What do you do when your car breaks down.
On the side of the road.
In the middle of nowhere.
What do you do when the trucker who stopped behind you askes if you need help.
Do you trust his green eyes?
Do you trust the way the green darkens when you step out into the slippery mud.
What do you do when he steps closer, too close.
When you know your pepper spray is expired.
Do you run?
Do you pray?
What God would you pray to?
Did he follow me you think, or is it wrong place wrong time?
Nothing like this has ever happened to you.
You were the play it safe, stay away from the dark, the bogyman never chases little girls.
So, you always turned your back to the shadows that reached to far up the walls and chalked up whispers to creaks in the night.
Now the bogyman is here, come to collect after all his years of chasing.
No words form, no thoughts come spilling out.
Cold, splintering, paralyzing fear.
Grabs your shoulders and pushes you down into the gravel.
Ropes bury themselves into your legs.
And a hand crushes your windpipe to stop your screaming.
When the numbness recedes.
And the flashing stops.
And when the laughter finally fades into the distance.
You realize the bogyman doesn't exist.
The devil maybe.
But there are no traps for little girls like you.
They're not waiting around corners for us to trip.
We are convenient in convenient situations for them.
Because I was alone.
On the side of the road.
In the middle of nowhere.
Fearfully looking back I shiver as the night wind glides against my warm skin, I can hear the faint rustle of trees, dancing to the tune of this windy night.
"hoo, hoo" the sound of a grey owl, perched on a scrawny looking branch, pierces through the night air and gives me goosebumps. Shakily I straighten the crumpled paper in my hand, reading the words slowly, trying to memorize them once again. I can feel my energy diminishing, like the civilization I was living behind to start my new journey.
A new rush of adreneline fills me as I straighten my slightly slouched back, and start moving with a determined pace. 'Finally I could change everything' all I need to do is follow the instructions from the note and I will have my new start.
The moonlight spots the cabin before I do. I approach the cabin skeptical to enter, my doubts beginning to push my legs to turn back. Will this really be my fresh start after everything? can I trust this woman to help me change it all? Would I finally be able to end this loop of torture? Reluctantly I force my legs to move towards the cabin's dilapidated door, I push it open, and step into the dark room where I was instructed to wait patiently, until I see two flashes of light by the cabin's window.
After closing the door behind me, I sigh in relief and smile, maybe this time will be different.
Suddenly, I notice a ferocious pair of green eyes, staring intently at me from the doorway of the living room. It's watching my every move, slouched and ready to attack. Quickly trying to think fast I take slow steps with my back towards the door I had just closed, the green eyed wolf like entity notices this and releases low growls with snarls at me.
My heart starts pounding really hard. I am frozen, scared to take another step towards my escape. I jerk when a sinister laugh sounds right behind me, then a pair of hands follow, grabbing and dragging me out the door while I kick and scream frantically, 'he found me, he found me' those words fill my head as pain shoots through my arm when he flings me down the stairs of the cabin, and laughs once again.
"Where do you, think you're going Princess?" with a wicked smirk he whistles into the night air and immediately shadows emerge from the trees, I gasp because I recognise the lady who offered me an escape, smiling wickedly at me.
That's when it hit me and I realize the familiarity of this occurrence, this was the wrong place and time.
I had entered the wrong dimension.
Knowing this, I stopped struggling. Instead, I lay quietly on the cold hard ground, ready to relive another painful death, by the hands of the cruel man I once called father.
Wrong and Wrong Again
I was once in the right place but at the wrong time. I was once in the wrong place but at the right time. I can't seem to be in the right place at the right time, so I seek the wrong place at the wrong time. It's a double negative and will serve as my loophole. Double negation is a positive. Tomorrow...fractions.
I didn’t kill the President!
It all started on one sunny day. It was mid June. It was a swelting hot day, and everyone was heading for the pools. It was nothing but a normal day for James. He was working hard at the white house trying to get the president a coffee. He was the errand boy, his whole job was basically running around getting food or drinks, sometimes running the president's suits to get dry cleaned. Today however he was to get a french vanilla coffee from the President's favorite cafe, that was on the other side of town. James didn't care for his job much. Anyone who knew him would always talk about how much he complained. His job wasn't really hard, it was just boring. The pay wasn't great either. He only got a little more than minimal wage. Not only that but he had to sit and wait for hours on end. A never ending wait as he called it. But that day he was tired of waiting. So, when the first drink was slide unto the counter with the name James he took it. He knew he hadn't ordered yet, but a part of him couldn't wait. To make things worst no one stopped him. Once, he drove back the president was too busy to even notice that it wasn't a french vanilla coffee. Instead he only commented that it was cold. A few mintue later and James started is waiting. Waiting for the president to get done with his speech. After only being there for a few mintue a loud noise startled everyone. James got up and looked around. Then he saw people start to rush out of the theater. Once the crowd had moved he got a chance to ask one of the guards what happened.
"The president collapsed on stage. We're bringing to the hospital now. Why don't you head home early?" The guard said. James wasn't sure why but he felt as though it was his fault. Deep down he felt he did something wrong. He ignored it though and left for home.
The next day he got the call, the president had died. "What?! How?!" he said as he held the phone close to his ear.
"Poison we think. We're waiting for the blood results to come back. Your his errand boy, what did he have you bring him?"
"Well, for breakfast he had his normal coffee and that was all he had. As far as I know of course."
James waited all day to learn what had happened. Once he did, it wasn't the way he wanted. He got a knock on his door and opened it to the police. There to arrest him. What the had found was poison in his system, and as for where they found it. The coffee cup that James had given to him. James was taken away for murder. Even though he didn't kill the president. It was a case of wrong time wrong place.
I don’t know how I got here. Like…I really don’t know. I guess that’s why I didn’t know how to start writing this. What kind of shit story begins with, “I awoke in a strange land.”? (sigh)
I awoke in a strange land…strange by comparison anyway. At first glance it looked like home, but it was built on a different foundation, I could sense it right away. That in itself was an odd sensation; unfamiliar. I never had a sense of home, but here I could feel a pulse. I don’t remember what happened before this place…but I call this place Clarity.
The first thing I need to explain, is time doesn’t run the same here. It’s slower. A lot slower. It feels like you have an eternity. Maybe you do have an eternity. Another thing to wrap your noodle around? Nobody knows; about the time. Nobody knows about time. Nobody perceives… there is basically no time. Fuck, I’m still trying to figure it out. So much for clarity.
I think the best way to explain it, is to say that, when you are here, time waits for you. This is The Time and The Place to figure shit out.
I lingered a long while before I moved, but eventually, I struck out. I was in a field of tall grass, with sporadic flowers, and no road, yet a village lay in sight. I walked and wondered for a good spell before I looked up, the village still a bit off. I touched the grass under my palms, and I smelled the breeze, watching my feet effect the blades…but the village grew no closer. I walked faster now, with my gaze fixed. Anxiety welled in the pit of my gut. I broke out into a run, briefly, but then I heard it again... I started listening. That sense I spoke of…I could sense it. I laid down in that long grass and lingered a long time. I tried so hard to think it through, but no break-through broke through. I laid, paralyzed by uncertainty, until I began to think…”Why am I trying to get there? What do I need there?” I didn’t feel any needs. I only wanted for understanding. I sat up and groaned my way to my feet looking back over my shoulder to the village…and it was gone.
That’s when I really started listening. That sense I sensed, flowed through me... but there were no answers. That sense only brought questions. A deluge of questioning and uncertainty…and then, in a whisp of Clarity… epiphany. This place revealed itself.
I would never get anywhere. I would never understand. I would eternally pace… for I found my self in The Wrong Time…and The Wrong Place.
“What are the chances?!”
“Isn’t this nice Tobe?” The phrase echoed through his mind. A teen boy stood, leaning over a cruise ship's railing, rolling his eyes at the thought. He chuckled, only hours earlier he had been hauling around her luggage as she insisted she couldn’t walk another step in her heels. Now she’s run off without a word, probably off to talk up some wealthy looking man. He pictured her twirling her strawberry blond hair batting her eyelashes. He scoffed, looking at the horizon, “What a joke.”
He reached to loosen his cravat. He’d have to remember to tighten it again later but he could hardly find any sense in the constant suffocation. While tugging at the stiff fabric something crashed into him just as the ship hit a rogue wave. Before he could really process what had happened he was meters under water. He frantically swam to the surface, taking a sharp inhale just before being smacked down by another wave. He thrashed about a bit longer, being tossed around like a ragdoll, before realizing how ineffective it was. “What are the chances?!” He scoffed once more, “I can see the headlines now, «Son of aristocrat, lost at sea».” What would become of him. Would he be rescued? Would he die here alone? “Death by drowning, how pathetic.” The boy couldn’t feel anything. He guessed it to be the cold, though he wouldn’t know. He could hardly tell he was submerged in water nonetheless if it was a bit chilly. He wasn’t even sure his eyes were open. “Maybe I’ll wake up in some merfolk land and be appointed as their new ruler. They’d all fall for my charm” he thought sarcastically, poking fun at the idea. Being swept away in the middle of the ocean, one wouldn’t think this to be his train of thought. Though really, what else was there to think about? He was going to die here. Plain and simple. This idea didn’t appeal to him, but what was there to do? The boy guessed he had four more minutes max. He was now sure, his eyes were in fact open as he squinted at a blurry figure in the distance. As it came closer into focus, the boy had not a second to react before a huge jaw twice his size lined with baleen plates started to close in on him.
“Oh where on earth is that boy?” A voice muttered through inherent noise. A lean woman stood, clutching her handbag. On the other side of the cruise, a crowd had started to form. People were bustling with excitement. An eyebrow raised, she curiously made her way over. She looked to the water confused. There was a big splash and from it emerged a beautiful humpback whale about 20 meters long. She gasped, grabbing her bright pink disposable camera. While taking some shots, she murmured to herself “Good heavens where is that boy? He must see this!” She took a look at her last shot, smiling.
Stuck Between a Levee and a Canal
Oh God. My hand was still on the door handle. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. On the other side of the wall, faint thumping could be heard. When I got real close, my mother's moans were mixed in. All I wanted was a day off. All I wanted was ONE day without trouble.
I let go of the handle and walked back downstairs. J was hunched over a cup of coffee while my little sister bombarded him with questions. As I entered the kitchen, he looked up and nudged her.
"Look, Carrie's here. Go ask her how it went." He gave me a pleading look. I would've laughed at a different time.
"Well, we're definitely heading to the lake today." I said, grabbing a bagel and car keys. "Mom just won't be coming with us".
"Yes!" Shouted Hailey, running up the stairs. "I'll go put on shoes!"
J frowned. "What about-"
"Yeah, no. She does that."
"Even when guests are over?"
"Ha!" I smile dryly. "When has that stopped anyone?" I throw on my jacket. "Come on, we don't want to be late."
After forty-five minutes of watching J's poor attempts to avoid interacting with Hailey, we finally arrive.
"Alright, everyone out." I command, opening up the side doors. "J, can you watch Hailey while I park? I swear it'll only be a minute."
J's eyes go wide. "Five minutes max before I lose it." he said, as she pulled him away.
"Thanks!" I shout as I drive off. Now, where was the parking lot? All I see are docked sailboats on one side and the levee on the other. If I drive down a little farther it should be alright.
I pull down a side road and follow it up the levee. Weird. Usually there's a gate by now. I continue along its top, surprised to see it was barely wide enough for the car. Finally, the levee came to an end at a concrete canal wall. I park the car and get out, staring at canal.
I began to laugh. Of course this is the end, this only happens to me. I wonder how fed up J is by now. It'll take over an hour for me to walk back and there's no way for me to turn the car around. I wipe my eyes and call him. Maybe he'll know what to do.
"Hey J," I say, trying to sound nonchalant. "How's it going over there?"
"How do you think?" He hissed. "After twenty minutes of Hailey explaining how one plus one makes zero I finally lost it. I lost it."
"Wait, wait." I said, trying to understand. "What does that even mean?"
"It means I'm on a plane back to Florida right now. It was too much."
"You abandoned my sister?!"
"She's fine." J said, "Probably has lots of friends by now. All these guys were offering her candy for FREE."
I stood there, frozen. This was really not my day.
Always or Never
"Lesta, Lesta, come on," I said chiding and twiddling my Pen+GEAR dime a dozen implement; 1.0 mark on a blank sheet of paper. Outer edge the sun was rising, a helium balloon with no visible string, but I grasped anyway---
"Lester, Lester," she said waving a finger, the index. My first memory, no, no, no. No, no, no. I had that one arm outstretched. Upwards. That sparkling disc just out of reach by the ear-- not for play, Maman said twinkling.
Deer in the headlights. "Lester, Lester Lewis, well?" I'd forgotten I had raised my arm, gawking at the gold class bell, I knew I was supposed to give the right answer to the headmaster, but I'd forgotten the question. No, no, no. The Helium getting away. Noon on a school day.
"Lester, Lester Lewis! the baby!" the skein of yarn pulled farther and farther from outstretched hand, as I'm stuck in the cubicle, and the demand is for results. Specific results. No, no, no. All mixed together, like the curve of the teaspoon does in the highball.
The boss calling. The dark. Lights.
"Lester Lewis. Lester Lewis?"
FFF#9 Wrong Place Wrong Time challenge @ChrisSadhill
White Elephant’s Yuletides
It's something no child should ever have to see.
A memory burned into my brain for all of time.
Our house was all glass and shiny metal wrap.
I went to a private school.
Shoulda said that one first. It is much easier.
A man with a woman. But not just any woman. That was my Aunt!
Mom never talked about her much but I knew her face. I knew she couldn't visit because "Grandmother" had instructed as such.
And I knew "bad habits" were hard to break, especially beginning as bad orders from bad people.
Mistletoe. The kissing leaf.
Gross. I avoided the brain worm plant like the plague plastic or real. There was no taking the chance!
Lips together the pair slowly, dizzily pulled apart eyes utterly wrapped in each other.
If I'd known then what I do now, if I could have seen the future--
I would still do it.
Sipping my juice brought their attention snapping onto me. Done up all pretty in my black and green snowflake Christmas stockings, a plaid red dress with long black sleeves, and a glimmery, jangling clip to keep my hair in place and in center.
"Aggie! Aggie, umm you-- you saw right?" Auntie stammered, terror written across her face.
Expression unchanging and uncaring I called out for a packed tea room not too far away to hear.
"MAMA AUNTIE's FOUND A MAN!"
Said man laughed into his hand.
"I don't wanna keep him though."
I'd be much too jealous.
But by how everything had come to yelling and clipped, icy politeness by Secret Santa I had a feeling no one'd listened. As usual.
"Being just a bit dramatic?" Edith said, a smidgeon of sarcasm in an otherwise cool monotone.
"The furthest thing from," I replied in a huff.
"When's the wedding?"
"When Auntie finishes her licensing exam or something. And then handle Grandma's legal things."
"Want a friend there?"
I nodded, letting my lip pout.
"Then I suppose we're girlfriends."
Aggie took the hand offered. First Auntie, before I know it I may just be the next. What with the fake-date trick we're always pulling.
Was I in the wrong place?
Was it the wrong time?
I was just defending them.
Him/her because I guess I want them to respect me. Well, no, He, Her boyfriend, said He/She doesn't like me; at least He/She didn't. I want Him/Her to like me.
Her, because I love Her. He dragged Her into it.
Every day, He would come to my locker. And check on me to see if I need help with my annoying backpack. Then, when I had practice, I would tell Him, He sounded disappointed. He would say, "Okay." He didn't today. Is it because it's fresh? Will it pass? On the bus He said He is mad at me, but not for defending them.
For assuming he's mad at me?
I think I did talk back when He said I could go with Him/Her.
It's not fair.
Can a friendship drop like that so easily?
It's not fair.
I know He was being made fun of. Is it because I said He/She didn't do much wrong?
I'm sorry, but I'm not.
I'm a little angry. More than that. But I want to forgive Him. It wasn't much. I don't like not being liked.
You dragged Her into it.
I love Her. I don't think I should. I shouldn't.
He said to Him, her boyfriend, that He wanted to scare us. That made Him angry, her boyfriend. I used to love Him. I don't think I do now.
I don't think I love Her in the same way.
I don't like it.
Was it the wrong place?
The wrong time?
I don't like when people don't like me. Or when people are mad at me, especially when I don't know why.
She says I apologize too much.
I can't help it.
I feel bad.
Now I just want attention.
I do this.
It's better than feeling sad.
Just like when I did not see Him. Like they did.