The phone rang, but Heather didn’t get up. She didn’t even look in the direction of the ring. Heather continued sitting in the same old rocking chair, staring out the same old single paned window, just like every other day the last two months.
Her brown hair seemed grayer by the hour and the fine lines around her young face were deepening at the same rate. She wore the same faded blue robe everyday she sat at that window, in the old rocking chair. He bought it for her for Christmas two years ago
People talked. They walked by the old Victorian style home and saw the woman in the window. They pointed and covered one side of their mouth with their hand as they whispered to each other about the woman who had gone crazy.
In one story, he left her for another woman. They say she went bonkers when he was packing his bags. In another neighborhood tale, she went crazy and paranoid, and told him to leave because of an affair he never really had. There were plenty of assumptions as to how the woman came to sit in front of that window, but the more important question was, what exactly was she waiting for?
Was she waiting for the man to come back? Was she waiting for another prince charming to come save her from the retched castle? What was going on in the mind of Heather Dawson as she sat, rocking, in front of the old window of the old home, growing older herself with every passing hour.
They came and got the kids after the second week of the behavior that had the whole block talking. People knew she had the two little ones and they needed more care than the crazy woman in the window could give them. Her blank stare caused concern for the little ones and when the protective services showed up, they found a house that had not been touched with a mop, broom, or loving hand, in weeks. Garbages were overflowing; trash littered the floor, and no clean bottles. The kids were in good enough health, so even though they took them, she remained in the home, instead of jail where many thought she belonged.
The rumors continued to spread and people entertained themselves with talk of the woman in the window for weeks to come. That is, until the smell appeared. It was faint at first, like old garbage. Then it grew stronger, more like a dead rat. But one day it overwhelmed Heather’s neighbor’s to the point of gagging.
People began to knock on the door, but the woman remained in her seat in front of the window. The phone rang again and again, but never captured her attention. A few even went right up in front of her and knocked on the window, but they got nothing more than a blink of her eyelids in response.
The stench grew so horrible, the neighbors called the police.
Knock. Knock. Knock. No answer.
Bang. Bang. Bang .No answer.
“How can she handle it in there? It smells like death and we haven’t even got the door open yet!” one police officer said to the other.
“Use the crow bar, Bill.”
Bill used the tool to try and pry open the door. Eventually they heard a pop sound, and the door creaked slowly open. Both officers plugged their noses and put a hand over their mouth. The putrid aroma of death filled their nostrils and they knew immediately, they had a bigger problem on their hands than a woman who didn’t clean up after herself. Bill pointed to his partner in a gesture as if to say, “You call for back up, I’ll check it out.” He got a nod from his partner in response.
Bill’s boots made the floor creak as he slowly closed ground toward Heather. His brows knit together in confusion when he saw her there, sitting and staring. Then she turned her head to look at him and the glaze over her icy eyes made him take a step back. This bitch is crazy.
“Ma’am, there is a god awful smell coming from this place and we need to know why. Can you tell me what it is?”
She opened her mouth, but for a moment, no sound came out. As if after all these months of silence, she had forgotten how to talk. Then, finally, she spoke. “I had to take him out of the freezer.”
“Take who out of the freezer, Ma’am?”
“Steve, of course. You know the man was almost 6 foot tall? He just never wanted to fit right, so I just took him out and let him lay on the floor.” Heather looked toward her feet and Bill followed her glance. When his mind registered what he saw there, he jumped back a full three steps in one leap.
“Oh my God! Derek! We got a homicide!”
Once over the initial shock, Bill reached for his cuffs and began reading the woman her rights. As he did, he fought the oncoming nausea at the sight of the murdered and mutilated man on the floor. She was using him as a footstool. He was in two pieces, one stacked on top of the other. The skin was a bluish-white where there wasn’t blood covering it.
“You’all took a real long time getting here,” she said to Bill. “It really stinks, you mind taking me out of here?” Heather pushed the body with her bare feet, as if pushing back an ataman from a couch, and stood up.
The top half of the man slid off the bottom part. Bill watched in amazement as the man’s head hit the floor and his shoulders and minced-meat torso followed. That was too much for Bill. He reached his breaking point. He grabbed his stomach and threw up, his eyes and nose dripped as the stench overwhelmed him.
His partner walked in, just in time to see the woman walk over and pat Bill on the back as he vomited.