The Doppler Effect

DopplerThe faster he ran, the faster the breeze. His feet crackled and popped the fallen leaves and thin twigs. He stopped, the breeze stopped.

The Doppler Effect…

“ReeeEEEouououou…” the sound rose and fell in his chest and throat.

“Paul!” his mother’s voice called. It was a far voice.

His finger streaked in front of his eyes like a supercharged windshield wiper. It created dark trails.

“Paul!” his mother’s far-off voice called.

He ran. The shades of fire hanging from the trees’ limbs blurred into a wall of bleeding hues.

The Doppler Effect is…

The Doppler…

The Dop…

Dop…

The Doppler…

“ReeeEEEouououou…”

He stopped running. The breeze stopped.

He saw Mr. Hayward. Mr. Hayward looked at him.

Mr. Hay-ward. Hay-ward.

Mr. Hayward had brown eyes. This time, Mr. Hayward’s teeth weren’t showing.

Mr. Hayward was on top of the girl from downstairs.

Cin-dy. Cin-dy.

The Doppler Effect is a change in a sound’s frequency…

“ReeeEEEouououou…”

The girl’s eyes were blue. Her eyes did not blink.

Mr. Hayward held his hand over the girl’s face.

Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

The breeze rushed by his face. The leaves’ colors blurred in bleeding, fiery hues. His feet struggled to keep up with his body.

“ReeeEEEEouououou!”

The girl’s eyes were blue. They did not blink.

Mr. Hayward hurt the little girl.

The girl’s eyes were blue.

Mr. Hay-ward.

The Doppler…

“ReeeEEE…”

His mother stood before him. Her face was close. Her breath was warm. “Paul,” his mother’s voice said. Her voice hurt his ears. “You don’t run on me like that. You don’t…” Her face moved away. Her voice wasn’t loud anymore. “You need to stop…” she signed the final word, hitting her hands together as if cutting something, “…when someone says, stop.” She cut her hands together again.

His finger streaked across his vision like a supercharged windshield wiper. His finger stopped and his hand was in his mother’s hand.

“Okay, it’s time to go home.” Her voice rose and fell like the Doppler Effect.

The Doppler Effect…

The Doppler…

Doppler…

Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

He squeezed his mother’s hand with both of his. He and his mother stopped walking. He squeezed her hand harder.

“ReeeEE—”

Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

“—Eouououou!” He tried to breathe out Mr. Hayward. He squeezed harder.

“Paul, let go,” his mother’s voice said with her Doppler voice.

He squeezed harder.

Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

“Paul, you need to let go,” his mother’s voice said as she pried at his hands.

He found her arm between his teeth and he bit down.

***

A goes with the As. He stacked the wooden tiles into neat columns, creating a tiny city of teetering skyscrapers. The M goes on top of the M, atop the M pile.

Doppler…

“ReeeEEEouououu…”

“You need to sort the tiles quietly,” his mother’s voice said.

The S goes on the Ss. The D goes on the table. O. P. P. L. E. R.

The Doppler Effect…

His mother appeared. She mixed the letters into the pile of tiles. “You need to finish sorting the letters before you watch your video.”

Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

The girl had blue eyes.

Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

He knocked the wooden tiles onto the floor and jumped.

“Pick up the tiles,” his mother’s voice said. She pointed to the floor.

He tried to grab his mother’s arm to squeeze and squeeze.

“Pick up the tiles,” said his mother’s voice.

Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

He tried to hold his mother’s arm.

Fingers buried into his skin like a bird’s talons, piercing and poking and pushing him sharply.

“Pick up the tiles,” his mother’s voice said. She pointed to the letters on the floor.

He picked up the tiles. He put the tiles on the table. He sat at the table.

The E went on top of the Es. The M went on the M pile.

He arranged the tiles into an order his father once showed him.

“Paul,” his mother’s voice said. “I told you to stack the…” She stopped. “Aw. Thank you.” Her voice’s frequency rose high.

His mother hugged him. It got very tight. He squirmed away.

I LOVE MOMMY was ordered in a line on the table.

The words put into that order brought a hug. The letters looking like: DRINK brought juice. SNACK brought food. HURT brought comfort. DOPPLER brought…

The Doppler Effect…

“ReeeEEEouououou…”

“Paul, stack the tiles and then you can watch your video,” his mother’s voice said.

He finished stacking the tiles.

He went to the television.

He pressed the small, sleeping, white triangle. The voice said: “The Doppler Effect is a change in a sound’s frequency, the pitch rising as the sound waves approach, and then lowering as the waves travel away.”

A train barreled toward him, its whistle blowing: ReeeEEE, rising in pitch, and then, ouououou… dissipating when it passed.

He pressed the button: RR.

“The Doppler Effect is…”

His finger streaked in front of the screen.

There was a knocking.

His mother opened the door.

Mr. Hayward walked in through the door.

Mr. Hay-ward.

“The Doppler Effect is a change in a sounds frequency…”

“ReeeEEEouououou…”

ReeeEEEouououou…

“Hi, Burt,” his mother’s voice said.

“Hi, Carol,” Mr. Hayward’s voice said.

Mr. Hay-ward. Hay-ward. What color are Mr. Hay-ward’s eyes? Mr. Hay-ward lives in the building. If you need help, you go and see Mr. Hay-ward.

“The Doppler Effect…”

Press: RR.

“The Doppler…”

“The Dopp…”

“The Dopp…”

“Paul, don’t you want to say hello to Mr. Hay-ward?” his mother’s voice said.

Mr. Hayward’s teeth were showing. “Hello, Paully.”

What color are Mr. Hay-ward’s eyes?

The girl’s eyes were blue.

Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

He felt himself jumping, his body rising and falling, his toes applauding the floor. Each time he landed jarred his body. He grunted shouts with each jump, creating a rhythmic drumbeat with his voice. “Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah…” He tried to shake out Mr. Hayward.

“Paul. Paul,” his mother’s voice called. “Why don’t you watch your video?”

The train made its call: ReeeEEEouououou…

“He’s upset about something today,” his mother’s voice said. “Wait here and I’ll grab you the rent check.”

“The Doppler Effect…”

“The Dopp…”

Mr. Hayward was kneeling beside him. Mr. Hayward’s face was before his. Mr. Hayward’s teeth were showing. But not the way they usually did.

“Now, you look here you little retard,” Mr. Hayward’s voice said. “I know you can’t talk, and you keep it that way. Got it?”

“The Doppler Effect…”

“The Dopp…”

Mr. Hayward took away the RR.

“Listen to me, you little shit, don’t ever think about telling anyone what you saw today. I’ll kill you, got it? I’ll…”

Mr. Hayward’s teeth showed the way they usually did.

“Oh, look Paully, here comes the choo-choo,” Mr. Hayward’s voice said, rising like the train’s whistle.

“Here you go, Burt,” his mother’s voice said.

Mr. Hayward put the RR back in his hand.

“The Doppler Effect…”

“Thanks, Carol. Well, I’ll be seeing you then. See-ya later, Paully, buddy.”

“Paul, don’t you want to say goodbye to Mr. Hay-ward?” his mother’s voice said.

Mr. Hayward’s teeth were showing.

Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

He grabbed Mr. Hayward’s arm with both hands and squeezed and squeezed.

“Okay, Paul, you need to let go,” said his mother’s voice.

“Whoa there, Paully buddy, I’m gonna need that arm.”

Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

“ReeeEEEououou…”

Mr. Hayward’s arm was between Paul’s teeth and he bit and bit.

***

The fork scoops the food into your mouth.

He tasted the sweetness of the chicken.

“I don’t know what’s gotten into Paul today,” his mother’s voice said. “It seems like I had him stacking Scrabble blocks all day.”

“Really?” his father’s voice said.

“He bit me and Mr. Hayward,” his mother’s voice said. There was no frequency change in her voice.

“ReeeEEEouououuou…”

“Paul,” his father’s voice said. “We eat our meals quietly.”

Paul stopped.

“He was really upset about something,” his mother’s voice said.

The fork scoops the food into your mouth.

He tasted the sweetness of the chicken.

“Where did he bite you?” his father’s voice said.

“On the arm,” his mother’s voice said.

“No,” his father’s teeth showed. “Where did he bite you, geographically speaking?”

“In the woods out back,” his mother’s voice said. “He bolted again. He bit me on the way home. He got pretty far this time. He was in the Price House’s yard.”

“He always gets riled up when he’s been running like that,” his father’s voice said.

“But he’s never had a problem with Mr. Hayward,” his mother’s voice said.

Mr. Hayward has brown eyes.

“And he was watching his video when it happened. He usually never gets upset when the video’s on,” his mother’s voice said.

The Doppler Effect…

“ReeeEEEououou…”

“Paul,” his father’s voice said.

He stopped.

“Did he break either of your skins?” his father’s voice said.

“No,” his mother’s voice said. “But mine hurt, so I know it must have really hurt Mr. Hayward.”

Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

The girl’s eyes didn’t blink.

Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

He was jumping again, and grunting his drumbeat breaths.

“Paul,” his father’s voice said.

“Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah…” He kept jumping.

“Paul,” his father’s voice said.

But he couldn’t stop.

***

The spoon scoops food into your mouth.

He tasted the sogginess of the cereal.

His mother put a stack of pages on the table beside him.

He saw Cindy.

Cin-dy.

Local Girl found dead.

Her eyes were gray.

Her eyes didn’t blink.

Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

“Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah…” He was jumping beside his chair.

“Paul,” his mother’s voice said. “Paul, eat your breakfast.”

Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

“Paul…”

He had his mother’s arm and he squeezed.

“Paul…”

“Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah…”

“Paul…” his mother’s voice said. The sound of wooden tiles pouring onto the table hurt his ears.

“Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah…” He jumped and jumped and jumped.

“Paul…”

Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

He jumped.

Fingers poked and buried into his skin.

“Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah…”

“Paul…” his mother’s voice said.

Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

“Sort the letters,” her voice rose in frequency.

The Dopp—Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

“Paul, sort.”

Mr. Hayward hurt the girl.

He knocked the tiles onto the floor.

“Paul, pick up the letters,” his mother’s voice said, rising in pitch.

The Doppler Effect is …

“ReeeEEEouououou…”

He picked up the letters.

“Paul, sort,” his mother’s voice said.

He sorted.

E on E. D on D. M on M.

Cin-dy.

Cindy had blue eyes.

F on F. E on E. S on S.

His mother went away with the bowl of cereal. He sorted. The dishes made a loud noise in the sink.

He arranged the letters. He put them in order. The letters stretched across the table beside the picture of Cin-dy.

He heard a sound like air rushing from his mother. She stood beside him. Her hand covered her mouth.

Sprawled across the table were the ordered letters: MR HAYWARD HURT THE GIRL.

The End

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