Going through all the boxes in my attic brings back the good and the bad. As I open the last box my eyes fall upon the tiny blue knit shorts. I freeze holding my breath, my sight turning blurry and my stomach churning, forcing the reaction to vomit on my raw, and torn memory…
Sitting in boiling water, razor in hand, ready to aim and slit. Bracing myself for a welcomed sting. Something stopped me.
WHY? Why get rid of me? The victim of circumstance.
THEY had to be the ones to get wiped off this earth. The guilty, the sinister.
The spiraling effect is always the last before the break. The razor was to be my end, but also my new beginning. My master plan began forming that night a year ago now. The anniversary of what will become a much-deserved attack. I’ve always thought that writing down one’s secret feelings were a sign of the weak, but now the comfort I find in being one of those people has kept me focused. Writing in my journal daily has saved people around me. I look forward to when the sun has gone down, and the sky turns black, and beautiful bursting miraculous lights adding to it.
Tana is my name, and this is my declaration of impending freedom. Anticipation at its finest. I have worked feverishly and with the unfolding of my brilliance, I will start first with the biggest liar and hidden abuser will meet her fate. My reign is in full delightful swing.
Smiling in my moment, I hear the gravel as a car pulls up the driveway; Mother’s Buick. I glance out the window just in time to see Mother, emerging from the car, haphazardly picking off one of my prized roses, sniffing it, and dropping it to the ground with a frown.
Hearing the creaking of the front door opening sends automatic hate down my backbone. A forced smile crosses my lips; the pretending of caring only has to last a few short hours.
“Hello, Mother – how was the drive down?”
“It was good. Aren’t you pleased I’m here?”
“Of course, I am, Mother,” I said, giving a fake response just to avoid an open show of emotion.
All my life I have hated her, but twelve months ago the preparation and setting up has been the only thing I have been looking forward to. She has no clue that her time on the planet is limited. In just twelve short hours, she’ll be gone. The day is grueling and exhausting, Mother always with the shopping and not giving a shit about what I want to do. The dark thoughts have consumed all my sanity, but I love relishing in them. Why run from the gloom and misery, let them become united, using them as tools helping along to be truly happy and eliminate the waste. It’s almost a high without the need of a drug and the hour has come to begin my new chapter of making them vanish.
“Mother, would you like coffee, tea?” I hope for a yes.
“I would love an Earl Grey. Any chance you have it?”
“Coming right up.” I answer her while spooning the rat poison in and injecting the syringe of morphine sulfate into my beautiful tea cup. Being an RN has its perks.
Growing up and being told you are the product of a woman who never wanted you and then, one glorious day, a family adopts you welcoming you into their lives. I was one of the few who got this blessing. My adoptive parents reminded me of this every single moment they could; that, unlike Brother, she came second. At the time, if you had wealth you must adopt for the status quo. All my life, my hatred, my plotting and planning, is all my fake parents’ fault.
“Here mother. Careful; it’s hot.”
I watch as Mother tries it anyway, never listening… “Oh, Goodness, you’re right. And a bit bitter.”
“Oh, Damn….” I swallowed hard. I can’t believe I forgot to mask the taste of the… “I forgot the sugar. Let me get that.” The loud ticking of the kitchen clock makes me a bit anxious, watching the steam subside, and Mother begins to drink. Others might have that human part to tap into, the part that screams to STOP… from committing one of the Deadly Sins. Not me. Not now. I am ready, willing, to see this through.
Sip after sip… nothing. I KNOW that more than enough went in! What else, what else can I…
At Last. Mother begins a ratcheting cough, standing up, straining to breathe, and looks pleading at me for help. For a moment, I can’t react, frozen, partly from fear, partly from fascination. I watch as she grabs for me, eyes wide…
Dropping to the floor, Mother’s finished. I stand for a minute, just taking it in, lost in thought. You know, my roses weren’t going to be just beautiful this year… They are going to WIN.
Now feeling positively giddy, I run to the garage grabbing my long-prepared clean-up kit. Heading back to the kitchen, I quickly don my hazmat suit, ordered on-line using a gift card. Mother’s arms are now folded, her head lying in my lap. It’s funny how we cling to a smell, a song, even keeping a pillow in a protective cover and taking it out in extreme fragile moments of heartache. I think how lucky some people are to be able to feel this as I begin to take great pleasure in Mother’s last moments, watching when the life drained away from the bitch; the lack of cardiac activity; the loss of consciousness; and finally, the empty eyes as I’m sure she now waits to enter the gates of Hell.
With the bone saw, I saw through the skull and I notice the pearl earrings that I gave her last Christmas. Carefully removing them from her ears, I place them on the side table. These will look very nice with my ensemble for the contest tomorrow. Hour’s pass, and I lose track of time a bit. I step back and look at the soulless bitch’s torso, blood now congealed underneath. Obsessively counting two arms, two legs, one head every part putrid and chalk-white. Eyes open wide looking up at the cracked ceiling. Stepping over, careful not to lose my footing, my cell begins to vibrate, shaking on the kitchen table. I decide to let it continue, counting minutes down, and with a beating heart, from being almost done, a raggedy feeling comes over me, one with strength so forceful, my palms sweat, my tongue is heavy – but It stops almost as suddenly as it began. I know what I must do now.
I move quickly to the utility closet spin the lock and find the tobacco twine spool that I kept from our old farmhouse on Huckleberry Road. Always having a fascination with Taxidermy since childhood, small birds, baby chicks, that sort of thing, but never a human body. I have the Taxidermy Needles on the third shelf down, and my decision ironclad, I would sew the legs and torso first, to get a sturdy foundation, this also making sewing the upper body back together a lot easier. Afterwards, I work to get the head to look straight forward and natural.
The blood oozes out squishy, and the color is a gross purple hue. As I sewed, my fingers blistering, and my legs falling asleep, I could not help but fantasize about the trap my father so blindly will fall into.
Normal teenagers were dating, going out with friends, planning prom. I didn’t see the point. It was a waste of time, my dim view of the world that never revolved around me. When I was ten years old, I discovered the field behind my house tall stalks of tobacco and golden wheat swaying in the hot breeze becoming my solace in an otherwise empty existence. The country is where I would converse with my God. Now a full atheist, grown up and him being a distant memory, I created my own solitude.
The fog is beginning to lift and I’m feeling the start of my freedom come to light. As the wind blows the chimes around the outside patio the overcast sky turns gray, I begin to enjoy the mix of copper and smells of death caressing my lime green tile.
Now looking over at my lifeless puppet, ready to lure her hateful other half, I set her on the couch in my foyer. As I straighten her up a bit, she mimics a beautiful, twisted version of a snow woman.
I dial the number with a hurried voice say “Dad! Mom called, and she was crying about something – I couldn’t make out what she was trying to say – she’s on the way now and told me to call you right away.”
“Oh my God, I’m on the way!!! When she gets to you, reassure her it will be OK.”
“I will! please hurry!!!!!”
He was the reason for my failed marriage, and frigid lack of sexual appetite. My Father, or the (state mandated) title. As I put the phone back on the table, an intense flashback grasps my throat, almost stealing my breath away. Eleven years old, in my room, doing my homework. He walked in, no words, grabbed me up off my Hello Kitty bedspread. I cried out, getting a sock shoved in my mouth, and I watched wide-eyed and going numb, with my gut telling me “…it’s begun.” He yanked down my blue knit shorts, his fingers finding the elastic of my yellow panties. I struggled to break free, losing in the end, blacking out when it was done, God’s protective hand over me, I used to think. My left-over childhood met a black, dirty end. He always reminded both my brother and I (the “natural one” and the “bought one”) that “…My wife comes first.” Normally I thought, how tacky and sickening to tell your children this. Today, it’s excellent; I need the words to play over and over, like a broken record. They will not tear me down, but will lend a helping hand in finishing my plan.
His car screeches to an abrupt stop, the door slamming shut and his footsteps in a stride of panic up to my porch.
“Hello, Dad. Hurry, she’s sitting in here.” Even though he is a child molester and I can’t stand the sight of him, his smell of Old Spice tugs at my heart. This is the problem with being human; pathetic traits keep me restless and loathe my reflection in the mirror. You can’t get away from it, the chaos in my features, bones, blood and hair sickening my form, is inescapable. All of our insides match. Next step will be made easier by keeping my wall up; no emotion, no take-backs, just focus keeping the task on point.
As he walked to the foyer, I quietly but abruptly grab the sledgehammer from behind the kitchen counter. I watch as he sees the lifeless stitched corpse. He turns toward me, hands clenched in fury to strike me: The object of his nuisance, all my thirty-three years, the sexual deviance for five years, and now the murderer of his beloved. I bring the sledge hammer down, splitting the motherfucking bastard’s head in two.The sounds of my finale are breathtaking – the thud of his body falling forward; the slick noise when pulling the weapon out, replaced by the rasping breaths and torment of my childhood. Now the plan is executed and my mental checklist accomplished.
I remove the plastic sheeting from the kit and wrap up the corpses, duct tape and lay them in a perfectly straight line onto the tile floor. Tired and relieved I turn out the lights and lock up for the night.
The hot water beating down on my sore frame is a much-needed happiness. The tub under my feet, once a clean ceramic white, is now a dark maroon mix of blood and pieces of vein and brain matter, all washing down the drain. I step out, wrapping my favorite electric blue fluffy towel around me. Barefoot, I walk to my airy, pastel-decorated bedroom, find my favorite purple nightshirt, push back my bedding, and there it lies, neat and loyal, waiting in my secret place. The square cut out of my queen size mattress holds “My Journal,” my reward for the completion of my declaration. I retrieve it and grab my special gold pen that I keep with it. I lay on my elbow, and write, and write some more. All the days events flow, and the words stand strong, earning their own separate independence, becoming victorious cries. Tomorrow is the day I have been looking forward to since losing the competition last year.
The following morning, I rise at four-thirty. I once read that, in the eighteenth century, to help gardens flourish and provide nutrients to fruits and vegetables, they used bone marrow. I had earlier made a purchase of a wood chipping machine. To begin this next goal, I slip on a new hazmat suit. I unroll the plastic covers, and as I stare at the rotting, empty-eyed two, I feel absolutely nothing. Beginning with the tobacco-twined bitch, I drag her to the secluded back patio and cut the twine away,from the body parts. As each are placed in the wood chipper, I turn on the switch, causing the corpse to change from a solid to a slurpee-like texture.
Next, the molester, the one person responsible for all my failures, lack of childhood, and crumbled marriage. I relish in taking my time and enjoying myself as I witness each limb get torn to shreds. The time escapes me, by now eight-thirty, a slight panic shocks me to hurry up the cleanup, stripping, placing everything into the outside barrel in order to be set ablaze later. I hurriedly bounce upstairs, step into the shower, and let all of it melt into my core, with my goal for the day met, and yet the wall staying steady up through it all.
Now smiling to myself, I get out of the shower and pick a beautiful rose print dress, with little open-toed sandals, and (to add that last special something) a red rose hair clip, with my black hair curled and laying on my shoulders. I was ready to accept my reward, feeling camera-ready. When I win? A featured story and picture layout in “Small Town Garden”. The real part of all the work and dedication is going to be worth it just to beat out fucking Willow Greer, who wins EVERY year. Fat, unmarried, and living off her dead parents’ trust-fund. Loneliness helps fuel her drive in creating a breathtaking rose garden.
By ten a.m. everyone in the neighborhood is outside. The contestants are arrayed in their front yards, patiently awaiting the judges to come by, with serious faces, rigid body posture and clipboard in hand. Looking around, the combination of yards is a fantasy each year. The Bells, Arthurs, Bay Masons, and Amber Queens are just a few of the amazing roses, each one with neat, high, tight centers. My rose bushes are winners – every detail I agonize over the soil, a mix of regular soil and bone marrow.
The Judges approach. “Hello, Tana! Beautiful, as every year”.
“Thank you… and as you see when you are walking, that mine are by far the best this year.”
“Well, Tana, we will have to see! Many more to go yet, but your confidence is very refreshening.”
As they walk, critiquing each and every petal, thorn, with measuring tape in hand, making sure the right size fits the correct rose category, a voice fills the air:
“Jim, come here, please.”
I watch as Phyllis, with Jim, cranes her neck, looking down around my rose bush. “Is that what I think that is…” Phyllis turns pale, and now her silk shirt produces sweat rings.
My mind races. Fuck. I meant to pluck that out!
“Oh my God, it’s part of a finger!” Jim exclaims, horrified… and now has figured out that the underlying smell is both a copper scent as well as premium potting soil. Both, terrified to make a scene, motion over for the town sheriff, Scout Day, to walk over.
“Sheriff Day, look! That’s part of a finger, right?” By now, my mind is screaming RUN, but I can’t move. All I can do is to stand, unmoving, shoulders back, head held high. I see Sheriff Day stand, and his deputy, Bob, joins him.
“Tana Stone, you are under arrest for suspicion of murder”. Handcuffs are rudely placed on my wrists. I’m not sure why, but I just stood there, cooly, calmly. I really only cared about one thing…so close, I just had to find out. The answer to one question:
“Did I win?”