Tag Archives: short story

Justice

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Robert Braxton anticipates the day like a newborn child coming into the world. He is aware that the only reason a crime extraordinaire like him would be persecuted on a pretty theft charge is simply the government can’t gather evidence on the larger crimes. Emma Poloski is his wet dream of all the district attorneys, not because she was the best in all of Chicago, but because he off-ed her little brother fourteen years ago.

 

Robert sits in his chair biting on the tips of his fingernails from anticipation and longing. As Emma strolls through the courtroom, the chattering of the jury members ceases. They sense her presence and she demands their attention without a single word. Her voice enters the spacious room and echoes off the ceiling. Robert searches in the depths of her emerald eyes for some sorrow, but he receives nothing. The usual determination the prosecuted face isn’t even present in her eyes. Her hair is down atop her head in a rigid bun, the black suit with a navy blue under top, and her flat shoes show a strong female, in a male dominated field.

 

Emma Poloski calls Robert to the stand. He tries to remain calm walking to the stand, but his stroll appears like a giddy, gallop instead. He didn’t care they would lock him up a pair of years. Quite frankly, the sentence seems like a reward compared to the sentence of life they should’ve given him for the death of Adam Poloski or the numerous drug deals he organizes and leads across the town. More over, Robert wants a reaction. Poloski fiddles around with some questions beating around the bush to the petty crime. She is agitated that the office even assigned her such a case. Her eyes show no recognition to the man in front of her and he is disappointed. He thinks to himself: “I killed your little brother, damn. How can you be so intelligent to lockup so many of my men and you can’t notice the king right in front of you?” Her strategic questions are just frustrated attempts to get the information. They lacked the drive and luster of her previous cases and Poloski really didn’t care to waste her time on such a case. She had made it obvious to her higher ups, but they didn’t seem to really pay much heed to her advice.

 

Emma knows any hardened criminal has a solid alibi. She leans over the stand trying to seem intimidating and says: “At the time of 2:03 am on the day of December 13th, who were you with?” Braxton exhales and rolls his eyes, because he realizes the case is a waste of their time and it is blown. He anticipated an emotional breakdown for nothing. As Emma winks coyly in his direction, he is enticed. “Is Emma Poloski trying to seduce me by blowing the case?” he thinks to himself confusedly, but quickly ignores the notion.

 

When Emma hears the verdict, she anticipated it. Climbing into her car, she inhales and follows Braxton. Braxton is knowledgeable, but he wasn’t against being followed. His men can easily defend him against a dainty, little female. She can dress, think, and work like a man, but she’ll never measure up. Clearly, she can’t even recognize the man who murdered Adam. Emma isn’t hiding her tailgating adventure and hops out of the car at the same instant.

 

She follows him to the porch. Her hands remove the hair tie concealing the true length of her hair. Her dark, chestnut brown locks flow to her shoulders messily and her emerald green eyes are enticing. She removes the black suit jacket and unbuttons her navy, blue top. “She’s sure not the little girl, she used to be.” Braxton thinks. He runs her fingers through her dark, distinguished hair.

 

            One of his men enters the room. Braxton looks sharply in his direction. He can see the look on the man’s face. His men are aware of his violent outrages and they don’t experiment to find out the breaking point, especially not with his lustful desires of women. Poloski submissively looks into his eyes like a doll. Her dominance fades into the background. He rips her shirt off hungrily and eagerly ready.

 

Carefully, Robert pulls her towards him and kisses her twirling her tongue around inside his mouth. She breathes into his ear and slowly kisses his neck as she reaches into her pocket grabbing a poisoned dart. Emma looks into his eyes and whispers: “Two years isn’t justice, life for a life. You should’ve known Emma Poloski is never dominated.” He gasps for air dramatically for a few moments and Emma Poloski leaves a picture of Adam and her business card in his hand.  She removes her shirt fiercely: “Is this what you wanted to see?”

 

Leaving the building,  the air breezed against her bare back and her breasts were a sense of pride and not shame. She stands facing the drizzling clouds. Instead of racing to the car, she stands abruptly until she hears a man exit the home. “You can never dominate my world.”: Emma declares. The poison was released from her kiss as well as the dart. She falls to the ground, before the trigger is even poured, and she vomits on the driveway.

 

Her body doesn’t want to accept the poison, but Emma Poloski decided what will happen in her life, even at death.

The Moss

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Without eyesight, the world enriches itself in so many other ways. It shouts from the ground and the wind whispers in one’s ear. I love the vibrations hidden within music few can welcome into their eyes. They waltze on by in a symphony composed within their minds because they can visualize it. But, do they truly see it? If they ignore, the grass beneath their feet because they’d rather just see it and walk on by. If they can feel it, then they truly are connected allowing that brief moment to grace their neurons and reach their being.  I’ll walk on out to the tree. I name it, Akash. Akash for open sky. It reminds me of an open sky even though it engulfs it. I can feel the intertwining roots that come in and out of the earth. The varieties of textures feel so wonderful. The moss against the dirt and the dirt against the rocks and it all against the bark of the tree root. All of it connected and okay with feeling and relying upon the next in perfect unison.

“Honk, honk.”, the taxi interrupts my thought.
My mom sends me off in a taxicab every morning off to school. I count the amount of steps to the cab and go within its passenger seat. Usually, to find some overtly, unattached driver that welcomes me or allows me to enter into the car. One, two, three……106 done. “Hello, how are you?”, I question the driver. He brushes off my questions, occasionally that happens. It’s rather off-putting. But, they say you get used to it. I wonder when that day will arrive.
The musky, old man cologne encircles the back seat coating my nose thickly. I feel the side of the cab for the window’s handle and bam, got it against the velvet a plastic handle. I twist and twist wanting some fresh air. Finally, freedom.

“Little girl, what’s your name?”, I’m far from little. I’m nearly 16. Ugh, at least he recognized my existence for some moment in this universe.
“Abigail.”, I say as if he may be sincerely interested and I can tell from his tone he’s fair from genuinely interested.
“Ok.”, he replies. Why would he ask if he’s not interested? I don’t understand. He’s so peculiar. I tried to at least give him the benefit of the doubt. “Your mom likes me, you know?”
“She never mentioned you, though.”, I state rather inquisitively.
“Do you recognize the smell?”, he asks matter of factly. I do. It’s that smell I briefly catch in the morning as I pass her bedroom to go to the bathroom. It’s distinct. But, when I come back around I don’t smell it. I smell some air freshener in place of it.
“Why didn’t she mention you?”, I reply hesitantly.
“Because, she didn’t want to confuse you.”, he says earnestly.

“It’s okay, I’m okay with it. I understand she wants a friend even if it may be a bit more. I won’t mention you told me. So, are you my taxi driver or a family friend?”
He pulls over to the side of the ride, before we’ve reached my destination. I hear nothing. The hustle and bustle of a gas station didn’t accompany the stop. He’s rustling in the trunk. Probably, not a taxicab driver, my mother trusted him or needed him financially. Either way is acceptable.
“You don’t need to go to school today. Your mother wanted me to get to know you. A family friend. I’m a family friend.”, whip, and he coaxes me on a sheet.

“Do you remember the sounds surrounding your father’s death?”, I feel a breeze and an unease. Then, he hands me a sandwich in a Ziploc baggy, a can, and some chips.
“I’d prefer that not to be asked. Get to know me the same way everyone else does.”, our connection was off from the start. As if he’s not connecting to me, but the idea of me.
His smell is closer. Why didn’t my mother mention this before I left the house? An arm grasps my wrist and I feel rope against my wrists. “What are you doing?”, I say standing to fight the sensation of helplessness. I step back and take off my shoes. It’s so much easier to read the surroundings without them. Maybe, if I find a road. But, I see nothing, absolutely nothing. The connections I once felt instantly cease. I can’t hear and my bare feet against the ground are just that bare feet against the ground.
“Ensuring my pleasure. You know that feeling of the meat in your mouth, that nice juicy, tender muscle where the blood once pulsed. Well, you know what’s better? The blood still pulsing. The connection of an impending death and the inquisition of something’s up. Something, not quite right. But, there and ignoring that signal for trust.”, he breathes the words down my neck.

Our connections. No mine’s better. No, no, no it’s not the same. We’re not the same.
I search inside for my ability, my ability to connect of what’s beneath my feet, instead I simply run. Run like everyone else in the universe as if nothing was beneath me. I instantly fall to the ground on a rock. A rock? How did I not feel it? No, I collapse under the weight of my body and feel him over top of my body.

“You denied the connection, silly child. You’ll soon learn we’re one in the same. We feel what the rest of the world denies. We’re different than them. You thought I was one of them. Never doubt your instincts. But, it’s too late now. Your fear got in the way of your connection. You’ll be my meal like the rest of it. My first human victim. I thought you may be different but there’s no second chances, only me.”, he declares as he binds me.
I laugh nervously. That’s insanity. I’ll survive. What’s that sound? I hear a sound? It could be someone to help me. I scream and hear the insane laughter piercing my ears. I’ll scream through the woods to someone’s ears that are connected to the world. The world I’m leaving and entering. A squirrel’s running. Why couldn’t I be a squirrel? Nooo, I can feel my blood pooling about my stomach, it’s wetness like a creek. I scream louder for the security I may survive. What’s that? I hear a cricket, maybe a locust, and perhaps the swaying of a branch. But the only human is the human whose teeth enter my stomach, clench, and yank. Like a steak, only me. It’s me. And I feel the world it becomes one, the sounds muddles about me. My screams increasingly faints until they mesh into the squirrel that becomes the cricket and the cricket becomes the person eating my flesh. I can feel the sensation of tearing. Everything stops. Yet, I’m it. I’m the only thing. The only connection between it all. It’s all there and it’s me. Yet, it doesn’t matter. None of it matters.  My body’s not on the sheet. It’s near the tree. It’s the moss. Aw, the moss. I reach my foot to that moss. If it’s the last thing, I do is touch my foot upon the soft, welcoming moss. Aww, pure bliss and silence of not feeling anything but that connection from that moss patch.
Foot steps approach. From who? A police siren, a muddle, and perhaps salvation, I think as I slip back into interrupting boundaries and the pain rushes back. The blood’s felt, my body’s mine, I’m separate. No, a snap felt from within the core of my bones. “You’ll realize, what I hope soon I will, too.”, he whispers through a strained crack.
Suddenly, it ceased within a nanosecond. Our last breath’s exhaled in a strange united ecstasy. The carnivore’s pleasure and mine ceased to be different and mold into one unit as I fade into the moss’ texture and his into the last bite of my flesh. It permeates to form one thing, the only Being in existence, Me.

Jack in the box

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Levi is my father. Usually, a young girl should call her father a dad. But, father is a more formal way of saying what he truly is. He is my father, not a dad. A dad is warm and loving. A dad puts his own emotions aside when his wife dies and his daughter is the only thing he has left.

Life is like a jack-in-the-box. We anxiously wait cranking the handle hoping for a pleasant surprise. Instead of a gloriously adorable head, its creepy eyes stare us in the face. The music is deceiving, you should not trust it. That is precisely what happened to my father.

He used to be a good, courageous man. At least, that is what I hear among the whispers behind his back. I hear what he used to be and what he could have been. But, I only see what he is: a goddamned coward. The jack-in-the-box’s handle was turned too many times for my father I suppose. I suppose he could have amounted to something. But, I do not know that man. I already know the present, the now, and the here.

Each morning, I see him hope to stuff the jack back in the box. But, Jack already reared his ugly face. Jack already existed and once he’s out there is no going back my friend. No going back for neither of us.

My father welcomes Jack into his world. He welcomes him as he fashions five metal coat hangers into a point. He opens the door in his mind and his breathing becomes paced liked in a trance. A calming smile spreads across his face as his Jack comes alive. He grabs the cloth resembling a head and placing it over the metal joined together at a point and the formation is of a dog’s head. Oh, how he loved that dog. At least, that’s what everyone tells me.

He loved that dog more than my mother. More than me. He loves that dog more than life itself. He grabs the contraption and tapes it to his chest. It is a rather time-consuming process, but do the mentally insane truly understand time? I doubt it, as they waste away life. I imagine within his mind he is running with that dog. The dog with the mane of a lion and the agility of a panther jumps to life. The dog he’s loved and nursed to health breathes.

Although, there is a twinge of pain beneath the insanity that knows the dog is dead. The dead dog does not live and that dog killed my mom. I call her mom and not mother, because I picture her as warm. Although, perhaps, she could have stayed alive for me, perhaps she gave up on life itself. I like to think she’d preferred to take me with her and she whispers for me to join her.

I watch as my father jogs down the street with the jack-in-the-box dog swaying back and forth. I want revenge for all those lost moments. The lost moments with my mom and my father are something I must retrieve. People whisper that Jack literally murdered that dog in front of my father’s eyes with a shotgun. They say the dog dropped instantly, but he licked my father’s tears as he took his last breath. They say he was a strong and loyal dog, that he resembled my father’s character and sustained them until his last moments. There lies the difference. He maintained consistency in his loyalty, whereas my father lost his.

My father waltzes through the door with a vacant look upon his face. He appears lost, instead of relaxed. “He’s back.” He whispers beneath his breath. He rips off the vest of the jack-in-the-box looking dog head. I don’t quite understand, because he always gently removes the contraption to place on a stand and speak softly to as if it where animate. But, this time he treated the head as if it were dead.

As I exit, I see people’s eyes on me. They are usually staring. But, this time there laid something behind them, something new. I heard them whisper a name and I saw the house that was for sale for too much money loses its sign. No one was going to pay that price. No one except someone buried in money, someone returning to a small town with no other available except for the trailer park around the corner. No one would move into that house except none other than Jack.

As the days go past, I watch his house. I observe who enters, how many times, how long they are there. I notice one consistent visitor. A woman with beautiful, long flowing hair just like my dad’s old dog. I watch as her curves are pronounced and she enters excited and leaves even more so. I watch as she breathes as he hugs her goodbye as they watch television and he wipes her tears from a sad movie, just as the dog did to my dad.

I never thought I would see the past so clearly. But, I was born for revenge. I was born to give my dad justice and punish the reason for his misery. I was born to return to my mom and I hear her whisper: “Come to me darling. “ I imagine her voice soft and smooth. It is a familiar voice, yet I have never heard it before.

Patiently, I cranked the handle of the jack in the box. Faithfully, I desire to see it rear its head. I am no stranger to it. It remains a friend that’s never failed nor abandoned me. Tonight, the time has arrived. The handle will barely crank and I will see the product in all those days of anxiously cranking. But, it won’t be Jack surfacing from the box to greet me. In the end, I shall see my mother’s face and right all the wrongs to my family.

false comfort

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            Tungu leaves his small apartment to escape his girlfriend’s screams. His relationship was not always plagued with such instability. But, his desire to please and not be lonely causes him to stay. He longs for a companion and to some degree searches for it beneath the poorly lit streetlights. He questions whether all the apartment buildings stacked upon each other are just as miserable as he is and he doubts it.

 

            Tungu stops in his tracks, when he hears yelling. He can’t comprehend the words leaving the abuser’s mouth. But, he did comprehend the bone cracking sound and a dog’s whimper shrilling the silent street air. He pauses. Tungu has never really been a fan of animals, but he visualizes himself bursting him and saving the dog from the physical pain and he wonders who will save him from his emotional pain.

 

            Through the metal fence, a puppy appears scared and distraught. Even beneath the streetlights, the puppy appears gorgeous with its fur in all directions and eyes that pierced the soul. Instantly, he snuggled up to Tungu and whimpered a weak sigh of relief. The whimpering continues from inside again. But, Tungu did not dare step forward. Tungu imagines his girlfriend’s response as he questions whether he should abandon the dog in a shelter or keep him. The feeling of his heartbeat made him feel a sense of comfort and a sense of need from another living being. Tungu’s lips spread out into a smile that came from deep within his beating heart and immersed in that of the little ball of unorganized fur.

 

            Tungu slowly realizes his pup does not like people. He appears to like people as they gravitate towards his unnatural beauty, but the instant they attempt to touch him he snaps. He called his mom for advice and she said to beat the habit out of him. But, he didn’t have the heart for that in the least. The pup already saw enough abuse in his days. When his girlfriend discovers the nasty little habit, she shrieks: “it’s me or the dog.” Tungu shrugs his shoulders, packs his bags, and thinks to himself: “I wouldn’t really mind living in the country anyhow and the fresh air could do us some good.”

 

            Tungu spent his days calling people late on their insurance car payments. He decides to not make the call to the business. They never cared about him. They never valued him and wouldn’t notice his loss. The barn’s paint peels into flakes and land on the floor. He inhales, smiles, and scoops his pup into his arms and like Lion King lifts him into the air atop a stack of hay barrels. Tungu is now the king of his palace and Victor became his prince.

 

            The bond grows betwixt Victor and Tungu. Tungu can snap his finger and along runs Victor, except in one case when Victor’s lust for blood outweighed his desire to please. The animals flee from Victor as fast as their three legs can carry them. All the animals upon Tungu’s farm had three or two legs and hobbled about. But, they learned how to hobble faster than the wind in Victor’s presence. It is no secret Victor would bite any living being encapsulated in his trusting personality, except Tungu.

 

            Tungu spent nights questioning whether Victor’s life was worth the pain he caused and the danger he posed to others. Yet, no one visited Tungu and Victor lay at the foot of his bed every night. Not even, his girlfriend bear to sleep with him every night. Tungu isn’t sure if the same blood lust lies in Victor’s eyes towards him. But, he accepts the risk.

 

            An old man in a pick up truck drives up the property. He exits and inhales a long, drawn out breath longing into the bright blue clouds. “I haven’t seen this farm in ages! I just came to see the new ownership.” Suspiciously, Tungu uneasily alternates between one foot and the other. The sun beats down and beads of sweat fall one by one down the old man’s wrinkly face.

 

            “You look thirsty, I’ll get you a glass of water.” Tungu says as societal courtesy reenters his thoughts. “Victor, no.” he says firmly eyeing Victor nervously. Victor obeys. “Whatever you do, don’t pet the dog.” He says hurriedly going inside.

 

            “All dogs love me.” The old man chuckled to himself with his raspy voice as the screen door drowned out his words. Victor wags his tail and as the old man gains trust the happiness crescendos in the dog’s hypnotizing eyes. Chomp! The agonizing scream pierces the air. Instantly, the old man’s cane hits the grass beneath it and Victor found the one victim who cannot hobble fast enough from him.

 

            Tungu rushes outside. “Will they make me put him down? Did the old man obey my wishes or did Victor attack first?” In frenzy, Tungu crouches down to pick up the cane and he stares into the old man’s pleading eyes and those of Victor. He raises the cane above his head and hesitates. Meanwhile, Victor sucks the blood from his victim’s finger like a straw.

 

            “He could’ve been just protecting me. Victor sleeps at the foot of my bed every night.” Tungu thinks to himself.  “If no one misses me, no one will surely miss an old, senile man.” He lifts the cane above his head staring down at two potential victims to his torment and slams the cane down. Once, then twice and the cracking bones pierce the air just as he heard the past year. Wildly, Tungu finishes the deed with repeated swift movements of the cane. The air swooshes as he increases his speed to eliminate his victim’s final breath.

 

            A blanket is sprawled across the green moss atop Tungu’s favorite rock. He stands; stretches, and his fingers grab tufts of Victor’s fur. A sharp splinter of wood pierced his finger in this ruckus and he plucks the cane’s small chunk of wood out, and then returns his hand to its previous location. Tungu’s worries dissipate in the thick summer air as Victor licks his finger in a display of loyalty and affection…or lust for the stray droplet of blood.  

Ying and Yang

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           Alyssa reflected a ying and yang through her identity. She encompassed two dual identities; they were like night and day. They meshed together to create one shifting person with a solid footing because she shifted with the environment about her.

            Alyssa had eyelashes that could make men line up, but eyebrows that furrowed in a certain frightening way. When her eyelashes fluttered the men stopped in their tracks. When her eyebrows furrowed, her daughters did just the same. Her long, willowy arms held hidden talents. Sometimes, they were tied up to a bedpost. Other times, they were enveloping Josephine and Nadia with a loving energy. Her voice sounded sweet like honey, unless Jo and Nadia failed to meet her expectations in school or clients refused to pay for her service.

 

            Alyssa waited for Jo and Nadia everyday at 3:05 sharp at the Roosevelt Elementary School. She was the mother that was expected to be the cover photo of Parenting magazine, if her profession was unknown. She wanted the absolute best and happiness for her daughters. Her desire shone through her eyes. She had dark brown exotic eyes that could whip men into submission as she swayed her luscious hips back ad forth hypnotically. Those eyes baited men in, but what they didn’t see was the desire wasn’t for lust. Alyssa didn’t work the streets for lust or drugs; she thirsted for something much deeper. She thirsted for her Josephine and Nadia from deep within her soul and within the blood coursing in her veins. A mother doesn’t only care for a human being in the world, but also an extra valve to pulsate a heart strong enough for their children.

           

            Tucked in her closet, Alyssa hid the tools for her trade: a pair of stilettos, makeup, lingerie, and an array of toys not available in Spencers. Most little girls swoon over their mother’s goodies and giggle as their tiny innocent feet waddle around in their shoes. Jo and Nadia were not meant to follow in their mother’s shoes. Alyssa wanted to offer an abundance of education she was never granted and would never see in her lifetime.

 

            The three were a dynamic trio that lived in Apartment 804 atop the Brooklyn Grandview Estate. Don’t let that name mislead you. The elevators didn’t function and the steps were home to enough Stuart Littles and Ratatouilles to make their own restaurant. As the trio fluttered up the stairs like butterflies, their minds explored new heights and surpassed the Brooklyn skyscrapers. Nadia and Jo had enough experience in museums and parks; they could give a Harvard professor a lesson or two.

           

            One day, the three floated up the staircase like usual. Alyssa was preparing for business. She possessed a few new VHS tapes in a plastic bag from the thrift store and Jo smiled at the thought of the surprise. She hoped it wasn’t a boring history documentary: Oh, I hope it’s a documentary about polar bears or cute puppies. I don’t want another black and white movie. Those are so boring. I hope it’s about an adventure. Alyssa drew the curtain up separating her room and the living room. Hopefully, tonight’s a short night Alyssa thought. She knew business rush was primetime to make money. When the entrepreneurs got off from work, she began hers.

 

            Reaching into the refrigerator, Alyssa pulled out some puddings and applesauce. The cabinet was a bit bare, but she found some stale chips in the back. I better not hear one complaint about these chips either…I still don’t know how I forgot they were there. There’s nothing in here! She said to herself. “Okay, you know the drill Josephine.”

 

            “I know, I know mom. Don’t come out for any noise. Don’t let Nadia do so either.” She repeated the phrase, she so commonly heard.

 

            “Okay, good.” Alyssa said ready to wait on the corner of afternoon traffic. Jo eagerly looked through the near videotapes. None of the tapes had a cover and they scurried to place each of the ten tapes in and play five minutes of each to reach a consensus. Milo and Otis sparked an interest in both the girls and they sat down.

           

            “Did mom make you do homework?” Jo inquired.

 

            “No, did she make you do homework?” Nadia responded with her innocent six-year-old plump face. Jo envied her hair curling around her face. She, too, had Goldie Locks hair, until she recently turned twelve and their mother made her donate them.

 

            “No, she didn’t. Did she seem sad?” Jo pushed for someone to agree with her.

 

            “Jo! I’m trying to watch the movie!” Nadia squealed. Jo succumbed to her wish, because at least she wasn’t griping for food. By the end of the film, Nadia ate two puddings and an applesauce. Jo ate two apple sauces and a pudding.  The school’s lunch was sort of burnt and had that weird meat loaf no one truly wanted to eat. The chips sat untouched. They concluded they didn’t crunch quite right and felt rather rubbery. Jo placed a Barney tape in. She knew if she didn’t keep Nadia’s attention, she would pay more attention to the grumbling of her stomach.

 

            These chips are chewy. C for chips and C for chewy. Nadia thought to herself hungrily, but she ate them. In Alyssa’s room, C stood for Cooperate. “You’re going to cooperate or your girls face your fate.” I swear I searched this man. I swear he did not have that knife before. Alyssa inwardly regretted. Her eyes filled with tears and passion. The tears tricked down.

 

            “Did you think mom will take us to where the water trickles into the stream for a picnic?” Nadia asked Jo.

 

            “I sure hope so.” Jo responded.

 

            Hope is an interesting concept. It can be a short, temporary hope or it can burn eternally. Focus on Josephine. Focus on Nadia. I hope they survive this. I hope they see their future. I hope they live a life where they are never objectified.  Alyssa visualized and her thoughts traveled to a place far away. She imagined holding them. She hungered for their survival.

 

            “I’m hungry, Jo! You are too I hear your stumble growl like a brown bear. Please let’s go eat some cereal. I don’t care if I miss dinner until my next birthday.” Nadia moaned. Moans can be innocent pleas for consideration. Alyssa moaned into the pillow as she called 911 and the client stabbed her. In a way, Alyssa’s moan was a plea for life. The man yelled: “You stupid, bitch!” covering her mouth to prevent her from alerting the operator back at the station. He was unaware of the speakerphone catching his voice into the phone. Alyssa grinned at the thought of having the speakerphone button broke, so that it was constantly pushed in. She was clever.

 

            Jo was clever as well. She popped in the favorite movie of her little companion begging for cereal: Home Alone. Jo hated Christmas movies in March, but she knew it would hold her off. “Just one more! Listen, if mom doesn’t come out after this movie. We risk her screaming and we eat Fruit Loops.”

 

            The client looped Alyssa’s hair around his hands three times, until her scalp was against his knuckles. He began scalping her. I have the note. It’s tucked in my hand. They will always know I loved them. My spirit will live on in their souls. Forever and warm their existence in the coldest of nights. What is that star Josephine? My love will fill the big dipper and the little dipper for you both. Alyssa dreamed and delved into unconsciousness from the pain. In her hand, the note lies safely with the dots of the big and little dipper.

 

            Like the emptiness of the dippers, Jo’s stomach rumbled before the movie even began. She turned the television up louder just in case her mother questioned their obedience. She led Nadia into the kitchen. She pulled the chair to the cabinet and reached up for the Fruit Loops reserved only for Mondays to start of the week “Fruity” as her mother would say. She handed the box to Nadia. They delved their hands into the box and devoured handfuls of cereal. In the middle of the feast, the client walked out zipping up his pants. He glanced frantically at the pure innocence before him. He left.

 

            Jo sensed something was wrong. She reached for the doorknob and turned it. As the door opened up, Jo and Nadia glanced to the red room. Nadia screamed a scream so loud that it penetrated the walls and echoed back twice as loud. Her soft-soled feet scurried across the room collecting a mixture of scalp and hair clumps. It created a squishing sound across the wood floor. Nadia fell briefly and her knees collected the mess. She held her mother’s heart with the valve of strength only a mother could grow. She mimicked the CPR actions and placed the heart back in, pressing strongly. “I love you, mommy! Say it back to me. Don’t you love me too?!” She screamed as if she honestly expected her trick to revive her mother.

 

            Jo observed the blood pooling around her mother. She didn’t picture so much blood in a human body. She placed her fingers in her mother’s hand. She took the fingers with her left hand to strategically put them where her mother would have placed them one by one. Then, she put her other hand in a similar position discovering the note. She saw the dots and didn’t quite understand.

 

            Two exhausted police officers barged through the door. “Holy Mother of God!” Officer Watson yelled in disbelief. The two officers observed the scene and ushered the Jo and Nadia away. Officer Watson was an experienced police officer. He had seen many bloody scenes, but known with a heart removed from a chest cavity and a scalped mother.  If that were Jacob, how would this scene affect him? He’d never be the same. Watson thought imagining Jacob’s big innocent eyes reflected in Nadia’s eyes.  

 

            Nadia cried softly in the officer’s shoulder.

 

            “Let me have, five more minutes. I need to hold her hand five more minutes. I will never see her face. I didn’t get to kiss her. I want my mom. Don’t take me away!” Jo punched, kicked, and bit the officer. The situation overwhelmed her and the permanence of death entered her soul. The blood on the walls was her blood and her genetics. The blood on the walls flowed within her and her feistiness fought back. Eventually, the officer escorted her out.

 

            The officers looked at each other solemnly when exciting the scene. “Only a daughter could love that mother.” Officer Watson said.

 

            Josephine handed Nadia the crumbled up piece of stationary pointing to the smoggy sky. “You’re my little dipper and you’re my big dipper. I’ll always fill you both up with love, so the darkness of the night never fills you up.” They both sang in unison imagining their mother’s voice filled with genuine love. 

The Noun is Black

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The noun is black. Black is never a noun. It’s always an adjective. But, some things defy reason. An adjective is a word’s attachment with no separate idea with a larger meaning. But, not for me, the noun is black. It has a separate meaning and identity all its own. At times, I believe black is my friend and other times I’m sure it’s my enemy. Real or fantasy, friend or enemy, independent or dependent of me for existence. I can not say with 100% certainty. Although, I can say with 100% certainty with all my being: the noun is black.

My sister Elizabeth has shared a room with me, since I was born and never complained one iota about it neither. She’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever known. Her hair shines like the wheat in the field and it flows against her freckled complexion with perfection almost heavenly.  Her eyes complete it with a deep understanding of a million lifetimes circled about in an ocean of blues. Not one, but a myriad changing without the slightest invocation of the surroundings. They were independent of the surroundings and dependent upon themselves. But, then again, at 13, how many people has one seen? Her friend Anna is coming over today. Usually, I hear people at school discussing how cruel their older siblings are leaving me with nothing to talk about. She is 16 going on 17, but that makes little difference.

Today’s weather is nice. Nice meaning cooling my feet against the gentle creek under the bridge I created was going to be astronomically amazing. I walk the same worn path and beckon the path into reality. Black settles itself beneath the bridge. Black hides in cracks, shadows, and those dark empty spaces such as beneath the bridge. Black doesn’t describe this being. Black was this being: it belonged to me and only me for no one else could see it not wandering eyes or family or kids at school. Sometimes, I wished I could share black with someone or hear someone talk of its being. Maybe, it is best for me to see Anna and my sister. Why put my sandals back on for fear of a bee at the price of the grass’ sweet texture against my flesh? I’ll accept the risk for the reward.

I should surprise them. Usually, they laugh at such childish attempts. I gently open the door. But, the scene that played out was not reasonable. But, eyes never lie. Eyes reveal what actions conceal. Sometimes, a fake apology contains a tear or a smile is withheld through sadness. But, eyes paint a veil of truth even over a falsehood. The hands gracefully willow out of the long lush hair of each other and the eyes look randomly bouncing about the room, as if hoping for some explanation other than the truth.  Anna’s eyes never met mine. My sister frantically begun reassuring her it was okay and that the one and only soul they should tell was mine. I shut the door and chimed in, “Your secret is safe with me. Elizabeth’s secrets are still within my mind.” But, my words were hollow to her ears and she continued to cry.

I recalled my initiation into womanhood by my mother. The scene replayed itself mentally.  My mother was in the bathroom. A package came from my grandparents for Christmas, out of my excitement I burst in. Instead of combing her hair or brushing her teeth, she was applying aloe juice to each individual mark. Marks from an obvious hit, like hitting your knee against a chair, only they did not match those marks. She whirled around and smiled with her lips while her eyes painted a different story. She explained the job of a true lady was simply to conceal the truth of pain and anguish. It was as simple as hiding “Christmas presents” she said, only for you to see and no one else ever especially with family, because if she’d allowed the truth to be revealed sooner. My opinions of my father would be negative and we wouldn’t want anyone to think anything negative of those we loved. She said I was old enough now to see: you hide the bad and reveal the good. At that instant in my life, dots connected: my sister silently crying in the night and the forceful command to go back to bed amidst odd sounds in the house. Nonetheless, black was my “Christmas present”. It projected its voice into my mind, probably recognizing its identity. It played with me, despite other kids avoiding my company.

Reality of the moment now snapped me back from the flashback. Anna was crying and Elizabeth was explaining how I knew about her secret psychology class. Dad refused to sign the schedule and demanded she take home economics, because it was more suitable. But, my sister knew how to thwart rules. But, I believe she was a man. Her “Christmas presents” were never wrapped too long around me.  She said it was because I was an accepting soul, so her information was for me and me alone to hold to my heart. She coaxed me on saying she, too, was an accepting soul.  Anna was a lady and tried to hide the secret from me. But, Elizabeth wouldn’t accept such a thought. If I did not tell on her class, why would I tell on this? The penalty for both secrets would be the same horrendous action taken against our mom. Dad raised us to be ladies not gentlemen and our mother would pay for it most assuredly behind closed doors in a wrapped box with a pretty bow. During the winter, she sewed us snow pants to go sledding in. Sledding was great fun, but my mother was scared and she was rightfully so at the end of the day. Elizabeth cried that night like a dog with a broken limb longing for the use it again and later explained when I was older.

Once again, Elizabeth thrust me into the truth. “Anna is my girl friend as a boy has one. What do you think?”

My eyes wandered searching for an answer from a dark crevice holding black….nothing. “I like it as much as I like anything. You both want it, how can something you both willing fully want be bad? Your secret is safe with me.” There was nothing more to say than what I thought. Anna’s eyes went from scared like a cornered bunny before death to a relieved peace. They entered the door of our room for week burdened and now they looked like a baby blue bird whom first takes flight. Is that the price we pay for being a lady? Being like a caged bird only able to sing and never fly?

Black’s voice dominated my thoughts for about a good month and a half.  Not playful, helpful black but evil, sadistic black. Elizabeth and Anna went to go gaze at stars. But, I was too tired to join. Tired of voices, tired of black’s haunting presence. There was no peace or alone time, I was owned and I sensed its presence always there. As if it, engulfed its life in my breath and never allowed me to escape like a tick on a dog. Only a dog may be free at one point, I was never to be free. Why must it be here kept in a closet or a box? Its voice crescendo-ed back into existence. “I know you see Me.”, it’s voice encircled my thoughts like bees to honey with no intention to abandon the prize they sought to conquer. But, it can only conquer something that pays attention to it. “There’s only one solution to your predicament: death. We’ve reviewed this time and time again.” Perhaps, that is the sole solution. But, black is not above tricks. It promises to leave yet comes back again. Promises to be nice and sweet one day and that exact day threatens me before I close my eyes to sleep to gouge them out and display them on a sharp stick that way I’ll never see anything but black. I know black is ever present, ever growing, I’m never free. Never, it’s doesn’t go away, it’s not an adjective belonging to something for it belongs in my breath in my life. It doesn’t have to follow me because it is in me. It is me. Black is the noun. The noun that I am. The noun giving me solutions that turn into demands, I accept them. I accept them, but it won’t allow me to curl into a ball and cry. I just can’t cry alone, even under the blanket it grows engulfing every shadow and crack and crevice. Black is the weed in the sidewalk, you’ll never see it die because it feeds on the cracks and uses them to take root. The roots go everywhere and escape no slight darkness for food. Even when I close my eyes, it’ll make a permanent root there never to permit my sweet longing for freedom even in a dream.  Black takes the darkness in the room and whirls it around over and over and over chanting: “Life is such an easy price to pay for one’s freedom, it’s not difficult.”

“Go, please, go. At least be nice, remember the sandbox how we played? Have mercy on me. Please.”, my tears could not conceal themselves nor my voice. I never vocalized to black because black was my “Christmas present” never to leave the box.

 

The door creaked open.

 

 

“I heard it all, don’t deny. What do you wish to prove? Do you want a body part you were born with or a listening ear?”, Elizabeth said as she wrapped her willowy arms around me. Her eyes were caring and concerned.  I didn’t want to be a caged bird any longer. I wasn’t meant to be caged. I realized that the “Christmas present” of my sister was never truly diminished. Sharing it with me reduced its burdened. But, a reduction was like a weight lifting off my shoulders.  Even, if it was not the entire weight, baby steps taught someone how to walk. We taught each other how to be open.  Slowly with age, we broke the cage we were placed into. There were no more Christmas presents to be unwrapped. The house we were born in is not the house we would create. We accepted each other. Not some false acceptance to force a person into submission. But, truly accepted. I never thought it was possible. The baby blue bird never flew before, but he knew there was a time to fly. The caged bird realizes that is overdue. A time to spread wings openly to chance a death of falling or a chance to fly. We learnt to fly together as one weaving a pattern never before there but always present within us.

The Right Away

Standard

My mom had eyelashes that could kill. She’d whip those puppies towards the sky in some seductive trace, men would line up, and they did just that. I never noticed the connection when I was younger, but age has a way of stealing your innocence in multiple ways.

My mom was wonderful to my sister and me. She would tuck us in at night with a gentle kiss on our foreheads. I still vividly recall those eye lashes brushing me gently, before I dozed off. Once a week, she would plan an excursion to the museum, the library, the zoo, or literally any other place her creative mind could conjure up pertaining to education. She emphasized school. People stereotype Asian parents. They clearly never had the pleasure of meeting my mother. A’s and nothing less. She wasn’t physically abusive about it, but she didn’t accept anything less. I got a B plus once. I waltzed around with a big red B on shirts for weeks, until that grade rose. Fifth grade was a bitch. I could’ve gotten that A the first time around, but some crush preoccupied my mind. I wasn’t telling mom that. She despised boys more than she despised F’s and I’m sure you can imagine that was a lot.

My mom had her closets. Every body has their closets. Some are filled with an embarrassing baby doll decaying they can’t let go of and others are filled with stripper heels and an array of toys. Her closet wasn’t the one where you try your mom’s shoes on in. It was an off limit closet just like her room for when her eye lashes made boys line up.

My mom worked. My sister and I were watching cartoons with the volume way up. You know the volume where the volume feels like it’s preparing to escalade to choke your ears out loud. It was mom’s rule, when those boys lined up. No matter what ruckus resonated from her room were we allowed to enter. We heard all kinds of things: screaming, blow horns, slapping. But, not one sound could break that sound. If we broke that rule, we would skip dinner and breakfast. I broke it once, but prevented Peggy from breaking it. I’d pay along with her. Peggy’s only five.

The television program lasted way into those infomercials. I wasn’t quite sure what to do. Peggy was squalling for food at this hour. To be honest, I wanted to imitate her. Repeatedly, her eyes pleaded with me. Nonverbally like sisters do, we stood up simultaneously to push our boundaries into the unknown together. “Together we stand, together we fall”. But, we fell before anticipated without even turning the doorknob.

At this point, I decided to make the food. I pour us both a bowl of cereal. The man comes out completely disorienting zipping his pants up glancing side to side. He darted into the kitchen spilling the cereal all over the floor and ran out. We knew mom’s work was done. Inwardly, we were hoping it was going to be a starlit dinner outside in the park. Our mother was infamous for that after working so long.

The door creaked and we peered in. Blood smeared the walls. It penetrated our veins that had our blood still coursing. Peggy ran faster than her legs could run. Her bare feet collected a mixture of dampened hair from scalp tainted by blood. Peggy placed the heart back in silently, her innocent round eyes hoping for a miracle. She pushed harder with each action tears streaming with more intensity as she was losing hope, as if she truly believed placing a heart back in a dead corpse would work.

People collect souvenirs from their loved ones. I found mine in a bible. It was my mom’s chopped off hand. I enlaced my fingers like a connection. A connection that I knew I was never going to have again. My mom’s hair coated the floor. Her heart lain carved out, but pressed into her body from Peggy. Her severed hand was hidden in my pocket. It was cold and without feeling. It didn’t move, when I put my hands into between her fingers like they once inched closer and closer as if our hands would mold as one.

The police came. They entered the room with a look of horror, but not from what happened to my mother, instead from what we witnessed. The only words they muttered concerning the situation in a personal light was: “Only a daughter could love that mother.”

 

            Twenty Years Later:

I’m successful. I own a doctorate’s in business and my CEO position proves it. I don’t have to worry about some cheap dinners and a chair that doesn’t recline. I can tell the world that reclining in my flowery chair is a luxury. My mom would’ve liked that chair. But, she was too unselfish. Unselfishness bites you in the ass in the world. It really truly does. Nice people own community business. Smart people are CEOs. The world follows the same model.

I need to pick Lucy up from the baby sitter’s house. Sometimes, our instinctual urges take over in life. I love her, but it’s not the same love my mother demonstrated towards me. It’ll probably never be that love. I’ll never put someone first. Why should I? So, I can silence my screams and have my heart carved out. I think not.

She hops joyfully in the car. “Sarah loves my drawing I made at school. I made a turtle. Turtles are so cool. What’s your favorite animal, mom?”

“I don’t know. Does it really matter?”, I reply.

“Oh come, mom, everyone has a favorite animal.”

“I suppose a wolf.” A damn car cuts me off. I have the freaking right away! God bless America. I don’t understand where they’re passing out driver licenses today. I freaking Cracker Jack box. I’ll show this disrespectful ass. I push the gas just to challenge them and show I will not be driven over like a deer caught in the headlights. Lucy slides a bit in the leather seating in the back.

“Pay attention, mom!”

“They didn’t have the right away. Sometimes, you just got to assert what’s right in the world and defend yourself. Take notes. You tend to not handle Ms. Elizabeth Smith so well at school.”

“Sarah told me to ignore her.”

“Mommy thinks Sarah is an idiot.”, I say. The SUV decides to cut me off and slams the breaks. A crack penetrates the air. An eerie crack and one I hope came from the car. I look back. Is this a game of hers? She’s always trying to get more attention. I sigh heavily. My car spirals out of control and rams the wall.

The EMT asks: “Are you all okay? I should just take a quick look at you both.” He looks at Lucy. “She’s not responding.”

“She always is playing this game. Aren’t you, honey?” I remark playfully. He doesn’t appear convinced and starts trying to get a response. He loads her into the ambulance. My world freezes and I run into the back with them. He diverts his attention from me and devotes it to Lucy. I had the right away, didn’t I?

She awakens and peers up at the EMT. “Where’s Sarah?” I want to scream….HERE I AM! Your mother! I’m your mother. Don’t you see me? I exist. My favorite animal isn’t a wolf. It’s really a squirrel. You like them; too, I’m sure. Wolves are mean. My tears fall on her precious hands, as I cry relentlessly.

“I can’t feel them. Can you mommy?” The medic tears up. He balls his fists up. He grabs each finger then pinches himself. I see the blood accumulating under his nails, as he angrily glares at me.

The medic rushes her into the hospital, despite the predetermination of her diagnosis ringing in his mind. “I’m so sorry, honey! This is all my fault.” I fall to my knees briefly. Wobbly, I stride to keep up with my Lucy. My little ray of light Lucy.  My throat is closing in on me and I desperately gasp for air.

My mom understood the world. The world doesn’t revolve around us. It revolves within us, as we expand our world to encompass and enhance the lives of others. We live to let live. We live to embrace the pain of ourselves to witness the lives of those before us flourish. Life is like walking barefoot. There are rocks. Sharp jutting rocks. Rocks ready to slice your foot. But, there are patches of moss with their wondrous fibers ready to welcome our feet. The moss doesn’t exist without the rock. We can wear shoes to protect us against the elements or shout: Here I am! World give me everything you got. We have the capacity to feel and let things be felt just as we have the ability to be in people’s lives and let their lives be ours.

My daughter taught me a lesson. I denied Lucy the right away into my life, but never again. I will take my second chance and cherish it fully. I will give Lucy ever second of my existence.

The medic explains to the doctor, he walks away. He turns around and approaches me interrupting my apology.

“Only a daughter could love you.”

“It’s okay mommy. I promise everything will be okay.”, Lucy reaffirms me after my apology.