As a child mermaids dominated my young imagination. I was Ariel for Halloween for four years in a row. I wore out my VHS tape of The Little Mermaid with my incessant watching. As I got older, my love for them stayed it had just evolved, grew into something so big my mind couldn’t contain it. I decorated my skin with colorful and permanent underwater murals and grew my hair into a long, wavy style. I dreamed often of how it would feel to be weightless all the time, to feel ethereal and beautiful like the merpeople. One with nature, free to explore the ocean floor. Finding sunken treasures, befriending the sea life.
Only, that wasn’t my life. Not at all. It never would be, not after the incident.
I was stuck in a prison with no water, told time and time again that I was crazy.
The pills were meant to take away the delusions, as they called them. The obsessive behaviors I apparently had needed to be contained, dealt with. My dreams were now nightmares to the people who supposedly loved me. But, if they loved me…they would have understood that I had to do what I had done. It was my one dream, my one hope to become who I knew I was inside. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. The ocean was beautiful and powerful, only dangerous to those who didn’t respect it. I had the utmost respect, but I guess she didn’t, as it swallowed my sister whole.
They cut off the long mane of hair I’d grown, made me wear sleeves to cover the dreams I’d inked into my skin. I was devastated. Night after night, I’d awaken, gasping for breath. The once calming effects of the sea become suffocating.
My doctor told me that was guilt.
But I knew better. It wasn’t guilt, it was anger. Blood boiling anger.
This wasn’t who I was supposed to be, where I was supposed to be. I had a higher purpose.
So under the cover of night, I made my way out of my tomb. Silly, silly guards. A little skin and their lips were loose. You know how the saying goes, loose lips, sink ships. And oh would their ship sink and the captain would go down with it.
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.
I was only a young boy when they first came to me. I was supposed to be sleeping, but instead I had my flash light on under my covers reading my favorite comic book. If my mom knew, she’d tan my hide. But I did it anyways. If I had been sleeping…I doubt they ever would have found me. But I had to know what happened to my favorite characters. Did they defeat evil? Did they lose their damsel?
I never found out.
Now I live in fear, for every day when I lay in bed she comes to visit me. With her three other friends. The most beautiful sirens I have ever seen, except it’s not real. None of it is. I lost track of reality that day as a young boy with a flash light.
I’m now a shell of a man, a man who has to sleep with the lights on.
It’s pathetic really. I mean…they have to be a figment of my imagation. There is no way three raven haired women come into my room every night to taunt me. To feed on my soul.
Or do they?
God…the confusion is the worst part.
My parents never believed me. They told me it was a nightmare, it was in my head. They took me to the best doctors in town for them to say the same things. Sooner or later I realized my best bet was to agree with them, to not tell them that it was real. That I had the scars to prove it littered around my body. They became a shameful secret. I was a shameful secret. My mother and father never told anyone what was happening to their son, they simply pulled me from school. Told their friends I was out, or I was sick and that’s why I wasn’t around.
When I finally finished my schooling, I packed my things in the middle of the night and left. I was hoping that maybe if I left that house…the four women wouldn’t follow. But they did. And now they’ve got me trapped down here…because they no longer simply come at night. Now that I’m alone? They come whenever they feel like it. They’re going to kill me. I know they are, I can see it in the gleam of their eyes as they stare at me. In the pitch of their laugh as they taunt me and ridicule me. Telling me that time is running out to be a good boy.
I’m not a boy, I’m a god damn twenty-four year old man, but you’d never know it.
Hell, maybe I’m already dead. This is hell, it just has to be.
Out of hibernation, I am. I also now have a working computer! Yay. Here is the first thing I’ve written in quite awhile. Enjoy. – Turner.
The steady drip, drip, drip of the tap is the only noise in the house.
No laughing children, no explosions from video games on the TV, no microwave signaling ready popcorn.
The room is the same, the couch has the same print from where he always sat, the air freshener still puffs out the same familiar scent…but nothing is truly the same anymore.
It will never be the same again.
I glance over at the clock ticking away on the wall, I’d usually be in the midst of making dinner right now. Juggling the children and the hot pans as they played around my ankles. Not today…there isn’t anyone to cook for. There’s just me in the empty house that was once my home.
“It’s time, Jill. We need to go…you need to move past this.” A voice comes from behind me, a familiar, yet unwelcome voice. How can she walk in here and act like she knows what it is that I need? She was never a true friend before and her apperance now only irritates me further.
“How would you know what I need?” I hiss at my facade of a friend. Her face pulls into a shocked expression. The wrinkles around her dark eyes becoming prominent. I stand, the anger surging through my blood. All the words that have eaten at me for years, the things I let fester while putting on my smiling face for this woman…they spew out of me. I can’t control them and I no longer want to.
“Get the fuck out, Hailey. Now. I don’t want your nose in my damn buisness anymore.”
Her face turns beet red. “You’re hurt…so I’m going to ignore what you just said, but you need to calm it down, Jillian.”
A manical laugh escapes me as tears press at my lids, I refuse to let them fall. “My whole family is dead. DEAD. The last thing I need is one more minute with you and your fake friendship. You’re nothing but a user, a leech who latches onto happy people until there is nothing left. You need to get out of my life, that’s what I need. Now get. The fuck. Out of my house.” I’m panting after all that. A weight lifts off my shoulders, the part of myself that knows I was out of line lays dormant, which I’m grateful for.
I know she wants to have the last word, but my expression obviously stops her. With one last dagger thrown at me, she turns on her cheap heels and leaves. I collapse back to the couch. The tears finally break.
There’s no one left, I’m all alone. I have no idea what I’m going to do with my life now. How does one come back from this? I let the darkness take me, curling my legs into my body and hugging them as tight as I can, praying for his arms once more.
I must doze off, because a light breeze wakes me. It washes across my face, like a caress.
“Jamie…” I whisper into the nothingness. The sun has long since set, the house is cast in darkness.
I squeeze my eyes shut, just as another gust of warm wind crosses my lips. Like a kiss. Like his kiss.
I must be dreaming, the fingers lightly tapping up my arms can’t be real. I don’t want to open my eyes lest they disappear. This is the closest I’ve felt to him since it happened, since the man who couldn’t control his addiction ran into my husbands car as he was driving our children to swimming practice.
“Please…Jamie. I can’t do this without you.” I cry to the wind. “I need you. I’m so alone…so alone I could just die. Why didn’t they take me too? My heart is broken, the pieces so jagged they stab and dig at me everytime I take a breath. I can’t breathe.” I shatter, the tears stinging as they fall.
A piece of hair falls over my eyes and I swear I can feel it move across my forehead, like he used to do.
Then…two words. Two words in his deep baritone break through the void that seperates us. “Forever, always.”
I know then that that is his goodbye.
My eyes spring open, staring at the framed photos on the mantle..and for the first time in months, I smile at them.
Hey, happy belated birthday to our blog, how exciting is that? Again, I’m late on the draw. But I will have you know I did a happy dance on the day.
So, just a few hours ago I asked a trusted friend for a writing prompt, help me get the juices flowing and all that, ya know? She gave me this:
“Explore the relationship between two people who are married or marrying but not for love.”
So I immediately put pen to paper…or fingers to keys, you get the drift. This is what came out. A little rough, but it felt good to be creative again! What do you guys think about writing prompts? I personally love them for times of writers block or to combat boredom. Let me know and enjoy.
My future husband was as unfamiliar to me as a stranger on the street would be.
I didn’t know his likes, or dislikes. I didn’t know if he had a good childhood or about his college experiences. I’d never heard his voice nor felt his touch.
I did know that he was forty-seven, to my eighteen. I knew that his hair was only starting to turn gray. I did know that he was six feet one inch. He didn’t have any children and he had been married once previously, before she divorced him for a much younger man. I knew that he had at least fifty thousand dollars in his bank, seeing as that was how much it cost to buy my hand. But that was all his profile said. He wasn’t an unattractive man, which just confused me more. Why would a handsome, rich man need to utilize our services?
Not that I would complain, Andrew Marshall was rescuing me from my bleak existence in eastern Europe. In turn, he would be saving my little brother from a life of crime, and my mother from the tragedy of that. Not that she agreed with my choice, but she wasn’t against it anymore. Not once I pointed out all the things that would be better for it.
I on the other hand, was terrified. I’d never left my small home. I spoke English, but not very well. I was also a virgin, I’d never been in love. As a young girl I always hoped that a young, handsome man would ride up on his white horse and save me from my life. But that didn’t happen. Instead, my Papa had a heart attack, leaving my mother with a mountain of debt and a delinquent little brother who was lashing out. I had to do something. My friend Jasmine had done this exact same process and was now living in Los Angeles, she told me all about it. How much she enjoyed her older man and the life he could provide for her in America.
It was as if all the answers to my problems suddenly appeared in front of me, I didn’t hesitate. I set up a profile, using the same formula Jasmine did only a year before and within three months, I had an interested bidder. The company I signed up through takes a percentage of the price my suitor is required to pay. The rest goes to my family. After that, he purchases me a plane ticket and applies for all legal permits before I am whisked away from my home, bought, signed, and done. Within a few weeks, I will become Mrs. Tatianna Marshall.
Who she is, or who she will be…is a mystery to me.
I only hope she is someone her Papa would be proud of.
That’s the only thing I have to hold onto.
I’m about to be thrown to the wolves, god help me.