Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Free at Last (rough draft) by Adam Boenig

The day had finally come. Jenny could finally leave.

She looked about the small room, thinking about everything. About the group sessions, the therapy, and the medication. She thought about her room-mate; a young woman who looked at the floor and mumbled when she talked, her dirty-blonde hair hanging so you could barely see her face. In her months here, she had only seen her eyes once; striking, pale blue.

When she had come in, they said, those eyes had been lost;wild, framed in purple and black. She had been abused, they said. They said it had messed her up; they said she would never be able to leave.

Jenny couldn't remember what happened. She knew how she got here, of course; she could remember the trial, the attorney, the jury. She could remember the verdict. She could remember waking up, covered in blood. She could remember her small family; a husband, two boys; killed in horrible, horrible ways.

She had been told she did it; by the legal system, by her doctors. The had been told that she should accept it. She had been told she was crazy.

And maybe she was. She didn't know. She couldn't know. She couldn't remember.

She picked up her bags; small things she could carry on her back. She walked out the door, down the staircase, and into the reception room. She smiled at the man behind the counter; he was wearing light blue scrubs, just like everyone else. She made small talk. He smiled, talked back. None of it really registered.

He would be talking about it later. About how they never should have released her. About how everything was wrong.

She went outside. There was a waiting cab. She threw in her bags, and climbed into the back seat. She gave him an address, which he entered into a small GPS, and they drove back to her house.

A home she could not remember. A two story, white structure that struck her, now, as monolithic and horrible. She knew she couldn't stay; she also knew that, at least for now, it was her only home. Her family; her friends; everyone had said no to her pleas.

So she walked in, forcing open the gate (the weeds had climbed up the sides of the pickets), and walked to the front door. She took the keys out of one bag, unlocked it and went inside.

It was exactly how she remembered, minus the bodies.

She tried to forget; but the whole building was soaked in memories, steeped in good times and now tainted with one dark, dreadful idea.

She refused to cry.

Image by Abigail Markov
She went upstairs. The main bedroom was upstairs. She tried to ignore her own thoughts, throwing her things on the floor.

She ate out that night. She had a little money left in the bank; enough for a month, perhaps. She hoped. She
hoped she could get a job; but maybe, in time, the backlash of what was her horrible action would fade.

Or maybe she could move. It would be nice, being in a place where no one knew her; she could start over. She sighed.

When she came back home, all the lights were on. She opened the door cautiously.

Along the walls, hand-prints. One after the other; some older, turned black by time, and others still fresh and

In her kitchen sat a man. A man with dark black eyes and long, clawed fingers. He sat at her simple dining table, drinking tea, very formal in a double-breasted, pin-striped suit. Crowded behind him, in barely-visible
silhouettes, were hundreds of people, all shifting in and out of view.

When he saw her, he smiled. "Welcome home, honey."

She screamed.