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Depravity (Love Depraved)
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I was born an ordinary girl with a tiny seed of sickness.
Mama told me to lock it away and let it wither.
I didn’t know how.
Solitude became my closest companion.
Solo, single, lonely.
They were drawn to my sickness like moths to a flame.
With them, I was nurtured into something special.
With them, I flourished in depths of decay and darkness.
(mm/mmf/ mfm.) Standalone.
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“Solitude was my only consolation – deep, dark, deathlike solitude.”
―Mary W. Shelley
The change of season brought the unexpected harvest of a new beginning.
Sitting on a worn tire tethered to a tree, I stared at the kaleidoscope of colors covering the ground.
Overhead, geese called to one another as they began their migration for warmer weather. I envied their ability to belong so easily.
Beneath their honking, raised voices carried on a breeze. Buddy had overindulged in his drinking again, igniting the nightly argument between him and Mother.
It was a good thing we didn’t have neighbors, or someone would’ve long since complained.
Often during these times, I wandered the fields, but this evening I didn’t feel up to it.
A gust of air slipped around my back, and I pulled my arms deeper into the holes of my sweater.
The days had grown shorter as the nights grew longer. As a result, the sun was making an early departure behind the hills, taking the temperature with it.
I was ready to go inside. I’d been out of the house since breakfast time.
If I waited an hour or so more, Buddy and Mother would be done. It wasn’t wise to intrude before they finished. Their anger always turned on me when I interrupted.
The sting of Mother’s hand had been felt for two days after she struck me last time, her uneven nails’ split my lower lip.
When in a mood, she made sure to remind me that I was her burden, the curse of the devil.
I was the chronically sick child she loathed, constantly blaming me for the current state of her affairs now that Daddy was gone. He left, and I was the accused as to why.
Whatever ultimatum was given in the throes of their last heated debate forced him to leave me behind nearly twelve months ago. Buddy had filled the space in Mother’s bed since.
Running nimble fingers up strands of fraying rope, I lifted myself from the tire swing, thinking I’d wander the fields after all.
A sudden stillness derailed the idea. It was as if the wind itself had halted to accompany the silence. It shattered not a minute later, a shrill scream coming from inside.
Without a doubt it was Mother, but I’d never heard her make this sound before.
When all was quiet again, I began to walk towards the meager shack of a house, taking the long way so that I could enter through the mudroom.
If I went to the front door, I would walk right into the living room where they usually tended to be.
The saggy porch groaned beneath the weight of my tattered sneakers. Beyond the back door, I could hear Buddy talking to himself, a jumble of drunken words that made very little to no sense from where I stood.
Slowly entering the house, I was careful not to knock over the ax Buddy used for his wood chopping.
My shoes’ moved silently across the worn wooden floor.
I passed through the kitchen littered with cans from the twelve pack Buddy had wholly consumed, pausing at the threshold of the living area. With curtains drawn it was always the darkest room in our house.
Grey’s anatomy was playing on the box-set, volume muted.
Light from the television screen illuminated a red stain expanding beneath Mother’s head. As I stared at it, something didn’t look right to me. One side seemed deflated, like a balloon that had begun to lose its air.
I looked at the disturbed coffee table and saw that it was now missing a corner piece of wood. Buddy must have slammed her into it.
Crouched over her unmoving body, voice lower than it had been a few minutes ago, he whispered an apology over and over again.
I didn’t understand.
Couldn’t he see she was broken now?
But I could fix it.
Turning away from them, I walked through the house, returning to the mudroom so I could retrieve the ax.
It was lighter than I remembered it being. The wood was still smooth after years of use, blade sharp but rusting.
This had been Daddy’s favorite tool.
I carried it with loving hands all the way back to the living room.
Buddy was still crouched over Mother’s broken body. I waited for him to turn and greet me, but he didn’t.
Not a single word of acknowledgment was spoken.
I lifted the ax high above my head and swung.
Buddy chose that moment to peer over his shoulder, his eyes widening a second before the blade connected with the side of his neck.
An odd sound came from his mouth as I twisted the ax’s handle, tugging it free from his flesh.
Staggering like the drunkard he was, I watched him crawl forward on all fours, dripping blood on Mother’s corpse.
Using the toe of my shoe, I nudged her bare feet apart and took a step forward, adjusting my grip on the ax.
With a little grunt, I swung again. This time, the blade went into his shoulder, nearly severing his entire right arm.