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27 years later 27 years later
by Katerina Charisi
2016-10-17 11:10:17
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27 years after I died, Jenny walked the dirty path leading to the house where everything started and everything ended, closing behind her the rusty iron gate. The oleanders’ shape didn’t make her wonder; she couldn’t see, nor know. The shack in the far end of this cursed, burned land, was out of sight. I knew she would be the one to tell my story in the end. I waited for too long. When all would be over, I will make sure she will remain alive and sane enough to tell what happened. I must finish what I started back then and failed.

em00001_400I knew it was the end when I saw them coming. Their sucked, sticky paces in the mud, the heavy rain running down their dark faces, the grease in their hands. I stepped back slowly and hid in shadows. I saw it all in their eyes: Murder. They were going to kill me.

I spilled the kerosene and lit a match, wasting only a moment to make sure the fire lit and then I ran, hoping it wouldn’t blow out. I ran all the way down, slipping and falling in the cold mud, my dress sticking on my legs, forcing myself to keep running, forcing my mind to forget what I left behind. I kneeled and crawled through the hole in the fence where the badgers had dug. I had to reach the bike. I had to escape. My dress caught in the wire. I heard her voice calling them. I heard her calling me. She had seen me. I stuck my hands in the mud trying to grab from anything, felt the thick mud cold under my nails, I pulled and heard the dress torn.

“Come back you slut! Get’ er!” she yelled and I could see the horrible mask in her face, as she stood on the porch, holding in her dirty hands my most precious thing. The pain nailed my heart but I didn’t dare to look back. If I looked, I couldn’t run no more.

**

Michael wiped his forehead and felt it burning in the cold back of his hand. His fingertips felt like glass and rubbed them on his jeans to warm them a little. He felt the sweat turning icy cold on his back. “Damn cold”, he swore and kicked the truck’s door shut. He took a few steps back and observed his job, shaking his head, not satisfied from what he had done. There was nothing better he could do about it, though. He had cleaned the truck the best he could, but the holes on the seats and the sour smell of sweat and wet butts wouldn’t change. He walked to the shed where Bradford worked on his car. Nothing had changed since the last time.

He felt the weight of being the last child in the family crushing him. He always had to do what others told him to do and never complain. But he couldn’t help it and not feeling an idiot, for failing in everything he tried on his own. He never understood what he did wrong. Was he so stupid? Sometimes his mother was right. He wasn’t like his siblings. He couldn’t achieve anything without his parents’ guidance. He was good in everything, as long as someone told him what to do. He would never survive alone. Mary had gone, years ago, living a life totally different from the one they lived in the house. Bradford had his own plans. And him? What about him? He knew that he took a big step when he brought Jenny in the manor, but since then, it was all the same, like they walked together on this dirt path yesterday. Still, the car was his, damn it! He had already helped in every way he could. He decided to go back to the house. When Bradford would come back, he would tell him about the car. He needed his car back.

He stood on the porch and lit a cigarette. He saw Sam coming with his crooked knees and the rubber boots, tall and thin like a forgotten scarecrow, holding his shirt folded in the front. “Brought the eggs”, he said and touched his straw.

“My mother should be in her kitchen”, Michael said and sucked deep his smoke. “Like always”, Sam replied. “How’s the young lady?” he asked next. Michael didn’t answer. “She told me some weird stuff the other day”, Sam went on. “You should spend some more time the two of you, if I may say. It’s not easy being out here and alone”.

Michael threw the butt and watched it arcing until it touched the mud and hissed. “Jenny is not alone. Why everyone keeps telling me this?”

“Who else told you this?”

“Never mind, Sam. Forget it”.

Sam lowered his head and walked past him; opened the door and went inside. Michael felt again this same weight pressing his chest.  


   
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