Chapter 11- A Town called Hate
Jen was stunned, as she quickly tried to close the door but Mike already had his foot inside. ‘What do you want’? Her amazement had turned into fear in an instant.
‘Jen, I need to talk to you’.
‘Is he with you’?
Mike looked at Jen trying to calm her down, ‘No, there’s no-one with me’. Jen took off the chain on her door and let Mike in before closing the door in a flash. ‘Mike, what are you doing here’? Mike smiled, ‘I could ask you the same thing’.
Mike looked around, it was a nice apartment, neat but small. Jen was a good housekeeper, very tidy and she took pride in whatever she did. Hugh was abit of a ruffian, careless in the way he lived but Jen was the opposite, very neat and proper. She looked after herself and the house and that’s how she brought up the kids. It was always a mystery how Hugh and Jenny actually hooked up, but they did. Jen sat down on the sofa slowly, she looked nervous and unsure of herself. ‘How did you find me’? Mike sat down on a chair facing Jen, ‘I found you by chance, it doesn’t matter but it’s good to see you’. Jen looked up, allowing herself a slight smile, a nervous one. ‘Mike, I don’t want to see anybody’.
‘Why did you do it, Jen’?
Jenny looked away.
‘Why Jen, why you leave your kids’?
‘I wasn’t happy, couldn’t live like that anymore’.
Mike concentrated on Jenny, trying to read her, she had lost weight and looked older than before. ‘So you punish your kids’?
No, I love my kids, I will get them back’.
‘How Jen, you are hiding here and your kids miss you like crazy…… Hugh misses you’.
‘Fuck him, don’t even wanna hear his name’. Jen glared at Mike, tears and anguish in her eyes.
‘Jen, you got to come back, we’ll work it out, somehow’.
‘How Mike, what are you going to do to work it out? It took me a long time to do this, I can’t go back, never’.
Mike looked at Jen realizing that she was never gonna agree, well not yet. ‘Jen, how d’you get this place’?
I knew people who use to work with my brother, so they got me out. I got two jobs and this place. I will have my kids with me as soon as I have enough money to move to the big city’.
Mike looked down, he could sense that Jen had made up her mind and she had planned this through. ‘Okay, if that’s what you want. Just promise me that I can call you and see you’. Jen looked up, ‘don’t tell him, please, don’t’. Mike was almost reduced to tears as Jen begged him, she looked desperate. He had never seen her like this before because she was so proud, he had always wanted to be there for her.
‘Can I call you’?
‘You know where I live’. Jen smiled at Mike, as he stood up ‘I’ll go now, Jen’. Mike walked towards the door, as Jen walked behind, ‘Mike……’
Michael turned around, ‘It’s good seeing you’. Jenny smiled at Mike as he slowly stroked her face, ‘Jen, you too’. Mike opened the door and walked out, down the stairs he kept thinking about her expression, her eyes, so many different emotions he had seen in her face in the little time he spent there. Mike sat in his wagon and began driving back, he knew that whatever the reason may be, Hugh had lost Jen forever and she wasn’t coming back.
Michael had more of a reason not to go to the store anymore as he went to visit Jenny again the following day. He spent much of the day with her, taking her out to have a coffee. She cooked a nice meal then it was time for Mike to go. ‘Jen here’s some money’, Jen had her arms folded as she shook her head, ‘I don’t need it, Mike, really’. ‘Just take it Jen, please for me’. Jen looked at Mike and took the money reluctantly. She looked down as Mike opened the door, ‘you can stay Mike … if you want’. Mike looked at Jen, she was lonely but he couldn’t, she was still Hugh’s wife and that was it. ‘I gotta go Jen’. ‘Sorry about Becky’. Mike looked at Jen as she said that, she had tears in her eyes, ‘I heard what happened’. Mike nodded. ‘Will she be okay’? Mike paused as he thought about Becky, trying to remain optimistic, remembering what he would tell himself, ‘she’ll be fine’. ‘Kevin is here, he’s got a place on the strip’. Mike closed the door slightly, ‘He’s here’?
’Yes, he has a place on top of ‘Jimmy’s. I see him sometimes, drinking until he can’t even stand up’. Mike’s expression changed as he thought about Kevin, he was here and
Mike had a gun waiting to be used, under his bed. ‘Mikey don’t do anything, everyone will get payback for what they did one day, even your friend Hugh’. ‘Why you hate him so much, Jen? I’ve seen him searching for you like crazy, he loves you Jen, and now he spends all his time drinking’. ‘So what’s new, that’s exactly what he did when I was there. Searching for me? He never noticed me when I was in that house, now he is looking for me’. ‘Jen, just come back, please’.
Jen looked at Michael as she spoke, her face a mask of grief, her eyes did not flinch.
’Mike, you know how it’s like to have someone beat you, hurt you and then fuck you afterwards. Call you a whore and your little girl asks you,’Mommy what does that mean’?
Mike looked back at Jen, he looked down just wondering about his own life.
He had always been there for Hugh, because he was a friend, Hugh had helped him so much that he could never repay him. That didn’t make him a good guy, he was no better than Vincent or Kevin, he fucked people over but that was okay because he was a friend. We don’t like people because they are good, all that matters is how they are like with us, that’s all that counts. That is the reality and it’s sad.
Mike arrived back at the store and saw Kay’s car parked outside. He felt happy seeing her, he thought of Jen and then looked at Kay. Kay was someone he could be with, she was a nice person, a warm person not like many girls from the city. Even though he didn’t know many girls from the city but what he heard about them wasn’t good. She was different though, more like Emily. Can a man be in love with three women at the same time?
‘Hi Michael, I was about to go when I saw you pull up’.
‘I had been across the bridge, doing some deliveries’. Mike unlocked the store as Kay walked behind him, looking around. ‘Nice place, so you get many orders’.
‘Yes, it’s not too bad. As long as you can deliver the stuff yourself’.
‘So you lock up when you make deliveries’,
‘Nah not usually, I have a guy here normally but he’s off work at the moment’.
Michael looked at Kay as she continued scanning the store, in a way a cop scans a crime scene for evidence. Mike was feeling anxious, ‘So, you looking forward to Saturday night’. Mike was changing the subject intentionally, Kay smiled, ‘well, yes, it’s probably the only thing I’ve had to look forward to since arriving in your town’. Mike pulled up a chair for Kay to sit on, ‘it’s okay. I’m just going. Michael, tell me something, this was a mining town, right’? So where are those mines now’?
‘They’ve been sealed off, years ago’.
‘In the valley, further up’.
’Can anybody go down there …?
In those mines’? Mike looked at Kay, surprised by her question, ‘why d’you wanna do that. They’re sealed off, too dangerous’. Kay laughed slightly, realizing how stupid she must have sounded asking that question. ‘I gotta go Michael, see you Saturday. 7.30’. As Kay left the store, she knew that this whole ‘Gabriel’ mystery was really getting inside her head but why did Shane Martyn take Gabriel down those mines at night? Maybe there was some secret down there, but it’s probably never gonna be found much like Gabriel’s body. Maybe his body is down there, phew!
Kay had tried to call the man again from across the bridge but his line had definitely been disconnected. So that turned out to be a dead lead. She still believed that the ‘Martyn’ family knew something, more than what they are letting on. Emily too was keeping something back but it was impossible to get these people to talk. Saturday night maybe the last chance to find something out and at least solve abit of the puzzle. Kay arrived at her motel, and Al was sitting behind the desk. ‘Someone delivered this for you’, it was an envelope. ‘Who was it’? ‘It was DHL’. Kay took the envelope to her room and quickly opened it, there were records of statements, but peoples’ names had been removed. Kay looked through the files, they were copies and the statements must have been from the investigation back then. Kay took the envelope and drove up to the library, she walked inside and Hans was standing on a ladder putting some books on a shelf, ‘Hi, can I talk to you’. Hans came down, ‘Hi Miss Winters, what can I do for you’?
‘I got this delivered to me, it must have been from your friend’. Hans took the envelope and looked through the records, ‘they’re statements from the officers, about those men who were killed’.
‘I know what they are but they have no names and they are copies. They are no use to me’.
Hans began reading the statements, ‘these accounts say how the men you are looking for were disposed of. He’s never gonna allow you to see whose statements they are because it’s too risky for him’.
‘I can’t use these’.
‘why are you smiling’?
‘Miss Winters for a big city reporter you are quite naïve. You are not supposed to use them’. Kay rolled up her eyes, ‘so what’s the point of sending them to me’. Hans gave Kay a stern look, ’have you bothered reading them, these statements mention the names of the people who disappeared. ’Luke Evans was shot by an officer, not named as he left his house. Jaco Carter was killed in his cell, and ……….
‘How about Gabriel’?
Hans looked up, ‘well, we don’t know about him, do we’?
‘Mr Mansell, is Gabriel in those mines. Is that where his body is’?
Hans lowered his eyebrows at Kay, ‘in the mines’? No, Miss Winters, he disappeared in the woods’.
Kay sighed, ‘keep these records, I don’t have much use for them. If you speak to him, thank him for me but I am leaving town in a few days. I have what I need’.
‘Miss Winters, I’m happy that you have whatever you came looking for. Truth is a funny thing, we look for it but most times when we find it, we wish we hadn’t’. Kay smirked, ‘Mr Mansell, I came looking for what happened to the men who disappeared. Men who once lived in this town but it seems no-one cares, they were just forgotten. Cops made up this cock and bull story and everyone accepted it. At least now, I know that it’s not just the officers in this town who are dis-honest but it’s everyone else too’. Kay began to walk towards the door as Hans called her from behind, ’I don’t think you believe that anymore than I do. Miss Winters, you came with an idea, a story already in your mind and everything you’ve done since being here, has been to confirm your pre-conceived notion of the facts about this town. We all do that, have an idea of the facts and then try to fit the blocks in the right holes. If they don’t fit we force the fuckers in, to make them fit. They don’t fit Miss Winters, the truth doesn’t fit in your pre-determined story of this town and you ain’t got what it takes to keep digging because what you will find, will change everything you have ever believed to be the ‘truth’. Kay smiled from the corner of her mouth, ‘you ain’t got what it takes … either. Otherwise you would be doing what I am, instead of wiping the dust of old book shelves’.
Mike stood ironing his shirt, his tan brown one and black trousers. Ethel watched him from the corner of her eye, ‘where are you going’?
I’m just going out, you know, been a while’.
‘That’s good, take Hugh with you. He needs a change, get his mind of Jenny’.
Mike looked at the mirror, he looked good. He hadn’t been dressed up for a long time, it wasn’t for Kay as it was for himself. Mike put on some aftershave, his jacket and left the room. He glanced at Becky’s room and remembered it was Saturday night. She would be the one getting dressed up usually, to go to Amy’s. For a moment, he stopped in the hallway staring at Becky’s closed door.
If only she was in there, man. I would give my arms and legs just for her to walk out now and be fine.
Mike left the house, driving through the main square. He stopped at the lights, he looked at the people walking past and then he saw Vincent’s father. Reginald Cunningham was with two other men as they walked up to their car. Reginald looked up and saw Mike staring at him. Reginald gave Mike a hard stare, the lights turned green and Mike drove past Reginald as their glares passed each other. Mike felt a rush of hate as he glanced at Reginald in the side mirror. He felt mad, Becky was in the hospital and these fuckers are walking around. Mike shook his head, he was cruelly reminded that hatred overcomes everything else in this town. No evening can be special until the Cunninghams, are here.