I felt you. You are there. Whatever you are, you have managed to penetrate my protective barrier of clothing and invaded one of my two holy of holy places hovering between the inside material of my bra and my flesh.
I feel your every tiny movement. Each breath you take causes your body to press against mine. What are you? What six or eight legged little demon are you. I’m afraid to seek you out knowing that I must. Again you move. You’re waiting.
My hand lightly brushes against the outside of where you sit waiting to do me harm. I feel the hard shell of your form. Wait. Oh shit I forgot that I pulled my damn earpiece out while I was outside and didn’t have a pocket and slipped it in the only place I had to keep from laying the damn thing down and losing it. Damn.
No matter how hard you fight, sometimes you just can't win the battle. The small country store of the past is all but completely gone from our societies. Let's hope we don't forget what they once were and the importance they played in the lives of our long gone and too often forgotten relatives.
I looked at the last few remaining remnants of the old store they were tearing down. I glanced at my husband and saw the look on his face and I was unable to stop the tear that softly ran down my cheek. I knew his heart was breaking as was mine.
I had spent years listening to the stories revolving around that old majestic building and felt a knot build up in my stomach. The sweet wonderful man I was married to had tried to save the place but others had stood in his way at every turn.
I had been introduced to the store and the area around it over a quarter of a century ago. I had been listening to the stories for as long as well. No, not repeats of a few stories but hundreds of them. Some were so sad they would break your heart and others had left me laughing so hard it hurt. Each story had burned images in my brain that were like old movies that I often replayed in my head. Sometimes I would see or experience something that would set the mental projector running and off the images would go again. I would see the array of characters who walked in and out of the doors to this social and economic center of the area at one time. The little bits of life brought together in a kaleidoscope of color merging, blending, and then falling apart as new ones entered the doors of that store and others exited. Of course those stories had ended when the store closed its doors for the last time in the early seventies.
The store hadn’t just suddenly closed its doors one day because of some epic issue. No, it had died a slow and quiet death as more and more customers took their shopping to bigger and better places. As the roads improved and bigger and cheaper places opened in larger towns the small little country stores lost their place in our society. They couldn’t compete. Now the building that had once been the center of the social network was coming down piece by piece over several weeks and not with a big bang. It was like watching a loved one go slowly into that night.
“Let’s go.” My husband couldn’t stand to watch anymore and headed to the truck. I silently followed him and we turned toward home.
It was several months before we made our way back to the old store. Actually I should say to where the old store had been. Nothing, and I mean nothing remained. Not only had the store come down but all the wonderful trees, most over fifty years old and some a lot older. The tall straight persimmon trees that had been so prolific in the production of their fruit that had produced some of the sweetest nectar I had ever tasted were also gone. Now there was nothing but open plowed up dirt ready for planting. The grass and trees that had once graced that little corner of the small almost forgotten tiny town nothing more than a bittersweet memory. We didn’t even stop.
For those of you who might read this and think what a sad little story, for me and my husband, a heart breaking fact. I try to hold back the tears that come every time I think of what has been lost.
The way it was back in the thirties.
The way it was before it came down.
When I was in junior high, yes I was once that young, I experienced one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. It left a scar on my poor impressionable mind that has stuck with me over these many, to many for me to want to think about, years. I was at the tender age of fourteen and we all know what a difficult period that is in every human being’s life.
The walk to get from my home to school and back was a one way out and one way in type of thing at a certain point. By this I mean somewhere in between my home and my school you had to cross a major road. There was no way to avoid that. Even where you crossed it because of the way the roads were situated in that area unless you wanted to take a really long way around and the walk was long enough without adding to it. Now at this point somewhere the powers that be decided to build an express way that would cross over this major road so everything on both sides of the damn road was torn up. If you didn’t stay on the road itself you were walking in dirt pits and getting home dirty never went over well with our mothers when we were in our school clothes. Back then girls still had to wear dresses and look like proper little ladies. It has always baffled me a little how we could look like proper little ladies when miniskirts were the in fashion but, we were expected to. This was also the time when young ladies graduated from little girl flats to something more grown up like a higher heel. Yeah we looked like proper little ladies. I mean my daughter came out in a dress the other night that would almost give my miniskirts a run for its money and I almost told her to go back in and change and she is several years older than I was when this little incident happened, well over twenty one in fact. Tell me why the hell our mother’s didn’t tell us to go back in and change back then, wait, it’s because they were all wearing miniskirts. Don’t believe me? Go back and look at pics of your mothers, and if you’re young enough your grandmothers, and if they were under forty during the mid-sixties to early seventies I promise they had at least two of the things in their closets. You would not have been hard pressed to have found one or two of those short little skirts in the closets of even older women as well.
Now to really set the scene. After several days of pouring down rain the sun was shining brightly on this beautiful warm late April, yes I can remember the damn month, and all was right with the world. I’ve got my head in the clouds like most girls do at that age, probably thinking about one of the dingy pretty boys of that time hanging on my wall in my room and I’m totally oblivious to the world around me as I make my way home from school. I come to the street.
I at this point take my head out of the clouds and my ass to check the oncoming vehicles to assure my safe crossing of this very busy street. Remember once across I have to walk on the edge of this damn road. Remember the dirt pits I mentioned earlier? Along that road the powers that be have dug up everything to the very edge of the asphalt and there is about a one foot drop-off to the edge and those frigging dirt pits lay just below. This busy road has also been cut down to a two lane street from a four lane. Remember I said it had poured down rain for several days prior to this? Well those dirt pits are now a mud trap that would have stymied the most experienced off-roader, mudslinging, four wheel driver in the most advanced four wheel vehicle of this day and age. No this is not an exaggeration. Scene set. One little added thing or two here, remember my school clothes I mentioned? You can add to the fact I was a little better put together than most girls my age and didn’t look my age. No again not exaggerating just telling it like it was. I’ll get back to this, to what looks like I’m tooting my own horn, later.
I cross the road. No problem, I make it safely across and continue on my merry little way again with my head in the clouds and up my ass oblivious to the world. Do-di-do, do-di-do. I am keeping one eye on the oncoming traffic because I was smart enough to walk up that side so what was happening on the other side was not important. Not my smartest reasoning I must admit. The next thing I know I hear this loud battle cry and feel this horrific burning pain on the right cheek of my ass. As I jump three feet straight up in the air a convertible is passing me and trying to get back on his side of the road still bellowing out that cry of victory. I remember the man’s face to this day as he turned around to check out his conquered foe. Now of course what goes up must come down right? Well I came down all right but did I land back on the asphalt? Hell no. I landed on the side of the asphalt and sunk damn near to my knees in mud. Now if you think this couldn’t get any worse, boy are you wrong.
What goes with road construction? Construction workers of course and there was loads of them. As I struggled to get out of the muddy mess I found myself in I hear all the great big tough guys laughing while the only success I’m having in my predicament is to manage to sink even deeper in the mud. I’m now up to my knees and sinking deeper by the second. One of the laughing clowns realize evidently that I was good and truly stuck and came to pull me out while still laughing. He didn’t expect to walk up on what he did. With tears running down my dewy little cheeks on my face, I shouted at him it wasn’t funny. It was at this point I think he realized I was a lot younger than I looked and he stopped laughing.
“How old are you honey?” This very large man asked.
I told him my age and I don’t know if he signaled the other men working or what but the laughing all around stopped suddenly. This big mean man wrapped his arms around a very hurt child and told me in a very gentle voice to go on home and get cleaned up and he and the guys were sorry for laughing.
To this day I remember this event in my life with crystal clear clarity. Yes it was traumatic but looking back I have to say that it must have been the funniest thing those dear men had ever seen and I can see why. If I were standing there watching that scene unfold I would be laughing my once burning butt off too.
Back to the well-developed, very curvy, oversized top side of that young, impressionable fourteen year old. Remember ladies those lovely curves and other assets like all thing have to eventually give way to the laws of gravity and end up hitting your knees and or dragging the floor as times passes by. There is a price for everything.
As for that asshole who caused this whole traumatic experience? To this day I would still like to find and kill this…
Barbara stood looking over the rail of the bridge. The body of the young man who had been so full of life before now bobbed face down in the water below. She watched as the body began to drift down stream. Barbara stared at Mark as he drifted away, the tears still flowing from her eyes from earlier rolled off her cheeks and fell into the muddy water below. He looked like a rag doll that had been discarded by some child who no longer wanted it.
When Barbara had walked up on to the bridge a while ago Mark had been fishing on the other side of the river and looked up and waved at her. He had always been nice to her and had even kept other kids at school from picking on her. She had been in love with Mark for a long time but had been afraid to tell him. When she had broken her leg last year Mark had come by to check on her and even brought her flowers, well he had brought her a rose. That had to mean he felt something for her didn’t it? Today she decided to tell him she was in love with him. Surely he would see that he was in love with her as well.
She had gone over and poured out her heart to him. She told him how she felt and what he meant to her. The response she’d gotten was not what she had expected.
Mark had at first simply stared at her then he did the worst thing he could have, he laughed at her. She had been crushed. The tears had burned trails down her cheeks. How could she have been so wrong about him? How could he hurt her this way? She felt her heart shatter in a million pieces in that moment. More than the pain Barbara felt pure anger and in a way she had never felt it before.
Barbara started running back toward the bridge. She heard Mark calling her name as if in a panic. He was chasing her trying to stop her, he must have thought she was going to jump.
The rage she felt had swelled up and now wanted to be unleashed. Barbara stopped suddenly in the middle of the bridge and turned quickly. As Mark came running toward her she put up her arms and pushed him as hard as she could toward the side of the bridge. Mark was taken by surprise and stumbled backwards. He was close enough to the side of the bridge that the railing caught him just below the middle of his back and he lost his balance and went over the side.
Barbara stepped over quickly to the side and looked over in time to see Mark hit his head on one of the pilings of the bridge before hitting the water below then sink down below the murky surface of the river then bobbing up. The blood from the crushed side of his face mixing with the water around him and turning it a pinkish grey. She wondered why if she had loved this boy why she didn’t feel it now. All she was feeling was, good. Barbara straightened up and turned back in the same direction she had come. She would never tell what happened today. It was too embarrassing, besides why should she go to jail because Mark had been mean?
She had wanted to end things with dignity. She had wanted them to end on her terms. She had deserved that much but he hadn’t allowed it. He had done everything he could to stop the divorce. It didn’t matter that he was the one who had been caught having an affair and still was. He had refused to let her go and done everything he could to make it as messy as he possibly could.
Rita stood up and went to the kitchen to wash her hands and get herself a drink. It was hard not knowing what to do from this point on. He had made everything so damn hard. Well she would make him pay for it.
Rita hoped she had gotten everything right. She knew it was iffy but she had done the research. Oh not on any computer in her home but in libraries and random places throughout the city. It hadn’t been easy but she had bought what she had begun to think of as throw away computers at pawn shops and online. She had managed to never use her own name and had set up several false profiles on the internet. Was it perfect? Of course not, no crime every really was, but if you were careful enough, diligent enough, and did everything you could to get it right you might get lucky. That was what she was hoping for here.
Going back into the bedroom she lay down next to her husband’s body. She didn’t bother to look at him and she knew she wouldn’t disturb him. Hell nothing was going to disturb him now.
She had positioned his laptop on the nightstand on his side of the bed. It was important that it be seen as soon as possible. She had used the time he had spent with his whore to plant evidence of internet searches. Around her friends she had taken on the personal of a concerned wife who was not only worried about her husband’s state of mind but even letting them believe she was concerned for her own safety. She had done everything she could think of to lead law enforcement to her husband.
Taking a deep breath Rita picked up his hand with the gun resting in it. She positioned the gun and his hand next to her head and slipped her thumb into the guard of the trigger over his index finger. Lifting the gun slightly she fired the gun letting the bullet pass over her and hitting the wall just past her.
Now came the tricky part. She had to do the next shot in a way that the gun would fall back and land next to his body making it look like he had shot himself. This had been the hardest part, doing the research on how guns might fall when a person shot themselves. She had to get this one just right.
She looked around the room to make sure she hadn’t forgotten anything then positioned herself so she was facing her husband. She had faked a fall earlier to give her an opportunity to scratch the dead bastard lying next to her so his blood and skin was under her nails. She had been walking toward him and he did what she hoped he would and reached out to catch her. Rita had taken that moment to reach out and drag her nails down his forearms.
Rita picked his hand up again and pointed the gun at the center of her forehead. Placing both hands on the gun so there would be blow back on both she took one last deep breath and just before pulling the trigger the last thing she thought was I hope this works.
It was a couple of days before both bodies were found. The deaths were ruled as a murder suicide. Although there were a few strange things to the scene it was ultimately ruled that the husband killed his wife. It was obvious from the scratch marks on her husband that she had put up a fight. There were even bruise marks on the wife’s upper arms where the bastard must have grabbed her.
It didn’t take long to fill in the whole story. The husband had been caught in an affair and when his wife filed for divorce he had evidently fought it and finally decided to end both his and his wife’s life.
I really do love my husband. He is, for the most part, a wonderful man who I wouldn't trade for anything. Over the many years we have been together he has spoiled me rotten. Buddy is a loving, usually thoughtful, compassionate, caring, intelligent, interesting, handsome, even tempered companion. Did you pick up on that people? No? Reread it. Did you catch it this time? Still haven't seen it? Read it one more time. OK, OK I'll tell you.
It's the usually thoughtful part, the key word being usually. So what has the asshole done? I'm going to tell you.
I had managed to catch just about every winter time scourge you can imagine all at one time. Another words I was sick as a dog and contagious. Now we have a routine that pretty much every Saturday we meet one or more of our daughters for lunch. One of the said daughters was in her third trimester of her second pregnancy. On this day we would have been meeting two of our daughter, the third had to work, the two that would have been there both had small children under two. So me going to lunch with them that day was definitely out of the question. When the final plans were made Buddy was away from the house that morning and he called me to let me know what was happening. OK he could go, I couldn't, and everyone knew this, so all was good. All was good that is until I asked him to bring me something back. That's when things went to hell in a hand-basket at a thousand miles an hour.
Instead of him going OK sweetheart, or whatever little endearment that he might've call me, what do you want me to bring back for you, he screwed up big time. After waiting a few seconds he lets out this exasperated sigh and in a slightly gruff voice asked what do you want. Now I suspect he may have been coming down with the same crap I had and probably didn't feel too well himself but I did have the crud and I damn sure didn't feel real well. Hell I was one step away from going totally crazy.
I told him never mind, don't worry about it.
He started with what do you...but again I told him to forget it and hung up on him.
I was mad.
Shortly after that he walked in the door with that usual cute little boy look and the first thing he ask is what do you want me to bring back for you. I told him not a damn thing. What transpired after that you would have to know Buddy and me to get a good picture but I'll try and convey it as best as I can.
Buddy has a way of getting back on my good side pretty quick when I get mad at him. He can drop that head of his and look at me with those beautiful blue eyes through mile long eyelashes and in the cutest little boy voice you ever heard go, whaaat. Yes he drags out the what. Now if that doesn't quite work he will then get close to me and nudge me in this really adorable way and continued with the whaaat. Usually by this time my resolve is close to breaking and he knows a couple more cute little things and I'll capitulate and he has me smiling. Not this time. I don't know if it was because I felt so bad or what but it wasn't working. Instead as he stood over me, I was sitting on the couch, as he continued to try and win me over I did something I have never done with him before. I looked at the poor man with the kind of dead cold look I have never directed at him before and simply saying. "I'm not in the mood." If you could have seen the look on his face you would understand why I felt so bad later. Oh he tried to tell me that he was kidding, he wasn't which made me even madder because he was lying to me and he should have known I would see right through him.
Poor man remained quiet as a mouse while he finished getting ready to meet the girls. Yes I know he was being a jerk and I had every right to be pissed at him but come on people did you read the rest of the description? He really is all those things and I've just busted the poor man's bubble. It is rare that I get mad at him and even rarer that I stay mad longer than a few minutes. I have never in all the years I've known the man have I shot him down like that. He made me feel like the Red Baron and he was Snoopy and I just shot him down dead. Anyway before he walked out the door he pulled me to him and gave me a big hug and told me he was sorry he shouldn't have acted like he did.
So what's the point to this whole drawn out story? My husband acted like a total jerk but I'm the one who feels like an ass. Go figure. Damn that man is good.
Yes I got my lunch and it was wonderful. God love him.
The young girl sat quietly playing with something so intently she didn’t hear the man coming up behind her. She cooed to the object that had her so completely lost in her endeavors.
“Now sit up straight baby, you’re making it hard for me to dress you.” She continued to fumble with the little outfit as she was attempting to manipulate the stiff little limbs of the baby doll she was trying to dress.
The man watched the child silently and was in awe of the almost quiet calm she portrayed. She had been missing for hours. He didn’t understand how she could have possibly gotten this far back into the woods by herself but she did appear to be alone. People had been searching everywhere around the area trying to find her. At least this one is turning out OK he thought.
“I swear you just won’t do anything you should to help. My mommy is always saying that children are more trouble than they are worth.”
The little girl appeared to slap her doll and the man winced at the force of the blow she had delivered to the doll. It made him wonder what type of home life the child had and if her actions were any indication of what she suffered at home. If so then he thought he understood why she had come up missing. It would certainly explain her disappearance. She was trying to escape from an unhappy and possibly abusive home life.
“There now, isn’t that much better? See how much easier it is when you behave like a good little girl and make things easier for me?” The little girl tried to set her doll up in front of her but couldn’t quite get the doll to bend her little legs.
The man hadn’t yet gotten a good look at the doll because he had stopped a short way from the child. He hadn’t wanted to startle her and the child’s back was to him. Now he proceeded to approach the child and called her by name.
“Macy.” The man gently spoke her name.
The little girl didn’t even flinch when she heard her name being called from behind.
“Yes?” Macy turned her head to face the man who had called to her. She looked at the man and when she saw he was a policeman she smiled at him.
“Are you OK honey?” The officer had slowly closed the distance between him and the young girl.
“Yes, I’m just playing with my new baby doll. Do you want to see her?” Macy reach to pick up the doll in front of her to show the officer.
“Sure, I would love…” The officer didn’t finish his sentence as Macy brought the doll up for him to see. His mind tried hard to keep him from screaming as it tried to process what he was seeing. The man’s brain wanted to refuse what his eyes were telling him. He knew that he hadn’t found just one of the two missing children from the same neighborhood, he had found both. The tiny newborn’s head was twisted at an odd angle and the little half opened eyes would never completely open or close on their own again.
“You want to play with us?” Macy said as she struggled to stand up and lift the dead weight of the lifeless newborn infant.
The officer was having trouble remaining on his feet. He had never before in his life felt more alone and afraid as he did right then staring into the eyes of this five year old child.
“Mommy says children are more trouble than they’re worth but I don’t think so, do you?” The little girl giggled as she threw the tiny little corpse into the air and let it fall.
Well this was it. Last one. Lilly didn’t know why she had been born the way she was but like all the women in her family before her, she had. They were different. Nine lives. She wasn’t immortal nor superhuman, well that wasn’t completely true. Her vision was a cut above regular people with acute night vision and she had a sense of hearing that literally allowed her to hear the footsteps of the stealthiest creature. She also could slip up on almost anyone without them knowing she had entered a room and truth be told she could read people. Oh not their minds, but them. She could sense what kind of a person someone was and she could pick up on their moods quickly. If you thought of those things, then yes maybe she was a bit of a superhuman.
Right now she would trade it all for one more life. Selfish she knew. She had been born with nine and here she was wanting one more. All the others who had gone before her had probably wished for the same thing when they were facing the last one.
Usually when one of your lives ended you had no way of knowing it until it happened. Rarely did you know full well that this was it. One life down. Lilly knew without a doubt that she was not only about to lose one, she was losing the last one. It sucked.
Oh well, it was getting harder and harder to forge a new life as time went on. The world had changed since she had been born. She had lost her first life in seventeen eighty during the American Revolution. Boy that one had sucked wind. That one had come at the blade of a Hessian mercenary. He had caught her slipping away from a British camp where she had been gathering information for the revolutionaries. The up side to that she guessed was she was the only person still alive who had met George Washington in person, she couldn’t admit it to anyone, but she had met him.
She thought about that bastard who had slid his sword into her body. It hadn’t been a killing blow. No she had lain on the frozen snow covered ground for quite a while spilling her blood out on the cold hard surface beneath her. She would love to find that asshole and dig him up and kill him like he had intended for her to die. Of course she didn’t actually die, but still. That was damn painful and she had lain on the frozen ground for over twenty four hours before she was able to finally get up and make it back to her side. That had taken some tall explanations on her part. What she hadn’t told anyone was what that bastard had done to her before he left her to die. No that had stay buried inside her.
The second hadn’t been any better, just not as demoralizing or quite as painful. She had gone down in the middle of the Atlantic when she had been returning to the US to start yet another identity. She had actually lost consciousness with that one. She was in the water floating for days before she washed up on a sandy beach in the Caribbean. After that each life ending came more quickly. Two in eighteen seventy six one in Philadelphia and the other in California, the one in nineteen sixteen in France, then in Belgium in nineteen forty three, of course that one in Mexico in nineteen seventy three, and the second to the last in Canada. That last one had been the hardest to come back from. Oh not the losing the life but the whole identity change thing. That had taken some real work.
You would have thought she would have learned to pick occupations that didn’t involve a lot of risk. Oh no, not her. She had become a fucking cop. Yep a cop. Now here she was pinned down and to her it didn’t look like there was going to be anyway out of this one. She was pinned down and her partner was on the ground bleeding to death. He may not have been laying on a frozen ground but it brought back memories of her first life loss. Any moment her exposed partner could take another round and that would be it. Oh hell you have to go sometime and the poor smuck had only been given one and if there was a chance he could live out a long full life for a normal person then he should have that chance.
She could hear off in the distance the sound of the siren of her backup. They would never make it in time to save her partner should he get hit again. Lilly took a deep breath and made a run for her partner.
Crime has been on the rise all throughout our little town. Most of my neighbors have been complaining a lot about the problem but none of them seem to know what to do. True several have been the unfortunate victims of break-ins and one poor old man was even killed during a home invasion. They have taken notice that the crime rate in our little community has gone down, a lot.
They don’t seem to wonder why the crime has gone down around us and I guess it’s best if no one ask too many question, you know the old ‘don’t look a gift horse in the mouth’ thing. I personally don’t really like to talk about it. When someone breaks into my home they will find me here and ready to defend myself and my home.
Of course this makes for a messy situation if you do have to protect yourself. I mean it’s unlikely that once someone breaks in they will simply turn around and leave especially if the person confronting them is some old lady, so what do you do?
I just wish people would learn to read, it would save me so much time and energy if they did. After all, I did post a sign.