Spike – A Novel (Chapter 11)

Chapter 11

It was 8:45am just a few hours after the devastating news. Howard had fallen asleep on the sofa from total exhaustion of finding out that his only daughter was dead. He couldn’t believe it was true. For the first few seconds upon waking he thought it had been a dream. Now he remembers it wasn’t a dream and that Elizabeth had been killed by a wild animal of some kind. He was devastated and started to tear up again, but he knew he had to pull it together and be the man that his wife and son needed. It was too late for him to be a father to Elizabeth; the father she so deserved. He knew he could do better; be better.

Howard looked up and saw Jen at the top of the stair. She looked so frail and broken. As he was thinking of what to say, Jonathan came from his downstairs bedroom like a wild wind. He stopped when he saw his father. “Dad, I just heard something about a wild animal attack down by the lake!” He seemed to be entertained by the thought of something so exciting happening in this “armpit of Sandy Oaks” as he called it. Howard told him to come into the living room and sit for a minute. Jon looked up and saw his mother take a few steps down the staircase, and then she turned and ran back up. The bedroom door slammed behind her.

Jonathan looked puzzled. He recalled the time his mother broke down and his father put her in the mental facility to help her “get over” her mother’s death. He couldn’t understand why his mother had to get over anything. Didn’t she have the right to feel the way she did? Jon did as his father asked and came into the living room.

“Whatever it is, I didn’t do it,” Jon declared. He seemed worried that he was in trouble but couldn’t think of what it could be. He thought that maybe his father had forgotten that today was a half-day of classes, and he didn’t have a class until 1:35am. “Jon, something has happened. I need to tell you…” Howard’s voice cracked and he bowed his head for a moment. He composed himself quickly and said, “Jon, the animal attack down by the lake… Your sister… Elizabeth was killed by a wild animal. She’s the one who was attacked, Jon.” Howard’s voice cracked as he struggled to get the words out but he finally did. Jon looked at his father with total disbelief. For a few seconds, he thought his father was playing a cruel joke on him but realized that that wasn’t his father’s style. He saw the tears well up in his father’s eyes and he knew it was true. Jon sat down and let it sink in for a bit and then he broke down. This was different than when Gramma died, he thought. Gramma was old and sick. She lived her life. Beth isn’t supposed to die this young. She had her whole life. It’s not fair, it’s not fair… Finally, the tears came and father and son sobbed together. A strong embrace followed. This was the first time in many years that the two of them had connected in any way. They stood with their arms wrapped around each other for several minutes.

“Let’s go up and check on your mother, Jon. She needs us now.” Howard told Jon and Jon nodded in agreement. They wiped their tears, hugged once more, and went upstairs.

Throwback Thursday

When I was just a teenager but out of high school, I was working at an elementary school as an Instructional Aide. I worked in a Resource Classroom where kids would come in from their regular classrooms for specialized help in certain subjects. If they were behind their grade level in a subject, they would come to us to help them get caught up with their classmates. It was a very rewarding job and I had planned to go to college and eventually choose a career in either Speech Therapy or Special Education. That didn’t exactly go as planned…but I digress.

I didn’t have a car of my own at that point in my life so I had to either walk, get a ride, or borrow my mom’s car. She was never fond of the idea of being without wheels and I guess I don’t blame her. I don’t like being without wheels either! Anyway, normally she would pick me up in lieu of letting me take the car.

One day she actually let me borrow her car, an ugly green station wagon. I sure wish they still made them! It wasn’t a cool car by a long shot, but I’d love to have one now! I wasn’t used to her letting me take the car, so I forgot I had it! I waited and waited…and waited and waited…for her to come get me and she never showed up! I figured she forgot or something came up.

After a good 45 minutes, I called her on the phone. When she picked up I asked, “Where are you? Are you still coming to get me or should I just walk?” She said, “You have the car, you dingbat!” I was instantly embarrassed!! Some of my co-workers (teachers, office management, and other aides) were in the office at the time and they all knew I was waiting for my ride. I could feel the heat on my face as it turned beet-red. When I got off the phone, I laughed at myself.. even though I was dreadfully embarrassed! One of my co-workers asked me what was going on. I explained what happened and felt so ridiculously stupid! That ugly green station wagon was out in the parking lot the entire time! Silly me.


Thankfully, I don’t have too many really embarrassing moments anymore. What are some of your most embarrassing moments? Do share…

Spike – A Novel (Chapter 7)

Chapter 7

It was getting very late now and Jen was worried that something may have happened to Elizabeth.

Howard wasn’t worried that Elizabeth was in danger. His only concern was that Jeffrey Scott may have taken his daughter and run off to elope. Howard picked up his phone and called Jeffrey’s parents.

“Hello?” answered a sleepy voice on the other end.

“This is Howard Johnston. Put Jeffrey on the phone!” Howard demanded.

“Do you know what time it is?” asked the angry voice, fully awakened by Howard’s rudeness.

“Of course I do, damn it. Put Jeffrey on this instant, it concerns my daughter.” Howard was angry.

Clare Scott got up, slipped on her robe and slippers and walked to her son’s room. She knocked on the door, then entered. Jeff’s bed hadn’t been slept in. “Bill, where’s Jeff?” She was almost hysterical. Jeff was never this late coming in unless he called. He was a very reasonable and considerate young man.

“Jeff who?” answered her husband half asleep and jokingly.

“Oh, come on Bill! This is no time for your silly ass remarks! He hasn’t been home.” It was now 2:00am.

Bill got out of bed stark naked and slapped Clare on the behind as he looked over Clare’s shoulder into Jeff’s room. “Where’s Jeff?” he asked sarcastically. He rarely took anything seriously. He chuckled to himself as Clare ran down the hall.

“You bastard!” Clare was furious with her husband. She couldn’t understand how he could joke so freely about something that could potentially be serious.

“He probably went out for a walk or met up with some of his buddies and just lost track of the time.” Bill wasn’t worried. He trusted his son. He knew he was just fine. “I’m sorry, Clare,” he spoke softly to her. It was just his nature to make people laugh. She knew he had always been the class clown, the neighborhood joker, and the family smart ass when she married him.

Clare remembered Howard was on the phone and waiting to talk to Jeff. She picked up the phone and put it to her ear, not knowing if he was still there. “Mr. Johnston, Jeff must have gone out again. He’s not here,” she told him as politely as she could without gagging. She hated being nice to disrespectful people.

“Damn you people and your perverted ways! Your son has run off with my daughter,” Howard yelled. “I’m calling the police!”

“Damn you too, you filthy rich bastard! I’d like to kick your ass all the way to China, you and that better-than-thou attitude!” Clare was angry and threw down the phone. She was unaware that Howard had already hung up and didn’t hear anything she said. She despised people like Howard Johnston. He seemed to think that having money meant he could be disrespectful to others. That poor woman, Clare thought to herself. How the hell can Jen put up with that man?


By now it was 2:24am. Howard was on the phone with the police. Jen was panic-stricken with worry over Elizabeth and with what Howard might do to the Scotts. They were good people and Jen had never had a problem with any of them.

He hung up the phone, still very angry. He poured himself some whiskey and sat down on the sofa to wait for the police to come.

“Howard, what’s going on?” Jen asked as she sat down in her mother’s antique rocking chair.

“Bob’s on his way over,” he told her without even looking up at her.

Detective Bob Keller was a close friend of the family. Howard knew that Bob would rush over if he were in need of anything.

“Howard, calm down before Bob gets here. You know your temper gets in the way of rational thinking sometimes.” Jen knew her efforts to calm him were of no use.

“Don’t you lecture me about rational thinking, woman!” Howard was cold and careless with his words. He got up and poured himself another drink.

Jen knew Howard was reminding her (in his own hateful way) of the period of time she spent in the Sandy Oaks Mental Facility 2 years ago. She did not take the death of her mother well and needed help in coming to terms with it. Jen left the room, with a hatred in her eyes that could have killed. She didn’t love Howard anymore. She hadn’t for a very long time. Love started to fade when Howard put her in that facility for 6 long months, and after she returned home she felt no love whatsoever for Howard Johnston. She stayed with him only for their children. She was faithful, but she longed for something more fulfilling. She really truly hated Howard tonight. She would soon find the strength to leave him.


Spike – A Novel (Chapter 4)

Chapter 4

Elizabeth had no idea what happened. It seemed as though she tripped over something, but there was nothing in the path. The moonlight was bright enough to see everything very clearly. She jumped to her feet and began dusting herself off.

What was that? she asked herself. She looked up the path. She heard a shuffling in the bushes up ahead. Must be my imagination, she thought. She continued on with her walk back to the house. She heard the noise again. Must have been a rabbit. There are lots of rabbits out here this time of year. Another shuffle. She turned to her right. The glowing emerald green eyes frightened her at first.

“Spike! You scared the daylights out of me. Come here, sweetie.” Elizabeth motioned him to come…and he did.

He came swiftly out of the bushes and sank his teeth into her ankle. His claws latched onto her foot and calf. She screamed out in pain as she tried to shake him off. She fell in the attempt. She kicked and screamed and tried to free herself, but before she knew it Spike went for her face. He bit her cheek and scratched at her eyes.

Elizabeth tried to protect her face, but Spike bit even harder. She tried to get off the ground but Spike made it impossible. She tried to scream even louder than before but Spike was at her throat now. His teeth sank deeply into her neck. He ripped at her throat violently. She was becoming very weak.

Elizabeth had never known this level of pain before. It was quickly draining away, pain and blood. Her life and that of her unborn child had ended at 11:05pm.


In case you missed the first 3 chapters:  Chapter 1   Chapter 2   Chapter 3




Spike – A Novel (Chapter 2)

If you missed Chapter 1 you can read it here: Spike – Chapter 1


Chapter 2

“Where the hell is Elizabeth?” Howard Johnson was a very uptight, outspoken man in his late fifties. His silvery hair was as cold as his smile, when he had one, that is. He demanded an answer to his question immediately.

“I don’t know, Howard. Elizabeth will be home soon. She told me she was going for a walk. That was about an hour ago,” answered his wife Jennifer.

Jen was a beautiful woman with flowing blond hair and bright, green eyes. She was much younger than Howard, only 43 compared to his 57. Her fair skin and extraordinary smile seemed to make her look several years younger than she really was.

“She’ll be back soon, I’m sure. Don’t worry, Howard.” Jen tried to calm her grumpy husband down. She knew Howard’s temper and how he had to be in complete control of everyone and every situation.

“I want her home NOW!” He yelled explosively. “She will never leave this house again after dark. EVER!”

“Howard, please calm down. Elizabeth is growing up. She’s not a child anymore. She’s nearly an adult. Goodness, she’ll be 18 in 2 months. She has an awful lot to think about tonight. After all, Jeff proposed to her. You always taught your children not to take things lightly, to think things through before making decisions. That’s what she’s doing.” Jen paused to see only that her husband’s head was about to explode.

“She’ll be home by 11:00. That’s Spike’s snack time. You know how she adores that cat.” Jen tried to assure Howard the best she could without making him any angrier than he already was. Needless to say, it didn’t work.

“She will not marry that boy! He’s a nobody. How can he make my daughter happy?” He paused and seemed to fight back a tear.  “Even if he came from a good family I wouldn’t have it. She’s too young to get married.” He calmed down a little. “She’s probably down by that damn lake again. I’ll have to put a stop to that.”

That would be put to a stop, but not of Howard’s doing.


To be Continued…..