Wednesday, October 7, 2015

They Were Dolphins, Chapter 6, part III

When it was too dark to see very far into the trees, he ventured back to the shack and sat on the edge of an overturned metal tub. There was light and smoke coming from the shack, but he did not dare enter. When the woman came out, she seemed surprised to see the boy there, then caught herself and smiled. She took off a white apron and the silvered oven mitts she was wearing.

The walked back down the steep path in the deepening darkness until they got back to the car. It had rained lightly and the top of the convertible was down. The woman said that the car was probably full of water. She said that when the car doors opened, water would pour out and the fishes inside would flap and writhe on the ground. The boy believed her and tried to peek over the top of the window to see the water inside the car.

He opened the car door gingerly and was disappointed when water and fishes did not pour out onto the ground. It was obvious to the boy that adults lied, but he thought that strangers he didn’t know might not lie as much. He was wrong.

She drove the boy to her house and told him to stay the night. She said his mother wasn’t feeling well and needed to be alone. The woman said she had Star Wars sheets. The boy agreed to stay because he was excited about the sheets. But the real reason he agreed was because he was scared to go home. He was surprised to see that she lived at the house with the pagodas and koi. He stared at the pile of concrete and metal in the empty lot next to her house and remembered his prediction about an exploding spaceship.

The boy briefly wondered what his mother was doing. After he had left her on the couch, the boy’s mother swallowed the last of the toxic mixture she had created. She dialled her dealer and business partner, Alani. Alani had come over as soon as she heard. Alani had told the boy’s mother that the Korean was no good and not worth the air he breathed.

The mother waved all that away weakly. She had only a little bit of time. She asked Alani to take the boy somewhere safe while she moved the Korean out. Alani agreed and said she would call later the next day.

The boy’s mother had been born very ill. She was very intelligent, as evidenced by her advanced degrees and current studies. She was in medical school and only needed one more semester of study to graduate with her M.D. She had actually planned for an event of this magnitude. The voices that had always spoken to her in her head had told her to plan for such events, because one never knew what would happen.

She had access to arsenic in the school laboratory and had gathered eight milligrams in a small Ziploc bag. The voices had whispered for a long time in the background, conferring with each other about the correct dosage. The voices knew everything she knew, and they had guessed that four milligrams would work. But she had doubled it to be sure.

They knew that she was taking a larger dose than they had asked for, but that was what they had planned all along. They knew everything she knew, so there was no fooling them. Only one of the voices dissented. She knew which voice that was. It was the voice that had always protected her children. The two times that she had held her youngest son in the bath and the loudest, most obnoxious voices had urged her to drown the rat. The little calmer voice had won out and saved the little boy.

However, in this case, the loud voices were correct and the mother knew that she would follow what they told her. She had had enough of this world and life. She was fed up with all of the strange attention from men, and their constant prodding, grabbing, and digging with their fingers. If they just asked nicely, she would be glad to oblige, but they never did.

She was also disgusted with the expense and hassle of her two useless children, more worthless even than the men who impregnated her. And if she had only had a girl baby, she might have lived to raise it. As it was, she knew that she had raised, by gross neglect, resilient monsters. They would be fine. Especially the oldest one who spouted nonsense about being a dolphin and how he was going to live in the sea.

The voices clamoured loudly during the car accident. She had ignored them. They yelled and abused her when the Korean had hit her and her boy when they danced in the living room. She had nearly given in and done it then. She sent the boys out for the whole day to give her time to take action. The only thing that had saved her was a pre-existing study session and vivisection practice that she had arranged in her house. By the time they were done smoking from the hookah and cutting the cat brains, the children had come home.

The voices were disappointed and they yelled at her and called her names. She didn’t care what they said, and she told them so. They retreated for a while and plotted revenge. They fed her poison about the Korean, her boys, her friends, her degree, and her status. She couldn’t bear to hear them anymore and she would yell at anybody around her to try to quiet them. She yelled at the Korean until he snapped and could nearly have broken her back.

The voices were smug and asked if she would finally take part in the medicine they needed. They knew that she knew what they knew, but they were better at hiding things than she was. She had agreed and mixed the scotch with the white metal. It didn’t dissolve, but she swirled it around and drank as much as she could. The voices were obsequious, needy.

The boy had come out with his ridiculous piece of paper and worthless book. She was supposed to feel better about a half-hearted attempt at a gift. The voices were offended. They shouted down the saviour voice, they even wrestled physically to shut the voice down. They demanded that the plan go through, the boy was just playing tricks with the written scrawl and tears.

She took the last gulp in front of the boy, as a symbol, a sign, a sigil that he would remember her and she would remember him. She had gotten the boys out of the house, the younger one was with a baby sitter during the day, and the older one was with Alani. The Korean wouldn’t be back for a few days.
The arsenic worked slowly, too slowly. Even the voices were doubtful. She knew that they were afraid. She knew that this was how she gained control of them. The parasites needed the host to survive, and she had attempted suicide a few times over the years to scare them, force them to leave her alone. She knew that they knew what she knew, but maybe she knew how to hide some things as well.

She was elated at their fear. She laughed at them. She even tried to laugh out loud. It hurt to do so. Her neck was sore and didn’t move much. Her eyes didn’t focus well and pointed in different directions. She nearly vomited and forced it down. She must not let the precious arsenic out. Some of it burbled up in her mouth and dripped on her chin anyway. She coughed.

The pain was intense and lightning flashed across the sky behind her eyelids. She jerked at the bright lights. Her arm swung and knocked the thick tumbler to the ground where it shattered. The coroner would make a note of the glass and would have it tested. She staggered unevenly to the bathroom. She filled a tub with scalding water.

Without even bothering with her clothes, she climbed in and soaked in the rising water. Darkness like clouds formed in her vision and moved in wandering circles. Lighting flashed again between the clouds. A light rain came in though a widow over the tub. The cool mist was refreshing on her face, flushed with the hot water.

The voices had stopped.

She slipped under the water briefly and jerked awake as if waking from a dream where one is falling uncontrollably.

She slipped under the water again and tried to smile, but it hurt. She winced and her eyes fluttered in the bright flashes of lightning.


Don’t cry, little one. Nothing that is true can be sad.

Chapter 7

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