Dead AirA Chapter by May
When I dream, I always dream in black and white. Everything and everyone are always quiet and slow. The sky is gray and the sun is white. It's never hot in my dreams either, it's always winter and I never have a coat.
When people walk by me they always glare down and keep moving without another word. I will try to talk or ask them what I did wrong, but they ignore me and keep moving. It was like I was talking to dead air. But that night the dream was different.
We had a swamp near our house, and some days when I was bored or lonely I would find a dry spot that overlooked the wetland and I would sit and think. Sometimes I dreamed about sitting there, sometimes I dream about floating away on a rowboat, but that night I was watching a man swim.
He had a black and white stripped jumpsuit on and he was swimming towards me. I watched him as he slowly drew closer and closer.
He walked out of the swamp and onto the area where the land and water met. I noticed he was the same man from my mother's picture, except instead of the dirty overalls he wore the prison jumpsuit. With his hands in steel cuffs, he was running towards me in slow motion. He had an anxious and excited look on his face. He didn't seem to notice I was there, but no one in my dreams noticed I was there.
He ran right past me and a thunderous sound roared across the once silent wetland. The man flew forward and hit the ground face first. I smelled the gun smoke and watched as the rowboat full of police officers pulled forward.
I tried screaming as I watched the mans lifeless body lay on the floor unmoving, but I couldn't make a sound. It was like I didn't exist.
The police flipped the mans dead body around so his face was looking at the sky, but his face was nothing more than a skull with rotting flesh and maggots.
The smell of rotting death filled my lungs. I couldn't stop myself from screaming again. I knew that it didn't do any good screaming, but I couldn't stop. I ran to one of the police men and tried talking to him, but I couldn't hear myself speak. I tried kicking him, but my foot only faded away. I was a ghost in my own dream, just like I was a ghost in my own life.
My eyes flew open when I heard the screen door slam. My room was filled with light, but I was still under my bed intertwined with my quilt.
I turned to my side and watched my door. The house was entirely silent, but I was awake enough to worry. I had made my mama mad the night before and I wouldn't have been surprised if she locked me in the closet again. Lets be optimistic and hope that she wouldnt.
I watched until my eye lids were heavy against each other, but I wouldn't let myself drift off to sleep. Everything was too still, too quiet. I had a feeling that she was planning something bad for barging in on her and Gordon. Punching him in the back and screaming profanities probably didn't help my case either.
Hunger was winning over my judgement of staying in my room. I had a feeling that she would be waiting for me to come out. I listened for my mother to make movement so I could prepare myself, but nothing was happening. She must have been in one of her deep sleeps. She was always in a bad mood when she woke up from her deep sleep. I didn't understood why; If I scoot a chair on the floor, or if I dropped a spoon she would yell at me and say that I was purposely trying to make her head hurt.
I decided to take the risk and go to the kitchen. If she was in her deep sleep then I didn't have anything to worry about for the moment.
Sliding myself out from under my bed, I made my way to the door and listened; I didn't hear anything. Good.
I opened my door and walked down the hall. I saw my mother sitting on a kitchen chair drinking coffee. It was too late for me to turn around, she had seen. All she had to do was point towards me and I knew that I was going to be punished.
I forced my feet to move me into the kitchen and sat down. The smell of her coffee was making me hungry and thirsty again. The anticipation was making me want to throw up. What was she going to do?
I tried to look everywhere except her eyes, but she glared holes into mine.
I finally met her eyes and she stared in mine unblinking. My breath stayed in my lungs and I prayed silently that she would just let me go. My prayers weren't answered that day.
My mother got up from her seat and made her way to the cabinet. We didn't have a lot of money, so our cabinets were usually empty. After turning around she spoke evenly, "Stand up."
I stood up without a second thought. Her demands scared me to the point that I would do anything she said, the first time she said it. Her bony arms reached into the cabinet and pulled out a box of rice. I didn't even know we owned rice. She slowly opened the box without looking at me, and dumped it on the floor.
I heard every piece of rice hit the floor. Click, Click, Click...
I watched her eyes as she finished dumping the rice on the floor. I learned that when she punished me I had to watch her eyes. She didn't like it when I was looking away or not paying attention. She liked me to wonder and worry. She knew that I felt anxiety and she got some thrill off of watching me squirm.
My stomach was turning over, I knew I was going to throw up soon if she didn't punish me. I couldn't stand the feeling when I knew something bad was going to happen, but it is was purposefully prolonged for amusement.
She finally looked at me and than back at the ground. Was she indicating for me to get on the ground? I didn't understand what exactly she was wanting for me to do, and then it hit me. She wanted me to kneel on the rice.
I immediately imagined the pain and the blood. I was always an easy bleeder, so it wouldn't take much to puncture my skin.
My body did what my mind was commanding it not to do, and I started to kneel onto the rice. My nerves got the best of me and I jumped back up. My mother glared daggers, so I continued to kneel once again. My knees reached the floor and my eyes brimmed with water. I hated to cry because I knew it gave my mother the satisfaction she was looking for, but it really hurt.
The sound of thunder in the distance made my head turn to the windows. I watched as a drop of rain hit the window and slowly rolled down. I thought of the storm and tried to keep my mind away from the pain. My mother's voice interrupted my daze.
"I was fixing to knock you sideways the way you embarrassed me last night. Y'all need to learn manners and until you do, you will not move." She walked around me in circles as I winced in pure agony.
"I'm goin' to a bar, and after that I'm bringin' Gordon back over here. You won't move. You will sit here and wait for me to decide whether you learned your lesson. Not only will you sit here until I say you have learned you lesson, but you will sleep outside tonight. I won't make the mistake of lettin' you sleep inside again."
I nodded and waited for her to leave. She started for the door but turned around to say one last thing, "I bet you were figurin' on movin' once I left. I will give you one warning, and one warning only..." Her stare went deep into my eyes and I felt myself wince by reflex, "I will know." Her roots in the South were always evident in her slow speech. Being angry or determined to get her point across always inflared her accent.
Those were the last words she said to me that night. She walked out of the screen door, and headed down the path that would soon take her to the bar while I winced and moaned in agony. I was alone again, just like in my dreams. No one could see me, and no one could hear me. Just a ghost in my own life.
© 2010 May
Added on April 19, 2010
Last Updated on June 13, 2010
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