When Vicki notices a small tear in the wallpaper of her old house, she discovers a hole in the actual wall. Tearing down the thin plaster, she finds a room of thick cement. Searching the internet for information about the houses in her neighborhood, she learns that years ago the area had been part of the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves. With a plausible explanation for the room that seems awkward in its placement, she runs her hands along the cold cement and the faded scribbled names. One appears to be Wilson but the last name is unclear. A voice from behind her booms, “Wilson Jones.” A stunned Vicki turns to see a tall, dark man with full lips and bulging muscles.
“How did you get in?”
“Front door was open. You know, you really should be more careful. You never know when someone like me might take advantage of someone like you.”
Vicki took a step back. “What do you mean…someone like you?”
Wilson motioned toward the empty room. “A runaway slave.”
“You’re not a runaway slave. That was years ago.”
“Ah, yes, well, perhaps I should have said, “The great-grandson of a runaway slave.”
“Do you live around here?” Vicki whispered.
“Next door, in the abandoned house.”
“You mean you don’t own it?”
“You obviously didn’t do your homework when shopping for houses. Didn’t you wonder why the price of this monstrosity was so low?”
“Well, sure, but I just thought it was a good deal.”
“Oh, it is…it is a very good deal. The neighborhood is full of squatters such as myself.”
Vicki felt uneasy with this man in her house and she wanted to ask him to leave, but she also wanted to know why he had come to her house at such an odd time of the night. “Why did you come into my house?”
“Curiosity, I suppose. I watched you move in and I know you live here alone.” His eyes seemed to become darker as he flashed his white teeth in a wide smile.
“What do you want from me?”
“Ah, the pretty white princess is just like all of the rest, is she?”
Vicki was lifted easily into Wilson’s arms and he laid the petite woman down upon his bed and she lay there in anticipation. She felt safe and protected with this man whose skin was as dark as night. Vicki’s slender arms around him made Wilson feel like a man again, a feeling he thought he had been robbed of forever.
As they lay together, Vicki thought that Wilson was the perfect man. It was not until the light shone through the window the following morning that she realized what she had done. She had slept in the arms of a black man. That was taboo in her world, something so forbidden that women who were seen with men such as Wilson were often shunned in public places. Vicki smiled sweetly and told him that she needed to go home. “See you around, Vicki.” Wilson turned on the shower and closed the bathroom door. With the water streaming down his face, he could almost ignore the tears that were mixed with it.