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She snapped the yellow band against her wrist. The bright peach color of the kitchen walls hurt her eyes. She sat there listening to her parents yell back and forth.
“Today is my only day off. I am not going shopping!” Her father yelled so loudly it echoed throughout the room.
“But I need to finish this for Ella’s school!”
“I don’t care! You want food? You get it yourself!”
Such harsh words. Having no care whatsoever for the rest of his family was only one of her father’s special characteristics.
Her head began to throb, her knees shaking. She wasn’t able to hold them still. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich was looking less appetizing by the minute. How could anyone ever think two completely different condiments could work together for the good of the entire sandwich?
SNAP. She winced in pain as the rubber bracelet made contact with her skin. The band was engraved with the words “live strong.” She felt like her ears were about to explode, her hands twitching in sync with her head.
“Ella, get me my bag.” Her mother demanded. SNAP. The bracelet was working its magic. She lifted her head from the stupid sandwich, and glanced over at her mother and father staring back at her. She began to stand up when suddenly, she picked up the sandwich she had been staring at and threw it on the floor.
“My name is Dani.”
Her mother raised her eyebrows and her jaw dropped at little bit.
“Stop kidding around, you’re not a child,” her father instructed.
Dani ran upstairs and threw on a black shirt with a pair of dark jeans with rips in every other square inch, and loaded on the dark make-up.
“Get back down here. You cannot walk away from me!” he yelled again. She flew down the stairs and stood in front of her parents with her hands on her hips. Her dad glared at her, cleared his throat, and cracked every knuckle in his hands as if he was about to beat her.
“I’m so out of here” Dani said defiantly.
“Ella!” her mother yelled.
“Who the hell is Ella?” Dani screamed back as she grabbed her keys slamming the door behind her. Dani took her car and sped out of the driveway. Her car began to vibrate to the beat of the song L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole.
“L, is for the way you look at me.” She went from 25 to 30 miles per hour and her eyes glared at the empty road in front of her.
“O, is for the only one I see.” Now at 40 she slammed down on the gas.
“V, is very very extra ordinary.” 55. Taking deeper and deeper breaths she repositioned her hands on the wheel.
“E, is even more than anyone that you adore.” Finally she punched the radio, cracking the screen with shards of it stuck in her hand.
She drove 70 miles per hour down the road, passing white signs with bold black letters saying “speed limit 25.” Leaves were falling off of the yellow, orange, and brown trees that surrounded the streets. She wondered why there was none of that fiery red color around. That was her favorite. Such a dark, evil red that takes over the entire tree right before they choose to jump off the branches, leaving the tree alone and ugly for the winter.
A little kid with his bike appeared in her tracks. She slammed her breaks. Trailing behind the little boy was his mother and father holding hands and smiling. Without another thought, she put both hands on the wheel and stepped on the gas.
“Do you realize what you have done?” the police officer spoke firmly. Does he think I’m a six year old? Yes I understand…
“Does it look like I care?” Dani replied, mocking his tone. Dani looked down at her hands restricted in movement by the solid silver handcuffs that lay cold and uncomfortable around her wrists. The knuckles on her right hand looked angry and raw. She looked around the room noticing the grey walls. She stared out of the large gridded window at all the officers drinking coffee and running around with papers flying everywhere. She was tapping her foot as her chair wobbled like they do in school because the superintendent is too cheap to buy some balanced ones.
“I don’t have time for this; you’ve been charged with homicide. Unless you had, I don’t know, a seizure while driving, you’re in for life.”
She squinted her eyes and began grinding her teeth as she gave him a nasty look. She felt something touch her shoulder. SNAP. The bracelet was at work once again. She turned around to see her mother standing behind her shocked.
“Hey! Focus! Dani!” he snapped at her.
“Dani who?” Ella inquired.
The detective moaned in frustration. Ella looked back at her mom.
“Mom where am I?
“Ella I can’t even look at you right now. Why would you ever do something like this,” her mother said biting back tears. Her delicate little perfectly manicured fingers were massaging her temples while she closed her eyes. Ella turned around but quickly turned back noticing the lack of a wedding ring on her mother’s finger.
She had no idea why she was at a police station or why people were calling her Dani. She stared at the detective and stood up. She went to hug her mother but her mother stepped away.
“Mom, what is going on? Ella asked restlessly.
“Ella, you killed someone!” her mother yelled with tears pouring from her eyes.
“I did what? I would never! Who?”
“Don’t play games with us! The evidence is solid” the officer said raising his voice.
The detective began to take out pictures and bags with the words “DNA samples” on them. She couldn’t look at the pictures they were just horrible. This little boy lying there, weak and helpless with marks all over his face covered in blood. There Ella was, in the background, smiling, staring at the boy while she was handcuffed. She couldn’t believe it, how could that be her?
“Mrs. Barnes may I have a word with you outside?”
Ella stared around the room and noticed the grey color scheme and began to feel dizzy. She was breathing heavily and her head was throbbing again. She ran to the window where she saw her mother talking with the detective. Her mother stayed perfectly still, staring into the detective’s eyes as he spoke to her firmly. They spoke for about 10 minutes, but it was the longest 10 minutes of Ella’s life. She saw her mother sigh and with that sigh, it seemed as if her entire body deflated. She was about to bang on the window when she saw her reflection. Tears were pouring out of her eyes and she noticed the black makeup dripping down her face. She felt like the temperature had just increased 10 degrees and she was sweating. A strand of her hair fell in her face. She went to put it back behind her ear but began to cry even more. She was handcuffed. Ella leaned against the window and slid down the wall until she was sitting on the floor. Struggling to find something to keep her mind off of the fact that she supposedly murdered an innocent little boy, she dragged both her hands into the pocket of her dark jeans hoping to find any useless piece of junk to fidget with. Who wears jeans this tight? She had trouble sticking her fingers into the pockets they were so snug, she had to sit with her legs straight rather than criss-cross like she usually does. Sick of fighting the strength of her dark jeans, she twisted about on the floor trying to find a way to get up.
Ella looked outside of the interrogation room and saw her mother being led away by an old man. The detective met with a man who was holding a cup of coffee. Do they drink coffee that much? My mom told me it could stunt your growth… Ella cracked a smile imagining the officers and detectives filling up their coffee thermoses every hour on the hour and panicking when they ran out. Ella realized how thirsty she was. She stared at the cup of coffee wishing she had something, anything to drink. She was going to faint if she didn’t get a drink.
The detective walked in with a man following behind him. Ella’s eyes traveled to meet the detective’s. She began to shiver the look was so cold.
“This is Dr. Warren, our psychologist. He is going to spend some time with you,” the detective said monotonously.
The detective led her back to her seat and took the handcuffs off of her. She began to move her wrists around and noticed the red marks on both of them.
“Can I get you anything Ella?” The psychologist asked.
“May I please have some water?
He left the room for a minute and came back with a plastic cup, three quarters full, filled with ice-cold water. Ella took a couple sips saving it for later in case she wouldn’t be allowed out for a while.
“How’s school going so far?” he asked with a very even tone.
“How about home, everything going well?”
Ella knew he was trying to get her to tell him about her parents but they had nothing to do with this and it wasn’t there fault.
“My family wasn’t involved” Ella began to cry. “Why aren’t you asking me why I did it or yelling at me like everyone else!”
“Well I don’t think you did it.”
Ella was shocked.
“You don’t? but everyone else does, there’s evidence and everything.”
“Well did you do it?”
He wrote everything down in a large red notebook and she was pretty sure she had the same one for English class. She liked that color.
“And how is your relationship with your mom?”
“And your dad?”
“Fine” she answered hesitantly.
“How is their relationship?
SNAP. The bracelet came to her rescue. Her head began to hurt again. The watch he was wearing, the ticking of the hands were getting louder and louder.
“Ella?” There was a glassy look in her eyes. She became very stiff. She was cracking her knuckles.
“You want to know why I am a homicidal maniac?” She slammed her hands down on her table.
The psychologist stared at her.
“Would you mind telling me your name again, I can be so forgetful sometimes.”
He had it all figured out or so he thought.
“Dani” she stood up and began pacing around the room.
“Dani, can you tell me more about you’re relationship with your mother?”
As she answered, he always wrote down the information in his stupid red notebook. It wasn’t even like a dull red, it was an obnoxious candy apple red, the kind you don’t even want to look at. His pen was red too. He had some fetish with the color red.
“And how about your father?”
They both sat there so quietly you could here a pin drop.
“That’s always the first question with you shrinks”
Dani began to think about all the “special” times she shared with her father since she was six when he took her to Finding Nemo on ice. How in the car he would always readjust his mirrors so he could watch her every move out of the corner of his eye. “We’re just making a quick stop.” How could she be so ignorant. They were always “just making a quick stop.” “Be a good girl and daddy will get you ice cream after or we can learn how to ride your new bike.” She fell for it. Focusing on the brown stain on the wall of the 2 star motel trying to get through the torture. The bed creaking whenever a movement was made. Always keeping secrets for her dad. He acted like her best friend. SNAP.
“I’m sorry, where were we?” Ella asked politely.
“Tell me more about your father.”
“He’s not around much, he works a lot.”
“How does that make you feel?”
“Honestly, I don’t care much, him and I aren’t that close anyway.”
“Did you know this boy?”
“This boy.” He spoke as he dropped the picture of his little body shriveled up on the pavement. Ella’s eyes widened and quickly left the picture to focus on anything but that.
“I thought you said you believed me!”
“I do, I just need the facts.” He replied.
Ella took another sip of her water and glanced around the room. This big brownish-red stain on the wall caught her eye. She had a weird feeling of déja vu. She couldn’t remember where she had seen it before. Suddenly Ella’s head began to throb.
“Ella? Are you alright?”
“No, my head kills, where’s my mom, I need my migraine medicine.” His eyes shot up from his paper.
“So you get headaches often?”
“Unfortunately” she answered as a tear fell down her cheek.
“I’ll get her.”
Ella continued to sit as her pain grew stronger. She spent the next five minutes changing positions from being curled up in the chair to laying her head down on the cold steel table. She heard the door open and begged her mother for her medicine. As her mother took out the pills from the little orange bottle, Dr. Warren asked her to take a seat.
“I’m glad you’re here. I’d like to speak to both of you,” he uncrossed his legs and planted his feet firmly on the floor. “I want you to take a trip down to the psychiatric hospital.”
Ella started to shake. “I’m crazy?”
“Ella, you are not crazy,” Dr. Warren said. “I would just feel more satisfied if you spoke to a doctor down there. I’ll make the phone call and have you escorted by the detective.”
Ella sat deep in thought. What’s wrong with me? The only thing she could think of was her constant blackouts but she didn’t think that made her crazy. She stood up and walked out the door to the detective who led her and her mother out to the police car.
“Mom, What’s going to happen?”
Ella’s mother put her arm around her daughter and Ella laid her head on her mother’s shoulder.
“We’ll figure it all out Ella” her mother said.
Ella awoke right before they arrived at the hospital and looked at the detective in the front seat. He adjusted his rearview mirror so he could see Ella out of the corner of his eye.
Ella startled. Where had this happened before? Being in the backseat and having the driver stare at her through the mirror. She thought and thought, and finally she remembered. She was fidgeting with her bracelet and… SNAP. She was at it again.