Authors: Christopher Leonidas
The Heart of Blood
Copyright ©2015 by Christopher Leonidas. All rights reserved. SmashWords Edition
© 2015 Christopher Leonidas. All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.
: C. A. Morgan.
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Blood was spattered everywhere as she lay there. Maisey’s right leg was twisted underneath her, and her neck was cut in several places. Lucinda, watching from as close as she could, brushed away a tear that barely touched her cheek. She gazed at Maisey sadly as Octa loaded their dog’s corpse into the back of the van to take her away.
Their dog’s untimely demise didn’t faze the couple much. Dogs don’t seem so precious to people once they’ve seen humans brutally murdered. As Octa got into the van, a Mustang sped up to the house and parked right in front of his van. Octa got out and walked heatedly toward the car as his brother, Juan, stepped out and loudly greeted him.
“Long time, brother,” Juan said.
“Aren’t you always a surprise? I see you’re in shape . . . quit drinking, did you?”
A phone rang, and it was Octa’s. He answered it. The phone call came from a detective, Hell Cappucci, who was investigating the disappearance of Bob. The detective let Octa know that he would contact him just in case any more questions need to be answered.
After the phone call, Octa observed Juan from head to toe. He didn’t quite resemble the man he once knew as his little brother. His face had become rugged, and he had a lot more scars than he used to. His eyes gave away the fact that he still battled with substance abuse, but he still had that familiar boyish smile.
Juan had not been in the house when their mother was murdered. He was kicked out at an early age for vagabondage. Juan had a tendency to run away from home, so his parents kicked him out. He was sent to the
Arthur G. Dozier School
for boys in Marianna, Florida at age seventeen, and later on, he escaped from the school. For several years, no one heard from him, not until he resurfaced when Octa attended a volunteer meeting to help poor people. Since then, they had stayed in contact, but lost in touch eventually. Juan used to sell drugs and steal from others.
Would he want revenge against the family for kicking him out? After everything Octa had gone through in the past few days, he started doubting Juan. Five days had elapsed since Octa had waterboarded Bob. He is afraid that Juan is a killer and wonders if he might try to kill his family too. If Juan wanted revenge from the family, that would have happened long ago. After all, who is left? Only Octa, it seems. What would give him real, serious reason for doubting Juan, who, right now, just seems like a punk sort of drug dealer—the dime a dozen type.
“Me? Quit? Have you completely forgotten me?” Juan came closer and wrapped his arms around his big brother. “I’ve missed you . . . and Pa,” he said after a pause.
“I’ve missed you too. Come inside, you little brat. Let’s talk about what in God’s name you’ve gotten yourself into this time.”
Octa put his right arm around Juan’s shoulder, as they walked toward the front door, when Lucinda called, “Love! Maisey’s still in the van!”
“Well, look who it is! Almost didn’t see you there, Lucinda. I hope my brother is keeping you happy,” Juan said in a weirdly flirtatious manner. He eyed Lucinda as he gave her a mysterious smile.
Lucinda looked at Octa and then at Juan, “Hello Juan, it’s nice to see you after so long.”
“I need to take care of this real quick,” said Octa as he broke away from Juan.
Octa hurried toward the van and called out to Juan that he should make himself comfortable inside till he came back. Lucinda escorted Juan through the door and told him how their dog had been killed last night by someone in the neighborhood who had threatened the dog for trespassing and for attacking him on several occasions. Lucinda could never believe such a thing. Maisey was a docile and caring animal. She wouldn’t hurt a fly.
Juan carefully listened as he noticed the attractive, still young-looking woman in front of him and responded with “tsk tsk” now and then as Lucinda told him how their little dog had died.
I hate dogs
, he mused to himself.
I would kill every last one of those motherfuckers
, and thought about the incident that happened to him in his childhood. A snarling, barking German Shepherd dog had run up to him and chomped onto his upper, right thigh, leaving several puncture wounds.
He was shaken out of his thoughts when Lucinda asked whether he would like something to drink. As she made her way into the kitchen to fix him a scotch on the rocks, as Juan had requested, he scanned the living room.
Every inch and corner were a lot better than the kind of places where Juan had spent his last six years. He got up and looked at the comfortable furniture and the dark carpeting. He decided that when he left this place, he would be taking some of the goodies with him, with his brother’s consent or without.
My brother would understand, and he always knows
, he thought to himself, smiling.
Lucinda came back into the room surprised to see a standard 9-mm caliber pistol lying flat on the sofa where Juan had been sitting. She stood there shocked and frightened and saw Juan come hurrying toward her, with a menacingly devious smile on his face.
They all sat at the dining table as Octa and Juan reminisced about the years they had spent together and cracked jokes. Lucinda was still a bit shaken up by the incident that happened earlier.
Why does he need to carry a gun?
The fact that they both laughed so hard about how Juan had given her a real fright was getting her down as well. “It’s a gun, and I can never get used to a gun.” Questions kept running in and out of her mind as she toyed with the string beans on her plate.
Juan suddenly spoke up. “I guess you guys are wondering why I’m here.”
“It’s about time,” Octa said, looking at his smirking brother.
Juan coyly looked across the table at Lucinda and said, “I’m looking for a place to stay for a couple of days.”
Lucinda and Octa exchanged looks, and he asked Juan, “How come?”
Juan moved in his seat uncomfortably and started to explain. “. . . well, the gambling den . . . things turned on me and . . . I lost an enormous investment that cost me everything . . .
“You lost all your money gambling? How could you be so stupid, Juan? How long will it take you to understand that . . . ?”
Juan cut him off as he tried to explain how it wasn’t his fault, but Lucinda knew it probably was. Lucinda started clearing off the dinner table as her husband and his brother went on arguing. She didn’t trust Juan, and she knew the accounts he was telling were not the complete story.
Later that night she lay in bed with her husband, brushing her fingers through his hair as he kissed her neck and tickled her lightly now and then. She was waiting for the right time to talk to him. After a few passionate moments, Octa rolled over on his side as Lucinda wrapped herself up in the sheets.
“How long will he be staying with us?” she asked softly, not knowing how to start off the conversation.
“Juan? I don’t know. Could be a couple of weeks, I guess . . .”
“Will he keep that gun?”
Octa let out a cackle and kissed her forehead. “I’ll ask him to keep it put away. He wouldn’t hurt you, Lucinda. He was just messing with you, and he’s just weird that way.”
Octa tried to comfort her, but she sat up. “He has a problem with gambling,” she said with urgency in her tone. “He could be provoked to do a lot of things and in this neighborhood . . . he could easily get someone to help him. The house alone is annually insured for two thousand dollars, and he might not hurt us physically, but . . .”
“Relax . . . calm down . . . what’s up with you?” Octa gave her a concerned look.
“I just think we need to be careful. We can’t risk everything this way . . . It would be just. . .” Lucinda was still speaking, when Octa cut her off.
“You don’t need to worry yourself, honey. It’s alright. Maisey’s accident is getting to you, that’s all. You’re just overwhelmed,” he said softly, while gently stroking her hair. “I’ll talk to Juan. He won’t be staying here longer than a week. That gambling little shit should’ve known better than to invest everything he had in a bet.”
Lucinda had a gut-wrenching feeling, thinking of all the possible things that could happen in the coming week if things went sour between Juan and her husband. Octa covered himself up with the blanket, satisfied with his decision, but Lucinda couldn’t go to sleep.
“Love, did you kill Bob?”
“We both know he left the house right after he got waterboarded without informing us.”
“It is a yes or no question, Octa.” She got up and sat on the bed.
“I didn’t kill him,” he said as he turned to face her.
Then, she rested her head on his stomach and closed her eyes. Octa was still up.
“Lucy, are you sleeping already?”
“What is it, love?”
“We never finish talking about Christina?” A deep silence fell in the room after he said that.
“Love, go to sleep.” She rubbed his stomach.
“I’m not going to sleep, not until we talk about it. You care more for other people’s business than mine or ours.” Octa got out the bed, turned on the light, and stared her in the eyes.
“Love, please, lower your voice.” She sat on the bed. “I just didn’t have the courage to share my feelings with you. You are becoming distant with me sometimes.” She started crying. Tears rolled down her cheeks.
Octa frowned. “You’re not the only human being in our marriage. I feel like you don’t care about my feelings as you prefer to pretend that nothing has happened to our daughter.”
“I’m sorry, love.” She reached for his right arm and pulled him toward the bed. He was reluctant, but he gave in when she stood up, hugged him and cried over his right shoulder. They then went to bed.
The next morning, Lucinda got out of bed feeling tired and started with her daily chores. Octa and Juan got up almost two hours later and sat down for breakfast. Octa was quiet for a long time before he spoke. “Lucinda and I have to go to her mother’s house this weekend for her cousin’s wedding. I suppose you can lodge here till then. You’ll have to find someplace else to stay after this week. We won’t be in town for days.”
Juan put down his fork and clenched his jaw. All of a sudden a weird tension filled the room.
“Why didn’t you just throw me out on the porch last night?” he asked Octa through gritted teeth.
“I am not throwing you out. You’re a grown man, and you need to look out for yourself. I have responsibilities I need to take care of.”
Juan scoffed. “Fine, I’ll be out before you know it, big brother,” he said bitterly and left the table.
That night Lucinda decided to make a drink for Juan and bring it to his room. She prepared everything just the way she recalled he liked it.
She walked to the guest room with his scotch on the rocks in her hands and slid open the slightly parted door. Inside, a body wrapped up in a blanket drenched in blood was lying on the bed.