Hearing Something

Denayra paused as a faint sound caught the corner of her ear. It was gone now, and did not repeat itself. What was that? Some sort of soft scratching, like insects in the walls.

Mystery noises were in Denayra’s top ten pet peeves, but she knew there wasn’t really anything she could do about them. She hoped that time would fade the chill down her spine.

She opened her closet and rifled through the collection of bright tops and bottoms. Tonight was her sister’s bachelorette party, and Denayra wasn’t close to ready. Finally, her fingertips grazed a blouse she’d nearly forgotten about–the deep red would look amazing next to her freshly colored dark mane. Skinny jeans and strappy heels–in gold leather, of course–would complete the outfit, plus accessories.

Denayra smiled to herself as she stepped out of her sweatpants, amused by the thought of her baby sister getting married, but her face fell when the small noise repeated itself.

Of course it waited until I’ve given up listening, she thought to herself. That’s what scares people.

It took a much larger effort this time to move past the recurrence, but she made it as she moved on to her dresser to pick through her jewelry box. She smiled again, remembering the family friend who had gifted it to her when she was a teenager: she always had sunflower seeds, she only wore Birkenstocks, and she laughed too loudly. Denayra had always admired the woman’s self-confidence. It radiated from her like stink from a wet dog.

She bowed her head, concentrating on the search for the elusive black opal earrings. Another chill washed over and through her; Denayra froze, amethyst in hand. Again she heard the sound–the whisper-soft marching of a thousand tiny legs, the bloated-belly feasting of a thousand tiny teeth, the paper-thin tickle of a thousand tiny fingers.

The party wasn’t even a vague memory anymore; nor was her sister, the family friend, or her jewelry box.

The whisper cleared into words:

“Come to me, Denayra,” it caressed the inner workings of her ears with its velvety richness.

“Come to me now. My soul demands it.”

TBP Online Writer’s Guild # 3

20 minutes writing, 8 minutes transcribing and editing. And I pick #42.


Repeating Itself

The televisions in the food court at the mall are nearly always on CNN, so when I go to get a water refill or go to the bathroom I have a look to see what news is scrolling across the bottom of the screens. I have the timing to generally note the bad news. Shootings. Terrorism. War.

It rolls off my back because that’s the way it is. I always thought I believed that people as a whole are jerks; so it goes. It won’t get better in my lifetime, and I’ve resigned myself to this. I live my life helping people in small ways, bigger ways when I can. I do no harm, and that’s all I can do to make the world a better place, in cliche-speak.

But as it turns out, in spite of everything, I must have had a streak of Anne Frankish good-at-heart philosophy, and I think that streak of optimism died a lonely, miserably swift death today.

This morning as I walked past, I read 42% of Republicans support Trump’s Muslim ban.

I have never experienced the feeling that I experienced just then. A literal chill went down my spine; I have never considered that anything but a metaphor. That muddy familiarity in my mind that physically defines déjà vu entered my head, then sank to my stomach.

This is what surreality feels like.

Forty-two percent. That’s nearly half. How many of their fellow Republicans can they convince to go along with this? How many Democrats? How many Other? How many nonpartisans?

I fear the answer is enough.

I can see this happening, and it frightens me.

I know good, otherwise sensible people who would join in lynchings and mosque burnings. People who would never dream of supporting Hitler or discriminating against Jews. People who are reasonably intelligent but find it easier to simply believe what they’re told by the media. People who are afraid for their families when they have no real reason to be afraid.

And yet they are afraid, afraid enough to make terrible mistakes in the name of safety and security. They would possibly even claim that it is in the name of freedom.

It is tragic, because these are people that I like and respect. Or at least, respected at one time. And the millions of others making this same mistake in their fear are the friends and loved ones of people just like me who cannot understand how they can possibly justify these actions.

I am saddened to believe that I will soon be in the minority. That live and let live and do unto others as you would have them do unto you are becoming fair-weather mottoes.

But more than I mourn poor decision-making, I fear the future consequences. Not even the far future consequences, but the near future ones. I fear that the life I live every day will disappear, swallowed up by xenophobia and mass hysteria. I sit here in my home and I look at my Christmas tree and I wonder how many or how few Christmases will it still stand here, in this living room, before we have to flee for our lives because we still choose to be decent human beings, to treat others with the dignity and respect that they have earned by simply being.

We deny that we are killing each other, and we deny that we are killing innocent people. And like that, our denial becomes truth.

It isn’t true, but it’s easier to believe the lies.

trump


The Berwick Monster

Y’all, I am creeped out just from googling images to include in this post for you. Here, let me start you off right:

Oh my goodness, now I have to look at that scary thing as I type. I better type a lot, and quickly, so I can scroll down enough to not have to look at it anymore. I may have to delete it until I’m done writing. Deep breaths.

Who’s heard of the Berwick Monster? Wait. I should probably give you some background on me first.

I am a huge weenie.

There. I’ve said it, it’s posted on the internet for everyone to see. Things that scare the crap out of me: monsters, aliens, Bigfoot, ghosts, supernatural whatever, anything and everything along these lines. Seriously. The Blair Witch Project
scared me. Okay?

Now you know.

Anyway, the Berwick Monster. Ugh, I had my feet up on another chair under the table, and now I’m scared to put them on the floor. I’m that bad. And I will tell you, it looks like there are more articles debunking or scoffing than supporting.

So, five years ago, a hunter claimed to have footage from a camera strapped to his deer stand of this swamp monster. At the time, my parents lived in the town next to Berwick, so the next time we went down there to visit, Ian decided we would go monster hunting.

I am not a stranger to the idea of going somewhere creepy and doing stupid things. In fact, my friends and I used to drive around all night looking for small country cemeteries or unused dirt roads to nowhere. Maybe bring the Ouija board, scare the crap out of each other, good times were had by all.

But I had never gone specific monster hunting, and I had never gone to hunt some scary viral internet newsworthy monster in my parents’ back yard.

Ian and I and my brother and his best friend got in the car and drove to Berwick to find some dark, deserted roads. In the middle of the night in a small town, that’s not a challenge. Then we found a dirt road.

I was not coping well.

And then someone decided we had to turn the lights off and get out of the car.

Traumatic.

Fortunately, we did not see any monsters. Because there probably isn’t one. But that doesn’t affect my fear.

So if you like driving around and getting scared, we have plenty of places for that, all over Louisiana.

Tues Truthiness: My Country ’tis of Thee


I’m Not Afraid of Anything

Elaine leaned farther out the window, stretching the muscles in her arms to their limits. She closed her eyes and smiled at the breeze that caressed her cheeks, cooling the fever that raged inside her.

Her mother interrupted the bonding session Elaine was enjoying with Mother Nature.

“Get back in your bed, girl! Aren’t you afraid of catching your death of cold?”

“I’m not afraid of anything,” answered Elaine.

“You’ll be afraid of your father’s belt if you don’t listen to me, now get!”

“I’m not afraid of anything,” Elaine insisted. “But I’ll get in bed to make you feel better.” Slowly, she reversed herself from the window and returned to her bed, where she snuggled deeply into the covers and winked at her long-suffering mother.

“Sassy,” Susan muttered to herself as she turned and left the room, firmly shutting the door behind her. “I need a drink.”

***

Elaine cracked her door open to listen to the voices raise in disharmony, as they did nearly every night at this time.

“That child is going to be the death of me, Scott. She’s so willful every single day, and she just says that she isn’t afraid of anything. You know she says it, she tells you, too.”

“It’s true, though, Susan. She really isn’t afraid of anything. She never cried when she was a baby; she never asked us to check anywhere for monsters. For crying out loud, think of Halloween! She laughs every year, no matter what I do to scare her. None of it works. I don’t know why you think you have to punish her for being herself.”

“I punish her for being disobedient! I’m her mother, she has to listen to me. She has to do as I say, or there will be consequences.”

“Elaine doesn’t care about consequences. She only wants to live each day with her eyes wide open. If the world is anyone’s oyster, Susan, it’s Elaine’s.”

“You are absolutely no help at all, Scott. You’re practically as bad as she is!”

Elaine ducked back into her room as her mother stormed by and slammed the bedroom door shut behind her anger. It wouldn’t do to let Susan find out that she’d been listening; Elaine had a much larger plan.

***

Elaine knew it was time to make her move when she saw the clock ticking out nine thirty in the morning, and her mother was already mixing vodka into her orange juice. Day by day, the hour crept up and up until Susan was drinking well before noon. At this rate, she would be sloshed by eleven.

“I’m going to the park, Mother dear,” Elaine called around the corner to Susan, who huddled at the kitchen table around her cocktail.

“You’re no such anything, fraidy-cat. Siddown and shuddup,” came the mushy answer.

Elaine smiled at her mother. “I’m not afraid of anything.” With that, she danced and skipped around the kitchen, a careful eye on her mother to check her fury level. When it reached critical mass, once more: “I’m not afraid of anything.”

And she kicked Susan’s chair out from beneath her.

As Susan stumbled around the room, desperate to regain her bearings, Elaine darted out the door and across the street, unaware of the high pitched screech of tires, the cacophony of angry horns, and the horrifying sound of warping metal against shattering glass.

When Susan finally reached the front door, she looked out on a veritable horrorshow. The Williams family had been returning from their annual summer trip to Disneyland, and when Elaine had skipped across the street, Mr Williams had overcompensated and rolled the blue SUV.

The baby was dead in Susan’s yard, and Elaine screamed from the sidewalk across the street.

“I’m not afraid of anything!”

Wednesday Stories: Fearless Consequences TBP


If Wishes Were Horses

So much to say, and so little to say it with…

I have been intending to write about–hm, shall we say, ‘the circumstances of Abby’s conception’ for probably two months now. Saying that, though, just shows how much I need to sit my butt down and find a euphemism I–hm, shall we say, ‘like.’

See what I mean?

I haven’t begun. Not with words I can see with my eyes. I have composed sentences and paragraphs in my head, mostly while lying awake in bed at night, or sitting awake on the couch early in the morning, or some other time when I feel alone, whether or not I’m physically alone.

I started once. I wrote a few thousand words, and added to it sporadically for three months or so, until the hard drive died, and I lost it. Now I hoard my words, refusing to delete the most daft draft.

Today I read Belle’s post, and I admire her terribly for it. To say and do instead of saying without doing, that is always admirable, but even more so when it’s in spite of fear.

My fear wins in so many ways. The fight for words, the fight for sleep, the fight for peace.

Fighting for words? Most days all I can do is beat around the bush, because I can’t even think the things I want to say. It’s like the monster in the closet, never there in the daylight when I’m prepared to face it, only the lonely darkness when I can’t help but face it in spite of myself.

Fighting for sleep? My night seizures were the worst on the anniversary of the only time I slapped my husband in anger. The day I didn’t write the post I wanted to write, the post I could lock all those memories up in and throw away the key. I’ve still had some, but nothing like the week of no sleep.

Fighting for peace? Every day I continue to not write that post, to not let myself even consider actually writing it.

Fear wins those battles.

But much of the time now, I’m me. I’m not crying and wanting to gouge my eyes out to stop seeing things I never saw in the first place. I’m not throwing books and stopping movies because infidelity is such a wonderful plot device, let’s use it in everything. The hurt is always there, somewhere, but I can go hours without even being aware of it. I can go days without even being hurt by it.

I want those times to be forever.

I want to will wishes to be horses, to force beggars to ride.


Time Warp Tuesday: Fear

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Yes, yes, I know it’s Saturday. Kathy, I promise one of these months I will figure out that Time Warp Tuesday is the second, not the third Tuesday!

This month’s topic is fear. Such a recurring and recurring and recurring topic for me! After browsing through my tags, I ended up selecting the post that first came to mind anyway.

Here it is, I’m Scared.

While it’s not a post I’ve read lately until today, while it’s not a post I refer to over and over, it’s still a familiar post. Familiar because I still feel the same way. Familiar because so many other posts remind me of it. Familiar because I wake up to fear every single day.

And I say I hate that, but do I, really? Why don’t I do something about it? I feel like a child in bed, covers tucked under her feet, arms rigid at her sides, quivering to suppress the urge to call for help that would only attract the monsters sooner.

I’m barely making it some days, but making it nonetheless. I’m scared that any change will tumble that delicate balance into oblivion. I’m scared that any disruption will call the monsters. I’m scared to my bones.

This post did not go as planned at all. I think it was never meant to go as planned anyway. But I don’t think I know what the plan was. I think it was something along the lines of how I’ve faced my fears instead of letting them consume me, but while I have faced some, more continued to pile on until I can’t always see my way out anymore.

So no, not much has changed from that post to this; I still try to tell myself to buck up, buttercup, and I still feel guilty for the days I remain paralyzed in bed, waiting to be eaten.

Ugh, how depressing.