Forever ~ by Arlene Radasky
Posted by authorcamilson
A scary story
The door was open.
A breeze carried the odor to wake my memories.
He wore it the last weeks of his life.
His clothing and hair reeked.
My skin crawled as I inhaled.
Recollections wormed their way through my mind.
The lock he had on my soul was complete,
Even though he rotted in his grave.
When alive, he never let me outside
Unless he was right there.
If I looked up and saw something that made me smile,
He would pinch or grab my wrist and squeeze.
At first my love was adoration
I was moonstruck and unrealizing.
When he turned to pain and anger.
I was trapped, a mouse in a cage.
Every night for one year,
He came home at two or three AM
Saying it was business
That kept him so long.
Six months ago his wasting started, I noticed his clothes begin to drape.
By now he was raping me and I traveled to other places.
The pain he caused, biting my breasts and other ways,
Grew even more intense.
Soon after, he carried the scent home.
It was light at first, incense-like.
Then grew suffocating.
Even his shadow exuded the stench.
I stayed, trapped, a fly on sticky paper.
He never lacked for things.
He owned a successful business.
Money would be no worry when he died.
One more reason to stay through his illness.
He told me
The Doctors said the horse of death is not far
He would ride the stallion named Cancer to the finish.
And I should bet on the race.
At the end, he could not go out,
Too weak and pain-ridden.
His cell never left his hand
Except to lay by his ear in the end.
I heard the murmurs of chants and conjurations,
Drumbeats seemed close at hand.
He had me plug its charger in
Its battery-life linked to his.
I drank Champagne.
His lawyers visited and laughed
As they told me he’d sold everything.
My name was not on the deeds.
Now, I walk the streets alone.
Just as afraid as before.
I carry my possessions
In a bag from the thrift store.
The sidewalks are my bed,
Which I would readily accept
If I could be free of him,
Free from the pain and fear.
But he is still here.
He comes in the night.
Some say it is only dreams
But I feel him after I awake.
He sits on the edge of a green field,
A sneer on his face.
He beacons me to come to him
And my feet start his way.
It is there I wake up every time.
Walking today, an alley called my name.
One I have never seen.
I turn left and stumble down,
To find a door open to me.
A new start.
So I believe.
I stop and peer through the dimly lit haze,
To see her sitting on the floor.
Her legs crossed, Indian style
Flickering candles heightening the shadows.
Black Rastafarian dreadlocks,
Hang down her back in disarray.
Her eyes closed and body swaying
To the time of the chant she speaks.
I hear her pray “Papa Gede”
In a sing-song rhythm.
It was later I learned the god of Death
Was called to take me to him.
I turn to leave
My heart vibrating a warning.
Her voice hums out a greeting
And my steps stop, mid-stride.
“Hello. I have been waiting for you.”
My breath abates.
Who is she
Who waits for me?
“Come in, My Love.
I have a message.
The dead leave it,
And ask me to summon you.
I hear your name in my visions,
I read your name in my teacup.
I find your name in the rose petals.
I call your name in my songs.
You must come in
And search for your release
From the dreams that haunt you
The visions of him.”
She looks at me with raven eyes.
“How,” I ask, “do you know of…Him?”
My voice sounds like dead leaves
Unbelief rules my thoughts.
“He haunts me too,” she sings.
It is then I smell
The candles and the smoke, drifting out the door,
That rises and fills the small room.
I gag at the odor, the suffocating scent
The same he brought home so many times.
I begin to back out but she says
“Stop. He hurt me, too.”
I sit, crossed legged
Across from her
Inside the circle of flame,
To hear her tell her tale.
“He came to me,”
“To take Death away.
He begged me to save him.
He learned about my cures and curses
From the clubs he used to attend
Many with money would to come to me
To ask time to stop.”
She went on to the rhythm of a dripping tap,
“I have that power, you know.
Gede has given me his hands to work with.
But only if the trip has not started.
Your husband was too far along.
His boat was half across the river when he came.
The man in black was on his doorstep
And commanded your man’s attendance.
Gede would not give him back.”
I tremble when I think
Of what could have been.
His death reversed,
Him still alive.
She continues, “Now, I see your dreams in mine.
How he waits for you to come.
I have an idol, a charm, a few words,
To work what is needed.”
“Yes!” I answer,
My heart in my throat,
“Please release me
From his omniscient power.
I have nothing to give, he took all I owned.”
Then I remember the golden cross
My mother had given me,
Break the chain and hand it to her.
“This is perfect!” she says.
“Now hold this in trade.”
And places into my palm
A small, silver ball.
Inside were chimes,
Sounds of angels’ voices
When I moved my hand,
Fingers curled around my charm.
“As you sleep,
My sweet one,
Hold it tight.
Do not let it go.
You will be able to speak to him.
Tell him what you want.
That he is not to come to you, anymore.”
Her dark eyes never leave mine
In all this time.
My heart tells me she is true,
My mind is over-ruled.
“How do I thank you?”
I wonder out loud.
“How can I seem grateful enough?
If this works, I will owe you so much.”
A smile creeps onto her serious face.
“No, Dearie, I will have been paid.
To see a smile on the face of one in the dreams
My riches will be fulfilled.”
I start to cry in relief.
“Don’t do that, we can’t have that,”
She says and touches my shoulder.
“I’ll get us a cup of my favorite tea,
We can do with a bit of refreshing”
She stands and disappears
Behind the beaded curtain.
I hear the water fill the teapot
And roll the charm in my hand.
I relax as it sings to me
Its small bells pealing,
Then a question raises its head
Why would she help me so?
The beads part
And she sits the tray down.
Fragrant steam rises from the cups.
All doubts are gone.
I drink deep and long
Of a cloying sweet flavor,
One that urged me to finish
At her insistence.
“My tea will give you dreams,
Visions to seal a bargain.”
Her smile seemed less friendly.
I cannot stay upright,
I lay myself down.
She puts a pillow under my head,
And whispers in my ear.
“Hold on to the charm, My Dear,
Do not open your hand.
Look back and see your self,
You are attached here.”
“What?” I asked. “Attached?”
The meadow is in front of me,
He sits on the other side.
My breathing is faster than ever before.
I turn and see myself,
On the floor, chest rising with breathe.
She is seated next to me
Still whispering into my ear.
I feel him get up
I feel him stand and stretch.
As if he’s been waiting
A very long time.
I watch him start across the grass.
I yell, “Leave me alone!”
I cringe when he doesn’t stop
And then he laughs.
Twisting back to see myself,
Not understanding why,
My hand has fallen open,
The charm rolled out to the floor.
My chest has stopped moving.
It was then I hear her say,
The words that seal my future,
Words that burn my skin.
“He came to me but when we found
We could not stop his death.
He asked that I make sure he kept
The one thing that gave him pleasure.
“’Tis you My Dearie.
You are his one desire.
He paid for me to summon you
And send you to his side.
“The charm you hold
And the tea you drank,
Were the end of our bargain.
You are his forever. See him smile?
And now I take my fortune and go back to Haiti.
My mother is ill and I must tend her.
Good-bye to both of you. And enjoy your time together!”
I feel his hand on my wrist and scream.