Monday, October 28, 2013

The Nature of the Beast 9 (unfinished ending)

I was on my knees and I looked up toward Lawrence who stood blocking the sunlight. I couldn’t see his expression or anything really past the black silhouette of his head. I had no idea what he thought of my admission. I would never find out either because the girl from the village who always treated me as if I was never good enough, she came walking toward my shack. I saw her hard steps and clenched fists as she fast approached us. There was nothing I could do but rise and stumble back toward my doorway. I knew this was not going to be a peaceful confrontation by the set of her jaw and the look in her eyes. She did, however, have this strange smirk about her face and it brought shivers to my bones. I wanted away from here and so I stood directly in my open doorway. Lawrence turned to see why I was retreating.


Her name was Ramona, for whatever it is worth. For, as soon as she reached Lawrence, she was chattering loudly.


“Whatever are you doing out here, Lawrence?” Ramona stood and glared form him to me and put her hands on her hips. She motioned toward me and then leaned in to whisper.


 Lawrence looked and me and then back to Ramona. I saw a strange pity in his eyes and then fear. He leaned back toward Ramona and his hands started to move rapidly, pointing, waving and then growing still. Ramona leaned in once more and pulled at his shirt. She pulled harder still and tugged him from my porch and into the pure light of day. He jerked away from her hands and turned back toward me. I saw him fold his arms across his chest and sigh. I could see his face much better and his eyes glimmered in the sunlight. One more tug from Ramona and Lawrence turned angrily toward her and barked his protest. I heard his last words and they were strange.


“She isn’t a witch, Ramona!” Lawrence screamed and then immediately put his hand back over his mouth. He realized a little too late that he had spoken way too loudly. His face was a mass of confusion.


He had no certainty in what he said, any more than I knew with any certainty that I would be able to resist the next turn.


I stood timidly. I could feel myself shaking but I wanted to be brave.


Lawrence spoke once more, “Yelvina, I am sorry. I have to go.”


I watched them leave together and felt my heart sink. I knew she was there to protect him from me. They all were. I should be thankful that they all didn’t kill me. I was blessed to be alone and without them.


The lies I fed myself were not comforting. The nights that followed were not comforting either. I did not find solace in the fact that things would forever be unfinished and unknown.


As I finish my last entry of my journal, I wonder what it will be like somewhere else. I wonder if I shall ever forget Lawrence, and I doubt this as I roll the thought around in my head.


I will not say that I am innocent because I am not. I could try to forget, but I will not, not ever. I cannot say when it happened, as I cannot remember when I was cursed with my illness. I see them parallel. My love and my destruction have come upon me from out of nowhere and changed my entire life.


I cannot always have what I want. I have wished upon every star of the night to be normal like the others. I have wished upon those same stars to have one night with Lawrence again just so I could say goodbye in a proper manner.


Sometimes, I have found, you just never get what you want. Unfortunately, this doesn’t dull the aching.


As my lupine feet hit the ground, I hunger.

As my human feet touch the ground, I weep.


Which pain is worse, I have no idea.


But when I weep, I remember.

The Nature of the Beast 8 (To love a beast)

In an attempt to save my soul, I hid away again. I downed my black bear cloak and sat within my little shack. The air was growing cooler and so it was comfortable to do this. It was still some time until my next moon and so I busied myself with experimenting with teas and stews. I cooked rabbit stew with wild turnips and made cakes from acorn paste. The herbs I found were splendid in creating a wonderful taste to my wild feasts. I took in wild onion, dandelion greens and also clover and mint. I noticed the mint was wonderful upon my tongue and so I inhaled to feel the coolness of it.


I studied again with the sister round the fire and felt my laughter bubble up and out of me like a fountain. I found much fun in the days that followed with my others. The things I learned and the things I enjoyed made my chest feel full and my legs longed to run in happiness.


I would lay down when I was tired, there by the fire. I felt the cool air grow crisp and I thought of going inside the shack. There was a part of me however that was never really there.


This was always hard to explain to myself, much less others. I could be happy, laughing away but then when I grew still, I felt disjointed. I would search the days and nights for why I was unhappy. There had to be a reason why that little dark place never gained any light from my mirth.


On those cold and crisp nights, I would look up into the black sky and see the stars. I pretended that I could talk to them and that they could help me. I spoke in my mind and questioned them as I would have questioned others. I wanted to know why I had this void. They never answered me, they just kept winking at me from above. I would pull my huge bear skin blanket up over me and turn away from them. That is when I would just look into the fire. I questioned the fire as well. The fire was just as quiet as the stars.


When I grew weary of questioning everything, I closed my eyes. The water from tears unfallen would pool underneath my lids until they pushed out and over my cheeks. I knew it had to happen, the tear would always fall. It would never be right, until I knew for certain.


I would never rest until I knew how he felt.


In a fortnight, the moon was full and the alconitum did not work. I remember waking near the village, just behind the blackberry bushes. I had blood all over my body.
Of course I ran right back to my home. I washed in the lake and hid beneath my furs. I was terrified. I had no idea what had happened the night before. I wanted to know who or what had become my victim and how far I would have to run. I waited for days within my shack, eating scraps from the days before. I heard nothing.
When I finally decided to go outside, I saw Lawrence coming up from the north field. I was shocked, so shocked that I even ducked back inside. Every nerve in my body reacted to him, every little twitching muscle drove me to peer back around the doorway at his approach. He was dressed as before, with plain trousers and shirt. He looked a little frightened as he glanced from left to right and then back at my home. I couldn't stand it anymore and so I walked out to greet him.
He stopped a few feet away and just stared at me. I didn't say anything either but I smiled a bit.
He spoke first and he said, "I wanted to come and warn you, that there is a beast on the loose. I think you should be careful out here."
I felt relief at the fact that this was just protocol; at the
same time, I wanted more.
"Thank you, Lawrence. I have my weapons and I have seen no "beasts" round here."
He bit the corner of his lip and then shuffle around with his feet. I saw that he wanted to say something like he always does, but he kept quiet.
"Do you wish to tell me anything else, Lawrence?" I spoke bravely.
He held out his hand to me and offered something familiar. It was my mother's locket. I immediately felt for my throat and seen that it was indeed gone. I was angry at myself for losing it and even angrier still for not knowing that it was gone. In all the strange and harrowing aftermath of my transformation, I had neglected to notice the absence of the locket.
"Here, I think this is yours. I remember you showing this to me many times before. I just wanted to make sure you didn't lose it."
I reached and took the necklace in a hurry and gripped it tightly in my fist. Opening my hand, I noticed that the locket was also covered in dark blood. I glanced at his hand and it too was spotted with blood. I had no idea what it meant and so I sat down on the ground, then and there.
"Lawrence, can I tell you something?" I spoke looking up at him with sincerity.
"yes, of course." he answered timidly. His eyes grew bigger and his anticipation beamed in his gaze.
"I really like you, Lawrence. I mean, I like you and I want you to see the truth of me."
He looked confused and turned his head to the side. I know my mind was different, that I was different and that I was the beast and that he probably knew I was the least in some distant place in his mind. I knew that he knew and I couldn't seem to get it deep enough into his mind to get him to grasp it. I wanted, for one moment in time, for denial to disappear.
Lawrence looked shocked and he just stood stunned.
" I love you in the only way broken things can love."

The Nature of the Beast 7 (Lack of communication)

We sat, and for a very long period, we only fumbled with our hands. I heard him first speak to me before I looked up from the waters silvery surface. He seemed calm and wanted to ask me many questions about how I was doing out here in the wilderness. He always looked surprised and bright eyed about it all.


 He carried this strange luminating optimism whenever he was in a good mood which contrasted starkly with his other side. I had seen him angry before, when his father had left him with too many chores to do, he had grown very livid and he had kicked things around, shouting profanities. I remember that I had laughed at him and he had grown angry at me as well, throwing an apple in my direction.


 I watched his eyes dance as he listened, waiting for me to answer his silly questions. They were not questions that I wanted him to ask because I was impatient. I wanted to be mean, all of a sudden. I wanted to call him out on things that I had noticed, things that he wished to stay hidden. But, I decided to smile and put my mask on for a while…and just answer the silly questions. Maybe if I answered the silly ones, he would ask something more interesting.


“I am fine, Lawrence.”


Suddenly he looked sad. He and I both knew that this conversation could easily shift in any direction. I was terrified of humans, simply because they made me feel so sub-par. From early childhood, I have felt like I do not belong among them. I felt that way up until I finally left them all. Here in the wilderness, it was different. The animals did not see me as the humans saw me. The animals were kind and understanding. I decided then to give him my generic answer once more to keep him from digging further.


“I am really fine, doing great out on my own. I like it here.”


I smiled then turned away from him. I couldn’t stand to look into his eyes. That was one place that I did not think I could ever escape from if I lingered too long. I had so many words fighting to get through my lips. I felt them quivering as he talked about how the village really needed me and how my gifts could be of great use. I started to drift away in his words.


I looked at him suddenly and spoke from off the top of my head. “Why did you come here? Why have you been spying on me and not saying anything?”


I meet his eyes and this time, I decided to hold them there.


He did not speak at first and then he started to sputter between words and random sounds. It was clear that he didn’t expect that question at all.


“I mean it, Lawrence…I guess you shall do as you always have and leave me to question everything because your torment is so great. I mean it, Lawrence, I want to know.”


Lawrence didn’t speak because Lawrence never speaks freely of himself. He answers my questions when he wants to, when it is convenient for him and not too awkward. He paints the sky blue when it is really black, he tries to make me feel like everything is perfect when it is so very painful. He tries to make me see that I am normal when I am not. He denies everything. He looks at me and he closes his eyes on the inside, because that is safe.


I rose from that spot and realized that I was in terrible pain. The realization that he would leave and I would be alone again, that feeling tore through me and burned like a hot blade. I had to go, I had to run.


All I could think of was running. I wanted to rip through the underbrush and jump the spring, up the hill and into the fields. I wanted to run until I had left the pain behind. But I stood there. I looked down at him and knew that he was not pleased by my question. His forehead creased and he let out a long exhale.


He spoke, he did. “I am sorry, Yelvina.”


And then he rose too and he left. I was still standing on the levee when Andreea put her phantom arms around me and Ona kissed my cheek.


“Its okay sweetie, let us make you some tea.”


The Nature of the Beast 6 (The man I love)

I saw him again and his presence startled him. I saw his face right before he ducked down behind the brush. The sight of him reminded me of a ground hog ducking back down into his hole, this made me laugh.


“Lawrence, whatever are you doing?”


I was in a right cheerful mood and decided to even move toward him. The sun was out and bright, the skies were void of any clouds and blue as blue was not the real color of Lawrences eyes. I stopped in my tracks and examined my thought process of the moment. I realized that even nature was vain to try and mimick the beauty of this human being that hid from me. The sky could never be as blue as Lawrence and his eyes…eyes that changed like my moods.


“Lawrence, I am having quite a day of madness. I would love it if you came out from hiding for a moment. I need to have a word with you.”


I pushed aside the branches and held up the edge of my skirt with the other hand. I had to climb across the rocks and across the levee to get to him. He was still there because I could smell him. I loved the way he smelled, it was magical and the way….I realized that I was obsessing again and so I called out once more.


“Listen here, you little short man! I could have you in my hands and beating the life of ya, in a minute!”


Lawrence stood then and straightened his vest and trousers. His face looked strange and hot with anger. This was even very attractive and amusing to me.


I spoke then as I grew very near him. “what say, we have a seat on the levee and talk? I am rather curious as to why you are hiding in my bushes.”


Lawrence looked confused and spoke suddenly. “Your bushes? I thought this was just part of the public domain?”


I smiled and shook my head. “no sweet cakes, this is my domain. I hunt this land. By my rights, this is part of me yard. See, that’s me house, there.” I pointed to the shack just north of the levee.


“I see, I suppose we can have a sit and chat, then.”


We walked side by side to the levee’s edge. The water of the lake was beautiful. I saw him in the reflection and I smiled. I saw myself there too.


And there was no beast.

The Nature of the Beast 5 ( The duality)

When my eyes met hers, she relented to my stare. I spoke once more and it was all that I was going to say on that matter.


“yes, I love him…and that is why I would never…never…ever……take something that is not feely given from someone that I truly love.”


I left her standing there in the darkness of my mind.


I came to my little shack, opened the door and sat against the wall.


I thought of Lawrence and hoped that he would make it back safely.



In reality, I really do not know what to say about him. He was always very courteous to me, smiling and being a right gentleman. There was always this undertone of something though. I could smell something in his demeanor, it smelled sweet and alluring and sometimes I had to turn away because it was so strong. Lawrence would always end our conversations quickly as if he had to get away. I believed this to be that he didn’t really care for my company all that much, like the girls of the village. Then there were times that his face would light up when he seen me. I was confused, to be quite honest and so I left it alone and tried to fit in with the other girls. Of course that would be a lost cause and now I am in the forest in the company of me.


Lawrence stayed away for a bit and I really didn’t know what to make of it. Had he grown tired of spying on me? Were the women teaching him that I was bad business? I had no idea why and I realized that I was worrying entirely too much about someone from the outside of my existence. I resolved to think of other things…things like my studies. The others Andreea, Ona and myself, we sat sitting by the fire again and learned the ways of the Duality.


The Duality, unlike the Triad was placed in existence to teach us that everything has darkness and light. My sisters put their hands on the fire and spoke together.


“Mother earth put out the fire, show us darkness in this shire”.


All was black as long as my sisters held down the embers of the dying fire. The looked up and I looked up with them.


Andreea spoke. “You see…up there, the stars, the great mother moon. Their home is pure.”


I looked up at the moon and cringed. I knew the moon for things

unspeakable. It’s face reminded me of nights covered in the gore of my kill. I did not see the moon as my friend. The others frowned toward me as they noticed my face had grown angry.


Ona spoke. “We know why you hate the moon so. You must not hate the moon. The moon is not at fault for your pain. The moon is there to guide you. See it for the beauty it is.”


At that, I left the fire. I didn’t finishe my lessons that night nor did I return to the fire for a weeks past. The sisters did not come to me either; they let me work through my pain. By the time I was ready to return to the fire, the fullness of the moon was very nearly upon me.


I walked up to their circle, fire burning brightly; and sat down upon mother earth. The lesson that night was about wolf. I tried not to flinch, I tried not to grow angry. I learned that wolf was the light. The sisters pointed back to the moon and smiled at me.


“see, your dear friend holds the light for another, like a jar full of fireflies. The light is life and the light resides in the wolf.


I was disgusted by them. This time I left the fire and did not return until my moon had passed. When I returned from the hunt on the last night of the blood moon, I told them that I had no more interest in Raven and wolf. They said they would teach me other things instead.

Their disapproval was obvious. I stared into my own face, three fold around the fire. I saw my own disappointment reflected… I had saw the beast in the water’s surface reflecting a part of me as well

The Nature of the Beas 4t (The quiet, not so quiet visitor)

When better times come, I make Alconitum for suppression of the transformation. For many moons to come, I will suffer through the pains of not being able to change. My whole body will scream in agony for the duration of the moon, but I will remain whole.

I started to travel closer to the village out of curiosity but then a couple of the girls scared me away with their loud chuckling and cavorting around. I scurried back into the forest that time, just like a frightened mouse. I decided that was enough for me.

I started on my upswing and the triad returned to me. My joyous heart almost burst when welcoming my invisible sisters. I am sure it would have been a funny sight to see me talking round the fire to phantoms. All was peaceful and quiet but for my silly bantering back and forth and the night sounds of the animals. It was all quiet except for that sudden sound one night that brought me out of my reverie with the triad and standing at attention, I proved the night.

“who is there?” I shouted into the darkness and reached down into my newly fashioned sash. I pulled out my antler blade and held it at ready.

The sound came again and then disappeared in the distance. After a few more enlightening lessons from the sisters, I had forgotten about my mysterious visitor. I fell asleep by the fire.

I cannot say that this was the last and only episode. On many occasions while bathing in the lake, I heard a scratching sound that was much too large for small animals. I felt vulnerable at the time and so from that day forward, I held my antler blade while bathing. It was awkward but I was taking no chances while under the effects of the Alconitum. While on the concoction, I was little more than a strong village girl. I was helpless. While walking from the lake, I wove a shield of white energy to surround and protect me for good measure. I stepped from the lake bed just as the shuffling noises faded once more. I knew then that I had an audience. I would have to bring this to an end soon for my safety.

And so I consulted the sisters, of my strand, about the mysterious visitor.

The visitor kept coming and I started to realize that he was harmless. He never made himself known and he never talked. I knew it was a man because I could smell him. I started to get hints of his familiarity by the strength of his bloodline. After a few more strange visits, I realized who he was.

It was Lawrence.

When the realization hit me, I decided to follow him. As he started to make his retreat, I wound back to intersect him. I could sense his surprise but he said nothing. I was almost upon him when I heard several voices calling in the distance. Two women and a child had followed him into the forest and the older woman seemed to be very angry. I pulled back and sprinted off toward my home. As I was running I realized who the woman was. She was the one who insisted on reminding me about how incompetent I was, on the day that I abandoned the village. I stopped abruptly and took inventory of all my emotions.

At my side stood Ona. She leaned in and whispered softly into my ear.

“Call him to you…..use the love spell, the secret one.”

I glanced at her and realized that she had angered me. I shook my head and pursed my lips.

“NO! not on this one…..I would never!”

One spoke again and her eyes grew dark. “But why, you love him.”

The Nature of the Beast 3 (Delusions of Granduier)

Ona was the dark one. Her magic was born of the ancient way. Her colors represented blood and the night. She taught me how to send back the energies of my enemies. I found that I did not need her magic as long as I was alone. My enemies were few and far between, as far as I could see and reversals were taken in stride in Ona’s teaching. She also offered up the stronger winds of fate for me as a last resort of protection and so I learned to utilize that sect of my magic regimen.


Andreea taught me the ways of healing. I learned to pass energy down and out of my limbs and into the sick. A wounded rabbit was lying near the spring and Andreea told me to heal the animal. At first I could do nothing and then at the third try, harnessing the power of 3, I felt the warmth radiate through my hands and into the bloody fur of the hare. In moments, the animal turned and bit me in a twisted version of thanks. It hurt like hell but I smiled at the fact that I had learned to heal small animals. She then taught me to reverence and give thanks before she spirited away so Yelvina could take over.


I, Yelvina, learned the plants and their usages, I learned the crafts of fortune and longevity; but then I grew saddened at my last lesson. One stepped in, when Yelvina refused to call to the patron of love.


Ona, Andreea and Yelvina all then started to teach me the love of self. We sat in a circle around my fire and chanted the fire to “come” I opened my mouth and the flames danced in, marching like little fireflies upon my tongue. I felt the warmth pass through me and began to sing. The voice of the triad made the forest go quiet and then I fell to sleep to dream.


The next day, Ona secretly taught me how to lure love to my abode. She warned me not to tell the others or else she would have to go away forever. I promised Ona and bid her farewell for the season. One silohette dissipated in the smoke of the dying fire from the night before.


The season was coming and so the Triad left me, one at a time, and went to wherever triads might go. I was alone again, three nights before my moon. I prepared myself for the transformation.


My seasons are not with every blood moon, I will not allow it. I cannot face my beast that often, it scares me so. On those times that I let myself run wild and free, I sometimes catch a glimpse of my reflection in a pool of standing water, the spring or even the lake. I do not like what I see and I always remember. If I see myself, I cry because I hate my gift, my illness, my disorder. Deep within the secret parts of me, I have sometimes deceived myself into believing that those village girls have a better life. They have comfort and a regular routine. The face of the beast does strange things to my mind and at that moment directly after transformation, I am tormented horribly by what I cannot have.


I keep to myself the secret desire to have what they have and to be able to fit in with those nasty girls.


It is not until much later, after the blood moon has passed that I realize my delusions of granduier.


I will never be like the villagers. I am the beast.


For days I do not dance through the forest and I do not sing with the birds. I cry in the eaves by the rabbit thatch.

The Nature of the Beast 2 (The birth of the Triad)

And I was finished and done. I had segregated myself from the lot of them. It was not long before I had settled in to being by myself, in fact, I grew to love the freedom that being alone provided. It was me and the surrounding forest. I learned the language of the land and the voice of the waters. I learned the secrets lingo of the animals and the heart of the vegetation. All those things that hid themselves away from man, I coaxed them back to trust me. I felt as though I was a princess of the wood. Days went by and I would skip through the nearby vallies in the soles of my naked feet. I took to wearing small shifts made from deerskin and fox furs. I wove the beautiful clover throughout my auburn locks and pretended that I was in some huge ballroom constructed by mother nature herself. I curtsied, holding out the corners of my leather dress.


“May I have this dance?” spoke to all of nature in a sing song voice. I followed up with a giggle before running headlong into the edge of the forest. Birds flew up from the undergrowth disturbed by my maniacal tyrade.


I was happy, content in my lonliness. I grew to know even my other parts of me. There were 3 distinct parts of my being. One was Yelvina, Daughter of Patron Garold and lady Fandida. The 2nd self that I realized was Andreea, the image of goodness and light and then there was Ona, the hunter. I knew Ona was there from before, but I had no idea that she had a name. I tried on many occasions, during my envisioning, to know why these 3 selves were present within me. Every time I would ask them to identify their needs they would only give me riddles. The 3 did tell me one thing about the daughter of Patron Garold and Lady Fandida; they told me that Yelvina, my true born self was stricken with an illness. They said that because of this illness, I was able to communicate with them. I asked if my illness was the curse of the moon and they collectively answered an affirmative.


I didn’t talk about that anymore. I don’t ever like talking about that part of me. When the triad started to speak of the blood moon, I knew it was time to take Yelvina and go. When the three noticed that I was uncomfortable, they decided to teach me the magic of the forest, instead.


The Nature of the Beast 1 (natural segregation)

I will not say that I am innocent because I am not. What I will say is this. I roamed the forest at night and it was my nature to do so. I hunted there during certain seasons, as I allowed. At intervals during the summer months I allowed myself to take freely of my nature and act as nature would see fit.

In between my excursions, I lived as a semi-normal female. I would tend to my household duties quietly in a small shack away from the nearby villagers. At times beyond my season, I used simple weaponry to hunt my food. A small long bow and my favorite throwing hatchet served to bring me sustenance. I washed my clothing in the spring at the edge of the valley and there I got my water supply as well. I utilized the animal fat to construct candles and preservatives for the winter seasons. My favorite part of my solitude was the fire. Every night beneath the moon and stars, I crafted my humble fire and took hold of memories of days before. With my feet planted firmly upon the earth, I sat before the flames feeling the tickling breeze. Before retiring for the night, I would take a solomn dip in the nearby lake, washing away my pain. Earth, Fire, Air, Water….and I was content and falling fast to sleep.

I wasn’t always alone, you see. I was once a part of the nearby village. I was somewhat included in the small Christian based society of my parents. But I could not stay there, I had to leave. This was done primarily because they were different than I was and the last time I tried to blend in, several of the other women made me feel very unwelcome. I admit, I was awkward and defiant to the traditional roles that these women played. I did not want to talk behind the blackberry bushes after mass about trivial things. Trivial to say the least, for what I call trivial is their ridiculous habit of degrading each other in the company of themselves. I found this utterly stupid and pulled away from such wastes of time. I tried my hand at conversation with these women but it seemed thoughts that delved much deeper than the village gossip was beyond their grasp. Two of the girls, whom I remember the most, would look at me in disgust and make some comment about my silly topic of conversation. I came to the realization that something within them had enmity toward me, as the snake to eve in the story form the great Christian bible. Yes, I knew the bible, and it shocked those two women as well. As I spoke of that story in particular to try and let them know how I felt, they grew even more confused and pulled at the other girl’s sleeves.

The apparent leader of the group spoke loudly before leaving in hopes that the whole departing congregation would hear her. “Come on girls, looks as though we have lost this poor girl in our daunting intellect.”

I stood in shock with both brows lifted high. I decided then and there that I would take my leave of society. I looked to my right, where stood Lawrence, and noticed that he had turned away from me completely. I wanted to say goodbye but I was then the object of everyone else’s stares. I simply turned and walked away.

I left a trail of painful misunderstandings behind me on the pathway. I wouldn’t let them see my tears for then they would have seen my humiliation; and this I would not give to them.


Monday, October 21, 2013

A Better one

"Tom, you jive turkey!" George Jefferson shouted. He put one hand on his hips and slammed the door with the other.


The channels changed abruptly. Channel 9 News broadcasted from some ghetto neighborhood on the south side.


"Apparently, the lady standing in the doorway had some information of her own about her daughter's disappearance. The voice over spoke as several African American residents milled around the courtyard. The camera switched to the broadcaster, who was trying not to read from his cue cards, and then to a picture of a newborn baby.


 It had been vibrating for several minutes but she just didn't want to answer. She saw the familiar number on the screen and returned the phone to her lap. She changed the channel again.


Renita was an only child, born on the outskirts of Chicago. Her father had left when Renita was 5 or so her mother said. She couldn't really remember him. She and her mother had moved several times before settling in back on the outskirts of Chicago once more, only 10 miles from where she was raised. Renita wasn't sure if she liked the area or not. There were too many nosey white folk always coming by and offering things. For some reason they thought Renita needed some white girl's hand-me-downs. Stupid white people.


Renita's mother was a nurse, had been for about 6 years now, and she had all of Renita's respect for the way she had took care of things. Renita was proud of her mother. She was amazed at how her mother had pulled the weight when her father left, all that she could remember anyway. Her mother had payed for Renita's school, her doctor bills and even was able to afford to buy Renita new clothes when it was time for school to start. Although most kids couldn't stand their parents, Renita, at 14, was in awe of her mother. Her admiration grew as the years went by.


"After 14 years of searching, Shkinda has finally found the location of her daughter's kidnapers. The suspect is a black female named..."


Renita flipped the channel again and noticed that the Jeffersons were on channel 26 as well. This time, George Jefferson was dancing in a pair of tight polyester disco pants. Renita wondered if her father was about his age.


Her phone vibrated again and she grit her teeth. "Come on Leon, I don't want to talk to you, right now."


"Renita, you better finish your homework before you be talking to that boy!" Renita

s mother spoke from the kitchen doorway. She held a spoon in one hand and an oven mit in the other. Her face was pinched with serious intentions.


"okay mama." Renita rolled her eyes and chunked her phone onto the coffee table. She shifted to get her school books from the floor and her rump pressed against the remote control. The channels changed and the stiff white news reporter reappeared. He looked scared to Renita.


"My baby...she was a abeautiful baby.." A lady cried while holding on to the reporters arm. Her fake sobs were obvious enough that Renita laughed out loud. As the lady raised back up, she stared into the camera and then remembered to sob again.


"What a phoney.." Renita whispered and turned her history book to page 235. She pulled a spiral bound notebook from her backpack and flipped the cover over and under. As she wrote her name, she wondered how her father wrote his name. Renita exhaled and tried to forget him again.


"Sources have led us to believe that this woman..." A black and white sketch flashes on the screen momentarily and the reporter continues his sentence. " is the criminal who stole little Martina from the Grayer hospital 14 years ago. Police have been sent to the location to resolve the situation.


Renita looked up at the screen just as the sketch flashed once more. She had to double take for a moment because the lady looked so much like her mother. She laughed, "huh, isnt' that funny."


Renita looked toward the kitchen and called to her mother. "Hey mom, this lady on television looks just like you. You should come see this, its funny."


The picture changed to the sketch of a baby. A drawing of a  baby with the most beautiful big eyes. Renita smiled. "Awww, she is so cute, she looks a little like me when I was a baby."


Renita's mind wandered a moment then back to the sketch. Her father used to draw, that is what her mother said. Renita caught a section of some pitures from the corner of her eyes. Her own baby picture stared out at her from its place on the livin room wall. She had been a beautiful baby too. Renita wondered how the mother must feel to have been seperated frm her daughter for all these years.


The reporter offered the sketch to the public once more. Renita stared at the baby's features. Her eyes slowly wandered over to her picture on the wall. It took a moment to register with her, but when it did, her stomach sank. Renita felt as though she was about to pass out. Something of a behemoth, a huge knot formed inside her bowels. Renita looked at her baby picture then back to the sketch on the television. Then the sketch disappeared. But it was too late, Renita knew now.


She heard the sirens in the distance but her mother's humming was louder. Renita pushed her history book onto the floor and stood. Her feet were heavy as she walked toward the kitchen doorway. The sirens grew louder. She guessed that they were right around the corner.


Her mother dropped her dishcloth and walked into the living room, ignoring Renita's tear stained face. The Televison greeted Norma wilmington, mother of Renita, baby theif, criminal and low life, as she licked her lips and closed her eyes. Renita wondered what daddy would do.


"Authorities are now on their way to detain the suspect in question. Soon, mother will be reunited with daughter, this fine day of January 26, Tuesday, 2011." The reporter signed off and was replaced with a picture of Norma wilmington. Renita looked at the television as did her mother.


The sirens were horribly loud as they pulled into the Wilmington's driveway. Renita looked at her mother and spoke once more.


"I love you mother. YOu are the best mother in the whole world."


I think that the darkness is contagious. I think that after a while of living in the bleakness, the negative side of things...I think it simply swallows you whole. It moves quietly like a serpent crawling over your soul. It looks into your face. It sees into your eyes, what it wants. The darkness has no name but it seeks to steal yours away and make identity for itself. There is no light within the darkness for darkness is pure...and the light is tainted.


My fingers twine together and I pull my knees up and underneath myself. I look over at the boy who sits beside me.  I brave to speak.


"I am different from the others. I think that is why I am here, alone."


He just stares for a moment. "I like different."

I find the statement funny because he has no idea just how different I am.

I move away before my darkness gets on his skin. I imagine it lifting from the surface of my flesh and intertwining with his big thick fingers. I imagine him glancing down, seeing the darkness and shaking his hands frantically. This makes me laugh.

The boy looks at me and creases his forehead. I stifle a giggled underneath my fist.
Are you okay?”

I shake my head and giggle again. “Nope, never have been.”