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Love and Assassins – Chapter One – Part Two

Love and Assassins
Chapter One – Part two

I pulled the covers off and stood up, reaching for my pack of cigarettes. Tilting it upside down, a fine dusting of tobacco shreds powdered my feet, but no cigarettes came out. I sighed, looking around. A dirty bathrobe, unwashed since I moved in lay on the floor beside me. A mirror hung from the door and I stood there for a moment staring at my reflection, crystal clear in the fifteen dollar frame.

I was fat. No, that’s not the right word, no paunch or anything, but… flabby. That was it. Sagging pecs and small inner tube around the waste. If I flexed my arms I’d probably make a u-bend. The cream of high school athletics was long gone.

“Whatever,” I said to myself. A man can walk naked in his own house no matter what he looks like.

I opened the door and walked into my living room. Boxes littered the floor, my only possessions after six years of marriage. And of what? Old CDs I hadn’t played since I was a kid, a year book full of forgotten faces. It was pathetic.

“Pathetic, you hear me?” I said to the box nearest me. “Pathetic.” I kicked it, the pain that suddenly stabbed through my foot reminding me that this was the box with my old weights from when I used to work out after school.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.”

Grimacing, I hobbled over to the little kitchenette and opened the fridge, pulling out a very weightless bag of coffee and looking inside. I took a deep breath and let it out. There was only enough for half a cup.

Putting it in the little coffee maker I pressed the “ON” button and went back to the fridge to get the cream.

No cream.

I looked around my apartment in despair. No cream. No cigarettes. Barely any coffee and my fucking foot hurts!

I was on the verge of a mental breakdown and I didn’t have any support in the matter. I rummaged through my things, pulling up boxes and dirty clothes, finally finding another pack of cigarettes.

Empty. I almost cried.

I took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. No. I had a job to do. I grabbed my bathrobe, wrapping it around my naked body, and found my sandals under a heap of dirty clothes in the bedroom. “I’ll be back,” I told the refuse littering my floor. “I mean it.” Then I left.

I made my way down the stairs of my apartment building, my sandals flopping loudly against the floor on each step. Five flights of filth and unpainted walls passed me by as societal rejects, outcasts from the “good life”, roamed freely in their natural habitat.

Outside the sounds of morning traffic assaulted my ears, once again reminding me how much I hated this world. I made my way down the street, avoiding bums looking for handouts and the occasional psycho cabby.

Ten minutes later I was in line at the drug store, cream in hand, Doritos on the counter along with a six pack of cheap beer. A kid half my age sat behind the register reading a magazine and intermittently sucking loudly from a slurpee. Tattoos covered his arms and a faded black t-shirt proclaimed, “The end is near… Just up the block and to your left.”

I placed the cream on the counter. “Can I get some cigarettes, too?” I asked pointing to a pack behind him.

He picked up the pack I was pointing at without looking and put it on the counter.
“Ten seventy nine,” he said, still reading his magazine.

I put eleven bucks on the counter and turned to go.

“You know those are going to kill you.”

I turned around to see an old man in a hat and sunglasses staring up at me, the lines of his face a study in map making.

I nodded gravely. “I only wish it didn’t take so long.”

He gave me a queer look and I walked out. All about me was the noise of traffic and passersby gossiping about pathetic things in their pathetic, little lives.

Why did they even bother? Probably low IQ. They just hadn’t noticed yet how meaningless they were along with everything else.

Ahead of me a little girl was drawing a flower on the sidewalk with colored chalk. Bright orange petals sprung from a green stalk.

I stopped beside her, looking down at her creation. “It’s gonna fade.”

“What?” She asked, shading her eyes against the sun as she looked up at me.

“It’s gonna fade. No matter how much you try. People are gonna walk on it, Rain’s gonna come, Gum. It’ll be gone.”

I stopped talking. The little girl had started to cry.

“Hey, look, I was just saying-”

“You bastard!”

I turned to see a bowling ball sized purse flying at my head and, out of focus behind it, the face of an angry hyena woman. I assume she was the one directing it.

A couple minutes later I picked myself up off the sidewalk, my head feeling slightly worse than before. Beside me an old man the color and consistency of over baked chicken was spitting something in my general direction.

Wearing tattered jeans and a t-shirt which hadn’t seen a washer in at least a year he was squatted against the side of a sandwich shop letting the world know how I’d just made a little girl cry and asking, with many guttural outbursts, what kind of person would want to make a cute, little, innocent girl cry.

I picked up my things, which had fallen out of my bag, and looked around. The girl was gone now. So was the chalk drawing. In its place were the scribbled words, “fuck you a-hole.”

Yeah, cute, little girl.

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Love and Assassins – Chapter One – Part One

Love and Assassins
Chapter One – Part One

My life wasn’t always this bad. I don’t think. I mean at no point would I have called it incredible but… suicide? No. Never would have crossed my mind.

So I guess it’s not that life is horrible from the beginning. It’s more that they lead you down this beautiful little path – full of pitfalls and fallen trees and jaguars with long claws, yes.

But, but… every now and then you see a flower. Maybe not a breathtaking one, not the prettiest in its class – but a flower all the same, living, breathing and staring at the sun. And you think, “It’s gonna be alright. It’s gonna get better. I mean, it can’t all be this bad, right?”

Wrong.

And in the end the worst part isn’t even that it’s so horrible. It’s that you think there’s going to be a happy ending, a pat on the back, just – just… some kind recompense for having walked through shit for so long! I mean that’s what they tell you, the movies and books and stuff.

And that’s a lie.

Take me, just – random example, okay? I got out of high school seven years ago. What did I want to do? Become a writer. What did I do? I became an accountant.

See, there was this girl named Jenna. And she was pretty and blonde and slim and rich. She was my girlfriend for most of high school. Well, except for those two weeks when she left me for Jack… My best friend… And maybe had already done so once or twice before that…

But hey, mistakes happen. She was my girl and we were back together. We were in love. Right? So when high school ended it seemed the logical thing to do to get married. I mean that’s what you’re supposed to do. It’s what’s right.

Man. It was beautiful – Hawaii, flowers everywhere, cliff top overlooking the ocean. She had arranged it, her father paid for everything. All the right people came. I was happy then, wasn’t I? I was doing what I was supposed to do, right?

In any case I was fine. I had some money from my parents death, her father was well off, I could write. The perfect life.

Six years later I’m working late every night, an accountant at her father’s firm. Jenna’s daddykins didn’t like the idea of a deadbeat writer for his little girl. Jenna’s husband needed to be a man. Someone who could support her, who would be there to take care of her when he was gone. Someone tame.

So, I never became a writer. I toyed with it, wrote a few things, even finished a novel. But I never told her, never sent it out to the agent who’d read part of it and said they wanted it. That wasn’t how life worked.

See, you don’t take chances. You don’t take risks and emotional leaps.

No.

You stay at home or at work and leave the fairy tales where they belong, in books about a life that doesn’t actually exist.

So, six years passed. Or was it seven? I don’t know.

Then one day something happened. I couldn’t tell you what, I still don’t know. I was in my office, staring at balance sheets and mid term reports, trying to make sense of a series of bonuses paid to the executives of the firm.

Maybe it was that I hadn’t eaten lunch. Or maybe that I hadn’t seen Jenna that morning and I missed her. She was asleep when I woke up, as usual. Just as she had been out the night before when I finally went to sleep. As usual. So maybe it wasn’t that.

I don’t know what happened. I don’t know why I did it. I just did. I got up, grabbed my briefcase, and left. Didn’t even tell anyone. Just suddenly had to get out, to get away.

I remember walking through the streets, staring at things, people going about their day. It just didn’t seem right anymore, it seemed off, unreal, like I was surrounded by manikins in a department store.

Something was wrong. I didn’t know what but I knew it was there, a hole in my life, glitch in the matrix – call it what you will – I was missing something big and I knew that if I didn’t find out what now then it would be gone and I would never find it again and I would turn into a manikin and disappear into the crowd, lost forever in oblivion.

I took the train out of the city, staring out at the harbor and the people walking about. The Statue of Liberty stood tall surrounded by dark waters, her face a blurred image of an emotion I’ve never seen in real life.

I got off the train a few blocks from our house, a moderately large victorian place an hour out of the city. Striding down the sidewalk I stole a few roses from a neighbors yard, carefully preening them of thorns.

Suddenly everything made sense somehow. It was like someone was pointing something out to me and I was finally seeing, finally getting a glimpse of the “mystery”.

I knew exactly what I was going to do. I was going to walk up to the house, Jenna would be there watering the flowers or reading a book on the porch, maybe singing – she had a beautiful voice.

And I would come hopping up the little path to the porch, whistling maybe. And she would see me, her eyes lighting up, a beautiful smile blooming across her face. And I was going to pick her up, kiss her and say, “lets get out of here.”

And she would smile and say, “where to?”
And I would say, “anywhere.” And we would leave that afternoon, destination: unknown, adventure: to be determined.

A few minutes later I was walking down the block to my house. Trees were turning gold and red in the autumn sun, bees buzzing about, birds chirping. I was happy. I had it all figured out.

I walked up onto our large white porch, flowers hanging in pots, wood slat chairs stretched in the shade of the awning. No Jenna, but that was fine, she would be inside, it was a hot day.

I opened the door, a smile as large as Texas crossing my face. And there was Jenna… my beautiful wife… my loving wife… naked and kneeling, head down in my best friend’s open lap, his flabby little butt pressed deep into the perfect little pillows of my perfect white sofa.

Fast forward to six weeks later and here I am in a shabby little apartment, living off Fruit Loops and Cap’n Crunch, lying in bed, staring at the wall, ready to end it all.

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GMO creator receives Nobel Prize?

If you have any issues with GMOs or are as upset as I am about them then please see below:

This is the email written by “sum of us. Org”:

Friends,

In an obscene development, a Monsanto executive is winning this year’s ‘Nobel Prize of agriculture’ — the prestigious World Food Prize — for creating GMOs. Receiving it legitimizes the sort of rampant genetic modification Monsanto pioneered, and helps validate a ruthless business model that impoverishes farmers and monopolizes our food. If that wasn’t baffling enough, the founder of Syngenta, the same biotech giant joining Bayer in suing Europe to keep selling bee-killing pesticides, will also win the prize. The ceremony is in less than two weeks, so we need to act now.

Please join me in tell the World Food Prize Foundation not to reward Monsanto and bee-killer Syngenta’s outrageous practices.

http://action.sumofus.org/a/world-food-prize-monsanto-syngenta/?sub=mtlspr

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Love and Assassins – Prologue

Love and Assassins
Prologue

My life sucks.

No, seriously, it does. Hell, life in general sucks. I mean who would create something like life, where you’re born – painful; you grow up, go to school – wasn’t that so much fun; and then they kick you out as soon as it’s starting to come together and tell you to get a job, get a wife, buy a house, have kids, get credit cards, build up debt, pay taxes, follow the law, and never, never, never even think the words… “Is this what I want?”

I mean it’s sadistic, really. Seriously.

And now guess what?
You’re stuck.
All your dreams?
Gone. Never gonna happen.
Goals?
Pipe dreams. Forget’m.

And why?

Because you got involved in a little thing called living. You said, “yep, ship me down, I’m gonna do it.” And then when you’re half way out of your mother you take one look around and think, “crap. Where’s the manual?” And that’s when you cry. Really, I think that’s the real reason babies are always crying during birth.
And the few who don’t cry? Probably too stupid to notice there’s no manual. They cry later.

Anyways, evil, pure evil. Look at me. I’m laying here in my bed, alone, sheets halfway off me because I started to get up, decided not to, and then was too lazy to even pull them back on.

That thing on the bed stand beside me? It’s an alarm clock. It’s been going off for almost half an hour now, telling me to get up, take a shower, go to work. Hey, when I’m off maybe I can go get some beers with Jack and forget about everything until tomorrow morning when my alarm and headache wake me again.

Oh, wait, can’t do that. Because Ole Jacky is staying somewhere else now. At my house, with my wife. Yep. Fuck him.

So where does that leave me? Laying in bed in a little apartment I just moved into, staring at the wall as my alarm continues to ring, now telling me that not only am I late to get up, but in five minutes I’ll be late for work.

And since I didn’t show up the last two days, because, you know, why bother? I’ll probably be fired. Yep. My life sucks. And there’s this stupid light shining in through the window beside me and it hurts my eyes. Probably just all part of the plan.

But why am I still laying here? I mean, yeah, it’s bad. All of it. But even if I don’t go to work why am I still lying in bed, slowly taking drags of my fifth cigarette so far today, in need of a shower, not even any coffee yet?
It’s because I’m thinking. I’m thinking of one thing as I lay here, cigarette in hand, swirls of smoke lazily rising up to join the cloud above my head, the thing I woke up thinking.

End it.

Yeah. Suicide. The old hell sender, damned forever thing.

I’ve been staring at the wall, the same wall, for forty minutes now as that stupid alarm rings its fucking head off, trying to make the decision. It’s not been an easy one to make.
Well… now I have.

I’m gonna do it.

I’m gonna get up, make some coffee, and kill myself.

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Somewhere in America – The Woman – Micro-fiction

Somewhere in America
The Woman – Micro-fiction

The man sat up quickly. “Did you hear that?”

“Hmmm?” Said the woman laying in bed beside him. She had that beautiful just-woke-up-look which some women manage with perfectly tousled hair and dreamy sleep filled eyes.

“Downstairs; I thought I heard something.”

The woman smiled and blinked at the morning sunlight streaming in through the window above her head. “Mmm….” She lay back down, closing her eyes as she stretched, two full breasts appearing above the lip of the quilt.

“There it is again,” the man said nervously. Muffled sounds came from down stairs. “It must be my wife. Fuck, I thought she wouldn’t be back yet. I have to get you out of here.”

The woman opened her eyes again, laying one hand on his shoulder. “Get me out?” She asked blankly.

He stared at her like she was mad. “Yeah!”

“Oh… will she be upset?” She stretched out again.

“Well, yeah! Come on!”

“Mmmm….” She reached for her pants on the floor beside her, in no particular hurry. Pulling them up to her she reached in one pocket and then another, frowning.

“Come on! She could come up here any minute!”

Pushing her pouty little lips out she checked a third pocket, a smile blossoming across her face. She pulled out a pack of Kools and a lighter. Laying a cigarette between her lips so it hung in the air just right she used both hands to work the little lighter.

The man stared at her in disbelief as she inhaled, dropping the lighter on the quilt. Closing her eyes once more a look of absolute bliss passed over her face and she fell back on her pillow, her hands above her head, chest pressed comfortably into the air.

“My God, are you crazy?”

The slap was fast and hard. “Don’t call me crazy,” she said, her face suddenly millimeters from his own. He blinked saying nothing, too shocked to think straight.

“Mmm…” She put one hand on his face. “You’re cute,” she said, gently stroking the rough stubble there as she kissed his lips softly.

She pushed him down against the bed and pulled herself up, crossing her legs. Through the door footsteps were making their way up the stairs. The man was sweating. She smiled.

She took another drag and reached out over the side of the bed, the inside of her naked thigh extended across his face to balance herself. She plucked her purse from the ground, pulling it up to her as a woman opened the door.

She was a tall blonde with wavy hair and beautiful features. She wore business casual with a Louis Vuitton purse clutched in one hand and appeared to have been on the verge of saying something when her eyes fell on the naked woman sitting comfortably in her bed with a lit cigarette pressed deep between her middle and index fingers. The woman was smiling at her with a ‘well, hi, and what’s your name?’ Look on her face. The purse dropped from her hands, landing silently on the thick shag carpet.

“Hi, what’s your name?” The woman in bed asked.

“I’m his w-wife, S-Susan,” the woman began, her voice choked with sudden tears.

“Oh good!” Cried the woman in bed, daintily clapping her hands together. Cigarette in hand she pulled a gun from her purse. With one eye closed and her tongue between her lips she took aim and fired. The man’s wife dropped to the ground.

Carefully blowing on the gun she put it back in her purse and pulled out a cell phone, dialing a number into it. She put the phone up to her ear and took another drag from her cigarette as she waited for someone on the other end of the line to pick up. A moment later they did

“It’s done,” she said into the receiver

She waited a moment longer and then put the phone back in her purse, turning to the slack-jawed man beside her, a big, bright eyed smile gracing her colorful cheeks.

“Wanna have another go before I leave?”

This story is part of a series of short stories to come. Please let us know what you think and, more importantly, what else you would like to see, i.e. subject, emotion, background, style, etc.

Thank you,

The Temperamental Monkey

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Somewhere in America – The Love Zombie – micro fiction

Somewhere in America
The Love Zombie – Micro-fiction

It was a beautiful Fall evening when first I laid eyes upon her. Her dark hair glistened in the soft morning sunlight, weaving slightly in the wind. Her lips were the deepest red, like rubies floating in a sea of milk, such was her skin.

She had that beautiful “just woke up” look upon her face few can manage but which seemed to come so naturally to her. Truly, It took my breath away.

It was just one of those chance meetings, really. Nothing out of the ordinary. I was sitting on a park bench reading my newspaper. She was across the street gnawing on a young man’s thigh.

They said they were zombies, migrating to our fair city. But I was not then, and never will be, a bigot. She was what she was, just as I was what I was. And I wouldn’t want her any other way. Zombie. Such a prejudicial name. But I didn’t care. Call her a zombie if you like. To me she was my flower.

So there I was, reading along, when something tugged at me. It was a man, ugly beyond belief, odorous and badly in need of medical attention by the looks of it. Drool cascaded to the ground about his feet and I had to side step quickly not to have my new shoes tarnished. I brushed him aside with a wave of my hand. Riffraff.

And then it happened. I saw her. And as fate would have it she saw me. The paper in my hands, suddenly forgotten, dropped to the grass. I stood up. She lifted her face from the young man.

I could see the hunger in her eyes. The same one that now burned in my chest. I could see it in her gaze, in the way her jaw worked as she stared back at me, the sensuality in her hips as she limped toward me. It called to me, pulled me on.

We met beneath the shadow of an elm tree, our arms instinctively rising to embrace one another. And I was to quickly find that she was was no beginner, no prude. Her lips moved to my skin as flowers arch for the sun. I moaned in a mixture of ecstasy and agony as they freely roamed my body.

It was all so sudden, so fast. I was becoming lightheaded. I wanted to tell her to slow down, to enjoy the moment. But my heart urged me on, dared me to immerse myself in love’s true embrace. And I did.

My heart was pounding. My knees were weak. We both knew where this was going. There were people around, but we didn’t care. We had that connection that few in history ever truly have.

And so, throwing caution to the wind, I allowed her to pull me down onto the soft grass, her need insatiable as was my own. I continued to moan as she tasted my flesh with her tongue, her lips urgent now. It was the Original Sin in full play.

As the world dimmed I thought of the future years we would spend together, the children we would have. I thought of our love and how it would grow. Just me and my love zombie. My Lombie.

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There are Piskies…

“There are piskies in the dark.

“Faeries and shayds and eyes that burn everlasting with a dark fire as they watch us from behind the Pale, from beyond the mists and the twilight lands, in the far reaches of our world where theirs and ours meet.

“And there they wait. There they have always waited.”

Beginning quote from the novel, The Twilight Lands.

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The Life of Delly – Chapter One

The Life of Delly
Chapter One

I was five when my parents died and the State took me in. Just a little girl. I don’t even remember what they looked like anymore.

Not that I care. In a gamble to triple it, and pay off the loan shark he owed, my dad lost what money and stamps we had. Then he lost his life to the loan shark.

Ten thousand dollars. That was the bill.

“Your heart will go for about that,” the shark said. Then he took it. You can sell anything these days. Yourself included.

Maybe I’d feel more sympathetic towards him if what he’d gotten the money from the Shark for had been more worthwhile. But a coke addiction on its way to meth doesn’t win the Purity League’s medal of honor. At least not in my eyes.

My mom hung herself later that night after an intense drinking binge in which she emptied the cabinets of all liquor, the one thing I could count on my parents to have. Food? Check with the neighbor next door. Cheap scotch? Top left cabinet.

I remember standing there on the bare wood floor of our dingy little apartment, watching as she stood on tiptoe on an old metal folding chair tying the rope to our ceiling fan. A head-sized loop hung at the end of it, frayed threads sticking out here and there like pricklies on a cactus.

“Here honey, hold this for mommy,” she said, handing me a half smoked roach she’d been puffing on as she worked.

“Wait, wait, wait, give it back a minute.”
I handed it back and she took a long drag, closing her eyes and holding it in for a moment. She coughed once and let it back out in a slow stream, her whole body relaxing as she did.

“Bad shit, honey,” she said a moment later, shaking her head and stretching her eyelids. “Don’t you never start it, okay?”

I nodded as she handed it back to me.
She brushed a loose strand of hair from her eyes and rubbed her hands together like someone about to start a race.

“Okay, stand back, honey. I don’t wanna kick you or nuthin.”

She waved her hand as she said this and I moved back a few steps, roach outstretched in my hand as far from my nose as possible.

She raised herself on tiptoe again to put her emaciated head through the loop. A head which looked twenty years older than it really was.

“Say ‘Happy New Year!’ honey.”

“Happy Ne-”

She kicked the chair out from under her and dropped, a hundred and ten pounds of filth and bad living. The fan came part way out of the ceiling, a few sparks flying, and the lights went out with a pop.

She didn’t kick. It was over in a moment. But still, I think it was a nice gesture on her part to have me back up just in case. My mom really cared.

When the government men found me a few days later, after the neighbor called them about “a bad smell in 15 B”, I was sitting on the closet floor in a heap of old newspapers and dust playing with my stuffed rabbit, Lucky. I was having a tea party, I told them.

I lived in state run camps for the next eleven years, moving from one to the next as I grew up, each more crowded than the last but only slightly larger in size.

The welfare people who took care of me said they were foster homes. But I discovered my monthly cycle while squatting over a hole in the ground marked “Ladies” near the edge of the barbed wire fence surrounding us. That’s not a home, that’s a fucking cage.

Actual foster homes did exist. Ones in which there was a family of parents who wanted another child. But those were so few I never had the chance. Most people were too busy trying to get rid of their kids so they could continue their loose little lives without that pesky little “nine month burden” getting in the way. Poor them.

By the time I was sixteen I was living in slightly posher surroundings. As in the bathrooms were inside the buildings, and, while the showers were still all in one room, at least it was a room. And it even had curtains! Mildewy where they weren’t ripped away, but still. Must have been overlooked in the search and destroy mission to find anything which could possibly bring us happiness or comfort.

We also had a nurse. Though how one young woman was supposed to take care of the needs of over seven hundred kids, most of whom were half nuts at that point, I don’t know. But she was my friend. Probably the only real friend I’d ever had.

Her name was Tammy and per her she came from a long line of rejects and was the first to decide she didn’t want to throw her life away.

She was living in the old projects district then, Hell’s Toilet as it was fondly called by its denizens. Same place I came from. She heard about the need for nurses in children’s homes, the only criterion being that she had to have some background in nursing.

So, having taken care of her younger brothers and sisters since she was seven while her mother was in the bedroom earning money for her addiction, and sometimes the food and rent, she decided she had the needed background and applied.

I don’t know where she thought she was going to wind up, probably some pretty little place with a hundred or so kids and several other nurses. She got shafted.

Her “hospital” was a small cement building off to the side of the playground without even a single window. The playground, a large square of dirt, ran between the main building – a rundown schoolhouse turned dorm house – and the hospital. This was where all the kids walked around chatting about who liked who and egging on fights which broke out almost daily between two or more losers who had nothing better to do.

This was my home. An old building where I lived in a dorm with similarly minded bitches who either hated each other or hated with each other, a large patch of dirt and bits of old litter, and a little shack called a hospital. Oh yeah. A huge barbed wire fence encircled us.

“For your protection,” as the superintendent once told me.

But I think it was the opposite. We used to watch some of the people walk by on the outside, staring in at us. To them we were the scary ones.

One day I walked into the little hospital during a recess, as I often did, hoping to continue my reading lessons with her. I had high hopes for myself then, illiterate as I was. But as I entered a set of voices from around the corner stopped me.

“I said no. I mean it, James. No.” It was Tammy’s voice.

“Oh come’on! You been struttin that shit fer me fer over a week, you can’t tell me no now!”

There was a scuffling sound. Glass shattered as something fell to the floor.
“I said no! Stop it!”

James grunted but said nothing else.

“Stop it! Stop it!!” Her voice was choked, faltering. I walked in a few steps, hiding behind a tall stack of boxes.

She was on one of the beds, kicking and wrestling as James did his best to hold her back while unbuttoning his pants. He was standing between her legs which were spread wide about him.

I didn’t do anything at first. I was too shocked and didn’t understand what was happening. I looked at James. His eyes large and bloodshot. He was biting his lip, working fast.

Tammy tried her best to stop him but he kept beating her hands away. Black lines of cheap mascara ran down her face to fade on her cheeks.

His pants dropped to the floor and he reached for her skirt. Pulling a hand free she slapped him across his face as hard as she could.

His eyes went wide, nostrils flaring as he gritted his teeth. Grabbing her by the collar, he hit her twice sending her backwards onto the bed with a bounce.

She didn’t move to stop him after this but I could see the uneven shuddering of her body as the tears came silently.

A large glass bottle of alcohol stood beside me on a metal desk. I picked it up, noticing as I did that my hand was shaking. I walked over behind him. He was over a foot taller than me. Not that tall, but I’m a little short.

Throwing her skirt back he let out an excited grunt. A whispered moan escaped Tammy’s lips. I brought the bottle down with all my strength on top of his head.

Everything slowed in that moment. There was the sound of glass breaking mixed with a brief cry of pain. For a moment I thought he was going to turn and hit me as he stood there tottering on his feet. Then he fell to the floor and lay there.

On the bed Tammy still lay, arms out, sobs racking her body.

“Tammy?” I asked quietly. “Tammy, are you okay?”

“Get out!”

I backed up, startled.

“Tammy, I-”

“I said get out! Just get out and leave me alone!!” She rolled onto her side, her back to me, pulling her legs up into a ball and rocking herself with renewed sobs.

I stood there staring, not understanding.

“Just… leave. Please…”

I looked down at James below me. A thin trickle of blood was making its way down the side of his face. I walked out.

Later that night I was in the shower room, trying my best to wash the images from my mind. The place was covered in broken, mildew-stained tiles and the signs of menstrual discharge of many years. There were five other shower stalls but no one else was here now and I was glad of that.

I don’t know how he found me there. Or how he knew it was me. I guess it doesn’t matter. Probably asked one of my room mates.

I heard the grind of metal on linoleum and a draft of cold air as he opened the door. Booted footfalls made their way across the cracked floor. I knew it was him. I don’t know how, I just did. Maybe I was just expecting it.

He stopped right outside my stall. Making me wait? Trying to scare me?

For a moment the only sound I could hear was that of the running water pattering against the stall floor. I could see his silhouette through the thin plastic of the shower curtain like some demon from the dark sent to discharge another soul. I knew then that I wasn’t going to make it past this one without paying the toll. Let it run.

The shower curtain flew wide displaying his panting form, face still stained with blood, and eyes strained beyond endurance.

I just stood there, naked, covered in soap. I made no effort to hide myself. There was no reason. I think he wanted me to resist. To beg, plead, cry. But I wouldn’t give him that. He could take whatever else he wanted, and probably would. But not that. That was mine.

He got the point. With a curl of his lip he struck, the laws of motion in action. His fist hit my head and my head hit the tile wall. Blackness reigned.

When I woke up my head was propped against the corner of the stall, my legs spread out on the floor before me. The shower was off and a thin stream of blood mixed lazily with the pool of water between my legs. My legs which felt like they were on fire.

Several feet away James stood, buckling his belt. He didn’t look at me. No smile. No glare. Nothing. He finished buckling and walked out. Business completed.

I listened to the door open and close and the fading footfalls outside. When they were gone and silence was once more upon me I pulled my legs up to my chest and sank down on my back. I cried for a long time.

I would have told the head guard but that was James. I told the superintendent but he just said, “I’m sure that is not the case. You probably just fell and he was there to help you.” He patted me on the head, smiling like a good father figure and walked away.

Tammy denied the whole thing when I asked her to tell. Said she had no idea what a stupid kid like me was talking about. That she’d gotten her swollen face from a bee sting and that I needed to learn about the real world. Then she told me to get out and not come back.

I stepped out of the little building into the afternoon sun. It was the day after the episode and my legs were still sore and my face healing from when James smashed my head into the tile wall. I heard faint sobbing from inside the hospital but I didn’t care. She didn’t deserve my sympathy. No one did.

I walked through the playground, past kids who stared or made comments like “that’s what you get” and “slut”. I walked until I reached the little alley behind the school house. There I sat in the shade, leaning against the brick wall, my butt in the dirt. And I thought. And thought.

I thought about James and what he’d done. I thought about how unfair it was that no one believed me. Or probably they did but didn’t care because no one cares about us gutter rats. But mainly I thought about what Tammy had said before she severed ties with me.

“You need to learn about the real world, kid. There’s the hard way and the easy way. You can fight it or you can leave it alone and carry on with your life. Nothing’s fair and nothing’s cheap. You wanna get along? Then get outta the clouds and look around before you dead. This ain’t no place to have ideals.”

I thought about that hard. Real hard. The hard way or the easy way. Fight or leave it alone.

I sat there for a long time. The sun went down. The dinner bell rang. I ignored it all. Finally, when the bell rang for “lights out” I stood up, brushing the dirt off my butt.

“There she is!” I heard from down the alley. I looked up to see three girls, my own age, running toward me, smiles sliced across their pimple strewn faces like jack-o-lantern miscarriages.

The one in the lead, Candy, slowed as she drew near. I could almost see the candle flickering behind her eyes as she stared at my discolored face. I knew what was coming.

“Look girls! It’s Delly, the little slut. Thinks she’s so pretty. Luring poor James in like that. Nasty little bi-”

I smashed her head into the wall. Bitch. I was learning.

She fell to the ground, stunned. The other girls took off. I stood there looking down at her. I thought she would get up, lunge at me, something. I wanted her to. I wanted to fight her. To tear her apart. But she didn’t. She didn’t even get up. She just sat there. Then she started crying. A large scrape ran across her face where it had hit the brick wall. I almost felt bad for her. Almost.

“Please done hurt me,” she said between sobs.

I didn’t. I turned away. I was learning. Limping painfully, I headed for the hospital. I knew what I had to do.

A week went by before I saw James again. Before I showed my face in public. I had thought Candy would retaliate. But she didn’t. By then my face was almost healed and I could walk normally again. I was pretty again.

He was standing with a couple of his buddies when I found him, under the shade of a tree in the playground. Guards in their important uniforms with important badges, watching the stupid kids in their little cage. He stiffened as I walked up to him, stopping mid sentence.

“James?” I asked. He didn’t answer. I stepped closer. “James?”

“What?!” He said, his face still averted, lips closed tightly and jaw working. No one else spoke, they just gaped.

I took a deep breath and let it out. In my most innocent voice I began.

“James? Please don’t be mad at me. All I wanted was to ask you a question.”

His gaze flicked from side to side, to behind him and back, doing his best not to look me in the eyes. But he couldn’t tell me to leave. He knew he couldn’t. “What do you want, kid?”

“I – I need your help, James. I… have an itch that I…” I looked up at him, my tongue softly touching my upper lip. “I want more.”

“You what?” He asked, cutting me off.

“I – please, James… will you help me?…”

He scrunched his brow as one of his buddies let out an excited hoot.

“Do it, James!” He said, punching him in the shoulder. “The nasty little bitch wants it! Do it!”

He pursed his lips, looking from one to the next and then to me. Or almost to me. He still couldn’t bring himself to look me in the eyes.

“Where to?” He finally asked, a little smile on his face. Arrogant asshole.

I turned and began walking away. For a moment I thought he wasn’t going to follow. I looked back at him over my shoulder, biting my tongue. I hope it looked like longing. Or something. I turned back around and continued walking. I could hear his footsteps behind me now.

I walked across the playground, past kids talking or playing tic tac toe in the dirt. Everywhere I went kids looked up, stared. Good. I wanted them to see.

I led him up the steps of the schoolhouse and through the barren, dust covered lobby where empty light sockets made perfect nests for pigeons and the corners were used as spare bathrooms by kids whose mothers abandoned them before they knew what a toilet was.

Up the first set of stairs we went, turning and up the next. Four flights we went and I didn’t look back once. But I could hear his boots pounding away and the labored breathing. From exertion?

At the top of the fourth flight was a small landing. I crossed this to a narrower set of steps and up we went again to an old rust covered door, wagging slightly on it’s hinges from the breeze outside. I pushed it open, stepping into the sun on the gravel strewn surface of the roof.

“Where are we going?” He asked as he followed me out.

I didn’t answer. I walked across the roof, gravel crunching under my government issue shoes. I walked to the edge of the building where there was no guard rail, only open space. Below me the playground lay spread out. A few of the kids looked up. Then more. Good.

“What… are you doing?” He asked, a confused smile on his face.

I didn’t respond. I turned around so my back faced the playground. Slowly, very slowly, I lifted my shirt up, up, up above my head, dropping it on the gravel beside me. Several catcalls came from below but I ignored them. He bit his lip, fingers furling and unfurling. I could hear his breathing again.

I fastened my eyes on his, locking him in. “C’mere.”

He came.

One hand went around me, fingers digging into the flesh of my back. The other went to my breast, pressing and squeezing.

Very slowly I reached into my back pocket, pulling out the surgical knife I had stolen from the hospital a week earlier. His hand was working it’s way down the side of my body to my pants. His lips mashed against mine, the scent of stale cigarettes hot on his breath.

Reaching up with my other hand, my fingers gently traced the muscles of his back, finding the soft spots between the ribs, the open spots. When I was half way up I slid the knife in.

His body went rigid as warm blood covered my hand. I pulled it out. He stumbled backwards, trying to get away. But I held him there, sliding the knife in again and again, turning us around so that his back now faced the playground.

He coughed and blood dribbled from his lips as he raised his fingers in an attempt to stop me. The heel of his boot stepped back, hovering for a moment over four stories of nothing. I put my hand on his chest and pushed.

There was a dull thud as his body hit the pavement below.

I stood there, still as a doe, as behind me the rusty door slammed open and boots crunched across the gravel toward me.

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The Life of Delly – Note from the author

A note from the author:

This tale will eventually be novelized but I felt at first it should be put out as a serial with pieces appearing as they came. A story like this can never be heavily plotted. I will always ensure the pieces are edited as they come, as much as the story permits. Though a few rules may be broken from time to time.

This is the story of a girl who is like you, but who has grown up under very different circumstances. Or maybe not so different, as fortune dictates. But, nevertheless, she could be the girl at school when you were younger, the one who never seemed to have the latest clothes, or even a seven day wardrobe. She could be the young woman taking a temp job at a firm you work at, the one who can’t quite give enough history to be taken on as a full time employee but works hard for the wages she can get.

She could be the teenage drifter you see on the street, once, huddled against the side of a building, hugging herself, never to see her again as you stride past on your way to the continuation of your life, trying not to see the look of hunger in her eyes, of desperation, of the final end of will-to-go-on that should, justly, be seen only in the elderly whose time has finally come.

She could be all of these things. But remember: in a different setting, a different time or a different set of circumstances… She could be you… She is you.

But try not to think about that too much. Without further ado, I present The Life of Delly.