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His eyes pierce my skin, anger flaring in the vein in his throat. “They are dead! Face it.” I want to attack him tearing his face away. Just because the past year I have spent going to school and then home, but I don’t see why I shouldn’t do something else since my parents are going to be coming any day to take me away. He sees the confusion in my eyes to his dead speech. His voice softens, “Cameron, you have to know that Sue and Luke are gone. There’s nothing you could have done. It was dark and they couldn’t see. It could have happened to anyone.” He watches as the clouds in my eyes start to rage. Lighting striking each time I breath. My parent’s are dead; they just left me for a while. Uncle Dent’s grip tightens to form a cage. “Cameron! They are dead!” He speaks to me like I’m foreign to English. He pulls me close to his face and shouts, “They aren’t coming back.” He is trying to get me to forget their leaving, but I know they are coming back for me. They would never leave me here. I shove out of his hold. I’m stronger than he is and he knows it, but that doesn’t make him loosen the cage. I head toward the door and a hand flies to my shoulder, but I just let it slide off. I hear Uncle Dent trying to make me believe my parents are gone as I make my way out to the woods. He yells at me, “Where do you think you’re goin’?” I speed to a run letting his anger power me forward.
Each tree brushes me deeper into the depth of the woods. I let the darkness of the trees hide me, but Uncle Dent’s words seemed to have followed, “They’re dead! Cameron! They aren’t coming back! Sue and Luke are gone.” My hands move to cover my face as I fight the words. Leave me alone. They can’t be dead. Why would they die? I keep pushing the thoughts out as I continue running into the tree walled area, but as more thoughts fill my mind my movements start to slow. The scene I have been trying to hide starts to show:
I looked over to the stands and they weren’t in their seats. I scan the crowd after each play and nothing. I kept thinking that I hated them for missing the biggest game of the year. They made it to all the others then forgot about this one. I knew they had a lot going on with the contraction business, but they should still be at this game. And they were coming to my game! The cows were in the road and my parents had to swerve. If I never played football then they’d still be around.
I stand in the middle of a crowd of trees as I tear myself to pieces. Just call me the lion tamer in the middle of the three ring circus. My eyes spot a lonely rope on the ground. My heart starts to balloon. This rope can make the pain go away. My fingers feel the rough spikes of the rope, not daring to check the strength. My head whips around finding the mate for my rope. My eyes start to scan the trees all around. One sticks out from the rest, tall bark-less tree, with a perpendicular branch sticking out. Beside the tree is a stump left behind by a lumberjack who used some of the crowd for warming his house. I stand the log up so I can stand on it and measure the perfect length of the rope tying the other end to the core of the tree. Checking my handy-work one last time, I let the thoughts of my parents fill my head. Letting their smiles fill my eyes, I kick the stump from under my feet. I drop five inches, but my feet don’t hit the ground. The air has hardened like breathing concrete. My body starts to jolt in a panic state. I try to lie still and let death come over me gracefully, but my body doesn’t allow it. I start to gasp, feeling the needles of the rope stab at my neck cutting deeper into my core. Tears run down my face as though my parents are whispering in my ears.
“What are you doing Cameron?” Dad asks me.
“Are our deaths that bad,” Mom’s melancholy voice speaks.
“Please, stop this! It isn’t you time!” They say together to make my decision seem reckless. My mom’s tears hit me like rain, but I see the sun crack through the colorful leaves of the trees.
“Cameron! Stop this right now! Can’t you see what it’s doing to your mother? She is a wreck, because of you!” My dad’s words send a jolt to my arms. I start to claw at my neck. Just let me go! Stop this!
I feel the devil laughing at my struggle to want live. I see the dark figure smile his sharp teeth, eyes as red as freshly poured blood.
“It’s too late for you, Sonny Boy!” The devil laughs. I start to let this dark figure take over my thoughts. “That’s a boy. Why would people like Sue and Luke ever die? They tried to escape…from you, their nothing child.” I let my hands drop to my sides and embrace the coldness settling on my shoulders. “You’re the child they never wanted. Nothing amazing, just a plain faced and stormy eyed. Each time they looked on you, they just saw disappointment.”
“Lies! Don’t believe him. We love you and always have.” My mom pleads.
“Your love is with me. I have big plans for you Cameron.” A high pitch crackle escapes the dark figure’s mouth as its frozen words flow from my head to my feet. It’s no use fighting the outcome. I’m nothing and now I will take hold of the nothingness I know I am. Memories flow into my head like a wind from the hurricane, each spreading destruction on the devil’s plans.
The time I entered the local spelling bee, eight years old and felt this was what my parents expected of me. The first word I got, POSSIBILITY and spelled it with one s. I saw my parents’ faces, in my mind, drop. But when I looked up from the floor at which I observed every grain, since the bell rang telling the world of my faults, I saw their smiling faces. My dad gave me a thumb’s up and my mom mouthed, “Good try!” I never saw sadness. The next day they threw a POSIBILITY party to raise my spirits. All my friends were invited and I got to wear the P cape. But they were celebrating my failure not my success. Did they not want me to succeed?
“We always supported you in everything you did, remember?” My mom’s voice sent another memory of the football tryouts, such a normal event for a teenage boy to do. Quarterback was the spot for me. I could throw 80 yards and make it, most of the time, in the receiver’s grasp. I could always see my parents’ smiling faces cheering me on. They were there at all my games, but one. My body starts to go limp. I raise my arms to my neck, but they won’t move. They are as loose as Twizlers moving to someone’s mouth. I want to claw, bite, and tear this rope to shreds, but I can’t reach my neck. Tears flow like a broken facet dripping down my cheeks. Help me, please. I don’t want to go. The dark figure dances around me ignoring my desires. I scream my thoughts at the top of my deflated lungs. Help Me! Someone help! I’m sorry mom. I’m sorry dad. I didn’t mean for it to end this way. I miss you. I feel as though I’ll never be whole. I’m sorry…My mind started to fade as the devil came near, touching my face as my eyes started to roll. I see his face come closer.
“Welcome my son,” his gravelly voice mocks me.
A jolt of life sends pain through my core. I want to open my eyes, but something tells me no. Thoughts of hell run in my mind. Heat, loud noises, loads of back breaking labor. But that’s not what I feel. A far off song sung by a welcoming bird sends my mind to remember the feeling of a beating heart as each note pulses it to pump more, jumping in time with the song. A moldy smell hits my nose, a scent I’ve smelled before; a while ago in the scene of a hellish dream.
The power of sight over-takes my mind as I allow the world around me to be revealed. The dark wood that my dream was set in is all around. The tree without covering is behind me and the rope leading to my doom is the necklace around my bruised neck. I shake my arms making sure that they are no longer still. I test the strength to see if I can sit up. How did I end up on the ground? Wasn’t it too late? Taking in the bare tree, I see that part of the rope is split from its self. Strings are going in different directions. I remove the noose and let it forever rest in the woods it belonged in.
The urge to run home strikes through my limbs, I cautiously move to stand, slowly allowing weight to be put on my string legs. Victory runs through my veins as I take off as a toddler would once it learns to walk, tripping on every pebble in my path, but that didn’t slow me down. The image of the devil keeps playing in my head as a wave back through the tree path. I see the worn down trailer Uncle Dent and I share. I almost tear down the door as I make my entrance and see my uncle on the couch watching me with sadness in his eyes and questions in his mind.
“Cameron, are you all right? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” How true those words are, I will never tell him. I breathe hard as I make in to the couch to rest beside him. He looks into my eyes and begins to put his arm around me. “Everything will be okay,” Uncle Dent pulls me closer as I let my water covered feelings pour out.