In the spirit of Christmas, I decided I needed to write something that encompasses the holiday spirit! Nobody loves Christmas as much as Spring does in this new piece. Enjoy.
(Warning, there is some foul language.)
The tree was glistening, the lights flashing in an organized rhythm. Blue. Green. Red. Blue. Green. Red. The stockings were hung on the fireplace mantel, arranged by age and size. Mom. Dad. Hunter. And me, Spring. The milk and cookies were placed on the traditional Christmas plate my grandmother had given us when we were just babies. It looked like a Christmas magazine spread.
It was perfect, a flawless family holiday. Oh how I’d been wanting one for so many years. Ever since Hunter moved away for college and Mom and Dad started fighting, it hadn’t been like this. Each year I would call, stop by, hope that the decorations would be hung, that my mom would ask me to come over and bake her special Christmas cookies. Each year that I was denied, that my Mom said she was too busy, that there was no point and that I should have fun with my friends, a part of me would crack.
My brother was too busy with his college buddies and drinking to even answer my calls, my family had fallen apart. My father was always in his study, a strong glass of whiskey beside him, while he chatted with other women online. They thought I didn’t know about all their indiscretions, but I did.
But this year was going to be different. I decided I’d hang the decorations myself. Exactly how mom used to do. I baked the cookies in my mother’s oven, making sure they were just right. I poured just the right amount of milk for Santa. The presents were carefully placed under the twinkling lights. Everything was perfect.
I took in my masterpiece once more before a moan behind me broke my concentration.
“Mm, ahh!” My mother calls from behind her duct tape. Her blue eyes frantically searching mine. Her blonde hair pressed against her cheek from the sweat beading down her temples. I kneel in front of her and push the hair behind her ear. Her breaths are coming in pants as she tries to communicate with me. I shake my head at her, it’s not time yet. It isn’t midnight, it isn’t Christmas yet.
Movement to the left of Mother. My father, wiggling his hands, attempting to free the zip ties I’d placed on them. I know it must hurt, I don’t want to hurt them. I just want to be a family again. This is the only way. Mother looks into father’s eyes, tears falling from both. I think this is the first real emotion they’ve shown one another in years.
Lastly, my brother, Hunter. The brother I haven’t spoken to in almost six months. A brother who posts photos of himself with different girls every night, drinks and drugs in his system. Ignoring what was happening to our family. Ignoring his sister as she spiraled into loneliness. The duct tape I placed on him is barely allowing him to breathe. Bright green ecstasy pills I shoved into his mouth, telling him to not swallow. He needs to learn constraint. To abstain from the evilness of drugs.
I look up at the ticking clock, only eight more minutes til Christmas. A giddiness builds inside me. I look back to my family, who are all panting, sweating and eyeing me like I’m crazy. Frankly, I’m the one sane one in this family. I grip the kitchen knife harder in my hand, wishing time would move by faster. I look out the window, the snowflakes falling in the lights reminding me of when I was a child and would stay up to watch the white blanket covering our small town.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” I say, to no one really. Whimpers escape my mother. “Christmas is the most joyous season, wouldn’t you agree?”
My mother shuts her eyes tightly, her chin falling. I leap over to her, grabbing her chin and pulling her face to mine. “Wouldn’t you agree, Mother?” I ask politely. She nods frantically. Sobbing behind her gag.
I nod back, giving her my best smile. I walk into the kitchen and check on my punch, a family recipe. I take the large ladle and make sure all the pills I’d put in it earlier are dissolved. Almost there, perfect.
A crashing sounds sends me into the living room. Hunter has somehow escaped his duct taped hands, and is now pulling the tape off his mouth.
“You crazy bitch!” He spits at me. I take a deep breath and hold the knife up for protection as he comes towards me.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing? Jesus Christ, Spring!”
“I had to!” I sob, holding the knife out farther, halting his movements. Mom and Dad are now frantically trying to escape, eyes darting between their two children. “You don’t understand. Our family was falling apart!” I cry, a tear escaping my eye as well.
Hunter takes another step towards me and I slash the knife in front of him, he jumps back, his hands out in a soothing gesture. “Okay, just…let’s just put the knife down, Spring. Okay? We’ll put the knife down, let Mom and Dad out, and we can celebrate Christmas.” His head turns towards the clock. “Only four minutes left, right?”
I check, he’s right. Only four minutes. Maybe Hunter is right, maybe everyone is ready to celebrate Christmas. “O-okay.” I stutter.
Hunter lays his hand out, palm up in front of him. “Just, pass the knife over, okay?”
I grip it tightly once, before letting it go in his hand.
He takes a step back, towards Mom and Dad. “I’m just going to let them go, okay? Just so we can be together.”
Together. That is a nice word. Soon, we’ll be together forever.
“Oh, thank god.” My mothers voice rushes out, pulling Hunter to her and gripping his cheeks as she cries.
“Jesus.” My father mutters, pulling them both into his body. Protecting them, from me. Don’t they see, they don’t need to be scared of me. We’re a family. I take a step towards them, wanting to be a part of it all. They hesitate, but allow me into their fold.
After a moment of bonding, they all let go. I can tell they are shaking and unsure what to do.
I look at the clock one more time. One minute, perfect. It’s time for punch and Christmas.
“I’m going to get us some punch. Then we can sit by the fire and open presents, just like we used to, right Momma?” I say.
She nods. “Right.”
I quickly head into the kitchen, pouring ladle fulls of punch into the crystal goblets we’d always used. All the pills are dissolved, they won’t even taste it. Soon, every day will be like Christmas.
“Here.” I say, passing everybody their own glass. My mothers sloshes in her nervousness.
“Spring…I, maybe we should talk about what’s happening here?” My father asks.
Anger rushes into me. “NO! No. We’re going to celebrate Christmas like a family, like tradition!”
“Okay…okay, but after. After we need to…”
“Not now.” I snap. “It’s time. Let’s count down?”
“Ten. Nine. Eight.” Dad starts.
“We all sip on zero.”
“Seven. Six. Five.” Hunter.
“Four. Three. Two.” Mom.
This idea came to in a dream so I just sat down for ten minutes and this poured out. I’m really excited to explore this.
When I was fifteen, I had to make a choice. A big choice, a life changing one. Not just for me, but for the life of the little one I had grown for the last nine months.
“Are you sure this is what you want to do, Josie?” My mother asked, gripping my hand so tight it lost feeling. I know she wanted me to keep the baby, to raise it. But, I wasn’t ready. I was still a child myself, I couldn’t give this child what it deserved. A family, support and stability. I could see the tears starting to build in my mother’s blue eyes. Her lip trembled and her breathing had picked up. I didn’t want to break my mother’s heart as well, but I’d already made up my mind. It took me that moment, with only a week left til my due date, to get to this office.
I looked up to Mrs. Talbot’s soft eyes, she had been my rock through all of this, not pressuring me. Always being understanding. She was the director of the adoption agency I decided to go with. She found the best family to take my baby, to give it the things I wasn’t able to. Marcus, the baby’s father, was out of the picture. He was older than me, and the moment he found out how old I really was and what had happened, he split. Never to be heard from again. I had grown up without a father as well and I would never wish that on my baby. I rested my hand on my large belly, feeling the dips and rolls as the little one fought for room inside my under developed body.
“It’s alright, Josie. This is all up to you, everything is in your hands.” I know Mrs. Talbot was trying to be supportive, but that comment cut me to the quick. I picked up the blue pen that was resting in front of me. I gripped it so hard it nearly shot across the room. The moment I brought the tip down on the line that would officially release me of my baby, my mother broke down. Her sobs wracking her body.
“I’m sorry, I can’t…I just…” With that, she took off, out of the room to who knows where. I wanted to comfort her, she had been there for me my whole life, with nothing but love. But this wasn’t something I could help her through. I was barely holding myself together.
I looked up one more time to the kind, older woman in front of me. She gave me a reassuring smile. And with that, I signed my name.
I gave up my baby.
And…every day for the last nine years, I’ve cried for the life I never got to hold. To know. I never even found out if I had a boy or a girl. The adoption was closed. The moment I pushed the tiny body out of my own, a nurse swaddled it and took it out of the room, shutting the door behind her. That was the first night the dreams came.
They haven’t left.
That’s why today, I’m at Mrs.Talbot’s office. Desperation pulled me here. I need answers. I need to know my baby is safe, is taken care of. I want to know if I gave birth to a little boy with my blue eyes or a little girl with my dark blonde hair. I won’t be able to sleep for another ten years if I don’t.
With that thought, I pull open the large door with Miracle Adoption Agency printed on the glass.
A tree grows a root, deep and strong,
It carries water and nutrients from the soil,
To the leaves, so they can soak up the sun,
Allowing this ancient giant to thrive forever.
I wish I was like a tree, rooted to a home,
Someone with the will to stay,
A story held within my core, with the wisdom of something so old,
But I am not.
I am more like a bird, flying high,
A creature with the insatiable desire to leave and explore warmer places,
Only to come back, time and time again,
Never staying but also never leaving.
So I am a bird, but I make my home in the tree.
Can I be both?
No one has ever caught my eye enough to allow my blood to flow through their veins for eternity.
A teaser from a new piece we have in the works. Enjoy!
Here is a piece of our current work in progress, coming soon.
- Turner Collins
I wasn’t naive as to why I’d ended up where I was. I knew the lifestyle I had chosen could land me here. I was aware that my choices, my mistakes, they all had consequences. I knew all this and somehow I had still believed that the group of people I had chosen to dedicate my life to would protect me from this fate.
I was wrong. So very wrong.
The small 6 x 8 cell that had been my home for the last six months was my price to pay for those mistakes.
-Dach, The Collected
Fence post. Barbed Wire. Fence post. Barbed wire.
Flashes, flashes, and more flashes. Nothing concrete but those two images. Blurring together, creating an old fashioned movie reel playing through my head.
Nothing-ness. Blackness, utter confusion.
Are those…what happened?
I bring my hand up to my face, my eyes barely able to focus. Blood is dripping down my arm, bright crimson against alabaster.
I look down. Slices. Slices upon more slices.Tattered fabric, tattered skin. The stark white of the dermis. I loved this shirt. This shirt held good memories…now it’s gone. Like the piece of flesh I left on the wire.
Wait…I wasn’t alone. I’m not alone. Where is she?
“ARE YOU OKAY?” I scream out, finding the huddled figure of my friend.
Tunnel vision. Am I under water? I think I need a hospital.
Frantic eyes, darting every which way. How will I get out of here? Help…I need help.
“Help!” I scream out, praying the only other person in these acres of land can hear me. “Help, please!”
After what seems like ages, and more inspection of my battered body…they show up.
“Jesus, what the hell happened?”
I try to recall. I was driving the machine…up and up and up the hill. Turn, a sharp turn. I took the turn wrong? Giant rock, avoidance. Fence post. Barbed wire. Fence Post. Barbed Wire.
What happened? What the fuck happened? Am I dreaming? I have to be dreaming because I can see my own body jumping off the faulty equiptment and getting tangled in the thorny wires. Did I? I shake my head, clearing the memory, vision.
“Let’s get you guys out of here. I can take you home.”
Home…”Home? We need a hospital. I’m bleeding and I’m cold.”
They shake their head. “You’re right. Let’s go.”
I’m attempting to walk, but the ground is spinning.
This is the moment, I think. This is the moment that will impact every other moment from here until forever.
It did. It still does.
This is our first status update, these will help you, (as well as us), keep track of our work in progress and our thoughts.
Turner here, just had an interesting conversation with Collins earlier today, we’ve discovered that it’s not writing that is the hard work. It’s the editing. It’s going over your own work, listening to criticism and finding the balls to let someone else read over your baby.
Question of the day: “Do happy endings necessarily equal realistic endings?”
Here’s some things you need to know about us, yes we are two people. We are a female writing duo originating out of Canada. Though our interests vary greatly, we have found a common thread that binds us, writing. This blog is going to be dedicated to our various endeavours and likes. It may be music one day, writing the next or the newest flick we’ve just seen. You can probably tell we don’t like to be pigeon holed into one category. So be on the look out and follow us along in our quest to live life poetically.