a journey filled with many familiar paths and some not yet taken... all leading to the ever-changing destinations just waiting to be discovered.

Pages

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jack's Gremlins... part 2

My hand trembling, I reached for the small golden bottle resting in the delicate tray on the dresser, the dainty  lace of the hand sewn doily beneath, it's ivory threads a caressing detachment from the dark wood.   I cradled the cold glass bottle in my hand, as I loosened the black lid, the aroma hit me...  I can smell her scent.  I can feel the warmth of her hand resting on my head, then stroking down to my neck, my shoulders, to the upper part of my back as her hand follows the brush as it filters through the strands of hair.  I can hear her voice, 'One hundred strokes each night will keep it vibrant, healthy...'  I can feel my mind slowing, experiencing that moment from so long ago.  For a brief moment, I feel warm, calm, like everything will be okay.

Magpie Tales  #33

I fumble to place the black lid tight on the cold glass bottle.  This was the perfume Uncle Howard, or as Jack calls him, ‘Uncle Oud’ gave to mom for her birthday.  She was so excited when she opened the present, wrapped in the delicate lacelike ivory paper, with the small roses, cut throughout the entire sheet.  Originally, it was a set, complete with the small tray, an even smaller sample size bottle (which Uncle Howard carries now in his pocket at all times, his current relic) and this bottle, that sets here.  Pops allowing me to keep it, as long as I am ever so careful, not to drop it… not to let anything happen to it.  He’s not sure if I am old enough to understand it’s meaning to everyone.  I do know whenever it’s hard to remember… what she looks like or what she would say to me or how much she loved us… all I have to do is open the black lid just a little.  Then suddenly as the scent escapes the small bottle, the room, my heart, my being is engulfed with how much she cared, and I can remember the smallest details, like she is here with me for just of few more moments...

Just then Toby jumped up bumping my leg (she had been laying on the hardwood floor there at my feet) and trotted to the window. Her nails clicking on the floor and as she jumped to look out the window, resting her front paws on the sill. I am brought back to the moment, the day… the horribly long day of questions, of looking to the classroom doors, waiting. The whole day waiting in anticipation of Becky, thinking she would come in with a note from Mrs. Bleeker, her needing to see me in the office, or Pops standing at the doorway waiting for the teacher to send me out. But this never happened.

Then when the last bell of the day rang out, not even stopping by my locker, Pops would be there to pick me up… or Uncle Oud...  But that didn’t happen either. Disappointed, scared… I had slowly walked across the schoolyard to the opening in the wooden fence. Toby, my good girl Toby, my faithful Toby, laying there between the fence and the bushes… Thank you Toby! I had reached down to pat her head; she somberly stood and pushed against my legs. Then Toby and I made the long walk home along the forest trail. It looked so different than it had that morning. Grey thick fog filled the space between the trees. Even the grass looked dull, dark, well at least a darker shade of green, bending in arches to touch the ground. It was such a long walk home. Toby remained right beside me on that walk, no darting, and no pressing her muzzle between the low bushes at the cold pool water near the boulders. And those last few steps when we reached our yard where the trail ends, finding the house dark, no Pops… no one waiting to tell me what happened. I didn’t understand… More questions, now I had started to feel the panic. Why wasn’t anyone telling me what was going on?  Was Jack okay?  What happened to him?  Where did the bruises and the red mark come from?  I so wished mom was still around. I needed her so much at that moment.

Toby barked once, dropped down from the window sill and ran out of my room, then down the hall. It was then that I heard a car engine, and then it stopped. I heard Toby’s nails stop clicking on the wood floors as she got to Jack’s room, as if she was taking a quick look, searching for him, then racing off down the stairs to the front door. I glanced at the clock, 5:45. I followed, anxious to find out what was going on… what happened to Jack?  As I reached the top of the stairs, I could see Toby standing in her alert stance at the front door, waiting, tipping her head side to side. Then the door opened slowly, Pops pushing it open, looking around as if he was searching for me. Our eyes met and then the tears came. I raced down the stairs and grabbed on, holding my father around the waist, in the tightest hold.   I remembered that hold from when he had told me about the accident two years ago. His arms wrapped around me, just as he had done that night.  I felt myself trembling and looked up to my father’s face, finding a single tear running down his gruff cheek, resting on the stubble of his beard, just as I had that night. I felt myself gasp, trying to breath, trying to force out the question. ‘He’s okay. Jack’s going to be okay,’ his deep voice trembled as he spoke. I don’t know how long we stood there in the doorway, holding on to each other in silence… Eventually, he raised me up into his big strong arms and carried me to the living room. There we sat, he tried to explain, to answer my questions, ‘Jack’s okay, but he needs to stay at the hospital for a few days. When he fell into the water, with the cold air this morning, he got sick, real sick… The doctors are taking care of him, he’s going to be okay.’


Just as Pops started to ask me, I asked, ‘But what about the bruises?  Did he hurt his stomach when he fell? If he hurt his stomach, how did he get the marks on his back?  I was watching him, honest, Pops, I was trying… Are you sure he’s okay?’  Pops squeezed tighter and tried to reassure me that Jack would be okay, that it wasn’t my fault; that he could have fallen when he was with him or with anyone. ‘You know Jack, he’s like your Uncle Howard… How many stories did your mom tell you about when she was watching him? Trying to do things he shouldn’t have, falling, or bumping his head. They are two peas in a pod, your brother and hers, both adventurous spirits, thinking they can do anything…’   I could feel the butterflies in my stomach starting to settle, landing as mom called it.

Then his deep voice asked the question, ‘Do you know how he got the bruises on his back? They look old, do you know if he fell anytime in the last week?’ ‘Pops, I don’t know… he told me about some ogre that comes in the night, um, after gremlins. I thought he was just making up another story. I didn’t know… What did he mean Pops? What gremlins?... I just thought he hurt himself when he fell this morning on the rocks? But I don’t know if he fell on the rocks. He said he was okay. I had to look for Toby, she ran off,’ again my mind started searching the trail in the forest, searching for anything I could think of.  I heard him clear his voice, 'Did you want to see Jack?  Tonight?  He might be sleeping and if he is, we need to let him sleep so he can get well....'   

I don’t remember getting up from the couch. I don’t remember leaving the house or even the car ride other than it seemed to take forever.  I think Pops had the radio on, probably love songs, the ones him and mom always listened to.  I think the wipers occasionally cleared the fog from the window.  I know it was dark outside.  I do remember the bright lights beyond the glass doors as we drove into the parking area, and the lights beyond all the windows. Then there was that long wide hallway. Pops was talking as we walked, telling me, ‘There are going to be machines, like the ones in your mom’s room after the accident.  And he has a mask on his face. He might be sleeping, remember if he is,’ we spoke the end of his sentence together; ‘we need to let him sleep. He needs to rest to get well.’ ‘Pops, he’s okay though, right? You said he’s going to be okay?’

As we entered the room, Jack’s tiny little body laid on that big white bed. The silver rails raised on both sides. He still had that strange mask over his face. He had a clear tube that was taped to his arm at the end. There were machines, hissing noises, beeps.  I tried as hard as I could to hold the tears back, I knew I should be strong for Jack. He laid there, his eyes closed, his arms rested on top of the sheets, in his left hand, cradled, the ‘ouglass’ with the white sand, the same white as the sheets.  Pops stood next to me, his hand on my shoulder, his other hand rested on Jack’s. Again I looked up to my Pops, that single tear rested on the stubble of his beard, but a big smile stretched across his face. It was THEN that I knew, felt it in my stomach that Jack was going to be okay. I chuckled and thought to myself, now we just have to figure out those gremlins…

 
If you enjoyed this tale, please go visit Willow at her Magpie Tales.  This part of my story was prompted by this weeks photo.  While you are there, take time to visit the other poems and tales shared there.

26 comments:

Brigid said...

Great tale with some mystery going on, enjoyed it.

Lydia said...

It really is impressive the way you are building a story around these Magpie prompts. I'm quite in awe of the story, too.

gautami tripathy said...

I like the mystery and want more!


remnants

kathew said...

Great read...intense...I am enjoying your story!
More please.

Peg said...

You are doing a great job. You should write more.

dana said...

I so love your references to dear Toby, his nails clicking across the floor. The guardian at your gate.

kathi harris said...

Very gd story. I wonder, r the gremlins real or not?

Friko said...

A tale to e continued, I hope. I have been following avidly.

Carrie Burtt said...

Enjoyed your intense tale...look forward to more...:-)

Brian Miller said...

oh wow...nice continuation...and you are going on from here right? fabulous write...great magpie...

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

I'm now getting familiar with your story and it's funny but I really do look forward to reading more each week :)

this one tugged at my heart

Rene

Deborah said...

Well you have to write more so we figure out what the gremlins are! ... great story :o)

Lyn said...

Very intense..for me, a subtext of child abuse? Not sure, but it sure sets a mood!

jabblog said...

You have left me wanting more - so many questions raised and unanswered :-)

Paul Andrew Russell said...

A very nice piece of writing. I enjoyed reading it.

OJ Gonzalez-Cazares said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
OJ Gonzalez-Cazares said...

sorry, I am having troubles leaving a comment.. I hope this one goes thru - thanks a lot for stopping by and for your nice comment on my first magpie tale - this picture was inspirational, but your imagination is grand! have a nice week

Reflections said...

Thank you all for your encouragement, and for enjoying the mystery as much as I. I'm having a lot of fun with this.

Abhilasha-The Desire said...

Completely enjoying reading about Jack and his gremlins... Definitely waiting for more..

~T~ said...

Vivid and mysterious!

Jon said...

Gr8 tale... Enjoyed the mystery, the intensity...

Lena said...

I've added you to my blogroll. I don't want to miss any continuation....or future posts....

ps...Sandie and Lucky are adorable btw...!

Peg said...

When is the next segment coming? Are you working on it? Can't wait...

SY said...

What a great story.. Thanks for sharing this

EKSwitaj said...

I love how you've used this prompt to move forward an ongoing story. Interesting technique.

Jingle said...

http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/thursday-poets-rally-week-30/

how are you,
I wonder if you are interested in attending my poets Rally week 30.
write a poem,
link in, comment.
favors are to be returned by fellow poets for sure.
cheers!
let me know only if you are ready.
Thanks in advance!

amazing talent here.