Time to Kill
And who’s the little girl?
Never mind the girl…
Across the road and down a ways from Maple Street is Kensington Place, the last turn off Cannonball before the long stretch of woods which separates the residents at the end from the long and some would say endless drive to the center of town.
Chief Maxwell bangs a left onto Kensington without throwing his blinker on. He doesn’t want to hear the noise, that metronomous ticking of the arrow flashing on the dash. Not today. All Maxwell wants today is silence; he muted his phone, killed the radio, and if there was anything he could do about the hum of the engine he certainly would. But he can’t, so he won’t. The hum of the engine is bad, sure, damn near maddening to his fragile state of mind, the mad, ceaseless, eternally increasing sound of buildup as the fuel combusts and the pistons do their thing just for no climax to be reached…
‘What if nothin’ happens tonight?’ Maxwell thinks to himself as he pulls another left onto Burnout Strip. ‘What if we make the sacrifice and nothin’ happens? What if it is all for nothin’?’
Yes, the hum of the engine is bad; not as bad as the things The Fellers have done in preparation for tonight, that is, but bad enough, and as Maxwell passes the empty house of the man who bugged his basement – not that Chief Maxwell has any knowledge of this, as Jonathan Knox did his work well – he decides that sometimes it’s best to leave bad enough alone. That goes for his silly doubts, too; The Tome of Rock appeared in his backyard in a flash of light and mentioned him (and all those who would go on to be Fellers) by name. He may have been drinkin’ when it happened, but he saw it with his own two eyes, damnit, and he knows what he saw.
“I got possessed during the meeting, for Rock’s sake,” he says as he rolls to a slow stop at the stop sign marking Burnout’s front end. “Everybody saw it happen, it was… wait, did I…?”
Maxwell makes an about-face and confirms that he did, in fact, blow past the house.
“Huh,” Maxwell huh s. “That’s, uh… huh.”
Chief Maxwell dips briefly onto Rycker Street, makes an illegal U-turn – which is fine, as his is the only car on the road at the moment. The neighbors are surely awake by now, the sun’s almost peeking over the tops of the trees after all, but nobody’s out and driving yet. Plus, he’s Wuester’s chief of police for cryin’ out loud. What, is he going to arrest himself? Not like turning around in the middle of an empty street is the worst thing he’ll do today… but sometimes it’s best to leave bad enough alone, so Maxwell leaves it alone and allows his mind to settle before he passes the driveway again.
It’s a long driveway, longer than most on this street anyway, and the pavement could use some work. Lots of crumble along the sides, deep cracks strewn throughout. Narrow, too, Maxwell’s cruiser hardly fits, but it widens out by the house, set comfortably back from the street and the other houses. Gives the place a sense of isolation, a feeling of being neighborless. Jim prob’ly likes it that way. Maxwell likes him well enough (although tolerates is prob’ly a better word), but it’s no secret that Hubert isn’t exactly a social creature.
After he wheels his cruiser around (backing up the driveway was out of the question) Maxwell glances up into his rearview and sees Jim coming down the front steps. He opens the window and shouts, “Jim, you left your front door open!” and Jim stumbles a couple steps, turns around, and shouts an obscenity into the air before hopping back up the steps and pulling the door closed.
“Thanks for that there, Chief,” Jim says as he closes himself into the cruiser with Maxwell. “My shit would’a been open all day, who knows what kind’a trash might’a crawled in.”
“No problem there, Jim,” Chief Maxwell says. They advance towards Burnout Strip. Maxwell looks at Jim nervously from the corner of his eye. “So, you uh… you ready for tonight?”
“Oh yeah,” Officer Jim Hubert says, rubbing his hands together. “We go’n’ kill that little niggerbitch and we go’n’ kill ‘er good. I was born ready.”
Maxwell slowly applies full pressure on the breaks as they come to the end of the driveway, but he doesn’t look both ways. He just stares straight ahead of him, thinking, ‘Leave it, Daniel. Sometimes it’s best to leave bad enough alone.’
Then again, “Jim, let’s not.”
“Huh?” Jim asks, goggling the side of Chief Maxwell’s head. “Wha’d’ya mean, Chief?”
“Jim,” Maxwell says, turning now to face him, “I’m…” He exhales a most heavy breath through his nose. “We’re Fellers, we… we ain’t… what we’re doin’ tonight is for the greater good, and we… there’s a certain amount of respect we have to have if we’re go’n’a do this right.”
“Respect?” Jim asks as though the concept has never occurred to him. “For the li’l’ niggerbitch?”
“Jim,” Maxwell says again, shooting daggers. “The child is of Earthen skin, and she’s going to save our town. Please, show some Rockdamn respect.”
“So… so you don’t want me to call her a niggerbitch?” Jim asks like a child whose parents are trying to explain to him why it’s bad to throw stones at kittens. “But she ain’t even here, what’s the poi–”
Chief Maxwell turns abruptly away from Jim Hubert and pulls onto Burnout. Jim tries to talk some more, but Maxwell doesn’t say a thing.
‘S’pose he just wants some silence this mornin’,’ Jim thinks to himself as he watches the sunlit trees blur by with their faded orange glow. ‘Best to leave bad enough alone, I reckon.’
Hello Commons, this has been the second subchapter of the third chapter of Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox, a novel about a man who likes to eavesdrop on his neighbors.
Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox is the second book in the W-2222 series, a series of books which take place in Universe W-2222.
Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
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