Everything had been going well the day that it all happened. Surprisingly well, even. It had been a crisp, fall day. As Miguel walked home from his job at the Indianapolis Child Support-Prosecuting Attorneys, he could smell the moisture in the air. It would snow soon. If not today, then sometime later on in the week.
The walk to Ransom Street wasn’t very far. It also wasn’t the most pleasant walk in the world. The neighborhood had been pretty run-down and was only getting worse. The houses around his had always been crumbling. The foundations were warped, siding was slowly falling to the ground, and all of the yards had turned into dirt. It never used to bother him, growing up. Of course, that had been when he dressed more like the people he saw on his walk home. Things were a little different now that he had to wear a suit to work.
It’s not as though Miguel didn’t make enough money to move to a better part of town. He made a fair amount of money as a legal-aide working for the city. On top of that, Miguel saved like crazy and had even invested a small sum into some high interest mutual funds. Money wasn’t an issue. It was his family. When Miguel was preparing to graduate from IU School of Law, his mother died, leaving him with the responsibility of caring for his aging grandmother and a twelve year-old nephew. He had never known his father and had been used to dealing with extra responsibility, but he had never experienced anything quite as stressful as taking on the role of caretaker for his grandmother. She had come straight out of the barrios of Mexico City and couldn’t speak a word of English. Come to think of it, she didn’t speak much in any language since her only daughter, Miguel's mother, had died.
On that day, however, Miguel was unaffected by all of this. It was a good day. Jessica, from work, had agreed to go with him to Broad Ripple later in the evening. As far as Miguel was concerned, it was the perfect way to start his weekend. Jessica was tall, blonde, slender, and had beautiful green eyes. She was everything Miguel could ever want in a girl. He’d had a serious relationship once. It didn’t work out, and he knew it was because he was too immature to make it work past the physical aspect. During his walk home, Jessica was all that Miguel could think about. Miguel loved the way Jessica wore her short, tight skirts to work almost without fail. Miguel, like most of his friends he grew up with, based dating and relationships mainly on the physical; and Jessica met those needs. He’d been out of practice in the bedroom since he’d graduated college, though he’d never admit it to the guys at work. He would probably put a condom in his wallet just in case.
As he neared the worn-down wooden steps leading to his porch, Miguel let out a loudsigh of self-appreciation. He would take a Trojan Twisted, or maybe a ribbed. There’s still time to choose, he thought as he put his key into the door. Besides, I’ll probably end up not using it anyways. “Hey Pelón!” Miguel called out to his younger cousin as he entered the home. His cousin had shaved his head on a dare and hated the way it looked, so Miguel had taken to calling him pelón. Miguel walked through the worn-down kitchen and listened to the wood creak beneath the decaying linoleum. The sink was still full of dishes from two nights ago when he’d made lengua tacos. Miguel clicked the switch for the lights in his living room.
“Pelón, you never did the dishes today! That’s two days now since you…”
Miguel’s heart stopped. What he saw couldn’t be real. There’s no way, he kept thinking. He dropped to his knees and crossed himself as he started to utter the Lord’s Prayer. How could this have happened? How could they be dead? His grandmother was sitting in her chair, slashed opened ruthlessly all across her face and body. The walker she used had been knocked over along with her countless bottles of prescriptions that had been scattered everywhere. Her intestines were dangling out around her fat, rolled knees. It was then that Miguel saw his cousin’s bloodied arm draped over the side of the couch; and the rest of him on the floor in front of the T.V.
It was too much to handle. Miguel fell onto his hands and vomited. He was starting to black out. No! I have to keep it together. I have to get help. I have to get out and I have to get help! he thought as he clamored to his feet and stumbled out his kitchen door. Miguel fumbled his phone in his hand then lost it when he fell down the porch steps and into the dirt. The fall didn’t do anything for his stomach and Miguel hurled again just as he grabbed his phone to dial 911. He trembled so badly that he had to try twice before he could even dial 911 correctly.
“911 What’s you’re emergency?” came the woman’s voice on the other line.
“Oh my God! Please help me! It’s my grandmother and my cousin. They’re dead!” Miguel shouted into his phone.
“Sir, please stay on the line,” the operated said as Miguel cut her off.
“Please hurry! Oh God. They’re dead!” he was getting dizzy again and was having a hard time thinking. Everything kept getting darker.
“Sir, what is your address? Sir? Sir?”
“Miguel Riviera?” a voice said.
“Hm. What?” Miguel said as he slowly opened his eyes. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been unconscious. There were two police officers near him.
“We need to ask you a few questions,” the police officer standing over him said. Miguel snapped up from the ground. Suddenly he remembered his trip home. “Pelón! Grandma! Oh…” he felt sick again.
“Yeah. About that,” the police officer started “you wanna tell us exactly what happened here?”
“Yeah, yeah. Oh, man,” Miguel started as he tried to keep his composure, “I came home from work, and they were both…they were both…dead. It was horrible!”
“S’that so?” the officer skeptically asked.
“Yes!” Miguel shouted back. He stopped trying to keep his cool and let it all out.
“Something tore them up! My cousin, his arm was on the couch, but he was in front of the T.V. And my grandma. She was in her chair but all messed up! I could see inside of her. I’ve never seen anything like it ever!”
“Ok, ok. Just cool down for a minute. Let’s go have a look inside. Whuddya say?” the officer suggested.
“Then lead the way.” The policeman said pointing to the door.
As they walked up the steps, Miguel couldn’t stop shaking. I can’t look at them again. I just can’t. The door slowly creaked opened and Miguel and the police officers stepped through. Miguel just pointed towards the living room as the officers walked past him. Any moment now he would hear the police officer’s disgust at what they had seen. They would see grandma’s intestines on her knees. Any second now. Any second and they would come out of the living room as ready to puke as he was…except it never happened. Instead, one of the officers stepped back into the kitchen.
“Hey Miguel. Come on in here for just a sec, wouldja?”
Miguel stood up feeling very confused and sick to his stomach. What could they possibly want me to go back in there for? With shaking hands, and a nauseating feeling in his stomach, Miguel slowly walked towards the living room. It felt like he was walking through water. His feet were heavy and weren’t listening to him very well as he trudged along. He peeked around the entryway and into the living room.
There they were. His grandmother. Pelón. The blood was still everywhere; the entrails still dangling; pills lying scattered; nothing had changed. Miguel started shaking and trembling all over. It was too much to look at. He felt sick again.
“Why would you want me to look at this again?” Miguel shouted at the officer.
“The rest of the house is empty,” an officer said as he entered the room.
“Miguel,” the other officer started, “what’s going on here?”
“Just look for yourself!”
“Easy pal. I am looking. I don’t see anything. Maybe you could fill us in on what you saw?”
How do they not see it? Miguel thought. How can they not see this mess! This used to be my family. You can’t ignore something like this.
Miguel looked at the officer in disbelief. The officer looked back at Miguel impatiently. It was obvious that he was annoyed at being called out here for nothing. He had experienced his share of crank calls, and he wasn’t enjoying this one anymore than the rest.
“Have you taken any drugs recently?” the officer asked almost sarcastically. The other officer chuckled under his breath. Miguel shot him a heated look that made him stop chuckling.
“I’m serious Miguel. Have you taken any sort of drugs recently? Or perhaps you’ve changed medications? Accidentally took the wrong amount?”
“Uh…yeah. Y’know, I did just switch my seizure medications. That could be it,” Miguel lied. He wasn’t sure what else to say if the officers couldn’t even see what he was seeing.
“Alright. Fine. Call your doctor, let him know what happened. Call us back if a real emergency takes place ok?”
“Yeah. Sure. Sorry officer. Have a nice day.”
“No problem. You bet.”
The officers walked out the creaky kitchen and towards their car. One whispered to the other, “Dispatch ran some background. He doesn’t have any living relatives. He’s probably just having a bad tweek.” They climbed into their cruiser, started it, radioed their findings to dispatch, and took off.
Miguel watched them go from his kitchen window. That’s when he heard the creak behind him. He turned to see his grandmother and Pelón standing in the kitchen doorway still ripped apart and bloodied all over.
“It’s time Miguel,” said Pelón, “Come with us.”