Friday, February 17, 2017

Rachel - Part 1, First Draft

Rachel brushed her teeth. She spit. White foam tinged with pink swirled down the drain. The sink needed cleaning. A glob of neon green toothpaste clung to the rim. Congealed liquid soap pooled around the facet. She moved her eyes away from the mess and captured her own gaze in the medicine cabinet mirror. The shock of seeing herself brought tears to her eyes.
She couldn’t even remember the last time she had looked at herself. This wasn’t her. The image in the silvered glass did not match the picture of herself she had in her head. She tried to look away, but stared at the person in the mirror the way you stared at an auto accident.
Her eyes were puffy, with deep dark slashes under the pocket as of fluid. There weren’t many wrinkles, but gullies went from the corners of her nostrils and down beside her mouth. Her eyes, nose and lips were swallowed by corpulent flesh with the notorious wobbly turkey neck hanging below her chins.
If she had looked at herself more often would she have been so shocked? Would she have been able to prevent the horror that stared back at her? How was it possible that anyone else could stand to look at her?
She cried great gulping sobs. Sounds escaped her mouth, louder than the water running from the faucet. She had forgotten to turn off the water. She cried harder thinking of the water she wasted, lost down the drain, never to be recovered. She sucked in her breath, held it, smashed her lips together and covered her mouth with both hands. When stars flitted in her vision, she allowed herself to breathe once more.
Pathetic much?
The empty house didn’t care how much noise she made or how loud she was. It wouldn’t even echo back at her despite its size. She was alone after decades of caring for others and the house was not a solace. The house now belonged to her alone but it had never been her home and was not her home now. She did not belong here. She never did. She did not belong to anyone, anymore. It wasn’t likely that she ever would again.
She slammed the lid of the toilet down. The cold plastic shocked her naked ass. She leaned her elbows on her knees, placed her chin on her fists and closed her eyes. The tingling of cut off nerves in her thighs woke her up. She stood, steadied herself with the sink and forced herself to look at herself again. She stuck out her tongue.
God, she hated being pathetic.    
She was free to do whatever she wanted. She walked around the house naked: through the kitchen and into the basement. She laid on the beds in all four bedrooms. She went into the backyard daring the neighbors to peak over the fences. The Spring breeze raised bumps on her skin. She went back into the house, crawled into her unmade bed and slept for the next three days.
Her cell phone rang several times. She texted brief responses back to her daughter and her sister to let them know she was still alive but unwilling to chat. She had to maintain some contact or they’d be on her doorstep. Seeing her relatives at the funeral had exhausted her.
The next time she looked at herself her hair was greasy and stuck out at odd angles. She stank. Her cheeks smelled from where she drooled and hadn’t brushed her teeth. Now, she really looked hideous, as bad as she felt. Her stomach grumbled. There was no food in the house and she was hungry. She looked and smelled so bad that she couldn’t even considered going to a fast food drive-through.
She forced herself into the shower. As soon as the water hit her face, she cried, nearly drowning in the hot spray. She sat down, her legs unable to hold her up in her hysteria. The sadness was so profound. Her heart was breaking. She pressed on her chest trying to stop the pain she felt there. She wrapped her arms around her knees and rested her cheek there. The water ran cold.
She rose, shaking. Turned the faucets off. Walked wet into her bedroom, grabbed her big, white terry robe, wrapped in it and crawled under the blankets. She’d eat later.

Friday, February 10, 2017

and now for something completely different

I walked into the dark bedroom, closed the door. I flicked the light switch.

“Turn off the light.”

I paused, my back to the room. My pulse rate increased.

“You know how this works.”

I obeyed. A soft grayness tinted my vision. I breathed deep, air caught in my constricting chest. I waited.

Time stood still, its weight pressed in on me. I imagined that I heard his breathing, but it was just my mind yearning for contact. My ears ached. My cheeks burned as my need grew. I wanted. My skin tingled. My breasts tightened. My nipples throbbed. My legs weakened and trembled.

“Turn around.”

I obeyed.

“Unbutton your blouse.”

I looked down at my shaking fingers as I slipped the top button from its hole.

“Keep your eyes on me.”

“I can’t undo my shirt without watching what I’m doing,” I said.

“I didn’t give you permission to speak.” His voice was calm and quiet.

Adrenaline surged through me.

“Take your time and do the best you can. Just keep your eyes up. You may respond.”

“Yes, Sir,” I said.

I pushed the second button loose. I watched the dark corner from where his voice emanated. I glimpsed a large chair, a body positioned as if on a throne, elbows and hands resting on the arms, feet planted on the floor. The only light in the room came from behind the chair, soft, velvety and aimed at me over his head.

My fingers slid over my shirt, searching for the next button. Not looking down was a real challenge, but I knew, from before, that not following directions would lead to punishments. Since he was very creative and thus, unpredictable, no two chastisements were the same. Each pushed me to a new place, unchartered territory. I wanted to step into the unknown. I craved new experiences. I yearned to be free of responsibilities. I dreaded what I had not yet done. I warred within myself over the fear of what he might tell me to do and the desire to release all of myself to what he would require of me.

But it was too soon to give in to my itch to disobey.

I kept my head up, my eyes focused on his invisible eyes, my mouth slightly open, panting.

“Very good,” he said. I thought I could hear a smile in his voice. I revelled in his approval.

The fourth button popped out of its tight prison. I slipped my fingers along my exposed skin, parting my blouse until my hands reached the junction of the fifth and final button. I grasped the material on either side and pulled the two halves of my shirt apart, a small violence in the motion. The button caught, held and I pulled harder. The fabric ripped. The button popped off and pinged on the floor.

I looked down, watching it roll across the hardwood. It came to rest on the edge of the plush area rug.

“I told you not to look away,” he said.

Saturday, February 04, 2017


When you lay face down in the bathroom sink and your tears and drool are circle down the drain with the escaping water, your eyes see a semi-colon. Your arms tremble and go numb with the strain of holding yourself upright. The tooth brush drops from your tingling fingers and you think, “All you have to do is rinse out your mouth and you can go on.” Eons pass as you try to convince yourself you have a reason to go on, yet no good excuse seems to come to you. The white sink, the clear water, the lit room all seem thick and black. Reality has no bearing on what your brain sees. Whining, like the bird call of a wild fox echoes and drones on in painful stabs inside your ears. You feel phantom blood worm its way over cartilage, down the column of your neck and over your collar bones, drip and stain the porcelain bowl.

Once the guilt of twenty-eight minutes of wasted water seeps into your brain, you stand, look at your puffy eyes in the mirror. The red mark on your forehead and your red nose also make a semi-colon.

This might not be you, but it is me.

It’s funny the things that keep me going.

I need to shut off the water running into the drain.
I can’t leave the car with an empty tank of gas when the temperature drops below 20 degrees.  
No dying in old underwear.
My password list isn’t up-to-date.
The upstairs closet is full of twenty year old papers.
There’s one vanilla cupcake left.

The darkness recedes.

I rub my forehead, look into my eyes. I never seem to remember that they are green.

I pull worn black jeans over my worn, cotton panties. A soft, gray t-shirt goes over my two year-old bra, the long sleeves cover my scarred wrists down to the knuckles of my fingers. Black socks and black storm trooper boots go on my feet. A deadly-sharp switch blade and my wand go in the left back pocket of my pants, in easy reach of my dominate hand.

I check on my stash of heroine in the medicine cabinet. Still there, just in cases.

I brush my blonde hair and gather it into a black scrunchy. I won’t pay it any attention again until tomorrow morning. One green and two clear crystal studs go in my ear lobes. Four stack rings go on the ring finger of my right hand. I read the words on each as a morning mantra as I slip them on my finger: live – one – more – day. I slather balm on my chapped lips. I take a deep breath, watch the silver pendant stamped with a semi-colon rise on my chest. I hold the air in my lungs for the count of seven and let it out to the count of nine. Rites, routine and ritual and I’m ready for my day.

It’s time to go out and kill something.    

Friday, January 27, 2017

Theobald the Great

Storm clouds hung in the sky, dark, thick and heavy. The trees held them back, branches out like arms extended in supplication, leaves palm-up, their lighter undersides shaded by the angry black of swollen cumulous. They leaned into the wind, straining against the buffeting air, gaining strength in resistance. They dug their roots into the ground like toes curled into the dirt. They communicated with one another in a language secret to themselves, born of shared water and oxygen and earth.
Just hold on. Stand tall. Stand strong. Bend. Don’t resist. Move with the onslaught.
Sharp, frozen water, condensed and solidified into knives of moisture shooting down, cutting bark, causing sap to flow like amber blood. Timber groaned and cried out in pain, creaking and cracking along the grains within old and new wood. Limbs broke off and fell on ancient turf. Thunder growled, vibrating the air. Lighting struck out, attacking with electrical precision. Fire engulfed the defenders, their silent screams swallowed by crackling heat.
A mere hour later, the battle field smoldered under a clear, blue sky. Ashes and soot floated where a once majestic forest stood, devastated now by magic driven weather. Death lay upon the world.
Theobald walked among the dead trees, a small smile raising one corner of his lips. This destruction required so little of his power to accomplish. These remains would fertilize a new generation of plants that would know only his domination and influence, producing poisons he would use to take over other beings or used to kill them, if they, too, tried to resist him. He stretched into his satisfied feelings, the joy of his exertions humming along the hairs of his body. He strolled through the wasteland as if he were on a leisurely morning constitutional.
The cuffs of his white wool slacks turned gray. The burnt cells of the trees crawled under the cloth and clung to the skin of his shins. Angry chemicals burrowed their way into the wizard’s DNA, making changes to his most basic being as they went.
Theobald’s skin tingled with tiny needle-like pin pricks, that feeling one got when blood rushed back into a sleeping limb. He stomped his feet, willing the sensation to go away. And it did. His feet grew warm and went numb. His knees trembled and vanished. He looked down to see if they had, in fact, disappeared. Pain stabbed his belly which had blown up like a bloated corpse. He doubled over, retching vile acid, the spittle stretching from his overly moist mouth to the blackened ground. A high-pitched squeal pieced his eardrums, coming from inside his head, causing him to lose his balance. He fell face first into the cinders..
The trees, not extinct in essence, but merely changed in form, rolled Theobald over on his back, crawled along the edges of his body that had contact with the land, engulfed him, covered him like a sarcophagus sealing a mummy for burial in a tomb. He wailed but the sound got lost in the newly sprouting trees from his eyes, throat, lungs, stomach, groin and calves.

Friday, December 16, 2016

some days

Some days, I stand in my kitchen balling my eyes out because the garbage can I just cleaned and sanitized to white perfection has tomato sauce all over the lid.

Some days, my To Do list is so long I want to jab my pen in my head and scramble my brain to mush.

Some days, I lie in bed at night marking, by coughs and groans, the slow death of two men.

Some days, I wonder if I no longer do anything will anyone love me.

Some days, I wonder if I can ever do enough to be loved.

Some days, I forget how to breath.

Some days, the air moves like a dance, twinkling lights draw me into vast galaxies, cinnamon, cloves, rosemary and lemons awaken my dna, a mournful, lyrical chord tightens my chest and my mouth yearns for a kiss.

Some days, I can’t even.

Some days, it’s all too much.