When he was released, Allan got emergency housing through a contact with the Native Liaison Officer in the jail. The Liaison Officer also referred him to a native employment program, and he was able to get a placement on the janitorial staff at the downtown mall. Within a few months he gained full time employment as a custodian there and landed a small bachelor apartment in the Donovan. It was the first time Allan Trudeau had a place of his own in his life.
It was nearly a year to the day he was arrested in the furniture store when Allan was walking to work that he finally saw C.O. Hubert again. He was sitting on the ground in an alcove to the side of the main doors of the mall, holding a cardboard sign that said HUNGRY. HOMELESS.
He had a dirty beige blanket covering his legs and was wearing an old green coat not unlike the one the reverend had given Allan at the mission once upon a time. Allan crouched down and put a five dollar bill on the man’s lap.
“Trudeau? Is that you?”
“Yeah boss, it’s me.”
Hubert grabbed Allan’s hand and looked into his eyes. “You saw it right? The shadow? Tell me you saw it, please.”
Allan thought about lying, denying he had seen the apparition. Meeting his old captor’s eyes though, he decided the man was suffering enough. He nodded. “Yeah boss,” Allan answered. “I saw it.”
The ex-prison guard leaned his head back and laughed out loud, a tittering cackle that didn’t sound quite sane. “I knew it,” the man said as he pointed his index finger in the air. “I knew there was something there.”
“Yeah boss,” Allan said. “I got to get going.”
“Oh,” Hubert said, and let go of Allan’s hand.
As Allan stood up, Hubert smiled and nodded at him. “You were always good shit, Trudeau. Thanks for the five bucks. Merry Christmas.”
“You too,” Allan said. He nodded at Hubert and then continued on his way.
Allan would would sometimes dream about that night when the spirits had their way by taking Walter Dagenais’ life and changing Officer Hubert’s life forever, but they weren’t nightmares. As for Allan himself, the spirits were finished with him.
He never drank alcohol again.
A life-long resident of Northern Ontario, Rob Dominelli is one who was always keen on the written word, but, believing it wouldn’t amount to anything, he gave it up. Having spent much of the late nineties in a cycle of dependency and incarceration, he returned to writing again, creating silly stories to amuse other inmates. Fortunately for us, Rob continued writing after his release, and can be found at http://bobbydeeworld.blogspot.ca/