Sanaya watched her mother sit by the window sill, Jack Daniel’s in one hand and a cigarette in another. Her father had yet to come home, and whenever her mother had a bottle of liquor in hand, she knew things weren’t good. Patrice hadn’t said a word since she’d come home from a long day at the Post Office, and Sanaya knew something wasn’t right. As a matter of fact, she’d been walking on eggshells around her mother all week since her father; Roland went away to the store and never came back. Patrice had yet to file a missing person’s report, being that this would not be the first time Roland disappeared without a trace. Sanaya sighed, secretly wishing some self-esteem was at the bottom of the liquor bottle so that her mother would just divorce him and move on. The man was a cheater and showed no signs of changing any time soon. Sanaya assumed that he had always been that way, but could not figure out for the life of her why her mother would put up with it. The last time he disappeared, he ran off with one of Patrice’s ex-friends for two years before coming home with his tail between his legs. For the first six months after his departure, she had to live with her Aunt Shawna while her mother struggled through a serious bout of depression and drinking. After she almost drank herself to the point of a coma, she finally began to clean herself up, found a new job at the Post Office as a clerk, and things began to look up for Sanaya and Patrice-until her dad came home, and well…things went downhill from there. And now, they were back in the shit hole.
Sanaya crept into the kitchen, trying to block out her mother’s thoughts-which was another thing: she could actually hear what people were thinking as they were thinking, something that at one point freaked her out. She smoothed the fine hairs that framed her face back into the freshly flat ironed ponytail she could feel bouncing against the back of her neck as she stealthily opened the fridge.
The son of bitch got me all the way fucked up, her mother seethed mentally, still staring out of the window. As soon as he comes back, I’m leaving his ass and he can see for himself what it’s like to raise a child all by hisself…
Sanaya quickly grabbed her left over foot long sandwich from Subway her mother picked up for her after school and headed back to her room while she could. If Patrice caught wind of her moving about the house in the state that she was in, Sanaya would have to bear the verbal brunt of her mother’s tirade until it was time for her to get to school.
Sanaya gently eased the door to her room shut and cut the volume down just low enough not to disturb her mother…and because as of late, her hearing had become much more sensitive and acute that even at the television’s lowest volume, it still sounded like her ear drums were going to explode. As a matter of fact, since she was twelve her senses had heightened to the realms of abnormal. She could see things at least a mile away with total clarity, all the way down to most minute detail. She could smell which equal acuity, having spent many a day in the nurses office for extreme nausea and vomiting from the nasal sensitivity. One time, after being picked up from school for vomiting, her mother asked her if she was pregnant, and drove her to a local free clinic where she was forced to take a pregnancy test despite her still being a virgin.
She hid most of the changes that took place within her body other than the typical issues that all females went through as they transitioned into young adulthood; but everything else such as the heightened sensitivity to her environment, and the awareness of the ever present feeling that something darker, and stronger than herself, she kept locked away. Besides, her mother had other issues to worry about other than the fact that her daughter’s developing “gifts” that should have by rights placed her in the nut house. She learned a long time ago that there just wasn’t room for special people like her; and whatever these gifts are…well, there is no such thing as super heroes. Those characters only existed in the pages of a Marvel comic book.
Sanaya tightened the strings of her berry pink pajama bottoms and plopped on her twin sized bed, decorated with a purple comforter set and covered with stuffed animals she collected since she was old enough to walk. Yeah, it was kiddish but how else would she sleep at night when she always felt like someone was watching her?
Taking a bite of the leftover Philly cheese steak sub, she listened for her mother, happy to have distanced herself from her mother’s toxic thoughts, but dreading what the night may bring from Patrice’s drunken stupor. Sanaya finishes her sandwich and tosses the wrapping her purple waste bin by the door before crawling into bed. Patrice would more than likely sit by the window all night if left undistracted from her thoughts, which Sanaya intended to do. Sanaya wrestles underneath the welcoming comfort of her covers, and allow her thoughts to drift to the sound of MTV’s Cribs, and the hauntingly eerie silence which begun to blanket her street. She shrugged off the horrifying sensation as paranoia, and cursing herself for never being able to relax.
She grabbed the remote and cut the television off and just listened. She heard the sound of her father’s 2002 Honda Civic pull up into the driveway of their two story duplex. The hum of the engine coming to a stop as he stepped out onto the pavement, his heavy footsteps tapping against the pavement. Her whole body tensed as she listened to the jingle of his keys clink against the metal door. Something wasn’t right…she did not know how she knew, but somewhere deep inside of her knew her father’s return just wasn’t right. She detected the presence of someone else just outside of her home’s iron gate, and she sat up quickly. Her eyes adjusting to the dark as if it were day. She listened intently, tuning more into what may have been going on outside than in.
The presence moved through the shadows with the stealth and agility of a trained assassin before coming to a stop just underneath her bedroom window. She got up to take a peek when she could hear her mother’s drunken outburst slam into her cranium.
“So which bitch was it this time, Roland?” she demanded.
Sanaya could see it in her mind’s eye: her mother leaning against the wooden dining room table with a multicolored scarf on her head full of tightly coiled locks she kept hidden under various wigs; her large brown eyes tinged with red from hours of crying and drinking; her once beautifully smooth brown skin marred with worry lines and few wrinkles here and there; her 5’9” frame draped in an old tattered red robe; and all signs of hope and happiness completely drained from her pores. Standing before her father was a shell of a woman who lacked the one thing she wanted most in the world: the love of her husband.
Sanaya listened for her father’s reply, which came out in a melodic echo that caused her skin to prickle.
“You’ve been drinking,” was all he said.
Hearing her father’s voice made something within her snap, and she mentally shot her mother a message: Run mama!
However, the message fell on deaf ears because her mother instantly began her verbal tirade, belting out curses, threats and everything else she could think of. Sanaya quietly eased the door open and slid out, and crept down the hall, cautious to remain hidden in the shadows, careful not to be seen by the version of the man she knew as her father. All of her instincts began to fire off the instant she laid eyes on her father. He looked like Roland, sounded like Roland; and said things that Roland would say…but Sanaya shuddered… Roland wasn’t Roland.
She peered out just in time to witness her mother slap her father with a force that should have knocked the wind out of him, but he never staggered. He never flinched. He just glared at her with such intensity, that even in her drunken and enraged state, Patrice took a step back. And that is when Sanaya noticed the difference. Roland’s mouth crested with two pointed teeth that were as thick as switch blades and equally as sharp, which extended to near the end of his jawline. His normally hazel brown eyes flickered a deep crimson, and his honey brown skin appeared more ashen and dull.
Patrice took another step back, unsure of which direction to go, and Roland stalked after her.
“Get the hell away from me Roland,” Patrice warned. “I mean it.”
“Or else what?” Roland asked coolly.
No longer able to sit back and wait for her father to seal her mother’s fate, Sanaya sprang to her feet, armed only with her bravery and fear for her mother’s life she charged at her father, only for him to knock her into the wall with the sweep of his hand. Her head connected with the 8 x 12 mirror her mother insisted on purchasing from Ross a year ago, before she collapsed to the ground.
“Sanaya!” Patrice called out, her back now pinned against the cupboard and her husband’s face just inches away from hers.
“I am terribly glad to be rid of you, you miserable, useless bitch,” Roland articulated slowly. “I long ago grew tired of your endless ramblings…” He leaned in closer. “And to answer the question you begged of me long ago, yes your sister is better.”
Patrice’s gasp was followed by her scream as Roland slammed her into the cupboard and sank his teeth into her throat. Sanaya, dazed and bloodied, struggled to get to her feet when the window from which her mother gazed out into the night shattered, and the watchful presence emerged, dressed in all black and armed with a long sword and a mission burst through the shattered window. With the speed and agility of a panther, the hooded assassin’s sword sliced through the air with a chime, taking Roland’s head clean off of his shoulders. Patrice’s body slumped to the floor, her hands clutching her throat.
Sanaya managed to get on her feet, forcing herself to stumble to her mother’s aid. Slightly dazed, she inched closer drawing in deep breaths as she watched her mother spew up her own blood. Kneeling beside her, she brought her mother’s head to her chest, unsure of what to do or who to turn to. The hooded assassin, still clutching the sword approached them, pulling out a small vial of clear liquid and removing the spongy cap. Before Sanaya could respond, the assassin sprinkled a few drops of the mystery fluid onto her mother and the instant the drop made contact, her mother began to incinerate.
“What the fuck did you do to her?” Sanaya sobbed jumping back, as her mother screamed and thrashed about as her body became consumed with flames.
The hooded assassin regarded her with a disinterested stare before returning to Patrice’s body as it slowly turned to a pile of ash. Patrice’s screams abated, her arms no longer thrashing about as the flames continued to consume her. Sanaya’s sobs became louder as she fell to her knees once more. Whatever her father had done, he’d brought it home to her mother and now…both of her parents are gone. Overwrought with grief, she buried her face in her hands, not expecting the sudden strike of a small dart to the base of her neck. She flinched, and scrambled to her feet to address the sudden threat, however, the specially calibrated toxin sent a shock to her nervous system and the last thing she remembered was the heavy hand of the hooded assassin catching her by the waist before her face hit the floor.
Release Date: TBD
****All works are created and written by Delizhia D. Jenkins 2016****