[#4] Just Another Shock
Where did Scott go?
The story begins on the Wedding Day:
This time, Peter knew how to react. He had made a choice to marry Susan and he would go to any extent to defend himself and not let anyone bad mouth her. Whatever she had done, this was about his self respect and not her. Susan was pushed to the background now. She could be the most wicked person but he will always be what Carmen thought about him — Mr Right. He had made the right decision though situations had not been what was anticipated by everyone. The struggle in his mind, a reminder of which he carried in his pocket throughout the day, reading it’s words time and again as if they would unravel a mystery by rearranging them, wouldn’t let him rest. The solution to it was not sympathy but an affirmation from everyone that he took the right step.
Peter had hardly turned to go to his room when Billy entered hurriedly with a red face that reminded everyone of the clown they met every year at the famous Bernard Circus at the town hall. The panting voice from a frightened face hurriedly fumbled, “Scott is in the Police station. He is red with blood and looks like an evil spirit!”
“What?” said a shocked Peter. “What do you mean? I mean why?” he continued as everyone else tried to accommodate with another terrible news. The criminals in Merrifort till now had only been those from other towns. There had been no one who enjoyed a lineage of the town who had done anything that the police found worthy of a crime. Whether that was a bias emerging from a partial sense of belongingness to only the townsmen or a fact was something never contested. It was a consensus that only outsiders could be criminals in Merrifort. And Scott had over four generations whom the town housed with his great grandfather being the head of the town at a point of time when they faced an invasion from a small but wild tribe. Though his parents had been killed in a road accident a few years back after which incident his brother left for France with his girlfriend, Scott enjoyed the privilege that his past reserved for him forever. This gave more shock to Mrs. Castillo than anything else.
Billy blurbed something no one could understand and asked for his car’s keys so he could take them with him and explain everything on the way.
“Will you now tell us what happened to Scott? Who did what to him?” asked Peter in an authoritative rush as they all opened the doors to sit in the car.
“Yes, tell us now. I hope this is not a joke,” Mr. Castillo reiterated Peter.
“Why will I joke Mr. Castillo?” said a relatively relaxed Billy who was happy to have found his car working as smoothly as when it was unwantingly handed over to Peter. “He acted as a pervert. Was beaten up. But he looks terrible. Dangerous actually.”
“Can you speak out clearly Billy!” shouted an exasperated Peter, proving his father wrong who took pride thinking Peter’s calmness was inherited from him. “Scott cannot do anything that would send him to jail. He isn’t of that pedigree.”
“Well, don’t you remember how he moved out of the house in anger? Anger always make you do stupid things. I was told he tried to molest Susan's sister, Valentina. I wonder if this was the right time to get horny. He could have waited for a few days.”
Peter and Mr. Castillo realised that Billy’s silly comments were the last thing they should let disturb their minds further. Since the police station was not more than a couple of minutes away now, they waited eagerly to see Scott and know everything themselves. Irrespective of the distrust they had for Billy’s words, both faced a fear of them being true. Peter couldn’t stop tapping his feet feverishly and Mr. Castillo, correcting his posture to sit upright and getting ready to face a little embarrassment — calmly. Mr. Castillo was obviously not attached to Scott like Peter.
What Billy had heard was right. The Inspector narrated how Scott tried to molest Valentina in front of Mr. O’ Dannell thinking she was the only one who could reveal Susan’s whereabouts to him. As he entered Susan’s lane red with anger, everyone who saw him started following him as they knew he was Peter’s best friend and also what had passed that morning. By the time he had entered the house, crowd had started gathering outside anticipating to know fresh updates from the ditched man’s family but when they heard Valentina’s shrieking noises from the inside, a few of them rushed inside to find Scott misbehaving with her. They pulled him out and started beating him up. “How else do you expect a crowd to behave Mr. Castillo?” said a matured Inspector whose grave voice was a result of the authority he enjoyed wherever he went in the society. “I was also told by someone that he picked up a fight with a hatter who fell after his life restlessly asking him why Susan ditched Peter. Some said that he beat him up too. Though he is inside the bars for what he did later.”
“Are you sure Inspector?” asked Peter wishing it was a lie. The inspector pressed his lips and apologetically gestured an affirmation of his position as he had confirmed it from various sources.
Peter stood numb as he looked at Scott whose torn — clothed figure sat in the dirty, dingy room with his head between the legs. The room wasn’t clean because it was meant for outsiders and who cared about outsiders?
Mr. Castillo was already prepared. He just felt embarrassed now without any good or bad emotions.
Back at home, Mrs. Castillo didn’t care about Scott. She was ready to face worse consequences than him — just if Susan could be punished. She had ditched the Castillo family more than she had ditched her son.
The story continues:
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