The Slave Quarters
Chapter 17 – Don’t Fear Me
By Rock Kitaro
Calvin and Jason arrive under the auspices of a full moon. They can see their own breath in the frosty cold air. All is quiet on the cotton fields. The crickets aren’t chirping. There isn’t any gospel music. No wind. No humming. No croaks from the big house. Just the packing of soil beneath their feet and the occasional chirp from the radios strapped to their shoulders.
An unsettled agitation creeps to their core. They know they’ve been had. They came responding to an emergency but the plantation seems devoid of all life. Even so, they feel as though they’re being watched. They are. Jason is scared out his mind. I can see it.
“Hey, son! I’m saying though. Ain’t nobody here,” he says.
“HELLO! IS ANYONE OUT THERE?” Calvin calls.
“Yo! Let’s go!” Jason begs.
The paramedics are snug in their dark blue coveralls. The ambulance is parked on the side of the road with the engine still running. With his red medicinal bag in one hand and a flashlight in the other, Calvin embarks in the direction of the slave quarters. Jason is right behind him but he keeps throwing wild-eyed glances to the big house. Calvin remains fixated on the slave quarters as if he expected a Doberman to come running out.
They’re waist deep in the middle of the cotton shrubs when Jason flinches and shines his light on the big house.
“Yo! You see that?” Jason whispers.
“There’s nobody in there.” Calvin says.
“I’m telling you. I saw something up on the second floor. Let’s get the fuck out of here, man!” Jason shrieks.
Calvin sweeps the field with his flashlight once more before heaving a heavy sigh and starting for the ambulance.
My voice cuts through the silence, clean, crisp, and clear.
They’re dropping f-bombs as they fumble with their flashlights. They cast their lights on the slave quarters and there, they see a new and improved version of Cloud Beaudry, one exuding with the swagger of a champion. My blazer is in the rental, parked further down the road. I’m wearing a bulletproof vest and there’s a .380 on my hip.
The sleeves of my white collared shirt are rolled up and if you think I’m freezing, think again. I’ve been practicing Wing Chun drills for the past two minutes. My chain punches, front kicks, and Ton Saus are on point.
The paramedics emerge from the cotton fields to enter the soft patch of soil in front of these here slave quarters. They look pissed. Reasonably so.
“You would be the one to call us out here in the middle of the goddamn night!” Jason snarls.
“Let me ask you something.” I begin, pausing for a moment to stretch out my neck. “1896 Drew Street. Ring any bells?”
They ponder for a moment. Then a bewilder expression befalls Jason.
“That’s my girl’s house, homie. How the fuck you know Kyrah?” he snaps.
I’m snickering out loud. I never snicker. After unclasping my watch and sliding it into my pocket, I lock eyes with the Slave Quarter Killer. He has no fucking clue.
“Sup, Calvin. You want to tell him. Or should I?”
“Man, whatchu talkin about?” Calvin says, as if I’m wasting his time.
“Not bad. Yes, your performance was very convincing. When we first met, I never thought for a second you’d be capable of stalking six teenage girls. Abducting them. Raping and molesting them until you’ve reached the pinnacle of pleasure. And then…Well you couldn’t let them go, could you? So you killed them. And you didn’t just kill them softly. They all died brutally. You could have just shot them. You could’ve slit their throats. Hell, for someone in the medical field, it would have been easy. But no! You bludgeoned them. You choked them. You drowned them, you unimaginable piece of shit. And perhaps the worst came when a girl felt so hopeless, so utterly defeated that she’d rather bash her own brains out than see your face again.”
Jason turns to his partner. He doesn’t believe me at first, but Calvin…He just stares at me with an empty gaze of morbid denial. I’ve seen that look before. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world. The realization that everything is caving in and there’s nothing he can do about it, like a submarine filling up with water.
“Hey, fuck you!” Jason shouts. “There you go again, pointing fingers. I heard ya’ll already caught the motherfuckuh who did this so why you messin with us?”
Calvin drops his red medical bag. It hits the dirt and I hear something break, prompting me to whip out my Glock and aim it at the bridge of his nose, both hands holding it steady.
“Don’t move a muscle!” I warn.
“Whoa! What the hell are you doing? I don’t believe this!” Jason shouts.
“Calvin Chalmers. You’re under arrest for the rape and murder of Tiquasia Payne. Denedra Harrell. Samantha Fox. Ashley Hunt. And Alisha Collier.”
“WHAT? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!” Jason screams.
“Tell him, Calvin! Tell him what you been up to every time you drop him off at his girl’s house. Go ahead. Ask him, Jason. I’ll wait.”
“Nigga…What is he talkin about?” Jason asks.
“He’s got nothing.” Calvin snarls. “Probably hit his head one too many times. Should have someone look at that, bruh.”
I’m smirking as I lower my weapon and take the finger off the trigger. “Just tell me one thing. What exactly did you say to KeNedra? If I’m not mistaken, once you boys picked her up, it was Jason doing the driving while you had her alone in the back cabin. She recognized you didn’t she. You must have told her something. So let’s hear it. I want to hear what the devil said to the angel. To get her to kill herself like that. SPEAK!”
Calvin shakes his head with a cocky grin. “Don’t know what you talking about. And to be honest, you starting to work my last nerve. Got us out here in the middle of the…”
“Look around! There’s no one out here but us. You don’t hear any sirens. No helicopters. No cops. Other than the three of us, not a single soul knows you’re an ass-raping murderer. I don’t give a damn about the justice system. We all know there’s no right or wrong, only public opinion. All I care about is closure for KeNedra’s family. If a coward like you met them, you’d break down on the spot. I can tell just by looking. You don’t have the balls. All reserved and hiding behind your silence. To be honest, I respected you more when you throwing hands in the big house. That was a warrior. That was a beast. Frankly, I don’t know who this scared little shit is.”
My words…they sting. I know they do. He’s grinding his teeth. He doesn’t know what I know or if he should even believe me, but there’s one thing he took away from my little speech. Other than the three of us, not a single soul knows he’s the Slave Quarter Killer.
More importantly, Jason is starting to believe me. He thought back to when they picked up KeNedra. It’s true that she told them about Tiquasia’s rape. But once she was in the back cabin, alone with Calvin, Jason didn’t hear another peep out of them. Not even when he was calling for updates.
“So what happened?” I continue. “When your parents divorced, your mom had custody but she was on and off meth. Wasn’t she?”
“Shut up,” Calvin mutters.
“It was your sister who raised you. I saw your profile page, man. Your sister has some lovely children. The family resemblance is…shall we say…striking.”
“Alright so you really need to shut the fuck up now.” Calvin says with crazy eyes.
“Don’t worry. I think it’s cool you don’t blame your mom. It was your sister who took advantage of you. It’s your sister’s fault. You blame her for this insatiable lust for innocent teenage flesh. It’s her fault you aren’t attracted to grown women. Your sister took something precious away from you when you were just coming up. And she has the nerve to flaunt the results all over social media. I can’t even imagine the shame. The abhorrence. The abomination.”
Calvin’s jaw slacks like a drawbridge as I weave my words, my speculations. The shock and vomit-inducing contempt all comes flooding back and with each syllable Calvin is prodded closer to the edge of insanity.
“SHUT UP! You shut your fucking mouth right now!” He screams with balled up fists and bouncing shoulders.
Now, what you’ve just witnessed was a master thespian improvising a story based on the audience feedback. It was a shot in a dark and I should get an award for suppressing my surprise. Amazing. All I did was pull on a string and unravel a garment that could only fit Calvin Chalmers. I had no idea incest was involved, only that his mother used meth and his sister had a hand in shaping the monster I see before me.
“Yo…” Jason says, utterly stunned. “What’s he talking about, bruh? You mean Tara’s kids? They’re yours?”
“That fire in your heart…” I continue as I make my approach. “I know how it feels. This morning I had a young man ask me about my mother. She was a whore, you see. Always a whore. I can’t deny it, nor fight it. She laid up with just about anybody who threw a compliment her way and it pissed me off to no end. I never told her how it ruined my appetite every night she brought home a different face. She never asked me how I felt when they slapped her around. She never apologized or promised to change her ways. But it didn’t matter. I cared about her more than life itself. I feared for her safety. When her heart was broken, I cried. All this pain was brought about by someone I loved, the existence of having someone I loved.”
“So this morning, when a young man asked me if I was glad she died. It made me mad at first. Sure. But to be honest, part of me is glad she’s gone. That way I’ll never have to worry about her suffering from abuse ever again. But part of me is also on fire. If she didn’t go off and get herself killed, I’d never be on this dark and twisted path. She made me who I am! Anyone who says I’m at an age where I should be accountable for my actions is but a short-sighted asshole who’d break down on the spot and SCREAM if they had to walk a mile in my shoes!”
“Point being, they’re not like us, Calvin. They’re not like you and me. They are normal. We are not. And there’s nothing cool or special about being different, is there. So badly we’d give anything just to fit in, to be accepted by our peers, to walk and talk like everyone else. Jason will never understand why you prey on underage minors. He fits in a stereotype accepted by society. He is exactly what society is trained and brainwashed to go for. He’ll never understand the itch, the addictive inclination to watch as souls shrivel and fade from your wrenching hands. But I do, Calvin. I do. Like I said. There isn’t anyone out here but us. Two monsters and a human.”
Jason puts a hand on Calvin’s shoulder. As soon as he does, Calvin explodes in a blur of motion, turning around and clocking Jason with a devastating right hook, the likes of which I’ve only seen from Tyson clips. A violent smack, cornrolls whip, and Jason’s body hits the ground like a piece of dropped luggage.
My lips come together to form the “oh” but I make no sound. Calvin approaches. He keeps glancing at my gun but I know he’s not afraid. This is what I wanted. No fear. It’s when they think they’re in control that they tell me everything. Thus…ever so discreetly, I reach into my pocket and press record on my phone.
“I’m not going to jail,” He says, circling like a hungry wolf.
I nod, “The first girl was an accident, right?”
“Her name was Alicia. I didn’t kidnap Alicia. She came on her own free will. I invited her over to my place but she said she didn’t feel comfortable. It was her idea to go out to the plantation on Morgan Road. She said she used to skip rocks at the creek or some shit. Said it’s where she had her first kiss. I was nervous at first. I knew she was fifteen. I knew I could get in trouble. But dude…she felt so good.”
“Alicia was the one telling me what to do. She was directed me. None of it was new to her. She complimented me. Encouraged me. Begged me. Harder. Harder! HARDER! And before I knew it, I was raping a cadaver. I had choked her to death. It was an accident. I cried for hours. Had no idea what to do. Alicia was probably the only girl who ever loved me for me. And after that, I knew what I wanted and I just couldn’t stop. Sex is a drug, man. It’s addictive. The sensation lingers for days and every inch of your body flutters for more. I couldn’t stop.”
“The others. They were into it too?” I ask.
“They’re always into it on the first night. But once they realize they ain’t goin nowhere that’s when the panic kicks in. They start to misbehave, crying and shit. I have to gag them. Chain em up in the slave houses. I only killed them because they were struggling too much. They fought back and I had to handle it. The longer they obeyed, the longer they continued to draw breath.”
“And KeNedra? What did you tell her?” I growl.
“When we were in the back of the bus, I grabbed her in a fucking headlock and forced her to look into my eyes. She knew what was up. The police couldn’t save her. Her punkass brothers weren’t about to do shit neither. I’d sneak up behind them, one by one, and snatch the ever-loving life out of them. KeNedra seen what I can do. She know how I get down. No words necessary. You feel me? So now what, my nigga? You got your confession. What chu gonna do?”
Calvin is standing behind me. He’s so focused on the gun in my right hand that he doesn’t notice the phone glowing in my pocket.
“AGH! STOP! GET BACK! GET OFF ME!” I shout with desperation.
Calvin stands bewildered as I press my phone to end the recording. I confuse him further by taking the barrel of my gun and chuck it straight up at the full moon.
“Whoops. Looks like my gun slipped out of my hands for like, no reason.”
Calvin chuckles. “Crazy ass white boy. You bout that life now?”
We spring to action at the same time but I already visualized exactly what I wanted to do. I lunge forward for a quick backfist. He blocks, as expected. With his guard high to protect his face, I sidekick into his chest to send him staggering back.
He wants to counter but I unleash a flurry of peppering chain punches. These rolling jabs are lightning fast, rapid, made to stun, stiffening his muscles, and reducing his speed. After logging fifteen strikes to the chest and midsection, I rattle his chin with rising palm strike. He gets his first swing at me but I lean back and counter with a left hook that pops out his jaw.
Calvin falls on his ass, groaning in pain as he crawls away. I’m following him, shaking my arms to keep loose. This bastard threw me out of a window. I’m just getting started.
“You beat Tiquasia with a brick. You drowned Denedra in a creek. You stabbed Samantha fourteen times. Ashley was done in by a claw hammer. You choked the life out of Alisha! You don’t really think you’re getting off that easy, do you? Don’t fear me, bro! GET UP!”
He does get up. There’s no remorse in his eyes. As I listed the charges and reminded him of his own brutality, he forced himself to a stand and nodded proudly with each victim. As if I’m reminded him of his power, his talent to dominate. That’s Fine. Go ahead. Try and dominate me.
Calvin comes swinging out the gate. A gush of air whirls past my ears with each swing I dodge. He even tried the same hook he used to knock out Jason. It was fast. It almost got me but I swayed to my left just in time to see an exposed set of ribs screaming to be attacked.
I went to work pounding on him as if I had been poisoned and the only anecdote was locked behind his ribcage. Even when he squared his shoulders to face me, I’d dodge another swing and continue to bully his ribs. Blow after blow, I pelted him with uppercuts and body shots.
By the twelfth strike, Calvin started whimpering. I saw the agony and tears squeezing from his cringed face. He wanted to scream, “STOP!” but he didn’t. In vain, he makes another attempt for my right eye but by now he’s so slow and sluggish. I quickly step back before planting my feet in the ground and launching forward with a vicious haymaker that knocks him to the ground. I believe the kids call it, “laying his ass out.”
Spit and steam spews from my lungs as victory sets in. His ribs are busted. His jaw is dislocated. His nose is broken and his right eye looks like he was hit with the butt of an assault rifle. This is my handy work. This is my triumph and as per usual, there’s no one here to see it.
Just then, a glimmer of light draws my attention. It’s Det. Griffin’s black sports car carving down Old Waynesboro Road about 800 yards out.
“You got to be kidding me!” I complain.
I didn’t call that bastard. Why is he here? He shouldn’t be here! Damn it!
Just as I return my sights to the cowardly Calvin, a handful of dirt comes slapping across my face. It stings like a son of a gun. Before I even conclude that I’m now blinded, he charges forward and spears me to the ground in a gut-checking tackle.
I rush to protect my face and it’s just in time. He mounts and unloads a barrage of hammerfists, raining down punches in a relentless bombardment. I’m shielding myself but my bones are made of calcium not steel. His elbows are like a friggin ax chipping away at me. And even though I’m blocking, the strength of his attacks has my head banging against the ground like a kick drum.
Can’t believe it. Thought I had him. I’m dazing out of it. My eyes are going to that place where I can’t tell if I’m conscious or not. Resilience flees from my arms. I can no longer hold them up. I take three good punches to the face, three hard smacks, one of which displaces my lower third molar.
Seeing me so defeated and conquered, Calvin eases up on his aggression. Every time he lunged back to strike, he was only hurting himself with that damaged ribcage. He mumbled some racist slur my way but he can barely open his jaw. Looking around, he caught sight my gun. Still straddling my chest, he reaches over and picks it up.
With both hands he points the gun at my forehead. I’m groggy in world of pain but I see him. I’m looking death in the face. And even though I might not live to see tomorrow, I’m satisfied knowing Calvin will get what he deserves. I’ve solved this case. The Thompsons will have peace.
Snarling with rage, Calvin pulls the trigger, jerking the gun forward as he expects the blast. There’s no discharge. He pulls the trigger again. Still, it doesn’t shoot. He pulls again and again, until I start to grin. I’ve had that gun for the past five years and not once have I ever had to use it. Not only is the safety stuck, but also the safe-action trigger. The safe action device is a thin piece of plastic sandwiched between the trigger to prevent negligent discharges. The bureau’s very strict about these things.
Calvin’s trying so hard to shoot me. How can I not laugh at that? Finally, he gives up on the idea of shooting me. I stop smiling. There’s no way anyone can brace themselves to get pistol whipped. With one eye open, I watch as he raises the weapon like a vindictive Apache brandishing a hatchet. He slams it against my left temple. It hurts far worse than anything I’ve ever felt before. It’s like a packet of hot boiling acid bursting next to my left eye and that’s it. It’s lights out for me.
As Griffin, Leanne, and Jessica come to a skidding halt in front of the ambulance, Calvin rears his head to see them spreading out to find me. They haven’t spotted Calvin yet. I guess he figures if he’s going to go down for all of the murders, one more shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Even better. If they shoot him in the line of duty, they’d probably just be doing him a favor by sparing him of getting dragged through the courts.
So with one hand on my chest, Calvin raises the gun and tightens every muscle in his arm with the malicious intent of cracking me open like a pumpkin. He hammers it down but stops mid-swing.
Calvin eyes are bulging out in terror and disbelief. His mouth slowly opens, his teeth and jaw stained by his own blood. He doesn’t understand what’s going on. This shouldn’t be real. This shouldn’t exist.
What Calvin sees is a dark shadow standing just over five feet tall. That’s how Maggie always starts. She begins at five feet but grows bigger. Her black hair fans out as if she’s underwater. The white chalky complexion of her face slowly fades in as it becomes apparent she’s a dead woman who shouldn’t be walking. The powdery texture of her face gradually turns wet with mucus and oil. Her arms extend like a slithering snake until the back of her knuckles hits the dirt and rolls, twitching as if they’re being poked by an electrical prod, like a giant albino octopus withering on dry land.
Suddenly, her neck breaks! Maggie’s head dangles forward as the vertebra of her spine extends and protrudes like plates on the back of a stegosaurus.
She’s now the size of a grizzly bear on its hind legs. Her black marble eyes get wider, expanding out of their sockets as she glowers at the quivering Calvin. Her eyes bulge and glistens before separating into small dots. Her hairline recedes back until she appears bald. Blackheads poke out from the pores on her scalp until it appears as if she has the head of a giant mutated spider with white jaws. Her arms harden like sticks, developing six elbows. She drops forward and crawls four feet above the ground like a tarantula.
“What is this!?” Calvin gasps.
Just as all sense of reality abandons Calvin’s psyche, Maggie charges forward. In the span of two seconds, her head and neck stretch out. Her mouth expands like a snake and she engulfs Calvin’s upper body with the teeth of her lower jaw sinking into his sternum.
A fountain of blood spills over my white shirt and pelts the soil around me. He screams a muffled scream but Maggie’s not letting him go. Like a powerful vacuum, Maggie’s throat pulls in and squeezes Calvin as she attempts to swallow him whole.
His body is lifted with his legs kicking in frenzy. He’s screaming. The imprint of his hand presses against the inside of her cheeks but Maggie squeezes as if she’s sucking on something sour. The outline of Calvin’s horrified grimace can be seen as it slides down her gullet. Again, he unleashes a desperate scream for help.
“HELP ME! SOMEBODY HELP!” he screams.
Jessica and Griffin rush over to see Calvin sitting on my chest screaming up at the sky with his arms flailing about.
“HELP ME! PLEASE! HELP ME!!!” Calvin screams.
My eyes are just now reopening when I see a Griffin slugging Calvin to the ground. He trains his pistol directly at the back of Calvin’s head and I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn’t intervened. My hand…I swear my body is acting all on its own. I don’t remember doing any of this or even being in the right frame of mind, but my hand reaches out to clamp the heel Griffin’s left boot.
“Don’t shoot him.” I implore in a soft whisper. “Don’t shoot him.”