I open my eyes. It’s the middle of the night. The glow of the full moon slightly illuminates the whole room. I’m alone in the bed. I see myself as I was when I was a kid; I can’t be much older than Marisol. I watch as I reach under my pillow for something. I feel a handle of an object. I slide it out from under the pillow. In my hand is a long, old fashioned knife. It looks pretty lethal. I caress it in my hand. I put the knife blade against my right palm and slowly cut, my flesh tears away onto either side of the gash. I giggle as a river of crimson spews forth from the raw wound. I slide the knife back under the pillow. Blood drips over the mattress — it trickles down my arm, splattering more blood onto my ivory-laced nightgown. I curl over in an upright position as I cradle my wounded hand. I scream.
I hear the running of footsteps outside my door. My door is flung open. Familiar voices trail inside, panicked. Mama is the only one with a lit candle in her hand. The door slams shut behind them. Mama and Papa turn their heads in astonishment. In a fleeting moment I pull out the knife and I hide it behind my back. They turn to me. My scream is replaced with a huge, vicious smile. A few stray moonbeams display their features. Terror is displayed across their faces. Mama and Papa are trapped within the room. They are now at the foot of my bed; both still frozen in fear.
The window slams close and the curtains shut. There is no escape. I creep into a crouch, inching slowly towards them with the knife still concealed. They still won’t move. The temperature in the room allows their breath to be visible. I can hear their breathing accelerate. The only light in the room now belongs to that one candle. Mama is standing inches away from me at the foot of my bed. I lean forward and with a puff of my breath blow her candle out. I spring.
I knock the candle back into Mama’s face; she lets out a blood curdling scream as hot wax scorches her skin. Her scream paralyzes Papa momentarily. By the time he’s able to react, I’m on top of him. I leap into his arms like a child seeking comfort. With my left arm around his neck I wrap my legs around his waist and I lean back to plunge the knife downwards into his heart. Savage screams of obscenities spew out of my mouth. Papa catches my knife hand.
We grapple for the weapon. I’m about to overtake him when the flow of blood oozing from my gash causes me to lose my hold on the knife’s handle as he falls backwards. Now the knife is in his power. I bite his hand, but he doesn’t release it. He lets out a shriek but he only grips the knife tighter. He regains control of the situation and he pulls me backwards by my hair. Strands of hair float down beside me as I land on the hardwood floor. I recover and once again form my crouch. The knife is still in his hand.
I fly at him. He tries to take a swing at me with his right arm, but I chomp down on his upper arm; tearing a chunk of flesh off. I consume it in one swallow. As he cringes back in pain I rip the knife out of his hand and go in for the kill. Just before my final thrust I stop. I whip my head in Mama’s direction. She’s screaming The Lord’s Prayer.
“Shut up, shut up you bitch, shut up!” I scream. I cover my ears with my hands, shielding them from her words. Wham! For a fleeting moment I feel pressure on the back of my head and then nothing.
The scenery changes, all I can hear is a heart wrenching scream echoing all around me. I feel pain but I can’t tell where it’s coming from. It feels like it’s coming from my whole body. The scream is on a continuous loop. It takes me a second to realize that it’s emanating from me. My flesh is burning, melting off of my bones. All I can smell is the sickly sweet smell of my searing flesh. The pain won’t cease. Flames mask my vision.
I choke out a scream, tearing my sheets off me. I pat my body in an attempt to extinguish the flames. It takes me a moment to register that I am not on fire. In a split second another memory flashes in my mind, blood. I check my clothes for blood, then my face and hands. There isn’t any blood and the gash on my hand is gone. I whip myself around and I lift up my pillow. Where’s the knife? I crawl on the bed over to where the candle should have landed. There are no burn marks on the floor. The room looks normal. I look down at my clothes once again; the nightgown is replaced by my pajamas. Relief washes over me as I realize that they were just nightmares. My face feels wet and sticky and my clothes are damp.
I lay in bed and I go over my dreams again. Weird, I never remember dreams and I rarely have nightmares. This dream was so vivid. Why would I dream about committing homicide? Cannibalism? What the hell? Chills run down my spine as I recall the horrid events, especially when I remember the burning sensation. I push back the memories from my mind. Hopefully, if I don’t think about them, I’ll soon forget I ever had those dreams.
All of a sudden, I feel pressure on my shoulder. I jump. I relax when I realize it’s only Trevor. Trevor once again rests his paws on my shoulders as he licks my face. Gross, dog breath. I push his fat head away from mine. I plant a kiss on the top of his head.
“Okay, bud. I love you and all, but I can do without the dog drool.” He gives my face another long lick. “Okay, that’s enough, out!” I tell him with a light laugh as I point to the door. He gives me one last lick before running out the door. Yuck! Naughty dog. Now I have dog drool all over my face. Oh well, I’m taking a shower anyways.
I look at the clock and it reads twelve noon. The curtains are opened allowing in the sun. Mama must have done that knowing that if I woke up I’d have a hard time falling back to sleep. Nice. I turn over and find that Marisol isn’t beside me. Huh, she must have gone downstairs to play.
The cold air is refreshing to my overheated body. The air conditioner must be on full blast. Ahh. After a few minutes the cold air begins to take its effect on me, causing me to become suddenly frigid cold. I get up from the bed and walk to the bathroom. I’ll brush my teeth after I take a shower. I have to get out of these clothes. I strip off my clothes and throw them in the hamper bag beside the door. Then turn on the shower and I get in. The hot water does wonders to relieve my stress and warm up my chilled body. I shampoo, condition, and then comb through my hair with my fingers.
Once I’m out I put on a pair of jeans and a purple tank-top. Afterwards, I get out my toothbrush and I gel on the toothpaste. Once I’m done brushing my teeth I head back into the room to make my bed. I stop at the entrance. This room gives me the creeps. I guess I’m just going to have to get used to it because Sunshine really seems to love this room.
As I step into the room, shivering from the freezing cold air. I should turn up the thermostat in the hall. My hand reaches for the dial. Ah, forget it. I’m probably cold because of the hot shower, besides, I’m just making the bed and then going downstairs. I head over to my bed, tuck in the sheets, and I throw over the cover. To finish it off I fluff the pillows. There. Perfect.
I breathe into my hands to warm them. My hands are like ice cubes. “Damn, it’s cold in here,” I mutter. Whoa, I can see my breath. I put my hands in my sweater pocket for added warmth. It’s got to be like thirty degrees in here or something. Did someone turn the thermostat down or what? It shouldn’t be this cold. I walk over to the thermostat in the hallway to adjust the temperature. That’s funny, it’s set to seventy. Why is it so cold in there? What ever. Damn, my room gets creepier and creepier by the second.
I go downstairs. As I pass the great room I can just see the top of Marisol’s head bobbing up and down as she bounces on the couch. I’ll pop my head in and say good morning before I head towards the kitchen. Trevor must be outside or he’d be yapping at my heels by now. I’ll sneak up behind her and scare her. I tread lightly up behind her. Before my shadow catches her attention… “Boo!”
“Aah!” she squeals — she turns to look at me as she giggles. Her laugh sounds like the tinkling of bells. I hold her face in my hands and I give her an exaggerated kiss.
“Morning, Sunshine.” She gives me a grin. I release her face.
“Good mowning. Don’t fowget to give Gabby hew kiss.”
“Okay.” I kiss the air beside her.
“No, she’s ovew hewe.” She points to the other side.
“Oh, silly me.” How come she always has to pretend that I’m wrong? Once again I kiss thin air.
“Guess what, Maw.”
“I have a loose tooth.”
“Really, where? Let me see.” She opens her mouth and she wiggles a tooth in the back. “Wow, that’s great, Sunshine. You’re becoming such a big girl.” I give her a kiss on the nose. “I’m going to go see if Mama and Papa need help with breakfast.”
“Okey-dokey,” she replies.
I go through the breakfast area into the kitchen. The iPod speakers are blaring throughout the kitchen and they don’t notice me enter. Mama is frying up our eggs and Papa’s making the coffee on the kitchen island. Every Latin family has to have their coffee.
“Buenos Dias,” I shout to both of my parents. I give them each a peck on the cheek. “Can you turn that down?”
“What?” Mama asks, turning down the volume.
“You mean, buenas tardes,” Papa says with a laugh.
“Okay then, buenas tardes.”
“How did you sleep?”
“Well,” I respond with fain enthusiasm. I hope they bought that. I don’t want to talk about my nightmares. I better redirect their attention. “Do you need any help making brunch?”
“Nope, but you can set the table.” Guess that worked.
“What are we having?” Mama points down in front of me, I look down at the counter and I see a plate of home fried potatoes with onions, fried eggs, and beans. Yum! I grab the silver-ware and the napkins before I head out to the breakfast room, even though technically it’s not breakfast time anymore. The room is large and beautiful. There are large French windows to allow natural light in. No need for artificial lighting during the day. The walls are white with gold detailing. The light reflecting off the walls make the walls appear to glow the color of marigold. In the middle of the room stands a mahogany table beautifully crafted and intricately detailed, as are the chairs and all the other furniture in the house. A small crystal chandelier hangs above the table. The sunshine reflecting through the glass prisms causes the light to dance on the walls like thousands of animated rainbows. Beautiful.
After I finish setting the table, I go back into the kitchen to bring out the plates. “Which plate is ready?”
I pick up Papa’s plate and I walk into the breakfast room, being careful not to spill. I set it down on the table. I turn to leave. Wait a second. I turn back. Where’s the silverware? The napkins? I look under the table to see if they were knocked down, even though I know that’s highly unlikely. Nope, not there. Huh, I was sure I set the table. Maybe Marisol was in here.
I head back into the kitchen. Marisol is sitting on the stool beside the kitchen island, chatting away with Mama about her show. That rules her out. Okay, maybe I’m just seeing things. I exit out of the room and back into the breakfast room. What the…? All of the silverware is in a pile in the middle of the table and the napkins are folded so that they are propped up the way they are in fancy restaurants.
I hear the tinkling sound of glass banging into each other and I look up and find that the chandelier is swaying back in forth like a pendulum. Something would have had to apply some amount of force to get it to move that way.
“Quick! Come see this!” I shriek, my voice cracking in panic. I stare at the silverware which forms what looks like a modern art sculpture. I don’t lift my eyes off of the table for one second, I don’t even blink. I hear a trail of voices come rushing towards me.
“What is it?” they all ask.
“That!” I say pointing to the silverware. I turn to them. I turn back. Wait, what? Everything is as it was. I must have blinked or something. “I thought I saw …” My voice trails off. I look up at the chandelier and it is perfectly still.
“You thought you saw what?” Papa asks, Mama and Marisol have already returned to the kitchen. What should I say … spider!
“I thought I saw a spider, but it must have scurried off.”
“How big was it?”
“Huge,” I lie. “It was this big.” I make a wide circle using both my thumbs and index fingers. “It was hairy. I think it was a tarantula.”
“Which way did it go?”
“I don’t know. It must have run off somewhere when I called out to you guys.”
“Great,” he mumbles to himself. “Don’t tell your mother, she’ll have a cow.”
“Tell me if you see it again, I’m going to have to buy some insect repellent.” Papa mumbles and something incoherent as he heads back into the kitchen, leaving me alone with my thoughts. What the … I must be seeing things. Last night’s dreams must have affected me a lot more than I had thought.
A few minutes later we sit down at the table. Marisol sits down across from me while Mama and Papa bring in our coffees. Mama and Papa sit down as well. Papa sits down at the head of the table. His chair is larger than ours so he calls it and I quote, “his throne”. He has one in almost every room. Mama sits down on the left side of him with Marisol seated next to her. I’m on his right. We dig in.
Real conversation, the kind of conversation that isn’t about how good the food is or about how did you sleep and did you have any dreams — which I fought hard not to remember — doesn’t start until halfway through our meal. It’s fine by me because it distracts me from my earlier delusions.
“After brunch, Marimar, why don’t you take your sister and go check out the town. Maybe you could take her to the park. I know Sunny would love that. Your Papa and I are going to rest for the day. The trip over here really took its toll on us,” Mama says before taking a sip of her coffee.
“Mmm-hmm, I think I remember seeing an ice cream parlor on our way over here. Why don’t you guys go check it out and see if it’s any good. But do us all a favor and make sure to go get some before you go to the park. That way Sunny will be able to burn off some of that extra energy so she won’t be bouncing off the walls,” Papa chuckles. He takes another bite of his eggs, still laughing. He chokes on his food, causing him to go into a coughing fit. Mama pats his back to help him breathe a little. After Papa recovers he tells us not to chew and laugh at the same time.
Papa wasn’t kidding about Marisol bouncing off the walls. That kid will run circles around the house if given too much sugar.
“Man, I hate driving,” I groan.
“You’ll be fine. Just try not to kill anybody,” he says laughing. Once again his coughing fit starts acting up. Karma.
Papa’s half kidding when he told me not to kill anyone. I’m the most accident prone driver anyone has ever met. I still don’t understand how I’m alive or how anybody else is. I’ve taken out mail boxes, paid for new ones. I left a dent in some guy’s fender and as I tried to back up I dented somebody else’s bumper — luckily, we have insurance.
Once I even managed to drive Papa’s minivan into a ditch. That time I somehow managed to ruin Papa’s minivan more than it already was. The result was a couple of scratches, a replaced rear view mirror and both head lights. There should have been more damage but the minivan is pretty durable for minor incidents. Papa made me retake Drivers E.D., so his insurance wouldn’t skyrocket.
It’s been a while since they have let me anywhere near the van. This doesn’t bother me. I practically get a panic attack every time I drive. My palms start to sweat and my heart begins to accelerate. I have to do breathing exercises before I can even start the minivan to calm myself down enough to get out of the driveway.
“Are you sure you can deal with the regret of letting me loose onto the streets of the innocent public? I don’t think your insurance can cover an excessive amount of damage.” Papa grimaces. I can see myself making headlines now …
Extra, extra, read all about it! Girl, sixteen, causes blood bath in a small Texas town. Witnesses claim that she wasn’t even texting or on the phone.
Marimar Utt, the daughter of Walter and Alena Utt, hit six people walking on the sidewalk while trying to parallel park. Three more bystanders were harmed as she proceeded to backup. Panicking, she then hit the gas pedal in a poorly thought out attempt to back off the people and she unfortunately drove her minivan straight through the ice cream parlor’s glass window, injuring five more. Unfortunately for the town, she was unscathed.
With me driving, that could actually be a sad and ill-fated reality if I get behind the wheel.
“Wait, I can’t drive. I just remembered, you didn’t get the air-conditioner fixed.”
“Drive with the windows down.”
“It has to be like ninety degrees out there!”
“You’re going to have to get used to the weather, might as well start now.” In other words, it’s not going to be fixed for a while, so get used to it.
“If we’re supposed to get used to the weather then why don’t we turn all of the thermostats off?”
“Don’t be a smart ass-err-aleck!” he snaps at me. His eyes are stern.
Humph, yeah. I guess it would suck for you to be hot, but you don’t give a damn if I am, I think to myself. Nice save. I wonder where I get it from. I don’t dare say that. He’d ground me for sure — all I need is to be stuck in the house bored stiff. He’d probably take away my stash of books.
It’s time to switch tactics. I’ll ask Mama instead since “the king of the house” won’t budge. If I piss him off anymore he might guillotine me.
“Please, don’t make me drive,” I plead. I push my bottom lip out to form a puppy dog pout and I make my eyes well up with tears — that always seemed to work when I was little.