Sunday, March 8, 2015
Hazel Pierce, Clive Buccatti, and a Starry Night
Hazel was supremely confused about where she was and why she was there. She appeared to have wandered into the smoky, dimly lit bar.
“Check the paper.” Catherine strode in through the swinging door that led in from the kitchen.
Hazel made her way to the bar counter, where lay a newspaper. “Why this,” she asked.
Catherine rolled up her sleeves and set to work polishing the fine mahogany countertop. “It’s tomorrows paper. Read the obits. I promise! It’ll get interesting.”
Hazel eyed the other woman suspiciously as she flipped from the front page to the obituary section, deep in the inky heart of the paper. She began to rapidly scan column after column, wary of the steady, relaxed motions of the room’s other occupant.
“A local employee at a children’s home fell to her death death today after stumbling on a toy and plummeting down the stairs. She was rushed to the hospital and declared dead after several hours in an apparent coma."
Her heart seemed to freeze in her chest as her eyes lit upon that all too familiar shape. “That’s my name! Why is my name here?! Wha-? What’s going on?!?”
“Relax! Your name isn’t going to stay there. Keep reading, and do try to calm down a bit.”
Far from calm, Hazel tore through her own obituary. She only paused for a thousandth of a second to consider the story of her long tumble down the steps and the orphanage. “What does it all mean?!”
“Well child, by all rights you should be dead and gone right now. The Plan, however, has been experiencing a lot of flux recently. And I have decided that you have a lot more work left to do.”
“You know,” Catherine continued. “I too am a child of the system. I grew up in an orphanage after my parents, or her parents really, were taken.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Because in the end, you choose what system to be a part of. You spent a long while doing great things in South America, only to throw yourself back into a place that you never really left. A place that you clearly never made your peace with. Isn’t it high time to make your peace? Hazel, you bring many gifts to the table, but staying in the orphanage forever is holding you back. In the end, it is your choice to stay or go. But it must be that: it must be your choice. Not the choice of some random toy truck that you would happen to stumble on on the way downstairs.”
Hazel absorbed all of this with trepidation. “Why are you telling me this?! Where are we?”
“Hazel, in a short while you will wake up in a hospital bed and all of this will be naught but a lingering memory. The only thing that will remain will be that question will be are you willing to let go?”
Hazel remained silent. The poor girl was still very confused and unsettled.
“I’m sorry for the inconvenience. Try and sleep now, and soon you will be back.”
Hazel wondered how on earth she was supposed to sleep. At least until The woman at the bar handed her a glass of some clear liquid.
Hazel drank deeply.
The slow, methodical movements Catherine’s cleaning lured her deeper and deeper into a trancelike state. She closed her eyes for the briefest of moments.
A glaring white light, accompanied by the cacophony of beeps and whirrs awaited her on the other side.
The friendly face of Brian leaned over her, smiling as always.
“Welcome back, Hazel.”
“Our earlier report of the death of the local children’s home employee seems to have been rather preemptive Janice! In a stunning turn of events doctors managed to bring her back from the brink of death!”
But this was just the beginning of what would prove to be one of Catherine’s longest days yet.
The face of the brutish man haunted Catherine wherever she went: “Fix this, wench!” For for the past several weeks, Catherine had been striving to do just that. Countless hours of planning and reflection had left her absolutely nowhere.
Catherine was becoming desperate.
And desperate times call for desperate measures.
As the darkness of the apartment and the darkness of her mind finally overwhelmed her, Catherine let her anger guide her hand to the smooth hilt of the knife. Letting her caution take flight, she left her dark sanctuary, creeping out into the hallway and steadily towards apartment 43.
As she approached the doorway, Catherine could feel his presence, his pull guiding her towards her destination.
The feeble deadbolt was no match for her fury. The door practically opened itself before her wrath.
“Welcome Catherine. I’ve been anticipating this moment for some time now.”
Catherine did not respond. She crept forward, carried by darkness, fluid as a dancer.
“I am here. In the kitchen. Come join me at the table.”
His form was silhouetted against the dull light of the single light bulb that illuminated the space. He sat at the table, the seat farthest to the right from the head.
“This is where Judas sat. Arguably my biggest success, he was. Here he sat and schemed up the death of Christ. Come. Sit and eat with me.”
The light seemed to bend for a moment before a feast appeared before them on the table.
“Join me in the flesh and blood of Christ.” His wicked grin flashed through the dim lighting.
Catherine did not move.
“Stupid bitch, I’m offering you a way out!”
“I’m Death! There is no way out of Death! Death is inescapable!”
“Then try it bitch! Do what you have come to do! You think yourself free from your own Plan? Haha! You thought I was an idiot.”
“Do it Catherine! I’m sure He will reward you!”
“Eternal glory bitch! It’ll be you-”
And Catherine snapped.
It wasn’t what he said, but rather the way his words slithered from his mouth that moved her to action.
She threw the table across the room, smashing furniture and leaving deep gouges in the walls. Plates shattered and wine spilled. Catherine lunged, plunging the knife towards the serpent's heart.
For one glorious moment, she could taste victory.
Then Clive laughed. His laughter boomed and rang throughout the room, barraging her ears.
Catherine found herself suspended millimeters from Clive, completely immobilized.
“You see Catherine, The Plan transcends any of us, and most of all you. You are bound to your own works.”
Catherine was speechless.
Clive reached out and wrapped his fingers around her neck, dragging her through the wreckage of the room. He took her to a window and pressed her face up against the glass.
“Look at the stars Catherine. A testimony to God’s far reaching touch. God doesn’t want you. God doesn’t love you. One day you will see this and know real truth.”
Catherine, immobile and weak in his arms, said nothing.
“You wanted to dance, Catherine. You wanted to play. Well here I am. Come back when you’ve figured stuff out bitch.”
And with that Clive smashed Catherine through the window, glass and blood flying off into the night sky. Her body arched against the starlit sky before beginning its descent towards the earth below.
As she left the confines of the apartment, she was freed from her immobilization. Her body never reached the ground. Even as she fell the darkness engulfed her one last time, carrying her through the night time shadows and back to the lonely sanctuary of her apartment.