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A Terror Realized
August 6, 2016 by Peter Castillo - Leave a comment at the end.

It was two o’clock in the morning when the officer drove his cruiser through the quiet neighborhood. As he drove past the rows of apartment buildings and homes, he scanned the shadows left and right. He stopped his cruiser after he heard a metal gong sound. It came from the alley behind the home next to his cruiser. He reached for the handle of his spotlight that was mounted and extended out the frame of his windshield. The view between the homes gave a view to the alley. As soon as the officer directed his light in that area, a terrified black cat scurried out of the passageway. It disappeared among the parked cars. The officer drove on.

Later in the officer’s shift, he turned a corner. Ahead of him in the middle of the block, a white cargo van was double parked. A bearded man was busy fitting the rear tire of a black SUV with a yellow Denver Boot. The officer stopped his cruiser a few feet away from the man, then he stepped out. “Hey, Jose, you found another one, huh?” the officer said.

            “Yeah, Hector. Scofflaws are like cell phones; they’re everywhere.”

At that moment a man howled from a top floor apartment in the adjacent building. The officer focused on an opened window of the suspected apartment. “Jose, if you’re done then get out of here. If that was the owner I’ll handle it,” the officer said.

The officer waited near the SUV while Jose hopped in his van and drove away. The entrance to the apartment building had a door with a glass view. Heavy footsteps came down the steps. The person who emerged from the building was an older gentleman with gray hair and matching beard. He wore pajamas, a bath robe, and running shoes. “Good morning, sir. Were you the gentleman who screamed just now?” the officer said.

            “I’m just going to my vehicle if you don’t mind.”

The officer pointed to the SUV. “Is this your vehicle?”

The look on the man’s face indicated he knew what the problem could have been. He grunted as he passed the officer then looked down at the boot. “Is this really necessary? I plan to pay the tickets, I’ve just been busy. Are you going to arrest me now?”

“No, sir. You’ll have to go to court to get the boot removed. I just happened to be doing my rounds when I heard a scream. Was that you?”

The gray man chuckled then slipped his hands into the pockets of his robe. “Oh, that. Yes, that was me. I just had a recurring nightmare. I’m a writer. My new novel is based on that horrible dream. I thought it would stop after I finished the book.”

            “What’s the name of the book?”

            “Terror in the Deep.”

The officer’s face lit up with glee. “Oh, Terror; the ship disaster book? My wife is reading that right now. You must be Paul Keller.”

Paul gestured for a check of his windshield. “I am,” he said. Paul pulled the ticket from under his wiper. “Well, so much for my late night snack.”

            “You’ll clear it up in court, sir.”

            “They’ll have to get me in quick. In two days I leave town for a press tour.”

            “Will you be going by boat?”

Paul stuffed the ticket into his pocket, then turned toward the sidewalk. “No officer; the friendly skies are the only way I travel.”

                                                                    To be continued…