles above Nichole's head. She could hear it lick, peel, and assault the frail membrane that protected her. She huddled closer down under the covers, her hands flat on top of one another on her chest and her body wrapping in a fetal position trying to protect herself from what she knew would be another ungodly onslaught. If she listened hard enough she thought she could hear her name whispered by several high, thin, falsetto voices. The tiny light on her night table would soon start to dim and flash off and on; a sign that torment was not far away. If only it could be the gentle winds from the south, north or even the east that would be a blessing, but no, here came the dreaded force from what evil she could not fathom. She longed to be away from there; longed to be somewhere safe like she was with Billy on the street. But then there would be stepdad Tom standing at the door or sauntering up and down Gladstone with that swagger that was so intimidating, so unapproachable. If she made it past him she could relax with her, well, with Billy's friends. Then they could fly down the wide boulevards of Pandora or take their time lazing under the trees in the fresh cut grass, closing their eyes, blocking out the too near traffic and imagining themselves out in Sooke or up at Thetis Lake. They would count all the joins in the sidewalk, one hundred thirty-nine, as they made their way to the vegan cafe across from the homeless shelter two blocks closer to the wretchedness of the city's downtown. Always someone would call out to them 'Billy Binner' or 'Binmeister' and for the first six months Nichole had known him she thought it was his given name until one night a cop on the beat called him Mr. Blight. He told her then his real name was Bligh but some people made fun of it. Just like mine thought Nichole when some people she didn't know asked if Billy was getting his 'Nichole's worth' yet and Billy explained what they meant. Some people are pigs Billy said.