|The Man from Swift Current|
|© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved
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|Chapter 44: Destruction|
Keith, Kerry, Rick and I said our good-byes to the adults and Ruth Ann early Saturday morning. On our drive back to Atlanta, Rick and I talked excitedly about our move. We arrived back at the apartment a little after 12 noon. Keith and Kerry pulled up as we were unloading our stuff from the car. We climbed the stairs to our apartment and were stunned to see the door was wide open.
Rick said grimly, "I bet Peyton and Angie broke into our apartment while we were gone." He opened the screen door and stepped inside. I followed him through the doorway and stopped and stared in horror at the scene of total destruction that greeted my eyes.
I grabbed Rick's arm for support, "We'd better call the cops. Don't touch anything so they can take photographs of everything."
When Rick didn't respond, I pulled him back outside the apartment. "Let's go downstairs and call from Keith and Kerry's apartment. I led him down the stairs and knocked on their apartment door.
Kerry came to the door. She took one look at Rick and asked, "What's wrong?"
I said, "Can we use your phone to call the police. Someone trashed our place."
"Sure, you know where it is," she said.
"Rick, do you have Melodie's phone number?" I asked.
Rick didn't respond right away so I asked my question, again, "Rick, do you have Melodie's phone number?" I touched his arm and he finally looked at me. "Melodie's phone number, do you have it?"
"Uh, yeah," he responded and pulled out a slip of paper from his wallet and handed it to me.
I turned and went into the kitchen to call the police while Kerry asked Rick to sit down on the couch. I returned from the kitchen and went over and sat next to Rick taking his hand in mine. He was shaking pretty badly and I could tell he was in shock.
"Kerry, can you bring me a blanket?" I asked. She left and returned with Keith who had the blanket in his arms.
Keith handed me the blanket and I covered Rick with the blanket and held him in my arms until the shaking stopped.
Rick seemed to recover from his initial shock because he started clenching his fists and he face turned a deep red. "When I get my hands on Peyton, he won't have time to know what hit him because he'll be dead before he hits the ground," Rick said fiercely.
"Rick, let the police handle it. I'm sure that Peyton and Angie left their fingerprints everywhere in the apartment from the looks of things." I said.
"How much damage was done?" Keith asked.
"Everything has been destroyed," I answered. "I didn't look any further than the front room and the kitchen but I'm pretty sure the bedrooms and bathroom are in just as bad a shape."
There was a knock on the door at that moment. The police had arrived pretty quickly. Keith invited them inside. They were the same two police officers who had investigated the vandalism of Rick's Jeep Wrangler. When they saw us, Officer Taliaferro greeted us, "Hello, again. I was afraid that something else would happen to you two. Will you tell us what happened?"
I explained how we had just arrived from a few days at the beach with Keith and Kerry and described for them what we saw as we entered the apartment upstairs. Officer Dougherty had brought a camera with him so we followed the officers upstairs to survey the damage done to the apartment.
The police officers went in first to make sure the apartment was clear and to take photos documenting the damage to the apartment. Officer Dougherty came back outside and said, "You can go inside now. Please don't touch anything until we get a chance to check for fingerprints. I must warn you, it's pretty bad."
Everything in the kitchen had been completely destroyed. Someone had taken a crowbar or something and smashed the appliances and pried the cabinets off the walls. The table was nothing but kindling wood. Every glass dish we owned was pulverized. We walked into our bedroom see the same kind of devastation. Someone had spray-painted, "We will kill you, Faggots! We missed you this time but we won't fail next time!" on the wall in red and had drawn a gallows with a noose and a crude stick figure hanging from it.
The bed was in the same shape as the table – completely destroyed. The mattress had been cut to shreds and the headboard chopped into small pieces. The same thing was done to the dressers and the closet doors. Our clothes had been cut to pieces and tossed in a heap on the floor.
In the bathroom, the mirrors were shattered in many pieces and the medicine cabinet had been pulled off the wall. The most shocking thing was the two Ken Barbie Dolls each hung by a hangman's noose from the shower head one labeled Rick the other labeled Glenn. It was all too much to take in. I have never had such virulent hatred directed at me. The thought of what might have happened had we been home when they broke into the apartment sent shivers down my back.
I turned away from the horrible scene and buried my face in Rick's chest. Rick pulled me out of the bathroom. I could tell he was pretty upset by what he'd seen because his arms trembled as he held me.
"Do you have a place to stay?" asked Officer Dougherty.
I pulled away from Rick and answered, "Yeah, we can stay downstairs with my cousin and his wife," I answered.
"Good. You won't be able to stay here tonight. Here is a copy of the police report. We will send over an investigation team to check for fingerprints or anything that might lead us to who did this," he said. "We will be interviewing all of your neighbors to find out if they saw anyone. Someone should have heard something with all of the destruction that happened here."
Rick spoke up, "I know who did this. His name is Peyton Johnson and his girlfriend, Angie. They have had some help from my Uncle George as well. This looks like the work of several people."
"Can you give us a description of Peyton and your Uncle?" the officer asked.
Rick proceeded to give him a description of all three plus a description of their car. "That's all we need from you tonight. We will be back in touch with you if we find anything."
We followed the officer out of the apartment and went back downstairs to my cousin's apartment. Keith and Kerry were waiting to hear what the police had to say. Rick and I described to them what we saw in the apartment and what the police had told us.
"We need to let my parents know what's happened and then we need to call Grandpa," Keith said.
I nodded my head in agreement. I waited with Rick on the couch while Keith called his folks.
Kerry said, "I think we need to pick up the rental truck and get some boxes so we can get packed and moved by tonight. I don't want to stay here another night with what's happened."
"That sounds like a plan to me," Rick agreed. "I need something to keep me from thinking about what we saw upstairs."
Keith returned and beckoned to me to join him in the kitchen. He handed me the phone and he picked up the wireless handset as he dialed Grandpa's number.
"Hello, Grandma," Keith said. "Is Grandpa there?"
"Yes, he is dear. I'll get him on the line," Grandma said.
A moment later, Grandpa said, "Hello, Keith. Both your Grandma and I are on the phone. What's happened?"
Keith and I explained everything that had happened since we arrived at our apartment building. When we were finished, Grandpa asked, "Can you get yourselves moved tonight, Keith?"
"I think so with Rick and Glenn helping us. We really don't have much here since we just got back from our honeymoon. I moved a few things in before we got married."
"Move what you can tonight and stay in the condos and then return to finish moving in the morning. Call me as soon as you have settled into the condos. It doesn't matter how late it gets. I want a phone call from both of you," Grandpa said in a tone of voice that left no doubt that we needed to follow his instructions.
We both said, "Yes, Grandpa."
"Get moving boys. Good-bye," Grandpa said and the line went dead.
I looked at Keith and grinned, "I guess we'd better get moving as he said."
We joined Rick and Kerry. "Grandpa wants us moved out tonight," I said. "Rick and I will go get the truck and return here in a little while to help pack up."
"Kerry and I will start taking the bed apart and get it ready to move," Keith said.
Rick and I left to get the truck and returned about 30 minutes later. Keith was right; there wasn't much stuff in the apartment. We had everything packed into the truck in a matter of hours. We took a short break for pizza and some soda before we drove the truck over to the condo building. We all had to our identification to the guards and they checked our cars over to make sure there wasn't anyone hiding in the car. They verified that we had been cleared to move in by the security office. The guard gave us directions to the loading dock of the building we were moving into. It took far less time to unload then it did to load the truck. Kerry and Rick had driven over in our cars and met us at the loading dock.
As we took the first load up to Keith and Kerry's new place, their neighbors across the hall came out and introduced themselves.
"We're the Peterson's. I'm Jeff and this Julie," Jeff said by way of introduction.
"I'm Keith and this is my wife, Kerry. This is my cousin, Glenn," Keith said as he shook hands with Jeff.
"Nice to meet you. It looks like you are our new neighbors," Julie said.
"Yes, we are just moving in," Kerry said smiling at her.
"Can you use a helping hand?" Jeff asked.
"Sure, we would be glad to have your help. We are trying to get moved in tonight if we can," Keith responded.
"Great! Tell me what you need me to do," Julie said looking at Kerry.
"Can you help me unpack while the guys move stuff in?" Kerry asked.
"I'd love to," Julie said.
We took the boxes into the kitchen and left the two women chatting with each other as they started putting things away in the kitchen.
We took Jeff down to meet Rick and to get another load of stuff. With Jeff's help, we unloaded the truck pretty quickly. Rick and I returned the truck while Jeff and Keith joined their wives in setting things up in the condo.
By the time we returned to the condo, it was nearly midnight. We knocked on the door and were let in by Kerry. She was smiling and seemed very happy.
"Guys, nearly everything has been put away except for a few boxes in the bedroom. The Peterson's had an extra bed in their storage unit that they have lent to us until we can get you set up in your own place. We have already set it up in the spare bedroom."
"Thanks, Kerry, for being so kind to us," I said.
"You're welcome, Glenn. Thank you guys for helping us get moved. I couldn't stand the thought of staying at the apartment after what happened to you guys."
"I'm glad were moved, too," Rick said. "I'm so exhausted. I'm ready to collapse."
"Kerry, show us to our room. I need to get this big guy to bed," I said smiling at Rick.
"This way," she said leading us towards the bedrooms. "There are fresh towels in your bathroom if you want to grab a shower before going to bed."
"Thanks, again, Kerry," Rick said.
"Good night, guys. I'll see you in the morning," Kerry said as she pulled our bedroom door closed.
We were so tired that we took a quick shower and collapsed in bed. We were both asleep before our heads hit the pillows.
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