The Promise Land
Tyler, The Creator - Bastard
I wake late in the night to someone shuffling around through my closet. Their soft racket pulls my attention from my sleep along with the loud collapsing something that seems to find itself peeking out from the closet. I lift from my bed in the dim light of the moon that cracks through my ceiling window to see a body hunched over in my closet. I clear my throat having the figure turn to see me. Adam pulls from the dark closet and he smiles at me in the dim lighting of the room. What is he doing in my room? He smiles perfectly at me and, at this hour particularly, I’m concerned because the reasons for him being here are questionable.
"Hey, do you want to go somewhere fun?" he asks pulling back from the closet. A black blob lays hanging over his arm. His smile gets even crazier as his face catches the light. He lays a dress onto my chair and smiles at me as I stand from the bed. I scratch my head tugging at the shirt I wear. My legs ride up underneath the shirt and I feel underdressed.
"Where are we going?" I question. I sit back on the bed and I pull at the shirt making it slide down to my knee caps.
"I like to call it the promise land." he chuckles. He pulls a box from below the chair and smiles sliding it over to me. At the moment I feel like he is crazy but as of now, I am the only crazy person in the room. "I saved these for you." he snickers. I pull open the flaps of the brown box to see a pair of black sneakers. I can't help but smile pulling them from the box. He disappears back into my closet and shuffles around more and hops back out. In his hand are a jacket and a head band with cat ears on it. I smile grabbing the two from him. He smiles down at the shoes pulling his hand to his hair to ease it back from off of his forehead. A crease forms in between my eyebrows and I scratch my head again.
"What are you up to?" I whisper. I try to keep my voice low because I feel as if the only other pitch I have is a high scream that would even wake my neighbors. If I wake Ben there’s no telling what he’ll do. And that’s one reason why the hour concerns me, because Ben is unpredictable and he tends to be mildly aggressive.
"It’s a surprise." he chuckles. "Put those on, my bike is outside." he walks from my room slowly pulling the door closed. I sit staring around the dark room. Why is he creeping around my room? Why did he save my shoes? The shoes that happened to be my favorite, it could be by chance. That’s fits better into character for him. I slowly slip on the dress sitting in the silence of my room. I never actually wear dresses. Maybe a skirt to school but, I never wear dresses. They fit pretty awkwardly in my bust area. I pull on the kitten ears and I slide on the chubby sneakers. My life feels a tad bit better as I look down at them they fit my feet perfectly. I feel like a princess looking into the mirror at myself. I don't even know why. I don't know whether it is because of the dress or the ears. I slide the jacket on and I quietly tip toe out into the hallway. Adam turns to me and his eyes widen a bit and he smiles reaching out for my hand. He pulls me forward and out of the front door. He smiles back at me as he pulls his motor cycle from the driveway. He keeps telling me to be quiet and I know that he feels as tingly as I do at the moment. I run to catch up with him. He laughs and hands me a helmet. I pull off the ears letting him pull them onto his head. He makes a face and smiles as I laugh.
He drags the metal bike out onto the street even away from my house all the way over to my neighbor’s house with me following closely behind like a lost puppy with this smile on my face. He gets on first and starts up the bike and I hop on behind him. He pulls my hands around him and starts up the street. I lay my head on his back and I smile against his coat. He smells like sweet lavender and bubble gum. He screams something loud but I can't understand what he’s saying. I don’t even think it is in my interest to hear him. I squeeze my eyes shut and I imagine I'm on a cloud. The wind whips my hair back and I can feel the excitement coursing through my veins. Is this how Ben feels when he’s high? We slow down and I open my eyes to look at the dark forest around us. Small lanterns dangle from the trees. We pass an old gate covered in moss and colored lights.
A gigantic house sits deep beyond the gate surrounded by a dark forest. He stops the bike laughing as his hand reaches for mine. He mounts the bike on the muddy ground. I smile as it digs deeper into the mud. My shoes slush down into the sludge. The dark woods seem to sing a soft melody to the two of us as he helps the helmet from my head. He pulls the head band onto my head to hold my bang back. He grabs my hand and he helps me forward to the house. He laughs and opens the door and the sound blast through. He holds my hand tighter and the music plays in my mind two times louder.
"A-town!" a man yells nearly dropping a glass bottle. He smiles to me and reaches out for my hand. "I am Thomas." he laughs. "Thomas Hickman." He dusts a black strand from his hair into place. He smiles and pops a piece of gum into his mouth. He looks a lot like Adam too.
"This is Pancie-Poo." Adam laughs.
"Is she your girlfriend?" he asks winking at me as the question leaves his mouth. I hold Adam’s hand tighter.
"She is my friends little sister." he corrects.
"I am his girl." I sneak in quietly. He looks back at me and smiles this nervous smile that tugs at his cheeks.
"She is my girl." He adds unsure of the words to come. I look up to him taking a glance at his fuzzy jaw and he is flushed. He rubs my thumb softly with his and turns back to me.
"What do you need petit frère?" he asks pulling his hand out for mine. My fingers meet with his for a very perfect handshake. I like him because he’s nice.
"Just here to show her a good time." Thomas rubs his hand to his forehead with this smile plastered onto his face. He moves from the way letting us pass him. Two doors sit behind him. I exhale as the excitement kills me. Adam goes for the first door entering it. The light is so bright that it burns my eyes. He slowly steps in and looks around followed by me. The walls are covered with words and letters. Pictures speckle the space on the wall. He walks further as I run my hands against the wall. He grabs my hand pulling me to him pointing toward my face, my face in that grey pixel with a big read "dead" over it. He laughs as my eyes find it. "They love you." he points to the picture of Melony Hanson. It sits still like “love” itself. Pretty is scribbled around it. In a big black sloppy dripping marker marks "the cutter." he pulls over to his picture and smiles pulling a marker from his pocket. He scribbles on 'charity case' in a red pen but I don’t understand why they do these things. Sit around in a room scribbling all over the place. I nudge him and I look over to the left to my brother’s picture. It sits alone with a couple of quotes around it and 'funny kid' etched in on his forehead. I wonder if drugs were common amongst these people. A couple of funny things speckles in small handwriting around his picture. I smile as he points at the world in this picture. His eye is winked and he smiles the most crooked smile that could ever find his face. That's it though, and in the past day I hadn't felt him being funny, I hadn’t felt him being anything other than mean. I look to Adam who stares at my picture. "This wall means that you matter." he tells me over the music. He grabs my hand and we walk out of the room. He pulls me to the second door and we enter to see people piling the floor. He smiles holding onto my hand tighter. We walk deeper into the room and we sit at a table. He smiles over at me as I stare at the shadow of hair on his chin. His jaw is perfect and so are his eyes, and his nose is even perfect. His smile melts me and I grow pinched in the face as he laughs.
"What?" I finally decide to ask.
"You just make me a little happier. Which is a bit strange." he scoffs. That’s something I’ve never actually heard. I’ve never made anyone happy. We sit in about 3 seconds of silence and he lets the smile tame it. "This is 'the promise land' I can make all of your wishes come through behind these walls."
"Sounds like it could be your famous pick up line." I scoff. I look at the picture fingering over sketches.
"That’s the first time I've used that." he chuckles. "You get three wishes Pancie-Poo."
"I really wish you would stop calling me that." I groan. I am starting to get tired of the name seeing as it’s what you would usually call a small child.
"Wish granted. What else do you want?"
"I wish that someone could be happy with the things I do." I grumble. I lay my head down on the table and I smile.
"I wish that..." I look around the room and I bite my lip. I look him back into his eyes. His icy eyes are calm now and they remind me more of a wave or rain but the rain that finds itself being exciting, the rain that you give yourself time to play in. "I wish that I had a friend."
"granted." he smiles. I mellow out lifting from the table. I look around the massive room. The ceiling is about three stories high and you can see the strangers stumble around upstairs from where I sit. I look to him. He smiles as he catches my face.
"What is this place?"
"The story is that this house has been here for a really long time. Thomas likes to say it’s the place where sinners can be free and saints can be sinners. I like to say it’s the promise land. Your brother calls it the holy hell. No one really knows what it is but we all know that we like It." he smiles. But all of the reasons for the names are very strange. "every couple of years someone new takes over. They say Lenni Lewisch will take over next year." he looks around. "Ten times better if you ask Me." he chuckles.
"Who is that?"
"She’s Richards girlfriend, you know, the star athlete?" I nod. "Her father is like the biggest mob boss in the world and once she gets this place into her hands I think it’ll be heaven on earth."
"She’s like Satan’s angle." he laughs. "She can do whatever she wants and never look bad doing it. I've met her, and Ben has a thing for her." a girl joins us at the table placing a bottle down. She walks away winking to Adam. Her hips sway and the song changes. I look to him and smile as my smile grows.
This is what the devil plays before he goes to sleep.
"You like music like this, why?"
"There’s thought in the lyrics."
"But you like these lyrics in particular."
"I don't know, these particular lyrics are so deep."
"understandable." he looks from me to the corner. I turn to see a girl. He blond hair bounces swinging every which way. She smiles to him. Her hair whips as she stumbles to us.
"Hey Adam, is this your girlfriend?"
"Yes." I tell her quickly, perhaps at the same time as his no. She flips her hair pulling at the pink strands that hide in the cluster of perfectly blond strands.
"She’s kinda cute."
"Kinda? I think she's pretty." he throws back at her.
"Hey, do you want to see something cool?" she asks him. He smiles. "My brother got this for me yesterday." she pulls out a small plastic bag with two white pills in it. "I took one a ten minutes ago." she giggles. He grabs the bag. I look from him to her. She wears a black chiffon dress that looks cheap but I can see the price written across it with its silk layer underneath it. She laughs as he hands one to me between pinched fingers. I grab it and I look into his eyes. I swallow it and I smile at him as he swallows his. He looks back to her as she twirls her finger around her hair. "Hey, so, how is your relationship?" I sink into my seat as she looks to me. "How smooth is my cousin?"
“He’s nice." I look to him as he fiddles with his fingers. He doesn't look sick and he doesn't act sick. He doesn't sound sick. I wonder if he feels sick. He looks up at me and smiles.
"Hey, so, I wanna show you guys something. Can I?" I stand nearly tipping over. She laughs as I pull my head into my hand. The room spins and I smile to Adam as he laughs grabbing my hand.
We follow her up a labor of stayers snickering to each other about nothing. She smiles at the two of us and she grabs my hand pulling me to a door. I open it and she pushes me in. It's dark and I can only register a scream. The thick emptiness of the space around me scares me. I can hear her giggle hard on the other side of the door and I laugh with her but I'm afraid of the dark and I clutch on the handle screaming for her to let me out. She laughs harder as I shake the door and finally I cry trying to push the door open. The dark pulls my body into it and I scream louder.
"LET ME OUT!" I yell. I pull from the door to sit on the ground as she laughs. Why is she laughing so hard? I feel like an idiot as she laughs and the light in the room has escaped. I lift to feel around the wall and I find a switch to flip it. A black light shines on me and around me in a small closet are images of myself staring back at me, a square box of mirrors. I spin around watching my face and I swirl into my own mind thinking of the possibilities of this room. I stop at a shattered mirror and I look down at my hand which leaks with blood and the door swings open. She laughs grabbing my hand and she looks me in the eyes.
"What is wrong with you?" she giggles hardly breathing. Adam grabs my hand and pulls me into him. He looks at the bloody figure and scoffs.
"What did you do?" he asks as calm as he can register. He pulls my hand up to see it better and looks into the room.
"I didn’t do anything." I mouth. He pulls me back and away from her as she shuts the door behind her. We continue and he yanks me off of our path to another door. He smiles and steps inside away from me but I follow. Around us are flowers, walls of flowers. He smiles around us and grabs one flower from the wall. He giggles as we walk through a second door. Around us is a wall of fish. I smile as we stop and he looks around in awe. They swim around the water slowly.
"This is why I like to call it the promise land." he adds in our amazement. "Because everything you would love to see is here." he drives his hand into his pocket and pulls his phone to his ear. "hey." he whispers. "What? Maybe she's walking around or something." he pauses and looks to me. "I'll go look for her. I’m already out running errands." he walks to me grabbing my hand again. "No problem brah, you just wait at home just in case she comes back home." he pulls me back through the flower room and out into the hallway.
"Where are we going?"
"Ben thinks you ran away." he rushes in. “I'm taking you home."
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