Someone was knocking at the door while Emma showered. It had been a long day and the warm water running down her tired body felt wonderful.
With the side of his fist, the man pounded on the door repeatedly. I know you’re in there, come on open up will ya, he thought.
Startled by a loud bang Emma almost slipped as she reached for a towel. She blotted herself dry, grabbed her robe and headed for the door. “Who is it?” She called out.
Emma closed one eye and peered through the peephole. It was her kid brother, Bobby. She unhooked the chain, unlocked the door, and pulled it open.
“Thank gawd you’re here.” Bobby rushed in and pushed the door shut behind him. “Sis, ya gotta help me…please.”
Emma turned and walked towards the kitchen, “What’d ya do now? Kill someone.” She joked. “You eat?”
Bobby was at her heels running a hand over his wavy hair, “I think so…,” he muttered.
“Come on Bobby either you’re hungry or not.” One thing about her kid brother she hated was how annoying he could be at times, but she was in no mood. She turned to face him, slamming the refrigerator shut with a foot. “Bobby, what’s wrong?” she asked.
He was pale, sweat beads danced on his forehead, and he was trembling. Their eyes met, “I think, I might have, I don’t know…” His voice was low and cracking.
“Sit down.” Emma insisted, pointing at a chair. “Sit.” The ticking clock on the wall filled the room momentarily. She knelt before him, “Talk to me Bobby. What’s wrong? You’re scaring me.”
A lonely teardrop crawled down his face, “I killed him, not sure, but…no I did, he wasn’t moving.” With the palm of a hand, he wiped his face.
Emma’s hand covered her mouth, her eyes widened, and then she reached out and hugged her brother. “I’ll take care of it, you hear me.” He cried openly. “Tell me exactly what happened.”
Bobby inhaled deeply, and then exhaled forcefully. “He was drunk, started calling me names, ugh, he followed me to my room, shoved me, I fell on the floor…” He got up and starting pacing.
Emma stood there and watched her brother pacing with folded arms. Poor kid, I knew this day would come eventually, she thought.
“When I got up he was standing there with clenched fist, those beady bloodshot eyes cut through me. I grabbed something, not sure what, I swung and he fell.”
A sigh escaped her, “He’s probably knocked out, let him sleep it off, he’ll be fine.” Emma said.
Bobby shook his head, “No, no…there was blood everywhere! What’s wrong with me Em? I hit him over and over, I couldn’t stop myself until I was exhausted.”
Emma headed for her bedroom, “Don’t move,” she yelled over a shoulder. There’s no way I’m letting anything happen to you, so what if he is dead, that drunk killed our mother and got away with it. Drunk should’ve got the chair. She slipped into a pair of jeans and a tee shirt. She grabbed her keys, and rushed back to the kitchen. Bobby was at the sink rinsing his face, “Come on,” she said sternly.
Driving up the winding dirt road to her childhood home made chills run up her spine. She had not been there since their mother died.
They stood in the doorway of Bobby’s bedroom, and it was a bloody mess. Her eyes landed on a baseball bat covered with blood, she turned towards her brother. “Where is he?” She asked.
“He was lying right there when I left! I swear…” Bobby said, before frantically searching the house. Emma matched his steps; they looked everywhere, but no body, nothing.
“Guess he’s not dead.” Emma shrugged, trying to calm her frantic brother. “He probably went to a bar.”
“No he’s dead! I killed him! He wasn’t breathing…or moving.” Bobby insisted.
She grabbed him and shook him, “Bobby, relax!” With the tip of her finger under his chin, she lifted his head, and kissed his cheek.
They cleaned the room then sat in front of the fireplace watching as the baseball bat turned to ashes.
Bobby had stayed with Emma, and two weeks later while watching a movie a news report interrupted.
“Today the remains of a man were found in the woods along highway 555, James Rider, 68, was identified and confirmed by his dentures that matched dental records. Skeletal bones show the cause of death to be that of an unfortunate wild bear attack. The body had been prey for the wild for approximately two weeks.”
Emma looked at Bobby; they both smiled and sighed with relief. And justice for all. Emma thought.