Sheryl’s Daily Prompt
It was easy to see the woman was afraid. Her eyes continually darted to the crowd. I quickly scanned the people standing on the far side of the group to see if anyone stood out, seemed threatening, or showed undue interest in the lovely young woman. Her body language mirrored the agitation in her eyes and she stood hunched over with her arms tightly hugging her waist. As a result, I inched closer and when I had her attention, I moved to her left side blocking the crowd before suggesting we move to a more secluded area. She seemed both apprehensive and relieved.
“Your Megan Smith, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” she replied nervously.
“Was the young man a friend of yours?”
“Yeah, sort of. We weren’t buddy buddy or anything, but I knew him, we chatted from time to time. He was a nice guy. Always making sure that everyone was safe. He kinda made it his thing to watch over the tenants.”
“Any particular reason he felt he had to that?”
“There were a few run ins with people trying to gain access to the building, especially when we were coming or going. When he heard a commotion, he usually came out to assist.”
“Were these people always the same people?”
She became agitated, and with a cough said, “Yeah, mostly.”
“A couple of tough types that didn’t take guff or no for an answer and people were afraid of them. We couldn’t figure out why or who they were interested in seeing. Just that they were trouble.”
“Had Mr Johnston had previous run ins with these people?”
“Yeah, a couple of nights ago. They were harassing an elderly lady who is rather fragile and used a walker. The only reason they didn’t get in was because she whipped her walker around and it caught one of them on the shins and they backed off because someone else was coming toward the door.”
“You saw all this?”
“Yeah, I’m on the first floor, just left of the door. I try to keep a watch too and if someone needs help, I try to get there, but Mr. Johnston was always faster and bigger.”
“If I set up some time with an artists, could you describe them for me?”
“Well, I could draw them for you.” She seemed shy now.
“So your an artist then?”
“Yeah, wanna be.” She was nervous again, ” They told me to stay out of their business or they’d break my arms. I don’t mind telling you they scared me but I still did my best for the other tenants.”
“Sounds like you went above and beyond as did Mr. Johnston. Did he seem afraid or nervous at all?”
“No. I mean if he was, he hid it well. He just went on with his daily business. He worked from home so he said it wasn’t a problem to keep a lookout. “
Then she broke down, between sniffles she said, “I’m sorry this happened. He was a good man, you know?”
“Seems that way.”
“Do you have time to do a sketch for me?”
“Yeah, sure, come inside, I’ll do it right now.” I escorted her inside to her apartment, a nice tidy one bedroom with a view of the street and when I moved to the window, a clear shot of the front entrance. If anyone new where to look, they’d spot her instantly. Something had to be done about that since I| was sure they’d return to find out if anyone knew or saw the incident.
When she was finished, she handed the sketch across and she was clearly more than a wannabe, she was an artists and it was like looking at two men, one taller, heftier, the other shorter but meaner. The look on their faces showed they’d lived a life and not a good one either. There was anger and meanness in their eyes.
“Wow, this is really good. Really good. I’ll get this out immediately. Thank you.”
“I’m going to post a guard for a few days to see if there’s any undue interest.” I handed her my card, “You call me if you see these two or anyone else or have any concerns, ok?”
“I’m serious, call me, day or night and I’ll have somebody here.”
She looked at me with a quiet smile, “Thanks.”
As I turned to leave I said, your welcome, “Just call!”
I looked back as I walked away. I hoped she would.