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Just Breaking the Surface

Just Breaking the Surface

Norma wiped the kitchen counters clean from the mess she had made cooking baked ziti for dinner. The big house was too silent for her with her son confined to his room for the night after the argument they had just had. The motel needed work and she couldn’t do it alone. Before he became entranced by a girl’s charm, Norman had to stay focused on the family for a few moments longer to help her get the motel running for business. Norma knew there was no room for a girl in his life, except Norma herself. Maybe she shouldn’t have been so aggressive towards him in their argument.

She called up the stairwell to Norman. Her calls were returned with silence. He was just angry and would get over it shortly to help her finish cleaning up. There was no use in waiting on him to come out of his sullen state. She ran the hot water to wash the dishes. A metal clanking sounded from a distance, and for a second, Norma couldn’t determine if it was on the back porch or if it was the last of the dishes settling in the sink. She took a step towards the back porch and there was Keith Summers’ face in the window of the door. Keith smashed the window open with his bare fist to unlock the door. The first thing she could grab was the dirty kitchen knife she had yet to wash as she screamed in pure horror.

Norma screamed for Norman, pleading as she pointed the knife at Keith. There was no fear in his heart, but there was thirst in his eyes as he approached her. The same hand that smashed the window open now punched Norma in the face. The popping of her jaw vibrated through her ear drums and she spun around, grabbed the kitchen counter and fell to the floor. The knife slid across the kitchen under the table and Norma rolled onto her side, trying to protect herself as Keith came at her with a box cutter. Keith jerked Norma by the legs and sat down on top of her while he scrounged in some utility belt around his waist. Not only did Norma not have the energy to fight after being punched so hard, but she couldn’t struggle under Keith. His weight was too much for her to handle.

Keith found duct tape in his belt and used the box cutter in his left hand to cut a piece to place over Norma’s mouth. With Norma unable to scream or talk, Keith went on and on about how Norma wasn’t fit to run his motel. He stood up, lifted her over his shoulder, and leaned her against the kitchen table. He used cuffs from his belt to secure her to the table. Her cries were gurgled against the tape on her mouth. Keith’s angry words switched gears from Norma’s failure to run a motel to how much he knew Norma wanted Keith inside of her. She felt the cool air against her backside and then felt the slimy, dirty extension of Keith fill her and almost split her open.

One thrust, two.

Norma had lost. Norman wasn’t going to come help her and there was nothing she could do to save herself while tied up. She was taped and cuffed to her own table. There was no way out of this violent rocking. The kitchen table legs scraped against the floor and the sound was louder in Norma’s ears as it blurred out Keith’s grunting. In the pit of her stomach, which felt like it was shaking against Keith’s prodding inside her, she knew Norman wasn’t really in his room. It would be over soon.

Keith had the left side of Norma’s face crammed down onto the table so that she could see the large kitchen doorway that led into the hallway where the dusty old photos hung on the wall of previous motel owners. Norman snuck his way through the front door, she knew he wasn’t in his room, and he grabbed the meat tenderizer from the kitchen counter. Keith was so busy teaching Norma a lesson about how he was a man that he had closed his eyes and was oblivious to Norman’s presence. Norman slammed the meat tenderizer into the back of Keith’s head, splattering blood on Norma’s cheek. Keith fell off and out of Norma as he thudded to the floor.

Norma directed Norman to get the key to the cuff, Norman released her and ran to his room. Norma turned her back and a groggy Keith Summers grabbed her ankle, she kicked him in the face and grabbed her knife. She stabbed him in a fit of rage.

One stab, two… fifteen stabs, just as he had raped her.

Norman stood in the doorway, his mouth gaped open as he stared at the woman before him smeared in blood. “Mother, we have to call the police.” He didn’t know what else to do, they had just moved into this sleepy town and they were already under attack.

“No, we are not calling the police.” No one wanted to stay in a morel that had a rape and homicide in it, Norma knew that. “I moved here to start over and we are starting over!” Norman didn’t understand, there wasn’t any other way to survive except to get rid of Keith’s body and to go on with life. They had just moved in, what kind of people would they look like moving just days after they had moved in? Norma began wiping blood up and Norman helped. They rolled Keith up into the rug he lay lifeless on.

“Norman, we need to get rid of his body. We have to dump him in the river.” Norma wasn’t panicking like she should have been. In this situation, with Norman screaming about cops and blood being everywhere, Norma had to be the level-headed one. She directed Norman to carry the dead body to the car. He loaded the rolled up carpet into the hatchback Volkswagen and they drove off to the river.

As Norman rowed the boat, Norma looked at her son. He may not have been in his room like he was supposed to have been, his being there would have prevented the situation entirely, but he was there to save her eventually. That is what mattered most, he came for her and he saved her. He still loved her. Norman looked at his mother and was nervous. They were rowing a dead body to dump it into the river, never to be seen again. “I think this is a good place to stop,” he glanced to the shore, which seemed more distant than necessary, but better safe than sorry from wondering eyes when dumping bodies in rivers.

Norma nodded her head in agreement and before the two made a move she whispered “I love you, Norman.” He glanced at her, “I love you too, Mother,” and the two rolled the body into the river and Norman lifted the cement blocked that was tied to the body and he let it drop into the water behind the body.

***

Knock, knock

Norma turned the brass knob of the front door. “Dylan,” Norma hadn’t seen her eldest son in years. He packed up and moved out at sixteen. At sixteen, his hair had been a rustic brown which was quite unlike the brilliant blonde it was as he stood before her now. His eyes were still the same blue of tanzanite as they were when he first opened them in Norma’s arms as an infant. “What are you doing here?” She was still so shocked, Dylan had made it clear that he could survive on his own and that he would never return.

“This is what most people do when they have no money and no place to live, Norman, they go home.” He smiled and waltzed in as if he were welcome.

“No, I mean what are you doing here? How did you find us?”

“Oh, that was a little complicated. Thanks for telling your other son you decided to pack up and move. Terrible about Norman’s dad, huh? Found dead. What do you have to eat?” He wandered through the living room and right into the kitchen, searching the fridge and he started making a sandwich as if he hadn’t been gone for six years. Norma watched him, her eyes wild with confusion, as he made a turkey and ham sandwich. He leaned against the fridge and ate like a caveman, “Norma, why are you looking at me like that?”

“Stop calling me that, I’m your mother.” Dylan was never fond of Norma ever since she left his dad for Norman’s dad, god rest his soul. “You can’t stay here,” it was cruel, but Norma and Norman had their own life together and there was no room for Dylan, who didn’t care for Norma anyhow.

“I need a place to stay, I won’t be here long. Please?” Dylan’s eyes didn’t beg as much as they should have, instead they were more insistent upon the fact that he was crashing there temporarily. There was not much Norma could say, so she trudged up the stairs to make up the third bedroom for Dylan to sleep in.

***

Norman stood in the kitchen, making himself lunch. Dylan came in the kitchen. The brothers weren’t so close because Dylan had left and they never really bonded to begin with when he was around. Even now while Dylan resided in their home, Norman didn’t talk to him. Dylan tried to make small talk, Norman didn’t know why.

“So, how’s living with the crazy shrew?” Dylan said sardonically.

“She’s not crazy and she’s not a shrew. Don’t disrespect her like that.”

Dylan chuckled, “You do realize some of the things she has done? I wouldn’t be surprised if she killed your father. I mean, she left mine for yours. She only cares for herself, Norman. You’ll be better off once you learn that and detach yourself from her tit.” He scrounged through the fridge for something to eat as his phone buzzed and he paid it no mind. Norman glanced at the screen, WHORE read across the screen. Norman laughed, his brother probably had those all over the states.

“Your whore is calling you.” Norman pitied his brother. He left home to sleaze around and ended up back home anyways. Dylan repaid Norman’s pity smile with a light hearted one. Norman turned his back to Dylan as he answered his call.

“Hey, Norma,” Norman’s head jerked up from the dish he was washing, “Yeah, we do milk. Sure, I can mow the lawn. Okay, see you in a minute.” Dylan hung up the phone and returned to the fridge. Norman ran towards Dylan, “She’s not a whore!” He charged Dylan, Norman was nowhere near as husky as Dylan and so it was nothing for Dylan to throw Norman backwards in his defense. Norman hit the kitchen table, “Don’t you ever come at me like that again. Seriously.” Dylan pointed at Norman in warning and once again returned to the fridge. Norman wasn’t sure what he was looking for in there, but it was long enough for Norman to grab the meat tenderizer and charge Dylan.

Dylan was on the alert as he stopped Norman before he was anywhere close to Dylan. Dylan rammed Norman into the kitchen cabinet and the glass broke. Dylan punched Norman in the face and a bruise began to show instantly. “I told you not to come at me like that,” Dylan looked pained as if it hurt him to hit Norman. If Norman knew Dylan a little better, he would have thought Dylan’s heart had broken as he stared at Norman with a despairing look. Then he was gone, he rushed out of the door and didn’t look back at Norman.

Norman lay in bed that night, his back turned on the door. Norma walked in to check on him and saw his eye, with the deep red circle around it from Dylan’s hit that day.

“Oh my god, what happened to you?” Norma asked as she grabbed Norman by the face to examine the damage.

“Dylan and I just had a fight. No big deal, he can’t stay here, Mother.”

Norma rubbed his back, and then she lay down with him and held him close. “I know, dear. He will be gone soon.” Norman felt comforted with his mother there, on his side about a situation she knew no detail of. The two lay there until they both fell asleep, Norma lay with her head on Norman’s chest and her hand under her chin. He lay on his back with his arm around her.

Norman sat on the sofa in the living room the next morning, staring at the black and white figures. A woman danced around her kitchen smiling and twirling a feather duster in her hand as she cleaned. Her husband, Norman assumed, walked in behind her and she screamed in surprise. Dylan stepped in front of the screen momentarily and then found himself a seat beside Norman on the sofa.

“I’m sorry about yesterday.”

“What happened yesterday?” Norman was deeply confused. Dylan wasn’t even home yesterday, he and Norma were gone all day.

“You came at me with a meat tenderizer and I slammed your head into the kitchen cabinet. You didn’t wonder why the glass was broken or why your eye was bruised?”

“You’re kidding, right? None of that happened, Dylan.” Norman’s face was serious, not a hint of amusement behind it. Dylan couldn’t tell if Norman was trying to just give a hint that it was over and time to move on or if he was deeply confused by Dylan’s apology. Dylan explained yesterday’s events and Norman just stared in disbelief, like Dylan was clever enough to make the whole thing up.

***

Norma had just found out that her love affair, Officer Shelby, was holding women captive in his basement when he showed up to her motel right after Norman and Dylan left to get the police. The woman was in one of the rooms, asleep, and Norman had been the one to rescue her. Shelby kept pressing against Norma, kissing her and she was disgusted by his touch. The disappointment shown across her face as he questioned what was wrong, then he heard water running. He knew no one had checked into the motel, he began to inspect the place. He opened the door and found the girl about to shower. She knew the face of her tormentor immediately and she ran off into the woods. Shelby stood and let her run by him, looking at Norma in an entirely different perspective. Norma saw the personality change and watched the man that was kissing her a moment ago transform into a hunter as he raced out the door after his prey.

Norman and Dylan returned shortly and said the cops were on the way. Norma explained everything. When she was almost to the end of the story, Dylan cut her off and announced that he had just convinced Norman to move in with him into an apartment away from Norma. Norman, more concerned with Shelby’s presence around their home chasing after a girl rescued from his home, began to say that they needed to get away before Shelby’s return. Norma didn’t move.

“Norman, you’re leaving me?” Her shoulders dropped and strands of blonde hair fell over her forehead.

“Mother, we have to go.” Norman began to pull her arm as he tried to move her.

“No, I’m not going anywhere. You’re leaving me anyways, what’s the point?” She threw her hands up as if she had not a care in the world.

Shelby returned without a girl. His nostrils flared in anger and from short of breath and he spoke in short breaths.

“I’m going to kill you all,” his chase for the girl had him weak from being short of breath, leaving his words less threatening. He pointed the gun in the group’s face, getting his point across.

“Go ahead, shoot me. I don’t care anymore.” Norma stared down the barrel of the gun with no fear. If Norman was leaving her, she may as well die. Shelby slapped her with the gun in his hand and she lost all of her courage. The four walked up the stairs, Shelby behind with a gun to Norma’s back. In the living room, Shelby spent time threatening the three. He yelled at Norma, claiming that he cared about her deeply, but she was too sneaky, too conniving to love. He pointed the gun at Norma, ready to kill. A gun shot was fired as Norma sat there with her face scrunched up as she waited for the bullet that would rest between the back of her skull and her brain. She opened her eyes and saw the bullet hole in Shelby’s arm and the smoking gun in Dylan’s hand. Shelby turned and took fire on Dylan. The two chased each other and fired away.

Norma jumped and grabbed Norman, they ran to the car, leaving Dylan behind. Norman stared blankly ahead. “Norman, help me find the keys.” He just sat there. “Norman, the keys!” Norman shouted in anger at his stale stature and her own jitteriness because she had lost control of the situation. She knew the keys were in the house, but she sat there and searched anyways.

A final gunshot fired in the house, the sparks lighting up the front window, Norma screamed. She watched the front door open. An injured body dragged its way down the stairs. Norma could only see the blonde hair soaked in blood and the left half of the being’s face blown off. Shelby stood there holding his gun in his right hand, he took aim at Norma and Norman, and then he fell as Dylan took his last shot from behind on the porch. Shelby lay there and Dylan limped his way down to ensure Shelby had died.

The cops showed up and carried Shelby off, a medic wrapped Dylan’s arm, and crime scene investigators covered every inch of the house. Norma glanced at her car, where Norman still sat. He hadn’t moved since she put him in the car and he hadn’t batted an eyelash since Shelby had the gun pointed in Norma’s face in the house.

“Is he okay?” Dylan asked as he used his head to point over to Norman.

“Dylan, there’s something you should know.” Norma began explaining Norman’s father’s death. How Norman stood in the kitchen while Norma and his father argued, how Norman’s father slapped Norma in the face as she was ironing the laundry, how Norman used some other worldly strength to clip his own father in the face with the blender.

“Norman had the same look on his face when he did that. I laid him down in his bed and he closed his eyes like I told him to as if he was being coached. I made his father’s death look like an accident and he woke up and didn’t recall a thing. He screamed and cried over his father’s body and the pain on his face reflected the innocence I knew Norman to have.” Norman just continued to stare as cops and emergency aid rushed around him.

“So, he just has the moments?” Dylan remembered how confused Norman looked when Dylan told him he tried to pulverize Dylan’s skull.

“Something’s wrong with him, but he’s my protective baby boy.” Norma smiled and the sincerity in her smile told Dylan that this conversation was over and never existed beyond this point.

 

 

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