Lonely Lou by Karen Walker

Lonely Lou by Karen Walker

Standing in Lou’s smoky, sweltering apartment, Officer Berg fanned his face with his notebook as his partner Munroe tried a new approach.   

“How are you feeling? Anything going on that’d make you hear sounds?” Munroe asked.  

Berg rolled his eyes, mumbling about the psychobabble being taught to recruits these days. 

Bubbles of saliva popped at the corners of Lou’s mouth. “I’m telling you there’s a wailing coming from next door. The sound gets loud, and then it stops. Like right now.” 

“And the three other times we’ve been here this week,” Berg said.

The old man dropped into his chair, jostling a little table. A remote fell to the floor. “I’m not nuts!”

“Sure it isn’t your TV? Some crime show?” Berg smirked. 

“No! Someone’s in agony in there. Maybe being held hostage. You have to investigate!”

Munroe spoke slowly. “Lou, we told you yesterday we found nothing next door. The place is empty. We don’t want to come back again.”

As the officers stepped into the dim hallway—“Wait! Wait!” Lou calling after them—Berg pointed to Munroe. “Take one more look that way. I’ll go this way past the ‘wailing door.’” Leaning in, his ear almost touching the door’s peeling red paint, he grumbled: “There. I’m investigating.”  

A long, ripping, tormented cry pierced the door. 

“Hello. Police. Open the door!” Berg yelled, pounding.  

The wailing rose to a scream. “Open it now. Police!” 

As Munroe sprinted back, calling for back-up on his radio, Lou peeked into the hallway. “You hear it!”  

Berg kicked and kicked the door. Crack by splinter, it weakened until, with two last booming hits by Munroe, the lock snapped. Guns drawn, they stormed into the apartment.  

Lou chuckled as he sat down with a tea. He listened to the wail and smiled. Then, picking up the remote, he pushed the device’s volume button and faded the sound away. Next door, Berg and Munroe were shouting. Outside, tires were screeching and sirens blaring as strobe lights whipped the building. Lonely Lou settled back. His show had finally begun.


Copyright Karen Walker 2019

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