The Conductor.March To Gallows
MARCH TO GALLOWS
Pallid pink lips were moving perpetually, undoubtedly reciting in dubious tones the now numerous black marks on my permanent record. But I couldnt hear the vocalized words spilling in my disgrace. My mind had stilted to most of reality days before really. Pieces would pierce through the mental shield but it mostly just appeared in all senses like a distant projection of life to me. I wasnt sure if I cared much at all anymore. I was coherent enough to know where I was and how to act now, but after all that had happened, I couldnt figure how things could possibly get any worse than they already were now.
Pale blue eyes looking over the pearled rims of bifocal lenses at me with so much concern-veiled disdain. And all I could do was sit there in the uncomfortable wooden chair before her desk and stare right through her like a scolded dog.
A week had passed since that night in English Lit, the week being full of despondency and dread. A full gambit
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Jimmy Yashi, who was standing outside the main offices, glanced up in my direction and immediately looked like a spooked woodland creature. His magnified almond eyes averted downward shamefully as Damian escorted me past. I could taste the reverent fear in the air. Turning away like Judas, Jimmy ducked into the administration offices. I couldnt lie to myself; that hurt.
Damian kept his right hand on my neck, his palm hot and his fingers firmly grasping the tendons beneath my skin. I momentarily thought of squirming away, but his fingers gave a threatening little squeeze and I quickly dismissed the impulse. Behind me, I thought I heard him scoff.
As we moved through students and faculty, all eyes peered shortly at us before nervously darting away in intimidation. It was completely unnerving watching this wave of people turning away on either side of me. The corridor began to feel like an endless tunnel of muttering vacant vessels as I shuffled along to what I was
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...And with the end of one chapter, another begins anew. Jimmy Yashis voice boomed through the PA as a cold wind blew in from the north.
The sky was threatening a June gloom storm, dark clouds gathering overhead. The event staff appeared slightly distressed, but paid little more than a worried eye skyward.
Atop a semi-rickety scaffold stage that was banged and bunted in the school colors of red and white, Jimmy Yashi stood at a wood-colored vinyl podium. Stanford, Pacific Highs bulldog mascot, crouched beside the podium, looking like a goofy caricature of an angry pug in a football jersey. Behind them was a short view panel of the academics squad and administration. Before them, sat in smart rows on the lush green turf of the football field, the graduating class of Pacific High, 1996.
I stood in the far rear of a crowd of family and student attending, blinking languidly at the display of pomp and circumstance playing out, admiring the man t
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In my inebriated semi-unconsciousness, I could feel Damians long fingertips leaving trails, cool fiery streaks on my scalp. His touch was gentle and hypnotic across my forehead and temples. Despite this, I drifted uneasy and vague in my sleep, haunted by acres of my own troubles. Burning eyes accusing me, inexcusable abuses scarring my flesh, my inequities damning me.
I dreamed Damian surrounded me. Hed set my head in his lap, my cheek against warm jeaned thighs. I could hear his body purring like a finely tuned engine. I could hear him breathing and humming words softly to me.
Sleep, child. Sleep easy. Hush your weary mind and rest. You are here in my hands, safe and sound.
So small; you still tremble like a tiny leaf on a dead tree in my grip. Are you frightened? Are you afraid for yourself? Fearful of the world crumbling down on you? Or are you terrified of me? So many worries choke your tremulous psyche; battalions of plights gunning down your will
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The 7Eleven on Colorado Boulevard sold cigarettes and alcohol without checking ID. Hesahn, the weekday register attendant, didnt give a shit. Day by day kids came in and if they didnt steal anything or give him a hard time about his race, it was a good day. I swear he mustve only been five years older than myself. Even after a year in this country, at this job, he still looked fresh from India. But most times he was unsupervised by his father, the owner of this particular 7Eleven, and would just go ahead and sell anything to anyone. As long as it was money. And Vice wasnt concerned with liquor stores then. I think the security cameras were bust, too.
With my darkest sunglasses on and a navy skater baseball cap Id gotten from my brother-which was always stashed in my backpack,-my hair obscuring the rest of my injured face, I quickly went through the mart. Grabbing a small bottle of rubbing alcohol, sterile soft gauze, a box of Garfield pl
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Sleepily, I dunked my head beneath the surface of steaming water. The hot bath water felt like satin against my nervous skin. I came back up soundlessly and relaxed back against the old porcelain tub.
It was one of those old bathtubs that had those ball-claw feet on it, iron beneath... or lead. I could never remember. Nice but tremendously old and rusting in places. The bathroom was coated in this pistachio/avocado green color that kind of made me want to wretch. Looked a bit like pea soup, like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Smelled like baby powder no matter what was going on in there. I think the scent had been steam-driven into the walls and floors. I suppose there were worse things it could smell like.
My mind felt hazy. I hadnt been able to sleep after the nightmare Id had about school and the new shrink. The dream had left me feeling rather uneasy and apprehensive about seeing Damian again, and I wondered how I could get out of my next appointment on Mo
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I stood alone, cold, frightened, my chest pulsing with pain. The lights were hot, blinding me from the rafters above, like God shining hot lamps directly down onto me.
Slowly, surely, the world opened up before me like a steel flower. A feeling like I was wading through thick gelatin swirled in my being. My skin felt flu slick.
I was wrapped in a white linen flag, maybe once owning the Stars and Stripes but had since been bleached of any patriotism, becoming like a lost cause or a cruel surrender. I stood on the wide blond oak stage in the auditorium of Pacific High, facing a swarming angry sea of people. Paralyzed with fear, self-loathing and shame, I could only look out over them beneath the dusty lights and tremble. I tried to cover myself, my pale legs, my privates, the scars on my upper arms, but it seemed the more I adjusted the white linen flag, the smaller and more useless it became.
The audience appeared to be the bulk of the graduating class and faculty, but
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Passing bell rang and the class stood up to leave with much voracity, like race horses out the starting gates. I grabbed the straps of my backpack and tried to head out the backdoor before Mr. Mahler could catch me, feeling sure hed want a word. I could just see it on his face, the urgent need to rake me over the coals for my unconsciousness. There was a bottle-neck though, thirty-five some odd students all trying to fit through a three and a half foot wide doorway.
Miss Shastid, Id like to speak to you. Mr. Mahler called out loudly, like a barking rottweiler, before I could even reach the crowd before the door.
I winced, hunched my shoulders up around my neck, and turned back to go to his desk in surrender.
Mr. Herman Mahler had been teaching high school English for a decade and he still absolutely loathed it. It showed in the absolute white shock of hair amidst the jet black on his crown. It showed in the thick, greying caterpillars that sla
The Conductor.morning.The Conductor.morning.6 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
Monday morning was like a hangover. The weekend had rolled up like a sick dog and lay a cloudy reflection, paralyzed in my 6:45 a.m. glass of milk. I still hadnt slept since very early Saturday morning when I had woken in sweat to Draculas eyes. I mightve drifted off once or twice, but only to have steel grey eyes jolt me wide awake, writhing emotions of elation and self-fear twisting up my thoughts. Wracked with conflict and reminded of it consistently.
The milk was making my stomach turn.
Shorty? You feeling alright? Mom asked, her bloodshot eyes worrying on me.
She and I sat in the dinning room, attempting breakfast. Grandma mightve been awake but she kept silent in her dark room off the living room in the front of the house.
I blinked dejectedly at my glass. Yeah, m fine, mom. Just didnt sleep well. I said and got up to pour the rest of the milk down the sink in the kitchen. It had gone warm and infused with
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Wake up, my child. Come to me. Ive something to show you...something for you. His voice came to me out of space, obliterating the dreamscape.
I awoke half way, groggy, with a head full of sore mud. Thick leather beneath my cheek and twilit darkness around me. Cruel shadows stood out in moonlight blue before me. Lying face down on Damians couch in his office, I slowly pushed myself up, feeling the remnants of booze and a destructive day wrack my body and head. I rubbed my eyes like a child and blinked at the surroundings. The office was dark, the furniture and all of his things appearing spooky in the street lights that shone in through the blinds. I wondered why I would dream such terrorizing things and words sitting there.
My mind flashed. The world on fire. Twin coal eyes. My grandfather and Death. I winced and shut my eyes. I held my head tenderly and groaned in my misery.
Jess I heard Damians voice in my head, slither
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The rest of the day, I wandered around in a haze, my mind a mess, barely knowing where I was. However exhausted I was from my poor night of slumber, I was absolutely nervous and wide awake. Yet I walked into several classes I didnt belong to, the teachers and students perplexed at my ingress. I barely felt the inkling of embarrassment though. I merely mumbled sorry, my bad, and moved on like a ghost.
My skin, my body felt brittle and inhuman, I gathered. I ran into things and felt nothing like pain or awkwardness. My mind rolled around with the events of this morning and made me immune to reality.
The whole thing with Damian enhanced everything with wild teenage girl notions and fears and an absolute lovesickness I just could not shake. I replayed the kiss over and over again, the things leading up to it, the confusion I felt, the exhilaration, the tranquility.
To the eroticism that ran its way deeply through me, that was wh
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The brush-stroke slashes of some hue of grey and grey-black in the green vinyl-tiled floor beneath me beckoned my index fingertip to follow and skip along them with an oddly touched melancholy worthy of Nick Cave. My temple against my kneecap, I played on the slashes and strokes like piano keys.
I sat beside the blond wood doorway of the Counselors Offices, eyes hot and bloodshot, skin thin and brittle, bones numb. The door was locked, the air within black through the shatterproof glass and chicken wire sandwich, causing a kind of eliminating disappointment within me. To which I promptly slumped down the wall and waited. Like a pathetic dog.
The biting morning air had followed me inside building A1-AL, somehow shrouding me with invisibility. Staff and administrators, upright and stolid at this early morning hour, barely lifted a smart cow-brown shoe away from my folded form, dull eyes paying me absolutely no mind.
I was glad for that, in actuality.
The morning had yanked
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4:15p.m. and I was like a ball of nervous energy in still, sitting on some steps, glaring at a gleaming chrome bumper some distance from me.
The sun was setting, that weird apocalyptic color overtaking the sky from all the smog. You know that orange-brown death from above kind of color that smothers the azure pallet in the afternoons in the crux between summer and autumn? Yeah. Like Hiroshima and Nagasaki and The Terminator films all blasted up overhead. It cast a gloomy, sick dusk over the Southland. I felt like it bathed me in filth. I hated it but it also felt fitting to my state of mind then.
There was a short flight of narrow concrete steps at the back of the Auditorium building. It was an entrance to the standing room above the seats of the auditorium. They faced the student/faculty overflow parking lot. I had stopped there when the final bell had rung, while flowing with the crowd outside the gates, feeling scattered and miserable. As I
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CLEANSED BY FIRE part b
...Wake up. Come see. Come see what Ive done....
The subtle caress of pleasurable slumber spoke words that Id never heard it utter before, through a voice I felt several laser beam connections with. Like verbal hands, they pulled at me.
The smell of smoke tickled my sense of smell, raising me from blissful deep slumber. Reluctant, I pressed my face harder into my pillow. But the smell persisted. The odor reminded me of the foothill fires of Chatsworth and the Valley, except there was a bit more of a bite to this smoke. A reeling hot slap of burning plastics to the nostrils. The memory of my brother and I playing Blitzkrieg and setting fire to model airplanes clicked by in my head. The scent developed and thickened.
Hazy-brained, I came to. My eyes blinking, noting no smoke in the cool blue glow of my television set. The dopplering wail of sirens coaxed my consciousness more. Followed by the blaring horn of what had to be a Hook and Ladd