Short Story

Billy Walked Into The Room

This is s rough draft of a short story…


The powerful hint of death met him in the outside hallway as he approached the door. He hesitated a tick before pushing the key into the lock and turning. He let out a gasp upon entering.

Billy walked into the room while raising his elbow to his nose to block the acrid smell. His worst fears confirmed, Billy saw the bloated body of his father on the floor, a foot from the window. The body was entangled with the dusty light blocking blind that he reached for in vain to keep from falling into the valley of death. CPR was unnecessary.

One arm of the corpse had managed its way through the middle of the blind, and appeared to be less of a hand, and more of the head of a Loch Ness monster. Billy thought of how foolish his mind could be in moments of terrible stress.

He pulled his cell phone from his back pocket and dialed 9-1-1.

“Yes, there’s been an accident…please send the police to 42 Chestnut Street Apartment 1…no I’m not in danger…what?…no…I…f-f-f-f-found my father on the floor. He’s dead. Thanks. Okay.”

Billy pressed the button on his phone to hang up. He backed out of the door while keeping his gaze fixed on the body. His mind pumped fragmented thought after thought, his heart fired wildly. He got nervous, and didn’t know what to do. He wiped his hands on his corduroys, and took out a tissue from his back pocket. It took on the smell of the spearmint gum that abutted the pack of Kleenex. He pressed the minty tissue to his nostrils.

The tissue didn’t help at all. The smell of the room began to overpower him and he went to close the door. As he did, he noticed that the bookcase on the far left wall of the studio apartment seemed to be at an odd angle in its placement. Clearly it had been moved. Although the space of the studio was small, it seemed plausible to believe that even in the throes of death, Billy’s father would not have knocked it out of its alignment.

Something didn’t add up. Now the police were on their way, and Billy got nervous thinking about the new possibilities implied by the bookcase. He thought he could go in and take a quick peek behind the bookcase before they arrived, but he didn’t want to contaminate a potential crime scene. He didn’t know what to do.

He looked to the right down the hallway, and then to the left. There appeared to be no one else in the building. He rushed the palms of his hand through his hair a couple of times and then brought his hands together with the fingers entwined on the back of his scalp. Waiting for what seemed like an eternity, he let out a couple of large breaths and then started towards the door.

He pushed the unlocked door open again. The body still resided in its pool of decay. Billy walked on his tiptoes over to the bookcase, and tried to see around the back of it. The daylight was waning, and the shadows being cast from the window obscured the space behind the bookcase in darkness.

Careful to not touch the bookcase with his bare hand, he used the tissue he had from earlier to grip the bookcase with his left fingertips. In the same motion, he went into his pocket and withdrew his phone to use the assistive light to get glimpse of what might be behind the bookcase.

There just about as far as the angle allowed, there seemed to be tape, or some type of adhesive outline on the wall. Hanging from the adhesive were small inter-connected pieces of spiral notebook paper, the ones that are left behind when you tear out a page.

“Hey, put your put your hands on your head, and back away from the bookcase. Now!”•

“I’m Billy Vacha, I called you, minutes ago.”

“I said put your hands on your head and turn around slowly. Now!”

Billy dropped his phone and tissue to the floor and put his hands together on his head while slowly turning around.

The officer held his gun and gaze upon him.

“Who the hell are you?”

“I’m Billy Vacha. That’s my father over there. I’m the one who called you.”

The second officer that must have come in behind him must have been clearing the apartment while the first officer was occupied with Billy.

“All clear hear.”

“Hey Smitty, radio dispatch. Did they just receive a call from this guy?”

“Hold on.”

“Please officer, I just called the police when I found my father here.”

The second officer came up behind Billy and reached into his back pocket for his wallet, after picking up his cell phone from the floor.

“Yeah. This checks out. Dispatch confirmed he called, and his cell has 911 as the last entry.”

The first officer holstered his pistol, but not his gaze. He looked at Billy, and through him.

“What the hell are you doing here at the bookcase? Why did you not go outside after finding your father? You’re contaminating the scene here.”

“I saw this bookcase away from the wall, I thought that there was something behind it.”

“Hey Craig, the medical examiner and coroner are on their way over.”

“This here is Officer Smith, and I’m Office Craig Jacobs.”

“Yeah, we’re going to need to get a statement from you.”

“I just came over here to visit my Dad because I haven’t heard from him in a week.”

“How did you get in here?” said Officer Smith.

“I have a key.”

Jacobs looked at him as if trying to discern some unknowable truth and added, “did you see forced entry or did anything seem out of order?”

“No. I found the door locked and used my key. I felt something was wrong because I could smell the body as I approached the door.”

“Mr. Vacha, was your father sick? When was the last time you heard from him?”

“No, he was in good health for his age. I spoke to him about a week ago.”

“Well we can’t tell if there has been a crime here or not, so we’re going to treat this like a crime scene” said Jacobs.