Archive for » February 12th, 2010«

I decided to share a teaser draft excerpt of one of my books I’m working on. Never one to do things one-at-a-time, I’m actually more productive with several irons in the fire.

While my books are coming along much slower than I would like, each is written with the loving care of a parent. Yes, my books are my babies, lol. Eventually, all will develop in a unique way – while pulling from each other. One day I will find myself saying  “Yes, that’s perfect” and hopefully it will apply to each one – all completed relatively close together in time. Then alas, I shall take a break. OK, maybe I won’t.

OK, without further ado: (Note this is from draft, and subject to many more changes, lol)

Through the blur of many voices, my mind began it’s morning wake. Today, I am a teenager; the thought was so exciting, so many ideas and visions dancing through my head. No longer a child, but a full-fledged teenager! How exciting!!! The thought tickled me so, that my belly did flip-flops. So many plans and grown-up things to do. I sat up in bed, but something wasn’t right. My mind still fuzzy from sleep, the reality of where I was now, hadn’t set in yet.
“You better hurry up if you want breakfast this morning”, a female voice from behind could be heard, “The house mother doesn’t take kindly to anyone upsetting the daily routine, newbie or not!”
As I was pulled from the bed, by the sleeve of my pj’s, the realization of where I was now, hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt hot tears start to flow down my cheeks. “Hey, check out the little baby crying for her mommy,” came from across the room. Oh God, please let this be a dream, make me wake up back at home in my soft bed inside my safe bedroom!
But, no matter how hard I squeezed my eyes shut tight, I could not shut out the reality of what my life was now. No matter how hard I prayed, this nightmare was not going to leave me … this was my life now … but only for now, I then resolved.
As I looked across the large stark room, I couldn’t help but think about the movies I had watched as a young child. Orphanages and State run Children’s homes were only in the movies, weren’t they? Now, as I looked about my surroundings, all the shock of my new home took hold, immobilizing me. Fear was bearing down on me, my chest felt as if someone was squeezing so tight that my ribs would crack! There were no dividers in this room, but the dividing lines were unmistakable. The room, a long thin rectangle, was lined on either side, with plain metal beds and chest of drawers, each set, separated only by a Ten inch gap, thus drawing an invisible boundary line.
I must have been lost in my thoughts of fear, and thus wasn’t expecting the blow, as it landed square in the center of my back. As my face smacked against the hard cold tile of the floor, I could hear the laughter of many mocking voices. Although, I knew the sounds were close by, my mind picked up on the words spoken, as if from a far away place. I knew someone must have hit me, but I just couldn’t string my thoughts together enough to understand what was happening.
“Get up damn it, before you cost everyone their breakfast!”
I looked up in the direction of the angry voice. There stood a girl, who looked to be at least 17 years old; with such hate in her eyes, once again I froze, unable to move and desperately trying to assemble coherent thoughts that seemed to elude me still.
“Jesus, you little sniveling brat, get your ass up now before I teach you a lesson you will never forget, so help me God!”
If I knew nothing else, I knew I had to get up and do whatever it was I was expected to do, and do it quickly. Scrambling to my feet and keeping my eyes lowered, as not to let this mean girl see me cry once more, I heard myself saying, “Touch me one more time and you will need the help of your God as well as mine.”
And even though I knew I had spoken those words, it was as if they came from a stranger. And strangely enough, they sounded mean and convincing, even to myself! I knew instantly, that my words had convinced her also, as a new look replaced the look of anger in her eyes. I look of apprehension and disbelief filled her eyes now. As I stood up and brushed my clothes with a hostile swipe, I concentrated on keeping my knees from shaking on the outside. I could feel the vibration from my toes, clear up my legs and into my belly. But, oddly enough, as I looked down to make sure my skirt was in its proper place, my legs were quite steady. I couldn’t help but notice the tone and muscle of my own legs at that point and laughed on the inside at the absurdity of my thoughts right now, being in the situation that I was.
“Ok, half-pint” she said with a hint of kindness or at the least, with less anger and hate,”You got spunk, I’ll give ya that.” Extending her hand toward mine, she smiled, “Hi, I’m Samantha, and I’m pretty much the boss of this dorm.” As I reached for her hand, I looked back into her eyes and saw a softer look had replaced the hatred of only a moment ago.
“Look, if you want to survive in this place, you are going to have to move faster and think on your feet. And, get rid of that stupid, innocent look in those big green eyes of yours, or you will be the target of every mean kid in this place. You’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy.”
After making sure my sleeping area was as it should be,  she rushed –  half-pushed, me down the hall leading to the stairs, she drilled me on several issues, she said, I absolutely must learn and live by! First and foremost – never ever be late.
As we entered the dining hall I saw that several of the children were dressed as kitchen workers. Kinda like the cafeteria at school, only it was the children setting the tables and all the adults were seated. Samantha led me to my ‘assigned’ seat very quickly and as I sat down a bell sliced thru the air. Suddenly, there was total silence (one of the women whom had been introduced to me, when I first arrived the night before) as a ‘house-mother’ cleared her throat and began speaking:
“Children, we have some new arrivals joining us this morning and it will be up to the rest of you to show them the dos and don’ts. Please, do not lead them astray, as all will suffer the punishment of their mistakes,” giving just enough pause for impact, she ended her sentence with, “make no mistake!”
There was no mistaking one thing for sure, I could buy a year’s worth of movie tickets, if I received only a nickel for each look of hate and disgust I saw as I looked around the room. My eyes sought out the first of my three siblings, my sister Jean. She was the eldest out of the four of us. We locked looks for only a moment, as we continued to seek out our other siblings, our two brothers. The youngest of us, James was only Eight years old, he was seated at the far corner of the room at one of the smaller tables. There was no denying the total fear in his eyes, and as my eyes sought out the elder of my two brothers, I noticed the tears welling up in James eyes.
Willard, the elder of the two, was seated toward the center of the room. At the ripe old age of Eleven years, he thought he was much wiser and older than James. Yet, for as grown up and tough as he always acted at home, I saw a scared little boy slumped down into a chair that looked ready to swallow him at any given moment. I’m not sure if it was the size of the ‘normal’ table he was seated at, versus the ‘children’s’ table that James was seated at, that made him look so much more vulnerable, or if James looked less fearful because his age kept him from fully realizing what the true scope of the situation was. Either way, I knew it would rest on me, to guide them, as my older sister was best at leading the way to trouble rather than leading a path to obedience.
That first breakfast, unlike our breakfasts at home, started with thirty minutes of Bible recital and interpretation; followed by cold, lumpy, un-sweetened oatmeal. We had fifteen minutes to eat our ‘meal’ before we had to clear the dining area and do our afternoon chores. Thirteen minutes into breakfast, the girl sitting next to me, on the left, gave me a disgusted look then hissed, “You have two minutes left to finish your food before you get us all in trouble!”
“While breakfast is almost over, there will be no talking at the breakfast table children!” I looked up to see the house mother looking directly at me, through slitted eyes filled with malice and the anticipation of punishing ‘all’ for my actions. Determined not to flinch as I felt the hard shoe kicking my ankle, I sat rigid and looked at the girl across from me, whom the house mother had address as Alice during breakfast.
“You better not leave one scrap of oatmeal in that bowl,” whispered one girl, “or we will all get extra chores this afternoon!” Another girl quickly chimed in, “My mother is coming to see me today and if you cost me my visit, you will regret it for sure!”
Quickly, I began scooping large spoons into my mouth, mostly swallowing without tasting. Which was probably for the better, as I’m sure I would have gagged if I had stopped to taste it. As I spooned the last of the lumpy tasteless ‘wonder’ into my mouth, my eyes scanned the room for the girl named Samantha. Surely she would guide me, so as not to mess up so much. The last thing I needed right now was to make enemies of everyone. I couldn’t help but think of my sister, who rebelled at every opportunity. The thought brought my mind back to the significance of this day and my eyes began to well up with tears once more. This was sure to be a very significant day in many more ways then I ever could have imagined. I knew right then, there was no way around it, we were all going to be punished for the errs of one person …. and that time wasn’t far into the future.
“Well children, it seems we have a sensitive palette among us,” spoke the house mother, “Ms. Queen here seems to think she is too good to eat the same food the rest of us dine on.” Without even looking up, I knew where I would find the house mother standing. As I looked across to where my sister sat, her defiance was all too obvious.
“Maybe if you gave us ‘food’ to dine on instead of this garbage, I would be able to eat.” The moment the words were out of my sister’s mouth, a hushed mumble of voices took over the room. Instantly, I was overtaken with a culmination of feelings – fear, anger, hatred, contempt, and guilt – fear of what was to

Through the blur of many voices, her mind began it’s morning wake. Today, she was a teenager; the thought was so exciting to her. So many ideas and visions were dancing through her head. No longer a child she though, but a full-fledged teenager! How exciting! The thought tickled her, making her belly feel as if she were on a roller coaster. She had made a list of all the grown-up things she wanted to do.

As Delia sat up in bed, she realized something wasn’t right. Her mind still fuzzy from sleep, the reality of where she was hadn’t set in yet.

“You better hurry up if you want breakfast this morning”, she heard a female voice saying, “The house mother doesn’t take kindly to anyone upsetting the daily routine, new or not!”

Delia was pulled from the bed by the sleeve of her pajamas, as realization of where she was now, hit her like a ton of bricks. She could feel the hot tears as they started to flow down her cheeks. “Hey, check out the little baby crying for her mommy,” came from across the room. Oh God, please let this be a dream, Delia prayed; let me wake up in the comfort of my soft bed, inside the safety of my home!

But, no matter how tightly she squeezed her eyes closed, she could not block out the reality of what her life was now. No matter how hard she prayed, her nightmare was just getting started.

As Delia looked across the large stark room, she couldn’t help but think about the movies she had watched as a young child. Orphanages and State run Children’s homes were only in the movies, weren’t they? Now, as she looked about her surroundings, the shock took hold, immobilizing her. Fear was bearing down on her now, her chest felt as if someone was squeezing so tight her ribs would crack!

There were no dividers in this room, but the dividing lines were unmistakable. The room, a long thin rectangle, was lined on either side, with plain metal beds and chests of drawers. Each set, separated only by a ten inch gap, thus drawing an invisible boundary line.

Delia was lost in thought when the unexpected blow, landed squarely in the center of her back. As the cold, hard tile of the floor rushed into her face, she could hear the laughter of mocking voices. Although, she knew the sounds were close by, her mind was playing tricks on her.

The words seemed to echo from a distance. Delia knew someone must have hit her, but she couldn’t gather her thoughts enough to understand what was happening.

“Get up damn it, before you cost everyone their breakfast!” Delia looked up in the direction of the angry voice. There stood a girl, who looked to be at least 17 years old, with such hate in her eyes; once again she froze, unable to move, yet desperately trying to assemble coherent thoughts.

“Jesus, you little sniveling brat, get your ass up now before I teach you a lesson you will never forget, so help me God!” If I knew nothing else, I knew I had to get up and do it quickly.

Scrambling to her feet and keeping her eyes lowered just enough to avoid direct eye contact, she said, “Touch me one more time and you will need the help of your God as well as mine.” Then ever so slowly, she raised her eyes to look straight in the eyes of her tormentor.

Even though she knew the words spoken were her own, it was as if they came from a stranger. And oddly enough she thought, they sounded convincing, even to herself. She knew instantly, the threats she spoke convinced her tormentor, as a new look replaced the look of anger in her eyes. A look of apprehension and disbelief now filled them.

Delia stood and brushed her clothes with a hostile swipe, she concentrated on keeping her knees from shaking on the outside. She could feel the vibration from her toes clean up her legs and into her belly. But, oddly enough, as she looked down to make sure her skirt was in its proper place, her legs were quite steady. Delia couldn’t help but notice the tone and muscle of her own legs, even at a time like this and she laughed on the inside, at the absurdity of her thoughts at such a moment.

“OK, half-pint” her tormentor said with less contempt, and maybe even a hint of admiration, ”You got spunk, I’ll give you that.” Extending her hand towards Delia, she smiled, “Hi, I’m Samantha, and I’m pretty much the boss of this dorm.” As Delia reached for her hand, she looked back into her tormentor’s eyes and saw a softer look had replaced the hatred of only a moment ago.

“Look, if you want to survive in this place, you are going to have to move faster and think on your feet. And, get rid of that stupid, innocent look in those eyes of yours, or you will be the target of every mean kid in this place. You’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy.”

“Delia, the name’s Delia.”

“So you said.”

After making sure her sleeping area was as it should be, Samantha rushed – half pushed, Delia down the hall leading to the stairs. Samantha drilled her on several issues, she said, Delia absolutely must learn and live by. First and foremost – never ever be late.

As they entered the dining hall, Delia saw that several of the children were dressed as kitchen workers. Kind of like the cafeteria at school, only there were children setting the tables and all the adults were seated. Samantha led Delia to her assigned seat very quickly and as Delia sat down a bell sliced through the air. Suddenly, there was total silence as the women whom had been introduced to Delia the night before as the house-mother, cleared her throat and began speaking:

“Children, we have some new arrivals joining us this morning and it will be up to the rest of you to show them the dos and donts. Please, do not lead them astray, as all will suffer the punishment of their mistakes,” giving just enough pause for impact, she ended her sentence with, “make no mistake!”

There was no mistaking one thing for sure, Delia thought. She could buy a year’s worth of movie tickets, if she received only one nickel for each look of hate and disgust she saw as she looked around the room.

Her eyes sought out the first of her three siblings, her sister Jeannie. Jeannie was the eldest out of the four. They locked eyes for only a moment, as they continued to seek out their other siblings, two younger brothers.

The youngest of them, James was only eight years old. He was seated at the far corner of the room at one of the smaller tables. There was no denying the total fear in his eyes, as his met hers. Delia’s heart ached as she saw the tears fill James’ eyes.

Willard, the elder of the two, was seated toward the center of the room. At the ripe old age of eleven years, he thought he was much wiser and older than James. Yet, for as grown up and tough as he acted at home, Delia saw a scared little boy slumped down into a chair that looked ready to swallow him, at any given moment. Delia, not sure if it was the size of the table Willard was seated at, versus the smaller table where James was seated, that made him look so much more vulnerable. Or if James looked less fearful because his age kept him from fully realizing what the true scope of the situation was. Either way, she knew they would depend on her to guide them. Their older sister Jeannie, was best at leading the way to trouble, rather than leading a path to obedience.

That first breakfast, unlike their breakfasts at home, started with thirty minutes of Bible recital and interpretation; followed by cold, lumpy, unsweetened oatmeal. The children were only allowed fifteen minutes to eat their meal, before they had to clear the dining area and leave. Then they were to quickly move along to the assignment window for their lists of afternoon chores. Thirteen minutes into breakfast, the girl sitting to Delia’s left, gave her a disgusted look and hissed, “You have two minutes to finish your food before you get us all into trouble!”

“While breakfast is almost over, there will be no talking at the breakfast table children!” Delia looked up to see the house mother looking directly at her through slitted eyes, filled with malice and the anticipation of punishing everyone for her actions. Determined not to flinch as she felt the hard shoe kicking her ankle, she sat rigid and looked at the girl across from her, whom the house mother had address as Alice during breakfast.

“You better not leave one scrap of oatmeal in that bowl,” whispered one girl, “or we will all get extra chores this afternoon!” Another girl quickly chimed in, “My mother is coming to see me today and if you cost me my visit, you will regret it.”

Quickly, Delia began scooping large spoons into her mouth, mostly swallowing without tasting. Which was probably for the better, she was sure she would have gagged if she stopped to taste it. As she spooned the last of the lumpy, tasteless wonder into her mouth, her eyes scanned the room for the girl named Samantha. Surely she would guide me, Delia thought. The last thing she needed right now was to make enemies of every kid in this place.

Delia couldn’t help but think of her sister Jeannie, who rebelled at every opportunity. The thought brought her mind back to the significance of where she was and her eyes began to fill with tears once more. This was sure to be a very significant day in many more ways then Delia could have imagined.

“Well children, it seems we have a sensitive palette among us,” spoke the house mother, “Ms. Queen here, seems to think she is too good to eat the same food the rest of us dine on.” Without even looking up, Delia knew where she would find the house mother standing. As she looked across to where Jeannie sat, her defiance was all too obvious. Delia knew right then, there was no way around it, they were all going to be punished for the errors of one person …. and that time was fast approaching.

“Maybe if you gave us food to dine on instead of this garbage, I would be able to eat.” The moment the words were out of Jeannie’s mouth, a hushed mumble of voices took over the room. Instantly, Delia was overtaken with a culmination of emotions – fear, anger, hatred, contempt, and guilt – fear of what was to come, anger that [to be continued]

© O’Della M. Wilson