Jaunt's End

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
Follow into a spiraling trap coated in gold.

Submitted: March 31, 2015

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Submitted: March 31, 2015

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This is me. This is me right now. By the time you read this, you would have heard this story. By the time you read this, I would be shipped out in a box. This is me right now. The light seeping through the clouds looks artificial when I glance at it. Too orange. This is me complaining. By the time you read this, the sky will be perfect.

I blink away sleep at the edges of my eyes. A sickish stench cloys at my nose when I wake up. The road looks a little narrow. I blink. The road is wider. When you hear my name, it will be from a television, from crying nephews, from politicians. This is me.

My hands are tied together by a length of rope caked with blood. The light crawling out of some cloud formation I should remember the name of is a little too bright, a little too perfect. This is me right now. I'm trying to understand.

If you're working in another country where the words in your tongue are laughed at, run. Just run. This is me wishing my papers were denied. Rejected. Fed through the shredder. Burned.

Before this. Before right now I was cleaning the kids. I had three kids. Not my own, of course. When you're cleaning a child, make sure you use hypoallergenic towels. In an interview, I was asked if I have hypoallergenic hands. In an interview, always say yes. Am I willing to deprive myself of human rights? Yes. Am I willing to be a subordinate to the human race? Yes. Am I willing to sacrifice everything for a green piece of paper, for a green card? Yes. Do I have dignity? Yes. Am I willing to throw that aside? Yes.

The flight was horrible. I counted the bags in front of me, filled with airplane food, chewed and digested. They were as many as my children I left at home.

When you're working in a country that laughs at your mother tongue, recite a spontaneous prayer and they'll go away. This is what orientation day taught me.

Right now, the driver is listening to the radio. Right now, I'm listening for tips on how to loosen an expertly knotted rope. My vomit bags I left at home knew how to tie different kinds of knots. My vomit bags are learning how to make a fire. Whenever I speak to them on the phone, I never use my mother tongue. When your mother tongue is laughed at, do the sign of the cross and hope.

My first job was my last job. It was the family with the hypoallergenic clothes. Their kids are Tim, Tom, and Tammy. I’ve always mixed them up.

Right now, I recall Tom showing me how a magic trick uses mirrors and smokes. He never tells me pieces of strings are essential to a good trick. I recall Tim inviting me to play in his bouncy castle, I recall shaking my head no. Back home, bouncy castles are only supposed to be seen on television. I recall Tammy showing me how to tie her hair. You have to always use hypoallergenic scrungees.

Before this, in the bedroom where I cleaned the children, I saw a loaded gun. In the kitchen where I prepare tossed grass and raw chicken, I saw a scalpel. In the garden, I saw containers of formaldehyde. In the closets, I saw skeletons.

Before the skeletons and the guns and the scalpel I lived with a happy family. Of course, they treated me like family. Of course, that's what I wrote back home while a bag of ice rested on top of my one swollen eye. After just the thought of divorce, it's funny how the husband only smiled and drank his beer quietly. It was even funnier when he started pinching my ass too hard while the word divorce swam across his eyes. I convinced myself it was funny because I don't want to think otherwise.

Back home, I was a teacher. Back home, I had kids that didn't care about hypoallergenic clothes. Kids that don't have bouncy castles or magic sets. Nothing. They’re lucky to have cheap toy cars and dolls with broken limbs.

Right now, the driver makes a left turn. Right now, the gland that secretes adrenaline in my body is turning on. I could feel my urethra opening. The driver rolls down the window and crisp cold air rushes in, drying my lips. Digging through my skin. Pushing my hair away from my face. I squint and push my hands outwards. I squirm on my seat, feeling a million claws ripping the flesh on my wrists.

I remember how the wife invited me to drink her cheap wine and thinking it was funny. The way she drank it was even funnier.

This is me.

This is me right now wishing I could drink something to cancel out the pain.

After that, the wife contemplated the thought of slapping me, pushing me. I always asked myself, why am I still here? Why am I still doing this and then I remembered my interview. The part where I said all those yeses.

Right now, the wind is eating through the insides of my eyelids. I try to breathe but a sock is jammed inside my mouth. My nose is filled with blood and mucus. The driver looks at me.

"This isn't your fault."

I answer in muffled words. The driver nods.

Before this, I was putting Tammy to sleep. It was an afternoon and my mind wandered to the chicken I was cooking for dinner. Before that, I was carefully avoiding the scalpel with the blue handle. The husband, with a beer in his hand, walked in as I was holding the chicken. He was looking at me like I was his personal slaughter house. After he went away, the wife showed up with all her jewelry. She said, "This was from a time when I was happy."

"I remember a time when I was truly happy," I answered, my heavy accent coating each word.

The wife looked at me like I was trying to rob her.

Back home, my mother told me to never kiss a man I'm not in love with. My vomit bags were products of my defiance to my mother's words. I could never kiss someone that I love. I only kiss men that I hate.

Before this road trip, I kissed the husband. It was New Year's Eve and the wife's cheap wine was my brain. The wife knew what happened on Valentine's Day and she threw her roses out of the window. The couple got me rat poison in a chocolate box. The kids got me a toy gun. It was funny because I didn't think it wasn’t funny.

Right now, the driver steers the car into traffic. I yell for help through the sock, tasting it, gagging on it. I bang my shoulders against the windows. I'm still listening for tips on how to loosen an expertly knotted rope. The people inside their cars don't notice me. I'm invisible to them. If the color of your skin doesn't match theirs, just pray for a miracle.

"I guess we'll be here for a while," the driver says, looking at plate numbers of family cars. My favorite song comes on the radio and the driver turns the volume up. I can't help but sing along.

Back home, I taught my children how to be good. They were more interested on how to be a hero. I told them that every hero has to die to be a hero. I had to stop them from killing themselves every night.

Before this, I was living in a beautifully painted house. There was the red room, the blue room, and the yellow ocher room. After a month, the couple decided to paint them over with white paint. When they weren't satisfied with it, they turned to black.

Right now the traffic is starting to lose its bulk and I'm thinking of my bracelet with the fake gemstones. The driver must have taken it. I love that bracelet. The man that gave it to me was my father. He said, each stone represents the years that he will bear my mother’s tortures. He left when I was twelve.

Back home, my mother had an accident. When I had my first child, my mother was thrown from a bus. She broke all her bones and blamed me for it. If only I followed her rules, if only I was her perfect copy, it would have never happened to her.

She showed me her scars whenever I came home late. My co-teachers, they looked at me like I supported matricide.

Right now, we are alone on the road. Our tires are silent as we cruise along some desert highway. The sun is bobbing atop the horizon, grazing it as it moves across a cloudless sky. It's starting to get dark and the rope around my hands is still a little too tight. I stopped listening to tips on how to loosen an expertly knotted rope a couple of miles ago.

The driver switches on the headlights. Two columns of light slices across a blanket of gathering dark. The driver opens the glove compartment and sitting next to the gun is a copy of The Lord of the Flies. Its cover tattered and creased.

"Don't worry I'm not gonna use it on you."

The driver says it like we're sharing some kind of secret joke.

Before this, the wife asked me to buy groceries. In deep red gashes, rat poison and hydrochloric acid were scrawled hastily on the list.

The wife and the husband started to hate me. They blamed me for their failed marriage. They blamed me for their children's allergies. People always need a villain to blame everything on. Am I willing to be something I’m not? In an interview always say yes.

Right now, I'm thinking of sending my children tons of chocolate. Right now, I'm trying not to cry.  The car speeds up and the driver reaches for something on the backseat. I follow the driver's hand and I see the murder weapon. The thing that will end my life. I think about my children eating the chocolates I sent them.

The kitchen knife gleams in the driver's hand. I close my eyes, trapping the liquid heat that's trying to spill out. I think of my children and I think about sending them capes so that they can act like superheroes. The driver says something but I can't hear anything.

The driver says it again but I'm remembering my last fight with my mother. These are my pre-death flashbacks. My going away party. The knife, my send-off gift.

Somehow, the night is darker.

The dark clings to the car like a cape. I hear it fluttering around me, calling me. Hiss. Hiss. Hiss.

When the knife plunges into my stomach, I feel only surprise. There's no pain, only an odd sensation in my guts. Here's my send-off gift. Here's my surprised face. Everything goes slowly. The driver's tears are spilling out in torturous slow mo. My mouth is going from a slit to an aggressive yawn. My eyes are big circles on my face, I can see myself reflected on the driver's eyes. This is the last human being I will ever see. The car swerves and the knife goes in deeper. Shock and surprise jumps into a higher notch. For me? Really? You shouldn't have!

The driver shouts, "This isn't your fault!"

I answer in muffled screams.

The pain registers and I try to dislodge the knife from my stomach. My screams can be mistaken for an orgasm scream buried in a pillow.

The driver reaches in behind me and opens the door. I feel the wind rushing against my back pushing me towards my murderer. The driver takes hold of the knife and pushes me out of the car and into darkness. My going away party ends with a great bang.

The bang is my head when it hits the tarmac. I can feel something warm running through my hair. My stomach is on fire. The car drives on, veering and skidding. I can hear the driver screaming. I’m thinking, this hurts me more than it hurts you.

I look at the car with disinterest. I am in the middle of the road, alone and in the dark. I am bleeding to death. This is me. This is me right now.

I touch my stomach and feel the life going out of me, drip by drip. The blood pools under my body. A halo of red forms and my broken wings grow larger and larger by the second. I lay my hand on the side of the road and I scribble a letter. I dip my finger on the blood near the open slit on my stomach and scribble another letter then a number. I dip my fingers again and again and I write what needs to be written.

The thought of losing my life is more painful than the pain itself. The pain is an afterthought. Here I am dying, bound and gagged. When your mother tongue is laughed at, spit at them and laugh back.

 

This is me. This is me right now. Then the all-consuming darkness.


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