I can’t wait to go to bed. Though I’m not as tired as I was a half an hour earlier.
It’s 8:42 in the morning and I’m about to gather clothes for the boys as we get prepped to go to church. The boys are playing in the living room - all three.
I just announced to them that we are soon going to get dressed and of course, the complaints are beginning: “Boring church…want to go to the church on campus…” and it goes on. Makes me wonder where their faith will be in a few years and how we are doing setting up a foundation for them based on Christ.
The boys are playing again…ah, the 6 year old is starting to whining again…his little brother is not playing fair. The 6 year old just locked the 4 year old in our bedroom. I guess this is the moment where I jump in. I’ve got to gather their clothes anyway.
I stare hard at my face in the mirror. Scruitinizing it. My light yellow skin with the wide, dark eyes and smattering of freckles across my nose. My origins are from New Orleans. I’m the only son to an artist father and now dead mother.
Yet, I still don’t know…who I am.
What I am.
And why the blood follows me home. On my clothes. On my skin.
And why I don’t remember how the blood got there even though I can guess. It’s like I blackout for a few hours and wake up to shock of red covering me.
I’m killing or involved in a killing. Of what? Or who? My heart lurches at the thought.
There have been a string of murders with the same MO happening throughout New Orleans in the last several months. They say a serial killer is on the loose.
I cringe. Could it be me?
I’ve tried psychologists, psychotherapists, even a hypnotist. I fear what will be revealed during those sessions but the burning desire to know who I am trumps that fear.
You see, I’m tired of coming home in the early morning hours, exhausted, clothes stained with blood. I’m tired of the constant scrubbing I have to do to get the blood off my clothes.
I hate living like this. With this horrific unknown.
The blood. Incriminating evidence. Of what, though? I want to know. It’s killing me.
I stare at my reflection in the mirror, then place my fedora on my head.
Oh, the irony. I’m a private investigator and I can’t even figure out the mystery that is me.
Until I do, I have to live with this nightmare.
I sigh sadly, turn and walk out the door.
It was one good day. Long. Busy. Tiring at the end. But good. A lot of good moments from the 3 year old’s birthday celebration this morning (my heart melted) to the dinner party with friends this evening. The Grandpa came along for the ride as we went through an almost typical day. He’s exhausted.
So are we. So are the children who fell asleep minutes after being put to bed. A good day with time well spent. The weather being as bright and sunny and mild as it was, added to the good day.
Yes, there were moments of tension — the 6 year old getting crabby on the way to his father’s job — but other than that, good.
I’m trying to cram the day into a few short sentences, that’s how tired I am. I’m turning in.
Ahh…I need to send the email out to the K parents. Ohhhh…
She hunched her shoulders and closed her eyes.
35 years old, white, female - stabbed 15 times. She sat up straight and sighed, opening her eyes. She looked at the pictures, then reached for the red can and took a drink.
She closed her eyes again, reveling in the sweet, smooth cola taste rolling across her tongue and down her throat. She loved the bite of carbonation that flowed with the sweet. So nice.
She lifted the cup to her mouth and took another long drink. Savored the swallow.
She hated when the victims were female, which alot of times, they were. She hated even more when the victims died by the hand of a boyfriend. An angry, drunk or drugged out boyfriend.
Another drink and she put the can down next to the two cans sitting on her desk. She’d been at her desk the last hour and a half. Too busy to get up and walk over to the green recycling bin to toss the other two cans she just drank.
She sighed. She had more important fish to fry.
She reached over and pulled another file towards her. It looked like they were dealing with a crime of passion. They got the boyfriend. Now she had to process the paperwork. She sighed and began the tedious task.
Two hours later, Sophie looked up into the eyes of Dennis Morales, her partner.
“Yes.” She had just finished on the stabbing victim. ”Mickey D’s.”
“Yeah,” he said. ”You know I dig the garbage.”
Fifteen minutes later, Sophie was laughing hysterically. Her partner just told the funniest joke. She picked up her super-sized Coke and took a long sip.
Yes! - she thought. So good. Even though she already had three cans that morning and she promised herself she would be good and just be done after the third.
And now, it’s lunch. Very rarely did she and her partner have a sit-down lunch. This fourth one was a bonus. Besides, this one would last her awhile, and it would most likely be her last one.
“I’m surprised you don’t have holes in your stomach from where the acid is burning. Or holes in your teeth.” He looked pointedly at her drink.
“What?” She rolled her eyes. ”It’s just coke. Besides, this is it for me today.”
“Okay.” He gave her a doubtful look.
Twenty minutes later, Sophie and her partner walk back towards their desks. They are met there by their captain and boss.
“Don’t sit. We got a body down on 23rd and 10th.”
“Got it,” Morales said.
Sophie placed her super-sized cola on her desk. She and Morales did an about-face and headed out.
An hour later, Sophie and Morales walked away from the bloody body, underneath the yellow tape, and through a crowd of on-lookers. Her face was scrunched. Another female victim. She shook her head.
“Poor girl,” Morales said. ”We’ll start with the first name on our list. Already got an address.”
“Sounds good,” she said. They walked past a bodega.
“We should head there now.”
She stopped walking. “Yep. First, I need to stop for something. Wait here.” She pushed the glass door of the store open. ”You want something?”
“Get me a Kit Kat.”
“Sure thing.” She walked inside.
Two minutes later, she stepped out, drinking from a bottle of Cherry Coke. The cool liquid soothed her throat and smoothed out a little bit of the tension her shoulders held. She loved this. The beverage was close to freezing too, just the way she liked it. Just one for the road. She needed a little boost, after seeing the body.
She handed her partner the Kit Kat. “Let’s go.”
Two hours later, Sophie sat her desk at the precinct, massaging her neck. Her partner sat across from her, talking a mile a minute about this latest case.
He paused. ”What do you think?”
“I can see where you are going with this. Can we just go to the board?”
“Yeah, yeah, sure.”
They both stood up, Sophie grabbed her super-sized cola and sipped. It was empty.
Jeez! she thought.
“I’ll meet you there, Dennis. I’m just going to grab something.”
“Yeah.” He turned and walked away. Sophie walked in the opposite direction towards the vending machine in the back. She smiled a little. Her saving grace. She stood in front of the soda machine, staring at the Coca-Cola button. She took in the picture of the bottle of Coke - beads of water on it’s outer surface.
It’s okay - she thought to herself. An exception, tonight. It was going to be a long night, after all.
She started digging in the pocket of her pants for change.
This is inspired by a writing prompt from The Red Dress Club which asks to write a piece based on gluttony - eating and drinking to excess.
It’s 9:53a and the boys are home because there is a day off from school.
It hasn’t felt like a day off yet - at least not for me. I’m running around doing different things and meeting different demands. It’s nice to be able to sit down for at least a minute. It is feeling a little crazed.
You stole my joy…
Such a beautiful face - your olive skin, hazel eyes, charming smile, you drew me in. When you returned my interest, I was thrilled. Our dinners in Manhattan, our weekend trips to the Cape, our walks in Central Park.
I was in heaven. So happy. My joy, the size of a glowing, effervescent sun, I could barely contain it.
A few months later we were rushing down the aisle of the old chapel down in Princeton - Mr. and Mrs. I gripped your arm tightly as you held mine.
“You’re mine’s,” you whispered, softly, seductively in my ear. I shivered in anticipation. I couldn’t wait for that night.
Days later, lying on the bright white beach staring at sparkling turquoise blue water was divine. My joy spread as wide as the bright horizon before me. All was perfect in our little world.
And when we moved into our new old Victorian home with the wide steps off the front porch,
my joy pulsated. I was the luckiest woman in the world.
Until rage like a fiery whirlwind appeared out of nowhere, your face a contorted mask. I would see that face often. It would stun me and bring tears to my eyes.
Each fist on my skin would pierce a hole in my joy and bring disillusionment. The punches to my stomach, the shoves into doors, the bruises marking my pale skin, the blood on the floor.
Stinging pain followed after along with my muffled cries. I didn’t want to make you angry again.
After the tenth trip to the emergency room, I left you and my joy behind.
The time with my parents afterwards at their comforting home was a balm to my emotional wounds yet depression overtook me, as the tears flowed. Angry, I wanted my joy back.
So I threw myself into building the career that would make me happy - got that job I worked with great passion for. A little brightness like a spark flared through my darkness but the tears still flowed.
I took that dream cruise to the Caribbean with my best friends. Spent days walking the white sandy beaches and nights relaxing to the sounds of steel drums. Laughed a bit, but deep within me, the sadness still settled.
Months later, I went after a life long goal and made the climb up Denali. Majestic, breathtaking. My first smile in a long time appeared on my lips. But that night underneath the glittering stars a tear or two still made an appearance, though the throbbing in my heart began to slow to a dull ache.
Then one Saturday morning, while I sat on my window seat staring out at the trees across from my home, I picked up a pen and started to write. About all the things you did to me and all the hurts and pains I endured while with you and even a few of the good memories. The tears rushed out and became deep, gut-wrenching sobs. This writing and this crying went on until late in the evening until I truly let you go from my heart.
I wake the next day - today - pack a picnic basket and take off to the mountains near my home. I sit by that spot I love near the rushing water of the creek surrounded by the omnipresent Rocky Mountains. I breathe in the clear air, pick up my pen and notebook and start to write. I smile as my eyes tear up.
It’s been almost two years.
Finally, I’ve found my joy.
This piece of fiction is based on a writing prompt fromThe Red Dress Club which asks to write about a treasure that was stolen from you or your character, and what you did about it.
I rode up on an elevator with Tommy, my handsome stud of a boyfriend. I straightened my blouse and fixed my skirt, then looked at him. We shared a smile. We arrived twenty minutes early and feeling extremely turned on by each other, we decided to make memorable use of the extra time in his Land Rover parked downstairs. It was hot and amazingly intense, just like the other times.
We were on our way up to see a loft apartment. This was my dream almost fulfilled. I’d settle in with Tommy in a cool urban loft apartment in my dream location and just work on my writing career. Tommy was a musician but his parents were well-off, and since he was their only boy, he was lavishly spoiled. We would be together, not necessarily married. Who needed a piece of paper when you had love and heart connecting you? This would be my future and I couldn’t wait for it.
The elevator doors opened to a large room with dark wood floors, exposed brick walls and a long row of tall windows running across from one side to another. The sun shone brightly in, lighting up the beautiful room which was decorated in rich brown and red tones.
A woman around my age walked up and greeted us. “Hi, I’m Rebecca, the Strattons’ assistant. Dominick and Theresa will back any minute. They apologize for being late but asked me to show you the place in the meantime while we wait for them.”
At the end of our tour, Dominick and Theresa still hadn’t arrived, so Tommy and I talked with Rebecca while we waited.
“What are you guys doing this Sunday?” she asked. Sunday would be Valentine’s Day.
“Romantic stuff, ” I said and looked at Tommy. He grinned.
“Would you like to start off that romantic day with a morning celebrating love?” She went on to invite us to a church service hosted by the Performing Arts ministry of her church.
The service was amazing, the music top notch, the messages moving, the congregation filled with people whose made their living in the arts yet did it with God in their lives. My heart swelled. I turned to Tommy. My excited smile met his reluctant one.
We started studying the bible that Sunday. Another cool dimension to add to our sparkling future together.
It is nine months later and I am preparing for my date that night. I am living a new life and Tommy is not a part of it. Our relationship ended three days before I was baptized and became a Christian. He couldn’t commit to having a chaste relationship and I couldn’t continue to have an adulterous one. We rescinded our offer on the loft apartment and I moved into this small apartment with a new roommate.
I slip on my last earring when the doorbell rings. When I open the door, a sweet, wholesome face topped with red hair smiles back at me. Christopher. My current boyfriend.
“Hi,” I say breathlessly. He holds the most beautiful bouquet of deep red roses. He doesn’t kiss me, just hugs me instead. The shared kiss on the lips we are saving for that special moment. There will be wedding bells in my future and my being dressed in white will be more than just a tradition. It will actually mean something.
As he hands me the roses, I smile. Little did I know the future that awaited me that day almost a year ago when I stepped into that loft.