When you want to catch someone in the act of doing something, remember they don’t want to be caught. So, you may want to pay close attention to them. They may be watching you. Enjoy Part 7 of The Perfect Community. Thanks.
JAY HAD KNELT DOWN under the window of the house. It was dark out. Light from inside the house was coming through the window. It lit the side of the house enough for anyone to see him if they looked out the window and straight down. Jay pushed himself flush against the stucco. He could hear Carla talking inside her neighbor’s house. A group of people was inside the house. Carla had walked close to the window where he was hiding.
Carla was talking to her neighbors in her neighborhood. She was saying how Edith and Guyford Beckworth had died in the most humane way that they knew how. The rumors that were spreading about the two were just rumors. She told them her sources said that the deaths were of a suicide nature. She could not speculate any further than that. Even that had gone too far.
Jay thought the reason Carla knew so much about her neighbors’ deaths was not from rumors. She probably did it. Or, she had a hand in it. Why else would she lie to the police about her whereabouts the night of their deaths?
Jay got on his hands and knees and listened. He crawled alongside the house to under the next window. Carla was moving around as she spoke. Jay did not know what was on the ground next to the house. Were their motion detectors to turn on the lights? Was there an alarm system that alerted the homeowners to let them know that someone was too close to their house?
Jay stayed down under the window and questioned if following Carla was a good idea. He had not planned it. It came about because he could not sleep. He had lain in bed for an hour, looking up at the ceiling. When he heard movement downstairs he got up. He looked over the railing into the downstairs area. Carla walked in from the family room. She was dressed in black—pants, shirt, coat, and shoes. It was eleven p.m. She was going out.
That was when the idea struck Jay. Carla was up to something. He did not know what it was. But, it was something that she wanted to keep a secret. Maybe wherever she was going tonight she would reveal it. She appeared to be almost ready to leave. She had a purse, an umbrella, and a tote bag. She must not have been going far.
Jay eased out of bed without waking Crystal. He grabbed his clothes from the chair and took them into the bathroom. He hurried to dress and tiptoed out of the room. He looked downstairs. Carla was headed for the door. He waited until she left and closed the door. He then waited another minute before going downstairs.
Somewhat sure Carla was not coming back inside, Jay rushed to the back door. Carla and Frank did not set the alarm system most nights. He hoped this was one of those nights. He eased the door open. The alarm did not go off. He ran out the door and onto the grass to hide the noise of his footsteps.
Several times while following Carla Jay had to hide between some trees. Carla was a bit hardcore. It was dark out. Too dark in some places to see one hundred feet ahead of them. Carla would stop walking. Stick her nose in the air and smell. Then she resumed walking. She acted like a dog, Jay thought.
Under the window where Jay was hiding, he could hear Carla better than ever. Her voice was clear. Carla talked about their community. How what they were doing could catch on across the country and possibly the world.
Jay wondered what the hell she was talking about. It sounded like a cult reunion to him.
Carla told them their deceased neighbors had agreed to leave the Community Fund over three million dollars in investments. The couple’s home had not been appraised yet. That could be an additional eight hundred thousand to one million dollars. People in the room clapped.
Carla went on and said that the Community Fund would be there for medical expenses, transportation costs if needed, and anything the residents would need. The people inside the room clapped again.
“Now, to a touchy subject,” Carla said. “But, it has been accepted and appreciated.” She paused. More clapping came. “The TPC program. The Temporary Companionship Program has worked exceptionally well. Having someone stay with a grieving widow or a lonely spouse with an ill partner is always helpful. But, sometimes people need more than a sympathetic ear or shoulder to cry on. Some of us will need to be touched and held. And, at times, a traumatic event may cause us to be intimate with the person who is comforting us. We may need this person until we can stand on our own two feet and find a new love.”
Carla praised the spouses of the people who were willing to participate in the Temporary Companionship Program. That was a true sacrifice. She knew it could not be easy for a spouse to offer their spouse to another person to comfort them. She told the group that proved that they were compassionate and good friends and stewards of their community. It proved that nothing was too high of a price to pay or give to help the neighborhood. She then thanked them for putting their trust in her to oversee the community fund. She laughed and told them they had the best neighborhood and best-kept secret in the world. “We will do whatever is necessary to protect you,” Carla said. “You are our neighbors and friends.”
Jay’s mind raced. What the hell kind of neighborhood was this? Did Carla just insinuate they would murder people? Did they murder that couple from last night? Were these people swapping spouses? Was this one big communal marriage? Did everyone donate their assets and money to the Community Fund? If they did, it would be a reason to kill people. Kill them once they had outlived their usefulness. And, who better to fill that position than Carla.
Jay noticed it was quiet. He lifted his head to peer through the window. Carla was hugging and kissing people goodbye. He crawled away from the house on his hands and knees. Once he got twenty meters away from the house, he stood up. The house’s door opened. Carla was definitely leaving.
“Carla,” Lilly Ed said. She was one of the elderly neighbors. “I’ll give you a ride home. You shouldn’t be walking in this dark.” Carla told her she did not have to. “I’m doing it anyway.”
Jay ran. He would beat Carla home, he thought. She was not that fast of a walker. He ran until he got back to his in-laws’ house. He was winded and not as fast as he thought. Carla could not be that far behind him. He prayed the back door would be open. He turned the doorknob and pushed on the door. It opened. Now, he hoped no one saw him coming back inside.
He eased the door open and snuck inside and closed it. He tiptoed across the floor until he reached the upstairs. He ran up the stairs to their bedroom. He opened the door slowly and walked softly inside the room. He took off his clothes and eased back into bed.
Carla stood in the dark at the bottom of the stairs looking up at the bedroom that Jay had just gone into.
Does Carla have eyes in the back of her head? Or, is Jay simply no match for her?
I hope you enjoyed Part 7. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.
Have a fantastic week.