No Crime in the Castle: Part Four
Trigger Warning: Suicide, Rape
Johnathan couldn’t take his eyes off his wife. He loved to see her sleep, but this wasn’t sleep. Denise’s beautiful, pale skin had taken on the gray hue of decay. The softness of her face was destroyed by pulls, tears, and stitches. It took a lot to close the hole in the side of her head.
The cathedral was empty, all except for two of Denise’s civil sisters who stood outside. He could never remember their names. Everyone whose name began with an “M” were modified in the womb to be female. His generation, the J’s, were males. Denise’s generation had a certain balance between the genders. That’s what she’d brought to his horrid life: balance. He wondered what more could have been done. Had her life with him been so intolerable? And to take the baby…
“Ugh.” Johnathan tasted the burning acid of vomit and swallowed it down. There had to be something more, something he’d missed. The girls knew, but they wouldn’t tell. He could hear their murmur outside.
“Maggie!” cried Mindy in a frightened whisper. “You made it over the wall!”
“How?” asked Michelle with her sharp intuition. “No one walks through Castle walls without paying a fee.”
“Never mind that,” Maggie snapped. “Who else is here?”
“Just us,” said Mindy.
“And Johnathan,” said Michelle. “He knows about the baby.”
“Oh, no.” Maggie put a hand to her forehead. “Now he’s angry too.” She straightened her spine and took a deep breath. “Well, not a word ladies.” They nodded a silent oath and walked inside.
There was no reverend, no pastor to deliver a kind word. Three friends and one widowed husband stood around the coffin. No one spoke. No one knew what to say until a voice interrupted their grief.
“Wow,” Mr. Schultz said. They turned to see him at the entrance, looking around at the empty room. “Tough crowd.” The girls all went cold. It was an acquired habit. Schultz smoothed back his salty hair and walked towards them. “I didn’t expect to see you ladies here.” He eyed Maggie from the ground up. “Especially you Maggie.” Maggie kept her eyes to the floor and her mouth closed.
Walking up to Johnathan, Mr. Schultz shook his hand. “I’m sorry for your loss.” Johnathan grunted. “Denise was a great woman. She loved you very much.” Johnathan almost choked.
“Yeah well,” he said. “It wasn’t enough.” Johnathan walked out of the room. He didn’t say good-bye, didn’t look back. He left the cathedral, leaving the girls alone with Mr. Schultz.
Mr. Schultz took his time kissing each of the girls. They fought to keep their bones from rattling when he leaned over and kissed Denise on the lips. “Well girls,” he said, turning to face them. “There is no Crime in the Castle. Only Justice.” The girls nodded their heads in unison.
He turned to walk away. “Oh, I almost forgot. Maggie, you’re coming with me.” Mindy, Michelle, and Maggie looked at each other with tears in their eyes. “Come now.” He grabbed Maggie by the arm and escorted her out of the cathedral and into the backseat of his government issued car.
“Don’t cry,” Schultz comforted the woman. “This isn’t good-bye. I’ll bring the girls over the wall from time to time.” He smoothed her frizzy hair back, letting his fingertips slip and run down to her neck. “You like that don’t you? When we play games together.” Mr. Schultz came closer and closer. Roughly grabbing her bosom, he smiled. “You’ve gained weight.” He nipped at her earlobe. “The doctor and I have decided that you won’t take meds for your thyroids. I like it.” He pushed his pelvis against her thighs. “We both like it.”
“Where to,” the driver asked.
“Home,” Mr. Schultz said. “Take us home.”