Scene Sixteen

The light suddenly flickered on, and Melody screamed.

“What time is it?” she asked the strange, blurry figure in her doorway. The rest of the day had gone on uneventfully, and she had been asleep for some time. Even her dream had been tedious. She remembered making a sandwich and was trying for what seemed like forever to get the last little bit of peanut butter from the jar.

“There's some kid outside shining a flashlight in our bedroom window,” said a male voice, which Melody recognized after some mental struggle was her father.

The girl found her glasses and put them on. “You never answered my question, blurry blob man.” She saw her bedside clock read “2:37”, but for some reason she couldn't believe it.

“Two something.” Exact figures weren't her father's specialty.

There was suddenly another voice from the hallway. “He threw some rocks at the porch to get our attention.”

“With the way your mother sleeps,” Bernie added, with a yawn. “I'm assuming there's a small quarry sitting there.”

“Dear, a quarry is what rocks are taken out of, not a pile of rubble.”

Lonnie appeared from the darkness and slapped her husband lightly on the arm, sleepily.

“It's the middle of the night. You can't expect me to think of proper rock...things.”

Bernie, contrarily, was wide awake as he always was when he heard strange noises outside. In fact, he seemed a bit wired.

Melody groaned, and propped herself up on her elbow. “Who is it? And why were they flashing a light in your bedroom?”

“I'm assuming it's either one of the following: A.) because you have your window blocked by a bookcase and he gave up when you didn’t respond. B.) This person has no idea where your bedroom window is. C.) Your mother has a preteen admirer.”

Lonnie laughed. “Or D.) Your father has a preteen admirer.”

Melody got out bed, and quickly put on her sweatpants and jacket. The three of them walked to the front window. The girl peered out. “It's Lieutenant Tom,” she said, somewhat relieved.

“Are you sure,” Bernie said. “He's just a skulking black outline.”

“When I looked out the window, he shined his flashlight on his face. I'm going out. Looks like he has something important to report.”

“Fine,” Lonnie said, pulling a jacket on herself. “But we're going, too.”

“I don't think he normally talks to adults,” Melody said. “But fine. Just don't scare him off with your old people references.”

“I will try to keep Disco off-topic,” Lonnie said, smirking. She slapped her husband in the mid-section.

“Although,” he said, “If comes up organically in the conversation, all bets are off.”

“Yep,” Melody said, rolling her eyes. “ALL of that.” She swirled her finger around in the air in front of them as though she were casting a spell. “That entire conversation should stay right in your head.”

They left the house en masse and as they approached, Lieutenant Tom took a step back.

“It’s okay,” Melody told him. She placed her hands calmly in front of her as though attempting to soothe a wild animal. “They just want to know what’s going on as well.”

The Lieutenant seemed to relax, and then stepped into the light of the street lamp.

“I heard that some government people took you?”

“Was it MIB?” Bernie said excitedly, and then explained the term as no one seemed to know what he was talking about. “Men in Black?”

“Huh,” Tom said, shaking his head. “No. Some detectives came and took me and my father downtown. That was about my brother and it didn’t have anything to do with what I came over to talk to you about?”

Melody began to dance to herself, she had so many questions. Brother? Detectives? So many hints at a backstory for this character in front of her. It would probably drive her crazy not knowing. However, she contained herself. “Do tell,” she said, instead.

“Well, maybe it did a little,” Tom said, seemingly confused. “I mean when Dad and I – I mean, Captain Shinally came back...all of my maps were gone from the war room. All of my notes. I don’t know if someone was waiting for me to leave so they could wipe our Intel...” He trailed off.

Or if your tipsy step-mother wanted to clean up her laundry room…? Melody kept the thought to herself – mostly because the woman didn’t seem like the cleaning type, except maybe to be spiteful. She assumed, though, that the Lieutenant might already suspect it was an inside job.

“Whatever,” he said. “This is going to sound a bit bizarre, and normally I would have just filed it away, but I know you have been working on this case and there might be a link.” He pulled a small tablet from his pouch, and booted it up. He turned the screen around for the Jacksons to see. “This is a picture taken by Gerty Redmond who lives with her parents in the house who’s backyard faces this structure.” He pointed at the weather station across the street. “Normally Rhone Street is outside of our jurisdiction, but given the proximity to the events of this ongoing case, we took exception.

“Gerty is normally kind of a bully. Angry, preferring violence over diplomacy, but she saw this coming out of a hole in her basement, and it frightened her.”

“What are we looking at here?” Lonnie said, rubbing her eyes.

The picture was a tad blurry, but there was what looked like wings surrounding a bright light.

“Swipe it to the left,” the Lieutenant instructed her. “There’s more. All of the photos are slightly blurry. Given her state of mind, it’s a wonder that she was able to hold her camera phone at all.”

As Lonnie flipped through the images, objects began to take shape. “Is that a dragonfly?” she said, squinting at the bright image.

Bernie took a step back.

“What is it, Dad,” Melody said, leaning towards him as though she might have to suddenly grab him to keep his fainting body from hitting the floor.

“It’s a face,” he said. “A tiny human face.” He turned for the bushes. “It wasn’t a moth in that jar!” he said, and vomited in the shrubbery. “I remember it now. I remember it all!”

It Happened on Lafayette Street

Season One: Episode Four

Melody Jackson

vs. The Creeping Terror

by BMB Johnson

Scene Sixteen

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