My eyes were watering…I had burned them so deeply…the scene was etched on my brain forever.
[Earlier that afternoon]
I had just driven by my grand-parents house and noticed the lawnmower was in the front yard…still running.
Unusual I thought…knowing how my PawPaw was… (Grandfather in Yankee-knees)(Sic?)
I parked my patrol car (I was a Deputy at the time) and walked across the front yard, headed for the corner of the house to look around toward the back yard…hoping to see my Granny and ask her where Pawpaw was and say I was coming by to see if I could borrow a skilsaw for some little trim work I was trying to get done around my house.
I didn’t see her…or him the further around the back I went. They weren’t sitting on the porch swing drinking tea…enjoying the shade as usual this time of day.
I stood there with my hands on my hips looking around, and making sure I hadn’t missed them somehow. I pushed my shades back to see clearer.
That’s when I heard something. You can always hear better when you take your shades off.
A sound was coming from inside the house.
It was a sound that my granny makes when she’s either answering someone or calling someone…something like “whooo!” High pitched. Know what I mean?
But, this noise sounded muffled…like it was coming from inside a closet…a box or cupboard…you get the drift.
I turned toward the house, I thought to call out…but I didn’t and started to go up the steps onto the back porch.
I stopped…like I had been taught from as far back as I can remember, “Take them shoes off boy! Tracking that dirt in my house!”…”Yes ma’am” I’d reply. I took of my shoes.
All these instances come back to haunt me now.
a) Taking my shoes off before I went in
b) Opening the screen door and going in, and holding it so it didn’t slam (Pawpaw said it was “rough on doors to slam them all the time!”)
c) Walking across the linoleum kitchen floor, Kinda sliding…like always
d) Going down the dark narrow hallway towards the back of their house.
e) Creeping up on granny’s door (Sounds like she’s sitting on the bed, tugging with something… something in the closet.
I jump in the doorway hollering…”Booga Booga!”
My eyes…oh my eyes…
I reach up and clap my palms to my burned and useless eyes…slowly backing, bumping, sliding down that now ever darker, narrower, longer…hall.
The bedroom. That’s all I could see in my mind’s eye now.
Burned in my brain. Imprinted.
Where my grandparents lay.
What a terrible sight for a young man to behold.
I was a cop. But, that didn’t dull the shock of the carnage I saw in that small room.
I didn’t know what to do. I don’t care how much you train for something like this…all the emergencies…wrecks…fires…..murders. It doesn’t help at all when it’s your own family.
There was this one scene I was called to where a drunken guy had beaten his wife badly, almost blinded her, and knocked all her teeth out…all because his dinner wasn’t ready when he came home from the bar!
Asshole…I also remember that he tried to resist and Officers Maglite and Eveready beat the shit outta him and regained control.
But what I saw in my grandparent’s bedroom was more than I could comprehend under any situation.
I couldn’t breathe now. I couldn’t speak.
I thought…or thought I tried…to use my radio. There was no use to though. Fingers shaking…
I didn’t want to spread it over the scanners of the neighborhood. No one needed to see this. Not even family.
For the rest of my life…until the good Lord takes me into his blessed arms…I will never forget that terrible…terrible day.
I would remember everything that I saw…no choice.
The knocked over lamps…the door swinging open….the tossed and cluttered bed…the ceiling fan, turning slowly.
The bodies. Oh God…their bodies!
Twisted and grotesque.
A pose that only an insane sculptor could imagine…or attempt to render.
Oh God! I could feel a flush coming to my face. I was gonna pass out! Oh my God! Their bodies!!!
I had to calm down. Not disturb the scene. Be a Cop.
My body had back-tracked somehow through the hallway into the kitchen. I had also removed my hands from my ravaged eyes and braced them flat against the cold wall…to keep from sliding down to the floor, becoming a ball of pitiful flesh.
I started to move again…then froze…again.
“Shhhh” I whispered to myself, unconsciously raising my finger to my lips
What! I saw something move…what is…that…a shadow? Motion at their door.
Someone moving toward their door.
I dropped to one knee, fumbling for my weapon, preparing to meet whatever came through that awful door. Prepared to get an answer to…”Why?”
Why did this have to happen to me now?! DAMMIT!!!
I’m a grown man…a Cop with a wife and children of my own.
How…could I tell them…my family?
About Pawpaw and Granny. What I had seen…
Their bodies…that way.
I just wouldn’t tell them…That’s it! …No, I couldn’t tell them everything. It’d be better that way.
More of a comfort for myself as they. A lie you say? Maybe…
The only way I could protect them from the horror of that scene. At least I hoped so.
This…and a million other impulses were racing through my brain and raking across the back of my scorched eyes as the shadow grew darker against the door.
I couldn’t move! There was no way I was gonna get outta this! NO WAY!!!
My Pawpaw came through the door with one side of his bib overalls up on a shoulder…buttoning his pants…no shirt no shoes….
He didn’t even have his glasses on!
I heard Granny go “WHOOOOO…!”
Pawpaw winked at me and stepped into the side door to the bathroom…
He said, “Treys here”….and shut the door.
My granny said, ”You need something baby?!”
How was I ever gonna get that scene outta my head?
I brought the revolver up to my temple…”No ma’am…I’m good”