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Five Years After

Five Years After

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Five Years After

Length:
307 pages
4 hours
Released:
Mar 28, 2010
ISBN:
9781452313504
Format:
Book

Description

Murder Mystery. For thirty-five years two horrible murders remained a constant mystery although a suspect has been duly convicted.

Released:
Mar 28, 2010
ISBN:
9781452313504
Format:
Book

About the author

E A St Amant is the author of How to Increase the Volume of the Sea Without Water, Dancing in the Costa Rican Rain and Stealing Flowers.


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Five Years After - E A (Edward) St Amant

Five Years After

Published by E A St Amant at Smashwords.com

Smashwords Second Edition 2015

Verses and poems within by author.

Web and Cover design. Edward Oliver Zucca

Web Developed by: Adam D’Alessandro

Pressed by eimpressions Toronto

Copyrighted by E A St Amant May 2006

Author Contact: ted@eastamant.com

E A St Amant.com Publishers

www.eastamant.com

All rights reserved. No part of this novel may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, emailing, ebooking, by voice recordings, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author or his agent. Five Years After ISBN -13: 978-0-9780118-4-0; Digital ISBN" 978-1-4523-1350-4. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, companies, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances whatsoever to any real actual events or locales in persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Far too many people did work on this murder mystery to thank individually; much of the initial editorial work was done in its individual constituents – the chapters are separated by half decades and were written in between other novels – the numerous suggestions of friends and associates through the two decades of it’s progress are deeply appreciated, but a special thanks to Marko Markovinovic, Deborah Cooke and Dr. Phil Miller.

By Edward A St Amant

How to Increase the Volume of the Sea Without Water

Dancing in the Costa Rican Rain

Stealing Flowers

Spiritual Apathy

Restrictions

Black Sand

Book of Mirrors

Perfect Zen

Five Days of Eternity

Five Hundred Years Without Faith

Fog Walker

Murder at Summerset

This Is Not a Reflection Of You

The Theory of Black Holes (Collected Poems)

The Circle Cluster, Book I, The Great Betrayer,

The Circle Cluster, Book II, The Soul Slayer,

The Circle Cluster, Book III, The Heart Harrower,

The Circle Cluster, Book IV, The Aristes,

The Circle Cluster, Book V, CentreRule,

The Circle Cluster, Book VI, The Beginning One

Non-Fiction

Atheism, Scepticism and Philosophy

Articles in Dissident Philosophy

The New Ancien Régime

I Am Paleo Man

By E O Zucca & E A St Amant

Molecular Structures of Jade

Instant Sober

Shotgun Socialism

Come dance, the bankrupt rate is set by the state,

The bar is regulated and the liquor first-rate.

Millions are pregnant with simple slow distress,

Raped with the plunder from his desperate caress.

And the brides and grooms of strangling breath,

Suffer shrewd speculation at her chest,

And marry, jaded in summer’s true delight:

A bridle vow to a once unfamiliar fight.

Come dance, the corkscrew is out on public platter,

The band plays/the bar is open; what is the matter?

The wine wonders to itself from Canna, ‘A venom adder!’

The whisky wise-cracks, ‘A host of Mad-hatter.’

Actual love does not exist to this deadly serpent,

And guests in the reception, lose double what they spent.

Millions divorce in a slick, sudden reverse of success,

Half-baked on the rack of their wedding dress.

Come dance, it’s a sad old song, ‘We’ve Only Just Begun.’

The bar amasses the marriages of redo and redone.

And falling through the cracks, we know quite well,

That for love of the state, we can all go to hell.

We dread the main course, from human debacle to a beast,

The gluttonous monster is expected to feast.

Come dance, throw down the crystal-glasses and shout,

The bar is open and the harsh spirits are out.

Come dance, ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.’

How did we get so ravaged and who did we marry?

Those falling through cracks, the state can just cash out and bury,

For love of our new religion, add a dose of democide and some hari-kari.

We watch the bar’s TV screens from clean shaven to Dirty Harry,

Tonight, the indulgent fiend is expecting the spirits to make us airy fairy.

Come dance, throw down the crystal-glasses, it’s a sort of funny-scary,

The bar is really busy but the bartender is watching ‘Tom and Jerry.’

ToC

Comfort American 1975

The Lakewood Murders 1980

Adam’s Maker 1985

Away From the Mainland 1990

The Webster Murders 1995

Stop Racism 2000

Comfort American1975

January

Five years before the Lakewood murders.

He knocked on the dull-brown apartment door. With a slight turn of his head, he could see the smudged dirty mirrors and the faded wallpaper. Litter dirtied the hallway and it smelt faintly of dog urine. He had lived here for a few months before their final separation in a marriage of almost a decade. He thought of the beautiful home she had given up for this stinking hole. She must have been desperate to get out. Moreover, the marriage was broken and he couldn’t put it back together no matter how hard he tried. He knocked a second time. He had rented his own apartment weeks ago, but it turned out to be even worse than this hole; a real cockroach’s paradise. His hands moved restlessly in and out of the pockets of his winter coat, touching a plastic bag and its loose soft contents. About to knock again, he heard the rattling of the chain.

What are you doing here? she whispered, her soft voice so appealing.

I want to talk.

His words had a quality of bitter sadness–and danger–perhaps insanity; What she said of him was true, he was a sham, and just a while ago, he thought he was such a regular good old boy, and a smart one too, not like now, a timid trembling silhouette of a man. But she had done it to him.

I’m sorry, she said rather nicely, considering everything, but you can’t, not tonight, maybe tomorrow.

He’s here? he asked in a desperate whisper, his tone now icy. How low can you be? His tears welled up but he stifled them and softened his voice. You just moved in here. You said you needed to be alone, you needed your space, to be free, to earn your own way . . . remember?

She dragged the chain off its rut and opened the door a couple of inches, obviously feeling sorry for him–and guilty for how she had crushed him into this pathetic state. Her long brown hair flowed over her shoulders. He couldn’t see her entire figure, but he could make out her breasts through the sheer chemise–for years he had ignored those breasts and now they seemed so lovely.

I’m sorry, Kevin, she repeated in a soft sympathetic voice, phone me tomorrow. I’ll be home alone all day.

She threw him a kiss and a look of love, but a frown overcame his face. I work. His voice grew louder. He doesn’t know that you’re still seeing me? He thinks you’re all his–that he’s won?

Anger jumped to her eyes. Shush!

She turned to look behind her. What she had done to him, she had also done to her first husband a decade ago. He saw that now. He had been too blinded by love at first to notice it–she had been too lovely–he, too lonely. She preyed on lonely men. Through the small opening, he could sense her excitement–she enjoyed the whole spectacle. Two men fighting for her attention. She had become as though a complete stranger to him, and he, to himself. He heard barefoot patter behind her, followed by an exchange of inaudible whispering. Her teenage lover stood just behind the door–he knew the boy had beat her several times in a mindless jealous rage–she had made a point of telling Kevin numerous times by way of criticizing his own gentleness and his sympathy toward her which from the beginning she had hated.

The almost invisible barrier between him and her new lover had opened a crack. He needed only smash through; then with a violent rush, he found himself crashing into the room. He flung her aside. In the semidarkness, he saw her lover for the first time–naked, lithesome, a scared teenager–their eyes met, the boy’s eyes lighted with fear. Except in age, he was much like him: One-hundred and sixty pounds or so, six feet tall. Kevin didn’t take this seeming mirror-image as any comfort, but as one more obstacle preventing him from winning her back. Even as he sprang, he realized how pathetic he had become. Doing all the things he so hated in others.

Together, they flew to floor and overturned a coffee table. He heard the sound of glass breaking and a groan of pain. He scrambled on top of the boy and delivered solid punches to his head, then to his face, around the grey eyes until they grew dull.

Don’t hurt him! Pam screamed, her terrified voice filling the room–confirming her love for the boy, not for him–she felt guilty about what he had become–a wretch.

Soon the boy went limp underneath him, but Kevin didn’t stop punching until Pam jumped on his back and dragged him off by his hair. He rose and pushed her away. The boy’s eyes were closed and his face bloody. Her open top revealed her nearly naked body now, her long brown hair partially hid her nipples. She trembled in anger and in exhilaration.

He deserves it for what he’s done to you, he said, to us.

He wished he had enjoyed the drama as much as she did. How enchanting and desirable she was at this moment. He glanced down at his fists, they ached and bled. She crouched over her new lover, touching his bloody face.

You’ve hurt him, she cried. He’s just a kid!

Kevin looked down on the bloody mess. He’s okay, he said.

Get out!

He turned back at the door as though to say something, but she huddled over the boy, tenderly stroking his face and sobbing. He slammed the door behind him and lit a cigarette. The corridor mirror showed his reflection, unnerved and middle-aged, a scrawny and foolish-looking man, with a pale complexion in need of a shave and a haircut. He could see plainly why she no longer loved him. But how could he still love her? Chemistry dominated him just as it governed everything human. Did this explain it?

It’s all vanity, he whispered to his reflection, but he wanted out–to escape the maze.

He came out of the building into the cold still night by way of the stairwell. He could see his breath in the air. Spotting her Chrysler, he realized he still had keys to it, and trying them, they worked. He sat in the driver’s seat, deciding what to do–how to fight back. Frost on the windows hid him from the sight of the ugly low-rise as he inhaled the remnant odor of her perfume.

He missed her immensely, but a voice inside him whispered, A better man would kill them for what they have done to you.

This is my taxi home he whispered to himself attempting to sound cheerful, and she certainly deserves to have her car stolen, especially since I paid for it.

He waited for it to warm, but it wouldn’t. He may have paid for it, but it was junk. He turned it onto the street. January had just turned the corner and snow lay in dirty clumps on the roadways. The dull grey days had passed either raining on one day or snowing on another. He remembered her words when he had discovered through all of her denials that she had taken another lover.

You made me do it! she had screamed.

A sense of creeping futility overcame him while he drove. She had lied even about another man coming into her life. He wasn’t a man at all, just a boy, a teenager with hormones, pimples and money. Christ, he still lived with his parents. She planned to use him as a springboard like she had used Kevin, and the one before him, Ben Goldstein, and for all he knew, the one before Ben Goldstein.

She should die! he shouted at his reflection in the rearview.

At length, he made it to the highway. His apartment building, located across the city, sat in between this hell and that, as they say. He hadn’t been home for two days, and when it came into view, he saw the flashing red lights of fire-trucks and ambulances and swore to himself. This pretty much described his current life, one disaster after another. He parked on a street adjacent to the building and made his way into the crowd of mostly black families standing in the parking lot, looking up. The smoke billowed out of the third and fourth floors–he lived on the fifth. What had he done to bring so much bad luck on himself? He had been over proud of his accomplishments and taken everything for granted.

How bad’s the fire? he asked David Leonard–an exceptionally tall black man with a goatee and an invariably friendly bearing–a neighbor who lived on the same floor. He often dressed flamboyantly, frequently in some colorful African costume, although tonight he wore a long Russian-style great-coat and an inky French beret.

They’ve already carried two people out on stretchers, he said and looked over at him with bright friendly eyes. He spoke quickly and with a thick indistinct blend of Caribbean, Asian and African accents. Kevin had to listen closely to make any sense at all of his speech.

Are they dead?

I don’t know. They’ve emptied the building and the fire marshals have arrived. Someone’s said the fire’s out, but the smoke is still thick, so I don’t know–some kids started it. He raised his hands. And look up, m`frend.

Sure enough, it had started to drizzle. Kevin hadn’t even noticed. I’ve a pair of young kittens up there, he said. They must be terrified.

David nodded. I think it’s going to snow tonight–that’s what I’ve heard.

Kevin pointed to the two young girls who stood in front of David. These are your daughters?

Tanya and Ashae.

The two girls looked to be about four years old, and had bored expressions. They gave him lightning quick bows as though he were royalty, but they seemed scared and cold too.

Would you like to put them in my car so that they don’t get too cold or wet?

Where?

It’s the ugly green Omni out there on Vanier Street.

That’s kind of you.

It’s nothing, Kevin said and passed him the keys. Keep it running so that they stay warm.

David came back after settling his daughters in the car. Your hands are all cut up.

Kevin confessed to him what had happened, from first to last.

Two hours passed before they could return to their apartments. Kevin heard that no one had died, and at almost four a.m., he raced up the stairs to his apartment–the elevators still weren’t working. An alarming odor of smoke in the stairwell worried him. He entered the apartment fearing the worse. To his immediate right, a small wooden wall-unit monopolized most of one side, and facing this on the other side, rested a couch and two large mismatched worn sofa-chairs. By the windows, a spacious desk sat with open drawers. He had received it from an acquaintance who had since returned home to Ireland. Friends had chipped in for the curtains, framed pictures, plants and the rest–he had left Pam almost everything when they separated so that he could take cash.

Brandy. Skip, he called out.

He had left a small black and white television on, and the first thing he did was to turn it off, quickly walking from room to room. Everything remained just as he had left it, but the odor of smoke was bad. The kittens usually came immediately. He looked under the bed and began feverishly searching for them.

Brandy! Skip! Where are you?

He walked out onto the balcony. Light snow fell. Where could they be?

He winced when he saw the empty vodka bottles on the kitchen counter. He remembered his drinking binge. Since the separation, he had drunk himself into blackouts and spells of nausea almost every other day. The first cupboard he opened–the one below the sink–he found his two kittens. They were dead and stared lifelessly at him. He sighed softly. He picked them up; their cold stiff bodies weighed heavily in his arms. He saw that they’d pried apart a plastic mouse trap and eaten the poison pellets. He had forgot to leave food out. He sat on the kitchen floor and stared at the open cupboard. They had been born into the same litter, Skip, a pure black male and Brandy, his black and white sister. Through his tears, he looked up at the kitchen cupboards. Every other edible thing had been sealed in airtight plastic containers to protect it against roaches–including even their own dried cat food–and they’d eaten the only food they could find.

He closed his eyes for a moment.

I’ve killed them from my own stupidity, he whispered. He leaned forward and put them down in the middle of the kitchen floor. He petted Skip, and although rigor mortis had long ago set in, its fur remained silky and smooth.

They’re dead, you stupid fucking bastard! he cried.

After some time had passed, he put them in brown paper bags. He didn’t have a place to bury them.

He went to his desk and watched the snow fall outside his window–afterwards, wrote down these words in the red light caused by a thick red light-shade on his desk lamp.

Crimson snow falls beyond my balcony.

It’s about time to turn off the light.

The modern wasteland makes us all useless particles.

And reminiscence is a nostalgic tide,

Each wound up in perpetual waves of goodbye friends,

Like the knots of red snow on my balcony.

They say light travels in a circle around our heads

And snow is sculptured by wind and rain.

But to me, life is a fool awaiting vicious lies,

And cobwebs surround the whole world on my red balcony.

It swirls around in a small red vortex.

My footing is unsure and I slip away in the false light.

I’d phone to say goodbye friends,

but there’s dust in my teardrops;

She’s slashed me to the bone and I’ve broken both wrists,

And I can’t reach the beach:

The water’s really quicksand, the spider’s a vampire,

And the red snow melts on my balcony.’

Kevin returned to his balcony and looked out into the sky. The snow’s stopped, he whispered and glanced through the window at the freshly written verse. Everything’s a lie–even that!

His voice sent a shiver through him.

He stood for sometime, urging himself into self-destruction. While the cold wind coiled around him, he came to realize that he wasn’t high enough up to do the job. He might manage to make himself a paraplegic. He didn’t have the courage to slash his wrists either, as his poem had hinted. He had to live yet another horrible day. With this depressing thought, he fell to bed and fled from his pain into sleep until noon of the next day.

May, 1975

Three months later.

Kevin stepped up to a cash machine and took out one hundred dollars. How long his funds would last, he had no idea. He picked up a large haversack and threw it over his shoulders, looking up at the sun–the first real warm day of the year had sprung out of nowhere. He walked out to the side of the road and watched the oncoming cars. Sometimes he wished he still owned one, sometimes not. Most of his things had been sold so he would have enough money to get away from Lakewood before hate consumed him. In March and April events had become an alcoholic blur and the temptation to kill Pam, on a daily basis, had nearly overcome him. He recalled spotting her and her teenage lover at dinner one night. He followed them home and attacked them again.

The police had been phoned and he escaped on foot–a mess at the least. To think about his rage filled him with dread. Two days after this incident, he had quit his job at Dreypony Construction and taken to the road. He had escaped Lakewood, but not alcohol.

Today, he had been dropped off down Highway 95 near Hightstown by a salesman heading south–a nice fellow who talked all the way about A J Foyt’s victory at the Indianapolis 500.

The exceptional light of the waning sun had guided him to a motel just outside a small town in Lopencort. This exact moment in his life would later appear to be preternatural. The streets which took him away from Lakewood had become a scraggy jungle, and the highways, serpentine. The cold and uncaring strangers treated him as a nuisance. He had forever lost his quiet ordered life in Illinois and now loneliness and anxiety plagued him moment by moment. The well-maintained highway motel had a neon sign blinking on and off. He detected this effect in the direct sunlight with little difficulty–he heard it more than anything, felt it, ascertained it in another dimension. Why this was so, would become soon clear.

Comfort American, he whispered.

He walked over toward a sign which directed him to the small reception office. A dull-looking, middle-aged woman, who wore a cleaning apron, sauntered up behind the counter. She had shifty eyes and an air of self importance about her, refuted at once by her clothes, demeanor and square jaw. Her clothes were faded and grey, and her unkempt hair fell in a mess to her shoulders, but the walls around her were clean, bright and cheerful, and he guessed that she wasn’t the owner.

A room? she asked curtly.

Off from the highway, please.

It’s thirty dollars a night, forty-nine for two and seventy five for three.

I’ll stay three.

She gave a little laugh and showed a missing front tooth. Never pass a bargain, that’s what I say.

She passed him an information card, and he gave it back along with his credit card. He caught his reflection in a mirror behind her. His clean-shaven face had become a little weathered and tanned, now he was tough looking.

How far is it from Philadelphia? he asked.

Two hours–by bus.

After showering, he passed the early evening hours in the comfortable bed in sickening nightmares of blood-revenge against his wife and her new boyfriend–Kevin ran naked through the crowded streets as people laughed at his gaunt form and his shrunken genitals. She had told him that her new lover had a larger penis than his; how she loved his coarse talk and his rugged body, how he roughed her up out of jealousy, how it was a turn on for her–about his taut youthfulness and even his wonderful fun loving parents. He knew that she must have truly hated Kevin to say all that–to torture him so.

At 11:00 p.m., after he had shaved and showered, he found a corner-pub in Lopencort. He read the local Employment News and punctuated his beer with bourbon shooters. It wasn’t busy, and in the background, he could hear a soft song, Midnight at the Oasis. He looked at the movie advertisements. He thought he might go see Jaws. Everyone talked about it and how it was the scariest movie ever.

An open window to his right, allowed in the sound of the odd passing car which headed for the highway. The evening had actually grown warmer than the day which preceded it, and at length, he tipped his third glass and emptied it. He thought about eating and ordered yet another drink, watching the pretty black bartender, perhaps twenty-five years of age. She had her hair done up in multicolored braids. Behind Kevin in mellow golden light, a cozy room housed twenty comfortable-looking nearly empty dining tables. He was surprised to see photos of Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Malcolm X, and other black activists of the sixties hung throughout the restaurant. Off in the other direction, stood a space for a small band and

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