Paul Lantar

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Chapter 1

            Dark storm clouds lurked menacingly in the sky keeping many residents of Contro City indoors. One small suburban neighborhood slept even quieter than most due to the fact that the majority of people living in the area happened to be elderly. However one old couple sat on their front balcony drinking hot tea and occasionally stuck their heads out of doors to see if any rain had began to fall. They peered over at the house next door where Mary Lantar once lived; a friendly widow who often said ‘hello’ as she went about her business. Now the only time they saw anyone in the house was when the grand kids made a rare visit to the place – mainly the middle child – a young man who came to tend to the gardens. The old man leaned over the wooden rail on his balcony straining to get a better look at Mary’s house, when a sudden chilling wind turned him away and his wife began packing the cups and saucers onto the tray to escape inside.

            A pile of wilting weeds sat on the concrete pavement that ran along the entire left side of the low set brick house. Specks of dirt hit the concrete and the sound of a shovel penetrating the soil scared away a pigeon from the rooftop.

            The wielder of the shovel took another stab into the ground and removed more dirt out of the square hole. His shirt was drenched in sweat and the black fabric clung to his toned physique. Paul dug the shovel into the grass and took off the gardening gloves – placing them in the back pocket of his jeans; he looked at the sky and could not be happier - the rain would welcome the new plants graciously. He scanned the row of pot plants he had carefully aligned along the fence and decided on a golden cane palm tree for the current hole. Paul planned to make a small rainforest to increase the privacy of the backyard and make the house seem more homely. He looked at the heavy sliding door on the back patio and admired the freshly cleaned glass; he caught sight of his reflection - darkened by the clouds that swirled above and decided on finishing up the arduous work for the day.  

            Paul felt the slight tension of curious eyes disappear and knew that the old couple next door had retreated in doors. He looked around the backyard mesmerized by its beauty spawned by varieties of plants and flowers; his grandmother had always been out working on it and adored nature. Paul would spend hours with her learning about all kinds of plants and animals, which proved helpful in getting top marks in biology class.

            He took his steel cap work boots off and left them on the patio as he made his way inside through the sliding doors. The three-bedroom home had a warm comfort about it and was decorated with wooden antique furniture. Not much had changed since his grandmother passed. Paul had convinced his other two siblings Jackson, and Carina to preserve the house as it was - to cherish the memories made there, not that he really cared, but some things were better left seemingly unchanged. Carina was the youngest and most sentimental of the three and jumped at the idea and even stopped talking to Jackson for a week when he suggested selling and going on a holiday.

Paul bypassed the kitchen and opened the door to his room he had once shared with Jackson whenever they stayed and opened up the wooden chest of drawers to find fresh underwear, jeans, and a plain grey navy t-shirt. He spotted a collation of dust sitting on the surface of the cabinet and cringed. How could I miss that? Paul quickly scanned the rest of the room for any signs of filth: the bed was made perfectly, curtains freshly washed, carpet cleaned, walls scrubbed, door scrubbed, fan polished; he felt himself calm again unable to find any more dirt. He held the clothes in one hand and looked at the bookshelf his grandmother had put in the room to encourage reading. Most of the kids books were still there along with nature guides, and some new additions Paul had added himself that had gone unnoticed: Anatomy of the human body, Being a Leader, Seduction and Charm, Staying Lean, The ultimate cleaning guide, Martial arts and boxing, Modern Forensics. These were just some of his favorites and added to the notion that the room was not like that of most twenty year olds.

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