Born from the earth in el huerto de calabazas, Cucurbita awaits the choosing–la seleccion. She will soon be ready for the children. They will see her and fear her, as they should.
“That one,” the dark-haired doctor says, pointing at Cucurbita. “That one will be perfect.”
She is not perfect yet. She knows this to be true. Her identity must be changed in order for the plan to become fully realized. Dr. Ramirez takes her to his private garage. It is poorly-lit, dingy, dirty, and there are black oil stains on the concrete floor. It is a deplorable atmosphere for the surgery that will be performed tonight.
The doctor prepares the table and lays out his instruments. Cucurbita sits on the table, knowing this is the last time she will appear as she does. Her beautiful face will be permanently transposed forever. There will be scars that will never heal, but she knows it is necessary and she is ready. After the doctor has prepared her, he carefully uses the knife to make the alterations to her face.
After the transformation is complete, she is forever changed–not only in appearance, but on the inside as well. There is no light inside of her; she is empty, cold, evil. She has no remorse for what she will do to the children.
“Yes, you’ll do nicely,” Dr. Ramirez says with a malicious grin. “Make them afraid.”
He lights a fire in her, motivates her to strike fear in whomever may look upon her, whomever may dare to tread upon this threshold.
She waits in the darkness and hears them approaching. Los niños y las niñas. These will be the first of her victims. She sees that it is the princess and her followers.
“Eeee…!” the little girl shrieks.
“It’s okay, mijita,” her mother assures her. “It’s only a calabaza. See? A pumpkin.”
The little girl still keeps a tight hold of her mother’s hand.
Cucurbita’s eyes flicker as the candle’s flame is licked by the night’s breeze. The princess, a skeleton, and a superhero approach Dr. Ramirez’s door, but the princess keeps a watchful eye on Cucurbita.
I wrote my first blog post on July 8th of this year, and I now have more than 100 followers! I don’t know how this growth rate compares with other bloggers, but I am happy with this accomplishment. I try to avoid comparing myself to everyone else, mainly because I am NOT everyone else. I appreciate all of you who have read, commented, and/or “liked” my posts.
I haven’t been blogging for very long, but I’d like provide content that people want to read. So, I’ve been alternating between poems, short stories and commentaries/articles on various topics.
Thunder rolled in the distance. He could feel it, though nothing had happened yet. There was always a warning, though sometimes it went unnoticed. Bryce heard the front door slam when his father came home. He knew the type of slam it was–he had heard it many nights before. That’s when he retreated to his room and put in his earbuds. He hoped he hadn’t forgotten anything. Did he take out the trash? Yes, he was sure of it. Feed the dog? Pretty sure. He didn’t leave his LEGO bricks on the floor, did he? Oh, no. That might be it. That might be what gets him. He should just throw away the stupid LEGOS. It would be better than getting beaten again.
He took out his earbuds and could hear his father clanking around in the kitchen. There might be time. He could race into the living room, grab the LEGOS and be back in his room before his father noticed. He quietly opened his bedroom door and made it quickly down the hall to the living room. He swiftly and silently gathered as many LEGOS as his little hands could hold and turned to head back to his room. As soon as he turned around, he saw the shoes first, and then looked up at his father, who was glowering down at him.
Then the lightning struck.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you see evidence of domestic violence or if you are the victim of such abuse, please summon the courage to speak up.
“Who’s song is this?” Joy asked as she walked into the kitchen.
“M&M’S,” he replied.
Joy looked sympathetically at her husband poring over their bills splayed out on the kitchen table.
How many are unpaid?” she asked.
“Mounds,” he replied. “We really need a payday, bar none.”
“That would be a lifesaver,” she said. “What would it take?”
“What do we have left in savings?” she asked tentatively.
“Zero,” he said.
“Oh, Henry,” she said with a sigh. “I guess we won’t be able to afford to go to the symphony to see Reese’s performance, after all.”
“I’m sure your brother will understand.”
She walked over and picked through the mixed nuts on the counter. After picking out an almond, Joy dropped it on the floor.
“Butterfingers,” she said to herself.
She looked around for it, and then heard a crunch as she stepped on it. She cleaned up her mess and then heard little baby Ruth laugh.
Their daughter was pointing at their kitten, Rolo, and squealed, “Kit kat does funny twix!” and started giggling. The kitten skittles across the kitchen floor, and into the living room.
“I love when she snickers,” Joy said, smiling as she walked toward the high chair.
She tenderly lifted their daughter out of her chair and swayed with her as they walked toward the kitchen table.
“She’s ready for bed. Hugs and kisses,” she said as she leaned down to let her father say good-night.
“Blow Pop a kiss,” he requested.
Ruth mimed the action and then gave her father a hug. After putting the baby to bed, Joy slowly strolled back down the hallway toward the kitchen, stopping to look at a photo of their family.
“The 3 musketeers,” she mused lovingly.
As she entered the kitchen, she saw that her husband was still staring hopelessly at the pile of bills. She stood behind him and started rubbing his shoulders. She could see one of the letters that read:
Mr. Goodbar, Our records indicate that you are 3 months behind on your mortgage payment, etcetera… Sincerely, Heath Clark, 5th Avenue, Hershey, Pennsylvania.
“It’s a rocky road,” he said.
“Let’s take 5 and go sit outside for a bit,” Joy suggested. “Come on, slo poke.”
They went out and sat together on the porch swing, gazing up at the stars.
“I love looking at the, umm… whatchamacallit?”
“Milky way?” Henry suggested.
“Yeah, that’s it,” she confirmed. “I’m such a dum-dum. You can see so many of them tonight. It looks like a Starburst. I think I can even see Mars.”
They sat quietly for a while, and then. Joy said, “We may have bills and they may be some whoppers, but no matter what, we’ve got good and plenty.”
“Yeah,” Henry agreed. “We’ll always be happy farmers–jolly ranchers–now and later, always and forever.”
In a bigger city, being gay wouldn’t be so bad; at least, from what I’ve heard. But when you live in the Bible Belt, go to a small school, small church, small community, full of small minds, it’s not so easy.”
Teenage life is never simple. For Melissa, things are even more complicated. The first book in a two-part collection, Like a Mousetrap Book 1 invites you inside the minds of a mother and her daughter who see the same events in radically different ways.
Melissa believes the only solution to her temporary turmoil is a final and irreversible one, while her well meaning mother wanders around blindly in denial. Will mother and daughter end up on the same page, or will this be their final chapter?