“Are you kidding me? Who’s stopping here this late at night?” Rochefort “Roach” Scott placed the bookmark in his paperback copy of The Black and glanced at the mantle clock. “It’s 11:50, damn near midnight,“ he muttered as he put the book on the coffee table and levered himself off the couch.
“Jeez, can you hold on a second, I’m getting there.” Roach made his way to the front door and snapped on the porch light. Looking through the peephole he saw two kids standing there. They were dressed in jeans and dark gray or black hoodies. The hoods were pulled low over their foreheads so their faces were in shadow. He thought they were about 15 or 16 years old. He unlocked the deadbolt and door knob locks and pulled the door open enough to stretch the chain lock to full.
“What do you kids need? You have car trouble or something?”
The boy in front said, “Can we come in?”
“Uh, no. What do you need?”
“We need to come in,” said the second boy.
His voice sounded almost like the first boy’s, hollow and monotone. The hair on the back of Roach’s neck rose. Something’s not right here, Roach thought.
“Look, I am not letting you guys in, but I can call 911 for you if you really need help.”
“Please let us in, we must come in,” they said in unison, voices rising in pitch.
“Nope. How ’bout I just call 911 period. Now get off my property.” Roach fairly slammed the door on the kids and went to the kitchen where the wall phone was. He had a clear view of the living room’s bay window through the wall cut-out in the kitchen. He didn’t see them leave via the porch sidewalk to the street.
“Dammit, don’t really need no trouble.” Roach said to no one. He walked quickly back to the front door and looked through the peephole. No one was there. Gone. Good they left. Roach returned to his position on the couch and started to read his book again.
“Seriously?” Not even bothering with the bookmark this time, Roach slammed the book down on the coffee table again. Standing, he made his way back to the front door.
Almost to the door, he realized the knocks were coming from the back door in the kitchen this time. “Son of a-“
Bang! Bang! Now they were pounding on the door. Flipping on the switch for the porch light at the back door, Roach could see two silhouettes in the curtained door window.
“I told y’all to leave!” Roach stepped back to the phone on the wall.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Now they just continued to pound on the door. Roach was borderline angry and scared. Snatching the handset off the hook, he punched in 9-1-1 on the keypad.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
“Nine-one-one, what’s the nature of your emergency?”
“I’ve got teenagers trying to get into my house,” Roach said. “They want in and I won’t let them. They keep banging on my door!”
“Can I get your address, sir? Do they require assistance?” The Emergency Operator’s voice was calm and soothing in Roach’s ear.
“Yes ma’am, it’s 3860 Walnut Street. Them kids don’t need no help, I do. You need to send someone and scare these kids off before they break my back door in.” Roach was yelling to be heard over the now constant pounding.
“Are they armed, sir?”
“Don’t think so, listen-“
“Sir, I have dispatched a patrol. Can you give me a description of the intruders?”
That’s more like it, Roach thought, but he said, ” Two teens, boys, about 15 or 16 years old. Both wearing jeans and black or dark gray hoodies.”
“Can you describe any features? Their height, weight, skin or hair color?”
“About five and half feet tall, both of them had really pale skin and black eyes,” he said.
“Okay, two Caucasian teen boys about five foot six inches tall, jeans, dark hoodies and dark eyes. Sir did you-“
“Not dark eyes. Black eyes. The whole visible eyeball was coal black, no white at all. They were not white kids, their skin is pasty white, not natural.” Roach stopped. The pounding had stopped. A warbling siren, growing louder as the patrol car turned onto the street, was the only sound now.
“They’re almost here,” he told the operator. “The kids are gone now too.”
“Okay. Sir, do you want me to stay on the line until the officers arrive there?”
“No, it’s okay, I can see them pulling up to the curb now. Thanks.” Roach hung up without paying attention to her reply. He ran to the front door, flipped the locks and chain and yanked it open just as the first officer was about to knock.
“They were just in the back. I think they took off when they heard your siren.” Roach was out of breath as the words poured from his lips. “If you hurry-“
The lead officer shot a quick nod to her partner and he bounded over the porch rail to rush around to the back.
“I’m Officer Rogers, may I?” She nodded to the entrance while placing her left hand on the butt of her service pistol.
“Oh, yeah, sure.” Roach said as he held the door, Officer Rogers passed him into the house, quickly scanned the layout and headed for the kitchen. Roach was right on her heels.
Rogers stuck out her right arm and motioned for Roach to stay back as she entered the kitchen. Unsnapping her weapon’s hammer strap, she approached the back door cautiously.
Bang! Bang! Bang! The Beretta was half out of its holster when her partner yelled from the other side of the door, “All clear!”
She flipped the two locks and unchained the door. Opening it she peered over her partner’s shoulder into the half lit backyard. She saw no one. As her partner turned around to enter the kitchen his face blanched.
“Was that there before?” He was pointing to the door, just below the window. Rogers and Roach both looked at the same time. There, written on the door in what looked like red paint, was, “Not Done Yet.”
“Damn kids,” Roach said. “I’ll get some alcohol and–“
Rogers reached out and grabbed his arm, stopping him in mid-stride. Without looking at Roach she addressed her partner. “Williams, radio dispatch for someone from C.I.D. and or the crime lab to come out and check this out. Then come back and watch the area until they arrive.”
“Right away,” Williams said as he went back around to the front of the house.
“It’s just paint; you don’t need to make a big deal of it.” Roach shook his arm free from her grasp and glared at her. He was never going to get any sleep tonight.
“Actually this is similar to what happened to a couple up in the Heights about two weeks ago. So yes, we need to look into this more,” said Rogers.
“So some kids painted on their door too, big deal.” Roach went to the coffee-maker, slapped a pod in the basket and stuck his Gone Squachin’ mug under the dispenser. The night was far from over.
“Actually, the words were different and painted in blood.”
“Okay, so blood. So what?”
“The couple disappeared five days later.”
Roach stopped with his mug halfway to his mouth, “Dammit.”
Roach dropped his mug and Rogers spun around with her hand on her weapon. The front door opened slowly. Williams poked his head in and said, “Mind if I cut through the house? A lab tech will be here in 10 to 15 minutes.”
“My favorite mug,” muttered Roach as he looked at the mess on the tile floor.
Trying to hide a slight smile, Rogers motioned with her head to Williams. He quickly dashed through the house and out the back door. Rogers walked the other way to the front door and closed it. Returning to the kitchen where Roach had finished cleaning the spilled coffee and shattered porcelain, Rogers said, “Why don’t you fix another mug and then I can get your statement. I’ll just have a seat in the front room if you don’t mind.”
“Oh, okay. Can I make a cup for you, Officer?”
“No thanks, I’m good,” she said as she moved into the living room.
Rogers watched as Roach entered the living room, she had taken a seat on one end of the couch and had her notebook out. Roach now had a mug with a cartoon Godzilla on it and was heading to sit on the opposite end.
By the time the lab tech announced herself at the door, Roach’s mug had already hit and shattered on the hardwood floor of the living room.
Rogers couldn’t suppress her smile this time as Roach called out, “I have a damn doorbell!”