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A MURDER SCENE FROM ROBIN OF TUDOR GABLES

One day when Robin was tucked away in his hideout, he was listening to Mrs. Silverman playing her organ. He knew it was making his mother mad and he didn’t care. Suddenly, the basement door opened and Robin froze. He could barely see a large man in a dark suit. His hair was dark and greasy and it stuck out over his collar. He didn’t look like anybody who lived in the apartments. He was too dressed up. Robin smelled a cigar. The man crossed the basement and stood at the sinks just inches away. He looked at Robin’s escape window and locked it. Then he put a plug in the sink and turned on the tap. He paced the basement until the sink was filled to the top. He turned off the tap. Then, slowly, he paced the basement again, back and forth, puffing his cigar. Robin could hear the man’s shoes squeaking.

The man stopped suddenly. He cocked his head, listening. Robin heard footfalls on the back stairs. They stopped at Drew’s apartment. There was a rapid knock and Larry’s voice.

“Drew? C’mon, baby. Open up. I know you’re in there.”

Larry waited and knocked again. “C’mon, baby! Let me in!”

Robin listened for Drew’s footfalls, but he heard nothing.

The man in the suit carefully opened the basement door. He crept out and up the stairs to the court way.

Larry continued to plead. “Drew, baby! Open the damned door!”

Robin heard a scuffling as the man grabbed Larry and struggled to drag him down into the basement. Larry whined and cursed and twisted around, furiously fighting the man all the way as he dragged him across the basement. The man spun Larry around like a doll and plunged his head into the sink. Larry’s hands clamped onto the sides of the sink as he strained against the man’s hand at the back of his neck.

“Please! Please!” Larry squealed, but the man took out a large, black pistol and hammered Larry’s fingers. Larry strained upward with all of his bodily strength, screeching frantically even with his head under the water. His legs quivered with the effort, but to no avail. His legs kicked and stomped as he struggled frantically to brace against something, anything, to defeat the iron arm that held him under. He knew it was almost too late. There were only seconds left, but he tried to steal a slight breath.

In a minute Larry was still. The man pulled him out of the sink by the collar and reached into the water to pull the plug. His suit sleeve was soaked up to his shoulder. He dragged Larry out like a heavy suitcase and closed the basement door.

Robin was paralyzed. He heard the man dragging Larry to the alley. A car pulled up. Robin heard the trunk open and close. He heard the passenger door open and close, and the car drove away.

The basement seemed to hiss with silence. There was not even the shallow breathing of a child. There was only the laundry sink with an inch of water, and then the slurp as the water and Larry’s life went down the drain, and Mrs. Silverman’s organ reached peaks and highs Robin had never heard before.

 

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