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Literature
What Rumer Knew, Ch. 38
Chapter Thrty-eight
Thursday morning had finally arrived. Rumer had slept, only a little, the previous night. Never in her life had she embarked on such an act of disobedience.  At two in the morning her guilt had gotten so bad, she had vowed she would give up the whole thing. Desperate to sleep, to ease her mind, she had pulled out her mother’s Bible, and started reading. She wasn’t aware of what she was reading or even if she was in the old or new Testament. Suddenly words had sprung off the page and lodged in her head. They burned through her mind and banished her guilt. Again in the dim light of dawn she read Matthew 35:36, “I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Here was her argument. Here was her reason for going. The letters were in red, so Jesus said them. Visiting Cutter in prison, would be visiting Jesus. He said so. Rumer closed the Bible.  Though, she was not so su
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Blue by cerealnovels Blue :iconcerealnovels:cerealnovels 0 0
Literature
What Rumer Knew, Ch. 37
Chapter Thirty-seven
Miles away, Rumer lay awake. The awareness that the something awful had happened, would not leave her. During track practice running at full tilt, she had been rocked by an inner sensation. The scurrying shadows of darkness that had flitted across her brain all day had merged into a swirling cloud of evil. Cutter, something had happened to Cutter. She could not reach him, speak to him or comfort him.  Her prayers had not spared him. What were the good of prayers if they didn’t work? Instinctively she knew that prayer did not turn God on and off like a faucet. God did or did not act. People made choices, like the young man had chosen to drink too much the night he ran into her parent’s car. He had chosen to run away and God had not violated that choice. The damage caused to her parents had been extensive. If they had lived both would have required constant care. Her mother would have been brain damaged. Aunt Grace said it was a mercy they had died.
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Red Stars by cerealnovels Red Stars :iconcerealnovels:cerealnovels 1 0
Mature content
What Rumer Knew, Ch. 36 :iconcerealnovels:cerealnovels 0 0
Literature
What Rumer Knew, Ch. 35
Chapter Thirty-five
Not sleepy. Short races never wore her out like cross country. Rumer needed a good long run. Every bit of her was restless, her mind, her body and her spirit. Only one thing could cure it, but it was risky, especially with Beck in the house. He would either stop her or want to go with her and she did not want either of those things to happen. Much to Skip's displeasure, she put socks on his feet so his dang toenails wouldn't click on the floor. It sounded like Beck was asleep. Aunt Grace was definitely asleep. It was wrong for her to be grateful her aunt was getting a migraine, but she was. The medicine Aunt Grace took knocked her out. Quietly with a firm grip on Skip's ruff,  Rumer made her way down the stairs. In the glow of the silent TV, Beck lay with his mouth open and his eyes closed. A small snore came from his throat. Two down, one more obstacle to go. She tugged on Skip and headed for the back door. In one swift move she had herself and Skip through th
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Literature
Mother Heart
Mother heart,
why do you beat so?
Why do you turn every shadow
into an abyss?
Mother heart,
to hold but not to clutch
is so hard.
A child is not a gift you keep
but a person you raise
and release.
It hurts every time
you let go.
There are so many letting goes
to work through
as you love...
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Mature content
What Rumer Knew, Ch. 34 :iconcerealnovels:cerealnovels 2 3
Literature
What Rumer Knew, Ch. 33
Chapter Thirty-three
The next morning when Rumer and Beck got on the school bus, all eyes were on them, or so Rumer thought. As she scanned the crowd she realized no one was looking at her. All eyes were focused on Beck. Word must have gotten out. No telling what rumors were flying around about Mrs. Trinity. Suddenly, Rumer felt protective of Beck. When she took a seat, he sat down beside her. He did not look up. So enclosed was he in his own confusion and pain he was oblivious to every one and every thing. Rumer felt her face flush red with shame. If only the only gossip on this bus was that she and Beck liked each other. That was such a small thing compared to the reality that the gossips were twisting.
At school, Belinda was waiting for them. She grabbed  Rumer, and hugged her. “My mom made all the way through the program for the first time,” She released Rumer. A smile spread across her face. Her eyes still held fear, but also hope. Belinda’s lips trembled a
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Literature
Between
Sweetness moves on slow feet.
If you rush you will never
be introduced
to the moments
between
the glories and disasters
of this life.
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Literature
What Rumer Knew, Ch. 32
Chapter Thirty-two
The morning sky held a bald white sun. It burned Cutter’s red eyes. For the first time in weeks, months, he was cold sober. Reality was like a rat in a squeaking wheel spinning.  Nothing numbed or dulled the pain he had been so careful to keep submerged. Most of the night he had puked. The rest he had lain shivering and sleepless, staring at the stone block wall.  A cold breeze stirred a cluster of fallen leaves on the pavement. Cutter ducked his head and stepped into the white van. This was called  catching “the chain” and he was literally in chains, hands and feet manacled. The van would take him to Hyde Prison in Fort Bend County. He had never heard of Fort Bend.
Six others were huddled in the van, three were Hispanic, one was  mix of something and two were black. Their hands were cuffed with feet manacled too. Each wore a bright orange jumpsuits, like his, with numbers emblazoned across them. Cutter felt devoid of individual
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Mature content
What Rumer Knew, Ch. 31 :iconcerealnovels:cerealnovels 2 4
Mature content
What Rumer Knew, Ch. 30 :iconcerealnovels:cerealnovels 2 5
Literature
Range
You were like a mountain—
beautiful in the distance.
Up close you were a climb
I could not make.
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Literature
What Rumer Knew, Ch. 29
Chapter Twenty-nine
Impulse had brought her to this moment.  Her words had shocked her, but she did not revoke them. His lips touched hers. His arms went around her and he pulled her closer. It was then that she had felt the bottle. The little bottle of coke. Her hand slipped into his coat pocket. She pulled it out and pulled away.
Stricken, Cutter saw what was in her hand. He waited for her toss it, only she didn’t.  Though she could feel the tears rushing to be shed, she kept her eyes and her voice steady, "I know someday you are not going to need this junk" Did she? Did she? No. But it was what she hoped. She put the bottle back in his pocket. Before the tears splashed down her cheeks, she turned and fled. Warm tears slid out of her eyes and lost their warmth as she ran. What had she done? What? If not for Aunt Grace she would not have had the opportunity to do what she had just done. When she got home from school Aunt Grace told her she was going to  get Cutter
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Activity


Chapter Thrty-eight

Thursday morning had finally arrived. Rumer had slept, only a little, the previous night. Never in her life had she embarked on such an act of disobedience.  At two in the morning her guilt had gotten so bad, she had vowed she would give up the whole thing. Desperate to sleep, to ease her mind, she had pulled out her mother’s Bible, and started reading. She wasn’t aware of what she was reading or even if she was in the old or new Testament. Suddenly words had sprung off the page and lodged in her head. They burned through her mind and banished her guilt. Again in the dim light of dawn she read Matthew 35:36, “I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Here was her argument. Here was her reason for going. The letters were in red, so Jesus said them. Visiting Cutter in prison, would be visiting Jesus. He said so. Rumer closed the Bible.  Though, she was not so sure of her theology or her biblical interpretation, it was too late to turn back now.  The only thing that could keep her from going was if Jake didn’t show up. She heaved a sigh. Jake was not reliable.

On the bus ride to school she was very quiet. Beck chattered to her, but she didn’t hear a word he said. When they reached the school, she saw Jake’s truck at the gas station. He had come after all. Her stomach wadded itself into a tight knot. She stood and walked down the bus aisle. As she stepped out onto the sidewalk, Beck said, “You don’t look so good Rumer.”

“Uh, I don’t feel so good. I think I will go to the nurse. Will you tell the teacher?”

“Yeah. Hope its not contagious.”

“Gee, thanks Beck.”

He grinned at her, and whispered, “Is it your time of the month?”

This pissed her off. Beck was becoming mighty presumptuous these days. She started to say, “No,” but thought better of it. Being on her period was a good excuse.

Beck, thinking he had gotten it right, grinned even bigger.

Big dummy, thought Rumer as she walked away from him. Instead of going to the nurses office she ducked into the girl’s bathroom to hide in a stall. Perched on the toilet she waited for the bell to ring. The minutes on her watched ticked off slowly. Her heart, on the other hand, was ticking  fast.  Soon she would be on her way to Cutter. What would she find when she saw him? What would he look like?  After what seemed like an eternity, but was really only ten minutes, the bell rang. Rumer thrust herself into the crowd that raced toward its classes. She ducked out the side door and ran as fast as she could to the gas station.

As she climbed into the truck, Jake’s eyes sparkled with mischief. “So, you ready?”

Rumer nodded. Truth was, she was not ready. She was so sick to her stomach she wanted to puke. She could get out of this truck, should get out of this truck, and go back to school.

Jake gunned the truck and backed out of his parking space. He pulled out onto the road. Rumer hid her face with her hands praying no one would see her with Jake and that no one would recognize her. Beside her, Jake chuckled.

*

Mile after mile spun beneath them. It had been a long time since Rumer had been on this stretch of highway. She and Aunt Grace used to drive it to the farm to visit Grandma and Grandpa before they died.
.
They traveled through Waco, College Station, then on the beltway around Houston. It all had changed so much in five years, Rumer didn’t recognize many landscapes, but she was very aware of Houston’s dirty air and the quality of light that filtered through it. When they hit 288, they were in foreign territory. Rumer had to pay close attention to the signs to make sure they didn’t get lost. Amazingly, Jake was a pretty competent driver. They were making good time.

Fields with dark earth lined FM-591. It wasn’t sandy like back home. Ahead was the prison farm. Rumer felt the nearness of  Cutter. She was almost there. Almost.  

Jake pointed at the convicts in the field and asked, “You think one of them is Cutter?”

The long rows of men, dressed all the same, sent a shock through Rumer. Was Cutter one of them? From this distance a person couldn’t tell. She saw the guards on horses. Jake turned the truck onto the road that led to the prison entrance. Through the trees the prison suddenly appeared. The sight of it sent another shock through Rumer. The barbed wire, the razor wire, the towers. Every bit of it was enclosed. Locked down. Tight. A lump formed in her throat. How was she ever going to go in there?

Jake pulled into the visitors parking lot. He looked at the prison, whistled long and low, then said, “I ain’t goin’ in there.”

“What?”

“I said, I ain’t goin’ in there.”

Rumer looked at him, his face was ashen, his jaw determined.

“You have to go. I can’t go if you don’t go.”

He shook his head. “Nope.”

“Well, I won’t pay you.”

He shrugged.

“Is there anything I can do to get you to go in there with me?”

“Nope.” His hands were white knuckled on the steering wheel.  He turned frightened eyes and said, “I cain’t. I just cain’t do it. I thought I could, but I cain’t.”

Rumer burst into tears. Truth was she didn’t want to go in there either. Truth was she wanted to leave. The problem was she couldn’t. She had not come this far to turn back now.  Her sobs turned to jagged breaths. She got out of the truck and shouted, “I will see if there is any other way for me to go see him. Don’t you leave me.”

“I wouldn’t leave you. I wouldn’t leave anybody here. Swear to God.” Jake’s eyes swung toward the prison.

With tears still streaming down her face, Rumer walked to the entrance. Angrily she brushed her tears aside. Just as she reached the door, a familiar face appeared from inside. It was Brother Lightfoot. He looked at her for a second then asked, “Can I help you?”

“I hope so.” Rumer’s voice quivered as she said, “I came  here to see my friend Cutter, but now I can’t because the person who was supposed to go in with me is too scared and I have come all this way.”

“You look familiar.”

“You preached at our church back in August or September. I don’t remember which one.” Her voice broke off. She stared into this man’s serene eyes.

He said, “Who are you here to visit?”

“Cutter Trinity.”

Recollection flitted across his thin face. “Oh, yes. He just started coming to my chapel services.”

Cutter in chapel? Something must have happened to him.

Seeming to read her expression he said, “I can get you in to see him. Come with me.”

Rumer followed him inside. Her ID was checked. Next she held out her arms and legs and was carefully patted down by a female guard. When she was declared clear,  her visitors pass was issued. She and Brother Lighfoot were escorted down a hall by a tubby guard. Ahead was a big sign that said, “Visitors.”

As she walked down the tiled gray hall, Rumer felt her throat closing. Their footsteps echoed around her. All around her, pushing at her, was the fact this was a prison. She could feel the anger, the confinement, the rage passing through her sensitive mind. With each step nearer to the door, her panic increased. To be stuck here would be horrible. Her hands began to tingle. A bad sign. It meant an anxiety attack was looming in her body chemistry. It had been a long time since she had had one of those. She sent a desperate cry toward heaven.

An old black janitor pulled a wheeled bucket into the hall and began mopping the floor. As they passed, he  smiled at her. His white hair looked like a halo. Instinctively, she started to speak to him, but he put his fingers to his lips and nodded. They passed by him. Several steps further down the hall, Rumer turned to look back at him, but he was gone.

They entered the Visitors room. A small table stood in the center of the small room. Rumer did not like the smallness of it. Her panic began to vibrate within her. This was too hard, she never should have come here.

Brother Lightfoot placed his hand on her shoulder. It was like an anchor that held her in place. He said, “Why don’t we say a little prayer  before he gets here.”

“Okay.” Her voice sounded shaky. Rumer bowed her head.  Brother Lightfoot’s voice was soft, slow and assured. It was like a gentle flow of water that swirled around her. She heard him say, “help Rumer to share her light.” The phrase pushed back the panic inside of her. That was why she had come, Cutter needed some of her light.

The door to the room, opened, Rumer looked up. It was Cutter. His hair was close cropped to his head. On his face were traces of scabs. He wore sea green scrubs and loafers.  He had lost so much weight. There were deep purple smudges from lack of sleep under his eyes. She willed him to look at her, to speak, something, so she would know what to do next.

In the middle of his darkness, the slim form of Rumer in her loose fitting light blue jogging suit, radiated.  His hungry eyes took in every detail of her, except her face.  He could not meet her eyes, though he knew she was looking straight at him. She said his name. His eyes jerked to hers. They were half full of tears. She was probably horrified by what she saw and he felt so ashamed of himself and his appearance. He tried to look away, but the force of her gaze would not let him. She was seeing him for the first time, as he was. Would he loose her love in this instant? A love he had taken so lightly and handled so carelessly? Too harshly he asked, “What are you doin’ here?”

“I, I had to come.”

He noticed her mouth was ringed in white. She was terrified. By him? By this place? By both? She moved swiftly toward him. The feel of her body in his arms was a shock.  He felt her arms go around him and for the first time in his life he felt another’s spirit pass into his. Her warmth was pushing against the cold inside of him. Her will was tackling his weakness. He felt his knees begin to buckle. He put his arms around her lest he fall. The dirt inside his mind shifted. He had never held a girl without lust lurking in the fringes of his mind. He had never held Rumer in a state of purity. The goodness of her attacked all that was foul and broken inside of him. He nearly gasped because of the power of it. In a choked voice he asked, “How did you get here?”

The Guard said, “Stand apart and sit.”

Obediently, she slipped out of his arms and took a step back. Wrested so suddenly from the comfort of her, Cutter felt the desire to weep. If only he could hold her longer. She went to the table where Brother Lightfoot sat. Cutter took his seat. He asked again, “How did you get here?”

“Jake brought me.”

“You let Jake drive you across Texas?”

She nodded and looked at her hands.

“Your Aunt Grace let him bring you?”

“No.”

Her fingers reached across the table and laced through his. Her hands were like ice. The eyes she turned to him were wide with fear. “We don’t have a lot of time Cutter to waste talking about how much trouble I am going to be in. I came because I think something bad happened to you. Did it?”

The images and sensations Cutter was forever trying to squelch exploded in his mind. Before he could deny anything, he knew Rumer had read his expression. Softly she said, “I was right. I wanted to be wrong. Oh God why wasn’t I wrong?”

A lie sprang to his lips, “Nothin’ happened. I’m fine.”

Rumer shook her head. “Something, something bad. I have felt it for two weeks.”

The accuracy of her timing stupefied him. It had been two weeks. Two weeks since that awful day. Two weeks since he had been able to eat or sleep. He glanced at Rumer’s steady eyes, which now had rivulets of tears sliding from them. He could not speak this horrible thing. Not in front of the preacher or the guard, never to Rumer.  He felt her grip tighten. In a low voice she said, “You were raped weren’t you.”

All Cutter could do was nod. The words would not move from his throat. Brother Lightfoot remained silent. The guard coughed. He could not speak of that day to her. It would be too hard for her to hear, far too hard for him to say. For her sake, he had to detach her from this moment. She could not absorb his darkness and instinctively he knew that was the very reason she had come. “Please tell me how everyone is doin’.”

An awkward conversation about his family followed. His mama was beginning to be able to sleep and eat better. They still didn’t know when she would get to come home. Woody was working hard and living on his own. Beck had won first place in three track meets in the 400 meter race.

Cutter asked, “What about you?”

Confused by the question or else just unwilling to answer it, Rumer asked, “What?”

“How are you doin’ in track?”

“I’m winning, but I’d rather be running cross country.”

He nodded. When he asked about her Aunt Grace, she was reluctant to talk about her. She did talk about Skip. It was good to hear about that stupid dog.

Too soon the guard said, “Time is up.”

Prisoners were allowed to hug their guests, hello and good bye. They rose, stepped away from the table. Cutter said, “Rumer, you are going to be in so much trouble.”

“I don’t care, seeing you was worth it.”

“No, I am not worth it. Don’t ever, do this again.  Promise me. I’ve heard stories of women being molested by guards…even--” His voice broke off. He couldn’t say the word. His voice dropped low when he asked, “Did they strip search you?”

Rumer shook her head. “A lady guard just patted me down a little. Didn’t touch anything private.”

Relieved he said, “Still, I couldn’t stand it if you got hurt or worse because of me. Don’t ever come back here again. Promise me Rumer. Promise me.”
Fiercely Rumer wrapped her arms around him. This time, he felt how fragile she was. She was not some powerful entity.  She was just a very perceptive fifteen year old. Her body trembled in his arms. He knew his darkness was rushing through her. She was trying to grapple with it. Tears came to his eyes and silently slid down his chin. There were no words. He felt her ribs through her clothes and the small softness of her breasts against his chest. He did not want to let her go. How was he going to let her go and return back to his darkness?

The guard barked, “Okay folks, break it up.”

Rumer pulled away from him, she looked into his eyes and said, “Cutter, don’t give up. Please. Your mama needs you to make it through this. If you think you can’t hang on for yourself, try to hang on for her. She can’t loose anyone else. I’m not saying this to put pressure on you. It is just the truth. Write to her, tell her you are going to chapel. That will do her good. It will show her, her prayers for you were not wasted. She needs to know that.”
Though he had wanted to write his mother, he had not. He had feared a letter from him would hurt her, not help her. He had been afraid she would read between the lines things he did not want her to know. “Please don’t tell her what happened to me.”

“I won’t. Just write her about chapel.”

Impatiently the guard said, “Time’s up, other folks are waiting.”

Rumer kissed Cutter on the cheek then turned from him. He watched her form head for the door. With one look back at him she was gone. A horrible emptiness filled him. Brother Lightfoot patted his shoulder. He said, “I will schedule a visit with you next week. And, I’ll see you Sunday.” Then, he too left.

The guard said,  “You are lucky to have a girlfriend like that. Yup. Real lucky. You should see the sluts that visit most of the boys. Nothin’ but cheap trouble.”

Cutter didn’t correct the guard about Rumer’s status in his life. She was not his girlfriend. He was thankful for that. If given time he would have sullied her, taken advantage of her and stolen her innocence. At least here, in prison, he couldn’t and wouldn’t hurt Rumer like that. However he was very aware that he had damaged her already, in many other ways.
Chapter Thirty-seven

Miles away, Rumer lay awake. The awareness that the something awful had happened, would not leave her. During track practice running at full tilt, she had been rocked by an inner sensation. The scurrying shadows of darkness that had flitted across her brain all day had merged into a swirling cloud of evil. Cutter, something had happened to Cutter. She could not reach him, speak to him or comfort him.  Her prayers had not spared him. What were the good of prayers if they didn’t work? Instinctively she knew that prayer did not turn God on and off like a faucet. God did or did not act. People made choices, like the young man had chosen to drink too much the night he ran into her parent’s car. He had chosen to run away and God had not violated that choice. The damage caused to her parents had been extensive. If they had lived both would have required constant care. Her mother would have been brain damaged. Aunt Grace said it was a mercy they had died. This answer never satisfied Rumer because some people lived broken painful lives because they survived. Where was God? Where? Why did he give people a free will, if in fact he did?  She didn’t know and getting tangled up in these stupid questions didn’t help Cutter. She needed to get to him, but how? Aunt Grace would never allow it. Woody wouldn’t cross Aunt Grace, in fact no one in town would. Grace Bell might have her physical frailties but she had a will of steel and a pointed tongue. Nobody crossed Grace Bell ever, nor even Grandma Maxine.

The next morning before Aunt Grace got up, Rumer, called information and got the number to the prison where Cutter lived.  Later that day, during the track meet she called the prison from the phone in the coache’s office. A voice menu came up. Impatiently she listened. If a coach walked in and found her on the phone she would be in more trouble than she had time for. Finally, after punching several numbers she got a real person. A man, asked, “How may I help you?”

“I would like to visit Cutter Trinity. What do I need to do?”

There was the sound of computer keys being punched, then the voice asked, “Are you on the list?”

“What list?”

“The visitor’s list that an inmate has to fill out.”

With out hesitation, she said, “Yes, my name is Rumer Bell.”

“Yep, you are on the list. How old are you?”

This question was being asked for a reason, and lying about her age wouldn’t be a good idea. “I’m almost 16.”

“You will need to be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older who has also been approved. Who would that be?”

The name, “Jake Hawkins, ” sprang from her lips. He was 21, he had been held back twice in elementary school.

“Yes, he is on the list.” The voice went on, “Also you must wear appropriate fitting pants or long skirt. All shoes must have closed backs. Failure to adhere to the dress code will result in cancellation or postponement of your visit. You will be wanded and you may be searched. Expect a 20 to 40 minute wait when you arrive. The inmate is listed as being eligible for a contact visit.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means that he will be in a room and not in a box with a screen between him and his guest.”

That would be better. “Put me down for a contact visit.”

“Time and date of visit?”

First she had to ask Jake, then she would have to schedule the appointment. “Can visits be at 3:00 p.m. on Thursdays?”

“Yes.”
“Put us down for 3:00 p.m. Thursday.”

“This coming Thursday’s full, it will have to be the next.”

That was almost two weeks away. Anything could happen in the next two weeks. In fact anything could happen in the next two hours. She couldn’t get to Cutter any sooner, it was a hard thing to accept. “That’s the best you can do?”

“Yes, unless you pick another day.”

There was not another day. Aunt Grace did her shopping on Thursdays. It was the only morning she would be gone when the school called to let her know Rumer had not shown up for class. Aggravated, Rumer said, “Put us down for that Thursday.”

The voice rattled off the date and time, then hung up.

She needed to call Jake..  Before she could dial, she heard her race being announced over the loud speaker. “Women’s 400 meter meet on the field.”

*

Saturday morning before Aunt Grace or Beck were awake, Rumer sat at her aunt’s computer studying road maps. If only she could get in touch with Jake. She had called  him over and over last night, and he had never picked up. Where was he?   She picked up the phone and took it to the bathroom. Once again it rang and rang. She clicked the phone off. With a little too much vehemence she flung open the bathroom door. From his bed in the living room Beck, moaned in his sleep and rolled over.

For a second, Rumer’s eyes flitted toward Beck. His body was half uncovered and bare. His fine stringy muscles were outlined by the filtered light, that pushed through the drapes. He really was a nice looking boy, but he stirred absolutely nothing inside of her. Curled up at Beck’s feet was Skip. He cocked his ears at her, read her eyes, and noiselessly jumped off the bed. His toenails clicked across the floor to her. When he reached her, he planted his big paws on her ribs and licked her chin. She whispered, “Wanna go for a run boy?”

For a second, Skip seemed to consider the question. A cold front had blown in overnight and the wind was racing around the house as only an early March wind could. He dropped his paws. Truth was, Skip didn’t like harsh wind.  “Okay, you stay here. I’ll be back.”

With an apologetic wag of his tail, Skip went back to Beck’s bed and jumped up. He curled up himself into a ball and closed his eyes. Rumer went to the back door, took her jacket of the rack and zipped it up. Outside the door, the wind hit her like a tangible force. She leaned into it. Somehow, as she set off, gasping in the cold gusts of air, she felt less helpless. It gave her a sense of moving forward even if it was only into the wind. Two miles into the run, the cold seeped through her jacket. Her face and hands were numb. On her way back to the house, she crested the ridge and saw Jake’s beat up truck parked off the road. He had probably run out of gas again. The dummy. Maybe he was still in the truck sleeping off whatever he had been doing the night before. “Please God , let him be alone.” The wind propelled her to the truck. Jake was sitting in the front seat holding his head. Had he hurt himself? As he rolled down his window, he grinned at her like the idiot he was. She did not return the smile. He said, “Hey Missy. You sure are out early.” He laughed and added, “And I’m out really late.”

Impatiently she asked, “How come you haven’t answered your phone?”

Interest leapt into his eyes. “Why you call’n me?”

Rumer’s eyes flitted across the dusty surface of Jake’s truck. It was in sad shape could it withstand a trip to Fort Bend County? She said, “How would you like to go see Cutter?”

“Huh?”

“Go visit him. I know you are on the list.”

“Go see Cutter in jail? Bunch of my mama’s boyfriends been in jail, don’t sound like no place I’d wanna to go.”

A note of pleading crept into Rumer’s voice as she asked, “Not even to see your best friend?”

For a second Jake considered the idea, then, his eyes lit up. He grinned at her. “You don’t care if I go to see Cutter or not, you just want to see him yourself and you cain’t unless you’re with an adult.”

If adulthood were measured by maturity level, Jake would never get there. Trying to keep the aggravation out of her voice, she asked, “Will you take me?”

“Awe, you are sweet on him. Shoot, Rumer, I’d take you to see Cutter in a heart beat.”

“I would appreciate it if you did, but you can’t tell anyone.”

Jake laughed, then went sober. “Your Aunt Grace will kill me.”

“No she won’t. I’m the one that will get in trouble. Please, I really need to see Cutter. I can pay you.”

Interest sparked in Jake’s eyes. “How much?”

All she had was the seventy-five bucks she was saving toward  new running shoes.. Whatever she paid him, she knew he would just spend it on dope.

“How much do you want?”

“How bad do you want to go?”

Of all the times for Jake to suddenly reveal he actually might have a  brain in that tiny little head of his. “All I got is seventy-five bucks.”

“Done. Now, when we gonna leave?”

“Not this Thursday but the next. I will meet you at the gas station across from the school at 8:10.”

“Whoa, little Mama. You have thought this whole thing through. Didn’t know there was a dark side to ya.” He winked.

“Don’t forget.”

“You think I would forget that Rumer Bell has asked me to join her in a wild ride across Texas. Nope, not somethin’ I’m likely to forget.” He rolled up his window and gunned the motor of his truck.

In a cloud of dust, he roared away. Problem solved, almost.

*

Saturday morning, time to face the cafeteria. He did not want to go. Terror gripped him as he stepped out into the hall. Two men stepped forward. One had red hair and a nasty scar on his chin. The other was tall and black. The red headed man said, “I’m Bill and this is Jaspar. Isaiah sent us. We are your guardians. This morning, is very important. Come on, let’s go to the cafeteria.”

The last thing Cutter wanted was food.  The thought of smelling all that cafeteria food was more than he thought he could manage. Before he protested he looked into Bill’s eyes. This was not a request but an order.  “Okay.” He followed the men to the cafeteria. The instant they entered the room, it fell into silence. This had never happened before. Cutter could feel eyes upon him. Across the cafeteria Isaiah rose. Slowly, deliberately he walked toward Cutter. When he reached him he smiled, threw an arm around his shoulder. The cafeteria exploded in a buzz of  whispers. Isaiah looked him right in the eye and said, quite loudly, “You are one of the Lord’s now.” Cutter felt like he had just been claimed by Isaiah, not God. So he was part of a chattel now, a holy chattel. Would he be able to meet Isaiah’s requirements? He didn’t trust himself. Briefly, but fiercely, Isaiah  hugged him. The contact of another’s man’s body with his sent a wave of nausea through him. This was a twisted place. This was also a show for Cantrell. Without looking around Cutter could feel a dark anger reaching for him through the crowd, clawing for him. Cantrell was there, Cantrell had seen and so too had his goons. Cutter’s throat went dry. He could not face his rapists. He wanted to run and never look back because that is what he always did in the past. There was no place to run here, except into deeper trouble.

Jaspar said, “Come long now, lets get us some breakfast.” After getting his cardboard tray with its spoon and carton of milk. He was given two pancakes, some greasy sausages and a mound of yellow grits. At the table, Bill and Jaspar sat on either side of him. A lively discussion on politics broke out among the convicts. Why were they talking politics here? They were not free men, why did they care?

Cutter’s day passed slowly, painfully. The pain inside was so deep and harsh that it blotted out everything.  By lights out he was sick to his stomach and more weary than he had ever been in his life. At supper he didn’t have an appetite. In fact, the last time he had eaten a solid meal was right before, right before…He crawled from his cot and felt in his box for the Bible Rumer had sent him. He did not read it, but he clutched it to his chest. Its relevance was more like garlic or a wooden stake to keep away vampires. Perhaps the book could keep away the darkness that was swallowing him whole. The darkness around him and within him threatened his life and his sanity.

Sleep came in brief snatches, just after dreams arrived, he would be jerked back into consciousness. What was that noise? Was someone coming for him? Was someone watching him? He longed for the company of Blind Moses. At least in the infirmary he had had assurance of a benign presence. Here, he had nothing, but Isaiah’s word that he would be safe. In the Trinity home, a man’s word meant very little, here it meant less.  

At dawn Cutter sat huddled with his head between his knees. He had been to the urinals and puked up what little he had eaten the day before. He couldn’t stop shaking. Men began to wake up. Cutter got up and dressed. His body still trembled. He sat back down on his cot, and pulled the Bible to him. It was light enough to see now. He flipped through its pages, one section was highlighted in blue. Had Rumer done that?

The thought of Rumer was like a cool rivulet of water on arid sand. Her face, her dancing eyes, her depth of integrity reached out to him. In his mind her words echoed, “be the man you were meant to be.” There had only been a slim chance of that happening before, and now there was none. He would go crazy soon, just like Mama, and he didn’t expect that he would ever recover.

Bill and Jaspar came t his cubicle. Bill said, “Let’s go.”

“I’m not hungry.”

Bill’s eyes narrowed and he said, “Don’t matter, you have to go to the cafeteria.”

For a brief instant the idea of hitting Billr flitted through Cutter’s mind. Bill wasn’t as big as Jaspar, he could take him, at least for a little while, and with any luck he could land himself back in the infirmary. Plus, a fight would make him forget, if only for a few minutes how powerless he truly was. Then, he thought of the consequences. Isaiah would drop him. He could be placed in another level of security, a higher level, with less freedom and more danger. He got up and did as he was told. On the way to the cafeteria he kept his eyes on the floor and didn’t look at anyone. In the cafeteria he followed the heels of Bill’s loafers and went were they went. He picked up his tray and held it out. Someone put food on it. Someone he did not see. They got out of line and went to the table.

That afternoon Jaspar and Bill escorted Cutter to the prison chapel. The last time he had been in this room, he had sat in the back and seen very little of it. Jaspar and Bill went to the first row where Isaiah sat.

For a while, Cutter stared at the tiled floor. A single ant crawled along a crack. It followed the line, when it reached a cross section it became confused. The ant reminded him of the ant he had seen at Pop’s funeral. He didn’t want to think about Pop. He raised his head. Near him, a pedestal lectern stood.  Behind the lectern was a tapestry of a lamb. On each side of the tapestry were pictures of angels ascending and descending from heaven. One looked a little like Rumer. In that instant it seemed Rumer was with him. He did not know how this was possible, but her presence encircled him.

Brother Lightfoot stepped behind the lectern. His eyes met Cutter’s and an instant of recollection flitted through them. Cutter wondered if he remembered speaking to him that long ago evening. He lifted up his arms in welcome and said, “Good afternoon men, glad you could make it.”

Men behind him said, “Afternoon, preacher.” It sounded like there were a lot of men here. Were they all Isaiah’s men? Cutter didn’t know, there was so much he did not know.

A harmonica began to play, “Have Thine Own Way.” Instantly Cutter was transported to the tiny church back home.  That morning, in his home church, Beck and Woody had sat, maybe they had even sung this song. Rumer and her Aunt Grace had been there too. Skip would have been there if Rumer had her way, but the preacher said “no dogs in church.” The song ended. Another began. One Cutter was not familiar with.

After two more songs, Brother Lightfoot finally stood. His baggy suit hung loose on his skinny frame. His arms jutted out at his sides. In a crisp voice he said, “Today’s sermon is from the gospel of John.” The gospel of John was Mama’s favorite book in the Bible. As he listened to the verses being read…his mind caught on the phrase, “and the light shines in darkness; and the darkness did not comprehend it.” He didn’t hear the rest of the sermon. Over and over the phrase turned in his mind. What did it mean?

When Brother Lightfoot finished, Isaiah rose to lead the singing of the invitational song. His voice wasn’t that good, but it was strong. The sound of it reminded Cutter of a river flowing. IT was powerful. He glanced up at the big man. His eyes were filled with a light that was shining out on everyone. The other prisoners began to sing. It was like no singing Cutter had ever heard. Not harmonious. Not even pretty, but rich and so deep. These men were prisoners. As they sang about trials and temptations they knew what it meant to succumb to them. Cutter knew what it meant to succumb. He was part of this broken brotherhood.
What Rumer Knew, Ch. 37
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Chapter Thirty-six

Sunday afternoon, Cutter was still quite sore as he limped his way to one of the TV rooms.  In this room, the Hispanics sat on one side, the blacks on the other and most of the Anglos leaned against the wall. A few pretty boys were squeezed between men on the sofa. All of them were watching a basketball game. Some so intently Cutter knew they had something riding on the game. Blind Moses words echoed in his head, “some one will ask you to ride with him.” One man touched a pretty boy possessively on the sofa. A look passed between them. In that moment, Cutter understood what riding with someone meant. It meant belonging to someone, like a possession. Sudden anger flared inside of him. He would not belong to anyone. Ever.

Beside him a familiar voice said, “Anger is no good in here, its part of the larger problem.”

Cutter turned to the voice. It was the same man who had warned him where not to sit in the cafeteria. The man nodded and left the room. From the direction the man went Cutter heard music.  Was it a hymn. He got up and followed the sound.  Music drifted through the hall and seemed to wrap around him. The words pulled at him, “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling…” When he reached an open door, he looked inside. On chairs, in rows sat a bunch of prisoners. The man who had spoken to him was sitting in the first row beside Blind Moses.  A preacher was praying. Stunned, Cutter saw it was Brother Lightfoot, the same visiting evangelist that had preached back home all those months ago. Cutter slipped into the back row. He didn’t stay through the entire service because of God.  He stayed because it was at least something familiar. The prayers, the hymns even the words about God’s love did not penetrate his self loathing, but they did make him feel closer to his mother and he missed his mother something terrible. Why hadn’t she written him yet?

As soon as the service was over he slipped out and went to his cubicle.

*

Wednesday morning, Cutter was in the cafeteria, staring off into space.  At least that is what he thought he was doing until a big guy with huge black brows grabbed hold of him and shook him hard. The big man grunted, “What in the fuck are you looking at?”

“Nothin’, nothin’ at all, I was just thinkin’—that’s all.” Unknowingly he had violated this man’s visible space, the visual area that surrounded a prisoner. Like violating physical space, it was not done here.

The big man open handedly smacked Cut hard across the face.  The blow reopened Cutter’s wounds from Thursday. Fresh blood spurted into his mouth and out his nose. The man growled at him, “You keep your fuckin’ eyes to yourself do you hear me?”

Cutter nodded.

The big man stalked away.  His massive arms swung at his side as he walked. In that instant Cutter realized he had not received the full power of those arms. For whatever reason the man had held back. Arms like he had could easily kill a man.   Cutter mopped his face with his paper napkin and kept his eyes on his food. Someone slipped into the chair across from him. There was no way he was going to look up unless he was spoken to first.

“Anglo, I want to talk to you.” Cutter raised his eyes. A stocky Hispanic man with three teeth capped in gold smiled at him and said, “I am haySOOS.”

Confused, Cutter asked, "What?"

The man laughed. "Oh you little Anglo boy, not familiar with Spanish?"

Cutter said, "No, Sir."

"In Anglo my name is Jesus."

This shocked Cutter. Hispanics were sparse in his part of Texas.  

The man grinned. "Little Anglo am I the first brown Jesus you ever meet?"

Frightened, but determined not to show it, Cutter said, "Yes."

The man grinned then said,. “I  can protect you.”

This was the moment Blind Moses had warned him about. “Uh, thanks but no thanks, I can take care of myself.”

Jesus eyes traveled from Cutter’s bloody nose to the gash on his chin. “And you are doing such a fine job of that, my friend.  It will only get worse. You will see. You think here is like the freeworld. This is not the free world. Men die here. No one cares here. The freeworld doesn’t know, so how can it care? I don’t want sex, no, this Mexican does not need sex, this Mexican needs money. Money. Money. Get someone to send you some from the freeworld. You pay me and your white ass stays in one piece. I promise. I am strong.” He flexed his huge biceps. “I work out, punch the bag, every day for two hours. You will be safe with me.”

“No thanks.”

“What you think your puny arms can protect you? You are still thinking like a freeman. You are not free. Nothing here is free. This you shall learn soon. Very soon. Others will come, and they will not be so sweet as Jesus.”  He stood. “Hombre, see that man on the last table near the wall?”

Quickly Cutter glanced without lingering. He saw a tall man of mixed blood.

Jesus smiled, “I hear he fancies your ass.”

Ugly swirled in Cutter’s gut. His appetite left him.

Amused by his expression Jesus said, “What Cantrell fancies, he gets. I can promise you that.  My offer is open, but it closes if Cantrell makes a move on you. ”

*

That evening a letter arrived from Woody and a package from Rumer. It had been a hard day  in which Cutter had kept his eyes to himself.  A glance could invite violence or a proposition of some kind.

As he read Woody’s letter, guilt slashed through him. Mama was in a mental hospital because…because-he did not let himself finish the sentence. There was nothing to distance him from the pain this new knowledge shot through him.  Nothing. He wanted to not feel this horrible guilt. Just escape for a little while. To feel the bliss of something, a woman’s body, a joint, a pill…a drink. Anything.  A gray fog settled over him. How the fuck was he supposed to get through this? How? Relief could be had in prison, it was expensive.  Was he willing to pay? Dare he? Funny, how it never occurred to him that maybe what his mother needed most was for him to get clean and stay that way. All he thought of was getting outside his own head.

He folded the letter, then pushed back the flaps of the already opened  box. Inside was his old Sunday School Bible. He remembered the long ago morning when he had received it in third grade. His mother’s smiling face came to mind. She had been so happy that day. She was not happy now. He stared at the blue Bible, opened its cover. He childish drawing of David and Goliath hit him like a physical blow. Memories of being a little boy tucked beside his mother in church filled his mind. God, what had he done to Mama! He slammed the cover closed and thre the Bible against the partition. hard. A piece of paper drifted to the floor.

*

It had been an unbearable night, punctuated by nightmares. The first one had been about Mama in a straight jacket covered in Pop’s blood. The second one had Rumer dressed all in white.  She was strapped to a table unable to move and she kept begging  him, “Please, please let me out.” At breakfast he made his way straight for Jesus. He asked, “How much will some weed cost me?”

Jesus smiled.  The artificial light glinted on his gold teeth. “Depends on the amount. How much do you want? How much do you have?”

Cutter knew better than to tell. He said, “Name a range.”

Jesus smiled wider. “Smart Anglo, or smart ass, we shall see. Alright, Jesus requires--”

Cutter had just enough. “When can I get it?”

“After supper. I leave first, you wait five minutes then come.  Meet me in block three. It is a good place. The guard on duty, he always takes a shit then and the hall is empty. See you there.”

Knowing the drug was coming relieved some of the tension in Cutter’s mind and body. He would write Woody for some more cash after he got his weed.  Where to smoke it? He would take it outside. There was a corner in the yard where the men smoked.  Not all of them smoked cigarettes. For whatever reason, the guards did not bother them. Perhaps money had passed through their hands. Perhaps they just thought a stoned prisoner was a subdued one. What Cutter wanted most now was to be subdued.

The day passed, somehow. The days always passed. As soon as he finished his meal of mashed potatoes, gray meatloaf and a roll as hard as a rock, he saw Jesus leave. After he threw his tray away, he headed to block three.

Jesus leaned against the wall smiling. He motioned with his hand. Apprehensive, Cutter’s eyes darted from one end of the hall to the other. When he reached Jesus side the Janitor’s closet opened, Cantrell stepped out. Cutter’s eyes darted to Jesus, “Sorry man, this Mexican turns a dollar when he finds a dollar to turn. Cantrell paid good for you.”

Paid for him? Jesus walked passed him. Cutter turned to say something to him. Unknowingly he had been followed. Two big men, one Asian and one white had their feet planted and their eyes focused on Cutter. He had not heard their approach. His heartbeat leapt. His eyes swung back to Cantrell. His dark eyes were filled with…Cutter’s throat closed.  He was looking at him the way a man looked at a woman he wanted to fuck. Oh God, what had he gotten himself into?

The two men pushed Cutter forward. Cutter opened his mouth to scream only  no sound came. Nothing. He found he was not breathing. Cantrell reached for Cutter’s crotch. Before Cutter could jerk away from him the two men behind him locked onto his arms and legs.

Leering at Cutter, Cantrell said, “We can do this mutually, or I can take. Which will it be?”

In this man’s eyes was a depth of evil Cutter had never seen before.  Never knew existed. He whispered, “No, I am not doin’ that.”

Cantrell’s eyes were so hard. He growled, “So, I will take. Taking is better.”

A big filthy sock was shoved into Cutter’s mouth and a piece of packaging tape expertly pulled around his head. It gagged him. Cantrell said, “You vomit, you choke.”

With slow fingers Cantrell pulled off Cutter’s pants and underwear. He stared appreciatively at Cutter’s exposed genitals. It had been so long since Cutter had been touched by anyone. This could not be happening. He started thrashing, but the men that held him were too strong. Not this, not this. Oh God not this.

“Down boys.”

Gently Cutter was placed onto the cold floor and pinned down. One man held his legs, the other his arms. He felt Cantrell’s hands on him. With all the strength he had Cutter twisted his body. For a single second, they lost their grip, but it was only a second. Cantrell grunted, “Be fucking still.” Then…then…

In his mind Cutter screamed out to God, “Save me, don’t let this happen!”

God…didn’t…save him...Never had his person been violated. Never had he had someone inside of him. Before he had been the one going inside, not the one being entered. Powerless to stop what was happening, unaided by God, he closed his eyes. Hell reached a new level. How many levels did hell have here?

When Cantrell was finished, he said, “Thank you sir.” He patted his ass. Cutter heard him stand. It was over. Over? In a low voice Cantrell said, “Don’t tell, and you live.” This was not just a threat. Footsteps walked away from him.  

With his, now, free hands Cutter jerked the tape off his mouth. It caught on every hair above his lip and ripped it out. He spit out the sock and threw up. His supper left a dark puddle on the floor. Beside him were his underwear and pants. Still prone he pulled on his underwear and was struggling with his pants when a guard saw him. The man rushed to his side and exclaimed, “Aw shit!”

For a brief second Cutter’s eyes met the guard’s. There was a trace of sympathy in those eyes, but not a single shred of shock.  The guard bellowed, “Hughes, help me get this one to the doc.”

A fat guard appeared around the corner. He shook his head when he saw Cutter. “You newbies. Idiots, just idiots.” The two men hoisted him up and carried him to the infirmary. The guards put him on the metal examining table. Dr. Pitt rose from his desk. He nodded to the guards and they left,

Dr. Pitt,  said, “I didn’t expect you back here so soon.” His eyes met Cutter’s. He asked a single question, “Were you raped?”  The question tore through Cutter. Unable to speak, he nodded.

Dr. Pitt shook his head.  “Did you want this to happen to you?”

It was a stupid ass question.  He shook his head.

The doctor held Cutter’s eyes, “A part of you must have, or else it would not have happened in the first place. What is your addiction?”

The word addiction echoed in Cutter’s head. He didn’t respond.

Dr. Pitt cleared his throat before he said,  “I know you aren’t going to want to do this, Mr. Trinity, but I have to examine you. Check for cuts and abrasions in your rectum. If there is any sign of trauma I can report it as rape.”

The examination was painful, and humiliating. When the doctor finished he said, “There isn’t any tearing inside. Cantrell is always very neat. If only he would wear a condom. I have taken a semen sample but with out a sign of trauma, this won’t be classified as a rape, but consensual. I am so sorry.”

“What? You-you--” Cutter tried to speak. How could this be? No charges, nothing. He was a dead man.

Reading his expression Dr. Pitt said, “It is good that you grasp the gravity of your situation. From this moment forward you belong to Cantrell.  The only man he won’t mess with is Isaiah. I will send for him. According to your chart, you are not supposed to be here that long. I know three years seems like forever. It isn’t. This place will destroy you or make you. It all depends upon you.”

Cutter knew how dependable he was.

Dr. Pitt continued, “I will write down what I think happened, but since it can’t be proven,  no one will try. Cantrell is very fastidious. I have seen his work many times. Now, get dressed so I can take your blood.”

“Take my blood, why?”

“Your blood has to be tested for hepatitis, HIV and AIDS.”

*

A shadow crossed over the infirmary bed. A big shadow. Cutter was afraid to turn to it. A voice he recognized said, “How long are you plannin’ on being stupid young man?” The question ripped through Cutter. How long indeed? Hadn’t he been stupid enough? Against his will tears began to pool in his eyes and run down his cheeks. The man continued, “My name is Isaiah. I’m here to help you, if you want my help.” Cutter turned to the man. He was the same man who had kept him from sitting at the wrong table his first day in prison,  the same one who had gone to Brother Lightfoot’s service. He was a big and powerful looking man.

Cutter pulled himself up in bed.  “I want your help.”

“Well, my help comes with requirements. First attend AA meetings, second attend chapel, third clean up your language, fourth no hard porn. You do these things and me and mine will watch over you. You stray, you get outside my boundaries, you are on your own.  I can’  protect a man who refuses to master himself. Hear?”

“Yes, Sir.”

Isaiah stuck out his hand. This was the first time anyone had offered him a hand since he entered prison. Fearful of what he had just signed on for, but more afraid of what not signing on would bring him, Cutter put his hand in Isaiah’s. The handshake was firm, but not brutal.

*

Back in his dorm, Cutter lay in a twisted ball. Never had he felt such pain. Never had he experienced the full dark thrust of pain on every level, mind, body and spirit. He was whipped. If he didn’t fear death more than life, he would off himself. Grandma Maxine’s stories of the afterlife had left an ugly, but now self-preserving scar on his mind. If he killed himself he would go to hell, and if hell on earth was this bad, what was hell after earth like? He had no expectation of heaven. In his current state he only expected to be drowned in this awful internal black sea. A sea filled with dark images of a life misspent. One by one his failures ticked across the surface of his brain. One by one they stabbed him with fresh pain.  Denial, numbness, that was the Trinity way. It did not work here.

A cool breeze brushed his cheek. He heard a rustle of paper and turned. In the semidarkness he saw a slip of paper. Rumer’s note. He had never read it. Carefully he rolled over and slid onto the floor.  When he reached for the paper his fingers brushed the Bible he had hurled against the wall. He moved his fingers beyond it and grasped the paper. There was just enough light for him to read Rumer’s writing.  “Please be careful. You are in my prayers. Love, Rumer.” The words, “Love Rumer” echoed inside of him. Again she had tried to warn him and he had not heeded. He picked up the Bible and crawled back into bed. With trembling fingers, he put the slip of paper into the Bible and hugged it tightly to his chest.
What Rumer Knew, Ch. 36
Caution, this was a tough chapter to write and read.
Ongoing story

previous:  What Rumer Knew, Ch. 35Chapter Thirty-five
Not sleepy. Short races never wore her out like cross country. Rumer needed a good long run. Every bit of her was restless, her mind, her body and her spirit. Only one thing could cure it, but it was risky, especially with Beck in the house. He would either stop her or want to go with her and she did not want either of those things to happen. Much to Skip's displeasure, she put socks on his feet so his dang toenails wouldn't click on the floor. It sounded like Beck was asleep. Aunt Grace was definitely asleep. It was wrong for her to be grateful her aunt was getting a migraine, but she was. The medicine Aunt Grace took knocked her out. Quietly with a firm grip on Skip's ruff,  Rumer made her way down the stairs. In the glow of the silent TV, Beck lay with his mouth open and his eyes closed. A small snore came from his throat. Two down, one more obstacle to go. She tugged on Skip and headed for the back door. In one swift move she had herself and Skip through th


next:  What Rumer Knew, Ch. 37Chapter Thirty-seven
Miles away, Rumer lay awake. The awareness that the something awful had happened, would not leave her. During track practice running at full tilt, she had been rocked by an inner sensation. The scurrying shadows of darkness that had flitted across her brain all day had merged into a swirling cloud of evil. Cutter, something had happened to Cutter. She could not reach him, speak to him or comfort him.  Her prayers had not spared him. What were the good of prayers if they didn’t work? Instinctively she knew that prayer did not turn God on and off like a faucet. God did or did not act. People made choices, like the young man had chosen to drink too much the night he ran into her parent’s car. He had chosen to run away and God had not violated that choice. The damage caused to her parents had been extensive. If they had lived both would have required constant care. Her mother would have been brain damaged. Aunt Grace said it was a mercy they had died.
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Words. Lethal, loving, open, wall building. I have been thinking about how words are used and how they are spoken, how they are written, how they are received. What was intended and what was heard are not always the same. What was written and how the words are perceived do not always match up. We all bring such different perspectives to our hearing and our reading of words. What might be a red flag to me, may not even be a pale shade of pink to someone else. I have been thinking a lot about the limitation of my own perception of words and how I have used that to label people. Honestly, I want to put my label gun away. It sure causes problems. It is amazing how fast I can start to classify people, and shove them into little boxes that I label and ignore. I won't listen to that, or read that because in my opinion it means...

I got a lesson in words the other day while driving my mom around. She was telling me a story I have heard SO MANY times. I always derail the story or redirect it because I simply cannot bear to hear it AGAIN. But I decided Friday that for once I would just let her finish. I am working on listening more thoroughly. Its hard. So, I let my mom tell the whole story, right to the end. In the past I had always gotten mad thinking my mom did not understand. I thought she was telling me about how much better off she was, but that was not it at all. For the first time I heard her grief over a person we love being shamed because of their poverty, of being treated as invisible and also for not being honored for their hard work despite their circumstances. When I heard her tell the story ALL THE WAY THROUGH my heart hurt. In the past I had been so busy putting my mom in her box that I did not hear what she was trying to express to me. But, I also felt something else, I felt grateful to have a mom with such a big heart. Words matter. Stories matter. Listen and read all the way through. 

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cerealnovels
Joyce Matula Welch
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Art and words by hand.
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xlntwtch Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2018   Writer
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Thanks for the fave! ^_^ 
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Thank you for +Faving my work! :happybounce:
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Sara-Arasteh Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
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MEP4Photography Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
Happy birthday, dear Joyce!  Happy Birthday Flag by Chaosbrazer   Happy Bday by KmyGraphic   Commission for Arichy - Animated Emote OC by Web5teR   HappyBday by KmyGraphic   Blowing-birthday-candles by poisen2014  
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