This week’s writing topic was to be themed around “Horror” and seen as I don’t watch or read the genre, nor will my imagination allow me to “stretch” that far, I will be taking a more realistic and personal approach. That is, I shall attempt to tell my own personal horror story that to this day baffles me.
They say to write what you know. Sometimes the experiences we live through transcends the world of make believe spinning a tale that seems too far fetched to be true. And yet, nothing could be truer then the events I’m about to share.
My dog Jezebel, is by breed a half black lab-half rotti mix. My kids and I picked her up from the Peace River SPCA on March 14, 2015. She was the runt of the litter and the last of the pick, but she was perfect. At the time that the event took place, she would have been 6 months old.
I named her Jezebel because those who know me, know I can have a morbid sense of humour. Upon first hearing her name, there have been few who have caught on in understanding the true reference of where her name originates and fewer still who make the further connection regarding the humour behind it. So I’ll let you in on a little history lesson thereby giving the etymlogy behind the slang term in reference to a woman being called a “Jezebel.”
Jezebel was an ancient ruthless Queen who was married to Ahab, King of Israel. Her story can be found in the Book of 1 Kings in the Old Testament of the Bible and in other ancient texts.
There is some debate as to just how evil she actually was but one thing can be held true, she threatened the life of the Prophet Elijah and had another man stoned to death for the sake of her husband, the King. In the end, justice was had. Jezebel had met a gruesome death by being thrown out of a window by members of her own court, and the flesh of her corpse were eaten by stray dogs.
Get it? I named my dog after a woman who was eaten by dogs – well, I thought it was funny. No, no, that is not my horror story that I’m trying to tell even though it would make for a good historical fiction book, to create a back story to this historical event.
And now you understand why I get a groans from everyone who actually understand the nature of the story and looks at me as if I had just told a terrible joke.
I think it’s hilarious.
Jezebel – the dog, is anything but wicked. She is the light of my kids life. She brought joy during a time that we were struggling together as a family. She is not just a dog, but a member of our little family and a blessing in our lives. To this day she is as cute as the day we got her. In a way, this is Jezebel’s story as much as it is mine or my family’s. It’s tragic, mind-blowing and horrific.
I’ve started to tell this story so many times only to find myself completely erasing the post, walking away with half-hearted motivation and giving up. I’m filled with an overwhelming need to further digest the obscure nature of it all, but moreover the need to still believe what my own eyes had seen has yet to happen.
So I’ve waited….. And waited…. and waited.
I waited out of respect for my family. I waited for understanding and clarity to set in. But mostly I waited so that I might tell the story once I had “seen” or understood the bigger picture.
Maybe there is no bigger picture. Maybe, it’s just a once in a life time, terrifying experience.
It is ultimately, Jezebel’s story.
June 13th 2015 Edmonton, Alberta
I know this date to be true because Facebook told me so. Due to the somewhat creepy feature of technology and the syncing of photo’s, Facebook shamefully acts on my behalf as my personal assistant and memory keeper in it’s over zealous ability to provide a source of documentation, for my “benefit” of course.
The day started off just like any other typical outdoor summer soccer tournament in the Alberta frontier. The weather forecast would have read something like cold, wet and high chances of torrential wind. We were on the north end of Edmonton, huddled together in the typical freezing cold summer, watching my daughter and her team play. Ethan, my son, had come along and while armed with his lacrosse stick, hung around with his lacrosse buddies, brothers to my daughter’s teammates, off to the side of the field. Along side him, having the time of his life with the big boys, was my nephew Isaac. He was the middle son of my brother Tyler and his wife, Penny.
At around 6 pm, we started to make our way south to head to my brother’s house for a family supper. As we winded through the road construction, we dodged barricades like it was a Friday night, main event, at the hit-to-pass races.
Cold and exhausted from the long day of events, we all jump out of the car to hurry inside eager for supper however, almost immediately I knew something was off as soon as I went to open the front door – which a was always unlocked. As I knocked, I could hear my sister-in-law’s footstep quicken and her voice become louder as she on the phone. When she finally opened the door, she was clearly flustered and panicked as her hands were still shaking from unlocking the deadbolt and cautiously motioning for us to hurry inside.
Strange, I thought.
I took visual notice of her relocking the deadbolt, but it wasn’t until when I could make out pieces of her conversation that I knew something was very wrong. She was on the phone with a 9-1-1 dispatcher, answering their question all while frantically trying to gather the kids and telling everyone “Get into the basement.” Immediately my thoughts went to the possibility of a tornado….BLACK FRIDAY? But wait, no. That can’t be, I would have seen it driving home. She’s on the phone reporting something that happened, not the weather.
Still, I was confused.
“Jennel!!!” She panicked, “find Jezebel! You HAVE to find Jezebel!!!”
She was shaking and I can honestly say somewhat hysterical.
I’m even more confused now wondering why finding Jezebel would have been so important but I do as requested. I open the sliding glass doors to the back yard, taking a quick just-in-case check on the nature and characteristics of the sky. No eminent tornado to be seen.
“JEZ-A-BEL!!!! I yelled. “Here girl….” I attempt to whistle. She was nowhere to be found. It was then I hear someone speak in a strange accent unknown to me.
The voice startled me and I looked up. There was a man standing on the neighbouring deck, on the south side of my brother’s house. He was starring down at me with a stern look. His English was broken and his accent heavy. I couldn’t quite place it as he looked Asian, but the turban wrapped around his head, threw me off. He wasn’t Indian. His face was pocked much like that of someone who had terrible acne in their youth, and his beard was pathetically unkept – long but not long enough to warrant a cameo on Duck Dynasty. He reminded me of a character back in my home town whose name was Tony Wong. Tony owned the local Chinese food restaurant – because every small town has its “token” Chinese eatery to which every man would bring his wife to for a “night out” on the town. When I think back now and wonder what attributes he possessed which reminded me of Tony, it would probably be his nose and black poker straight hair from under the turban. His nose was red and large, much like an alcoholic’s.
It wasn’t until later, that I found out he was from Afghanistan.
There he was, pointing to my dog in HIS yard and as she was making her way excitingly over to the gate to greet me with excitement, I could see him stare at me intently.
Not realizing the significance of this scene, I opened the gate and as per always, I rubbed her ears and raised the pitch to my voice as I say to her “Silly girl, what were you doing over there? Come, Aunty Penny needs us. Something is going down.” I turn around to quickly offer my thanks but the man just stood there, starring and watching me guide my dog back to the house. I mutter under my breath “WTF Jezzie?” as if to express my disapproval of her new found “friend.”
Together we walk onto the deck, open the back sliding door and go inside. Penny is now off the phone, hurriedly shutting all the curtains in the house and locking all the windows and doors. When she is done, she looks as me, puts the phone down, takes a deep breath as if to calm her nerves and tells me what happened.
I wait patiently as she tries to find adequate words when she changes her mind in her chosen tactic by blurting “Nevermind I’ll just show you.” She picks up her cellphone and starts scrolling. As she is holding her phone, she is visibly shaking. She searching for something specific, concentrating as if it’s lost in a sea of many similar looking items. She finds what she’s looking for, hands over the phone and she begins to explain.
It went something like this…….
“Today while I was upstairs cleaning my house, John was using my phone to video Jezebel as she played outside with the boy’s toys.” She went on to say that apparently he was sitting there on the couch filming through the window using the different settings offered by the latest version of iPhone at the time, and as kids do, took many video’s.
When he was done, he had brought the phone upstairs to Penny, and began showing her all the videos he created. It here when I had began to watch the video in question that she a cued up. It didn’t take long to realize where this was going and required me to stop the video instantly. I didn’t need to see anymore.
The video showed there was a man sitting on the deck not five feet away, petting Jezebel, and knowingly acknowledging the presence of my nephew. He must not have realized through the reflection of the window that he was in fact being filmed.
At first I thought ‘awwwwww how cute, that old creepy man-neighbour is petting my dog.’ But it was almost immediately after when I quickly realized he wasn’t petting her at all. The hand movements were all wrong. He was molesting her. I almost dropped the phone trying to stop the video. That was all I needed to see. I didn’t bother watching the rest to know how bad it got. I never did see it again after this. But I wouldn’t be the last.
Pause, here for a short WTF moment…..
Time seemed to have stopped for minutes as my heartbeat stilled and my being froze in order to hear her answer my next question correctly; “I’m sorry,………..what?!?!?”
My reaction was mortified disbelief mixed with confusion as if I didn’t hear her right. So again…
She repeats herself. I most definitely heard her right.
“Tyler was out on a call but the truck is going to swing by as he’s on his way until the police arrive.”
My brother is a firefighter for the city of Edmonton. She had called him first naturally as he is her husband, and apparently he was on his way over with his whole crew – firetruck and all.
It wasn’t five minutes after me watching the video that he knocked on the door to be let in and I heard the story once again but this time for his disbelieving eyes and ears. Anyone who knows my brother knows he’s by nature a patient man. Calm, cool and collected…….the exact opposite of me. His parenting skills as a father has been noticed by many and is often referenced when subjects such as patience and devotion is a topic. He is also well skilled in many handy man trades and an avid gym enthusiast. His strength and power has also been well documented as a teenager while playing hockey. Just last week my dads cousins were sitting around a family campfire, reminiscing about his abilities and their respect for him as someone blessed with severe ass-kicking skills.
Tyler listened patiently. His disbelief was evident by the wrinkles in his forehead. He had taken the phone and watched the video only to follow the same suit as I had done; “Well, there’s no need to finish watching that, I think we all get the point. Let’s wait here together and stay inside until the police arrive. Don’t give the neighbours any reason to think any thing’s wrong.”
I interject “Ummmm ok, but – do you normally have a fire truck parked in front of your house full of firemen waiting?”
Totally forgetting his crew was outside waiting to seen if further assistance was needed, he let out a half hearted, disbelieving laugh escape at his forgetfulness. So outside he went and asked that they pull around the corner and wait until the police had arrived. He had just returned back tot he house when yet another 9-1-1 call came in and they were being paged. So off they went as He was to stay home to be with his family.
Soon enough the police arrived, and it was their turn to listen in, again in surprising disbelief. They watched the film, only they had the courage and responsibility to do so in its entirety. They were going to need to bring this back to the chief to ask how to proceed.
But first, they needed to take some notes. They asked all the usual pertinent information including the details of what we knew of the family next door. My brother filled them in quickly. They were a family of six – A mom, a dad, three brothers and a sister. They were from Afghanistan and and had only been in the country a short time. The dad (the man in question) was the neighbourhood drunk. He would often be seen in his garage passed out, resulting in being the local “conversational piece” among the neighbours. Their English was VERY limited as I had just recently experienced, but the youngest son who was about 20 was able to speak fluent English. As neighbours they were polite and kept to themselves. Outside of that, they were unremarkable. My brother and his wife lived in a heavily populated Muslim community and held a good relationship with many of their neighbours. The direct neighbour to the north was their before and after school childcare takers.
I remember asking the officers “So, out of curiosity how many calls do you get like this, you know, involving an animal?”
None. They both looked at us with wide eyes and said, “Honestly, this is a first. We’re going to have to take this back to the station and talk with the chief as to how to proceed.” And off they went, promising to return later that evening with more information on how they were going to proceed. We were advised to stay home keep low key until they returned. They then left us with some paperwork for us to fill out our statements which they would collect at the next visit.
July 16, 2015 Edmonton, Alberta.
The next day was my nephew John’s birthday – the very same nephew who had filmed the neighbour – so that evening we spent decorating the house in preparation for his party. Streamers were strung, cake baked, and the house cleaned. It was about 9 pm when the police returned to update us.
We were then told, the man was indeed being charged with “performing a lewd act in front of a minor” as well as through the humane society for animal abuse. He was being taken to the station and eventually upon release, they will be sure to contact us to keep us informed as to the progress of the case.
It was a weird and terrible day to say the least.
But nothing like what was to come the following morning.
To Read Part 2 CLICK HERE