Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Drafts: Frog Haven, Chapter 14

Chapter 1, Chapter 2 and 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8 ,Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13

Chapter 14: The Policemen

The policemen were already at the house by the time Sissy finished dressing. Sissy didn’t know why they had come so fast. What was the hurry? The old guy had been dead a long time and a few more minutes weren’t going to make much difference.

One of the policemen was young and handsome. He had deep blue eyes, the color of summer skies. His blond hair fell in his face and he kept brushing it out. His little silver nametag said David Harrison. Sissy liked him right away, but he didn’t do most of the talking. The fat cop did. He was short and had a pimply face, three double chins and greasy, stringy hair. He wasn’t very friendly and he didn’t smile as much as the other cop did. Sissy didn’t get close enough to him to read his nametag.

Marc and Michael had been banned from the living room but Sissy could see them standing in the darkness of the hall listening. She related how she and the others had gone into the cabin and found the body in the bed.

“Did you wreck anything?”

“No, we were just looking. We didn’t touch anything. Nothing at all. Oh, except the faucet. I turned the faucet on.”


“That was before we saw the dead guy. I just wanted to see if it worked.”

“Did it?”


“Oh, and we opened some of the kitchen cupboards, just to look inside. We didn’t touch anything, except 1 cracker box. We put it right back.”

“Why did you touch it?”

“It had a hole in the bottom. I wondered if the crackers were gone. They were. I was just curious.”

“Can you take us there?”


“For goodness sake Officers. Let us take you. You are going to upset Maria. I think finding a body is upsetting enough for one day, don’t you?”

“I’m not upset, Ma.”

“She has school tomorrow. She needs her sleep and this will just upset her more.”

“Mom, it’s all right. I’m not upset.”

“She should have thought about this before she started breaking and entering,” the fat cop said in a very unfriendly way.

“I don’t believe the children know anything about breaking and entering and I don’t believe—Sissy—was the door to the cabin locked?”

“No Papa, the door was not locked. We didn’t know anyone was there. We thought it was just an old abandoned building.”

“She can tell it to the judge,” the fat cop muttered under his breath. Louder, he said, “Come on, kid, let’s go.”

“My name is Maria,” Sissy said with dignity, pulling herself up straight.

“She led the cops and her father down through the orchard. Garryd came running down the path and joined them. “Are you going to the cabin? Did you tell them? Can I come?”

“Was this one of the kids that was there with you?”

“Yes, Garryd’s the only other one who saw the dead man close-up. The other two kids ran away.”

“Yeah, come along, kid, we may have to ask you some questions.”

“Okay,” Garryd agreed happily. He didn’t seem to notice the note of threat in the cop’s voice.”

They continued past the garden and the arboretum to the fence. Sissy and Garryd climbed through the fence, her father and the cops stepped over. The second cop, the fatter one, caught his pants and ripped a hole in them. He swore angrily but softly to himself. Sissy heard him. He said some words that she had never hear her parents say, words no kids were allowed to say. They climbed down the cliff and started off across the pastures.

After a while, the fat cop said, “You didn’t tell me it was so far away. We might have been able to drive in here on the farm roads.”

“It’s not much farther,” Sissy said. She led the way toward the woods. “It’s right over there.” She pointed. The opening was clearly visible across the scrubby section of pastureland.

The fat cop said, “Good grief, what were you ever doing this far from home?”

“That’s what I’d like to know,” Sissy’s father said quietly.

“It’s my fault, sir,” Garryd said.

“No it’s not,” Sissy retorted, not wanting Garryd to get himself in trouble.

“She didn’t want to go, but I told her I was going to go alone if she didn’t go with me. She was worried about me, you know. We’re blood siblings and she’s sworn to be faithful to me,” Garryd said, proudly holding up his wrist with band-aid and then showing the blood-drop ring. Sissy held hers up, too.

“Oh, brother, a bunch of weirdoes! They probably all have AIDS to top it off. Why do we always get stuck with the faggots and weirdoes?”

“What’s a faggot?” Garryd asked.

“It’s a very rude expression for a homosexual,” David Harrison said, “one that is inappropriate to use in front of children.”

“What’s a homosexual?” Garryd asked.

“This is not the time to talk about that,” Sissy’s father said. “We can discuss that later. It has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand. And I would like to point out that these children are not weirdoes, they are normal healthy children who are normally curious.”

“I think Officer Maroni was talking about the blood siblings thing,” Officer Harrison remarked quietly to Sissy’s father.

“There is certainly nothing weird about that. Many well-known historical figures . . .”

“Yes, but . . .” Harrison started.

“Those kids are neither historical figures or Indians,” the fat cop said, with a sneer in his voice.

“I have blood siblings, too,” David Harrison whispered, leaning away from Officer Maroni and close to the kids. He smiled at Sissy and Garryd. Sissy didn’t think the fat cop ever had a blood sibling. Who’d want to be related to him? Harrison turned and spoke quietly to Sissy’s father. “But that was before . . .”

“I do need to investigate the blood siblings thing. Kids, did you mix your blood?”

“Yes, Papa, but outside our bodies. We were very careful about it. Mr. Sharp warned us. Can you guys wait a sec while I use the bathroom, I’ll be quick. I gotta go real bad.”

“Sissy!” her father protested. But Sissy ran in to the dilapidated outhouse and pulled the creaking door shut behind her. It was a two-seater, with regular white oval toilet seats attached to the wooden platform. Because the whole outhouse was leaning to one side, the platform and seats were a little slanted. There was even an old roll of toilet paper on a shelf between the seats. It was stiff and skuzzy on the outside and the bottom looked like mice had gnawed it. Sissy wound off the outside and the inside was fine. When she was done, she put it back on the shelf where she had found it.

“We saw the cabin from over there,” Garryd was saying when she came back out. “We were following an animal, only we don’t know what it was.”

“A sleek, brown animal, about the size of a beaver only longer and thinner, with a round tail. It was sliding on that hill over there,” Sissy said, pointing back toward the slide. They couldn’t see it through the trees.

“Sounds like an otter,” Sissy’s father said, “only there aren’t any otters around here any more, too civilized. I wonder what it could be.”

“Otter, schmotter, come on, let’s get going,” the fat cop said.

“We went in through here,” Sissy said, opening the unlocked outer screen door, “and then through here,” she opened the next door, which was a regular wooden front door with a lock, but it wasn’t locked, of course. “The dead man is right over there,” she added, pointing. Sissy couldn’t see him, and for a second, was afraid he was gone. She ran over to the bed and leaned over. He was there, all right, but she could see why they had missed him at first.

“The kid wasn’t lying,” Officer Harrison said, as if he were making a point to Maroni.

“No kidding,” the fat cop said, sarcastically.

“And they didn’t ransack the house, either. Nothing is wrecked. She was telling the truth.”

“They probably stole all the valuables, though,” Maroni said. “I’m sure they took stuff.”

Chapter 15, P365-07W

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