Posts Tagged water

Excerpt 132

She would no longer say anything that she did not intend to follow through with.  Her mind was nearly taken from her.  Mental control was something she had always assumed could not be taken away from her, barring disease.  Now she knew that even though someone could not take it away, it could be diminished.  Someone really could drive you crazy and take over your thoughts.

She would never again take advantage of her freedom and being able to say anything she wants to out loud. She would never say she would harm someone without meaning it.  And if she said something out loud about bringing harm to those men, she would be involving the person who was saving her life.

He turned into a fast food restaurant parking lot and approached the drive through.

“You should eat something,” he said.

She wondered how he could act she normal when she was barely dressed, had bruises and blood all over her body and was clearly disillusioned.  She did not want to eat in front of him because she worried that she had forgotten how to and would spit up. She looked at the menu board. None of the sun-bleached pictures of food looked appetizing and all of the corners were caked with dirt.

“I’ll have a piece of chicken.” He nodded and ordered.  She looked out the window, trying to recognize a store or a gas station.

The smell of the chicken was overwhelming and she could hardly unwrap it fast enough before taking a bite.  Although juicy, the first bite was very salty and she swallowed quickly, burning her throat.  The man handed her a cup of water as she peeled the skin off and threw it into the bag.  She peeled the meat from the bone and chewed slowly.  Just as she wished she had ordered another piece, the man handed her a biscuit.

“What is your name?” She asked, suddenly feeling self conscious with her misshapen hair and lack of makeup.

“Bruce,” he said and then didn’t ask her the same.

“Thank you for everything,” she said.

“I’m just glad I was there. And I was just thinking, you don’t have any identification, do you?”

“I don’t,” she said, remembering the smoldering pile burning. He nodded.

“I should probably just take you all the way home then,” he said.  “It’s not a good idea to travel without an ID.”



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Excerpt 121

Ala looked at the needle stuck into her finger. Nausea overtook her before the pain caught up.  Bruno wiggled it in deeper and blood pooled around the metal. Her eyes fluttered as vomit dribbled from her mouth silently.  Bruno’s eye widened as he tried to scoot his shoes away, but she coughed and some of the burnt yellow bile landed on his toes.

He held out his hand and one of the masked men brought forth a red hander kerchief.  He wiped off his shoe, folded it in half and stood up.  Grabbing the back of Ala’s neck, he shoved the handkerchief in her mouth.  She gagged and he pushed harder into the pressure points on the sides of her neck with his fingers.  He released and, feeling faintish, she pushed her heels into the ground. He removed the cloth from her mouth and handed it back to the man.

“How about a guess now?” He said, pulling the needle out slowly.

“Emmanuel,” she said.

“That’s an interesting guess,” Bruno said. He pushed the needle into her knuckle on the same finger where he had punctured the cuticle.  She winced.  “Have you had any water today?” She shook her head that she hadn’t.  He nodded and the masked man carried a bucket to the back of the room where a spigot stuck out of the wall.  She heard the water begin to fill the bucket and felt her pants wet with warm urine.  Bruno looked down at her legs and back up at her.  He pushed the needle deeper into her finger. “Do you have anything else to say today?”

She stayed quiet.  He was unstable and she wasn’t sure what would trigger him to cause her more pain.

He gestured to the man at the spigot, who turned off the water and carried the bucket over.  Bruno took the bucket and flung it forward, drenching her in the cold water.  She gasped her air as they laughed.  The other man, who had done nothing the entire time, released her from the chair and tied her wrists to her ankles, forcing her back into an extreme arch.  Her stomach was stretched out like a drum and her bones shook as if they were going to snap.

She cried openly and wished they would kill her and end this. And then she thought of Danno and how he must be looking for her and how the last time she saw him was not an adequate goodbye.

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Excerpt 112

There was an inexplicable quiet among them.  She considered dialing the police, but wasn’t sure what to tell them. She couldn’t register what she was seeing or who was even in the room.  She knew, without directly recognizing them, that her parents were involved and tracked a few more familiar faces.  No noticed her.  No one stopped.  She became angry that there were no precautions taken to make sure she did not walk into this.  She was still a member of the household, even though she did not pay any of the expenses.

The condition of the room was jarring.  All of the curtains were closed tightly. Her parents eight hundred thread count sheets were twisted and balled up across the bed. There were pieces of costumes from different time periods flung everywhere.  Someone moaned, forcing Ala to quickly turn around and made her way downstairs to the living room, where she sat in an armchair, her arms wrapped around her legs and rocked slowly back and forth. She thought of a Fendi painting she had stumbled upon in college.  All of the round, open bodies, different shades of peach, in the water each taking to one another.  The lines were so smooth and the bodies were depicted as so approachable, because the eye had a difficult time deciphering where one began and one ended.  She tried to think of the naturalness of the act and could not find a way.

She awoke to the sound of a loud engine rumbling down the street and looked out the window.  A truck was backing up into Emmanuel’s driveway.  She watched a wiry man hop out of the passenger side and motion for the driver to keep easing back, making sure not to run over any of the plants.  It must be all of the artwork and cash being returned.  She felt her upper back droop slightly with relief as the driver turned off the ignition and the wiry guy opened the back door.

She heard laughter upstairs and remembered the horrific scene that she for sure had seen, and had not dreamt.  A group descended the staircase.  Two of them were the Neely’s, with Mrs. straightening her wrap-around skirt as Mr. zipped up his pants, smiling. She saw Jeanne and Peter, faces red and smeared with one of her false eyelashes dangling from her eyelid.  There were others she was sure she had either seen at the library, or the grocer or the drycleaners or any other mundane errand mecca.  Was the whole village involved?

Her parents were the last to come down, both wearing robes, they stopped at the front door to hug the last couple to leave and her mother whispered something Ala could not make out.  The door closed and Ala cleared her throat.

“Ala,” her mother gasped and held the robe closed across her chest.  She was not aware that Ala had most likely seen her breasts and some man, other than her father, attached to them.

“What are you doing home?” Her father said.

She stood and felt tears falling out of the corners of her eyes.

“What the Hell was that?”

“What do you mean?” Her mother asked.

“This is what you do now!” She screamed.  It was too much.  The haze from pills and sex had lifted and she was very alert and terrified of the situation.  “I saw both of you!  Upstairs in my own house.”

“Ala, you’re not supposed to be staying here,” her mother said.  “You’ve been coming and going all week as you please.  You can’t expect us to not live our lives.”

“Since when is this your life?”

“Let me try to explain this to you, Ala,” he father said very calmly.  “Let’s go outside.”

“Coffee?” Her mother said.

“Yes, please,” he said and opened the door.  Ala followed him onto the porch and sat a distance away; eyeing the truck outside of Emmanuel’s to make sure she had not imagined it.

Her father crossed his ankles and sat straight up on the porch swing.

“I can understand how this may be strange for you, but your mother and I have enjoyed swinging for most of our adult lives.” Her mouth opened.  She had thought, or hoped, that this was a one-time experience having to do with major mid-life crises from all parties involved.

“What do you mean?”

“We met at an event for swingers about forty years ago,” he said plainly.


“It’s true.  We were both had other partners at the time.”

She was certain she would be sick if he kept talking, but also that there was too much she did not know.

“You might not even be my father,” she said.  He chuckled and shook his end, as if addressing an idiotic child.

“Ala, of course I’m your father.  Once your mother and I married, we decided to put the lifestyle on hold to have a family. We bought this house for you, of course, and have been inactive ever since you were born.”

“I can’t believe this.  I don’t know either of you at all.”

“Of course you do.  This isn’t everything we are, you know. We’ve just happened to find people in the community who have the same interests we do.” She couldn’t let herself imagine how the conversation even came up with the neighbors.  “I know you may not want to believe it, but these practices have been going on since the very beginning of mankind.”

“I have to go,” Ala said, rushing down the steps.

“I don’t want you leaving upset. We’re here if there’s anything you want to discuss.”

“I’ve heard enough,” she said, as she rushed toward Emmanuel’s house.

She was sweating heavily and had cold chills racing throughout her body.  She closed her eyes and tried to clear the imagery, but could not.  She did not want to go back to the house without Danno, and did not want to be anywhere near her parents or anyone else who lived on the block.  She began to run and hoped the men unloading the truck would not see her.

Her shoes began to hurt and squeeze her feet, but she kept going.  That was the reason her mother did not want her to work for Emmanuel.  She did not want her to find out that they all participated in these parties.  This explained the strange clothing and toys.  How long had this been happening?  She assumed since she had left for Boston.  Her parents seemed so traditional, but that must have come with the money they had acquired and status over the years.

She thought of how she had gone to bed with Danno without even knowing his name.  It was possible she could inherit the same sexual appetite as her parents.  The water up ahead was enticing, but she did not want to walk home wet, and hopped onto the wide cement slab that ran along the shoreline instead.  She was huffing and panting, but did not stop.  She didn’t know how long Danno would be with Rainbow, but needed to speak with him as soon as possible to tell him that she would go with him no matter where that was.

After determining that all of the art was in the right place and that the cash was replenished, she would leave Emmanuel a long letter apologizing for having to break their arrangement and telling him he did not have to pay her for any of her time.  She would leave a key for Bruno so that he could look after the house, since he was so concerned and nosy.

She felt a tug on her ankle, which sent her falling to the ground face down.  Scrapes on her knees, elbows and face immediately began to sting as she felt herself being pulled from the cement down below to the sand.  Her vision went blurry as her hair was pulled, and she screamed before a black wooly hand clasped over her mouth.  A scratchy sack was forced over her writhing head and she tried to twist and turn while being picked up and carried away.

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Excerpt 88

She could hear before she could see.  The sound of waves, but softer and more tangible, like paper being crumbled very slowly.  She turned her head to the right and felt the ache from sleeping in an odd position.  She turned her head all the way to the left to try and nullify the pain, which never worked. Then she opened her eyes.  The sound was the trees, the leaves rather, rustling and blowing while clinging to the branches. The sky was still bright, meaning she couldn’t have slept for that long, in less this was a different day all together.

She rolled over to her side and pushed up to sit.  She spotted Danno.  He was sitting on one of the slate rocks a few yards away, talking on his cell phone. His pants were still rolled up from the climb and his face had gotten color from being in the sun several hours. She wanted to kiss him. She  got to her feet and hobbled over, still weak from the climb and lack of water.

As she approached, Ala saw him pull the phone away from his ear and hold it so that the receiver was directly in front of his mouth.  Then he said something very loudly, but the wind made his words inaudible to her.  He tapped a button and put the phone back into his pocket.  He smoothed back his hair and turned toward her.

A thin smile appeared and he stepped off the rock and met her halfway.

“You were out cold.”

“I know.  I was so beat from the climb.”

“I’m sorry,” he said, taking her hand. “I thought it would be a nice way to spend the day.”

“Oh, it was, really,” she said, the fear creeping back that he may be looking for a way to leave her.

“Should we head back?”


This time they walked the outer perimeter of the hill, which was more of a downward ramp, to take their time.  Ala could not imagine climbing back down in one piece.

She almost began to cry when the car came into view.  She wanted to run, but didn’t risk it, because the boat shoes were sure to fall apart with any added impact.

They got in and Danno turned the air conditioning all the way up.  He opened the glove box and took out a pack of cigarette’s that said Shepheard’s Hotel on the gold foil on the front of the pack.  He pulled a shiny lighter from his pocket and lit one while it dangled sideways from his lips.

Ala hated smoking more than anything she could think of at that moment.  She pushed the button to roll down her window.  He turned the air conditioning off.

“I didn’t know you smoked,” she said, trying to sound casual, while also trying to evaluate whether or not the smoking was something she could live with.  As if he had asked her to marry him.

“Does it bother you?” He asked, looking straight ahead.

“A little, yes,” Ala said.

She watched his face for a reaction.  All she could see were the tiny lines in the crevices of his eyelids raising slightly.  He opened the window and tossed the cigarette out.  Ala rolled her window up.  He turned the air back on.

“What if I told you that I only smoke when something bad happens?” He said, keeping his eyes on the road.

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Excerpt 86

There was a low breeze that brushed across her ankles as she trudged upwards.  He had a long stride and a determination toward the direction they were headed.  This was a new side to him, who up until now had not seemed rushed to do anything.

She started to feel warm and was sure to take deep breaths.  The heat was intensifying and she realized they had not brought any water with them. She never thought about drinking water, but always grew panicky when none was available.

They stopped in a shaded area next to a small stream.  She perched on a rock and the icy cold released of some of the pent up heat.  He opened the canvas bag and took out the bread.  They ate and listened to the birds flap around in the branches.  The preserves, though warmed, still tasted refreshing like summer fruit always had to her.

“After we’re finished with this, do you want to see a really great view?”

“Yes,” she said, nodding and tucking some crumbs into her mouth with her tongue.

“We’ll have to climb a little.”

“I don’t mind.”  She wiggled her feet around in her shoes.   There was no pain, but there was a gritty sweat in some of the creases and she was concerned about blisters forming.

He took her hand and the started in east, up to a small cleft with rock jutting in and out through the middle . She saw what he was thinking.  It would be easy to climb up this way instead of going all the way around the base and facing a steep incline.

“You go first and I’ll get behind you in case you slip.”

She nodded and began by stepping her foot into a small crevice for leverage before reaching both hands to grip the brittle stone and hoist herself up.  Lifting her body weight was not something she had tried before and proved to be difficult when not being able to stop or rest or lean back for support.  She became terrified when it was time to reach for the next rock.  She didn’t trust the bottoms of her shoes to grip properly.

She closed her eyes and reached. Her fingers shook, but she was able to pull hard enough for her left foot to find the next step without her looking.  She heard his quiet grunting behind her and tried to climb a little bit faster.

“How am I doing?” She said between panting.

“Just fine. We’re almost at the top Ala,” he said.

She smiled when she heard how he said her name with adoration in his voice.  Seconds later,  her mind flooded when she understood that she was climbing up the side of a mountain with a man he had spent the night with, and had no idea what his name might be.

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Excerpt 74

Ala couldn’t remember if she locked the front door. She didn’t know where her purse was. She even forgot whose yard she was standing in for a moment; seeping with joy she watched her hand graze over her warm shoulder and removed one strap of the sundress.  He stayed reclined, unmistakably watching her but exemplified no change in attitude.  She spun around, her bare feet touching the smooth stoned patio, and dropped the other strap.  She lifted all of her hair and moved her hips from side to side.  She was surprised at the ease of her movement. Of course if a giant mirror were placed in front of her while she was dancing, she would most likely stop.  Not tonight though.

She spun around and the dress fell off of her.  She hadn’t planned for this because of all she had eaten that evening.  She immediately jumped into the pool. It was so quick that he, a little drunk by now, must’ve thought she fell in.

She saw the quivering blob of him standing at the edge of the pool  through the water as she surfaced.

“Are you all right?”

“Of course,” she said, spitting a stream of water up toward him.  “You didn’t have to get up.”

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Excerpt 59

She gazed at the quivering water in the in-ground pool and thought about going skinny dipping.  The sun seemed very bright at the time and, while there were very tall shrubs surrounding the yard, she decided against it.  Skinny dipping was to be done in the dark.  This was, without a doubt, the greatest job she had ever had.  Why she hadn’t considered assisting the rich before, was baffling.  She curled up sideways in the crook of the chair and drifted off for a short nap.

She awoke upon hearing her cell phone ringing from inside of the house.  She jumped up and hurried inside.  Her bag was by the front door, along with her luggage she had forgotten about unpacking.  She answered.

“Ala, where are you?”  It was her mother.  While Ala was pretending to be wealthy, she had forgotten to call and tell her parents that she had moved out while they were gone.

“Oh, hi. I, I couldn’t find you or dad this morning and had to move quickly.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I took a job for the summer.”

“Really?  That’s wonderful. Where?”

“I’m housesitting actually for Emmanuel.”

“Emmanuel! I had no idea you had met.”

“At the Neely’s, yes, we talked for awhile and when he found out I was looking for a job, he asked if I would want to watch the house while he’s away on business.”

“And you said yes?”

“It’s the first offer I’ve gotten.”


“It’s really a low key job.”

“You barely know him.”

“But he’s not going to be here.”

“You expect me to believe that?”

“Believe what?”

“That Emmanuel just met you and asked you to stay in his house all summer and he’s not there going to bed with you?” Ala nearly dropped the phone.

“What in the Hell are you talking about?”

“Everyone knows about Emmanuel, Ala.”

“Knows what?”

“He has some very strange habits, well sexually, and I really don’t think you should be staying in his house with him.”

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