The Walkway

by | Jul 21, 2020 | short stories | 0 comments

Saturday started like any other day. Mitch was up early and went out for a run. On his return home he was surprised to see his neighbor working in the front yard. Every few months, Mr. Walters would make a rare appearance and add several bricks to his walkway. It’s virtually the only time anyone in the neighborhood saw him. He noticed Mr. Walters was struggling with his wheelbarrow and stopped to help.

     “Good morning sir, let me get that for you.” said Mitch as he took control of the wheelbarrow.

     “Well thank you young man. My strength isn’t what it used to be.” said Mr. Walters.  

     Mitch set it down. “Looks like your walkway is almost finished.”

     “Indeed. I figure one more batch and I’ll be done.”

     “I’ll let you get to work then.”

     “Thanks again!” Mr. Walters put out his hand. When Mitch shook his hand, he wasn’t prepared for what he saw. Dismembered bodies, bloody, screaming faces, and desperate cries flooded his mind. Stunned, he pulled back and almost lost his balance.

     “You ok?” asked Mr. Walters.

     “Uhh-yeah, fine.” Mitch tried to hide the shock on his face. “I -I just need some breakfast.” 

     “Ok well you go get something to eat, I’m all set here. Have a good day.”

     “Thanks, you too.” 

     Mitch had a secret that he never told a living soul; when he touched people, he could see their memories. Over the years he had gotten used to seeing other people’s minds, but today he was not prepared for what he saw. So many bodies. And all those faces. They burned into his brain. There was no denying it: his neighbor Mr. Walters was a serial killer.

     When he got home he poured a drink and sat on the couch. What do I do now? He wanted to head straight for the police department, but how could he possibly explain what he saw without coming off like a lunatic?  He could lie and say he saw something suspicious, but what if they find no evidence? An investigation might make Mr. Walters run. Then there’d be a killer on the loose. No, he had to find something solid to take to the police. A piece of evidence that would allow them to arrest him on the spot. Mitch decided he’d sneak into Mr. Walters’s place when he wasn’t home. He had to find some way to stop him.

     A few long days passed before Mr. Walters left the house. Mitch was feeling lucky because his neighbor rarely left his house at all. He waited until he saw him turn off their street before heading to the backyard. All the yards in this neighborhood were surrounded by 8 ft privacy walls. The gate was locked so he had to climb over. Once he was up on the wall he saw a massive brick patio that took up most of the yard. He could also see the backdoor and a set of Bilco doors for the basement.

     Mitch jumped down and made his way over to the backdoor. Locked. Dammit. There was a window in the door and he could see the kitchen. Everything looked normal. He thought about smashing the window, but he didn’t want to tip off Mr. Walters. It would be best if he could get in and out without a trace. Then he remembered the basement. He walked over and tried the doors. To his delight, they opened. OK, now we’re getting somewhere.

     It was dark and dank in the basement. He felt around for a light switch but came up empty. As his eyes adjusted, he was able to make out more of his surroundings and noticed a string hanging down in the middle of the room. He pulled it and the lights came on. Mitch scanned the room looking for anything out of the ordinary. To his right there were a bunch of gardening tools and some shelving units piled with small metal boxes. On the opposite wall was a massive furnace and an industrial size mixer in the corner. In the center of the room was a workbench with a few more metal boxes and some bags on the floor marked “CLAY”.

     Mitch took a closer look at the boxes. They were more like frames. He noticed there was some brick dust on the inside of them. They’re molds. Well that at least explained why Mr. Walters was so slow with his walkway; he was making the bricks by hand. Even so, this wasn’t anything he could take to the police. 

     There was something odd about the furnace though. It was awfully large for a house this size. He walked across the room to get a better look. It had two metal doors, one about waist high and the other smaller door was down by the floor. He unlatched the upper door and swung it open. Inside there was a long empty chamber, just big enough to fit… a body!! The moment he made this discovery, he heard the garage door kick on. SHIT! He’s home!

     He quickly pulled off the light and headed for the door. As he ran up the stairs, the toe of his sneaker caught the edge of the doorway which caused him to fly through the air and land hard on the brick patio. Instantly a tsunami of images engulfed his brain. The sensation was overwhelming. As he put his hands up to grab his head, the images started to fade. Are these memories? Where are they coming from? He pushed himself up and again the memories rushed over him. Fighting through the disorientation, he managed to get to his knees. When he picked up his hands, the memories faded again. The bricks? Why are there memories in the bricks? 

     Puzzled and caught off guard, Mitch forgot Mr. Walters had come home. He heard a noise behind him and turned just in time to see Mr. Walters lunging at him with a brick in his hand. It connected with his skull with a deafening crunch. Everything went black.

     A couple days later Mr. Walters came out of his garage with a wheelbarrow full of bricks. He finished his walkway.

                                                        The End.

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