As many of you know, I’ve been writing a book for four long years. On and off, between projects I’ve revisited its contents. As a matter of fact, I’ve rewritten the first six chapters half a dozen times; I’m not even lying about that, it’s sickening actually.
So when am I going to publish? Soon. Very soon. I have people who ask to read it, well… um, no. Because then you won’t buy it, silly fool. Anyway, here’s a couple chapters. You’ll likely be partially lost. But here’s a peek into my two most recent chapters. The main character is very loosely based on my past life when I was a victim of domestic violence. Some of the tales being true, others embellished to contribute to the fun that is fiction.
Top that all off…she becomes a serial murderer, a delightful journey I promise you. Nearing 100,000 words and currently working on Chapter 18. My outline has me going upwards around 20 chapters, and I’m conflicted. Per usual. Ahhhhh, never mind, just read it and share your thoughts if you like. -B
PS. the formatting is off. not to worry my book will have paragraph breaks and they will not be quite so long. meh… just fucking read it.
Chapter 16 – Glass of Whiskey.
“Nothing was ever so unfamiliar and startling to a man as his own thoughts.” – Henry David Thoreau
When I arrived home as I ascended my front staircase, the ominous clang of my grandfather clock rang as heat hissed from the old steel radiators and both sounded in unison through my eerily still home. In my living room I found Nikki, my nanny, asleep on the couch with Anthony nestled near her feet. The DVD played the opening menu of an animated movie on a continuous loop, and despite the flickering incessant glare which blasted from the screen across the dark room, they slept so deep and peacefully. I tiptoed across the room in my muddy blood slicked boots to turn off the television and covered them both with a blanket.
When I looked down to release my backpack onto the kitchen table, I watched my hands shake for several minutes until I was completely unnerved. I grasped them and pulled them close to my chest in an attempt to ease the panic that seemed to grasp my mind and body. Peering down at the specks of blood that covered my fingers and knuckles, I then noticed the deep maroon blotches that seeped into the crevices of my dry, and badly cracked skin.
I had desperately scrubbed my hands for days thereafter, yet his blood remained for one very long week and had eventually turned a gruesome dark brown. Inside my palms the cracks formed a macabre maze of blackened gore with a subtle purplish hue. This was a reminder of the indescribable horror that glared from behind that boy’s thin yellow eyes. Then there was the grief when I remembered the shame that consumed that pitifully curled up young man. That young man who cried like a baby on the slick blood drenched sidewalk.
The blood that remained for days reminded me of my fleeting sanity, how he made me feel in that moment; as though I had completely lost all reason. Despite my having soothed myself that evening with those two remaining glasses of wine, my sleep was consistently disrupted with those prickling thoughts. That night I sat in my large plush armchair, with my wet blood speckled boots propped atop my fluffy ottoman. It was there I fell asleep as I was hypnotized by the glow of the moon. I remember the moon reminded me of a large bowl of glowing milk, and with each sip of wine it grew and appeared as though it had spilled into my room.
Only I didn’t realize my eyes had slowly begun to close, but was very aware once the glass I held tipped and spilled a healthy dose of wine onto my lap. Originally I had planned to fall asleep with the day’s clothes still covering my back, only I had to shower since the wine now gradually funnelled into my crotch and soaked me down to the skin.
That night I slid into my shower as a dense mushroom cloud of steam billowed around me, and I was comfortably cradled by its warmth as I watched its thin streaks slink out my slightly cracked bathroom window. I could feel the cool of the night air tickle the back of my neck with its fingers through warm steam. I remember stubbornly sitting beneath the shower until it eventually felt like marble sized balls of ice bombarding my skull. Then the pervasive chill made me move quicker than normal, as I hurriedly made my way to the comfort of my warm bed in my loosely tightened housecoat.
I laid there shivering as I pulled the thick comforter and allowed it to twist erratically through my limbs. It would always give me great pleasure when I lunged my body wildly across the bed, the very bed that was once “ours”. It was truly an exquisite sensation to kick my legs beneath the covers like a giant pair of scissors, and to hear the sheet’s melodic swishes which served to remind me that Alex was forever gone. As the subtle haze of wine slowly waned I feverishly brushed my feet together to warm them and it was then I noticed my teeth chattered so much that my temples seemed to swell, and my body ached from shaking.
A luscious wave of Egyptian cotton thrust a sweet smell of lilac toward my face and I smiled. I smiled because I was free. I was free to enjoy the simple pleasure of fabric softener without having to listen to that prick complain about how it irritated his skin. Take that, shithead…
Only I was so restless that night, and with the wine wearing off the reality of my day had begun to again creep in and left me feeling sullen. Those moments of unadulterated bliss seemed to dissipate when visions haunted me of that boy’s trembling pimple laden chin as he fought back tears from his sorrowful eyes. I laid there and stared at the ceiling, there was a large crack that ran down its center. The very crack that had been there since I can remember. The one I would stare at until sleep found me on those nights I nursed the fresh wounds Alex had inflicted.
The peace I had ironically found in the cracked ceiling stucco. It was a focal point that had zero meaning but by staring deep into its abstract blackness it would sometimes lift me to a plane of lucid dreaming; so strange, yet so peaceful. I knew it was silly but in my mind, it was that place I could go to and think of absolutely nothing. Not even the pain that plucked my nerves on those evenings which were dominated with Alex’s drunken rants. Only that night it had not worked the way I had planned, and I had apparently “outgrown” the crack.
I needed something else, and before I had another moment to dwell on the seemingly drab crack above me I leapt to my feet and carelessly flung my blankets toward the foot of my bed. Once I grabbed my laptop from my office space, I went toward the kitchen and scoured the cabinets for a more potent night cap. One that would hopefully linger a bit longer than the wine had. Behind a bag of hardened brown sugar was a bottle of whiskey covered with a dishrag, with only a few shots that remained.
I remember it was the same bottle Alex came home with one night, long ago, the one he had boasted for weeks on how expensive and smooth it was. It’s funny because I don’t remember the price, but I remember so clearly that evening he came home with it, as though it were yesterday.
‘Honey, you’ll never believe who I ran into today!’, that night he called from the front doorway as he hurriedly stomped his way through the house, with the bottle of scotch in hand. Only I didn’t hear him at the moment, as I was in the basement with the dryer which ironically thudded to the rhythm of wet towels and Billy Joel; who serenaded me from my radio with New York State of Mind. I am not sure how long he called and searched for me, but I was certain it was longer than his patience had allowed. One thing I will never forget was his face when he entered the room and shoved himself between my body and that rickety pine table which held stacks of our neatly folded clothes.
His face was as red as the label on the bottle of booze he clasped in his unrelenting fist. When he shoved his face directly in front of mine, not only could I see how fiercely he clenched his teeth but I felt the caustic sound of grinding teeth run shivers down my spine. At that moment he made certain I could no longer focus my attention on anything but him. With a few swift breaths he exhaled, each bombarded my face with the familiar smell of an early afternoon buzz he had cultivated with that whisky. It was an all too familiar prelude to a perfectly destroyed day.
Coincidentally, on a small shelf which was adjacent to where we stood, there rested a small ceramic figurine of a dog and kitten frolicking in a washtub. He once told me it was one of the very few personal items his mother left behind for he and his siblings to pick from when she passed away; years before I had the chance to meet her. It was clear he cared for it as much as he cared for me, as he hastily lunged for the figurine and lifted it above his head and violently plunged it against my right eye.
Everything faded to black for what seemed like only minutes, but it was four long hours later, in our bedroom, where I had finally awoke.
He stood over me that day as I awoke and caressed my face when he asked, “Oh, you’re awake, how are you feeling sweetheart? Gosh, I never thought you were going to wake up.”
I just stared at him in disbelief when I had only partially digested my shock and disbelief and I stammered a reply, “Are you fucking serious? What were you thinking hitting me like that?”
His demeanor instantly revealed a kind of fiery indignation, one that seemed to relay that it was me who had smashed him across the face with a fucking figurine. When his eyebrows turned angry and his complexion flourished to the likes of a boiled lobster, I would ordinarily walk out of the room and ignore him. Only I was injured, and I was paralyzed from the surging pain that raced through my throbbing face. Luckily, I was able to tune out his drunken ramblings as I slapped and swooshed a melting bag of ice with my hands, the one he had placed on my swollen face while I slept.
While I vaguely recall his extensive tirade as to how I rudely dismissed him that afternoon, I do recall what happened next. I watched him as he paced erratically, and waved his hands as though he was the lone conductor to an invisible orchestra comprised entirely of bullshit. I sat silently and listened, but rather unexpectedly… I sighed. I had sighed a long exhausted sigh. One that I had not fully thought on the second before I released it from my lungs. The sigh that surely relayed my disgust with every syllable he spewed from his wretched lips.
My body tensed up the moment I had finally expelled that very long, very disinterested sigh, and I expected another attack the moment it had ceased. When I looked up he had stood positively still, frozen in his last footstep with his back faced toward me. It was as though someone doused him with ice, as he stood paused with one heel slightly raised. His stature relayed complete disgust with my indifference.
Before he had the chance to turn his body to face me, I pulled myself upwards and leaned against my headboard and awaited the inevitable recoil. It was then he spun his diminutive like stature to face me and for a few moments he stared maniacally with his heaving chest, just moments before he lunged forward ferociously screaming his angry words into my face , ‘You see, Mira, this is exactly what I’m talking about! You have no respect for me ever! This is why I get angry and I hate it when you make me like this.’
With every word he drew closer to me until he stood near the edge of the bed and he only grew louder until everything he said became an inaudible deafening growl. I remember staring, stunned with a staggering fruition of fear, utterly terrified for what was to come. Then suddenly a sharp tear of pain electrified the entire right side of my face, and it was then the flip was switched. Unexpectedly my left arm simultaneously went numb, which today I can only describe as an abrupt surge of adrenaline.
When he drew even closer toward me, not another caustic sound was uttered from his foul lips when I heaved my knee up toward my chest, and with every ounce of strength which remained in my shattered spirit I lunged my foot dead center into his sickening face. Surprisingly, there wasn’t much blood but I had launched that angry fucker clear across the room where he bumped his head on the corner of my thick oak vanity. I anxiously leapt to my feet and stood over him to watch as he struggled with labored gasps.
His widened eyes fluttered in shock as he gazed back into mine, finding no remorse in their void, and without much warning to either of us, for that matter… I craned my arm back and punched him with my clenched fist so hard I could feel the crunch of his nose against my bones. I made certain he was unconscious as I stood there for several minutes before I left him pathetically slouched over in the corner for the night.
Thankfully, when he finally awoke the following morning surely feeling as though a rhinoceros sat on his face, but hadn’t remembered what exactly happened the night before. Rest assured, I would not be the one to remind him how I had launched him across the room when I shoved my foot into his filthy rotten pig face.
It’s funny, because I never really cared for whisky, although Alex never invited me to share his personal stash. But then there was this night, the night I found his whisky hiding behind that inedible brown sugar. The very whisky that caused that awful fight. While Alex lay cold in his grave, the same night I watched the milk laden moon spill into my room, the whiskey tasted like pure unadulterated bliss. Every last sip.
Chapter 17 – Scarlett.
“Virtue is beauty, but the beauteous evil. Are empty trunks o’erflourished by the devil.” – William Shakespeare, Antonio, in Twelfth Night, act 3, sc. 4, l.
As I sat in my kitchen that night, I sipped the oak scented whisky while I waited for my computer screen to flicker the prompt for a password. Until the cursor invited me to enter an uninhibited void of web cruising, I took solace in the peaceful quiet hum which resonated through my home. The quiet hum I would pause to appreciate on occasion while I sipped my morning coffee, only this time it was late night whiskey with some slightly slanted intentions of what I was about to do.
I know what you’re thinking, I was up to no good. Though this night I was merely feeling very human. Very vulnerable and I hated that more than anything, though it reminded me that being very human is hard. It was times like this that made me reflect on my motives for revenge. Something which overwhelmed me more often than not, something which seemed an almost insatiable desire; which left me feeling conflicted after each killing. Was this last one enough? Should I stop after this? Except every time I could only answer myself with ‘No’.
Because of the “What if?”, the what if I stop and one of my dead beats kills before I had the chance to kill them? This is the chance I could not abide. But on that night, I just remember feeling more alone than anything. Sometimes I would dream about a good man in my life, if there were in fact any left. Would the affections of a lover eventually force me out of this lifestyle I’d created? Would the distraction cool my heels for a bit and let me focus on the positives life may offer?
Selfish as it was, sometimes I wanted to turn my back and run for the hills; to a place where I was allowed to be almost entirely self absorbed. Though I wasn’t sure how solid a foundation I had created for any relationship after all the secretive murderous plots in which I had become entwined. Plots which had come to full fruition and ones which were still in development. I had come full circle that night with a glass of well deserved whiskey in hand, as the notion of a semi soft romantic had overwhelmed my rational thoughts.
I was resolute in my decision, but before I had begun to type I took one last swig of the whiskey and deeply drew in the earthy scent of oak with my eyes clasped tight. It was invigorating to feel as though I was slightly spiralling out of control, because that night I had let go and felt so exquisitely flawed and human.
I looked down at my hands which trembled ever so slightly even as I typed, which combined with that and the effect of the whiskey it took me several backspaces to get things right. Of course once I found what I was looking for I was almost immediately disappointed, and that was a virtual sea of single Boston male selfies. That’s right, I had taken the tenuous plunge into online dating where the lies seemed as abundant as the photoshopped curves and blemishes.
Age refinement: 26-45? Height: hell, it didn’t matter. Well, kind of..::ahem:: Religion: No thanks. What followed was a questionnaire that left me briefly questioning my sanity. That is until I pressed return and discovered my best matches, and thereafter I descended into what seemed like a hysterical house of mirrors parked just outside the ninth circle of hell. For hours I was mesmerised by the abundance of stoically belaboured lists as I poured over bulleted personal requirements mentioned in the most detached regard.
Some sad, some funny, others disturbing: ‘must not be over 125 pounds’ , ‘must enjoy bathroom humor’, ‘must not be political in any way’, ‘must not have ugly feet’; and my favorite ‘must like cats, I own sixteen. Must also be able to tolerate a strong urine odor while visiting our home.’
Briefly, I glanced away from the hypnotizing glow of my laptop’s screen and squinted to see the fuzzy aqua numbers of my microwave’s clock. Only I had to stand and lean forward on my sore thighs which burned from the adrenaline of that evening’s prior events. Once I realized it was already 1 a.m. I sat back and rubbed my eyes which burned from the strain as I had struggled to read the literary genius of all my local singles. As I shook my head, I tried to release the insomnia that gripped my mind only to no avail.
The insomnia that was likely due to the heaping dose of fury I had shovelled out of my soul earlier, onto that unsuspecting kid on the street. Also, the curious world of online singles that left me wanting to binge on their ridiculousness for an endless night. I remember thinking, ‘just a few more, only a few more then I’m off to bed’. I had promised myself I would limit my newly discovered “crack”, and we all know how that goes.
I gave myself another neat pour of whiskey in my #1 mom mug then settled back into that uncomfortable oak seat that slightly wobbled to the left. I had expected the pain in my rump to tingle and annoy me before too long, due to the lack of much needed ass pads. Only what happened next, I hadn’t expected…
Once I clicked ‘next page’, there he was, there was that arrogant prick smiling at someone who once stood to his left. Someone who was no longer in the picture, but who had intentionally been cropped out; who was in all likelihood his wife. I had found him, I accidentally stumbled upon Charles Nagle though he called himself “Maximus Berger”. But I knew it was him the moment his image flashed across my screen and a hot anxious rush constricted my chest. Though I was happy to know I would not longer need Violet Bendergreen’s stolen library card.
It was funny how his eyes had even averted mine in his online dating profile. His boyish skin peeked from behind the pink collared shirt and his perfectly straight teeth snuck through his thin smirk. The kind of half hearted smirk you’d expect from that high school boy you didn’t think knew your name. He was the kind of boy who made you shiver with anticipation when he gave you even the slightest acknowledgment when he passed you in the hall; and he knew it. Hence his efforts were always phoney and forced, as they were still today.
You remember the kind of boy he was? The kind who always had the coolest shoes and clothes. The kind whose lightweight lemmings hung near his heels, but never quite met his match. He was the boy whose name flung from the tongues of girls and boys alike, almost like sticky caramel oozing from loosened teeth; he was somehow too much of a decadent and coveted thing. The detached and aloof girls pretended not to care until he also tossed them aside. The awkward girls in the hand me downs, wearing braces and corduroy pants …well, to them he was a God. Charles Nagle, he was the typical dickhead popular kid; and everyone wanted a five second disinterested glance.
The one everyone wanted so badly to emulate, only once we allowed a few years to come between us and graduation, it was then we realized that he was never much to be considered. In fact, people like Charlie blend in rather quickly with all the standard assholes who surround us on the daily. Unfortunately, for some the false glow around him was all too inviting and they fell through the looking glass; mesmerized much like Alice was taken in by her Wonderland.
We are all guilty of this at times. We find beauty in the superficial and cling to notions which have little to no merit, because sometimes it’s fun but more importantly it’s exciting. I could see how someone like April Nagle, a delicate lovely woman, could fall under the spell of Charlie’s evil yet whimsical charm. If one were naive enough, he could easily convince them he’s actually good, beneath his personality’s shallow surface there may have been a human occasionally lurking. April’s sheltered upbringing had perfectly primed her to fall into the clutches of someone like Charlie and become entranced until it was likely too late.
April’s religious upbringing kicked up a ferocious dust cloud of guilt when the notion of divorce cropped up in her mind, and her mother, Mrs. Clarkson, would call every Wednesday from Little Rock, Arkansas, to remind her of just that. Aside from the weekly phone calls to remind her of the righteous path, April would read the daily scripture her mother sent to her email. She would occasionally humour her as she’d reply with a bit of saintly scripture for her and her teetotaling crew.
Mrs. Jane Clarkson was a shrewd woman and you would surely know when she disapproved as she’d pursed her lips so taught while her eyes squinted so tightly you’d swear they may have slunk to the back of her brain. The behaviours she would not abide seemed countless, but simply put it was even a scintilla of mindless apathy for all things Christianly. In today’s modern world, many were outdated notions as you may well imagine.
I sat back and filtered through Charlie’s carefully compiled profile and laughed to myself when I thought, ‘There’s no way it could be this easy’, but there he was and just like that my search was over. I sent him a “wink” from Scarlett who liked red wine, good books and Indian food. I had expected to hear back quickly concerning the lack of any photos on my profile, which would include his terse request for some; as Charlie certainly wouldn’t waste his time on an ugly mistress. I had some time to figure out how I’d get around such a request, only to leave less of a trail.
It was bad enough I had left history of my contacting him on my personal computer. But for now I clasped my laptop shut, outstretched my arms with a belaboured yawn as I curled my toes along my laminate floor and my eyes ached heavy with sleep. Despite the unanswered questions that plagued me, I forced myself to bed for some rest.
I laid in bed for what seemed like hours and tried to squelch my racing thoughts. I finally relented to the battle I had lost, and sat up to watch the melting moon which now seemed to pour across the horizon and washed the street with a shimmering milk. I cracked my bedroom window enough to let in the crisp air which carried with it the smell of fried Chinese food from Hun Lee’s just a few streets over.
It’s funny how sometimes smells bring us on a trip through our past, and Chinese food had me remembering my clubbing days when three a.m. egg rolls and Lo mein were a good idea. That night those memories somehow led me to my attic where boxes had overflowed with knick knacks and clothes I had no practical use for, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw away.
I flopped two large boxes from the attic onto my bedroom floor, two boxes which had the years 1988-1989 inscribed on their sides. Till the sun came up that morning I thumbed through old pictures as I wore a thick red belt complete with a geometric patterned power suit jacket. An old bottle of Liz Claiborne had fallen beneath one of the bottom cardboard flaps, and when I rescued it I noticed a few sparse drops wallowed in the bottle. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed that scent until I sprayed what remained on my wrists and neck; right after I had flung my hair up in a messy plume with a banana clip.
I stood before my mirror amused but also impressed how things still fit without too much bulging. Though I’m still unsure of what inspired that night’s fashion show, I just kept going and began to fish through my closet for a matching skirt and scarf. At the bottom of the second box were chunky plastic bracelets and tarnished clip on earrings that had been splattered with hot pink and white paint. Amongst the treasure trove I also found thick heels with buckles across the front, which I immediately threw on my feet. Only it didn’t end there, then came the thick makeup and curling iron; by dawn I looked like a bad replica of Jem.
When I curled my eyelashes in the mirror I could see the red spider webs which had intricately laced themselves throughout my glazed eyes. I lounged back in my bed and stared at my ridiculous image for a moment and thought, ‘What have I done? I’ll never make it through the day on no sleep’. Well, that was just it you see? As it turned out I would make it through that day, only Scarlett had other plans.