Friday, July 2, 2010
The rain had washed the city down; the setting sun sparkled and shined on the buildings. Ellen walked with her head down only occasionally glancing up to enjoy the beauty of the quiet, deserted streets. She quickened her step knowing she was going to be late, afraid.
The echoes of her steps were interrupted as she made her way down the block as a strange old man standing in the doorway of a shop cleared his throat. She stopped. She didn’t mean to stop, she was in a hurry and she just did so without thinking. She turned her head toward the strange old man, bringing her eyes up to his and making contact. She never did that and the feeling was odd. Ellen hadn’t looked someone in the eyes for years, it scared her. She was afraid they would see her pain and sadness.
“If you don’t mind me saying so, Miss, you look sad,” his dark brown eyes searched her face. He could see. She tried to smile, the phony one she put on for people.
“Mrs.”, she corrected, “and I’m in a rush.” She broke eye contact and glanced at her feet. An old hand appeared in her vision and drew her gaze back up.
“Could you spare a few minutes and tell me what you think of my shop? I’ve had no visitors since opening the doors a week ago. With all the rain, no one wants to come out and I would appreciate a pair of fresh eyes to have a look.”
The strange old man stood aside and Ellen, compelled and not understanding why, entered into the shop. It was as if her feet and brain had disconnected. She would be quick, in and out and on her way.
The shop was sparse, only a few items, statues of different sizes placed here and there was all there was. A small wooden statue, the surface worn smooth with age, stood on the counter facing her. She moved towards it as if it called to her, drawing her to it. A whisper came from behind her, startling her.
“Do you like it?”
“What is it?” she whispered back?
“It is the ‘God of Sleep’. He helps you sleep well at night. Gives you beautiful dreams so you are awake fresh and happy in the morning.”
“Sleep has no property. My husband Joe says so, nothing gets done, it’s a waste and non productive”
“With respect, I disagree with your husband. Why don’t you take it?”
He handed the statue to her and she took it in her small hands. It was beautiful. Ellen started to hand the statue back protesting she couldn’t take it.
“I insist. Think of it as a present for being my first customer and for keeping an old man company for a few hours.”
Ellen’s gaze broke from the statue, “A few hours, don’t be silly, it’s only been a few minutes.” She glanced at her watch. Two hours had gone by. How could that be? She swore it had only been a few minutes. It was impossible. Her heart skipped and started to beat a little faster. She thanked the strange old man and hurried out the door. Half way down the block, she began to run, afraid.
She stopped at the edge of the yard, staring at the dark house. He was in there waiting, waiting for her, for his dinner that was an hour late. A tear would have rolled down her cheek had she any left but they had dried up years ago. Dread of what was to come wrapped itself around her, thick and heavy. She had to go in.
She opened the door and softly called his name. Silence answered her back. She walked in and down the hall to the living room, eyes wide trying to pierce the darkness. He sat there in the dark but she could still see his face staring at her, filled with hate.
He stood quietly and she started to apologize, stuttering. Ellen backed away as he loomed closer, reaching her hand behind her to find the wall. His fist shot out and it felt like a block of concrete had hit her just below her rib cage. Her breath flew out as she crumpled to the floor and dropped the statue.
Joe reached down and picked the wooden object. “This is why you’re late?” he growled. “This is why I haven’t eaten yet?”
Ellen tried to stand using the wall for balance. Half way up, she felt the wood of the statue hit her in the temple just above her right eye. Blackness filled her vision as she crashed to the floor once again. She began to crawl towards their bedroom when Joe’s foot came out of the dark and connected to her chin sending her head back.
As she crawled towards the bedroom through the dark, she knew Joe was still beating on her but she couldn’t feel it. All she felt was a constant pain through her whole body. She prayed that one of the blows would finally kill her so the pain would cease, emotional and physical.
Joe stopped at the bedroom door as she crawled through and made her way to the bed. As she dragged herself onto the bed, Joe threw the statue at her hitting her in the back of the skull busting the skin open. She felt the warmth flowing down the back of her neck.
“You are useless Ellen, useless!” He slammed the door and left
She lay on her side unable to move. She could hear Joe crashing around through the kitchen, still hollering obscenities at her. The little wooden statue lay in front of her as if it was staring back at her. She could see blood on it, her blood.
The sound of carnage coming from the house as Joe tore threw it was defining but she didn’t care, she didn’t own anything nice anymore, Joe made sure of that.
As she lay there staring at the little wooden statue, she felt a soft breeze blow across her face, cool and soothing. Across the room, the old and dusty curtains began to softly dance in front of the open window. It felt like a little piece of heaven sent down to hell to give her a little piece of comfort.
The crashing sounds coming from the house and Joes yelling seemed to be getting quieter, as if the rest of the house was moving farther away. She thought she could hear drums, tribal drums, and the sweet soft music of angels singing softly. The breeze flowed gently across her body, caressing it, soothing it like a gentle touch of a lover easing her pain.
She could see little cherubs crawling through the open window filling the room and surrounding her bed. She must have fallen asleep she thought. They encircled the bed looking up at her with soft brown eyes.
The drums she heard began to get louder and the cherubs began to get restless. The gentle breeze began to blow a little harder. The pain she felt from her wounds inflicted by Joe began to subside. The sweet soft music of angels began to get more frantic.
The cherubs surrounding her bed began moving about, looking at each other in understanding but never talking. Not a word came from them. The drums became louder, faster; the wind blew quicker. The music was screeching. The cherubs opened the door of the bedroom and they exited out the door. As the last one left, the door closed.
The drums were deafening, the music and singing shattered glass. The wind swirled around the room at gale forces but it was gentle around her, lifting her softly off the bed. She felt no pain, only peace
The sounds of drums and music stopped abruptly. The wind began to die down and she was gently set down on the bed. As the last of the breeze gently flowed over body and drifted out the window, she closed her eyes and for the first time in what felt as forever she was happy.
At 8 am, the gardener showed up. As he passed the kitchen window he saw it was cracked. Peering in, he saw the damage. It looked like war was waged in the little kitchen. He banged on the front door, calling out but no answer. Within the hour the police had arrived.
None of them had ever seen what they were about to witness. Upon opening the door, they found Joe laying in the hall way, motionless, his skin missing from his entire body. In the bedroom they found Ellen. She was on the bed, looking like an angel, with a smile on her face. The officer called out softly. No reply. He gently reached out and checked for a pulse, “better call for the coroner, looks like we have two dead bodies.”
A scream of agony and pain came from the hallway. It was the sound of hell itself, “Sergeant! We need ambulance, this one is still alive!”
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Two nurses walked down the dimly lit corridor towards the morgue huddled together like two school girls whispering dark secrets to each other.
"You have to see this, I've never seen anything like it before"
"I heard he killed a man"
Sam Goode was an angry old man. He sat alone every night in his drab little house complaining loudly, his only audience, a cockroach or two off in a dusty corner. He hated everything and everyone and never spoke a kind word. He stood in the damp moldy kitchen, making a sandwich to eat for supper. "Damn stupid kid, can't even buy what's on a list, I don't like wheat bread, I WANTED WHITE BREAD" he shouted into the air.
The kid had met Sam once, it was an unpleasant meeting. Sam answered his ad in the paper for odd jobs and the kid showed up at the side door of his dilapidated house the next day. The kid reached out with his hand and started to introduce himself, Sam, waving his hands foolishly in the air, said "I don't care who you are, you're here to do a job and your two minutes late on the first day", jabbing the kid in the chest with his dirty finger on the last two syllables. It was an easy deal, every Tuesday at 3pm, the kid would find a grocery list tacked to the side door of the house and an envelope of money under the matt. He had until 4pm to get the grocery and return the left over money, minus $5.00, to the back door. The kid knew that Sam counted the money and went through the receipt meticulously because one Tuesday in the envelope of money was a little note stating he was short 32 cents and if it happened again, he'd be fired. That was six months ago. He found a new list and the money every week but he never saw the old man again. He continued to buy the man's grocery out of pity.
Sam finished making his sandwich and shuffled across the creaky floor to the living room. He switched on the antiquated T.V. and turned the channel knob to the only station he could pick up, then sat in his threadbare couch and began to eat. The news flickered on the old screen as two newscasters, he couldn't remember their names, droned on about the local happenings of the day. He could feel anger welling up inside again over the wheat bread, "Damn idiot!" and he threw the last half of the sandwich at the T.V. The news ended at 10pm and like every night before that meant it was time for bed.
Three hours into his restless sleep, Sam was awakened by a sound coming from the kitchen. He flung the heavy covers off his bed and stood up, mad as hell. He could hear someone moving around through is cupboards. There was no way he was going to let an intruder get away with taking anything from him. Quietly and quickly he moved down the hall and looked around the corner of the open kitchen. He spotted a small man wearing a ski mask crossing the floor away from him towards the side door. "You there, what are you doing in my house!" he yelled. The intruder ran for the door and Sam went after him surprisingly quick.
Sam tripped and ran into the back of the intruder as he was opening the door, forcing it shut again. The intruder, with the weight of Sam pushing him into the door, used his feet as leverage against the door to push back and get Sam off of him. Both stumbled backwards, arms flailing as they fell to the floor. They wrestled, pushed and shoved, jabbing at each other. Sam never felt scared, only anger that someone was taking something from him. Poking a grimy finger into the eye of his intruder Sam hollered as the intruder screamed. The intruder lay on his back withering in pain on the floor as Sam stood up reaching for the knife he left out to cut his sandwich.
Sam held the knife in his hands and knelt beside the intruder, "no one takes anything from me". The intruder pleading for his life saw Sam hammer down the knife into his stomach. He looked up, in pain and shock, eyes locked with Sam. Sam, with fury burning inside, shoved the knife up the belly with such force, it cut half way through the breast bone. Sam stood up and went to the hallway where the old rotary phone sat on the little stand and called 911.
Sam stood at the side of the kitchen as the police investigated the bloody scene. An officer knelt down to the body and rolled the ski mask off the intruder. Sam recognized the kid, thinking he had to find someone new to get his groceries now. The kid's jacket had a large bulging pocket and the officer reached into it, pulling out two yogurts and a bottle of orange juice. "Those are mine, the damn kid was stealing my food!" The officer looked at Sam with disgust and placed the items on the dirty counter.
The two nurses reached the door of the morgue at the end of the hallway and pushed it open
"It wasn't a man he killed, it was a boy. Poor kid, family was so poor they could barely feed themselves"
The following day, Sam found a new kid to get his groceries and on Tuesday at 4pm they were there by the side door. At 10pm that night he headed off to bed. The sound of a door being opened awoke him. Sam thought, again, really. Down the hall he flew, quiet as possible to the kitchen. There inside stood a small man wearing a mask at the counter making a sandwich. Jumping him from behind, Sam pounced on the intruder like a dog gone mad. They struggled and fought. Sam grabbed a knife from the butcher block and held it above the intruder, bringing it down in a swift arc. The intruder raised a hand grabbing Sam's wrist, stopping the knife just inches from chest. Sam held his ground. The intruders arm began to shake as Sam pushed harder, the knife inching closer to the intruder's chest. Slowly, the knife pierced the intruder's chest directly in front of his heart. The blade slowly cutting into his flesh, sliced through his heart nearly cutting it in half. Sam called 911
Walking back into the old rundown kitchen, Sam stopped in horror, the body was gone. The police showed up and searched the house. They told him they didn't find anyone in the house, there was no sign of a break in and no sign of the struggle between Sam and the intruder. Furious that the police were hinting that he made the whole story up, he slammed the front door behind the last officer as they left.
The two nurses stopped at the third sheet covered table.
"I heard he called 911 a week later and reported another break in, is that true?"
"Yes, one week exact, even to the hour, 1am. Only the police didn't find anything, not even a sign of a struggle. They think he made it up, you know, for attention"
The following Tuesday after the news, Sam walked the house, checking all the windows and doors, making sure they were secure and locked. He lay in his bed, unable to sleep. He heard the sound of the side door quietly closing and looked over at his clock, it read 1:00am. For the first time that Sam could remember, fear mixed in with his anger. It's a prankster, some buffoon trying to scare him. He would have none of it. He got out of bed and stormed down the hall, "You don't scare you piece of low lying scum! I'll teach you!"
He burst into the kitchen and grabbed a knife from the butcher block. Across from him stood a small intruder at the counter facing away. He started towards the intruder, hatred in his eyes. The small man wearing the ski mask turned around as Sam approached. Sam swung the knife down, the intruder grabbed his arm, stopping the knife in mid air. Sam put out his other hand to push the intruder back but his hand sunk into him up to his wrist. He could feel the wet warmth of the intruder's insides surrounding his fingers, he let out scream. The intruder moved forward, pushing Sam's hand in further. Holding on to Sam's wrist, the intruder twisted it. Sam could hear the bones cracking as his hand turned facing the other way. Pain shot up his arm.
Sam still struggling, was pushed down to the ground, the intruder sitting on his waist. For the first time, Sam could see the slit that opened up the intruders belly all the way up to his chest. He looked up and his gaze locked with the intruder, a gaping hole, wet with blood where his one eye should be. The man sitting on Sam lifted his hand to his ski mask and grasped the edge of it. He slowly pulled the mask off his head. Sam recognized the kid. His eyes, full moons as his mouth unhinged to let out a terrifying scream. The kid thrust the knife deep in to Sam's gut, then yanked with all his might, splitting Sam's chest bone completely in half.
The two nurses both gasped as they removed the sheet and stared at the face frozen in terror, a large gash running the from his neck to his belly.
"Who do you think killed him?"
"The police report says suicide. All the doors were locked from the inside and there was no sign of a break in. The only finger prints found at the scene and on the knife where his"
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
A single track of clean skin formed on his cheek as the tear rolled down. Every morning when he awoke, he would say his name aloud, afraid he would forget it if he didn't. Tom. He couldn't remember the last time someone referred to him by that name. He was called bum, derelict, wino and those were the nice ones. The memory of how he became homeless did not exist. He didn't have any vices that he could remember. All he knew was that it was not fast. It was a slow, painful process that had no details.
The dry leaves rustled under his weight as he began to stir in his make shift bed while the Sun's rays wound their way through the entanglement of shrubs he called home. He waved his hands around his head to shoo the sound of a tiny buzzing fly to no avail. The fly became increasingly louder as if it were entering his filth encrusted ear. Startled, he sat up. The buzzing was not coming from a fly, it was emanating from down the alley in which he laid. He could see a man facing away from him, a glow growing around his feet. The air began to flutter and dance, lifting the dust of off Tom's clothes. The glow grew brighter, the buzzing louder. Tom held up his hands to shield his eyes that felt like they were looking at the Sun. With a searing flash, the light and the man were gone, replaced by a loud roll of thunder and a blast of wind that sent Tom flat on his back.
Thoughts flowed through Tom's head, memories, old and dark. He searched his mind, straining for pictures of past but all he saw were muted colors and moving blurs. Sounds and voices by the thousands began swooping in. His fingertips brushed them as he reached out to grab them and drag them back as they escaped into the darkness. As fast as they came, they were gone, leaving no clues. He knew he should have been afraid of what he just witnessed but that thought never crossed him. Why wasn't he afraid? What happened inside his head? He felt deep inside a push of something trying to breakout but he did not know how to help it.
Tom sat up, a new track of clean skin forming next to the old one, this one for joy instead of sadness. A sliver of hope began for the first time in what seemed forever in finding out who he was, who Tom really was.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
The man stood at the busy intersection on the edge of the continent. He stared off into the vast blue green water that went on forever across the busy street. The warm wind off the desert ebbed and flowed around him like the tide as it blew out to sea. So much flotsam and jetsam in this land he thought to himself. He closed his eyes for a moment trying to picture the paradise that should have been but never came. He sighed quietly, sad. The once joyous visits here were now forced and laborious.
A stranger, head down, walked by and bumped into the man. The man looked at him, "excuse me" he said as he searched to see the strangers eyes. The stranger never looking up grunted and kept walking. If he knew who I was the man thought, would he change? Would he have treated me differently? Would he have looked me in the eyes and apologized? No, the man didn't think so. He didn't think the stranger could grasp who he was.
He had enough for one day, it was time to go home. He turned and faced the wind, hesitated, then walked up the crowded street. A little ways down, past the shops, he found an isolated alley and turned down it. The alley overgrown and neglected was quiet. He looked around, seeing no one. He reached out with his right hand, fingers splayed, and held it above the ground. The overgrown plants began to sway as the wind picked up and twirled through the little alley. With a small little hum, a bluish white line encircled the man at his feet. It began to spin, the hum getting louder the faster it went. The line began to move up, creating a tube enveloping the man. In an instant the man was completely hidden inside the tube of light and as fast as it started it ended. The man and the light ceased to be there. The sound of air, rushing into the new found emptiness, crashed with a loud boom, shaking windows for blocks. A couple, two blocks over, stopped and briefly looked at each other then continued on their way.
Monday, August 17, 2009
I saw the movie Bonnie & Clyde with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway and I have been hooked on the stories of Bonnie & Clyde ever since. I've always been fascinated about the fact that Bonnie Parker loved creative writing, especially poetry. I thought it would be kind of fun to tell a tale inspired by Bonnie and Clyde in prose poem form.
Think twice - can't forget - remember plan
Don't forget - get in car - everyone here
Pulse racing - sweat running - getting nervous
Target approaching - car stopping - get on out - go on in
Pull out note - grab the stash - watch your back
Mind spinning - head swirling breathing shallow - head on out
Don't turn back - jump in car - yank out gun - shoot at cops
Catching up - pulse flying - sweat pouring
Getting away - turn in alley - escape escape escape
Pulse slowing - breathing normal - hiding out - has to stay
Can't go out - not today - another day - another job
I hoped you liked it. If you want to know more about Bonnie and Clyde, then check out this great site called Bonnie & Clyde's Hideout by Frank R. Ballinger. You can even find Bonnie's poems there.