Handcuffs and Roses

written in response to Shafali’s Creativity Carnival picture below

She heard a door open and close and a set of footsteps begin their descent down the stairs. “I have a present for you.” He sounded happy, amused even, but she closed her eyes against the sound. She tried her best to remain motionless. She kept her hands in prayer pose, tucked beneath her cheek, and continued to lie on her side on the dirty, single mattress.  She willed her breaths to remain even, and steady, as he dragged a chair closer to her. She could feel his hot breath on her face; the whiskey scent tickled her nose.

“Don’t you want to see what I have brought for you?” She could feel something gently caress her arm. The touch was soft, almost loving. “I know you are not sleeping, my pet. Open your eyes.”

She glanced up at his pale blue eyes. She noted the stubble along his jaw line and cheeks before diverting her attention to  the floor.

“Do you like roses my pet? I thought we could play a game.” He twirled the rose in between his fingers as he spoke.” I will ask you a question and if you answer correctly, you can keep this rose. I will even give you a vase with some water.”

His games, and prizes, were twisted. The last game was a dance. The prize?  Music. Simple, it seemed, until hours later her handcuffs and chains became too heavy for her weakened body. She grew tired. Every time she moved the metal would cut further into the fragile flesh around her ankles and wrists. Every time she tried to stop, he would slap a riding crop – first, on the floor, then at her legs and shoulders to keep her moving. The welts still hadn’t healed.

“Do you love me, my pet?” He used the rose to tenderly stroke her face from her temple to her jaw; its faint, sweet smell drifted into her nose.

She refused to answer, to give into his demand. If she said yes, she would be destroying herself, destroying her hope for freedom. She would be admitting defeat, admitting that she was trapped here; that her old life did not exist, that it was something she could not return to, that it would remain just a faded memory of better days. She had tried for weeks to find a way out. She yanked at the chains that kept her secured to the walls. She paced the same six-foot area over and over again until the bottoms of her feet were raw. She screamed until her voice was gone. But no one ever walked through that door except for him. He was her captor. A predator that had stalked her and had taken her against her will; kidnapped her and placed her into a concrete basement. She was his slave, his pet, to use and abuse as he saw fit.

“Do you love me?” his gentle tone was replaced with malice and anger. She stared back at him, her face set in stone. “Well, let’s just see what the rose says, shall we?” He tugged off a delicate petal. “She loves me, she loves me not…” Her sense of fear and foreboding increased as each petal floated down to the floor.

The Book of My Life

written in response to Shafali’s Creativity Carnival picture below

Let’s flip back to (p)age sixteen. How innocent that face is, peering out from the pages, wondering what her story will hold. She signs her letters with peace signs, hearts and stick figure seagulls. She clings to a belief that these would be attainable goals. She is a good listener and a loyal friend. She has a thirst for adventure and a willingness to open her heart and soul to all of the possibilities that lay in front of her.

Now let’s turn to (p)age 27 and you will meet a fiery creature. Her hair is dyed red to match her nature. She stands with her shoulders square and her chin jutting forward bracing herself against the turbulent times of her life. She tells no one of her inner struggle. She holds her emotions in until they boil and bubble over the surface. They erupt out of her mouth in the form of snark replies and vicious remarks. Tongue lashings from her are venomous and can leave with you scars;welts that are poisonous and have the ability to degrade your confidence and self-esteem.

Now let’s pick up that bookmark and place it here, to (p)age 35. I have obtained some peace, a whole lot of love and an exponential amount of freedom. I start my days by sucking in the air around me and embracing the things around me. I seek solace in the comforting arms of my husband and my family. That being said, I still have trouble communicating. I do not erupt, as often. My negative remarks present themselves during times of self-analysis. I am often self-critical, striving for a perfection that is unrealistic and unattainable. It pushes me to do more, be more, and somehow, it never seems to be enough.

Odd, isn’t it, that I choose to use this prompt to help break my silence, to help to begin to break down the walls that surround me.I have been hesitant to post this, doing my best to ignore my take on this challenge, rewriting and walking away. But I can’t move forward until I have completed this task. I can’t finish writing this story until I leave those pages behind me.

Forgive Me

written in response to Shafali’s Creativity Carnival picture below:

John sat with his head in his hands, his back against a tree, at the bottom of the hill. His queasiness had subsided, but he wondered if he would ever be able to erase that image from his memory. Every time he closed his eyes, all he could see was a pair of deflated blue jeans and white sneakers. He wished he had kept his eyes there. But no, they had travelled further. They saw the gun and the notebook. They noticed how the arms were covered with a thin, leathery membrane and that the bones were exposed beneath it.  The skin around her cheeks had shrivelled and contracted. Scorched by the heat of the sun, her face had taken on a mummified appearance. Her bottom jaw line and teeth were fully exposed.  He remembered how a black beetle crawled out of her boney nose and scurried down into her gaping mouth. But it was her eyes – her dry, black and bulging eyes – that would haunt him the most.

John watched with a surreal fascination as the officers carried a large, black bag down the escarpment. Her body had been so badly decomposed that it had come apart in pieces. Even that black, thick plastic wasn’t dense enough to contain the smell of rot and decay. The odor burned into John’s nose, down his throat and into his belly. His stomach somersaulted in response, and he began to vomit, again.

The investigators, now finished with their photographs, labelled the evidence – the notebook and the gun. The items were placed into a tote in the back of their vehicles before they drove away.

The letter would have said this….

To the person who finds this paper, 

I have attached a picture of myself so you will be able to see who I once was. Yes, this is a younger version of me. One that was full of passion and life. One who had plans before a depression overtook me and crippled me with its cruelty. I am sorry, I cannot take this anymore. I feel like I have been peering out from a black hole, waiting for a ray of sunshine to light my way out. I have clamored; have tried to scrape out my path but I can no longer stand the plummets back down. My efforts have exhausted me.

I am a coward to the highest degree. I have hidden myself here amongst these trees in the hopes that my remains will be scattered among them. I do not want anyone to know how my story has ended, how I have given up the fight. I only want them to remember me for who I once was.

Forgive me,

Clair

*The moral of this story is that death is not pretty. If you are depressed, please seek some help*

My Treasure Chest

I did have a quaint, little story written up for Shafali’s Creativity Carnival this week. But I just wasn’t feeling it. The piece just wasn’t good enough and I did not want to post something that I couldn’t be happy with. The best thing about this challenge is that it is completely open to interpretation. I can do whatever I please. I could have made a decoupage of flashy diamond rings from magazines. Instead, I will show you this.

This is my treasure chest. Thirteen years ago, a man named Carlos hand crafted this for me. He said the blue matched my eyes and he wanted me to have it “just because.” And no, he did not expect anything in return.

I was speechless. What could I say? I marvelled at the details –  the angle of the glass. the colors. Did you notice the how the edge of the petal juts out? It is a lip for ease of opening. And then you open it up…

Hopefully, you can appreciate the beveling around the edges of the glass now. And yes, that was all done by hand. The mirrored bottom reflects the light and all of its contents. It is a very pleasant effect when you have your gems in there. A delicate chain holds the lid in place.

This container is home to a handful of my trinkets, but I took them out so I could display the real treasure – the jewellery box itself.

For Whom The Bell Tolls

Written in response to Shafali’s Creativity Carnival picture below

 

Just my thoughts on this one….

Look at that spider, huddled in the middle of his home, comforted by the stillness of his surroundings. Is he waiting for that bell to ring? Is he waiting for the bell to toll signifying the loss of another loved one? Look at the rain, how it caresses the side of the bell, like tears cascading from above.

Sad to say, the only time I hear bells chime are at funerals. Furthermore, funerals, I think, are not how they are supposed to be these days. (Were they ever? Please enlighten me if that is the case.) They have turned more into a family reunion. A time where we gather to catch up on our lives. A meet n greet with a casket beside us.

Take for instance the most recent passing in my family – my Great Uncle Pete. He lived to the grand age of 92. It was a small gathering, with a typical church ceremony, and a quaint eulogy spoken by a dear family friend. Afterwards, we sat at tables, eating delectable dainties and asking each other questions. “What’s new? How are you? Are you enjoying retirement? ” Not a word was spoken about poor Uncle Pete. Not a word.

It fills me with guilt. Certainly we should have sat around and marveled over his life, his accomplishments? He lived to 92! Imagine the changes he had seen through out his life. And the knowledge he gathered? Should we not have shared some of his words of wisdom? He was always so happy to share what he knew. His mind was sharp up until his last breath.

I tried to initiate some conversation by asking questions about the stories he shared, but no one replied. They glanced over those questions just like they glanced over his body in the casket when they walked by.

Nope, not one word was spoken about the man we buried. Not one word.

The Pocket Watch

Tick tock, Tick tock
Shutup you damn clock
I know my time is slipping away

There is no need to remind me
Of the tasks lagging behind me
Of the work I put off from day-to-day

All those projects that need completing
Quick! Hurry! Summer is fleeting!
I try to keep my panic at bay

If you keep up your pestering
About the time I have been sequestering
I might just have to lock you away

Thank you, Shafali, for drawing the artistic prompt for your Creativity Carnival. I thoroughly enjoyed dipping my fingers into some poetry for this adventure and am looking forward to seeing where else your art will take me.