CH 03: Haley

Haley’s emotions echoed that of Detective Buck Dales ten-fold. She was the one that made the old bat pay for her cruelty and just because Haley was only a teenager it didn’t mean she didn’t know what she was doing or couldn’t understand the ramifications of her actions. But because of Kitty’s record of poor health, which ironically was due to the effects of ammonia and illness the cats had passed onto her and her age, seventy-nine, it would be deemed a natural death and by the look on the detective’s face he was mad and disgusted enough to easily accept that conclusion. Sitting at a nearby bus stop she quietly watched the emergency agencies respond to her murderous act which triggered her mind to recall the details. Haley lived a block away from the Ms. Kat and as she rode by on the bus one day that’s when she saw an abundance of cats milling around her house invoking immediate anger and outrage at what Haley was unequivocally certain was the mistreatment of the felines. So she returned their knight in shining armor to save the poor creatures. It was only a short jaunt to Ms. Kats place in a blanket of darkness at three a.m. mid-week when the residential streets were deserted wearing black clothes which made her virtually invisible. Dull street lights didn’t reveal her besides many of them were burnt out or busted by bored teenagers. Ms. Kat was an easy target not only because of her age and bad health but the old biddy never locked her door as if inviting her in. As she tripped up the over grown path quietly cursing she pulled her ski mask over her head in case by some unforeseen reason the woman got up to have a whiz or stayed up watching television although it was highly unlikely this late. Stretching the tight rubber gloves on before she touched the door knob and thankful for her soft non-trended slippers she gently pushed aside the cats and cursed in her mind when she unavoidably stepped in feces on her way to Ms. Kat. The women slept in a big backed antique chair in the living room because the cats had over taken her bed. Haley’s eyes watered but not from the stench it was from her heart-felt pity for the felines’ plight. Well, that would end soon better for the cats to be put asleep than live this tortured existence. Many of them were a matter of weeks if not days away from death anyways. Carefully she held up the old ladies’ head and smoothly pulled the cushion away with one fluid motion then pushed the pillow into her sleeping face. Her feeble attempt for life lasted only a minute or two she swatted at Haley once and her back arched slightly then she slumped in the chair. Feeling for a pulse and finding none Haley dropped the pillow and backed away letting her body fall naturally to the floor exactly where the police found her. Cringing at having to close the door behind her because she’d be imprisoning the cats in their tomb once more she freely cried as she yanked off the mask and gloves and stumbled down the path agonizing over how easily and peacefully the bitch died in comparison to the poor animals. Haley had taken it upon herself to be the judge, jury, and executioner without really knowing Ms. Kitty Kat personally because if she had maybe she would not have been so quick to get rid of her. All Haley saw was the terrible condition the cats were in and she made the old woman out to be a villain without knowing her back story.

It made you think of Haley as an uncaring, stone-cold killer but once you knew Haley’s background you could understand where she was coming from. Her parents fought violently for as long as she could remember. As a baby and then toddler she would bawl when the screaming started until her screeches drowned them out into silence. One left the room and the other would go sooth her, more times than not it was her mother who held her, comforted her but she still wet her bed and even wet her pants up to the age of six. When her dad’s intense anger escalated scarlet veins popped from the side of his neck and spider across his forehead while his trembling fists were red from clenching them so hard, at which point Haley held her breath waiting for her father to punch her mother but to his credit he never laid a hand on either of them. Her father worked for the city sanitation department collecting garbage which kept him in decent shape so his thick arms and solid torso only added to his intimidating image. As she got older Haley was prone to panic attacks, the minute her parents voices built up to the inevitable shouting match Haley’s palms became sweaty, her body would tremble, and she could feel her rapidly pounding heart beat in her wrist. Her mother took her to a doctor and was told that Haley’s condition was a physical reaction to stress in the girl’s life in particular her home environment. She grabbed Haley’s hand and stomped out of the doctor’s office. Deep down she knew the reason but felt embarrassed and powerless to do anything about it. She was going on her fifteenth year of marriage and with her so-so income at a huge pet store Haley’s mom didn’t think she could make it on her own it took both their incomes to pay the rent at their two bedroom townhouse.

Soft brown-haired Haley with her haunting green eyes for the most part successfully blended into the background at school, she had become pretty good at it at home so had lots of practice. In each classroom Haley picked a desk in the back row right beside the window and pulled her hoodie over her head. Being an outcast no one wanted to partner with Haley for group projects but she didn’t care because she always found another outcast, a nerd to team up with. Despite her attempts to skip gym she was forced to attend so she’d feign an injury or say she felt sick but she could only use those ploys so much. Haley would get picked last for teams as usual and as they sat on the bench to play, she’d just keep sliding down so her turn never came up. The coach never noticed because he was so busy and the other players never squealed on her because they didn’t want her to play. Socially in school Haley played the avoidance game she never ever signed up for any after-school clubs and she certainly didn’t go on any school trips, she always managed to lose the permission slip and gladly stayed behind in study class. She was by no means invited to parties which was just fine by her because she didn’t want the peer pressure of drinking, doing drugs, and playing spin the bottle. It was amazing how much Haley had in common with Kitty but she didn’t know it.