16. Underground Again
I got in and started to drive, going to 1345 Forest Grove.
When I arrived, the sun had set. I got out of my A.V. and walked to the front door. I was about to ring when the doorbell when the door was opened. Inside stood Katherine, dead serious. She looked one moment at me, one moment at her feet, and then ran away from me yelling, “Mommy! The guy who I met in the streets is here!”
“Coming,” the mother yelled back. I waited and she soon arrived. “Hello sir. How can I help you?”
“I’m here to see your husband. Your real husband.”
“About what?” she asked.
“About everything strange that’s been happening to me in the last month.”
“He went to 587 Crescent Moon Avenue, if you want to truly see him.”
“You mean he’s not back?”
“Back from where?”
“Ike’s house,” I clarified.
“Oh that’s right! Ike’s your cousin.”
“Oh well. Thank you for you time. I just want to ask him a few questions about my
memory blockage and the strange deaths that have me closely tied to them. I wish I could just stop and reflect, you know. To have to move on and not grieve is hard on an individual!”
The lady just stared at me.
“Well I’ve wasted enough of your time. Thanks again. I’ll just wait in my A.V. until he gets back.”
Her face darkened with concern. “Oh, he won’t be back tonight.” My face darkened also. “Oh, is that so? Why is that, mad’m?” “He’s just working overnight.”
“You know that doesn’t happen in Trench,” I reminded her.
She closed the door. She was not telling me something, but yet, if she did not trust me, why did she redirect me to where he was? This was all too puzzling, and so I headed to my cousin’s house once more, but this time, to stay.
I arrived at Ike’s house and the sun was long gone. I walked to the door and knocked. Maria answered. She seemed surprised in seeing me.
“Jacob! What are you doing here?”
“I feel the government is after me.”
She just looked at me.
“Can I see Ike, please,” I continued, getting straight to the point. “Ike isn’t at home right now.”
“That’s strange,” I said puzzled. “‘Cause his AV’s in the driveway.” “He went for a walk with Ferguson.”
“Damn it!” she blurted out as if out of nowhere.
“What is it?” I asked.
She closed the door on me. Something was odd about her. Her eyes were stained with red swollen bulges.
I knocked again. She again opened the door.
“What is it?” she asked me, as if I was a criminal.
“Can I stay here until I know I’m safe?”
“That’s what Ike wants, and who am I to go against his words.”
I found her last comment somewhat odd, but I entered and smiled all the while. I
wondered why Ike would want me here, and why Maria and reacted the way she had. Who was Ferguson? Was he Katherine’s father? I suspected he was.
Maria led me to the upstairs guest-room. It was odd, I did not see or hear my two nephews and niece. Neither was there any sign of them. No stray toys or lingering mess. I was too afraid to ask where they were. For now, I decided to keep my mouth shut.
We got to the room and she quickly left me, saying she had some work to do. “Help yourself to the chicken on the table in the kitchen,” she yelled down the hall. I got settled and walked down the hall to the kitchen. “Maria?” I called out when I noticed no one in the kitchen. “Sammy? Milly? Oliver?” I then proceeded to say as I walked through the living room. No one! I went back to the kitchen and ate the cold chicken on the table. I had nothing to do but stare out the window at the clothes hanging from the clothesline, floating in the cold evening air. I wondered what I would do after I was done that horrid chicken. WHO PUTS PAPRIKA ON CHICKEN ANYWAYS?!
Just then, Ike enters the kitchen. “Hello Jacob!”
“Hi,” I responded with, as confused as I was that entire day.
“I’m sorry for choking you earlier on today,” he said rather indifferently, walking to
“It’s okay,” I said and took a bite out of my chicken wing. “How was your walk with
Ferguson?” I then asked.
Ike froze. He looked at me with eyes that I could not quite decipher. It was as if I
had said the wrong thing.
“Ferguson?” he finally asked, taking out some yogurt.
“Yes. Maria said that you took a walk with Ferguson.”
“Did she now?” he asked, as if rhetoric.
“Well, she didn’t tell me who Ferguson was, but I think I know who he is.”
“And who might he be?” he asked smiling, as if vexed.
“The revolutionary leader,” I responded boldly.
“Are you accusing me of being a part of the underground revolution?”
“Yes I am,” I confirmed coldly.
“So you will turn me in?”
“No. The government, I suspect, is after me. I would risk my life in arresting you.” “Are you saying you are for the revolutionaries?”
“I’m against both, Ike,” I said defensively.
“I see,” he nodded, as if nothing else to say.
“Anyway,” I said, “Where is Maria?”
“She went to her friend’s house.”
“You and your law-abiding rules!”
“It’s odd because your wife was here not three minutes ago.”
“Is that so?” he asked, as if not believing me.
“I’m going to the washroom,” I told him after a moment of silence. “Don’t think this
conversation is over though.”
I went to the washroom and came out a minute later. I went back to the kitchen
but Ike was once again gone. I looked in the living room but he was not there. Then I looked behind me in the same room at the stairway door leading downstairs. It was wide open unlike before. Curious as I was, I went to and down the stairs slowly and carefully, not to make too much noise. When I arrived in the basement, I was greeted with the sight of my nephews and niece watching T.V., facing away from me. “Olli! Sammy! Milly!” I exclaimed. There was no response. There eyes were glued to the T.V.
“Well,” I told myself. “It’s not like if they’ll remember me.” I looked around the room. It was a rather small basement in comparison to the size of the two other levels. On the left from the stairs was a door, protruding from the colourless wall. I went to open it completely ignoring houseguest etiquette. It would not open. That is when I saw some keys hanging on the wall to the left side of me. I tried all three keys. the door opened on putting in the second one I tried. I went in and saw that it was a storage room with a washer and dryer, tools and such. I kept on thinking, “Ike must have come down here! But where could he hide?” I focused on the dryer. I found it odd how they had a dryer and yet the clothes were hanging outside. Furthermore, usually the dryer is on top of the washer. It was not so here. I opened the dryer door and saw a hole of which I climbed through and disappeared, going down ladder to who-knows-where.