Chapter 2: The Perfect Happy Family

I just ran and ran as tears ran down my face.  The cold wind was like having somebody smack my face repeatedly. I couldn’t believe James was a gay. I mean I have nothing against homosexuals. I was mainly angry at him for not telling me this little secret of his. We told each other everything, like how he hated playing football. He only joined the team because that’s the only way he could get father’s attention. I was furious with mother. She was cheating on dad again and now with Mr. Quinn. If the neighbors ever got a whiff of my brother’s and mother’s secret it would be the end of us. What a tragedy?  When I got home, Clarisse, our nanny, was waiting for me in the living room. She was so angry that I had left without telling her where I was going.

“Where you’ve been?!” Clarisse screamed at me.

“Out for a run…I needed some air,” I said.

“I was so scared. You should have told me you were going out.” Clarisse responded

“I’m sorry,” I mumbled as I ran up the stairs to my bedroom. I was having a panic attack. My life would be over if the word got out that my brother was a gay and my mother was a home-wrecker. Our family would be shamed and we would lose our place and status. I couldn’t let that happen. I just couldn’t. I had to keep us safe; I had to keep my family’s secrets safe. No one could ever know. Suddenly, I heard a noise coming from outside my window. I went to see what all the ruckus was about. As I peered out my window I saw a tall muscular figure trying to get into the basement. I poked my head out to see better and I saw that it was a woman. Well, it looked like a woman. She had long reddish brown hair and was wearing a red sequin dress and black stiletto heels. She had some huge feet, I thought. Then, I put my hand over my mouth in shock when I saw her face. It was not a she but a he; and that he was my father! He climbed into the left backside window that leads into the basement. I don’t think he saw me, though.  I backed into my room again and threw myself on my queen sized bed.

“Oh my God!” I screamed.  My father is a drag queen! This day couldn’t get any weirder. I bet those were my mother’s shoes. Those must have been her new Manolo Blahniks. He was eying them when she brought them from the store last week. I thought it was weird but didn’t really pay any mind to it. We all have big feet. My mother and father have the same shoe size 12. I couldn’t believe what I had seen tonight. I felt like I was in a twilight zone episode or in a circus.

“Please let this be all a bad dream,” I said to no one in particular.

“Hey, honey,” I heard someone say and I turned to see my father standing by the door with a big smile on his face. He still had some red lipstick on his lips which he failed to completely wipe off. I wondered as I looked at him; how could a guy like him be a drag queen? He drives motorcycles for God’s sake! I still couldn’t believe I just saw my father dressed like a girl.

“Hi, dad,” I smiled.

“What have you been up to dear?” he said.

“Nothing much; just went out for a run.” I responded.

“Good girl,” he smiled.  “Well, I’m beat sweetie. Rough night at the clinic, you know. I’m off to bed. Have a good night, honey.”

“Night, dad,” I said. I heard him walk to his room and close the door. A few minutes’ later mom and James came home. Mom went straight to bed and yelled goodnight to James and I. James came into my room while I was eating my pain by way of a bowl of cookie dough vanilla ice cream drowned in whipped cream and chocolate syrup.

“What’s up?” James asked me. I didn’t even look at him. I just kept stuffing my face with ice cream.

“Hey Lisa, What’s going on?” he questioned.

“I saw you. I saw you with that man.” I responded in a harsh whisper. His eyes shot wide like he had just seen a ghost. Abruptly, he drew closer to me and lowered his face close to mine.

“You can’t tell anybody,” he whispered. He was so scared. I felt so bad for him because if kids at school found out he was a gay his life would be over. They will beat him up or worse.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked James.

“I was going to tell you but I needed to be sure….” His voice wandered off.  He then told me how he had been dating the man I saw him with for five years now and that he thought he was the one.

“Five years, James, Five?!” I screamed. “Where did you meet this guy?” I asked. James went on to tell me that they met at this gay club downtown when he was 14 years old.

“His name is Mark,” James said to me. “I love him, Lisa. Dad can never know about this. He will freak especially when he finds out that I’m dating his protégé.”

“Mark!” I screamed. “You’re dating Mark Beyer?!” Mark Beyer was our father’s main man at the clinic. Mark was father’s assistant. There would be blood if dad found at Mark was sticking it to his son. James and I didn’t speak for a while. We just sat there on my bed. Then out of nowhere James grabbed my arm and said, “We’re getting married, Lisa.”  I fainted.

 

 

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Ocean Eyes

Ocean Eyes

I always wake up to the 5 a.m. waves. The sound of them splashing against the rocks by the Murder Dive Cliffs is a peaceful yet scary sound. The Murder Dive Cliffs is where the high school kids jump off from to a world pool of water. It is the scariest yet coolest thing ever. It was the cool spot for all the high school students of Aquatica High. That was until that horrific day in October when six students died and 3 others acquired life changing injuries. They closed off the pathway to the Murder Dive Cliffs and nobody knows exactly what happened but me. I know the secret of the man that came from beneath the ocean.  The memory of him seems so vague now in my mind; it’s like he never existed-just like he said it would happen.

It was my senior year at Aquatica High and I was hoping something exciting would happen for once in this ghastly town. Aquatica would seem like a beautiful place to live but when you hear the stories of all the bad things that happened here you’d run for the hills. People disappear or turn up dead here. There is an abundance of unsolved cases that go back 100 years.  My brother had this theory that there was a monster in the water that took anybody who jumped off the Murder Dive Cliffs.

“I’m serious Jenna. I read in a book about Aquatica that a lot of people had witnessed something taking people under when they jumped off those Murder Dive Cliffs.” My brother said to me.

“Really, Brandon, you actually believe that crap? A sea monster is terrorizing Aquatica. Don’t be silly.” I said. I mean sea monsters only exist in fiction stories and on Syfy TV.  They aren’t real.

“Ok, so let’s jump at night then.” Brandon suggested to me. People who had jumped at night from the Murder Dive Cliffs never came back up. They vanished under those unforgiving dark waters to the uncertainty that is the ocean.

“Fine, but you owe me ten bucks if no ‘sea monster’ takes me under.” I told Brandon.

“You’re on!” Brandon yelled. I had jumped from those cliffs hundreds of times before but for some reason today I had this sick feeling in my stomach. We hooked up with some of my brother’s friend at the climb. It was a cold summer night in August and I was wearing a grey thin sweater with my swim suit underneath and my billabong board shorts.  As we walked up the steep pathway I felt like my heart was going to beat out my chest. My brother looked at me and saw the crazed expression on my face.

“You scared, Jenna?” Brandon asked me

“No. Be ready to fork over those ten bucks.” I responded.

“Dude, you still spreading that hocus pocus crap about sea monsters? My man I love you but you’re crazy.” Nick said to Brandon. Nick has been my brother’s best friend since kindergarten. Couldn’t believe I was spending my day with sophomores. All my friends went to the Benton Cabin at Ruder Lakes.  The Benton Cabin was a senior favorite because it was the infamous “make-out cabin.” Specifically why my parents didn’t let me go; so I got stuck with my brother and his friends jumping off Murder Dive Cliffs.

The cliffs aren’t that scary-they are actually quite beautiful. The view is amazing. I love the water because it is teal in color but tonight they were tar black and menacing.  The waves are a killer though so you must be a good swimmer if you dare to jump these cliffs. The rocks are so soft; almost marble like. However, they are very slippery so you have to grasp at them with your feet so that you don’t fall to your death, hence the name, Murder Dive Cliffs. As we drew closer that sick scary feeling was still tormenting me but I just shook it off.

“We’re here!” Brandon yelled. There were warning signs everywhere. “Unsafe grounds”, “Dangerous”, “Don’t Jump these cliffs”, “Death precedes you if you jump.”  So many have jumped off these cliffs; some have come out with major bragging rights and others aren’t so lucky. I was the first girl in Aquatica to jump these cliffs. My jump was so sick. I even jumped from the highest point on the cliff and did a triple twirl in mid-air. It was my freshmen year and I wanted to be cool. After that, I was so in with the guys at surf practice.

“So, Jenna, are you going to jump or just stand there?” Brandon said to me with a smirk on his face.

“Relax, dude. I’m just warming up.” I responded. Truth is, I was scared but wasn’t really sure why. Maybe because I never jumped these cliffs at night. There was a storm coming and the waves were rough. I climbed higher to the mid-level of the cliff. It’s pretty high; about 15 feet. I counted to three as Brandon and his friends cheered and yelled for me to jump.

“Jump, Jenna, Jump!”  I heard them taunt. I took of my sweater then took a few steps back.  I made for it and sprint for the edge but I slipped, hit my head on the edge, and fell down into the black pit of water. I thought for sure that I was a goner. The water was so cold and it was overwhelming. It engulfed me and I couldn’t get to the surface. I kept on sinking deeper and deeper. Suddenly, I felt something grab by right arm and pull me up. It wasn’t Brandon or Nick or any of Brandon’s friends. It was a man but not quite. He didn’t have legs but a fish tail. His hair was long and glowing red. I was hypnotized by his eyes. They were changing color as he lifted me up towards the surface. One second they were red; the next second they were glowing green. When we got to the surface he slid back down and I got one last look at his fiery red eyes.  I was about to say thank you but he disappeared into the dark waters.

“Jenna, are you okay?!” I heard Brandon scream. I turned to see him and the other guys swim towards me.

“We saw you slip and hit your head” Nick yelled.

“I thought I lost you” Brandon said when he got to me. He gave me a bear hug.

“I did hit my head. I thought I was a goner down there but this man saved me” I said.

“What man? We didn’t see any man.” Brandon said.

“It wasn’t actually a man. He had a fish tail and red glowing hair and multi-color eyes.” I said breathlessly. Brandon and his friends erupted in laughter.

“Are you telling us that you were just saved by a merman?” Nick asked me.

“I know it sounds crazy but that’s what I saw,” I said. Then to all our surprise the merman jumped out the water and for a split second we all got a view of his fish-like body. He looked at us then disappeared again under the dark waters. The boys screamed.

Personal Ad

Personal Ad

 

            Everyone has a personal ad but some of us are not sure of what we actually want. I mean we have a complete list of criteria’s that our perfect match should adhere to. However, over time we grow and we change. My friend, Lisa, always knew what she wanted. She wanted to marry a rich guy with good hair, taller than her, intelligent, funny, sophisticated, and powerful. She’s one of the few girls in this world that actually get everything they ever wanted. Of course, she’s a complete princess but I still love her. We had met at an orphanage in New York in 1972. It was the worst thirteen years of our lives. We both had been abandoned by our parents and we had nobody but ourselves. We were both five years old when we were emitted into St. Claire Orphanage located in Queens.

            I met Lisa when I was eight years old. I had gone to clean my clothes at the local Laundromat and as I finished loading my clothes into the washer I realized that I had not eaten all day. I didn’t have much money to go and buy myself something good to eat. I hated the food that they served us at the orphanage. They always served us the same thing; smashed potatoes or oatmeal and milk. I couldn’t take it anymore! I wanted a nice big juicy burger so bad. So, there I was looking at my stomach as it loudly growled to be fed.  I turned to see if my clothes were ready and there she was with a big juicy burger in her hand. I guess she saw the ravenous expression on my face.

“Would you like a piece?” she asked. “Its way to big for me and I has hoping to share with someone.”

“I guess I could have a bite,” I responded. She tore the burger in half and handed me a half. It was hot and juicy. As I bit into it my mouth exploded with flavor. I never thought something could ever taste so good. I thought I was in heaven. I savored every bite because I knew this would be my only meal for the day and I licked every single drop of ketchup off my fingers.

“My name is Lisa, by the way” she said. “What’s your name?”

“Jessica” I responded. “Thank you for sharing your burger with me. You don’t know how much it means…..” my voice trailed off. I didn’t want to seem needy. I had prided myself on being self-sufficient.

            “I know exactly what you mean. I had to save for weeks so that I could buy it.” Lisa exclaimed. “I’ve seen you around at St. Claire but always too shy to say hi”

“You’re at St. Claire?” I asked. “I’ve never seen you. Wow.” Who would have thought that I would become friends with the future Lisa Bordet? At 21 she would have married a real estate tycoon and run a successful multi-billion dollar business. At just nine years of age she knew what she wanted but never imagined it would be so magnificent.  I didn’t have her ambition because I was just trying to get by another day. I didn’t know it then but Lisa would change my life entirely. We would embark on a journey that would take us from rags to riches just because there was more to life than just to live.

The Only Exception

I can hear all their thoughts. I can’t take it anymore. I want the voices to stop. I hear them all. “Mickey,” I heard someone scream my name. I know that voice. I turned around to see Jordan running from across the street. Her golden brown hair glistened in the California sun. She was wearing a blue jersey dress and brown cowboy boots.  I loved that dress on her. Sometimes I wonder how she ended up with a guy like me. Jordan was beautiful, smart, ad kind. She was also studying to be a lawyer at Stanford University and was on the top of her class.

I was a high school drop-out working as a mechanic at Jorge’s Auto body shop.  My father had left my mother when I was 13, so I had to find a job and help pay the bills. Then, mom got sick, so I became the only bread winner and had to quit school.  Jorge is my mother’s best friend and he took me under his wing after father left. He showed me how to fix cars and gave me a job. I owe him everything.  Right now I can’t afford to go to college but I’m hopeful that one day I will. I want to be a writer. I had won awards in school for my poems and short stories. I even got one of my stories published in the local newspaper.

However, I did some stupid things that I will regret for the rest of my life. When father left, I was so angry. I couldn’t believe he did that to us; leaving us broke and all alone. I got in trouble in school for getting into fights, disrespecting teachers, and stealing food. Initially, they had suspended me three times during my freshmen year in high school and gotten detention so many times that I’ve lost count.  I met Jordan while putting in the hours for community service at the school garden.  She was wearing that same blue jersey dress and her hair was blonde then. I’m not into blondes so I didn’t pay much attention to her. Nevertheless, I just wanted to do what I had to do and go home. To my surprise, however, she came up to me while I was trying to avoid stepping on this huge slug while trying to dump the fertilizer into the rolling cart.

“What’s a guy like you gardening?” she asked. I was so startled that I slip and fell back onto the slug.

“Ah, gross!” I yelled.

“I’m so sorry. Let me help you.” She said.

“I think you’ve done enough,” I scolded at her. When I saw her face I regretted how I acted towards her. Of course, she didn’t mean for me to get all covered in dirt.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be cross with you.” I told her.

“Its okay” she smiled. “Let’s start over, okay. My name is Jordan.” she said. “Nice to meet you, Jordan.  I’m Mickey,” I responded.  We spent the day talking about ourselves, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. I hadn’t laughed in a long time and that was the highlight of my day. I had to work after school and wouldn’t be home till 12pm.  That night everything changed.

There was a gas leak in the stock room. I had smelled the pungent smell while on my way to lunch.  I went inside to check it out. Then the door got stuck and I couldn’t get out. No one could hear me because Tommy had the radio blasting. I banged on the door while screaming my lungs out. The smell over-powered me and I passed out. The next thing I knew I was in the emergency room.  I could hear voices. When I opened my eyes I saw my mom sitting on a chair next to my hospital bed. She was crying. “Oh my poor baby” I heard her say but her lips didn’t move. “Mom” I said.  “Oh, honey!” she yelled out.  “Thank you, Jesus!” I heard her say but I noticed this was not said out-loud. I can hear her thoughts.  No, that’s not possible I thought to myself.  Suddenly, a doctor walked in checking his blackberry.  “Tonight, I’m cheating on my wife with a 21 year old” I heard him think. No way, I thought. I can hear their thoughts.  I thought I was going crazy.  Mother saw the crazed expression on my face and I knew what she was going to say before she said it. “Is he going to be okay? He doesn’t look so good.” She asked the doctor. The doctor came closer to me and smiled. I got a look at his name tag which read, Dr. Skye.  Am I okay? I wondered. “We are going to run more tests on him but everything looks well, though” Dr. Skye told my mother.  “Thank you so much” she cried.  “They just cut off the lights-he forgot to pay the electric bill. My poor baby.” I heard my mother think. Shoot! I did forget to go pay the electric bill. I had been hanging with Jordan that I totally forgot my responsibilities.

I looked at my mother to tell her that I was sorry but her eyes glazed over and she dropped to the floor. All the color had drained from her face.  It was so scary how her eyes just rolled back like that.  “Mom,” I yelled. She didn’t get up. Dr. Skye had yelled for a nurse and they took my mother away. As Dr. Skye walked out I heard him say in his mind; “looks like leukemia.” I just heard his thoughts again. I must be crazy.  My mother has leukemia?! Then I heard them all. All those voices and thoughts integrating in my mind and I couldn’t handle it. “Make them stop!” I screamed. I think I had a breakdown of some sort because nurses came in and forced me down to inject a tranquilizer. Everything faded to black and the voices stopped.

Minerva Rapter’s Leprechaun

I lay in my bed, in the dark, twisting and turning because my back was causing me so much pain. I guess, I pulled a muscle or something. Finally, around one in the morning, I fell asleep. A loud noise woke me up two hours later. It was so dark and cold. My back still hurt and I heard a tiny squeaky voice laughing. It seemed like it was coming from my living room. I thought it might be a kid, but why would a kid be in my living room? I wondered. I wasn’t married, I didn’t have a kid, and I didn’t have any siblings. My parents were on their annual vacation to the Bahamas and I was left here at home all by myself. They had asked me to go with them, but I had just started my new job, at a trendy boutique, called Foals Perk, so I couldn’t go with them.evil_leprechaun-untruenews.com

I heard more noise and that squeaky laughter again. As I pulled myself out of bed, the cold floor shocked me like lighting running through my veins. I didn’t really want to move any further, but I knew I had too. There was someone in my house. I grabbed my metal baseball bat and slowly opened my bedroom door. I peered to see if I could spot the intruder but I couldn’t see anybody. I realized that it had become very quiet; a very scary silence that seriously gave me goosebumps down my spine. However, I took hold of my bat with all the courage I could muster and stepped into the hallway. Slowly, I walked towards my living room taking in consideration of my surroundings. When I got to the living room I was flabbergasted to see that it was in complete chaos. Everything was over-turned and thrown everywhere. I turned on the light and that’s when I really got scared. Our Italian leather couch was slashed like it had been devoured by a wild animal. Our coffee table lay broken in half and magazines ripped about and scattered everywhere. I felt the hairs on my neck cringe and I knew somebody was behind me, but I couldn’t see them in my peripheral vision.

“Who’s there!”, I yelled. Then the lights went out. I heard that squeaky scary laugh again. I have a weapon, I said.

“That’s no match for me”, someone responded in a squeaky harsh voice. Then something grabbed my leg and pulled me down. “AAAAAAAAAh!”, I heard myself scream. I saw a small figure looming a few feet away from me laughing in that same high-pitched voice. “What do you want?!” I yelled. The shrill laughter grew louder and my heart was beating so fast I thought it would explode. The figure started walking towards me and I couldn’t move. By its size, you’d think it was a small child, but when it grabbed my leg I knew it wasn’t a child. It was strong. I just lay there frozen as it got closer. It had something in its hands. It looked like a small pouch. It opened the bag, and a golden light erupted from it. I screamed in horror as I got a look at the face of the intruder. Its face was so gross. It was like somebody had thrown acid on its face. It was wearing a red square-cut coat, richly laced with gold, and cocked hat, shoes and buckles. It had green eyes; they had evil in them. When it saw my disgusted expression, it smiled and I saw its rotten sharp black teeth.

“Get out!” I yelled at it.

“Now, Sarah, I can’t do that,” it responded. It knew my name.

“How do you know my name?” I asked.

“No matter, No matter” it said. You must help me find me gold it said.

“Why would I help you?” I screamed

“You want to see ye parents again, you will help me find me gold!” it scolded.

“What did you do to my parents?!” I yelled at it. It laughed, but this time it was harsher and colder. Suddenly, to my surprise it ambushed me and dug very sharp nails into my arms.

“You will help me find me gold or I’ll kill everyone you love” it growled at me, and before I could speak it disappeared in a dark mist. I woke up the next morning hoping it was all a bad dream. The horror of last night was vivid in my mind and I kept seeing its face. “You will help me find me gold”, played in my ear like a broken record and I wondered why it specifically wanted me to help it find its gold. My parents! What did it do to my parents?! It wasn’t a dream. I looked at my arms and there were the scars from when it had dug its nails into my arms.

Short story 6: Necessary

Necessary

sad1

 It is necessary. That was my mother’s favorite word. She said it to me so many times that I believe it was actually my first word. It was not the common baby words like “momma” or “dada”, but necessary.sad

            “It is necessary that you keep your back straight when you walk, Katherine. Good posture is key.” She would say. One of the many necessary things that she sought to instill in me. My mother was a lovely woman but sometimes I just wanted to strangle her. She was strong and sophisticated. She walked with that strong essence with her back straight and head held up high, “like a woman should walk.” She owned her own business and raised three girls all by herself because father died when I was born. Mother said his heart gave out and so he never got to meet his baby girl, me.sad

I am the baby of the family, as well as, the black sheep of the family. I suppose that’s why mother lectured me the most about what was necessary. So when mother was diagnosed with cancer, I couldn’t believe how such a strong vibrant woman could become so fragile and pale. She still scolded me though.

“It is necessary that you get a real job, find a good man that loves you, and have some kids, Katherine.”  Her eyes piercing mine as she said this. Her voice was stern but yet delicate. I knew that she only wanted the best for me, but all I wanted was to be a musician. My other two sisters, Sarah and McKenzie, were married, had children, and successful careers. I was still pursuing my music career.

In her last moments, she asked to be with me alone. I thought she was going to instruct me once more on how to live my life and I dreaded it. I sat beside her by her hospital bed looking into her hazel eyes as tears ran down her face. Her golden brown hair lay messy around her pillow. “I only wanted the best for you-you are my baby girl. I will love you no matter what-you know that, Katherine.” Her voice cracked and she seemed to fade from reality.

“Please mom don’t go!” I heard myself scream at her, but she was gone. I just sat there crying with my back straight (as she so instructed) because good posture is key, but at that moment to the contrary it was so unnecessary.