The 4:33 Incident

Donovan slowly opened his eyes and stared at the decrepit ceiling fan.  He took little time to admire his surroundings and quickly rose from bed.  He stumbled around in the darkness, trying to locate his clothes, but making a large racket in the process.  If there was one thing which Donovan did not want to do, it was wake Mrs. Managin.  He eventually found his way to his boxers and quickly shimmied them up his long thin legs.  He then found his khaki pants and stuck in his left leg, he always started with the left, and then his right.  He walked around the room, attempting to find where he'd left his shirt, but to no avail.  A low rustle came from the bed and it became evident to Donovan that Mrs. Managin had not only been awake the whole time, but in fact, had been admiring his body.
     "You really are beautiful Donovan."  She said as she slowly pushed the comforter off of her stumpy body.  "We could simply do this all day, couldn't we Donovan?  Just you, me, and the room."  She slid along the bed, coming up behind Donovan and seductively ran her finger down his spine.
     "I don't think that Professor Yeltz would much approve of that mam."  Replied Donovan as he scanned the room for his shirt.  His eyes finally found it at the foot of the old arm chair in the corner, how it had ended up there was beyond him, but truthfully, he didn't care, he was in a hurry.
     A moment of quite hesitation passed between the two as Donovan put his Elvin green turtle neck on.  Green had always been his favorite color.  When asked why, he had often said that it had to with his love for nature and natural things.  Secretly though, he loved the color because it was the same as the only thing he truly desired in the world… money.
     "Do you love me, Donovan?"  asked Mrs. Managin, not knowing what to expect in response.  She had always meant to ask this question to Donovan, but the time had never seemed quite right.  Another moment of silence passed between the two before Donovan quickly turned to face Mrs. Managin.
     "Do you love Professor Yeltz?"  he asked in an apathetic tone, not truly caring, but feeling it necessary to ask.
     "Of course I love Richard.  If I didn't love him, why would I have agreed to marry him?"  she asked in a playful tone.
     "If you loved him, why would you need me for a play toy?"  he quickly responded as he rushed towards the door.  She let out a slight chuckle and then quickly called out to him.
     "Will you be returning next week?"  she asked.
     He quickly opened the door and walked halfway through, without turning to face her he asked "Is my debt repaid?"
     She pretended to ponder his question a moment and then, putting a false feeling of sincerity into her voice.  "No… I believe you still owe me a bit more."
     "Then I have no choice."  He replied as he walked through the door, slamming it behind him.
     Mrs. Managin had a smile on her face as she imagined Donovan walking to work.  True, Mrs. Managin did love her fiancée Richard, however, Richard was only good as a way of securing herself a role in respectable society.  He was educated, intelligent, and witty, however, despite all of his scholarly accomplishments, he lacked any style all his own.  He had read all the great books on romance over the years, and had mastered the art of wooing any woman he might please, however, no matter how good a description he might read of passionate embraces or romantic escapades, he always fell flat when it came to reproducing the event.  As such, Mrs. Managin attempted to make up for his lack-luster efforts through the sexual power that was Donovan.
     Mrs. Managin had been Donovan's teacher in an economics course he had had the semester before which he was none to adept at.  In fact, in all of his classes, Donovan seemed to fall just short of ever receiving a passing grade.  Mrs. Managin had watched him with a hidden agenda, always wanting him, but hiding her lust under a strict façade, giving him detentions in place of kisses, and F's instead of caresses.  The things she did out of lust for Donovan were deblorable in their execution, but Mrs. Managin did not care.  She saw Donovan as a prize, and she meant to covet it.
     As things go, one day in early December, Donovan was kept after by Mrs. Managin due to his apparent "lack of enthusiasm" in a class discussion, though he had been quite lively when he was told he would have to stay for detention.  Donovan didn't know why Mrs. Managin apparently hated him so, however, as his life had led him to believe, all things happened for a reason, and there wasn't a thing to be done about them.  If Mrs. Managin was fated to hate him, she must, and as such, Donovan must be fated to live with her hatred.
     During this particular detention, Mrs. Managin appeared for the first time, to be friendly towards Donovan.
     "Are you happy Donovan?"  she asked him as he laid his head on his desk.  He slowly lifted his head in shock, surprised that for the first time she had actually talked to him during one of their after-school sessions.  "Well?"
     "I'm happy enough knowing that I'm not completely miserable." He replied as he once again rested his head upon his desk.  Mrs. Managin had not been prepared for that response.  Though she lusted for the body of Donovan, she knew nothing of his brain.
     "Well, that certainly is interesting."  She paused a moment and then stood up from her desk, slowly walking over to the window blinds, not wanting to make any sudden noise that might surprise Donovan and allow him to realize her plans.  She stealthily shut the blinds, eluding Donovan's detection and then worked her way to the door.  She slowly turned the lock, and with the click of the mechanism, Donovan quickly raised his head once more.
     "You see Donovan… I am not happy, in fact, I haven't been for a long time."  She slowly worked her way over to him, wiggly her hips as she did in her must seductive manner.  "Now, Donovan, what would make you happy?"
     "I don't think that's something I feel comfortable discussing with you Mrs. Managin."  He replied as he pushed backward in his wobbly metallic chair.
     She slowly leaned up against his sturdy desk, allowing as much cleavage to show as she could manage.  "Well, Donovan, I want you to be very comfortable around me.  In fact, I would like for you to be able to share your intimacies with me."  She slowly ran her hand through her long dark hair and stared longingly into Donovan's eyes.  "You want to graduate, right Donovan?  I mean, otherwise you wouldn't show up to classes… would you?"
     Donovan slowly swallowed hard, quickly coming to the realization of what was going on around him.  "Um… yeah, of course I want to graduate… if I don't graduate, I can't get a good job, or make a living for that matter.  Could you please turn on the light?"
     Mrs. Managin chuckled a little bit.  "You know… I've seen your grades.  You won't graduate."  She slowly reached her hand to Donovan's head and removed his green baseball cap.  It was an old Oakland A's cap.  The rim was beaten and old, and sweat stain's were evident all over it.  Donovan didn't follow baseball, in fact, he probably couldn't even name what town the A's were from, as stated, he simply like the color green.
     "Me… I can help you though.  You do want help… right?"  Donovan nervously swallowed hard again and ran his hands through his shaggy blonde hat head.     
     "I really don't need a tutor."  He said as he looked for a way out of the conversation.
     "I'm offering you something far better then a tutor Don… I'm offering you a place on the honor roll without having to show up to another class for the rest of the semester.  Are you interested Don?"  she asked, carefully laying the cheese in the mousetrap.
     "I suppose… but… I mean… wouldn't that be wrong?"  he asked, unaware of the trap about to be sprung on him.
     "There are many things that are wrong in this world Don, but often, whether people realize it or not, it is for the greater good.  For example, say I were to kiss you Don… how would that make you feel?"  Donovan gave no response and quickly scanned the room, not wanting to make eye contact with Mrs. Managin.
"I know, it'd feel strange Don, perhaps, even a little dirty.  As you know, that would be wrong too.  However, Don, the world has things that are known as, how shall I say, necessary evils.  Right now Don, I'm offering you a chance to open up a world of possibilities for yourself."
     "I… I… I see" Donovan stuttered out as he tried to control his shaking hand.  His hands always shook when he was nervous, and never seemed as if he were able to stop their shaking himself.  Mrs. Managin placed her hand over his, though the shaking didn't cease.
     "It's ok Donovan, just tell me yes, and everything will be ok."
     Donovan was at a loss for what to do.  He needed to graduate high school, and if he could do so on the honor roll, it would be all the better for him.  As well, if he flat out refused Mrs. Managin, no matter what he attempted in her class, he would have no way of passing.  So, in silent defeat, he let out a weak "yes," and sunk back into his chair.  Mrs. Managin slowly brought her lips to his and as passionately as she could muster from her position atop the desk, gave him a most intimate kiss.  After having embraced him for a good five minutes, she slowly pulled her head back.
     "You're going to have to put some energy into this dear.  However, not bad… for the first time."  She walked over to her desk and scribbled something down on a piece of loose-leaf notebook paper.  She handed the paper to Donovan and then reopened the blinds.  "That's my address, I want for you to meet me there on Saturday."  She then went and unlocked the door.  "I'll take care of your grades, but rest assured, good grades don't come cheap."
     She then returned to her desk, fixing her hair and re-buttoning her blouse.  "Your free to go."  She said as she began once again to look over the papers on her desk.  Donovan quickly rose from his desk and ran out the room, unaware of the severity of the deal which he had committed himself too.

3 Months Before the Incident
Jade sat down in at the counter of the Oaksdale Diner, waiting for Donovan.  She wasn't particularly fond of the food at the diner, but it was one of the few places at which Donovan was willing to eat in public.  The diner was a good hour away from where they lived and it no one every seemed to eat there from their hometown.  The place was a mainly a diner for truckers who were willing to stomach down anything on their way from point A to point B, not a place that was world famous for any particular dish.  Be it BLT or bacon and eggs, it was all pretty similar.
     Though Donovan was apparently oblivious to the fact, Jade was deeply in like with him.  At her age, she had no true idea of what love truly was, however, she knew what she liked.  She liked it when she baked muffins and the bottoms weren't burned, she liked it when she'd write an article and it would get published in the local paper, but most of all, she liked Donovan.  She'd liked Donovan ever since the first time they'd met at his job.  He was behind the counter cutting up a piece of haggis for the window display and sweat was rolling down the side of his cheek as he wiped away a spot of blood from his brow.  She knew that he seemed familiar at that time, but never could quite place his face.  It wasn't until days later that she would recognize him as the boy who was always getting detention in her English class.
     She didn't know what it was about Donovan that intrigued her so.  Perhaps it was the fact that he always let her speak his mind and never passed judgment on her.  Perhaps it was the way that he was always willing to sacrifice himself for others.  Perhaps it was the strange contradictions in lifestyle that made him so unique.  Whatever it was, Jade had quickly fond herself making daily trips to the deli, ordering ludicrous things such as an ounce of cheddar or a quarter inch of sliced veal.  She purposely ordered these strange things, not because there was some strange hunger growing within her for the foods, but as a way of drawing Donovan's attention away from the chopping block, and unto her.
     A tiny jingle came from the bell on the revolving door as Donovan entered the diner.  He didn't look around at his surroundings; he simply walked to on of the corner booths and waited for Jade to make her presence known.  Jade always had found it strange that Donovan never looked for her before sitting down, but perhaps that was on of the intriguing things about him… she couldn't tell.
     Retreating from the counter, Jade quickly worked her way through the mass of half asleep truckers, frantic waitresses, and socially maladjusted customers to Donovan's booth.
     "I thought you said you'd be here around noon?" she asked as she sat down in the rugged booth chair.  She laid her elbow on the table, exposing her imitation Rolex to him which clearly read 12:30.  Donovan slowly shifted in his seat and stared at her watch with an unexpected intensity, as if he were afraid to meet her eyes.
     "I got held up… I'm sorry."  He said as he stared down at the placemat of the 50 states in front of him.
     "It's ok.  You're never on time.  Have you ever thought about getting a watch?" she asked, half jokingly.
     "Why?  Time isn't something I worry about.  It another unnecessary restriction people place on themselves."  He said coolly as he played with his silverware, twirling around the dull and dirty spoon with his index and middle fingers.  Jade didn't know quite how to respond to the situation, so she decided to keep quiet.  There were often long periods of silence between the two, Donovan was far from a sociable boy, and Jade was too polite to pry.  She reached over the napkin dispenser and removed the desert specials, though she had not intention of every ordering one of the abominations, and pretended to read each and everyone.  After about a minute of silence, their waitress, an older woman with frizzy red-head and a noticeable limp that made her have a striking resemblance to Quasimodo, asked if they were ready to order.  For Donovan, these conversation had become something of a game to him, one that he never tired of.
     "How can we order… we haven't even seen a menu."  He said as he pretended to be dumbfounded and flabbergasted by the waitress question.
     "There ain't no menu, sugah."  She said as she quickly placed her ordering pad back into her pocket.  "The menu's up there!"  She pointed to a large sign at the other end of the diner which listed the regular menu.  "As for our specials, there over there!"  she then pointed to a large chalkboard which read "Catch of the Day:  served with fries and drink."  "Ah'll give ya a minute to think it ova."  She then hurried away to her next customer, hoping to grab another table before one of the other waitress could.
     "Why do you always do this?"  Jade asked as she squinted at the menu.
     "I have too… its simply the way its gotta be."
     "Did you ever stop to think, that maybe everything isn't quite as fated as you believe it to be?  That perhaps, you do have some choice in what you can and can not do?"
     "If I thought that I had any choice at all, that would simply be my destiny."
     "Hmmm, I suppose your right."  Another long pause passed between the two before the waitress returned again.
     "Y'all ready ta order naw?"  she asked as she flipped to a new page in her order-pad.  Donovan firmly pressed his fingers together and pretended to weigh the options of the various foods.
     "Well, as it stands, I must admit that I am quite peckish and could certainly go for an omelet, bacon, home fries, as well as a side of cheese fries and onion rings."  The waitress quickly jotted down everything he said, not aware that she was being played for a fool.  "But, as it goes, my doctor has ordered me to take out unnecessary flats, and I will instead partake of a cup of tea and dry toast."  The waitress gave a quick scowl to Donovan and then quickly exed out everything she'd written.  
     "And for yu hun?"  she asked, hoping that she would order something a tad more substantial.
     "Um, I guess I'll have a grilled cheese."  Jade replied, feeling embarrassed at Donovan's trick.
     "Aight, I'll be right back with ya ordah's" the waitress replied as she quickly scurried away to her next group of customers.
     "You really are a dick to people sometimes, ya know that?"  said Jade as she tried to hide a chuckle.
     "I'm no worse then anybody else."  He replied as a smirk appeared across his face.  Another moment of silence passed between the two as Donovan stared out the window and watched the ongoing traffic.  Trucks made loud churning noises as they started off on the next leg of their journey's, cars honked as a means of defense against being crushed by the surrounding traffic, and a cheesy 80's pop tune was being emitted from a decrepit looking stereo behind the counter and next to the soda fountain.
     "Jade…"  Donovan started.  "I know we don't know each other so well, but I can't help feeling that I can open up to you…"
     "I would like for you to be open with me Donovan, more then anything else."  She said as she leaned in closer to him, propping herself up with her elbows on the laminated wooden counter.
     "I'm pretty secretive, so you're gonna have to give me some time here.  What I have to say, well, I haven't told anyone."  Donovan slowly craned his head away from the window and looked deeply into Jade's eyes.  Jade could always sense that Donovan was carrying a great burden, but now, looking at the tired look of his eyes and the slight wrinkles on his face, the weight of what was wrong with him truly began to come into sight.
     "Please… go on,"  She slowly place her hand on his, trying to make a gesture to comfort him, attempting to win a place in his heart that she wasn't quite sure she'd ever be able to attain.
     "The thing is… I do this thing… and this thing is something I hate.  I hate it so much that it's begun to effect every aspect of my life."  He paused a moment and once again began to stare down at the placemat of the 50 states.  "I mean… is it normal to feel that you can never love someone of the opposite sex?  This thing that I do, its changed me."
     Jade didn't know quite what to make out of what Donovan was saying, so she simply gave him a soft "uh-huh" in response.
     "So much has happened to me these last couple of months Jade.  I was flunking out of classes, and then I was on the honor roll, my family was happy because they believed I'd have a chance for college, my boss was happy cause my parents wouldn't stop me from working, and even I was happy at first, to have done something that was making a difference.  There was a price though.  I didn't know the price would be as hefty as it was, but, now, I guess I was a fool to think that things could get so much better without some sort of sacrifice."
     "I, I understand what you're saying" Jade replied "but I'm not sure I'm getting what it all means."
     "I'm… I'm getting there."  He said as his hand began to shake.  He tried to put stop the shaking with his other arm, but to no avail.  Jade slowly placed her both of her hands on his and gave him a slight smile.
     "It's ok… it's going to be ok… go on."  Donovan tried to give her a smile of his own in response, but the best he could manage was something resembling a grimace of pain.
     "Thank you… it's just, the price, in order to be able to bear it… in order to continue on living with some sense of purpose… I had to kill off my emotions towards women.  I… I didn't think I could ever like anyone ever again, not after what this person forced me to do."  He closed his eyes and tried to hide a tear that came streaming down his cheek.  Before he could open his mouth again, though, the waitress reappeared, dropping Donovan's dry toast in front of him making a loud clang with the plate and then slamming his tea, spilling half the contents on the table.  She then carefully placed Jade's grilled cheese in front of her, telling her to enjoy, and once again giving a scowl in Donovan's direction.
     "You were saying?"  Jade asked as she quickly pushed her meal aside, not wanting to end this intimate moment between the two.
     "Well, right… you see… I figured out that the only way I could be happy, was, too, well… I have to k-
     A loud horn erupted from the parking lot, shattering the moment between the two.  A deathlike silence fell between the two of them once again, and Jade quickly let go of Donovan's hands.  She herself was know shaking and she reached out for her sandwich with a wobbly arm.  She sunk her teeth into the soggy sandwhich, not actually tasting it, but needed something to firmly ground herself in the reality that was occurring around her.  She couldn't cope.
     The two finished their meal in silence.  Neither knowing what to say, or how to say it.  It was only after they'd paid their bill and were both exiting for their cars that Jade finally said something.
     "If you want… I mean, if you need me too… I can help."
     Donovan gave her a small smirk and clumsily, but intimately took her by the hands.  He squeezed her hand gently and gave her a kiss on the side of the cheek.
     "Thank you."  Was all he said.  The two returned to their cars and drove him, neither seeing the other again until June 6th.

6 Hours Before the Incident
Richard Yeltz was scribbling down his latest epiphany on a notepad when the news reached him.  He had thought at first to stop jotting down in his notepad and show some outward sign of emotion to the messenger, however, quickly reconsidered, coming to the conclusion that whether or not he would show emotion, it would make no difference, while as if he stopped writing down what had popped into his head, it might as well be lost forever.
     "Professor Yeltz?  Did you hear what I said?"  asked his secretary as she moved closer to him, trying to make a gesture of emotional support by placing her hand on his shoulder.
     Yeltz finished the sentence he was writing and then slowly turned his attention towards his secretary.  "Yes, Mrs. Linkin, I heard you quite all right, thank you very much."
     "Should I cancel your appointments for the rest of the day?  I'm sure that someone else could take over your classes, in light of the news." She responded, as she gently squeezed his shoulder.
     "That is quite all right, Mrs. Linkin."  He said as he brushed her hand from his shoulder.  He detested public displays of affection, even those from his fiancée.  Of all the arts which he had studied, intimacy had always been one that had continued to illude him.  "If people went about canceling their appointments at the drop of a hat over matters such as this, I'd hate to see what the world might come too."
     "But sir… it's your mother… don't you feel anything?"
     "Feel?  Of course I feel something.  I feel regret that she has passed, however, it happened and now there is nothing which I can do about it."  He quickly began to jot down notes in his notepad.  He then paused once again and looked up to Mrs. Linkin.  "I suppose that there will be a service?"
     "Um… yes sir… your sister is making the arrangements, she was wondering if you'd be able to-"
     "Certainly not!  I need not make a spectacle at the passing of someone so dear to me.  Now, if you do not mind Mrs. Linkin, I have too much to do, and not enough time to do it in.  If you could make me aware of when my next class is about to start it would be much appreciated, thank you."  And with that he made a shooing motion with his hand towards the door and once again began to write in his pad.
     Mrs. Linkin solemnly moved towards the door, dragging her feet as she went, not knowing what to make of Professor Yeltz reaction.  It was true that he was a man who rarely showed any outward emotion, however, she found it strange that he would not react to something as significant as his mothers death.  She consoled herself, however, in the idea that he was not a cold-hearted man, but instead, was trying to put on a strong façade, and would later grieve in private.  She then left the room, slowly shutting the door behind her and returning to her desk.  She began to file through the papers she had been going through before receiving the distressing phone call and found the file she had been working on.  As she quickly began to rifle through the memo before her, she heard the office lock click and knew that Professor Yeltz was going to take some time to grieve over what had occurred.
     As it was, Mrs. Linkin was correct about one thing, Richard Yeltz was not a cold-hearted man, he simply believed that everything happened for a rational reason.  As of late, the negative rationalities in his life had been mounting, but he kept solace in the fact that his mind continued to function normally, and ideas continuously flowed from his head to hand.
     Richard was a man of untapped potential.  He was a man with a creative mind the likes of which people of the world had never known, and if things continued as they did, never would.  All day long, he traveled with a pad and pen, jotting down any idea for a story or essay that might pop into his head.  Six years earlier, he had published his first book to mixed reviews.  It was a novella in which the characters of Dante's Divine Comedy were placed in modern day Los Angeles, with Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell each being represented by different dance clubs in different neighborhoods.  However, unlike Dante's story, Yeltz's had begun in heaven and transcended to hell, as the personal life of the main character spiraled out of control.  The novella had been met with mixed reviews, though it garnished Yeltz quite the cult following and a good deal of notoriety.  His follow up books had been less spectacular, reinterpreting Homer's Ulysses' as a fallen angel, attempting to return to heaven, and Great Expectations as the story of a boy who grew up into a character much like Bill Gates.
     Despite his relative shortcomings as an author, Yeltz had secured for himself a place at the University of Conclun Heights, a private college in upstate New York, where he taught courses on how to interpret great pieces of literature.  Often times he would purposely tell the students things he believed to be incorrect, in an attempt to get them to respond and correct him, but it had yet to happened, and so, he continued to teach his students faulty material.
     Yeltz's latest story was to be a somewhat autobiographical tale in which he would recreate the court-ship of him and his fiancée.  The title was to be Muted Screams   He had yet to tell his fiancée about the story, mainly due to the fact he was sure she would not agree with the material presented within.  He had never truly loved his fiancée, he simply believed that for the benefit of his species he should attempt to procreate, and so, he wooed a local high school teacher by the name of Lilith.  She was an English teacher with a wild spirit that he wished to calm, but despite his greatest efforts to tame her, had fallen short.  When he had finally believed that he was making some progress at conforming Lilith to his ways, Robert had asked her for her hand in marriage on the grounds that the two were not getting younger, and if that if she could not find a better choice, she should condole herself in the fact that he would make her wealthy and offer an heir that would be must agreeable to the world.  Lilith didn't find it to be one of the romantic proposals she'd ever heard of, but she could not argue with his logic, and thus, had agreed to marry him.
     Approximately a month after Lilith had agreed to marry him, Robert had decided to come home from work early and surprise her with two tickets to the opera.  He had quietly crept into her house in the hopes of giving her a slight shock, something he had never been known to give her before.  He quietly crept up the stairs, looking into each room, trying to find where she was.  After finding no trace of her on the first floor, he quietly snuck up the stairs, making sure to be quiet as a mouse.  At the top of the stairs, he was met with the faint sound of hard breathing and a slight banging noise.  He tiptoed to the bedroom door and peeked in, hoping to finally find his prey.  Looking in, he did find his prey, but he did not find her alone.  A-top his fiancée, was a young wry boy, pounding into her with a passion that he knew he could never possess.  Pressed up against his fiancée's mouth was a pillow so that he screams of ecstasy would not bother anyone who happened to pass below her window.
     At first, Yeltz had had the desire to rush into the room, throw the boy from the bed, and quickly choke his fiancée last breath from her ungrateful frame.  Upon thinking this idea over however, he had decided against it, on the pretense that it he were to fail to kill either, he would be sent to jail, and never have the chance to continue his life's work without the constant threat of anal-penetration by some of the prison's less admirably inmates.  Instead, he slowly crept downstairs, walked out the door, and returned to his apartment.  He drank a large cup of Nyquil, and by the morning, had chosen to not bring up the encounter until it would be to his best advantage.
     Bottling up this frustration, he had continuously been working on writing his new novel, Muted Screams.   His hope was the when his fiancée read it, the grief would cause her to do some sort of harmful deed, and he would be done with her.  He, himself, was too proud to break off the affair, and so, his only hope was that she would end it for him.
     As Robert looked around his office, he couldn't help but wonder whether or not he was right in what he was doing.  Truth be told, the book would not be finished for at least a month and by then he might have forgiven Lilith.  No… he must finish the story, if a man did not keep to his ideals, he was nothing.  Robert then returned to his desk and stared at the digital clock and calendar on his desk, it was 11:35, July 6th, 2002.
     He took out his pad and pen once again as a new thought popped into his head.

The ghost of a famous author haunts the tortured soul of his wife in an attempt to make up for all the love she never professed to her child during her life time.  The final effort of redemption for a hell-bent spirit.

     Robert then stopped writing for a moment and stopped to ponder what he had written.  He then skipped several more lines and wrote in all huge letters.


47 Minutes Before the Incident
Donovan put down the put he'd been reading.  He searched around on his desk for a highlighter, and upon discovering it, highlighted a passage that had struck him as particularly poignant.  He gazed to the corner of his dimly lit room and fixed his eyes upon the digital clock.
     It read 3:46.
     Donovan laid the book on his bed at the point where he'd left on and pushed himself up by his elbows.  He slowly walked over to his dresser and laid his hands upon the top drawers handle.  He paused for a moment to contemplate the forthcoming situation, and then firmly reassured himself that what he was doing was right.  Not only was it right, but it was necessary, it was the only way to make amends.
     The warped wood of the dresser and drawer caressed each other as he opened pulled it outward, making a screeching sound the only the dead could ignore.  Donovan ignored the sound.
     His hands moved along the drawer, pushing folded shirts and undergarments out of the way.  Herding socks to the corner until he came across what he'd been looking for.  At the bottom of the drawer were a pair of thermal socks which Donovan had never worn.  He had never been particularly impartial to the cold, and thus, had never had need for any "special" variety of sock.  The socks had been a gift from his Mother for his 16th birthday.  
     Donovan's mother didn't believe in objects like toys.  She found no use in them, and therefore, refused to every reward her child with pointless nick-knacks.  Instead, Donovan's mother made a routine of only giving him things that were necessary to living a long and healthy life.  When he was eight, he had received a word-processor.  Upon turning thirteen, he had been enrolled in an accounting course so as to make the most of any money he may ever earn.  At sixteen, he had received a collection of durable thermal clothing, in the off chance that he may ever travel.  The socks had been part of the wardrobe.
     Donovan picked up the strangely heavy pair of socks and reached his hand into the left one.  His hand gripped a narrow shaft with a plastic grip.  He removed the object from the sock and stared at it.  the objects long barrel reflected the dim-light in the room, putting a slight glare into Donovan's eye's that he chose to ignore.  The object was light, even when it was filled, a feature which had been key to Donovan in attaining the item, he had to be able to move it quickly.
     Donovan place the object in backpack and then reached into the right sock.  His hand gripped too objects which were a tad longer then the firsts handle and removed them from the sock.  They both functioned as containers and were filled to the top.  They were a necessary part of the first object, so he placed them next to the first within his bad.  He zipped up the bag and threw it across his left shoulder, letting out a slight grunt.  He closed the dresser drawer, once again creating a hideous sound and then preceded to his room's door.  He took one last look at his room, and then firmly closed the door behind him.
     Hours later, when Donovan's mother returned from Haliford and Shlieden, she would receive the news from one of Donovan's friends that he wouldn't be coming back.  She would slowly walk up the stairs, gripping the banister for support, and proceed to Donovan's room.  She would stare around, looking for some sign of her son, in the false belief that he was home, safe, and angelic in his complacency.  She would walk over his bed and fall to her knees, burying her head in his linen sheets as tears streamed down her face.  She would slam her fist unto the matters, and feel something hard.
     The hard thing she would hit would be an open copy of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, turned to the last page of the Act IV, scene 4.  Highlighted in green would be the following passage:

My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!

15 Minutes Before the Incident
     Jade stood in front of Mrs. Managin's apartment.  She had an object in her hand.  She was ten minutes early.  She was at a loss as to what she was doing there.  She didn't know why she had the object in her hand.  She didn't know what she planning to do.  All that Jade knew, was that she said she would help Donovan, and that's what she intended to do.

10 Minutes Before the Incident
     Robert was on the phone with Mrs. Managin at 4:23.  They were talking about their plans for the evening and wondering whether or not they should order out or eat-in.
     Robert didn't feel like mentioning the fact  that his mother had passed away so recently.  The two hardly knew each other, and of what little they knew, they didn't like.  He had no desire to hear his fiancée's false condolences, or to drag her along to any services during which she would not genuinely wish to be.  He decided that he would simply hide it from her, like how she hid her lover, and bring it up at a time when it would be past the mourning period.
     After finally agreeing that the two should go out to eat at local Caribbean restaurant, they began to talk about how their days had gone.  Robert reported he'd been busy at the office, working on his latest opus, though he still would not reveal what it was about.  She told him how she was simply watching her soaps and contemplating the idea of headed to the gym for a quick workout.
     Robert pondered in his head whether or not a "quick workout" was in fact slang for her whoring around the house with her sex-toy.  He jotted a note in his pad to include the idea in his book.  He was about to ask her whether or not she'd fed the dog, but quickly heard a loud knocking noise from the other end of the phone.  Apparently, her "workout" had shown up early.  He asked if someone was at the door, and she responded that it was Denise from school, an fellow history teacher with a specialty in psychology.  She told him that she would have to run and see what she wanted, but she would see him for dinner in a couple of hours.  She said how she loved him, blew a kiss over the phone, and quickly hung up.
     Robert lay his phone down on the receiver.  He thought nothing of the fact that his wife was going to fornicate with some child, he had slowly managed to separate himself from the incident stating that it was simply the research for his book.  He continued to jot down notes on his pad, stopping every couple minutes in order reorganize them coherently into a more logical course of events.
     Robert would pick up the phone an hour later.  On the other end of the line would be his fiancee's mother, Alice Managin.  Alice would tell him something, ask him if he was alright, and then say good-bye.  Robert would put down the phone and stare blankly ahead at his office door.  Approximately one minute later, he would snap out of his trance and write down something on his pad.  He would write:

Dinner is canceled

     Denise Galford went away every summer.  This summer was no different.  She was in Belgium, touring the sights and sounds of the land.  She would not find out what happened for three months.  She did not knock on the door, and she did not talk to any detectives.  She did eat a delightful dinner though at near-by restaurant.  After the meal, she purchased some chocolates made by the family at the restaurant for her fellow instructor, Deborah. Managin.  Deborah Managin never received the chocolates.

The Incident

Donovan knocked on the wooden door of Mrs. Managin's third floor apartment.  The apartment had two doors, the first door was a screen door while the second was the large wooden one Donovan had knocked on.  There was a doorbell too, and a metallic knocker as well, but Donovan's mind was not in a coherent enough state so as to notice them.  He stood outside the door, contemplating what he was about to do.  Reassuring himself that it was the only thing to do… it was rational… it was right.  No matter how many times he repeated this in his head though, the weight created by a certain object in his backpack filled him with strong feelings of guilt and disgust.
     There was no response behind the door for a good couple of minutes.  Perhaps she wasn't there, perhaps this was fate telling him that he wasn't supposed to do this.  Perhaps, though, he was wrong.  Just as Donovan was about to turn around and go home, discarding the object in the river that ran underneath Gregson Memorial Bridge, the door opened.
     "Well, well… I didn't expect I'd see you here ever again."  Said Mrs. Managin as she slammed the door open.  "Perhaps your not such a child after all?"
     "Perhaps…"  responded Donovan as he stood staring at disgusting beast which had taken his innocence.  "May I come in?"
     "Don, you know your always welcome as long as Robert is not around."  She stood to the side as Donovan dragged himself through sheer will through the slim archway he'd passed so many times before only for the sake of disgusting activities.  "Can I get you something to drink?"
     "No," he responded coldly.  He wanted nothing more from that woman.  No more grades, no more shame, and most of all, no more water.
     "Well then, why don't you have a seat?"  She asked as she pulled up a chair for herself at the small dining room table.  She took out a cigarette from her purse and slowly lit it, savoring every moment of her nicotine addiction as she went.  She knew that smoking was bad for her, as well, she knew it would probably kill her, but like so many things in life, she cared more for the sensual feel of the moment as compared to long term ramifications.  "I do hope this is more then a social visit."  She said as she took another long drag off her cigarette.
     Donovan stared around at the small dining room area.  He had always wondered why it was the first room one entered into in the house, surely, the room being used as a study was far more comfortable, but perhaps, that's why Professor Yeltz had wanted it for himself, knowing that he spent far more time researching then he did with the company of others.
     "You know I'm not a very social able person."  Donovan stared around at the room, he eyes fixed on a clock, it read 3:30.  The clock had been an engagement present from Mrs. Managin's parents.  Inscribed on the back on a golden plaque were the words "May your love be eternal."  Donovan had never read the plaque, nor had he ever stopped to truly admire the rather pleasant living conditions professor Yeltz and Mrs. Managin enjoyed, not that he cared all that much.
     "Well, I guess that I must have grown on you then, `eh?"  said Mrs. Managin as a wry smile crossed her face.
     "Like a fungus."  Said Donovan, trying to hide his joy at finally saying something to surprise Mrs. Managin.
     The wry smile of her face quickly contorted to a shocked puzzled look, while trying still to maintain some composure.  "Well… um… is that so?"  She didn't have any idea what could have brought Donovan to visit her.  He had graduated, on the honor roll no less, and there was no way she could change his grades to what they rightfully should have been.  She knew this, as did Donovan, and as such, she had finally released him from their agreement.  She had been a bit sad the day that she'd let him go, but she knew the day would come and that she would have to control her wild ways eventually, forcing herself to a life of wifely modesty with Robert.  Seeing Donovan on the door-step had brought forth a new hope in her though.  Perhaps Donovan had actually grown to love her similarly to how she lusted for him.  They were both adults, and stranger things had happened.
     Donovan slowly unzipped his backpack and retrieved the object, and one of its canisters of fuel.  He placed the canister into the object and it made a loud clack.  "As I said, this is far from a sociable visit.  In fact, I'd rather keep this incident as quite as our affair."  Donovan lifted up his arm and steadied it as he aimed the barrel of the object at Mrs. Managin.
     Mrs. Managin screamed in horror, she had been caught completely unaware and feel to the floor screeching.
     "MY GOD!  MY GOD!  MY GOD!  WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!"  she exclaimed as she attempted to shield her body with her arms.
     "I'm making amends."  He stated as he pulled back the objects chamber, moving one of the pieces of fuel from the container, to the object.
     "YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOUR DOING!  DONOVAN, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PUT THAT AWAY!"  This was the first time Mrs. Managin had seen one of the objects Donovan had in person.  She'd grown up in an upper-class suburb of New England where hunting was illegal and possession of the one of those objects inclined the general feeling that the owner was either paranoid, or suffered from a particularly small penis and needed something to compensate.  Both the object Donovan had and expensive cars seemed to be the best therapy for dealing with small dicks.
     "I should have told you… I'm an atheist…"  Donovan slowly began to pull on the small titanium trigger of the object, but before he could finish the action, he felt a heavyweight hit him from behind.  Donovan fell to the floor and object slid across the floor, eventually landing next to a vacuum.
     Mrs. Managin stared up at what had caused Donovan to fall, and was surprised to see an attractive young girl she'd taught in one of her English classes.  Neither the girl or Mrs. Managin said a word to each other, in fact, the girl didn't even seem to notice Mrs. Managin presence.  The girl simply kneeled down next to Donovan and grabbed him by the arms, dragging him slowly out of Mrs. Managin apartment.  She dragged him to the curve, and signaled for a taxi.  She placed Donovan in the back seat of the cab and told the driver to hold on for a second.  She returned to the house and addressed Mrs. Managin.
     "Don't tell anyone about this… and leave town.  I know what happened between you two."  She then turned back around and walked to the cab.  Before she got in, Mrs. Managin called out to her from the apartment doorway.
     "Why… why'd you save me?"  she asked, as tears streamed down her face.
     The girl looked down to the ground, and then quickly returned her gaze to Mrs. Managin.
     "I told him I'd help him.  I had to keep my word."  The girl then got into the car and she and Donovan drove off.
     Mrs. Managin, slowly returned to the house.  She packed a suitcase, taking care to only take objects that were her's, and had not been gifts from Robert.  She left a note on the dresser, explaining the incident in detail and why she had to leave.  
"I suppose it was just not meant to be." She assumed.  
With suitcase in hand, Mrs. Managin stood in the doorway one last time and looked at the apartment.  With a small sigh of defeat, she closed the door behind herself and walked to the bus stop.  She rode the bus as far as New Trafford before calling her mother.  She told her mother to tell Robert that she was sorry, but she had to leave.  Everything was explained in a letter she'd left.  When her mother had asked her where she was, and where she was going, she hadn't known how to respond.  She simply replied that she was going wherever she was supposed to be, and she would call again when she got there.  She then boarded a new bus and began to head for the east coast, perhaps things would be happier.  If they weren't, though, at least they couldn't get any worse.