Chapter One: Keeper of the Darkness (My Novel) REVISED
Sitting alone in my room, I looked at my arms remembering each cut. Some short, some long, all cut deeply enough to spill out the pain and to run in warm little rivers down to the bathroom floor, which Mom of course would complain that I was going to stain if I didn’t cut that crazy shit out. (Not to worry Mommy Dearest, Italian marble is pretty stain resistant.)
“Why the ‘F’ do you do that anyway?” She’d ask as she balanced herself precariously on the top, deeply piled carpeted stair outside my room. “Oh, they’re just frustration cuts of course; maybe just glorified attention getters” she snarled as I watched her make her way down the stairs on high heels wearing her favorite Neiman Marcus skinny dress.
“Mom, the word is Fuck! Got it? Fuck!!!” I said, throwing my hands and pulling at my hair.
“Pisch!” she slurred, “Don’t you say that word in this house”.
It was then I started to wonder why I hadn’t just fucking done it. All the cuts on my arms I think were just baby steps. Baby steps to the real thing. Just a couple of strategically placed verticle cuts and Mom would be calling in the Alfredo Brothers to replace the tile in the bathroom. I mean really, who the fuck would actually give a shit?
Not them. They don’t give a shit about anything unless it costs Daddy money or takes Mom away from her prescription bottles and Brandy. Not Adam. He cares about me but between the pot smoking and working on restoring his 1978 Mustang, his only concern is that my tits don’t explode. I have to laugh at that. My tits...a gift from my father when I was 17 thinking it would make me more confident, at least, that was the cover story. He thought that this Goth business might disappear if I had 38 D’s.
Sorry Daddy, it just isn’t that easy...Just like it hasn’t been that easy to forget his nocturnal visits. Those visits where he’d come in stinking of sweat and cigarettes, all revved up from his workout and showing his appreciation for his gift. You see Daddy never gives a gift that doesn’t give back. Those visits when I’d have to fend off his hands as he “fluffed them up” for me. Unlike Mom who disappeared into her prescription, brandy fueled haze every night, Daddy’s drug of choice was sex...only not with my mother. It was the forbidden kind. The perverse wanting that only a sick mind knows. Something foul and hideous. What we here in the south call ‘homemade sin’.
I fell asleep on a prayer tonight. A prayer to the powers that be--God, destiny, what the fuck ever! A prayer that tomorrow might be different. That tonight maybe I wouldn’t have to feel my father sitting on the side of my bed and me staring at my wall clock pretending I was the second hand ticking away over the little lines in between the numbers. Imagining they were hurdles I could jump to slow down the monster that chased me.
* * *
When I awoke the next morning, I went in and sat with Mom who promptly pointed out how my girls sat up higher not because of the Doctor’s skill with a scalpel and their purple Sharpie pens but because I have a little spare tire, baby fat, she calls it.
“Thanks Mommy, have another Ativan and suck up some more Korbel” I said. Of course she replied in her usual non-verbal manner by slapping the living shit out of me. My mother was a woman of few words but she had a great left hook.
“Janet, Goddamn it! Don’t hit her face--you’ll leave bruises” my father grumbled as he walked into the room. Mom smiled drunkenly and held her glass up in acknowledgement.
“Don’t worry, Daddy,” I said, smoothing out my make up to cover the red marks, “my clown make up hides all our hideous little secrets, doesn’t it?” It felt good to walk out with the last word, slamming their door and hearing their angry protests as I walked down the hall to my cave.
I stood staring out the window at Lee whose idea of togetherness was him in driveway using Daddy’s tools and stroking his carburetor. “Cass, you can sit out here and hand me my tools, Baby”, he’d say. “No thanks. I wouldn’t want Christine to get jealous”.
Lee and I had been together for 2 years. He was making his way towards becoming the next Monster Garage Jesse James. There wasn’t anything with a motor he couldn’t fix. Too bad he couldn’t fix me...
Too bad he could stop me from doing what I did. Not that I regret leaving this life. What I regret is facing what I face now. Every moment dreading his coming. Every moment in the darkness wondering when the next horrid scene would begin and then when it would end. I knew in my bones I was going to be here for a long, long time. Wish I knew then what I know now (if I may be so cliché) and according to the Keeper, this is only the beginning.
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