The House With No Lights (Part Two)

The House With No Lights (Part Two)

(click here if you still need to read Part One)

Chad worked to open a panel in the floor of the minivan. He knew the tire was under there, but the latch was giving him trouble. The CD player kept pushing the music of the Nutcracker Suite out of the speakers.

“Daddy?” Dysan said.

“Yes, son?”

“Why don’t those people have yights?” Dysan had a little trouble saying his “L” sound, so sometimes “lights” came out “yights.”

“I guess they’re just Scrooges, son.”

“What are Scrooges?”

“Scrooge is a man who didn’t like Christmas,” Chad said. He grunted as he lifted the floor panel. “But mainly he did mean things to people. So, the way I used it is a bit of a misnomer, really.”

“What’s a bidduvamisnomer?”

“It’s when something has the wrong name. Like…” he started to say, until his eyes adjusted to the dark inside the floor compartment.

The spare tire was there, but the jack wasn’t. He couldn’t raise the minivan to take off the flat tire and replace it.

“Well, that’s a real nutcracker,” Chad said. “I’ll be right back, son.”

Chad slammed the panel down and crawled backward out the door. He stood, brushed off the knees of his pants, and thought about their options. They had mobile phones, so they could call Sue Bee’s husband, who had stayed home. Chad didn’t like that idea, because it would take Henry at least an hour to get to them. There were service stations nearby, but that would cost a lot of money.

As he walked around to the right side of the minivan and looked at the house with no lights, Chad saw a bulb on the front porch light up. A woman came out the front door and walked down the steps. Chad noticed that Sue Bee and Elena were watching the woman, too.

“How’s our son?” Elena asked.

“Fine. He sure asks a lot of questions,” Chad said.

“Welcome to my world,” Elena said. She always stayed at home with Dysan on the days Chad went to work.

“So, is this lady coming to shoo us away?” Chad asked.

“We don’t know that. Let’s just wait and see,” Sue Bee said.


Back in the minivan, Dysan watched an old lady walk up to his mommy, daddy, and gramma. “Who’s that yady, Daddy?” he asked, but nobody could hear him with all the windows and doors closed.

He heard a sound that made him pancake his hands against his ears. He started counting after the first one, and got up to six. Then, even though the sound was over, he counted in Spanish. He got to diez.

He heard his daddy yelling, “Get down! Get down!” as they all lay on the ground on their stomachs.

At the house with no lights, an old man rushed out of the front door and pointed a long gun toward the street. Dysan knew what it was because his granddad had one over his fireplace. He knew he should never aim a gun at people.

Dysan turned to see where the man was aiming. A car rushed by and sped down the street. The old man moved his gun to keep it pointed at the car.

“Daddy! Mommy! What’s happening!” Dysan cried.

The door opened and Dysan’s daddy quickly unstrapped him from his seat. “Where are we going?” Dysan asked.

“Inside.” He hugged Dysan close and put his hand behind his head.

“Inside the house with no yights?” Dysan snuggled his face against his daddy’s shoulder.

“Yes, son. No yights. Okay, gotcha. Here we go.” He pulled on the minivan’s door handle to start it closing.

His daddy ran across the yard. The ladies already were running through the front door, and the old man was waving his hand for his daddy to hurry up. Dysan’s lip bumped against his daddy’s hard shoulder at least three times before they got up the steps.

The strong smell of cinnamon hit Dysan’s nose as they reached the entryway. His daddy walked through a room with a TV in it, and into the kitchen. His mommy and gramma stood with the old lady, facing the sink. The water was running.

“She’s bleeding a lot,” the old lady said. She turned and saw Dysan and his daddy. “Oh, sorry, dear, I didn’t know you had him in here,” she said.

“She’s been shot?” his daddy asked. The old lady nodded her head.


Chad turned and walked quickly back to the living room, where he set Dysan down on the couch. “Son, you stay here and watch TV with the nice man, okay?”

“But you said he’s a scrooge, Daddy, and they’re mean to people.”

“Well, I was wrong. Just do as I say, Dysan. I need to go check on Mommy.”

“I want to come with you.”

“No, son, you have to stay here right now. See? There. He’s turned it to Disney Toons Channel for you.”

Chad walked back into the kitchen. Elena was leaning over the sink. “It hurts. Oh, God, it hurts,” she said, wincing between breaths.

“Where was she shot?” Chad asked.

“Near her ribs, but it just caught the skin,” the old lady said.

“Honey, do you need to sit down?” Sue Bee asked.

“No, Mom, I just need to not move right now.”

“I knew we shouldn’t have come to the city,” Chad said. “This neighborhood’s just a few blocks from downtown. Ripe picking for gang members and God knows what else.”

“That’s not helping, son,” the old lady said.

Chad noticed a hint of cinnamon in the air. The house smelled like Christmas.

(continue to Part Three)

3 Replies to “The House With No Lights (Part Two)”

  1. Christmas in the ‘hood; stranded family saved by gun-toting grinch; near death at the hands of hooligans, all flavoured by the welcoming aroma of cinnamon in the air.

    Remind me never to break down in Mark’s imagination!

  2. Very true, Si. Blood in the sink and cookies on the stove. “It must be Christmas,” says Mark.

    I have to admit that I did not see this coming. Interesting spin though. I’m looking forward to the wrap-up. Good stuff, Mark.

  3. So I was wrong with the Amish even though my mental picture and today’s gunfire brought back terrible thoughts of what happened this fall.

    If you take a week break before this is finished I’m never coming back.