Author's note: I wrote this for a Creative Writing Course in school. A little more of my dark side came out in this one.
Calm In the StormI grimaced as the town bell chimed the monotonous ringing to mark the time of day. I remember my younger brother James would always smile at our mother saying that the Compline bell just rang and that our father would be returning soon. I, however, remember clearly dreading that comment that sprung from my mother’s lips. Not to mention the nine o’clock bell had many dark memories. It was the bell that rang just minutes before my father was propped above that maniacal triangle they called Judas Chair. He hung there naked and humiliated while everyone just waited for his so called confession. One would think that that would have been enough for the people but of course it wasn’t. They drug him through the mud, thorns, bushes and whatever else may have been laid on the path to the burn stakes. The smell of burning flesh wafting through the air as people watched stone faced. I knew that this would be my fate, but they would have to catch me first.
I turned on my heel as I heard a voice behind me. I looked up from under my hood to see a young girl walking with a single candle in hand. She looked as though she couldn’t have been older than sixteen. As for the candle, I never was quite sure what the purpose of it was, one small candle that only lit part of the path you travel but nothing else. Of course for my intentions it was all the better. It was easy to extinguish and remove from someone’s hand. I crept up behind her and took a deep breath. I stretched my neck out over her shoulder to blow out the candle she was grasping and watching flicker. I reached out my arms and opened my hands to reveal the overgrown nails I had neglected to trim. I always found that they incited fear into the victims. I leaned forward and quickly cover her mouth while I wrapped my other arm around her neck. I whispered in her ear “Why not come with me for a while sweetie?” My voice was calm and unfaltering; this was the moment I always planned. I inhaled as I started to pull her off the path into a dark construction site. There was a small pile of wood that I intended to use as a blockade.
The girl’s eyes filled with a deep fear as she felt my long nails press into her cheek. She looked as if she was searching her mind for any defensive moves she could remember. I smiled as she resorted to the oldest trick in the book. She raised her right foot into the air and stomped it down into mine digging her heel into my flimsy leather shoe. Pain shot through my body as she began to twist her foot still applying pressure. I tightened my grip on her arm and spun her around making sure to keep my one hand over her mouth. As she spun I reached back into my trouser pocket and extracted a cloth that had a very familiar pattern on it. I look at it and smile as I insert the gag into the girl’s mouth. I still remember perfecttly little Rebecca’s cotton dress and her eyes as I tore this strip from it. I learned to use a gag since the last one bit me. The small piece of cloth was somewhat stiff after sitting in my pockets each day. Yet I maneuvered it into this girl’s mouth as though it was just a handful of popcorn. She looked at me with a plea in her tear filled eyes. I pushed her down on her back and I followed shortly after. I smiled as I disrobed her. A muffled plea escaped through the cloth. I closed my eyes and as I opened them I was back on my bed as a little boy.
I heard my mother’s voice that seeped through the walls as she begged my father not to do it tonight. My father paid no attention to her and listened to the monster inside him that reeked of old whiskey and tobacco. It was nights like these that my father was the true prisoner. The alcohol sped through his blood making him a servant to its every command and desire. I hear his steps ring and vibrate through the house. I hear him calling my name. It was as if it was all just a game to him. His voice boomed through the house "Nicholas, Nicholas come to play awhile. Nicholas bring nothing but a smile." Whenever I heard this eerie song I fled and hid under my bed hoping he would go away. I was never lucky enough for this. He always found me in my pajamas that were fixed each morning. I used to lie on my bed crying after it was all over. My tear soaked pillow seemed like my only true comfort. It was my shoulder to cry on. I suspect my mother felt sorry for me as she placed each stitch into the same ripped fabric.
A sudden jerk brought my attention back to reality. I realized that she was now in full tears as she clenching her body. I knew then that it was over and that I could fix myself. I rose to my feet and started to fix my tunic and trousers. I looked around and popped my neck. For some reason this always helped me unwind after any strenuous activity. I looked down to see how the girl was reacting and if she was still paralyzed by fear—a blinding and disorienting pain blazed through my body as what seemed to be a two by four collided with the side of my head. I stumbled backward clenching at my skull that dripped with blood. All I could see is the young girl sprinting back off to the path and into the nearest establishment.
As I tried to balance myself my heart began to race and my thoughts were raging out of control. What am I to do? I can’t go to the hospital. I have no home. Where else could I go? Maybe there’s a doctor in the next town. I couldn’t stay here. My guess is she would have gone in to find help and the crowd that gathered would be here shortly. I can’t run very far with my head gushing blood at this rate. I collected the gag and placed back in my pocket. I tore a small part of my tunic apart and wrapped it around my head to hopefully slow, if not stop, the bleeding. I stumbled back to the path while flipping up my hood to protect my eyes from the brilliance of the moonlight. I made a mental note not to go above the age of fourteen for my unfortunate victims. I touched my bandaged head to check the pain. I should have known it was still tender, things like that don’t go away for some time. It seemed as though the bleeding slowed down enough to where if I change the poorly made bandage it would last till I got to the next town.