The White King Enters
Start Chapter 4:
One, two, three chapters already? "What's wrong with you, you sick f*ck!? How the hell did you find all this sh*t out? How the f*ck do you know who I am? How do you know where I live? Leave me the f*ck alone, I'm calling the police!" she typed, dialing the final "1" with her other hand, trembling slightly. But even as she stormed out, describing to the police her situation, she realized how truly useless it would be. Even as she described what was happening to the cop on the other end of the line, she felt foolish, as her words didn't explain enough, and the situation seemed ridiculous. The policeman promised to keep an eye on the situation, but apologized, elaborating that there had been a series of arson attacks in the area and the investigations into that and a few child disappearances were taking up all the time the small police force had. Feeling defeated and terrified, and above all unsafe, Elizabeth walked home.
Elizabeth decided to walk to Michael's school instead of letting the bus pick him up; she felt restless and uneasy, and in any case she wished to speak to her son's teachers about the situation. She walked up to the elementary school and caught Michael on his way out of the classroom. "Hey, Mike, you go play on the playground whilst I talk to Mr. McKinley, okay?" She watched him run gleefully off, and then stepped into the classroom. It smelled like paint and paper, and refreshed her senses slightly. She smiled wanly at Mr. McKinley, who gave her a big, teacherly grin. He was cleaning paintbrushes, but turned off the sink and wiped his hands on a towel, turning to speak to her directly.
"Ms. McFee, it's so nice to see you!" He said, genuinely. "What can I do for you today?"
"I'm just wondering if anything odd is going on with Michael. I've got a couple of problems at home, and I'm hoping that nothing is happening to him at school as well..."
Mr. McKinley gave her a kind look over the top of his wire-rimmed glasses. "Problems?"
"I might have a... well, a stalker."
"I'm so sorry, Ms. McFee. You don't have to worry about Michael; he'll be just fine here. We've really bumped up the security since..." He trailed off slightly, but recovered, "Since the beginning of this week."
Later that evening, Michael and Elizabeth sat down to dinner together amongst the boxes that served as furniture. They were eating macaroni and cheese on plastic Disney plates; just right for the young boy, but Elizabeth felt foolish. Nevertheless, she was willing to go without her dignity if Michael would just eat his meals without a problem. Elizabeth tried to initiate conversation with her son, in an attempt to savior what little time they had together. "How was your day at school today?"
Elizabeth bit her lip, but persevered; "What did you do?"
He shrugged, "Stuff."
"What kind of stuff?"
Elizabeth sighed heavily, and concentrated on her pasta. She felt so distant from he son, but he was all she had left to care about in the world. And it was such an uncertain world as well. That blog, with the moments in her life laid out plainly for all to see... She shuddered. Elizabeth wanted to forget all about it. She put Michael to bed, telling him a few quick stories, and prepared for work. At least at work she would be distracted from thinking about the stalker-- the thing that had to be a stalker. She nodded to Rebecca as she walked out the door and began the hike to the "Greasy Fork".
On her arrival, she was once again greeted by smoke and beer, rank smells of the underclass. In the corner of the room a man sobbed into his beer as his friends obliviously and drunkenly sang the chorus of a vulgar song about sausages. One of the few women who frequented the pub spat into her husbands beer whilst he was distracted by Dana's breasts. A couple of men were telling rape jokes and raucously laughing as the got worse and worse. Some of the loggers sat to the side, sharing smokes and complaining about their boss. One spat tobacco onto the floor beneath Elizabeth's feet as she stumbled into the back room.
"What can I get for you, sir?" "Have a nice evening!" The words became like a mantra to her, as she threw herself into her work. "What can I get for you, sir?" "Have a nice evening!" She had to concentrate to ignore the curses and catcalls, forcing herself to stay calm as Dana felt another untoward advance make its way up her skirt. "What can I get for you, sir?" "Have a nice evening!" She restrained herself from strangling the chef as he giggled his throaty, burbling laugh. "What can I get for you, sir?" "Have a nice evening!" She worked to stay as calm as possible, to ignore the horror of her work and the Lifetime movie her life had become. "What can I get for you, sir?" "Have a nice evening!" And as the night ended, and Elizabeth began to close up the bar, she noticed that Dana seemed to be close to tears.
"Hey, Dana, honey, what's wrong?"
Dana's bottom lip quivered and she began to sob, loudly, "I had sex for money and I feel terrible and filthy but I gotta pay for dad's surgery and I need to go to college but I feel so sick and I'm sorry to dump this on to you but you're the nearest thing I've got to a friend.."
Elizabeth stuttered, "Oh," and as the younger girl burst into tears they hugged. But Elizabeth couldn't help but notice the nasty voice at the back of her head. Why me, it said in her voice, my life is already crazy enough, and now I've got to deal with other people's problems? I'm not crying now. I didn't cry when my husband beat me, I didn't cry when he left, I didn't even tell anyone about any of it. I didn't cry when my sister was committed to that mental hospital, no, I didn't cry when our parents died. No, I buckled down and dealt with it, the evil, envious little voice said, as it glared at Dana from behind Elizabeth's eyes. Elizabeth swallowed those thoughts; they were sick little things indeed.
Dana cried, and Elizabeth finished closing up the shop. Feeling motherly, Elizabeth then walked Dana back to her home in the more inner city (though the area was far too rural to have a real "inner city"). The poor girl was still crying when they had finished the four block walk. She hiccuped, and turned to Elizabeth; "Thanks, E. I'll see you tonight." Elizabeth held onto her smile until Dana had disappeared from sight, and the yawned into a grimace. Sluggishly, she walked the six blocks back to her home. Rebecca stood up to greet her, "I can stay for the morning if you want-- Michael is already awake. He had nightmares."
"Oh I'm so sorry," Elizabeth yawned apologetically.
"Naw, it's not a problem. Just thought you ought to know." Rebecca frowned, "You look awful, is everything alright?"
"Help me get Mike off to school and I'll tell you."
Michael was off in his own room, pretending to be a Pokemon. "Oh no, humans have come to capture me for experiments! I don't wanna go to the training grounds!"
Elizabeth grinned- most kids had grown out of Pokemon, but her son stilled loved it, giving her an easy pass on certain aspects of parenting. She grabbed some of his clothes and shouted "Pokeball, go!"
Michael shook the shirt off his head, "I escaped! You'll gave to weaken me first!"
Elizabeth laughed, and launched an attack of tickles against her son, who giggled profusely, "Alright mom, I give!"
"Cone on mike, it's Friday! Get dressed, Rebecca has your cereal all ready for you."
Eventually Rebecca and Elizabeth got Michael packed off to school. Rebecca turned to Elizabeth. "What's this all about?"
Wordlessly, Elizabeth went to the kitchen where she retrieved the papers that she had found on the windowsill. She waited as Rebecca read through them. "I'm not sure I understand, E. Did you write this or..."
"I found it on my windowsill."
"There's more at that blog site as well! It's someone who knows all about me, everything I do, everything I feel. I don't feel safe, and I cant stop it from being shown to people! I don't know what to do!"
End of Chapter Four
The White King Exits.