Killing Me

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
On the night Mary Jane is born her mother passes and her father is forever changed. From there on, she lives a miserable existence.

Submitted: June 29, 2017

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Submitted: June 29, 2017

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Birth

Everyone has a story. This is mine. It is not a fairy tale with magical slippers or charming princes, like Cinderella's. My story doesn't have a happy ending, I reckon it never did.

From the moment I was conceived, I proved a problem. Mother was bedridden for the 10 months she carried me. Her morning sickness just about done her in, but I guess it wanted me to finish up the job. For one night, when nary a soul was in the world of the living, I popped out her womb; she never breathed again. Father was torn. He was a strong, proud man, too big for his own good. But from that day, always, his shoulders drooped, and his eyes no longer shone bright. Eye sockets sunken and hollow cheeks, he was the very image of a dead man. 

Miss Ava

As the years passed by, father trusted my upbringing to a nurse while he nursed his wounds with drops of liquor. In the first six years of my existence, he never once spared me a thought, but sometimes he would sneak glances at me when he thought I wasn't looking. Maybe he was curious to see what the monster who stole away his happiness looked like. And a monster, I was. For at the delicate age of 10, I'd grown no more than three feet. I was an alien among my species. My head a giant apple with lazy eyes and a mouth that never missed a chance to quiver. Even stranger, not a strand of hair ever grew on my unearthly body, and my arms and legs, well, they were something to behold; just four sticks stuck to a bony structure.

My nurse, Miss Ava, was a light in my humdrum, dreary existence. She changed my diapers, fed me, and even looked after me during my spells. My spells followed the pattern of a storm. One moment I'd be completely still for a few seconds or minutes, but then my body would jerk, twist, and quiver of it's own volition. It's in those moments, when the voice hidden in the deepest part of my soul found its way through the tunnels and mazes and finally made its way to the surface; out my paper-thin pale lips. But the voice was not my own. Some force unknown to me seized my lips and the traitorous lips complied. So, I screamed and cried out till my throat was hoarse, till I no longer shook and twisted, but was a quivering mess on the bed drenched in my own sweat.

Miss Ava was under the delusion that I was special. For she took it upon herself to teach me to read. No God fearing man should live not knowing the word, so she put it. Everyday she would read to me out of the Holy Bible and make me point to the words she read out loud. She'd given up on teaching me to write claiming it was too tricky a business to start off with. But I had the vaguest suspicion it was mostly because of the thumb on my dominant hand that would've been as useful were it not there. One day, father walked in on one of our sessions, and with a slight slight slur to his words he said, "What's goin' on here"?

"Mary Jane here is learning to read", replied Miss Ava sheepishly with a slight shade of pink in her cheeks; subtle, but it told all it needed to tell. After all, she too was a lonely widow nearing her forties. Father threw a look my way as though noticing my presence for the first time. Then he unscrewed his face and once again faced Miss Ava with raised eyebrows. With renewed confidence, Miss Ava persisted. "The Good Lord gave this child a mighty gift; she can talk in tongues. And I's here gonna make damn sure she knows it.." As she continued to ramble on, father stumbled out the room, and I noticed, with mild curiosity, he was becoming as skinny as I was. Maybe everyone was like me, and it just took them longer to get there. 

Deadly Cravings

 

Oftentimes, I found myself watching children playing outside through cracks on my window. They looked so happy and free. But it was not their silly monkeying around that captivated me, it was their flowing, long sun-kissed smooth hair. Legs that could support their small frames, and hands I was so sure Miss Ava wouldn't have a tricky time teaching to write. One day, when I was 12, I watched the children playing together again. It occurred to me, no matter how many years seemed to pass, it was always the same children. In the little town of Mayville, it seemed its inhabitants were imprisoned there, for like my parents, the townsfolk never knew any soil other than that of Mayville for which they plowed in their lifetime and became one with when the hour struck 12.

As I neared 13, the children became my solace. The wall I'd created between myself and my thoughts was crumbling faster than quicksand. The reality of my existence caught up to me; forever, I would be confined in an empty, dark house. Waiting for what? Hiding from what? What about when Miss Ava and father abandoned me? What would become of me, left alone in this dark world? Frustrated and furious, I howled out like a banshee.

"Mr. Thomas, here Mary Jane is speaking in tongues again", Miss Ava hollered out to father. "Quick, come see". But he never came; he'd finally decided it was time to go see mother. And I had a sudden mind to get on top of Miss Ava and strangle her. Make her scream till her voice was hoarse, till every bone in her body ached. But I didn't, on quivering legs, I ran past her as fast as I could; out of the room, and out the front door. As I put down my first step on the concrete floor, thunder clapped. "Mary Jane get back here", she yelled from somewhere in the house. "I swear if I have to drag you back... that child will be the death of me...". She suddenly without warning stilled when she saw me. Her eyes darted from me to the sudden crowd gathering around the house, but I was too preoccupied with the delicious taste of oxygen and pure air, to notice the terror in her eyes.

Oftentimes, I found myself watching children playing outside through cracks on my window. They looked so happy and free. But it was not their silly monkeying around that captivated me, it was their flowing, long sun-kissed smooth hair. Legs that could support their small frames, and hands I was so sure Miss Ava wouldn't have a tricky time teaching to write. One day, when I was 12, I watched the children playing together again. It occurred to me, no matter how many years seemed to pass, it was always the same children. In the little town of Mayville, it seemed its inhabitants were imprisoned there, for like my parents, the townsfolk never knew any soil other than that of Mayville for which they plowed in their lifetime and became one with when the hour struck 12.

As I neared 13, the children became my solace. The wall I'd created between myself and my thoughts was crumbling faster than quicksand. The reality of my existence caught up to me; forever, I would be confined in an empty, dark house. Waiting for what? Hiding from what? What about when Miss Ava and father abandoned me? What would become of me, left alone in this dark world? Frustrated and furious, I howled out like a banshee.

"Mr. Thomas, here Mary Jane is speaking in tongues again", Miss Ava hollered out to father. "Quick, come see". But he never came; he'd finally decided it was time to go see mother. And I had a sudden mind to get on top of Miss Ava and strangle her. Make her scream till her voice was hoarse, till every bone in her body ached. But I didn't, on quivering legs, I ran past her as fast as I could; out of the room, and out the front door. As I put down my first step on the concrete floor, thunder clapped. "Mary Jane get back here", she yelled from somewhere in the house. "I swear if I have to drag you back... that child will be the death of me...". She suddenly without warning stilled when she saw me. Her eyes darted from me to the sudden crowd gathering around the house, but I was too preoccupied with the delicious taste of oxygen and pure air, to notice the terror in her eyes.

Letting Go

“The devil is alive”, someone yelled out. A congregation downing crosses crossed their hearts and prayed to God to extinguish the devil. Right then and there, a sensation ran from my toes to my head and I knew it was coming. But it couldn’t come, at least not then. So I constricted my hateful body and willed it to listen to me, but it wasn’t working. Desperate and afraid, my voice sprung to life. “Miss… Miss”, I tried again, “Miss Ava”. “Miss Ava!”.

“Shush, child.” At some point during the commotion she had come to stand beside me. She looked out to the crowd of men and women with firm determination and addressed them carefully. “Friends, why have you gathered here?”

A man at the forefront completely covered in black stepped forward. “Miss Ava, you are a devout God-fearing woman. You would not have me believe it has influenced you. That you have been corrupted by this devil.” His words sent the crowd into a fury rumble. Voices bounced off each other and somewhere in there someone mentioned father had been possessed by the devil. For he was not a man to give into worldly temptations.

Miss Ava stepped forward as though some silent consensus had been reached. The men with their torches and ropes stepped forward. And I called out to Miss Ava but she never once glanced back, only hesitated in her steps, but nonetheless persisted in her retreat. Tied to the pillar, the house and my body were engulfed in flames and mercilessly eaten alive. Skin, flesh, and bones were reduced to nothing but ashes; every trace of our existence gone in the blink of an eye. Dead and buried without it even costing a single dime.

That night a wild storm hit. The wind raged and howled like a wild beast constrained. In it’s wake, 10 lives were claimed including Miss Ava’s. My story became a folklore, something children and grown folks (who should’ve known better) told each other to scare one another as though it never happened. They passed it off as The Curse of the Devil, but that was far from the real story. Now you know my story, I hope yours is as happy as mine. I mean it. Really, I do.

Click. Send. Are you sure you want to publish this story? Yes.

Mary Jane stretched and yawned. “Ahh, after five years of wandering around aimlessly, I can finally rest in peace.”

 


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