Marigolds

Marigolds

A Chapter by

 Clarkwillow, Louisiana, the worst place in the United States, for me that is; this was where I lived. My mother’s name was Phil and if anyone ever made fun of her name, she made sure that their mouth would be too sore to speak again.

 

I guess her Pa wanted a boy and when my mother came along he decided she wasn’t anything special. He named her Phil and put her to work. He was a famer, and a pretty s****y Pa. I never met him, but by the way my mother described him, he should've been inprisoned for all the wife beatin’ and child abuse. But my mother didn't like talking about him.

 

                I used to go through some of my mother’s things while she was at the bar or when she was working, and one day something caught my attention. I saw a brown, smooth, shiny box. My child instincts took over and within seconds I had the box in my hands and was opening it very gently.

 

It had lots of paper and photos. Some were ripped and some had black smudges across the faces. I found one that was ripped in two, but found the other piece easily. I saw a large man in overalls with a shovel swung on his shoulder. Than to the right of him was a small child, a boy perhaps.

It had very short hair, overalls, and a bucket in its right hand. It had a slim girl-like figure. Then beside the child was a tall woman. She was smaller than the bulky man, but much taller than the child. The woman had dark brown hair, and a blue sun dress with a dirty apron on. She wasn’t smiling like the man. She had dark circles under her eyes; she seemed sad. She was holding a bouquet of marigolds. I could've been wrong, I was never much of a flower expert.

Behind all three of them was a barn. In the black and white photo, it seemed faded. The little child seemed sad too. It had black or probably purple circles all over its arms and a few down its neck. The child had light hair, it was probably blonde. It would've been lighter if it had a bath.

The bulky man was smiling. No, more like smirking. Did he not notice the women and child were in agony?

 

I heard the front door slam shut. We didn’t really have a front door; it was really just a screen door. It was never really too cold for me or my mother, and were also dead broke.

I shut the box and stuffed it back in the closet of my mother’s bed room. I was still holding on to the pieces of the picture and I stuffed it in the front pocket of my ratty dress.

I heard my mother trip over one of the mismatched chairs that went to our mismatched table.

She’s drunk. I knew the drill.

 

I ran out the rotting door and down the short hall to the living room. We didn’t own a lot of material things; just the basics.

We had a very tiny fridge (really just a wooden box that doesn’t keep anything cold), a kitchen table and four mismatched chairs. We had cupboards and counters in the kitchen, which both were a very faded shade of yellow (almost like there was no paint at all). In the living room there was a sofa that once was a shade of blue, but aged into a grayish color. We had a radio, but mother threw it at a wall when I was about seven; I had accidentally dropped a glass of water. The floor was a rotting mahogany, and really wasn’t safe anymore, but we couldn't afford to fix it.

 

                I ran into the living room. I heard loud giggles and the banging of pots and dishes falling to the floor. Then I heard a man’s voice. It was all coming from the kitchen, I was confused. My mother didn’t usually bring home men.

 

I tripped over my own foot while walking quietly to the kitchen and winced from the pain but caught myself before I drew attention.

None of the lights were on; we only had a few light bulbs, so it wasn't much of a surprise when it was dark at my house.

I curled myself around a corner of the wall, and peeked over the nook I was hiding in. I saw my mother and a very nasty looking man next to her. He was probably a farmer. He had dirty denim overalls and a hat was lying on the table next to him.

 

                In the corner of my mother’s eye I saw her look over at me, “Belle!” She said in a dry voice. I thought she was sleeping standing up by her tone.

I stood up from my crouch and walked into the kitchen slowly. My mother grabbed my shoulder and pulled me to her side. I could smell the whiskey on her breath.

 

I cleared my throat before speaking, “Yes ma'am?”

“This is Gordon Pickett, he’s a very nice man,” she said and started to giggle again, “say hi to Gordon, Belle.” After a few seconds I realized she was digging her nails into my bruise that was on my shoulder.

I whimpered and it only made her dig her nails in deeper. “Err… hi” I said in a half sarcastic tone. I figured Gordon wasn't too bright and wouldn't pick up on the sarcasim.

“Hello there Belle, I’m Gordon Pickett.” He said in a slur. Didn’t we already establish that his name is Gordon Pickett? This is just becoming repetitive.

 He continued, “I think you and me will be very close friends.” He took a step forward and my first reaction was to take a step back, but I was pinned between my mother and the wall. I didn't like the way he said that.

 

“That seems grand!” My mother said in an overly enthusiastic tone. She started to giggle and fell against the counter, which made her giggle even louder.

 

“Um, yes’m, I’m sure we will be.” I tried to stop stuttering over my words, but when I was nervous I would stutter. My mother always got annoyed with it. She tried beating me a few times in the past to get me to stop, but that always inflared it even more.

My mother shoved me to the side, letting go of her grasp on my shoulder. The sweet release of the pain in my shoulder made me sigh out loud. I rubbed the bruise the first chance I got to try and sooth the pain.

 

I don’t remember if I got that bruise from her throwing a garden shovel at me, or her throwing me into the counter. Either way, my shoulder still hurt.

 

“How about a tour of the house, Gordon?” my mother asked seductively.

“Yes, I would love a tour, Phil.” Gordon answered smugly.

“You get to bed, Belle!” My mother screeched at me. I turned away heading for my room when a sharp pain withered threw my arm again.

 

“Owe!” I said out loud. “Where are your manners, Belle Angeline?!” My mother nearly shouted, while her nails traveled deeper into my skin.

 

I looked at Gordon. His face was smug, like he was enjoying my pain. My mother quickly tightened her grip. I winced and sighed, “Excuse me for being so rude, Gordon. Is there anything I can get you?” I asked my voice monotone.

 

“That’s alright, Belle.” I turned slowly away, but turned back around instantly. What else had I forgotten to do?

“Anything for you, mother?” I asked coldly. She snapped her head up, furious as my tone. I quickly replaced my face with one of an innocent child’s.

 

“No,” she said frostily. I knew I was in trouble.

While she glared at me, Gordon was completely oblivious to our conflict. That or he was pretending to be. He was slowly walking around the kitchen. He stopped at the screen door and started examining it with interest. “Alright, good night mother,” I said in a whisper.

 

                She never glared at me. That was a very, very bad sign. She usually acted on instinct, to just give pain when she was angry.

"How about I show you the bedroom, Gordon?" My mother's shrill voice said while retreating toward her bedroom.

I walked away swiftly, and once out of sight I ran to my room and shut the door. I couldn’t slam the door, in great worry that it would fall off the hinges; the door was old.

I ran to my bed and threw my head in the pillow. I looked around the room after a few minutes, and counted to a hundred. I tried to do anything to keep my mind off of my mother and the disgusting farmer.

 

I closed my eyes and tried to sleep.



© 2010


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The word choice could be more creative, and the descriptions could be more "show" rather than "tell". This means, hint at details, don't provide facts about things, don't simplify it, but give descriptions that hint at the background, at the appearance...
There were several typos/misspellings and one or two grammar mistakes (I think in dialog). I would also make the spacing consistent, as it was somewhat distracting. Overall, I think this has potential to be better, but is done pretty well as it is. Interesting plot, with a possibly great future. Nice job.

Posted 13 Years Ago


Though I understand that Belle is "telling" her past, doesn't mean it should seem like it. Let the reader see things in Belle's POV because there are some sentences that could be a lot stronger when describing like these: "He was probably a farmer. He had dirty denim overalls and a hat was lying on the table next to him." That passive sentence "He was probably a farmer" was unnecesary because the clothes could be used to say the same thing that through them she could conclude he was a farmer. There are a lot of passive sentences that could be made stronger.

Also, you often "tell" the setting like the door being old. You didn't have to say it "was" old, but show that it was like its rotting wood or its rusted doorknobs or shaky hindges. You didn't have to "say" that Belle was confused at the man because Belle had already said Phil doesn't normally bring men home.

However, the plot is riveting and I often feel Belle's anticipation, her emotions. I think that's what makes it strong.

Posted 14 Years Ago


mmm a nice story, quite vivid and captivating

Posted 14 Years Ago


She is a character the young Belle. I like the chapter. The pace was just right and the story kept my interest. A very good chapter.
Coyote

Posted 14 Years Ago


Oh they were indented, but when I posted them on here they changed. I'll go back later and fix them ;)

Posted 14 Years Ago


I love this. Some of the paragraphs aren't indented, but that's the only problem. Other than that, it's a fantastic chapter! :D

Posted 14 Years Ago



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Added on April 19, 2010
Last Updated on April 20, 2010


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