Flash Fiction - The Indian Princess
The screaming started again. Every night I can hear her scream. It only lasts for a little while then she is silent. She screams while he beats her then it stops. I put the pillow over my head but it does no good. He pummels her for no reason and she has no defense. They are my mother and father. He hates her and I don't know why. He hates me because I was born a girl. I guess he hates all women because of the things his mother did to him.
My mother never complains. The next morning when I come down for breakfast she has purple bruises on her arms and an eye swollen shut, but she says nothing. He eats and leaves without a word in my direction. I prefer it that way.
She goes to the front of the house and watches him drive away. I know he is gone when I can no longer hear the muffler's loud noise. As soon as its quiet she comes back into the room. "Hurry Mandy, get dressed" I always hurry but there seems to be more urgency in her voice today. She follows me upstairs and gets dressed herself. As soon as we are both dressed she hands me a backpack. "Put this on. We're leaving him and this house of horror."
I don't know what to say. Can it be true? Is it really over? She has all the plans made. She bought a burner phone so it couldn't be traced and called an old friend in New York. We leave quickly and drive to the bus stop. It's a long drive to Buford Highway but its the nearest bus stop. I won't be sorry to leave Georgia. There are no happy memories here for me.
Somehow she saved the money for the tickets, sixty dollars for her and fifty for me. That's a lot of money but I don't care, we're leaving. We'll arrive in New York tomorrow. There are only two stops till we get to Canal Street in New York. Even though I slept all night I find myself dozing on and off during the bus ride. She doesn't say a word. I can see the fear etched in her face. This is her last resort.
When we arrive in New York City it is a whole different world to me. There are people on every square inch of land! Her friend is there to meet us. She is so different from my mother. She is dressed in a pair of neat black slacks with a gray sweater. Her black shoes have little peep holes in them and her hair is pulled back in the neatest ponytail I've ever seen! Its very long and shiny black. Next to her my poor mother looks so dowdy in her house dress, rumpled hair and black eye.
It doesn't matter though. There are hugs and tears all around. They are both genuinely happy to see each other. There's lots of grown up talk about him as we walk to a subway station. I've never been down in the ground before and I certainly can't identify the smell. People pushing people and rushing to places unknown. No one notices this strange trio. When our ride is finished we exit the subway into a cleaner world. Its a place called Queens.
After we leave the subway we head to Alissa's house. There aren't many trees here and the houses are close together. It isn't as crowded as it was in the City but there are more people about than there would be in our home in Georgia. We walk for a while and finally reach her house. Its a nice little house with a small patch of grass and a large maple tree in front. Alissa lives on the third floor.
Once we are in and settled Alissa says she has a present for me. She gives me a box and tells me to open it. Inside is the most beautiful Indian Princess doll I have ever seen. Truth be known, I haven't seen many dolls as I wasn't allowed to have any "girly" things. The beauty of this doll takes my breath away. I thank Alissa and tell her I will treasure it always. I am sleepy now and Alissa shows me to my new room. I take my Indian Princess and head for bed.
I woke up to someone talking to me yet when I looked around the room it was dark and there was no one there. I heard a voice again. It said, "Don't fret little one. The Great Spirit has sent me to comfort you." I realized it was Princess talking to me. She told me she was the princess daughter of one Chief Wissinoming, the noble leader of the Minisink. She told me of their home and the Dutch coming to their land. She explained how she met the man she loved, a Dutch explorer named Hendric Von Allen. She was well loved by her own people and the new Dutch settlers and Von Allen was a handsome and considerate man a match made by the Great Spirit.
When her father died the Great Spirit told her she must look out for her people no matter the cost. He promised her it would always be her job to look out for others. When she and Von Allen met for their final rendezvous they accidentally fell to their death at the Delaware Water Gap. The Great Spirit took her spirit and placed it into princess doll. Just as she had helped her people when she was alive, she was now to help whoever came into possession of her new doll person. When she found one who truly needed her she would be theirs until the Great Spirit guided them home together.
She knew about my troubled life and my horrible father. She knew about my sad mother and how hurt she had been. She wanted to keep me company since I had never really had any. We spent many nights talking and learning about each other. When the sun came up my princess was again just a doll.
Months went by and our friendship grew. My mother became happier and more content in her new home. Things went well until the day he rang the doorbell. He had been searching for us and somehow had found our trail and wound up here in Queens. Mommy, princess and I were the only ones home when he came. She had to let him in because he was making such a racket.
"You took something from me woman and I want it back!" She was stunned at the words. She took nothing of his. "Mandy is mine and I want her now", he spat the words in my mother's face. He was angry and walking towards my mother, as he grabbed her by the neck Princess and I came into the room. I looked at him with all the hate I could muster. The normal fear I would feel was not there, Princess gave me courage and looking him in the eye I walked over to the window. As I looked out of the window I knew this was the end for Princess and me. I opened the window and together we went to meet the Great Spirit.
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