The International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes
Jude C Perera
I know they are close.
I can’t hear them through the din that my heart is making. It feels like it is going to jump out of its preordained location any minute now, the spot where it was meant to me.
I am too busy running to worry about it. It is either that or my lungs have to stop accepting any more oxygen. Right now, it is just my will putting down the physical mutiny, thankfully. I know the skin over my knees has been sliced to ribbons, the denim has meshed with the raw flesh and the result must be unpleasant. The darkness feels both safe and insecure; the adrenalin is dragging me somewhere, hopefully to the edge of the park and out.
That bastard had dragged me back at least a few meters, I thought it was game over even before it started. But it felt like heaven as one of my kicks found his crotch after circumnavigating his sagging pot. The yelp was worth a million; his fat hairless face had dipped in generous pain. Fat Tony, Tony the terrible we called him, and that was an undeserving understatement. He was the worst out of the lot, he never smiled, at least the others tried. They were too busy hustling the other girls back into the van, and that gave me a head start. It was our weekly excursion to a park, at that time of the day when it was conveniently stripped of humanity. Well; when the decent sort that stuck their necks out for someone in trouble were scarce. I had tried sign language before, only to be cut down by sheepish grins filled with wordless apologies. Screams had replaced sign language and they had still kept character, flaunting their gutless indifference.
Tony was the one who came everyday during injection time, holding us down with heartless force. The injections killed my ambitions, robbed us of any aspirations for freedom. I had tried six times before, but each time they tried different assortments of drugs, the kind that caused your will power to shrivel and die a slow death. I guess I was lucky this time, but I just wish I could make it, and get the others out. It’s a curse when hope moves at a tangent to courage.
Suddenly I am bathed in light, I am on a massive road, didn’t even realize that the park had fallen behind me. A car whizzes by, then one more, it looks stupidly bare for such a big road. It must be some public holiday or a Sunday, I have lost track, I am stranded between embarrassment and rage. Then I hear the shouts behind me, luckily fading, I thought I saw some pencils of light. I take the plunge across the road, feeling naked under the lights. Then my heart and lungs just seem to crash, as if they had done their job for the moment, I collapse on the concrete paving, my knees hurting like hell. I begin to savour my injuries, my face feels like one big scar still in the making. I had kept ignoring the branches as I stumbled along. I finally appreciate the winter and allow the cold to crack in to my bones, it helped with the exhaustion. Then I see the intersection and the traffic lights in the distance. Another car whizzes by, a faint blur stares at me in passing. My instinct is to wave, but, but perhaps he is one of them, I begin to hurry my feet in the opposite direction. Well; I can see him storm the traffic lights, one of those ones; proudly gutless. A smile worms its way to my face, it feels good.
My heart threatens to dislocate again, I am right under the traffic lights at the intersection, and one of the street name signs reads “Grimshaw Street”. I have seen that before, not once, but a million, zillion times. I know what the sign of the road I was on would read, “Greensborough Highway”. I even know the suburb I am in and what all the surrounding suburbs are. Millpark, Watsonia, and Greensborough, my own neighborhood. Hope is keenly aligned to courage this time. Vigour is gradually seeping into my abused muscles, but progress is slow, I try to keep to the meager shadows that space out the street lamps. I have developed some trust to ignore the passing vehicles, but not too trusting to wave one to stop. Yet another hum, another vehicle, this one screeches to a halt, just ahead of me. It lashes its gears into reverse and jumps back at me, it is them, but I can’t move, I am already resigned. I close my eyes, and then the siren lends music to the atmosphere. I am one rambling, trembling weepy mess as I snuggle in to the arms of a female officer as she helps me in to the car while the massive gentleman who hulks behind the wheel looks back with gentle eyes. They look conspiratorial as they whisper to take me to a hospital, but I can hear my outlandish protest faintly. I want to go home.
Our house, my house, badly unpainted, garden derelict looks mournful. I don’t care, I just want to ring the bell, my fingers refuse to oblige. The blonde beautiful police woman does the needful. It bursts like the smashing of cymbals, the soft patter of feet. The door trembles with a rusty groan. A gaunt ugly woman stands in front, hair disheveled and even looking unwashed. But it’s the deep gash across her cheek that stands out. The police woman clears her throat.
“Sally, my darling, Sally, what happened to you, why……”
“Mom, mom ….”
She smells nice, I could ask about the gash later. I struggle to breathe as she drowns me in her arms, her thin hard chest. The blonde girl is shamelessly struggling with her tears; the man must still be in the car. Then I notice the shrine, there are too many photos to count littering our dusty unloved lounge, of me. The tears wet us both. All I can remember next is the soothing feathers in my bed.
The light jars my sleep, it screams in to my eyes as a tangle of hands lifts me up with brutal force. Tony, Tony, he is here I can’t believe it. Mom is cowering in the hallway refusing to look at me.
“We are so sorry”,
Tony is apologizing to mom. But why, the white van is outside.
“Mom, Mooam, why, you bitch”
The flowers look pretty, really. Tony looks beautiful in his surgical white uniform as he plants a gentle kiss on my cheeks. He looks slimmer and pleasant. He gently leads me out in to the main reception area. The lady seated in one of the chairs, makes a struggle to get up, wobbles and finds her feet. Mom moves unsteadily forward, looking unsure. We look at each other for an eternity. The hug lasts an eternity. Tony graciously withdraws in to the background. Nothing exists, just me and Mom, nothing else matters.
I have the rest of my life to make up to her for everything, perhaps even for slashing her face. I am finally ready to break free.
© Jude C. Perera July 2013
gogo72au at yahoo.com.au
Just Another Woman
Jude C Perera
Rishi; her marketed name, real name Nishamani Zeram, glanced at the mirror for the hundredth and final time, she was shocked and awed for the hundredth time.
Jude C. Perera
He heard his tiny heart breaking into a million pieces; his mouth sagged around the edges. He was struggling courageously against the shameless tears, but his heart was already compromised
Terry sighed and looked away. It was a long sigh; there was bitterness in it. His tax dollar was funding some of those lazy bums. The injustice bit into him. There were too many to count on the beach, late morning, and mid week, getting their sun fix.
Jude's other fiction publishing credits besides Hackwriters include;
The Other Son
Jude C Perera
‘I am going Mother, Good Night’
She barely heard him; picking up whispers was a luxury at her age. She looked swiftly but he beat her to it. Those blue sparklers were tucked well away from her adoring gaze.
+ It's a Glorious Day - Fiction 365, Redemption and I Don't Love My Dolls Anymore - The Fringe Magazine.
His Travel narratives have been featured on the international online travel magazine Travelmag,
Touchdown In Colombo (http://travelmag.co.uk/?p=4681)
Monuments and Sarees – A Tour of North India (http://travelmag.co.uk/?p=5721)
Too Close To Elephants in a Sri Lankan Forest (http://travelmag.co.uk/?p=6256)