Photo courtesy of Pinterest
(Summer of 1976)
Unable to remember how he’d gotten there, nor what had happened, Marcus Paulos hovered above his own bullet-riddled body. A man had just rushed from the room and a hint of…something lingered in the air. Sulfur? He’d seen the guy jump onto a forest-green colored Cushman scooter and putter away as memories of the event began to come back to him. He’d been sitting in the living room with the television muted and heard what must have been the scooter. Thinking it had been a louder vehicle, but further from the cabin, he hadn’t paid it any mind. Absorbed in a brand-new bestselling novel by Victor Matz, someone knocked on his door. He’d thought it might’ve been his buddy, Mike, who’d mentioned he might drop by.
“Come on in,” he’d called. But it hadn’t been his friend. An unknown person, wearing a military-style, drab-green parka, had strode directly toward him. He’d only had time to notice the man had a Boston Blackie styled pencil-thin mustache. As soon as he’d stood, the stranger shot him twice, in rapid succession. He’d grasped his chest, pulled his hand away to see blood and noticed how small the holes in his chest were before crumpling to his knees. The man had then walked two more steps to stand over him with the pistol pointed so close to his temple he’d felt it touching his hair.
He next saw the man run and ride away as he looked down upon his lifeless body from the ceiling. Although he couldn’t see the corpse’s face, it wore the same clothes as his and had the same hair as it remained face down on the hardwood floor. He had no idea how much time had passed in the meantime, but it felt like only moments. Slowly, it dawned on him.
I’m dead. But why would anybody want to kill me? I’ve never done a thing to anybody.
Mike came to check on him, the next day, as Marcus continued to float over the body. He watched his buddy peer in from the front window. The shock on his face, eyes popping wide and mouth flying open, before rushing in the door to check the body further evidenced the fact he’d died, and the corpse on the floor was what used to be him as it all began to make sense. Mike then ran from the cabin, jumped into his VW Beetle and drove away, apparently to summon the police.
“Driver’s license says Marcus Paulos,” said the cop. “The photo looks like our guy here.”
Burley with a round baby-face, the peach fuzz on the deputy’s upper lip made him appear young in spite of his massive size.
“Check his rap sheet,” the smaller cop was practically the opposite of his partner, thin with a beaked nose and close-set eyes and jet-black hair. His barked orders insinuated he was the superior of the other law enforcement officer.
The big sheriff’s deputy went to the driveway. As the door opened, Marcus could see a Jeep marked San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department had been parked sideways in front of his cabin.
“Hey, Bob, this guy’s got nothing, not even a parking ticket,” said the deputy, stepping back into the cabin.
“Hmmm. Sure looks like a professional hit to me. That how you see it?”
“Double tap to the chest, one in the thinker, all small caliber wounds. Looks like a .22 to the head. Close range, too. There’re powder burns on the side of his noggin. Probably the kill shot. I’d say they ain’t no doubt. Ya want I should get the camera?”
“Uh … have I ever not wanted pics, Jess?”
“Naw, sir. Gettin’ it.”
“Be careful, now,” said Bob. “Watch where you step. The detectives will be here soon and our job will be finished.”
Later that day, Marcus watched as a plain-clothed detective in a cheap suit snooped throughout his house. After a few minutes, another showed up. From what they were saying, Marcus gathered he hadn’t been the target. The local sheriff’s deputies had been watching the house next door where the occupant sold cocaine and ripped people off with shit that had been cut to practically nothing with baby laxative. He’d also been getting high on his own supply and not paid his supplier for some time.
“Maybe a hit-man got the address wrong and took this guy out thinking he was the neighbor,” said the first detective.
The second nodded. “Let’s question the guy sitting on his porch next door. He’s been watching since we got here. He should be good for some info, especially when we tell him how he should be dead instead of his neighbor. Well, maybe not, but it’s worth a shot in the dark, no pun intended.”
This pissed the spirit of Marcus Paulos’ right the fuck off. He vowed, that day, to make anybody who ever moved into his cabin pay dearly, with their lives if he could learn how to do it. He didn’t care whether they’d had anything to do with his demise or not.
If I can’t leave this stinking place, I’ll make anybody who tries to live here either go away or die.
Over the next two years, Marcus learned plenty about scaring occupants, driving a couple people mad as they’d only wanted to live in the pleasant little mountain cabin. He hadn’t been able to kill anyone, yet. But he had come close by learning to manipulate objects. He hadn’t figured out how to make a person feel his touch on their skin, but he had ruffled some nerves by tampering with their clothes and hair.
It’s only a matter of time.