Old Man Tucker has lived a rather ominous life trailed by disaster and solitude. Not once in his 63 years has he felt whole and at peace. He knew even if he lived 63 more years he would never find it.
The misspent youth and long-term alcohol abuse have taken its toll on his aging body and he could feel it. He thinks back to that ever faithful phrase that he would gleefully spit at friends who would warn him about his fast-paced life. “Slow down Dan. One day you will kill yourself.” They would tell him. He would reply, “Everyone dies one day.”
How ironic, he doesn’t want to go this way. He is still in his right mind but no one could understand him through the heavy Slur that 40 years of drinking gave him. HIs liver was only days away from giving out and if only he could stop the tremors….there is nothing he hates more than not having control over his own body.
At least being bedridden in the hospital has perks like his morphine drip. It has become his family and his only comfort these days. He never slowed down enough in life to have an actual family and looking back now he sort of regrets it. Kind of, but deep down inside he can’t deny that he would have been a lousy father and husband. Although it would be nice to not die alone the fact is we are born alone and we return to whence we came the same way. He finds comfort in telling himself that.
Alas, Old Man Tucker will play the last hand of cards that life has dealt him. As the morphine kicks in again he drifts off into the unknown. He accepts that he may not wake up, this is something he understands. He wonders what kind of imbibement the hereafter will offer him….. He will find out soon enough.
He began his explanation, “All modern humans that live here in this dimension ‘Earth’ are actually……..”
“…..halfbreeds.” Somewhere down the line one entity from a realm came together with another and had offspring. The beings in each realm have special abilities, we will call them strengths. Eventually, the offspring, half-breeds, made their own home….. Earth. There are still many purebred lines in each realm but they are thinning out. He knew his explanation was still confusing and did not make much sense but you have to start somewhere and getting her to believe him was not a top priority. Nate was just enjoying being able to talk to someone.
Elysia is his home and nothing would ever change that. He knew going back was not an option but he will forever think of the beautiful golden fields and endless sunlight, he would never see a sight like that again and certainly not in this realm. In Elysia, they could grow any and all plants. Their strength lies within the land and they are to always protect it. No plant ever died in their care and they thrived being in the sunlight and within the fields. The thought of home almost made Nate homesick but he had no time for that now.
Ivy listened intently but still could not believe what he was saying. She figured he was either messing with her or certifiably looney. Either way, this was better than being at home or alone out here for the millionth time. What really was her Expectation? She sat to talk with him knowing he was not right mentally. He didn’t seem unusual, inhuman, or superhuman. No, he actually reminded her of Lance, the star of the local Lacrosse Club. Well-built and athletic, that is what she saw when she looked at Nate. She saw a little crazy in him but he was not physically abnormal. “So where are your parents? Do you have parents?” she asked. “Yes, I have parents everyone does, right?” he said as he stopped and stared blankly into the woods, deep in thought.
“My dad, Xavier, and my mother, Hea, are back at home in Elysia with my brother Dimitri and sisters Nera and Phaedra. I had to leave because I am being accused of a forbidden crime. Well, it is forbidden in Elysia but here you may think it is nothing out of the ordinary.” he answered.
“What was it? You know, What did you do?” she responded.
Nate wondered if he should divulge his past and then realized he had nothing to lose by conversating with this girl so he began. “Nera was set to marry, Lethe, our district leader and I………….
TO BE CONTINUED!
To Tremble is second nature and Samantha knew that. She hid as quiet as she could behind the old sofa that smelled of cigarettes and spoiled milk. He would pass out soon and she would be able to leave. Being only 14, she was doing the best she could. Her father wasn’t a bad man but he was a man who had many demons. When she was younger he was a lot different, more involved. As the years passed and she got older she realized it was all a farce. He put on an act and only showed what he thought people needed to see. Behind closed doors, however, things were very different.
She did not have the happy childhood that her parents tried to portray to everyone. At this point, there was no pretending. Her mom couldn’t take it anymore and left 3 years ago. Samantha and her brother were left with their dad. They hadn’t seen their mom since she abandoned them. She did call them on occasion send them letters with money in the mail. That made up for nothing, if anything, it made Samantha more resentful. Her older brother, Ethan, was 16 when their mom left and he moved out shortly after.
Warren, her dad, found no reason to hide his drinking problem anymore. Especially since he had gotten into a work accident 6 months ago. No, things only got worse. Instead of coming home after work and partaking, he did it all day. By the time she got off of the bus he was usually passed out and an hour after that, he would wake and the cycle of incessant drinking would begin again.
He would yell, he would stumble, he would fall, he would get up, call her nasty names, and this was her life. He never hurt her physically but with all of the verbal abuse, she did not escape unharmed. Her days were spent hiding until she knew he was passed out. She did this to avoid the never ending insults that he would hurl at her when he blacked out.
She hid until she heard the faint sound of his snoring. She would calm down eventually once she got out of this cursed house. She walked out to the porch and down the old concrete stairs. She knew she would be back in a few hours but she welcomed just a little harmony in her life if only for a few hours.
That moment when you wake but you are not awake. The terror that rises within you is swelling. You know this feeling, you now clearly identify it. You tell yourself, “It is okay you are asleep and this is a dream.” In reality, you know this is something else but it is not real all the same. The feeling of panic is there and you feel as if something is creeping toward you. You want to scream but you tried that scenario before and nothing came out. You try so hard to open your eyes and they just will not work and it feels like you are using all of your might just to crack them slightly.
It will trick you and you will think everything is okay but as you drift back off that sudden rush of panic enters again and you are lost within your own mind. Something is there and you just want to scream, “Let’s get it over with!” You mentally scream this while trying to open your eyes because you feel something unpleasant is coming to get you. You know you are sleeping but you are in a twilight haze. This feels too real to be a dream but it has to be, essentially it is. At least that is what they say.
Eventually, things escalate and you feel a presence standing over you. The fear is so terrible it is indescribable. You never see exactly what it is but you do feel it. You feel it coming far before you feel it standing over you. If you’re lucky then you won’t see the shadow. The shadow is terrifying.
You get to where you dread to sleep. You could experience this every night or once every other year. No matter how many times it is you never forget that feeling. It is almost as if you can sense it is going to happen days in advance. Maybe it really is something sinister. One never knows but what I do know is, it doesn’t feel like a dream and the fear is very real.
Sleep paralysis at its finest.
Maria never thought she would stay in Walker’s Court, it was the epitome of poor living in her small hometown. No, she always thought that she would escape and go on to do better things in life. History has a way of repeating itself and like her mother, Maria had her first daughter at 15 years old. She knew she would never see anything outside of Chapman City Limits the day she took that pregnancy test. She is 25 now with 3 children, living in government housing, not where she wanted to be at 25. She has seen things in Walker’s Court that most only see on the true crime documentaries. People being shot, stabbed, beaten, and raped. That is leaving out all of the drug activity she witnesses on a daily basis. None of that would prepare her for what she encountered her first day of being a housekeeper.
She answered an ad that read, “Elderly couple seeking housekeeper. 5 days a week. Great pay. Contact Glorie 555-543-2121.” She called the number and spoke with a sweet sounding older lady who explained the couple’s plight. They were both in their 80’s and had been married for 60 years. Both of their children had passed already and they were having trouble keeping up with their everyday housework. Her husband was bedridden and had been for the past 4 years. Maria felt terrible for the nice older woman. She was asked to come to Glorie’s home to meet her and see if she felt capable of taking on the task of being the housekeeper.
Maria arrived at the address she was given and was greeted by a very large and intimidating Victorian home. She knocked on the door. No answer. She tried again and finally, after about 5 minutes the door creaked open and a cute 5-foot tall white-haired lady answered, “Well, hello dear you must be Maria.”Maria replied, “Yes Ma’am and you must be Mrs. Glorie.” The elderly lady smiled and nodded. They proceeded through a grand foyer with 20 ft ceilings and into a parlor room. The parlor looked like it had not been touched since 1920. The room had nothing of modern time in it. All of the antiques looked brand new and this intrigued Maria. She figured the couple must be antique collectors.
Maria listened intently at Glorie went through the list of the day-to-day tasks that would need to be done. It was all the normal household chores. Dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, and etc… The pay was going to be $5000 a week. Maria almost had a fainted at this number. She could not wrap her mind around why it would be worth that much to an elderly couple to keep their home in order. She hesitated to even ask. One thing that did strike her as odd is Glorie did not even mention her husband’s name. Maria asked, “So what about your husband? I know you said he was bedridden.” Glorie all of a sudden paused and a blank look crossed her face. “Oh, John? He had a stroke 4 years ago and till this day remains in bed. He is only to be bothered by me, but thank you for asking.” This seemed like a short, straight to the point answer and needed no further explaining. “So you will start tomorrow?” Glorie asked. “Sounds good,” Maria replied.
She would never forget her first and Last day working for Glorie and John. She reported in at 7 am and everything went smoothly until about 4 pm. She had about 3 hours left until she would be off. She was going to give this job her all because the money was more than she would make anywhere else, ever, and would possibly be her ticket out of Walker’s Court. She was cleaning upstairs when a repugnant scent entered her nose. It smelled of death. She followed her nose to where she thought it was coming from. Mrs. Glorie was downstairs reading in the parlor and she did not want to disturb. She stood outside 2 large wooden doors and knew instantly that this is where the aroma was drifting from. She hesitated but entered the room anyway. It was so dark and the smell was overwhelming. Maria turned and quickly retreated from the room. She fumbled for her cell phone so she could access the flashlight on it. She prepared herself to bear that repulsive smell once more and reentered the room, flashlight in hand. She scanned the room with her light and saw that this was a bedroom. She could see someone or something on the bed. The 20-foot walk from the door to the bed was a horrific one. The smell grew with each step. She could only see the top of a head so she slowly pulled the covers back while asking, “Are you okay?” She was already pretty sure this situation was grim. As the covers peeled back so did the flesh on Mr. John’s face, well, what was left of his face. The smell that escaped from the covers made Maria instantly vomit.
At that moment she looked up and saw Glorie standing in the doorway. “I said he had a stroke dear and hadn’t left bed since. Did you think he was alive?” Maria looked at her in shock, she had no words to say. She immediately bolted and called the police. At the very least Mrs. Glorie must not be in her right mind, living with her dead husband’s corpse for 4 years. The police did a welfare check as Maria waited across the street by her car. They came out and thanked her for calling them and they found both bodies. They must have been deceased for years judging by the decay. Maria protested but knew not to protest too much as she did not want to seem crazy herself. She just was in shock at this point and was trying to wrap her mind around everything. Perhaps Glorie was not the sweet old lady she thought maybe she murdered her husband and someone else.
Maria went home and sat in her old plaid chair. She watched the news that night and saw the story. “Elderly couple deceased for years discovered in abandoned home. Autopsies are pending.” She just stared at the T.V. and thought out loud, “Nothing stays Clean in the slums of Hell, but I’d rather be here in Walker’s Court, than anywhere near that house.”
Are we Simple or complex? I would like to think that we are all complex beings. I’m not referring to someone’s vanity or intelligence. Im referring to depth. There was a time when I thought we all were mostly simple self-absorbed people who go through life not worrying about anyone but ourselves. To be truthful, there are a lot of people who appear to have no care about others. In reality though things are quite different. If you take time to slow your pace and go “people watching” you will get to witness people being real and you will see depth of character in the small things they do. Minimal acts of kindness. Yes there are a few who won’t meet that criteria at that exact moment but at some point throughout their day they will do something for someone else. Something selfless that no one may see. The business man rushing to work who stops to help the older lady who lost her wedding ring. In this he loses track of time and is late. The child who picks a flower for her mother. The mail person who takes the mail to the door because they know the resident can’t make it to the mailbox easily. The people who say hello to strangers in passing. Little things do add up. Every time I find myself observing others in social settings it gives me a little hope for all of us. I see true depth in everyone now. We just have our own unique way of presenting it.
Delaney opened her eyes as much as she could muster. She could see some sort of light but knew there was something covering her head and she was tied to a sort of table. Where was she? What happened? The last thing she recalled was getting off of work and walking to her car. She felt so disoriented. Being a pharmacist she knew instantly that she must have been drugged. With what, she had no idea. “Think, Think, Think” she said to herself.
She heard a creaking sound and could sense another being in the room with her. As the aroma of soured milk and cigarettes began filling her nose she wanted to gag. Thank goodness she did not because right now whoever came in does not know she is awake yet. She had no idea where she was or who she was with.
She could make out a large shadow. Shuffling around the room. She assumed she had an old potato sack on her head due to the fact she could faintly see between the fibers. At this point she wished her eyes were duct taped shut so she did not know what was going on. She could tell the figure was pacing the length of the small room. At one point she stilled herself as she felt heavy breathing on the sack covering her head. The smell was of old rotted meat and this time she did gag.
“Oh you are a dainty one.”
The old coarse voice that smelled of rotten meat said. She then heard the sound of metal. Like silverware clanking together. She could tell the voice was talking but to who? Oh it must be to himself. How strange….or was it? “What happened?” she thought to herself. She remembers a small flash of being grabbed and having some wet fabric put over her face. “Yes, Okay Im getting somewhere,” she thought to herself.
Just then she felt sweaty cold hands touch her leg and something being placed around her big toe. “What is he doing? A foot fetish? Oh, god if I survive this I promise I will…..”
Was the sound that echoed through the room followed by Delaney’s high-pitched screech.
The voice began to sing, “Nine toes, nine toes. Just nine pretty little toes left.”
This weeks photo challenge made me instantly think of this photo. Graceful