Joshua Only Played With Rabbits
Joshua only played with rabbits. She kept repeating in her head while her eyes closed tight for a long minute.
"She was found this morning," said Detective Peter O'Brien, his voice barely audible. "Stabbed in an alley near here. Skin peeled back like an orange."
"Joshua only played with rabbits," she half whispered.
The first day Missy Allen went missing O'Brien wanted to organize yet another search party, but they'd already looked everywhere. Fairfield County had every stone turned up. Finally they had clear evidence of the abduction. 88 year old Marge Wallace's 60 year old retarded son was the person of interest. He worked part time at a pet shop and loved playing with rabbits. The owner of the pet shop would give him rabbits to take home and care for, but he would stab them to death and peel the fur off. It wasn't just every now and again, it was all the time. No rabbit was safe in his care.
"I need to see your son."
"Detective, he doesn't know any better. He is slow."
"Quick with a knife though," O'Brien added.
"Mommy is it safe to come out?" Joshua cried. The voice was piped and wavered, never quite on key. O'Brien pushed passed Marge and walked toward a back room. There was a pad lock on the door, and a chain wrapped around the door handle. The detective wanted to kick in the door and peel the skin off of Joshua Wallace. Every part of him, his arms, his legs even his skin suffered for revenge. He didn't care about Joshua's mental state.
"Open the door Mrs. Wallace," O'Brien demanded.
"Run Joshua!" Marge Wallace screamed as O'Brien kicked in the door.
Joshua Wallace stood there, he was a dark hunched bulk behind the closet door. Peter O'Brien just wanted to shoot him like a rabid dog. He fought back that urge. O'Brien took a deep breath, but it didn't work. He took another deep breath and that didn't work, he felt dizzy, his head hurt. He kept imagining that little girl screaming while her skin was peeled away.
Detective Peter O'Brien took out a photo of Missy Allen. She was in pink bows and lace, carefully posed before a blue backdrop. Toothy, with a say cheese type of smile. Every curl and braid in place. he held the photo in front of Joshua Wallace and a couple of times slapped him in the face with it.
"You killed this little girl, you monster!"
"Joshua only played with rabbits," Joshua replied as he crouched down.
"He is telling the truth detective," Marge Wallace said as she entered the room. "I have to admit that trying to frame my son for that murder was what I had planned. You see i'm getting too old to take care of him and the state wouldn't arrest him for killing. They would institutionalize him and take good care of him. Don't get me wrong, I tried to teach him how to kill using rabbits, but he wouldn't kill people. I had to do the killing, and I stabbed that little girl and peeled her skin, then he would do the same with rabbits. I wanted the police to think he did that to the little girls too."
"Little girls?" O'Brien was puzzled.
"We did it several times," she grimaced. "The girl you found in the alley was not the first one."
Despair, disgust it came, then the pain, welling up in him like a ball of red fire, bursting in the center of his heart. O'Brien couldn't even disgest the words coming from her mouth. His eyes looking back at Joshua for a moment then back to Marge Wallace. O'Brien's skinned crawled, a clammy feeling came over him. Joshua sank to the floor and he covered his face.
"Joshua only played with rabbits, " he whimpered.
© 2014 Frank Atanacio
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