bloggity blog, writing

Tired.

I am tired.

Not tired of life.

Not tired of the fight.

Not tired of the struggle or the everyday or the tides or the something.

Just tired.

Just exhausted.

And so I sleep and awaken a warrior.

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bloggity blog, writing

The danger of undeserved power

Prologue

The books I’ve read have always explained blood as smelling “coppery” or “metallic.” They’re not wrong, but they’re not right either.

Yes. I could detect that old-penny tang in the air, but there were other things too.

They never mention the rot of it. The butcher shop meatiness. The piss and shit part that will undoubtedly be there. Because if there is so much blood you can smell it, then someone is either dead or about to be. A band aid would no longer help them.

Blood doesn’t just smell like loose change. I should know. I was covered in it.

The final chapter

Pain was what I felt.

There was no shock. His behaviour no longer shocked me.

It was bad, what he did, don’t get me wrong. But it wasn’t the worst. This was a Tuesday morning type of hit. Not, say, a Friday night when he knew I’d have, at least, the weekend to recover so no one could see.

Some of you may ask, what did I do to deserve it? Cause I’ve heard that one before. I must’ve started it. Asked for it in some way.

And you’d be fucking right. I did something that pissed him off. I don’t regret it neither.

I bought the wrong ice cream.

I had stood in the super market, staring into the ice cream freezer at the ice cream I knew he liked. Trying to make a decision, I fiddled with the six dollars in very small change that sat fat in my pocket and jingled loudly, sounding out the joyous accompaniment to my poverty.

I could afford to get one tub of what he wanted but we’d have not much else to eat. And he’d never share the ice cream with me. I was fat enough, he’d say.

Or I could buy milk, bread and the cheap plain stuff. I knew I could make it nice for him. I thought we’d have some Oreos in the back of the cupboard, maybe some chocolate sauce. I could turn it nice like the expensive stuff. And that way, we could at least eat toast until his pay day.

I thought it was a good idea.

While I lay on the floor, feeling my lip swell and pulse, watching my blood puddle on the linoleum, I realised I was wrong.

He said nothing as he stormed away from me, fists clenched as if he were ready to take another swing.

I stayed on the floor. Unmoving. Trying not to cry. Crying only made it worse. Playing dead. If I don’t move he can’t see me.

I sneaked a peek as he sauntered around the kitchen, his boxing ring. He slammed open the freezer door so hard that it made me flinch and I doubted it would ever close properly again. Taking out the white and black tub, he threw it at the kitchen window with a thunderous, wet crash which made me flinch again.

The ice cream, half liquefied because our freezer was on the fritz, sprayed across the kitchen bench, vanilla white tears streaked down the cob-webbed window.

I still cowered as he stalked around the kitchen, breath like fire burning, he couldn’t get it out of his lungs quick enough.

I, a mouse, a small creature, heart murmuring be still, be still, be still. But, for the first time, I do not see a cat in front of me. I do not see a tiger, a lion, a wolf.

I see just a man.

And even if he were an animal, he would be a Chihuahua. All bark and some bite, enough to draw blood. But no longer enough to eat me alive.

If my heart pounds be still then it is the heart of a bear and he heard my roar. And I will not be still any longer.

He had power over me for a lifetime and I will give him no more.

It may not have been the worst time, just a Tuesday morning, but it was the last time.

I waited till the blood stopped pumping to call an ambulance. I had to dirty a tea towel to use my phone. I won’t lie. I enjoyed watching him die.

The cleaver in my clenched fist, slick with his blood, no longer shakes.

Power is not something that can be taken, it must be given, even if it seems stolen at times. But there is a secret they – the fake wolves, fake lions, fake predators – don’t want us to know.

We can take our power back.

Short story for Chuck Wendig’s Fiction Challenge

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please seek help. Go to the police. Do not pass go. No two hundred dollars for you. Go now. Today. Because this bullshit has to stop.

To put it into perspective for you, here is a quote from Huffington Post.

The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that time was 11,766. That’s nearly double the amount of casualties lost during war.

And this just for America. And this number has not improved. It is only getting worse.

Silence about domestic violence can be deadly. So please, please, please speak out. #notviolentnotsilent

And don’t resort to the lengths that my character went to. This is a work of fiction and by no means an instruction to murder a spouse. Abusive or not. No stabby stabby.

If you are unsure if your partner is abusive, I will attach something below that shows the typical behaviour of DV and DA situations. If any of the items on that list are checked please call the police, ask for help, stay safe.

You don’t have to walk on eggshells forever. You don’t have to be another statistic. You can have a life again. You have the power. You are stronger than you think.

Love

Amberley

Milk

Milk – chapter 2

Chapter 2 – Don’t

*if you haven’t read chapter 1, you can do so here. Don’t worry… it’s short.

Two paracetamol. One glass of Gatorade. Followed by coffee. All of the coffee.
I lean against the kitchen counter and stare out over the dust-laden house. That’s how small this place is. I can actually see all of it from in the kitchen.
It looks less like a house and more like an old photograph of a house. There is so much dust on everything, it’s like I am looking through a filter. If it were a filter on Instagram it would be called “dusty hangover.”
On the kitchen floor is a patch of red wine, sticky-fresh from the night previous.
I hadn’t exactly woken up in a puddle of vomit on the floor but I hadn’t not either.
I nudge my booted toe at the mess, trying to work out if it is mostly spilled wine or regorged wine. And does it matter? Not really. It is not the first time I would have to clean up my own puke. Not the last neither.
Thinking of Instagram, I take out my phone. There is a new crack on the screen. I must’ve fallen on my arse at some point last night. I run my thumb over the screen. It still responds. I will go online later and buy a new one.
I open Instagram and scroll through the notifications.
“Missin u”
“When you comin back???”
“Yo! Where are you at, Ms. C!”
The comments go on and on.
I smile at how much they all miss me.
Then.
It all comes back to me.
My brother. The accident.
I couldn’t have given him and open casket if I’d wanted to. Not that there would have been anyone else there, besides me, to see his mangled, unrecognisable corpse. And I sure as hell didn’t want to see it again.
I walk to the sink to refill the kettle and kick something along the floor. It skittles toward the kickboard and I hear the crack of breakage. Bending down to pick up the two pieces of the wine-stained mug I kicked, I realise I had used my brother’s favourite.
“Don’t do that,” says the memory of my brother. “You can be so careless, Conny.” I would purposefully use his mug and then place it on the edges of tables, teetering on the brink of destruction, just to get something out of my ultra-calm brother.
I place the broken mug on the counter and step back from it.
I feel like the king who would turn everything to gold with his touch. Except, I turn everything to broken.
I run out the front. I want to just sit and stare at the garden for a while. Even though I never understood why he lived the way he did, I always loved to look at that garden.
“Because I like living this way, Conny.” My memory of my brother said.
“But why? You should move to the city with me. Get out a little more. All you do is sit here with your garden.”
“I like my garden, Conny.”
“Why do you have to be such a fucking hippie! Did we even come out of the same vagina.”
I turn the old door knob and go out onto the porch, anticipating the green, the new growth, the scents of herbs and earth and flowers.
My stomach turns cold. Suddenly last night’s wine wants to regorge again.
Brown.
That is all there is. Brown. Ochre. Umber. Tawny leaves, crumpled, crumbling.
I don’t feel my legs as I walk down the steps toward the devistated garden.
As far as I can see. The rows and rows of once flourishing broccoli, twisted pumpkin zines, spinach, tomato, tall rosemary, basil, plum trees, peach trees, apricots. All of them.
Dry stalks. Brittle leaves.
What the actual fuck has happened here.
I feel my chest clenching. Bile at the back of my throat.
I turn and run back inside. I will deal with this situation. But not sober. I just … can’t.
My fingers shaking, I tip the coffee out of my mug and look around for the wine bag.
“Don’t drink so early,” says my memory-brother.
I look around the floor. I cannot remember where I put down the bag.
“Don’t be such a fucking hippie,” I said to him in retaliation.
Always in retaliation.
I see the bag by the door and I can barely wait to pour it into a mug.
I drink. Long. Deep. Sweet. Hot.
I see my memory-brother rolling his eyes, sipping camomile tea he has grown himself.
Pulling the empty mug away from trembling lips, I look out the back window. There is a post-it note on the glass, written in my brother’s hand.
“Don’t follow the lightning bugs.”

bloggity blog

Tattered wings

I (tried) to rescue a moth today.

It had managed to get itself stuck between the pavers and a brick wall.

I noticed because I could hear this noise while I wrote. A flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap … silence … then flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap. I had to go searching.

When I finally found the source of the tiny noise, a noise seemingly only I could hear. (My roomy thought I had finally lost my last marble)

I was saddened by what I saw.

It had been a big moth. Black and grey and white. Once it may have had wings to rival some butterflies. But in its night-long struggle to get out, its wings were only tatters. Torn. Worn down. All the scaley pixie dust covering from them, gone.

I still rescued it, picking it out of its prison and holding its fluttering, panicked body in my hands.

I still put it in the garden. Bit I knew it was as good as spider food.

In all its efforts to get free, its furious flapping to save itself was what ultimately caused its death.

If it had simply waited and then walked out of the hole, it would still have its wings intact.