What Happened to the Hunters?
"We have forgotten how to be good guests-- how to walk lightly on the Earth as its other creatures do."
~ Barbara Mary Ward
May 14th, 2005
"Thank you, Mercy." The ageing man responded to the nurse. The falter in his voice had still not recovered from the peculiar events of the previous month. What had brought around the unexpected transformation in the great and proud Mr Aldrich Hunter was unknown to most. How could such an arrogant, power-hungry beast be so humbled over a few mysterious days? But everyone knew it had something to do with Nixie. Phoenix Landskein. His bombshell of a second wife. Unlike Mr Hunter and his son, she never returned to the mainframe, and no one knew where she was.
Neo Hunter took the chair on the other end of the fine dining. The table was older than the portrait of the Mona Lisa, spanning nine feet and carved with fine, intricate details from head to toe. The delicacies were not abundant enough to cure the hunger of an entire state anymore. Only what was required was served, and nothing went to waste. Neo ensured that was the case, and no one had any objections to raise. Perhaps it all had to do with the generational transfer of authority from father to son, most people believed.
But Neo Hunter knew better. Neo Hunter knew firsthand what had brought around the radical transformations in the Hunter household. It had everything to do with Mrs Phoenix Landskein, his enigmatic stepmother.
April 9th, 2005
That bitch. Neo Hunter rolled down the haystacks piled so high atop one another. How could she? Neo always knew Phoenix Landskein was up to something, but everyone refused to believe him. But with hands tied against a coir rope and rashes of his allergy presenting themselves on his pale skin, Neo knew that was his best chance to prove his suspicions right before everyone. Phoenix Landskein was a gold-digger bitch.
Vision yet to be stable, Neo raised himself to stand, gaining support from his elbows and knees. The whole world spun around him, dizziness almost throwing him into another long daze. But Neo was desperate not to lose consciousness once again-- he slammed himself against the wall in the hopes of steadying his composure, his head held tight between his arms to squish some sense into him. Neo felt his throat ache and his entire frame sweating, leaving his body devoid of moisture. He needed water. Lots of it. Quick breaths. Long breaths.
The barn doors opened with a rasp to reveal before him a courtyard left unchecked for years prior. Ferns and rust had reclaimed all the fences and adornments once white and lustrous. Hints of a winding path leading to an old estate hid beneath the extensive flora consuming whatever men built over its natural state. The tall stone manor at the end of the road-- made almost entirely of stone and iron-- was all too familiar for Neo Hunter. It was his childhood home.
The nights were the hardest. So were the days, but the newfound solace of jabbering strangers at school offered Neo an odd comfort. Was there a name for the fear of dinners? But it wasn't the food that scared him. It was what came with it. The people. His family. Every time he heard his name being hollered from downstairs, every step he took towards the dining room-- it all took an act of courage.
Gripping silences. Heaviness in the air. Neo often attempted to not let his cutlery touch the dishes, to not produce the slightest noise so that his parents wouldn't notice his presence. He only left the table once his mom disappeared into the kitchen and his dad to the porch.
But some days, even his silence could not save the tumults which were to befall. Sometimes, it was a hair in the soup, sometimes a tad amount of extra salt in the bacon. But his father's outrage always shook the entire cabin to the core.
Neo never looked at his father when that happened. He looked at his mom. How her eyes were shut, and a lonesome tear caressed her folds. How her palms clutched the dress she was wearing. Before long, when his father disappeared into another room, Gaia always asked Neo to go to his room. And there, he would sleep to the muffled cries of his mother in the place of lullabies, pillows tight against his eyes and ears to tuck himself into dreams where everything was alright.
April 9th, 2005
The rashes grew bigger and redder with the passage of every minute. Unable to find anything sharp and steady, Neo headed to their old kitchen, hoping to find something to free himself. But it was empty. Hollow. The fire and aura had long settled into smoke and filth. That was when he heard a cry from the floor above. Father. Rushing atop the stairs, Neo shouldered open the doors to their old bedroom.
"Finally. You're awake." Phoenix Landskein was a woman of stature, or at least she possessed the charm of someone alike. There she stood, at 5"7', holding what seemed to be a leash made of the creepers from the grounds-- stains of red embellishing the light green of the stem. His father lay on his chest atop the busted cot, his bare back adorned with streaks of blood as he struggled to flee his chains. His restraints were not coir, but cold iron, leaving him zero chance of escaping the onslaught.
Phoenix walked up to Neo, stopping only a few inches away. Neo wanted to back up, but the notion of her kicking him down from the foyer persuaded him to keep his ground. The whip safe in her right hand, Phoenix stared right into his soul-- her green eyes threatening to claw out his deepest fears. In the end, a smile. She took his arms and twined her palms around the coir ropes, only for the yarns to magically untangle themselves, freeing him from its clutch. She passed the leash to his hands, whispering to his ear, "Careful."
As Phoenix strolled down the stairs, Neo ran to his father to help him escape. He needed something to break the chains apart, and soon upon his search, he found all the utensils from their old kitchen on the bedside table, spread neatly on a wet towel. And while picking up the hammer, Neo noticed how his rashes had faded into his skin, no longer inducing an allergic reaction.
But before he could carry his father out somewhere safe, Neo felt the temperature rising around him. Fire. He walked faster only to nearly slip over the stairs, losing the clutch over his father. His rather plump figure tumbled down the stairs, and for a moment, Neo was afraid he had marked the end of his father's life. But the day had other intentions, not a life being lost, though the stone-cold manor collapsed in on itself, leaving no reminiscence of the world Neo once knew.
May 14th, 2005
Putting his father to sleep and piling a heavy blanket atop his fragile frame, Neo walked out of his bedroom to the cold verandah. Phoenix Landskein was never found after that day. Even the most capable investigation teams couldn't gather a clue as to where she was. And the non-cooperative silence of the father and son only led to more and more suspicions and never a proper answer.
But whenever Neo brought around a change in his father's allocation of wealth for the better, the trees and animals seemed to bow before him. The sun seemed to shine brighter on the days' Neo had felt his best. And on the days when Neo felt despair, the clouds taught him to let his tears fall. And whenever he reminisced about his mother, he felt the air tug him into a warm embrace. The leash no longer had the stains of blood, but it bloomed and flowered in the courtyard of their home.
Neo knew what had happened to the Hunter household. It had everything to do with Mrs Phoenix Landskein.
I struggled with writer's block for a long while in between, and I'm sure a lot of people out there has the same issue. I'd never been much of a pantser and had always leaned to more plotting tendencies, and thus reading upon and listening to a lot of storytelling theory and experimenting with a lot of techniques, I'm figuring out an outline to help me with the task. It's not rigid, it's arbitrary, it's constantly changing, and it helps me gain more insight into the stories I want to write, and helps me explore what all I could incorporate into them. And I thought this could be somewhat helpful for someone out there too (: So, I'm sharing the outline I used to write this story here, and... hope it helps!
[cuz it feels like a wholesome thing to do (: Also, these will be some of Prose's best, so keep an eye on them (:]
The Evil Series by @Danceinsilence
The Evil Series by @Danceinsilence feels like an episodic thriller with its division into separate books and parts. Featuring a team of cops with the primary focus on a divorced female law enforcement officer and single mother (with the most adorable son), Janis Baker, this series really justifies its title throughout its course... Trust me, no matter how humane a person you think you are, you'd root for some of these characters to suffer the most-brutish-deaths possible... The evil is constantly on the rise and the saviors are on a never-ending effort to keep the streets clean. Sacrifices, serial killers, assassins-- An over-arching threat, loved ones to protect-- this series will not give you a break! Do check it out!
Instagram: (Um, I'll edit that in later...)
I liked his smile. It was warm, handsome, and kind. I could tell he really loved her. But then his face contorted into a leer, sallow cheeked, full of malice and greed. He smelled of things that made my head whirl. I heard myself screaming, vainly resisted the force of strong arms grasping me and shoving me sloppily into the car. I saw the needle in sharp relief against the dim surroundings, blindly felt it plunge cold into my arm. A chilled drowsy mist, an explosion of blissful relief, then everything swelled in bubbly waves before my eyes and I was gone.
Flitting in and out of consciousness were the same things. It nearly always ends in the shiny pointed needle, feeling weightless and blissful before dropping off again.
Everything is foggy, except the fire—lots of fire. Mounting up in endless towers, I feel the searing heat, scalding tongues of flame, choking fumes of smoke pouring from the ground and rising in billows to the skies. Even now, hardly conscious and aching all over, body limp and lifeless, heavy as lead—even now I feel the fire still. It scares me.
This is the closest I have come to myself since…I can’t even remember when. How long have I been living in that half-hearted dream, relieved by the needle? What even is living? How do I know?
My bleary eyes open onto another dreamy world, but this time my head is clearer. I feel my head swimming in pain and my weary limbs draped lifeless on the surface around me. I open my eyes once more and the fog slowly lifts. I can finally see things that I know to be real. I appear to be in a barn, but upon further investigation, I change my mind to an old warehouse. Tools clutter the table nearest me, neglected machinery stands rusting in the corner, and the smell of gasoline lingers in the air. A small library of leather-bound books fits on a low wooden shelf beside me. Sunlight streams in shafts through the cracks in the ceiling, bringing a feeling suggestive of eerie magic. I am alone.
I don’t know how long I remain before I remember. Mom! What did he do to her? I fly to my feet in a sudden rush of energy and stumble across the ground towards the door on the other side. Then I collapse. What was I going to do if I found her anyway? I can’t save her in the mess I’m in now. If anything, if by the blessed grace of God she was still safe, untouched, then my arrival would seal her doom. No, it is best that I remain here.
The sunlight slowly wanes, then returns, then wanes again for a long time. I grow tired of watching it, waiting for something to happen. Yet no one enters this place. What now? I ask myself. I leave that unanswered, and the day’s monotony continues uninterrupted.
After the third day, I take it into my mind to read. Then at least I will be entertained for a little while. I desperately hope that whoever owns this warehouse has a copy of Shakespeare in their library. Wait a minute: Since when did I start caring about ancient poetry? I guess I just forgot about it.
To my utter disappointment, there is no Shakespeare among the leather-bound collection—nor any other renowned work. They appear to be a series of journals. I pick one out from the left side of the shelf and look around me warily before I open it and begin reading. Not that I expect anyone to come in, since everything about this place screams it’s been abandoned long ago. My eyes find the first entry.
4 Jan, 2002
Man, people really need to change how they begin writing in these things. Oh well. I received you as a birthday present from Davy this morning. Mother says I should get in the habit of writing my feelings down before settling into bed, and Davy was kind enough to get you for me—telling everyone about my emotional issues in the process. I’ll get back at him tomorrow. It’s his birthday today too, and the least we can do is give Mother no trouble from us for at least 24 hours. I got him that red spinny top he’s been eying for the past month ever since it came into Fred’s. He was thrilled, but something told me he expected it. Not complaining though: never have, never will. How to I feel? Cold. I can hardly feel my feet. Better scoot off to bed before it gets worse. I’ll write again tomorrow.
My eyes halt at the signature: Ralph Notting. Then my eyes burn with hot angry fire. This was the man that married Mom, took me captive for numberless hours, or weeks—perhaps even months. As much as I want to run and scream, burn with vengeance against my captor, I restrain myself. His journals are the only source of entertainment I have. Maybe if I read on, I will find his reasons for committing such atrocities, find a way to Mom, wherever she is now. I grit my teeth and read the next entry.
5 Jan, 2002
I promise, I’ll come up with a good start that’s not the girlish “Dear Diary,” but for now I have more important things to discuss. I got back at Davy today, much to the detriment of Mother. I never realized how deeply she cared about him, even for something as little as his weird quirks. You see, Davy has an inexplicable obsession with classifying everything he finds—from recording the names of each individual shade of green in the house to spending hours figuring the exact shape of a Rubik’s cube. He insists that, contrary to the name, it’s NOT a cube. Anyway, since he told everyone that I have emotional issues, I made a poster of his face and a Rubik’s cube with the words “It’s not a cube!” then set it up on the front of the grocery store. By midafternoon, everyone knew about it. Davy was furious. I was laughing crazy with Kent and Kitty, but Mother was in tears. She told me that Davy was sensitive, and I couldn’t tease him like most other kids. I didn’t understand, but I did feel a twinge of guilt that hasn’t gone away. I wish I could take it back. I’m going to go out early tomorrow morning and take down that poster.
In the following entries, Davy wouldn’t come out of his room for weeks. When he finally did, he ignored Ralph’s continued apologies. Serves him right, I think, That was disgustingly rude.
I slowly read my way through the years, through the books. Days, weeks pass. I get to know Ralph extraordinarily well. His brother Davy fell into alcoholism, then his high school girlfriend introduced him to drugs. They disappeared for a while and then he emerged alone years later with a daughter named Joanna. Unfortunately, she fell into his way of life early on, cycling between drugs and alcohol and sexual abuse. I pity her immensely. That’s no way for a girl to live, never knowing any better. Then Ralph met Mom.
21 July 2018
Wow. Emotional overload is in full “go” mode. I met a beautiful young woman in the office today and I can’t stop thinking about her. I’ve never felt so free in my life, but I really need to slow my roll. I’ll never forgive myself if I plunge headlong into this love when she’s already in a relationship with someone else. I don’t want to be the cause of any more mischief. For now, I can only wait until I see her again and get to know her better. I think I’ll ask her out for a lunch date with some friends.
The next significant entry about her was about a week later.
29 July 2018
Her name is Aurora. She’s widowed. She has a darling daughter of eight years who reminds me of my niece. Poor girl. Davy had never been so upset in his entire life. I don’t know when she died, but she can’t have been older than fifteen. It’s like God gave her a second chance in Aurora’s daughter—the likeness is so similar! I love them both, and I’m determined to try for marriage if Aurora’s interested. I don’t want to force her if she’s not.
So Ralph was initially a nice guy with no poetic language who had to bear with his brother’s bad choices. I catch myself feeling bad for him. I eventually read up to the marriage in 2023. They go on their honeymoon to Venice while I stay with his parents. I smile as I remember that. They were really nice to me. The next entry has me dumbstruck.
30 May 2023
Lilian is gone! Aurora and I are absolutely devastated, crazed. We’ve looked everywhere, made phone calls, and still there’s nothing! I don’t know what to do! It’s been mere weeks and I’ve already lost our child, the thing most precious to her. What have I done! Why did I allow my love for her to supersede all else to the neglect of Lilian! Oh the poor poor girl! Aurora says it’s not my fault, but I swear I’ll never forgive myself until we find her and make sure she’s alright, safe in her mother’s arms.
Now I don’t know what to think. He either clearly lied to his diary, or…something else happened I’m still not sure about. I have no choice but to read on, for I am now determined to discover the truth, whatever it may be.
So I read. They spent years trying to find me. They had given up all hope of ever doing so. Then, after a year-long gap of entries, Ralph explains everything. He hadn’t written in a year because his every minute was consumed with the emergency—he could take no break to write. He was walking home from work one day when he caught sight of smoke issuing from a small slum downtown apartment building. It was consumed in a blaze of fire. He acted on instinct and ran inside, calling for help.
He was only able to save one person, who was dying quickly—me. Reeking of drugs and smoke, bruised, scarred, flesh burnt away to the bone in several places, I lay unconscious in his trembling arms. The ambulance showed up and said it was hopeless. I was done for. But Ralph absolutely refused to accept this and hurried home in desperation.
After a full year of work, I was still living, though barely so—reliant on twenty different machines, cords jammed in all over my body, monitors regulating everything. The entries caught up and resumed at one per day. Still, Ralph worked feverishly, though he didn’t say how.
He did say that Davy died in that fire. He did say that he believed Davy kidnapped me out of desire for his daughter Joanna. He’d been eyeing me greedily ever since the wedding day. Ralph also said that Mom died of heartbreak in 2036.
First I grieve for Mom. No tears come, but my heart is sick. Then, 2036!! I am shocked. How did I stay in here like this for so long? Am I really over thirty-six years old? What year is it now? If only I had a mirror to look into, to see! I drop the book and stumble around the warehouse, scrounging through drawers and filtering through the piles of junk lining the walls.
Finally I find a rusted rear-view mirror attached to a decrepit junked car. I look the same as I always did—thirteen and glowing. How? I need an explanation.
Then as I return to the diary and flip to the next page, a sheaf of paper falls out, along with a photograph. The latter catches my eye first: it’s our first family picture, dated May of 2023. Ralph stands beside Mom, myself standing in front of the gap between them clutching him tight. I still like his smile. My face in the photo looks the same as my face does now. In fact, in looking at my reflection in the mirror again, I am identical to that girl in the picture.
In the sheaf, I find blueprints—plans. Plans impossible to read, but easy to deduce. I can’t believe it. I won’t believe it.
The final entry in the final book is dated 2068, in which he states I should wake up self-sufficient in about five years.
There is no more denying it, for it stares me right in the face.
Ralph saved my life, and made me into an unchanging machine.
Small wonder I am never hungry.
Graveyard of Light in My Eyes
I can feel the itchy ends of bone-dry straw eager to poke at my unexposed skin like merciless needles jabbing into my body.
Ah, needles. That sounds awfully familiar. I slowly crack open my eyelids and flinch at the burst of sunlight streaming in from the cracks of the wooden walls. The walls are a faded red and whatever bit of paint that’s left is peeling off like an ancient banana.
My fingertips are starting to tingle, and I can already move my toes, but I still can’t feel the rest of my body. Must’ve been injected with some sort of tranquilizer.
Sigh… I should’ve known having a nice and peaceful candlelight dinner with her was too good to be true. Even thinking about her leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The a-hole didn’t so much as give me a second glance for the first few months of her wonderfully convenient marriage to my wealthy father, but all of a sudden she flashes a smile in my direction and offers a freshly cooked homemade meal?
It’s not like I’m a complete fool. It’s just that I’ve always had a soft spot for home-cooked meals. They remind me of my real mama, the one who laughed like an angel, the one who found time to take me out even after a long, exhausting day of work, the one who showed me her love with every fold of the dough that magically turned into steaming hot, soft and chewy dumplings that made me feel warm inside out. She had the most comforting gaze, with those soft, brown eyes. Even when her gaze was sharp, the kindness behind her eyes shone through. That’s probably why my father chose to marry that ungrateful wench after we lost her. It’s all because she has my mama’s eyes… even I must admit they bear an uncanny resemblance, but I still think they also look nothing like my mama’s because they hold absolutely no warmth within them.
Aw s***, I can’t cry right now, I gotta make it outta here first. I’m starting to feel something rough tightly wrapped around my wrists and ankles and I feel stupid that I’m only just now realizing that I’ve been tied up. How long have I been here?
I still remember how I foolishly slurped up those soft and chewy noodles with exceptional gusto. Just as I had begun to raise my head to thank that woman, I caught a sinister grin plastered to her chalky face, and my eyes started to droop. Rough hands grabbed me from behind and dragged me across the floor, out the door, and into a musty old car that smelled strongly of cigarettes. The last thing I saw before I completely blacked out was her silhouette gradually enlarging as cloth blocked out the rest of my limited vision and I felt a sharp pinch jab into my right shoulder.
At last, the door of this wooden box I’m trapped in is slowly creaking open, and there it is again: her crooked silhouette coming into view.
“My, my, what have we here?,” her sickeningly sweet, honeyed voice slithered out of her mouth and trickled into my ears like poison, “Your eyes really do look just like hers…”
I let out a weak croak, “Whose?”
Her mocking expression suddenly shifts to one of crazed obsession, full of deranged possessiveness, “It’s a shame, really. As beautiful as they may have been, these eyes were already old when I first got them. It’s about time I got a new pair.”
Then it finally clicked. But I could do nothing to stop her as she lunged forward and dug her fingers into the only light left in my world.
The Kentucky Dirty
WARNING: raunchy and ridiculous comedy.
Wha—what the hell happened? Oww, my head. Hey! Wake up, Enigma! Oh God, what have you done now? And why do you smell so bad?!
“The fuck? I didn’t do anything! Owwwww… my body hurts like a bitch. Hey! Where am I? Hey?!”
No one answers. I can barely raise my voice because my mouth is so dry. I’m all alone. Well, almost. With my eyes starting to focus, I begin to look around…
“Umm, there is a giant asshole staring right at me… literally.”
Why are we in a barn?! And whose horse is that?!
“How the fuck could I know if YOU don’t?”
The horse’s reigns are tied to metal post in the center of a large, open animal stall—and for some unknown reason, I'm in here with him, laying on the floor. His tail swishes side to side and he begins to shift his ass even closer to me.
“Whoa there, Seabiscuit!”
I try to lift my body up but I can’t move. My wrists are tied behind my back to my ankles.
“What the hell… They hog-tied my ass?!”
Who are “they,” exactly?
“Again, if YOU don’t know… *sigh*. I’m just saying the general ‘they,’ okay?! The only thing I DO know is that me and Seabiscuit over here are both tied up.”
Great. Typical Enigma shenanigans.
“You’re one to judge!”
I can hear the noises of other horses around me. Ugh, the smell in here is worse than my headache. I look up and see a sign that says “Sick Bay 1”.
“What the fuck?! What did we do to end up being tied down in the Sick Bay? THIS IS HORSESHIT!”
Spoken like a true prophet…
“Oh… no… no, no, NO!”
I can’t scoot away in time to escape the shit-splash of the massive diarrhea-dump pouring out of the horse’s asshole, mere feet from my head. I feel the spray hit the back of my arm as I lean away.
“DUDE!!! Whyyyy?! You could shit literally ANYWHERE ELSE!”
Hey, he’s sick—be nice. Maybe you are, too? Well, I mean, you’re DEFINITELY a sick bastard, but maybe there’s a reasonable explanation for all this. Whatever the case, just stop yelling at the poor thing.
“YOU stop yelling!”
First of all, I am you, dumbass. Second, no else can hear me. Third, whatever you’ve done to get us in this mess, yelling at an innocent animal won’t help us get out of it. You’re gonna spook that horse if you don’t calm your ass down. Do I need to remind you of that girl who got kicked in the face by the horse? BAM! Take that memory from your childhood!
“Holy FUCK! Yeah, I remember that. You’re right.”
Of course I’m right. Now, what’s the plan?
Suddenly I’m distracted by Seabiscuit’s baby-arm-of-a-penis as it stares right at me with its evil-eye.
“Dear God…it’s so… big… and angry. Ugh! They should call you American Phallus (hah). That’s GOTTA be some kind of size record. Oh, the horror. The horror!”
Focus, Enigma! C’mon now, THINK. How did you end up in a horse stall?
“I MUST be trapped in a lucid nightmare and this HAS TO be one of my Sleep Paralysis episodes ‘Gone Wild’… literally. That’s why I can’t move. Yes! That’s it! This is all just a Sleep Paralysis nightmare!”
STOP IT. You can’t avoid your problems this time. This is REAL. You are REALLY tied up in a horse barn!
“FUCK! Fuckity fuck fuck FUCK! Okay. You’re right. FOCUS!”
I keep talking to myself out loud to stay alert. As I scan my foggy memory, I look down to see that I’m wearing my little black dress. I hear faint sounds of music in the distance. I can feel the spikes of my stilettos pressing into my sore ass chee—
“HOLD THE FUCK UP! Why is my ASS sore?! Wait! My dress! The music! The wedding! The FUCKING wedding!”
Yes! Mama’s wedding!
My mom had just married that no-good-son-of-bitch… Fucking Richard. We were having the reception at a fancy ranch owned by some millionaire cowboy. We were drinking and dancing, running through all the Shuffles ’n’ Slides. I brought it down, down, down with the Cupid Shuffle (which cued my flirtation with that SUPER HOT six-foot-five Mister I’d been eying all night). Then, I was killin’ the Cha-Cha Slide ’cause I Cha-Cha real smooth y’all. Fucking Richard was to my left when we all sliiide to the right—
“That’s it! It was Fucking Richard! He poked my ass with a needle!”
“NO! Like, ACTUALLY literally! When I was looking the other way, he injected me with something!”
Oh. But still, gross.
“Yes, dude. Fuck this shit. I’m getting out of here. Whatever that sick fuck is up to, he won’t be for long. He’s always been such a prick… literally.”
Damnit! This is no time for puns! Concentrate!
“Ugh, but he’s such a motherfucker… literally.”
GROSS! Will you stop it with the fucking puns?!
“Just the fucking puns? Eh? Ehh?”
“Sorry! He’s just… a huge asshole!”
“Oh no… no, no, NO! Not again!”
Another steaming pile of runny-shit from Seabiscuit’s giant ass plops next to me.
“I gotta get the FUCK out of here.”
No shit, Sherlock. C’mon, Enigma! Summon all those decades of ballet, MMA, and your BDSM shenanigans and un-fucking-pretzel yourself! Stop fuckin’ around!
“Fuuuuuuck! I’m trying! Argh-ugh!”
I wriggle my fingers around to feel the knot securing my ankles to my wrists.
“Wow, did this moron use a bowline knot? Clearly he thinks I’m some frail damsel in distress who can’t fend for herself. What does my mom even see in this douchebag?”
I use my spiked heel to hook the knot, and like a two-dollar-whore, I’m able to fist myself (hah) free from my ankles. I roll to my back, sit up, and shimmy my arms under my butt to bring my hands to the front of my body. I use my teeth to loosen the binds around my wrists enough to squeeze one hand free. I hurry to untie the rope around my ankles and kick it away.
“Yes! I did it! I knew all my shenanigans would come in handy someday! Just gotta get this rope off my other wrist.”
Do that later, moron. You’re still next to—
“Oh, no… not this time, Seebuttscat!”
I hurl myself away from the horse and take cover outside the wall of the stall.
Really? You’re gonna torture Seabiscuit with puns now? See-ButtScat?
“What?! That was clever.”
Maybe, a little. But this isn’t the time or place. Get the FUCK outta here! Look, the barn doors are wide open. GO!
I start walking toward the exit—
“Shit! Someone’s coming!”
I quickly hide behind the lip of the next stall over, hoping they haven’t heard me talking to myself in here over the loud music outside. Lucky for me, I’m once again trapped with another shit-squiring sick horse inside “Sick Bay 2”. Must’ve been a bad batch of hay. I watch Fucking Richard and some guy walking into those open doors at the opposite end of barn. He’s younger than the Dick, 40s maybe. They’re cackling like the cock-heads they are, but they won’t be laughing for long. I keep listening to try and make out their conversation…
“…and she really thinks I’m in love with her—hah! What an idiot! Let’s hurry up and handle the daughter. Everything is in place now that I’m the lawfully wedded husband, and that ‘Little’ Enigma is the only thing left standing in the way of our payday. ‘Little’ my ass, the big bitch was heavy!”
Doc? That’s certainly not OUR doc. Who the fuck is this guy?
“Yeah, and it’s ‘Lil’ damnit, not ‘Little’. I can’t help it if I’m a bloodline Viking! As if tall and muscular is SO bad—he’s just jealous ’cause he’s short and fat! *pout*. Hasn’t he ever heard of a nickname before?! *growl*.”
Really? THAT’S what you’re worried about? *brain sigh* Yes, you’re a gorgeous Viking Princess… who also glows in the dark. You’re like a fucking neon sign that says, “I’m right here, guys!” Now SHUT UP and STAY LOW before they catch your big ass!
“Did you bring all the tools, Doc?”
“Yup, everything’s in the bag. This isn’t my first rodeo, Richard.”
Doc is carrying a large black duffel bag, and I can hear the clinking of metal inside.
“These bastards are gonna KILL my ass!”
Shh! You CAN talk to me with your inside-head-voice, ya’know!
“Right! You’re so smart!”
Duh. I’m a brain. You’d be dead by now without me. YES, LITERALLY. Pay attention!
“How much does a set of Type-O kidneys go for on the Black Market these days, Doc?”
Just then, I notice the already prepared electric lift off to the side, covered in a plastic sheet. Along the wall I see massive gloves, rolled up plastic tarps, and funnel-shaped containers.
“This cock-hole is gonna kill me for my organs… in a breeding barn?! What in the Dexter is this shit? How did he even know I’m a universal donor?! And was he planning on using an ANIMAL DOCTOR on me?! What the actual FUCK is going on?!”
“Look Richard, I already told you what your cut of the deal is for every viable organ. No more haggling.”
“I always knew he was a no-good-son-of-a-bitch!”
“Hah! Me? Haggling? Nah… Just making conversation, Doc! And don’t you worry, I already convinced the wife to get that MILLION DOLLAR Life Insurance Policy for us BOTH to keep the cops off my ass. I’ll be selling that old bat’s house and land the second she’s dead, too. As the grieving husband, ‘I just can’t bring myself to live where my beloved wife died.’ Haha! A little accidental overdose on her meds will do the trick. So uh… just let your boss know I’ll pay off my debt, in full, real soon… o-okay?”
“Oh HELL no! NO ONE hurts Mama. The Enigmas ain’t nuthing ta fuck wit! I’m gonna open a can of Wu-Tang whoopass on these cocksuckers!”
Be serious! They are two strong MEN! We are running out of time! What are you gonna do?
“You are right brain… time for some creativity… don’t you think? Eh? Ehh?”
I swear, I will checkout and leave you comatose RIGHT NOW, Enigma!
“Okay! Sorry! Jeez, no need to go all bat-shit crazy on my ass—wait! That’s it!”
*brain gasp* Brilliant.
“It’s time to get this shit together…”
For the love of God!
I kick off my stilettos, undo the rest of the rope from my wrist and wrap it tightly around both palms, leaving a few inches of loose rope between my fists. I gather up a huge, disgusting pile of goopy horseshit in my hands (a nasty number two, courtesy of Seabiscuit No. 2). I slip back into the lip of the stall and wait silently for these limp-dicks to pass right by me. Doc is the younger and taller of the two, clearly he’ll be strong, so I need to take him out first. And Fucking Richard doesn’t deserve a quick death. He’s gonna get the Enigma Special tonight.
“C’mon, Richard, I’ve got other appointments—enough with the chit-chat. Let’s get this bitch taken care of already.”
“Who does he think he’s calling bitch?”
Fucking Richard takes off his tuxedo jacket and unbuttons his shirt, while Doc bends down to place the heavy duffel bag on the floor and begins rummaging through the tools.
“Yeah, I left her right over here-uh… wait… OH NO! DOC! BEHIND Y—“
I sprint toward them at full speed and Haduken! the heap of shit right into Fucking Richard’s dumb face, sending him blindly scurrying and choking on dung. In the same motion, I jump onto Doc’s back and hoop my shit-covered fists over his head and around his throat. I lock my forearms tightly into the base of his neck to take him down in a Flying Rear Naked Choke. With my feet locked around his waist and my rope-reinforced grip around his neck, there is absolutely nothing he can do.
“Hey Dr. Doom! Here comes the BOOM! You’re MY bitch, now! And if you really are a doctor, then you know I’ve got ALL your jugular and carotid vessels on-lock. You’ve got about 3 more seconds. Night night! Keep your butthole tight!”
The threat on his delicate little bootyhole gives the doc one last burst of energy. He flails and tries to punch me as his knees hit the ground, falling unconscious before face-planting onto the hay covered floor. I quickly unravel the rope from my hands and use it to tightly tie his neck off. With the remaining length, I securely tie him to the stall post to finish the job (shenanigans FTW). His brain won’t receive another drop of blood again, and unfortunately, a peaceful death will have to due for the doc.
“Guess you lucked out on the butt-stuff, Doc. Wish I could stay and party, but now I’ve got a huge Dick to handle.”
Ew! Just go get that jerk before he recovers! Hurry!
“Fucking Richard. You old dirty bastard! How did I know you were a worthless piece of shit all along? Sorry, what’s that? Can’t hear you, ass-goblin! Sounds like you’ve got some shit caught in your throat… literally!
You don’t have to say it when it’s that obvious.
“May I continue here? It’s not like we’ve been waiting my whole life for this opportunity or anything.”
“I mean, marrying my mom to take all her hard-earned assets was to be expected, and you WILL pay for breaking the heart of a true angel… but to kill me for my very valuable organs?! Even I have to hand it to you there... THAT was creative—as if it was my own sick idea! But, I’m not here to break walls (*winks at the camera* ;) I’m here to break your life. You fucked with the WRONG family!”
“Not anymore he’s not.”
“Little Enigma, please. *cough* Have mercy! You always say that we’re all just human! I have a *cough* I have a sickness! A disease! I can’t help my gambling addiction!”
Is he really pulling the sympathy card? Fucking—
“Richard, you’re right. You DO have a sickness…”
I put a sympathetic hand on his shoulder.
“…But any horse doctor can tell you—well, maybe not the dead one over there—but any OTHER horse doctor can tell you, that when one horse has an incurable disease, the whole herd suffers. The only thing you can do… IS PUT IT DOWN!”
As he’s hunched over, still choking on shit, I pull his shirt over his head like a hockey player about to get his ass kicked. Once in my grip, I summon my inner Chun-Li and swiftly and relentlessly kick him in the dick, over and over, utilizing the most vicious Lightning Kick known to man—the Hyakuretsukyaku (the Hundred Rending Legs). Then, just as he’s about to fall forward from dick-death, I use my knee to Shoryuken! uppercut him in the face, which sends him flying back onto the tarp-covered animal lift.
As he squirms, I rush to grab my Stilettos and the rest of the rope he used to tie me up with. I tie both of Fucking Richard’s wrists to the horizontal bar over his head. He just lays there on his back, sprawled out on the surface of the lift, writhing in pain and crying like a defeated toddler who’s thrown himself on the floor. I look around for more rope to secure his legs…
“Oh-ho-ho… horse hobbles… BINGO.”
“Oh, but I would.”
I look down the line at two horses in particular at the front end of the barn.
“And they DEFINITELY wood.”
“Hey, don’t act like you’re some innocent bystander. You’re the one behind all this madness. You’re MY fucking brain!”
“That’s the FUCK I’m talkin’ about… LITERALLY!”
Yeah! Fuck him! You don’t hurt the innocent! And poor Mama, she’s so pure of heart. *brain cry*
“Shit! Mama! What am I gonna tell her?”
She can’t know any of this. It’ll destroy her. He has to die in some freak accident so she never knows the truth. It’s better to lose love than to be betrayed. Check the doctor’s bag!
I find rib crackers, scalpels, horse tranquilizers (probably what they used to knock me out). Thank God for shenanigans and a high tolerance. I keep looking to find plastic bags, surgical scissors, and…
Heroin? And will you STOP saying bingo, already? We don’t need anymore repetitive one-liners. So, this asshole was a drug dealer, too? I’m glad you killed that fucker.
“Same. Okay, I’ve got the murder weapon in the bag for Fucking Richard’s accidental suicide. Finding out your husband was a struggling heroin addict won’t seem all that bad once she’s got a MILLION DOLLARS from his failed Life Insurance scheme. All that cash will help the wife and ‘grieving stepdaughter’ move on somewhere far away from this cowboy country shit-hole. Best Uno Reverse Card in history. Let’s do this.”
I grab one of my Stilettos and put the spike into Fucking Richard’s dick.
“If you move, I will hop onto this table and use these sharp heels to stomp your dick RIGHT OFF! Understand me?!”
Fucking Richard cries out in compliance as I quickly undo his pants with shenanigan-expertise. I yank his slacks completely off and get a huge whiff of his nasty old man cologne. Instant stank-face!
Eww! Does he spray it down his pants?! Yuck. Who does that?
“Gross dudes with cheese-dicks do that.”
“Wha-what are you doing? Oh, please! Please don’t hurt my dick anymore! OH GOD! Not my dick! PLEASE!!! Not my d-i-i-i-ck!!!”
Men. It’s always about the dick. I swear, they must love dick more than women by how much they always talk about it.
“Fucking Richard! Calm your tits, man! If you comply, I’m not gonna hurt your chia-chode anymore. You’ll be doing ME the favor. Just shut up and do as you’re told. But, uh... by the looks of that little baby-dick, all the swelling is doing you some good! Hah!”
I secure his ankles into the horse hobbles and use the rope to connect them to the horizontal bar above the back of the lift. And with an easy tug of the simple pulley, Fucking Richard’s feet are forced over his head up to his tied wrists.
“Touch your toes, bitch.”
Save your screams for later, buddy.
“Come one, come all! The Pink Starfish is open for business, boys! Half price on all Pink Lady Cocktails tonight!”
We are going to hell.
“WHAT?! You sick bitch! You sick fucking bitch! You wouldn’t dare! Untie me, you cunt! Just you wait until I get out of here! I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU!!!”
Pffft… he’s making this too easy. Like, who didn’t figure this out already? Oh boy, should we tell ’em?
“FUCKING *clap* RICHARD *clap*!”
Ohp, here she goes.
“Don’t you get it?! Not only will you be pinned for the doc’s murder, YOU won’t be fucking OR fucking over another woman EVER *clap* AGAIN *clap*! In fact, once I slide these heels back on (that you ruined by the way), and sashay my sexy ass out of here to rejoin the party… YOU WILL BE THE ONLY BITCH LEFT IN HERE! And uh, if you haven’t noticed… those two studs going ape-shit all the way down at the front of the barn… they’re primed and ready to mate. Wanna know how I know that? Because those two have been losing their raging, hormone-fueled FUCKING MINDS ;) over your stinky ass cologne ever since you walked in here! They think YOU are their mare… their BITCH. You’ll fucking kill me?! Oh no, no, no waffle-dick…”
I lean down right next to his face and start off with a whisper…
“Cock O’ War and Butt Admiral over there are gonna FUCKING KILL YOU... LITERALLY!”
He flinches from my war-cry right into his ear. I stand up straight and start tracing my finger from his ankle all the way down to his exposed rump.
“If you fuck with The Enigmas, WE FUCK BACK!”
I slap his ass cheek so hard that it leaves a perfect, pink handprint. Too fitting as he cries out like a bad little girl.
Jesus, Enigma. Are you SURE this is how it’s gonna end?
“You know what…”
What? What?! Stop with the dramatics!
“I’ve changed my mind.”
“YOU HAVE?! Oh thank GOD! Thank YOU, Little Enigma! Thank youuuu-oo-oo-oooo!”
I reach over Fucking Richard’s head…
….and push the “UP” button on the animal lift.
“Don’t want the horses to get a back ache from having to bend over too far. I hear standing and thrusting your hips is SUCH hard work *rolls eyes*. There we go, that should do it. Oh… and it’s ‘Lil’ Enigma, ass-cheese ;) .”
Fucking Richard continues to berate me, but it all just fades to background noise. I hear the music off in the distance and I’m reminded of my poor Mama. She’s gonna be devastated for a while. But, for tonight, I’m gonna show her the time of her life. I use a bucket to scoop some water from a horse trough to wash myself off and casually wipe my hands clean on his white undershirt. I slip on my heels, dust off my little black dress, and grab the heroin out of the duffel bag for safe keeping in my bra. Wouldn’t want an innocent animal accidentally hurting itself on this nasty shit. I also find a fresh pack of cigarettes and a chrome Zippo.
“Ah, menthols. Nice job, Doc!”
I give the dead doc a nod as I pack the cigarettes on the wall above his head. I flip the Zippo and spark the flame in one, swift motion (as badasses do), and light my well deserved cigarette. I notice the single red rose that fell out of Fucking Richard’s tuxedo jacket. I pick it up from the floor and stick it behind my ear.
“Perfect. I’ll be back to clean up after I enjoy the rest of your wedding reception, sweet-cheeks.”
Damn right. Fucking Richard interrupted our Cha-Cha Slide. Hopefully that sexy six-foot-five Mister is still there. We deserve a prize for this shit.
“Oh, you can count on it. I’m gonna ride him for the Triple Crown ;) .”
I’ll give you that one. Let’s go.
“Night night! Keep your butthole ti—“
You already used that one.
“Shit. Fuck it. Enjoy your ruptured colon, bitch!”
Well, that wasn’t funny.
“Can’t win ’em all, I guess.”
I begin my promised strut down the catwalk—cigarette in hand, winning rose in hair, Cha-Cha-ing real smooth back to the party. I lift the locks on the last two horse stalls as I exit the barn. I swear, I can almost hear Fucking Richard’s asshole pucker as they kick open the doors behind me.
“And they’re OFF!”
Go horsies, go!
“AHH! HELP ME YOU BITCH! NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NOOOOOOOOOO!!!”
THE KENTUCKY DIRTY
A “Those Damn Enigmas” Production
Special Thanks to the following legendary racehorses: Seabiscuit, American Pharaoh, Man O’ War, and War Admiral. Your talent was no joke.
Honorable Mentions: Dexter, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Wu-Tang Clan. Your badassery is unmatched.
Songs Quoted: “Cupid Shuffle”, “Casper Cha-Cha Slide”, and “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta Fuck Wit”
No animals (or men) were harmed writing this story.
All rights reserved blah blah blah.
“Hah! Just kidding. Just my finger gun. You’re the daughter, right? Where’d you go? Been looking for you all night. I, uh… I thought we had a connection on the dance floor earlier…”
I look up at the biggest blue eyes I’ve ever seen. The hot six-foot-five Mister is even bigger and more gorgeous up close. But my racing heart stops as I look down to see his real gun and badge on his belt.
“Oh. You really are a cop? So you’re a badass on top of being the hottest guy here *bites lip*.”
Run! *brain panic*
“Shut up, brain! He’s a total nerd. And hot as fuck. I got this.”
No, YOU shut up! You’re gonna get caught! Ughhh I’m spiraling! This isn’t happening!
“Ahem… Detective, actually. But I’m off duty now. So, what are you up to out here? Man this is some ranch, huh? Oh cool, looks like there’s a barn over there.”
Do I need to remind you about what’s in your bra?! Or maybe the assASSination happening in the barn as we speak?! Oh, God. What are you doing to me, Enigma?! Now I’M speaking in puns!
“Ohhh you know… just the everyday, normal shenanigans *giggle*. Hey—”
“Is for horses! Hah! Sorry, I’m full of dad jokes.”
God hates me. This is my hell.
“Well, God clearly still loves ME ’cause he’s PERFECT and I'm in heaven!”
“So, you were saying? About the dance floor? *bites lip again*.”
I make the first move by grabbing his giant hand to lead him back inside to the reception.
“Maybe we could pick up where we left off? The party’s still hoppin’, you’re looking all kinds of fun, and there’s this song I want to request from the DJ. Something about ‘save a horse, ride a cowboy’…”
Is your head getting smaller? Why is it so tight in here?! Is this what brain death feels like?
“Well, I don’t have any mushrooms on me, but I’m known to be a real fungi! I’m surprised a pretty little lady such as yourself would enjoy a dirty song like that.”
Yup! This is FOR SURE the end. Goodbye cruel world!
“Well, I’ve been known to get a little ‘Kentucky Dirty’ every now and then… (*winks at the camera*;).”
TO BE CONTINUED…
What The Fudge!
True, she was new to our family and she has a strong position as my stepmom. But I have a strong intuition and her vibes were toxic. Yes, she was beautiful and soft spoken and my father loved her. But I could tell that her intentions were going left! I watched her from a distance. She never looked directly in my eyes. No, I didn't call her mom. One night she brought home something called Amsterdam. The name alone sounds like torture. In a joking way she convinced my father to give us each a little shot glass full. I don't drink, it affects me funny. My father begged for me to drink it to be social with her. So we did. When I woke up, i I was in my neighbors garage sore and tied to a chair. I saw a very blurry stepmom and my neighbor was about to perform what looked like surgery on me. I heard a noise that sounded like a drill for dentistry. Still blurry, I saw her lean forward at my arm. I felt a stinging pain that felt like a needle. I just knew I was doomed. I felt this pain for about five minutes. Terrible, terrible pain. The whole time I was wondering about my father did they torture and killed him first. My neighbor bandaged me up and untied my hands and body. My father walks out. I said, "What the fudge!" Suddenly, my stepmom removed the bandage. I looked at my arm. I saw a huge tattoo of my mother's face on my arm with the words "I will love you forever". My father said now she will always be around. I couldn't for the life of me understand their tactics but I gave them an "E" for effort. It was the best gift I could've ever received. I cried, then I smiled.
A Real Stand-Up Guy
Scattered images in the purgatory between dream and consciousness pierced my aching head as I awoke, sore and disoriented. Cow shit like smelling salts bringing me back to the land of the living.
I looked around at the wide open enclosure of what looked to be a barn. Hay piled to the rusted steel roof on all four sides. Old John Deere tractors that looked as though they hadn’t been touched in decades sitting between two old dirty work stations with saws, screwdrivers, and nails sprawled like the after-effect of a mid-west tornado.
“Where the fuck am I?” I thought. “Jesus, what happened?”
The images were still like white noise coming from a TV with barely any reception. The figures were there. So were movements. But the details weren’t clear. Christ, my head was splitting. I got up and walked like a 3 a.m drunk after being thrown out of a bar, all the way to the two large barn doors. I pushed on them. Nothing. There was a small split where sunlight creeped in. I could see what looked to be a chain on the outside. That would explain it.
Panic was sitting in my chest. I slid down the barn door and sat on the ground, trying to slow my racing heart. Trying to remember. Trying to solve the mental puzzle. With my hands in front of my eyes. My eyes closed tight, concentrating deep on my thoughts. The images began to clear like the calming of rippling water.
Me and Jack Langley sitting in his Buick, parked in the tall grass in front of the Geary’s mansion on Roseberry Hill. Both of us with ski masks on. Both of us laughing, smoking cigarettes, thinking that it was too easy. Too goddamn simple to break into this house, steal whatever valuables they had and skip town. Too good to be true. Then I remembered what my father said before the cancer took him. That when things seemed too good to be true, it’s probably because they were.
We walked out into the cool evening air, with a brilliant orange flame setting over the western hilltops of Annandale. With a rag wrapped tightly around my wrist, I broke the glass above the doorknob, reached in and unlocked it from the other side.
Inside, the house was quiet. Dark and still. Then I remembered a gunshot ringing through the graveyard silence, sounding as loud as artillery rounds deep in the jungles of Quang Tri. I turned around and saw blood trickle down Jack’s head like a scarlet constrictor before he fell back down the stairs.
Then there was the fat man. 300 pounds if he was a pound, putting my head in the crook of his arm. A head that he could have popped like a cork had he wanted to, but instead, he put a needle in my arm and dragged me off to a shiny black corvette, where he threw me in the back like a rag doll.
There was another image, like a word on the tip of a tongue. It was there, but not there. Close, yet a thousand miles away. A face. A face at the window of the car, as my consciousness slipped into the ether. My head leaned against the window, and I saw a face. His face. Yes. His face.
It was my mother’s shit head husband. Frankie Laroque. He was screaming something. His hands behind his back, before he was thrown into another car. Christ, I thought. Where was Frankie? What happened to him?
Frankie, the greasy fucking bartender at The Dollar who got my mother to elope and marry him in Vegas while high as a kite on methamphetamines. Good choice, mah. You got yourself a real stand-up guy. A real father figure.
He was screaming, “Hurt him! Hurt him! Or was it, don’t hurt him?” I don’t know.
Then I heard a rattle behind me. Someone was unlocking the chain. The door opened and Frankie was thrown to the ground. Soft ridiculing laughter could be heard before the door closed, and the chain, again, locked. The sun too bright to see any faces. Just sharp dressed shadows.
Frankie’s hands were tied behind his back, and his face was worse for wear. Like a fucking steamroller had run over it. His left eye was swollen shut, a plethora of purples and greens, and blacks swirling like a vortex. Dried blood stained his ears, nose, and lips. He was crying. “I’m sorry, Jamie. I’m so sorry. Jesus, I’m stupid. I’m so goddamned stupid.”
“What, Frank? What the hell is going on here?”
“I-I-I,” He stuttered. “I-I sold you out. Okay? I sold you out, and now we’re fucked!”
“What are you talking about, Frank? What the hell did you do?”
He was crying like a baby. This big grown man. 6 foot 3, 220 lbs, weeping like a teething newborn.
“What did you do, Frank? Tell me what you did?” I grabbed him by the scruff of his wife beater and picked him up to his feet. He wouldn’t look at me. He stared at the straw and the shit on the ground. “Look at me, Frank. LOOK AT ME!”
Finally, he listened. But his eyes took the anger right out of me. Like a punch to the gut, I knew he was telling the truth. I didn’t know what he did, but we weren’t getting out of this barn. I let him go. “I-I-I’m sorry, Jamie. They swore they wouldn’t hurt you. They swore they wouldn’t hurt me if I told em who’d been, ya know, ripping them off.”
“What? What do you mean?”
“Kid. Your head’s so far up your ass, you can’t see that you ain’t as smart as you think. Young punks and their God complex”
“What? What are you talking about, Frank? Speak English.”
“You were stealing from the wrong people, son. And having your drug riddled fucking mom as your confidante wasn’t exactly an Einstein move, was it?”
He stopped for a second, then continued.
“Look kid. I was in trouble. Big trouble. Debt that I couldn’t repay in ten lifetimes that was gathering interest by the day. Your mom told me one night that you were stealing money from the same guys, and I saw an opportunity man. I saw an opportunity to give them information. To provide them with something.”
“Oh. Jesus. Oh Christ. We’re dead.”
“They swore they wouldn’t hurt you, Jamie. They’d just ask for the money back, that’s all. They might rough you up a little, but not this. And they told me my slate would be wiped clean. I’d be free. I’d be good.”
I looked at Frankie, and then the chain rattled again. The door swung open. I didn’t even look up. I just stared at the shit and dirt on the ground, knowing full-well that I’d be sleeping underneath it soon.
“Way to go, mah. You picked a real stand-up guy”
forNever hold your peace.
Luckily injectable anything is something I've built a physiological tolerance to.
The dose they gave they acted as though would normally put out a horse, so they leave me to the coma they think I'm in with what reminds me of a nicotine pouch attached to my left boob.
The world's different when you're supposed to be knocked out and get to view things from a 3rd person perspective.
They- whoever "they" are , leave the car.
I hear a door shut from afar and peak open the eye they left smashed against the driver side passenger door.
Nobody's in sight.
My legs are itching, toes tingling .. Feels like a fire is being stoked underneath me.
Fuck this charade its time to bounce!
They really had confidence in whatever they gave me , they left the child saftey locks off.
I can feel my heart beating in slow motion which is weird since I don't think I've ever ran this fast in my life.
The road's pebbles bury themselves in my bare feet but this barley phases me.
My toes get caught underneath my stride from some pothole my tunnel vision left out ; the fall came at perfect timing as the road was turning sending me into a shrub filled ditch.
An exact replica of the car I just ditched turns the corner going the way I came.
My in laws face pressed against the same window mine was , except I don’t think they're going to be getting up when they're left in the heat with the windows up.
My bloody knee has already scabbed up, my energy is gaining , and my gut is telling me to keep running in the opposite direction.
My gut also told me to not " speak my mind " and to " forever hold my peace ".
Guess I'm gonna have to bail that stupid mother fucker out of this mess so I can get a couple things off my chest.
The world around me comes into view, but I must still be dreaming. My floral print comforter replaced by…hay? That can’t be right. Except it is. I close my eyes shut and open them again slowly, still here. I can remember strong hands wrapping around me and throwing me, hard. A piece of cloth covering my eyes and a pinch in my arm, they must have injected me with something. But who’s they. Regardless, I seem to be alone now so time to get my bearings. Mental check, my arms and legs are very bruised and there’s a crick in my neck, but nothing seems broken. Ok, good. Then the panic sets in…my mom.
We had just finished dinner at this small Italian restaurant near the house and were walking home. Me, my mom, and Richard, my stepdad. Stepdad seems odd since they’ve only been married about two weeks, but they had been dating about a year and it was expected. Just then, my stomach drops and the world around me feels blurry. I can recall Richard walking towards me when I was grabbed and thrown into a car. An SUV. A black SUV. I try to remember the little details keeping my mind on when I get home, hopeful that they can be used later to find the people responsible. I remember screaming help to him before one of the hands was covering my mouth, but he didn’t help. At first I was scared that he would also be grabbed, I mean who were these people? But he wasn’t grabbed. In fact, he was calm. If I’m not mistaken I think I remember a smirk.
But I must be remembering wrong. Richard works in finance, or insurance…or…banking, honestly I never paid too close attention, but he had a boring job. Definitely not someone that would have access to… thugs. It’s seriously the only word I can think of, and I know it sounds ridiculous, like I’m in some old-timey crime movie, but the point stands. Richard is a 9-5, suit wearing, family man with IBS. There’s no way he’s responsible for this. Whatever this is. Yet the image of him walking towards me with that creepy look on his face stays plastered in my mind.
I try to stand, slowly. Despite my many bruises, I manage to get to my feet and move around pretty easily. I think about the first time I tried to ski. I was with my friend Matt who had been going forever and I may have smudged the truth about my skiing knowledge. Long story short I rolled all the way down the mountain and was bruised from my chest down. When I hopped right up the instructor at the bottom had warned me that although it doesn’t hurt now, it will tomorrow. As I look down at my black and blue arms I know tomorrow will bring much more pain. It’s weird what you think about when you’re in traumatic situations.
I look around. There’s a rake-looking tool and some wooden stick up against the wall, and hay, lots of hay. A barn? I don’t know if I’ve ever actually been in a barn. Maybe when I was little and mom took me to some sort of pumpkin patch. Mom. I try to remember where she was when we walked outside, she must have been right next to me, right? Did someone grab her? I feel sick.
I’m on the verge of hyperventilating when I hear a moan coming from outside. A horse, or a pig? I truly know nothing about barn life. The moan again. This time it’s more distinct, a woman. Mom! I run outside. She’s lying on her side and there’s a nasty gash in her forehead. I drop down next to her. “He lied.” Suddenly I can’t find words, but apparently she can. “He said that we would never be involved, but he lied.” I swallow. “Richard? Involved in what?” There’s tears in her eyes, but she doesn’t let them fall. “I got us away. We should be safe here for now, but they’re going to come looking for us." Who, who is coming! I want to shout, but she is drifting back to sleep. I have no idea what's going on and my mom is in some sort of psychotic daze. There's a house next to the barn and I see a light on inside. On one hand I could be walking to doom, but on the other, if I don't get her a cold rag or some water soon...I walk up the porch steps and knock on the door.
The world is a watercolor spill of bleeding oranges and reds. It reminds me of groggy balmy afternoons in the backseat of our Ford, eyes closed, distant soft chatter, sun in my eyes, cheek burning on the hot window. Except, my eyes are open and my lashes are brushing on cheap cloth. My back aches on gritty concrete. Am I being kidnapped? Sold? Killed? I need to breathe. I let gulps of dusty cool air fill my burning insides. A timid set of thuds surround me till I feel hot breath and something soft and wet under my right eye, viscous liquid spills down my face. I can feel my insides madly battling the air, begging to leave in screams. I begin to thrash against soft binds. Breathe. I can smell the manure, faint copper, and dead grass. I still, as if it would help me smell better, escape better; that's when I smell the faraway scent of overripe cherries and old cigarettes. It was Marilynn's signature scent. She was a sweet nurse far younger than Dad who had just married him three weeks ago- though I wasn't close enough to call her mom, a pact of respect silently stood between us. The memory of her sets off a technicolor hit of dizzy recollections; the Ford, a needle, a quiet moon, shouts, cold fingers on my wrist, and Marilynn wrapping rope on my ankles. As the current situation sinks in, shock, confusion, and horror swims in my head. What the hell are Marilynn's intentions? Where is Dad? Was I wrong about her? Was I about to die? My panicked flurry is interrupted by a needle's prick at my inner elbow. I try to scream, to kick, to flip out in protest- but I'm frozen. Familiar cold fingers slowly untie my blindfold, and the previous orangey-red blur turns into the blinding white sun framed by a barns door. At the center of the light is Marilynn. I can barely recognize her, there is worry painting her face and desperation gripping the corners of her eyes. This was not the face of a criminal. Guilt begins to pool at my belly, perhaps the memories were delusions, perhaps I had misjudged her far too quickly. "Baby, I'm so sorry", her eyes shift downwards. I need to move, to do something, say something, but I stand as a spectator in a body that now feels barely my own. "You're just so perfect, I need you", a heavy breath leaves her mouth, and there's an erratic wildness to her movements. Her eyes dart to the cows who roam in the periphery- absolutely oblivious to my world falling in total disarray. "They- the cows aren't enough, I need your sweetness, your soul. You know... I married Steven just for you." My mind is beginning to fog, was it the confusion or maybe the needle? Marilynn slowly brings up two fingers to the side of my neck, and a whisper escapes her, "Your sweet blood". The previous guilt has been replaced with horror, what nightmare had I arrived in? "I don't want to do this, but you don't want me to die, do you honey, I need you!" The edges of the light are going black, and she throws something to the right of me. She's holding a bottle of mouthwash-she swigs from it violently, "Trust me, it doesn't get any easier every week, I don't want to do this." The world is black. I'm too weak to feel anything. The screams in my throat have died. Hot air spills on the right of my neck, "You won't remember this baby, I'll patch you up perfectly", Marilynn whispers, as if to convince herself. With the piercing puncture of teeth into my flesh, and the assaulting smell of metal- my senses disappear. I'm gone.
Shutting the Barn Door
From my peep hole in Mamma's belly button I could see the ocean of light within a dark circular surround. I'd like to think she has her bikini on and we're going to the beach. The one with the hillside and the swings and the thrilling slide. I love the homey sound of the water, the sifting gold of the sand, the windblown seagulls... Through this periscopic lens I can catch glimpses, every day, of my future, that which I am destined to forget. It usually happens at dawn and at twilight. The curtain lifts, and my peak into the outside involves mostly a view to and from the bed. It's dim and quiet, much like the womb I'm in. Except when we go into the water! Then my little room becomes an apartment. But today is different. The pattern is off. this is not the locker room. There's a man all dressed up in white. Ugh I hope that's not Dadda. I'm starting to feel really lightheaded. It's scalding bright, and I hear clicking noises to the left and right, some clanking, and a persistent monotoned dialogue of voices I don't recognize. Whatever's coming through the placenta tastes bitter and I'm getting drowsy. I'm going to take a nap. Then I think I'll practice swimming again with Mamma when she gets up.
Newly married Mother & Significant Other Barn Burning CotW CCXXVI
@Prose (Thanks Amanda B. Jaworski for the Challenge Prompt!)