Free excerpt from The Abandoned, available September 30, 2021
In his typical destructive fashion, Jonathan Karros barged in his house with Wallace at his side profusely panting, who stared up at him with a look that said, “I’m not taking my eyes off you until I know you’re inside safely”.
Wallace had cut ears and a six-inch scar on the left side of his neck, evidence of the abuse his former owners would inflict on him. An animal shelter took in Wallace, nursing the once malnourished dog back to health so a loving family, like the Karros’s, could save him. The family adopted him thinking he would be everyone’s dog, but it soon was apparent his loyalty was to Jonathan.
“Uh, hey Momma,” Jonathan said, kissing her on the cheek.
“Hi sweetheart,” Robin said, “Do you feel better?”
“Uh, no. I, I, I did a little before when we started but it didn’t stay that way. It isn’t badder than it was this morning though,” Jonathan said. He crouched down to Wallace’s height to scratch his right ear as the dog audibly lapped water from his bowl, creating a new mess on the floor Robin just cleaned.
“Oh baby, well you look a lot happier than you did this morning. I have some good news.”
Jonathan lit up like a kid who is told he is getting ice cream. The simplicities life had to offer excited Jonathan; a trait Robin admired until she reminded herself it is due to his stunted brain development.
“I was going to take you out to dinner tonight, but public, social gatherings are restricted right now. But the Lawrences invited us over for dinner tonight, and I said yes since I know how much you love going over there.”
“Uh, ok cool! Is Moe there? I, I, I want to go now if him and Dillon are there.”
“Yeah, he went back with him after school. I’m ready when you are.”
“Uh, yeah. I, I, I am going to change though. I, I, I want to put on something nicer. And I, I, I have to feed Wallace and make sure he goes to the bathroom before we go over there. I, I, I don’t want him to go in their backyard.”
“Ok baby. That’s why everyone loves you. You’re always so polite.”
“Uh, thanks Momma.”
Robin told Moe Jonathan was born with a birth defect that prevented his brain from fully developing, but she remained vague about it Moe’s entire life. Despite continuous therapy and countless visits to various doctors, no treatment was capable of regulating his brain development. One of the consequences of his mysterious condition was a slight stutter.
Jonathan was very in tune with his surroundings and people in his life, but there was no end in sight for his dependence on being reminded to complete simple, day-to-day tasks. He struggled with straightforward chores most people treated like clockwork. Remembering if food belongs in the fridge or pantry and pulling down his pants before shitting were just two obstacles he regularly confronted.
After Bobby Karros, his stepfather and Moe’s father, went missing in 2073, raising Jonathan became more time consuming and difficult. Even though Jonathan was not his biological son, Bobby treated him better than most fathers treat their own. His patience, admiration, and devotion he had for Jonathan was one of the many reasons Robin fell for him so hard.
“Uh ok, I-I-I’m ready Momma,” Jonathan said. He came out from his room with Wallace trotting right behind him. The canine was now more at ease and could let his guard down since he could confirm his person wasn’t in danger.
Robin looked at her eldest with a proud smile on her face and put her hands on her hips like she was seeing him off to his prom.
“As always you look so handsome,” she said. She rubbed his arms down as a sign of affection, which was genuine, but doing so allowed her to smooth out the wrinkles the best she could. Jonathan most likely grabbed his shirt from the hamper as opposed to picking a clean one from his closet.
Under no circumstance did Robin or Moe make Jonathan aware of when he made mistakes like these because they didn’t want him to think less of himself. How much pride he had when he accomplished chores on his own was evident by the glow on his face.
“Uh, thanks Momma. I, I, I want to look good for Heather since her house is so nice and she is so nice.”
“I’m sure she’ll appreciate it. Make sure Wallace goes out and let’s head over.”
It was hard for Robin to fathom why she thought her eldest son having a crush on her youngest son’s friend’s mother was so adorable, but his effort to be a gentleman to Heather was too cute to ignore.
Any thoughts you want to share with Jake about this excerpt?