Jay Khann, Contributor
It had been a Thursday when Principal Bishop called Donnette at work about yet another set of missed days. The call pointed Donnette to the closet in her own home in which hung four unworn uniforms, but none of Cassandra's favourite clothes.
An interview with an Officer Donaldson, who had been assigned to her 14-year-old daughter's missing-persons case, revealed just how little she knew of her daughter's life.
Two-and-a-half weeks later, Donnette was awoken in the afternoon by the jarring rumble of a lawnmower. She stood in her kitchen watching Trevor mow Mrs Andrews' lawn.
With nothing to move on to, she counted missed spots Mrs Andrews would never see from her son's house in Connecticut.
She was still watching when he finally turned off the mower, sat under the mango tree and drank greedily from a water bottle.
Neither stick nor stone broke any of the unripe mangoes he tried to reach from their stem. Undeterred, he ascended towards the nearest one.
Through the leaves, she saw his big, dark hand snatch the little green mango in a viciously triumphant motion. He bit and ripped the young mango's skin away. Focused on the firm flesh beneath, he barely turned his head as he spat out the skin. His parted, pointed teeth sank into the mango.
Donnette swiveled in an empty room. Her forced patience, her contortions were for nothing. The room, the whole world was silent to her questions, but in her mind what she'd seen, heard and felt were about to collide in a deafening crash. She saw him, hot and thirsty from mowing the lawn. She saw Cassandra. He knew she was home alone. He asked her for a glass of water. He followed her inside. Donnette's little green mango didn't see his hand about to snatch her up. He bit her. He tore off her clothes and tossed them aside. The teeth on his zipper parted. Is she screaming? Why doesn't anyone hear?
Her eyes flew to the radio on the counter, to the rooftops of empty houses, to the missed spots Mrs Andrews' never around to see, then to him. He tossed the seed under the mango tree and pushed the mower away. Her eyes did not follow his retreat, they remained fixed on the gnawed, dirt-covered seed. In her mind, something was planted, the answers she sought bloomed. A knocking cut through her thoughts, bringing her back to her window with the view of Mrs Andrews' now empty backyard. She searched it for the man who raped, murdered then buried her daughter there. The knocking persisted, forcing a halt to her search but brought her face to face with her quarry when she opened the door.
"Afternoon. I don't mean to bother you, but I was wondering if I could get a glass of water."
"Ok. Yes. W-wait here," Donnette said, hesitantly swiveling towards the kitchen.
Glancing over her shoulder with each step, assured her he'd obeyed, but she almost dropped the glass when she turned to see him standing in her kitchen. Her chest and her grip on the glass tightened in unison. His calm nod at the glass and grateful smile so freed her from the sense of imminent danger that when she took back the empty glass, she was completely unprepared. In a seemingly solitary movement, he spun her round, held her wrists and pushed her face-down on to the tile. He sat on her hands and stuffed his shirt in her mouth. Failed back-kicks sent him flying into a rage.
"Ooman like yuh get man inna trouble!" Trevor snarled.
"Mi see yuh a pree me all di while, so mi know yuh waan mi come ova yah, an' now yuh gwaan like yuh nuh waan gimme."
Afterwards, she watched him dress in silence. She knew she couldn't let him leave.
"You killed her didn't you? You killed my little girl!"
With muted surprise, as Trevor's reply, she persisted.
"You raped her, killed her and buried her in Mrs Andrews' backyard!"
"I knew you were a freak, but I didn't realise you were crazy too." Trevor finally said, coolly bending to pick up his shirt, "The police won't think I'm crazy."
Donnette, darted toward the phone.
The receiver at her ear, fingers poised to dial, showed him hers was no empty threat and filled him with anger. It propelled him after her and he yanked the phone line from the wall.
The receiver and blows she threw at him are but fuel to the fire. Writhing in his grasp, she felt the heat of his anger. She freed herself with a knee to his crotch but tripped and hit her face hard, blood flowed from her nose.
The gentleness in his helping hand went unnoticed, she slapped him hard and rose, thrusting herself at the knife set on the counter.
He angrily rose to follow her, but stopped wide-eyed when the blade met his neck.
This was not part of their usual role play.
She turned away from his questioning, dimming eyes to the spot under Mrs Andrew's mango tree. She knew the police would find Cassandra covered in his DNA.
Her eyes roamed over the lawns' missed spots, over rooftops of empty houses. She knew no one else knew of the week-long affair she'd had with him to get that DNA.
She stepped over Trevor's body and got her cellphone.
"Officer Donaldson?! He killed her! He killed her and then he tried to kill me."