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The Fuel

ICHABOD FRENZY - Chapter 10, 11 & 12

Chapter 10 – Angelina

 

 

I kept my appointment with the animal shelter around the block to the Creekside Hospital the next day. Sunday was a day of rest, but I wanted to spend the day to heal instead of in tears. The sign above the blue awning said, "Creekside Animal Rescue." A woman with green hair stood behind the glass double door. The place looked like a veterinarian office than a local animal shelter.

 

"Angelina? Is that you?" the woman at the door asked me, opening her arms expecting a hug. Her green hair looked alien, but bright.

 

"Yes, I am," I replied.

 

"Daisy, it's a pretty common name. For an uncommon girl," she said, shaking my hands with the most assuring and firm handshake. "Wow, shiner."  She commented on my swollen eyes. "Looks like you've had a rough weekend. Let's go inside."

 

"It's great to meet you. Were you waiting for me?" I asked her.

 

"I can give you a ride home if you need me. But, you're going to have to set up an appointment with the therapist at the hospital before you go home. I've been waiting for about half an hour. I thought you were going to come this morning. It's almost noon now," Daisy said, carefree and talking away. "I'm hungry that's why, and I'm the only one here. But anyhow, follow me." She walked to the back of the office.

 

There was an administrative desk and a large double doors to the side, behind the counter, leading to more rooms inside.

 

"I've been looking forward to meet you. But, let's start with the tour. This is the office, and we do all the paper work here. I'm going to ask you to help me enter some data for the website, take pictures of the puppies, and enter their descriptions...et cetera, et cetera. You've done computer work before?" Her jovial tone was rapid and cheerful, which made it pleasant for me to pay close attention.

 

"Yes. I can do all kinds of work. I'm so happy you're nice," I told her.

 

"Sweetie, this place built me. I met Bernadine when I was 16 years old. I started volunteering just like you. Then they hired me as full-time staff. I'm at school now, starting my junior year in college," said Daisy. "Don't worry. I'll take care of you."

 

Daisy held my shoulder for a short moment, and then my hand. We smiled at each other, and felt intuitively as close as sisters, instantly.

 

"I work well with animals," Daisy said. "And humans."

 

"I'm a sophomore at Silver Creek," I told Daisy.

 

"Oh, I had friends there. I was at a school in Brighton, it's further down closer to Denver, and you're rivals with Longmont and Boulder right?" Daisy asked.

 

"Yup, the armpit of Boulder and Longmont. It's nice there, cozy except for last night," I said.

 

"If Silver Creek was so nice, how come you were raped?" asked Daisy.

 

I wasn't sure how to respond. Daisy was right. If it was so nice in the world, how come I became a rape victim?

 

"Hahaha...just kidding wit' cha," Daisy joked, and looked closely into my eyes, "I can see you still have faith in the world."

 

"Smart," Daisy murmured, while nodding in silence.

 

I felt so naïve.

 

Daisy walked towards the back of the second room, behind the office. "This is the kitchen!"

 

She pointed to the giant sink that was two feet deep, as my eyes followed her every move. "This is your station for the next week and the week after. I'll train you how to wash our babies," said Daisy.

 

"I'm so excited. I love dogs!" I said, as I felt comfortable. I looked to the the right side of the room. "That's a huge fridge! What's in there?" I asked Daisy.

 

"Oh, you can't touch the stuff in the fridge, except for the dog foods. Those are left over sometimes we keep them in the fridge. But the rest is for the on-call vet," Daisy said. She opened the refrigerator and we looked inside, and said, "See. These are vitamins, and medicine, in case they get sick and some vaccines. The vet will be here in at nine in the morning, and off by noon. So you won't see each other."

 

"So where are the puppies?" I asked, yearning for cuddle times with a sweet pup.

 

"Well, some are puppies, the rest are grown up dogs. We have a couple of rabbits in the very back, then some cats, but we have about ten dogs right now," said Daisy. We walked to the swing double doors behind the kitchen. "We're an animal rescue so we're not as large as an animal shelter, but we do the same things. Come, they're here in the back"

 

As soon as the double doors swung open, the cages were the first thing I saw. There were ten floor length metal cages, all about five feet deep inside, with pull up cage dividers in the middle for each of them. The cage doors were wired steel, with up and down latches that were connected to the pull up dividers. The locks on the door were larger than usual, with plastic mats inside the cages on the floor, for the dogs to have a warm surface to sit on. There were five male cages on one side and five female cages on the other.

 

"Aww. This one is so sleepy," I said noticing a drowsy pup as I tried to touch the floppy ears of the sleepy cocker spaniel. The cocker spaniel was on her back, close to the cage door, exposing her ears and belly.

 

"She's funny, her name is Cougar. The vet and I named her, because she met the young lab on the other side on her first day here, and she kept licking him. I think she likes him," said Daisy.

 

"Cougar. Go get him, you little feline," I joked, as my finger barely reacheed Cougar's ears through the metal cages. Cougar wiggled a little and her paws reached up in the air and went back down again, as she fell back into a deep sleep.

 

"I think she's tired right now, sleepy baby," said Daisy, tickled by the sweet sight of a sleeping Cougar.

 

"Each one has their papers done and their shots done seven days after they arrive. The vet makes sure they're good to go in case someone wants them," said Daisy. "If they're not eating, that's a good indicator that they're sick. Just tell one of us, and we'll be on them with some love and meds."

 

"How long do they usually stay here?" I asked.

 

"It's Colorado, we're pretty pet friendly, and especially near the mountains. Boulder and Longmont and the Silver Creek area. They stay probably three months the most, but we've had some that's been here for a year or so. We use the dogs that aren't adopted for behavioral test to become healing dogs. We don't put them down as much here, unless they're really sick," said Daisy. She walked to the end of the row of cages, and pointed to the newest addition, Sampson.

 

"This here, is Sampson, he's our newbie. You'll see their charts in front of their doors, just like in hospitals. Sampson was abused pretty badly, when he's only eight months. You'll love him," she said. Daisy opened the cage and took Sampson out, a pug and daschund mix, but he looked more like a black dwarf beagle. "Hold him for me, you'll just fall in love with him. We all did."

 

Sampson licked my lips and bit my right hand gently. "Oh my gosh, he's so adorable. I love him already," I kissed him back, and hugged him tight to my chest.

 

"You can play with the dogs as soon as your stuff is done. We usually have a list for you to help us out with. Then we just let you lose with the puppies to play with them. You'll love it here," said Daisy.

 

Daisy took Sampson back from me, and held him close, and put him back inside the cage. Sampson had a tenacious spirit and kept on licking Daisy and holding on to her arms, as she let go of him inside the cage.

 

"Yeah, I can already feel it. You'll fall in love here," said Daisy, easing off Sampson's attachment with a few more kisses to his nose. "Did you see how he loves being held by you?"

 

"So, how many of us are there? Bernadine's girls?" I asked Daisy, as we walked towards the front office together.

 

"Oh Just a couple before you. There is me, I've got my story, but after me, there was another girl and another one. But, one got hurt and didn't make it. Also, I have to warn you, we don't usually talk about anyone," Daisy said.

 

"What do you mean got hurt? The perpetrator came after her?" I asked.

 

"Oh no, she hurt herself. It was pretty hard for her, I mean, she was really young, maybe fourteen or so, but that was a long time ago," says Daisy. "She was hurt by her dad, and they moved her out to foster care and she just kept cutting and never stopped."

 

"What's your story Daisy? Mine is pretty confusing," I asked. I wanted to head stories of other victims to help alleviate my pains and traumas.

 

"Let's trade stories later, I just met you. Trading stories is a common type of trading sorrows, however, such method of healing was only appropriate for the right circumstances and with the right people," said Daisy, with apprehension because I asked personal questions from only fifteen minutes of speaking to each other. "Rape victims get discriminated. For some reason, people treat us like we don't belong in the world anymore after the violence. We get looked down upon, as if we hurt the rapist. Sometimes we just keep quiet about it. It's for your own good. We can talk when we know each other better."

 

"I'm sorry Daisy," I said.

 

"Don't worry, but I need you to fill out some paper work. It's for the volunteer position. I think weekends or after school for there hours just for a day is good. Unless you want to do more, but I think six hours per week is more than enough," said Daisy.

 

"I'll do six hours," I said.

 

"Great! I like that idea. Monday through Sunday, pick some days," said Daisy, her smile brought ease to the almost tense atmosphere.

 

"I think Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Those'll be good for me," I said.

 

"If you can, we have fundraising days and party days. I'll give you a notice. We usually put messages for our

volunteers on the back corkboard. So check often, for envelopes with your name on it. That's how I update you, is that okay?" said Daisy. She opened her arms, and gave me a hug.

 

"You're so warm, it's really good to meet you," I said.

 

"Girl, I've been there. So, my story. I was raped by my own father, and he trafficked me to his friends. The sad part is, I get that feeling that just won't go away, the trash feeling. You'll know what I'm talking about, but don't be discouraged. Talk to someone about it," said Daisy. "You have me here and part of the job for me is to be the program coordinator for Bernadine's girls for the animal rescue. It's my job."

 

"How old are you Daisy?" I asked.

 

"I'm thirty years old this year. It's been a long road girl. I've been here at the shelter for almost fifteen years now, and I love it. I just work here full time and go to school part time. Taking it one step at a time," said Daisy, puffing her chest from the sense of accomplishment.

 

"How do you get over the bumps on the road? I mean…how do you handle the comments about being a victim. That type of stuff," I asked Daisy.

 

"I block them out. I have this great mental ability to just ignore people. I know, right, ignorance is bliss. But sometimes you just have to do it, to help yourself in our case. We can't listen to the name-calling, or the whispers that people say about you. I went through high school feeling like a tramp, because I was having sex with old men. But it's really not something that I wanted for myself," said Daisy.

 

"I'm scared about being the target for bullying and racism," I said, "I somehow feel that's the case. Because I was called derogatory names, and there aren't many Asian girls at school."

 

"You can't always look at it from a racism perspective. Unless there is a sudden surge of hate crimes in a period of time. Maybe it's one aspect of it. I'm Latina and there are a lot of derogatory names for every race. That's racism, too, but it's the violence behind it, and the labeling is the effect of it," said Daisy. "As human beings, we want to be the fittest, the strongest and the toughest, the one to survive so we can pass down our generations to our children. People hurt other people to prove they are superior, and to claim they are better than anyone else. They blame others because they refused to see the flaws in themselves and their own race," said Daisy.

 

"I feel scapegoated, and blamed for the circumstances that were not my own creation. I felt battered because someone wanted to oppress me to become stronger. As if they knew my future and wanted to steal the good things in my life so they can have it," I confided in Daisy.

 

"Try to help yourself, so when they start calling you names at school, just leave the premises. Look at it as a violence prevention method. Sometimes you just have to leave them and stay on your own path. Unless it gets bad, then you need to report to the authorities, and fight for your life," said Daisy.

 

The tears sneaked their way out a bit. "I'm sorry, I just start crying automatically now. It's hard to control now," I said. "It's just so hard to ignore anything."

 

"You may want to tell your counselor about that. The hospital is pretty good about giving sliding scales for therapy, for victims without health insurance. So they charge with a sliding scale and especially because you're under twenty-one years old," says Daisy. "It's all good girl, I've got my own diagnosis, I have PTSD, but mild now. I'm great at noticing my own triggers."

 

"I'm scared about having a diagnosis. I don't want to have PTSD, or Bipolar disorder, or anything at all," I said, in sobs. The trauma was yesterday, but now I felt it inside my blood, running through my veins, stabbing my soul.

 

"I've gone through a lot Angel, I'm sorry that I have a diagnosis," said Daisy, her eyes gazed to the side of the room.

 

"Oh gosh, I'm so sorry Daisy. I'm just so scared about being diagnosed with a mental illness," I said to her, holding her hand. I was so afraid of judgments that I accidentally judged a friendly soul.

 

"I know sweetie, it's okay. I just want you to know all races, have their victims. It's the violence, not the race. And it's not about having a diagnosis. It's about moving through it," said Daisy.  "I know, baby. It's okay. I'm really not upset. I know the first few months are the hardest. About the racism stuff, I always say to the people who just hold a prejudice against rape victims of another race, to picture that rape victim as a family member of their same color. Then, and only then, will they see their own mothers, sisters, wives, brothers, or children in the rape victim's eyes. Trust me, people will learn. We'll make it through."

 

My first Sunday as a victim was spent with Daisy, and if there was such a thing as a miracle, she was one in my eyes.

 

 

 

Chapter 11 – Ichabod

 

 

 

The broken pieces inside my heart was nothing to the shredded pieces of papers I tore during first period on Monday. I wrote hundreds of verses, stained with visions of the previous weekend. I was in math class, but I didn't care. I shoved the Trigonometry book to falsely let it fall, but it won't. Michael caught it, as he stood next to my table, invisible by the world except for me. He followed me, day and night, invisibly but his spirit crawled into this soul of mine to shield this life of mine. I hoped nothing foreseeably negative would happen to my life, or as it seemed. I tried to fraudulently sneeze, and Michael stroke his index finger under my nostrils. I breathed in.


"Bless you, Ichabod," said Mr. Fette, in Trigonometry. "Are you finished with tangents and cosines?"

 

I exhaled out frustrations, yet inhaled Michael's dusty scent. I tried to bite his finger, but his spirit shifted to the other side of the room. He might be the ghost who trailed me since birth, I thought to myself. The time when I almost fell off the tree near Leona's house, because no one watched me. I suspended in mid-air at ten years old and I never knew how to express my surprise, or confusion.

 

Now, I was inside this classroom, with a guardian angel, Michael, who was ordained by the heavens to defend me. Grateful I was to feel, but my mental illness led me to fears of why I needed a guardian for my life. Was there imminent danger to my everyday walk? With Michael around me, I became paranoid.

 

The bell rang, and I fumbled to clean my desk and ran towards my locker. Everyone turned in their tangents and cosines pop quizzes, but I just kept mine. I needed to talk to Sunjit, my best friend. Speaking to him gave me ease since we met. Elementary was only three years ago, and nothing would change our friendship. I sincerely hoped, nothing could.

 

The hallway was a crowd and the taller jocks tackled one another, wrestling in the hallways, as others flirtatiously strutted their lingos to girls, "What's up, ladies!" said one of them. Michael steadily followed as every bump towards his ghostly spirit passed through each high schooler.

 

One kid cringed as his hair spiked to the ceilings, and a chill came over him. He whispered, "Something is here." He ran to his locker as he stared at me, mumbling, "No demons nor saints, Please, get away from me…"

 

Sunjit walked towards me with his book bag over his shoulder. His face scowled as if a scab was on his buttocks and he couldn't dress it.

 

"Sunjit, look here," I told him. Our lockers were always close to each other. Sunjit Fajar, with an F, similar as Frenzy, my last name.

 

"Ichabod, my parents, they had another party and I couldn't sleep for half a day. They drank and drank coffee till morning. All I could do by sunrise was yawn," Sunjit said, with his red eyes.


His parents were Indian-American, from large families with multiple siblings from both sides. Their relatives congregated multiple times during the week, turning Sunjit's home into a transient housing for his cousins, aunties and uncles.


"My cousins, all they wanted to hear from me was how to be as tall as me, what type of exercises I do, and what type of clothing I would buy if I was a model," Sunjit complained. "I couldn't phone anyone, and these ears and eyes are sore!"

I breathed in. Michael leaned on the lockers next to me.


"Hey whore! Finished playing your part?!" I heard those words boomed from the other side of the hallway.

 
Sunjit and I were alerted with our eyes wide affront one another. We ran towards the voice as so the others. The crowd stood still as we saw Melody Johnson and her sidekick, Keisha Malone, shoved another girl, an Asian girl, whose face was familiar to my eyes. It was her…the girl in the vision. Angel!


"Whores were never named Angelina, or any form of the sort," said Keisha from Melody's side of the hallway, to the left side of our view. Keisha was a tall brunette, half Creole and Italian, everyone was crazy about her since she transferred in from Boulder High. The hallway was silent, in anticipation for a response.


"I am no such label," said Angelina, in sobs. Angelina was in her grey sweat pants, and a t-shirt, hardly the gorgeous girl in the vision. Her hair in a ponytail with tear stained eyes as if she was a lost puppy. Her petite shoulders shivered, and I wanted to hold her.


"When the most popular cheer squad of Silver Creek High invites you to an exclusive house party…pupils of Silver Creek, would you rummage through her home?!" Melody shouted, her hands pumping the crowd.

 

"Noooo……," almost everyone replied. Except for me and Sunjit.  


"You chinks, came here to build a life or so called it so, but you just steal our business, our money and our resources. You need to know where you belong. Go back where you're from, Angel. You're nothing but a nuisance here. Ungrateful bitch!" said Melody.


"You don't belong here, chink. My ancestors got here first and were slaves here. You respect our people, chink!" Keisha shouted.

 

"Ichabod, would I have been invited to her home?" Sunjit asked me in whispers, he looked into my eyes. "There were ladies there, eligible maidens?"

 

I shook my head, "Not our business," I replied. Sunjit slowly returned his gaze to Melody, and back to me, "It was our business…..Keisha, Melody, this Angel, there were others…."

 

I took his jaw and returned it forefront to the ordeal that was about to unfold. Another girl came to the scene, another halfie, with braids, heart shaped face and beautiful. I knew Sunjit would notice her. As expected, Sunjit gasped, and held his chest.

 

"Angel, stay back," the girl in long silky braids took Angel by her side and stood by her. They backed to the lockers and let Melody and Keisha gained the attention.


"Samantha,…they hate me so much," said Angelina. "I don't deserve to be ridiculed after what happened." Angelina looked distraught and closed her eyes with her palms, turning around on the spot and reached out to Samantha.


"You two need to let Angel be," Samantha calmly stretched out her arms and drew a vast space between Melody and Keisha from Angelina.


Sunjit looked to me, and said, "There were others…, beautiful others."


I shook my head, and took his jaw and moved his face to focus on the scene of Melody and Keisha.

 

Samantha peacefully calmed Melody and Keisha, who were hawks about to swoop their prey. "Angelina is an immigrant. No need to call her racial slurs," said Samantha, her arms stretched in front of her.


"The whore has to tame down her manes," Melody yelled out loud.

 

"Do you even know The Civil War, chink?!" Keisha shouted, edging everyone to prejudice. "You never fought for our country, cunt!" Keisha looked to Samantha and asked, "You seriously gonna fight for the chink, whore?"


"Who did you call whore?! I'm biracial, bitch!" Samantha lost her calm and jumped towards Melody to pounce her face, as Keisha jolted forward and separated them. Keisha took her right leg shoving Samantha to the other side of the wall. Samantha fell backwards yet held herself up with her hands, as Angelina got up to batterfang Melody. The four girls fought hard, and ripping out Samantha's braids, pouncing faces and causing a violent scene in the hallway in mid-morning on a Monday.

 

Sunjit and I stood back in awe with our mouth gaped open. This must have been a comet of a fight in the history of Silver Creek High School. But, one should never assume.


"What beauty crossed my path?" said Sunjit. "Ichabod, she's a rose, the braided one."

 

"I just saw the Angel inside my dreams?" I said. A vision of Angelina manifested in front of me.

 

"Her energy, … of a champion," Sunjit said. I rolled my eyes, as I knew all Sunjit could relate to in the world was about track and field. It was about "energy" for Sunjit, but my eyes was fixated on Angel.

 

"She caused the fight," I told Sunjit. "The cute one with braids."


Assistant Principal Rawlins burst the scene with his whistle separating the crowd. Principal Rawlins took his body in between Keisha and Samantha and managed to keep them away from each other. Collin came from the other side of the hallway, and took Angelina from Melody.


"I heard the whistle," Collin yelled. "What happened? Angel, stay calm!"

 

Angelina cradled into Collin's arms, as they sat on the floor and Angelina sobbed in distress. A jab jolted me from within, as if my heart had a prickle of a needle from Collin's touch. Melody ticked nervously with Collin in the hallway as she stood still next to Keisha.


"Samantha, Angelina, what happened?" Principal Rawlins placed his hands in front of him standing in between the four girls with Melody and Keisha on one side, and Angelina and Samantha on the other.


"They started it!" Keisha yelled out. "Samantha threw the first punch!"


"Samantha, is that true?" Principal Rawlins asked her. Samantha stood next to Angelina and Collin who were both on the ground. She looked directly to Melody, and told her, "You threw the verbal abuse. That's personal injury."


Principal Rawlins whistled another call. "Stop!" he placed his hands in front of him with his back towards Samantha, separating her from Melody and Keisha. "This has got to stop!" His once jolly face was distressed with his eyes wide as if he was about to swallow his whistle.


"Everyone go back to your classes!" Assistant Principal Rawlins cleared everyone in the hallway.

Sunjit and I were engrossed and suddenly invested in Angel and Samantha, deeply, intently, and emotionally. "Mine, the one with braids…that power! Ballsy," Sunjit said to me, shaking his head.


I looked around to find Michael, and he stood near my locker that was left opened. He held on to his sword, as if Armageddon was about to happen.


"I'm on a mission, Ike," said Sunjit. I clenched my fist and tabbed his fist over and underside. Sunjit laughed and ran to his class. I stood still to wait and listened to my guardian.

Michael came closer, and said, "Allowable, but not the most opportune time to meet Angel. You will have another. Wait for it."

 

 

 

Chapter 12 - Angelina

 

 

 

Collin twirled my fingers, as he always did when we had fights. His smile was worth waiting for. His short dirty blonde curls were perfect to my soft hands as I ran through them. We waited inside the nurse's office, where Samantha and Principal Rawlins talked about the fight in the exam room.


"What happened, baby?" Collin asked me.


"I think I was raped," I told him. My tears quenched as my heart shattered into pieces. Soft whispers eluded me, a voice of a man, who said, "He won't comfort you." The disturbing voice lingered inside my ears as it echoed inside my thoughts.

 

I looked around the vicinity of my chair, as Collin pulled my hands to his face. My eyes back towards Collin as he kisses my palms. My hands touched his face and my heart beats stronger for his touch.


"By whom?" Collin held my hands, his eyes moistened and tears rolled down his eyes. I didn't anticipate his tears, but it felt sweet, warm, loving, kind and compassionate to my heart. It was what I needed most.


Principal Rawlins and Samantha walked out of the exam room, and as they walked out, Samantha told me, "Suspension, a week."


Principal Rawlins pulled a chair to sit near me, as Collin gave us space, "What happened at Melody's party?"

 

"I woke up in an empty room and I felt raped," I told him.

 

"Did you make a police report?' Principal Rawlins asked me.


"I made it through the SANE exam," I said.


Samantha stood behind Principal Rawlins, and said, "Mr. Rawlins, labeling is considered violence. Angelina was hurt, and I don't know why Melody would call anyone that, but everyone heard it."


"Sam, you caused a scene!" I couldn't help but shout to her.


"Angel, do you know what happened to you?" Samantha yelled back. "It might be a hate crime."


My tears kept flowing as my cheeks felt apple red out of anger. I never compared myself to anyone based on race or my ancestry. I came here with Papa to escape a dysfunctional family, and not to steal resources from any one of any race. Every race had struggles, and it was never my intent to compare or ridicule or degrade the troughs our ancestors walked. I felt shamed but I knew I shouldn't, because I was allowed to have a life worth living for here in the United States, the land of freedom and justice for all. "Is this because I'm Chinese-Indonesian?" I asked Samantha.


"Everyone calm down," said Assistant Principal Rawlins.


"Who did this to you?" Collin asked me. "The rape, I mean."


"I don't know," I said, as I sat on my chair, myself still confused of what happened.


"What did Melody mean when she said you mistreated her parent's home?" Samantha asked me. "I was there at the party, Angelina. What happened?"


"I drank something Merrick gave me, then I woke up in an empty bedroom, and I was raped," I said, with tears in my eyes. I didn't know how to explain it any other way.  This was the truth, and I felt imprisoned. Please don't say I'm incompetent. Please don't blame me. I feel bad enough, I thought to myself.

 

"Merrick? You met him? What was he doing there?" asked Collin, thirsty for information.


"I don't know. He was Melody's brother. I don't know anyone else, I thought Samantha was there, but she left early," I said.


"Did Samantha drink, too?" Assistant Principal Rawlins was furious about the new information.


"They put the test tubes to my mouth, and sort of forced me to drink it," I said.

 

"Then what happened after that night? Did you tell the police?" asked Collin.

 

"I woke up in some rape shelter and my Papa met me there. He missed work because I had the car all night," I said.

 

"I shouldn't have suggested the party," said Samantha, her hands to her face.


"What can I do to help you?" Collin asked me. I finally could breathe.


"Please don't break up with me," I said. "I know I'm damaged, but I didn't mean to drink and become a rape victim. Please Collin. I'm so sorry."

 

"I started it, and I'm so sorry," said Samantha. "I lost it when they called me a whore."


"Sam, you know what to do for a week," said Assistant Principal Rawlins. "Collin, why don't you take Angelina home. Angel, after today, you have to go to the Nurse and do your program. Bernadine designed the program for you. It's your job to keep it together."


Collin took my book bag and we walked to the parking lot. We passed a strange kid with deep set eyes and dark brown hair, staring at me and Collin as we walked outside our school.


Collin opened the passenger door to his Highlander SUV, and I slid on to the seat. He walked to the driver's side and slid into his seat and started the car. "What kind of person would fight the Pedigree Siblings?"

 
"They're not as nice as you think," I said. "When I woke up, Melody bullied me out of her house and I felt so bad, Collin. I wished it never happened!"


"You know we've been dating, Angel, then why did you talk to Merrick? Were you flirting?" Collin asked me, his voice tense and his jaw looked clenched.


My eyes began to water and told him, "No…he was flirting with me."

 
"This is not good for me," said Collin, because his parent's restaurants were The Johnson's competitor for over a decade. "They're going to think I'm out to ruin them."

 
"How is this about you?" I asked in anger. "I was the one who got raped."

 
"But, I'm affected by this!" Collin yelled at me, as he started the car, and I couldn't help but sob.


"I thought you wanted to help me?" I said, lowering my tone, trying to de-escalate our fight. The last thing I want is for the love of my life, thus far, to break up with me.


"Not good, Angel. This is not good," said Collin. His face reminded me of a losing war.

 

To be continued, ...Just write.

 

 

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ICHABOD FRENZY - Chapter 4 & 5

Chapter 4 – Angelina

 

 

"Papa, may I use your car?" I asked him. It was six o'clock in the evening, and the annual-year-end cheerleading bash at Melody's house will commence in fifteen minutes. "I just need it for tonight."

 

Hot iron was made for long silky hair and the style felt prim and proper. It was a gift under-appreciated by some, but a golden nugget for this superstar.

 

"It's the last party Papa. I just want to end the school year with a lot of fun." A few fragrant spots of 'Pleasures,' on my wrists and my clavicle, and now I'm ready to go.

 

"Don't come home too late," my father said, dangling the key to the family's Toyota Prius. He placed it on the bathroom counter, and kissed me on my forehead.

 

My father, Tom, worked as the chef of China 2000, a local Chinese take-out in Silver Creek. His young face has often been falsely mistaken for an amateur cook with no experience. To the contrary, my father was once a premier chef of a swanky restaurant in Chinatown, New York, before moving to Silver Creek, Colorado, on contract with the current establishment.

 

The poor son of a rice farmer in rural China, who impregnated my mother out of wedlock in a small village, he had no status to marry my mother, Sun-Chen (Sunny), a Chinese Princess of a noble Lee family, who was deemed the imperial jade of the small town they lived in.  My father was just the creek pebble, and marriage with Sunny had to involve equal worth of valuables and lineage. There was no other way, other than to run from the predicament and escaped to Jakarta, Indonesia.

 

My mother, Sunny, was the one who left my father in Jakarta, after giving birth to me, Angelina. Her family wanted status to remain in their lineage, so she was later arranged to marry the heir of a tobacco plantation for financial stability. My father had no prospect for a future, nor respect, but a super chunk of a beautiful daughter who proved to be his path to America. I was the reason he moved, so I will be the reason he succeeds.

 

"Don't drink anything with alcohol in it," he said, walking around our two-bedroom apartment searching for his spare keys.

 

"Papa, when have I ever gotten drunk?" I replied, my hands akimbo.  I brushed some last sprinkles of glittery powder on my shoulders, showing off my smooth skin.  Just a white tank top and blue jeans would work tonight. Nothing pretentious, and nothing too provocative. Sometimes, subtext to the mind gave more to the imagination.

 

"Just don't stay there too long. Pay your respects to Melody. Then go home," my father said. "I know what goes on at parties. I wasn't born yesterday."

 

"I'm going alone Papa, Collin's not coming," I told him.

 

"Why not? I thought they're friends?" he asked.

 

"No, Papa. Collin is completely mine. He's all about me, and me, and me," I told my father, pointing to my heart. I took the keys and kissed my father's cheeks. "I'll be home early."

 

"We'll see if Collin is Egg-Foo-Young or Peking Duck," my father said. He frowned upon parties during weekends. He told me it hollowed his heart because he always felt unsteady from the unknown without me in his arms. Once a princess in his eyes, I will always be.

 

"Love you, Papa. I'll be back, I promise," I said. I closed the door, because the evening awaited.

 

 

A dozen cars were parked on the curved driveway atop the regal hill of Silver Creek Estates.

 

"What kind of people can afford this neighborhood?" I asked myself, as I drove my small Red Prius closer to Melody's house. 

 

Silver Creek Estates was a gated community, in the upper crust of St. Vrain Valley, closer to Boulder. Multi-million dollars mansions surrounded the large private lake in the middle of the community.

 

I found a parking spot three full block away from the house, passing rows of Mercedes Benz, BMWs, Saabs, Hummers, and fancy sports cars.

 

"I love my little car," I said, in awe of the expensive alternatives.

 

The deck from the lake from a side angle gave me a glimpse of Melody's party. Floating tea candles were on the water with some paddle boats for kicks. It was a hot spring season, and the snow subsided, closing in on June.

 

"Get in, get out, and stay out of trouble," I mumbled to myself, charging off temptations for staying late, or being "lushed up" by alcohol, and peer pressure.

 

I rang the doorbell as the first few bars of Strauss, tuned from inside the house. I felt a stab to my right shoulder from behind me, as if a large needle prickled into my back pushing me forward onto the door. "O god! Who's there?!" I thought someone hurt me, and I touched my right shoulder, but it was normal. I looked around, yet nothing was around me.

 

"Where did that come from?" I wondered. "That hurt a lot!" I said, crossing my arms and touching my shoulders on both sides, but really, nothing was there.

 

The oval door knob twisted, as a girl in a white tube top opened it. Two dozen other Silver Creek High School seniors were dancing to The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight," behind her.

 

"Here is our China Doll! HELL YEAH!" Melody yelled from behind the girl in the white tube top. She pulled me inside the house and hugged me, then squeaked a high note as she usually does upon excitement. Melody wore a black mini-strapless dress countouring her athletic body. Her hair was pixie brunette with blonde highlights, striking to her cute heart shaped face. With her hazel eyes, creamy light skin and cherub face, Melody no doubt deserved the title, "The Prettiest Girl in Silver Creek High School."

 

"Jeans? But, you always wear jeans!" Melody yelled at me. She squaked again, and this time, with a blink and a fast head shake for disapproval. No one around us cared to listen about fashion faux-pas, as the seniors kept dancing to the hip-hop mix. "At least the cute white baby tanky is a classic."

 

"I don't have a house with a lake, Melody. Here, I have something for you," I told her. I reached into my left jeans pocket and took out a small box with a silver wing necklace.

 

"I'm wearing mine," I said, showing her our matching necklace. I handed her the cute small box and kissed her cheeks.

 

"Oh my gawd! China Doll, you are simply irresistible!" Melody said, this time with a softer tone of voice, perhaps out of surprise as she opens the box. "Thank you, baby, you're my best in the squad."

 

"Really?" I said, and giggled. I looked around the house, and all the lights inside the house were off. Only black lights glowed everything white.

 

I saw glowing shirts, skirts, hats, tube tops, and shoes from some Silver Creek seniors, and my own tank top was bright as a paper lantern in the dark. I peeked to the kitchen window from the living room, and saw some cheers from our squad standing out in the backyard, in a small commune. I walked closer to the window, and someone grabbed my elbow from behind me.

 

"Check me out, Angel. What say you?" said Samantha, pointing to her outfit. "I bought it all from Target!"

 

Samantha aimed for intrigue for every party, but sometimes she goes way too far from French Couture. To her, every party was a costume party because if she was not in a costume at a party, she won't feel "The Vibes," as she confided in me, multiple times ago.

 

"A bit disco, you say?" Samantha said, grinning with her non-smoker teeth glowing bright. She lifted one hand to the sky posing a magician's assistance stance. Her wig was glow in the dark blonde Shirley-Temple curls with red bows. Her tights were black and white plaid and she wore a tight black mini-skirt with a black tank top with a white heart of faux-fur glowing in the dark. 

 

"There was a lamb sacrificed, somewhere in Boulder for this fur," I told her.

 

 Samantha's hips swished to the side.  "Harper's Bazaar, right?" says Samantha, her hands in the air.

 

"Bazaar! Yes! You're a natural goof-ball," I told her. "This is so crazy cool. You were right! It is a glow in the dark jam."

 

"I'm a genius, and I know everything," Samantha said. She held on to my arms to walk towards the kitchen island, where the keg was. "Those kegs have liquid vemon inside. Those beefy fraternity boys hauled them in. I saw them." She pointed to the chiseled men standing outside of the kitchen in the backyard, talking to Melody while sipping on their beers.

 

"I thought this was a high school party?" I asked Samantha. "Those guys looked like college men?"

 

"They should have hired a bar tender for their empty bar over there," said Samantha, pointing to the medium sized bar at the edge of the kitchen, next to the living room.

 

"Angel, Melody's here," Samantha nudged me from behind.

 

"So here's the deal, I'm concerned about our relationship," said Melody. She placed her arms on my shoulders. "Collin is not here, why? Isn't your boyfriend supportive of me and you? I'm squad leader, why isn't he here? He's power forward."

 

"But, it's all about me and you, Melody. You're my co-squad leader. Our time is precious and he needs to give me privacy for girlie times," I told her. I didn't want Melody to bring up my Collin.

 

"Well done, but still, squad leader is not well pleased with star baller," Melody said. She walked to the kitchen table and took a test tube shot arrayed nicely on its rack, free for all. She walked back to me, and told me to drink up.

 

"For penance, and justice," Melody said, handing me the tube.

 

"Umm...nope, that's an alcoholic one," I said. With my pointer finger to the sky to stop the tube-feeding.

 

"What is inside the shot?" Samantha asked. She took the tube as it it was a specimen and smelled it, then handed it back to Melody. Melody gulped it down.

 

"Love Bomb," says Melody. "It makes you love everyone, I call it my secret weapon."

 

"I see. Thank god Collin's not here. He is only allowed to fall in love with me," I said, and made sure the insidious tube shot won't drug me.

 

 "China Doll, let's meet my brother, Merrick. He brought some of his hot friends," Melody said, pointing to a group of atheletic college men outside near the lakeside deck. The flock of men or hawks, as I saw them, looked chiseled, gorgeous, and of diverse races. 

 

"Let's go outside," Melody said, taking my left hand holding it as we walked to the backyard towards the lake under the moonlight. Melody made it a point to ignore Samantha.

 

"Wait, can I come?" Samantha asked. She tried to follow, and Melody turned around and hugged her, her pointer finger to the sky whispering. "Wait your turn. Angel is my co-lead," said Melody.

 

Melody and I walked outside, leaving Samantha pouting behind us. Standing near the edge of the deck, with his face in amber glow from the reflection of the floating tea candles, was Merrick, Sophomore at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Merrick was the most popular guy two years ago at Silver Creek High School. Melody mentioned to me sometime ago, that Merrick became the Pledge Father for a popular fraternity at CU Boulder.


Merrick and Melody Johnston were what the Silver Creek High Schoolers called "Pedigree Siblings." Their parents owned the Merrick's Steak House restaurant chain in Westminster, and Denver, and soon to open in Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and Estes Park.

 

"Merrick, this is China Doll. Introduce yourself, baby," said Melody, holding on to my waist. "She's my best friend for tonight. She gave me this." Melody showed Merrick the silver wing necklace.

 

"Nice," Merrick says. His striking face sent chills down her back, and his smile felt organic to my bones. I must say, he truly was Greecian Gorgeous.

 

"Pleasure is mine," said Merrick. He offered his right hand for a handshake. 

Merrick was a 6'4 brunette-green eyes darling with a strong bridge of a nose, strong jaw line, crescent moon eyes and smooth complexion. He wore khakis and leather shoes, and if I was Harvey Weinstein, I'd recruit him for a runway model for my agency.

 

"Likewise," I said, as my hands shook slightly in the presence of the elite. I never meant to have friends of priviledged status, but now that I met The Johnstons, I felt an invisible lift to my soul. Oddly, it felt sublime as if I was on a yacht in the middle of the Pacific Ocean wearing linen pants and a white button down, my hair blowing in the wind.

 

I kissed Melody on her cheek. "Beautiful family, Melody. Thank you for inviting me." Merrick dove deep with his green eyes into my soul sending a rush of needles into this heart of mine. If temptation was the test, I failed subliminally and pscychologically. Merrick was simply intoxicating.

 

I yearned for acceptance from these pedigree siblings, the royalties of Silver Creek, and the most popular teens in Boulder County. I wanted to be Melody's sister, and her confidant. The desire was so strong, and I wanted to be loved by them, simply because the finer things in life felt centimeters away from me. Rich by association wasn't just an idiom, it was the American power of privilege.

 

"We're going to party some more. Merrick, join me and dance with China Doll," Melody said, handing my arms to him.

 

"Um....I was going to just hang out and talk to Samantha, then go home," Angelina said, my nerves crept up and my shaking hands left no subtlety.

 

"Nonsense," Merrick said. He took my left arms with his left arm, and grabbed my waist with his right hand. "It's the last party of the year. There is no way, I'll miss out of this Chinese beauty." I blushed, his touch sizzled the center of my being. There was a gentle sway from deep within me, as if I was swooned to the left. I've never felt this way before.

 

"How about you and Collin switch?" Melody said sarcastically. "Merrick for Angel, and me for Colin." Merrick laughed out loud as I wriggled away.

 

"No, thank you," I scolded. "Colin and I are steady." I didn't want this to happen. Temptation beckoned lifelong regret, and I didn't want to be broken because Colin meant everything to me. No, I won't touch Merrick, but he touched me. 

 

"I'm sorry, Angel," Melody said. Her hands on her cheeks. "I just want you to be with Merrick so so much."

 

"Oh, that's okay, Colin and I are pretty committed to each other," I said, insistently. Merrick's every touch became irritating and itchy. I took myself out of his arms.

     

"All right, let's just go in and have fun. Melody, shame on you," said Merrick. He let go of my waist and softly caressed my right arm and held it tight. "I take care of my little sis's friends, and that includes you, Porcelain Beauty."

 

I closed my eyes for a split second to ground myself, as if the clouds bumped into me, tumbling forward into Merrick's chest. Melody couldn't stop giggling and I noticed she must be tipsy from the alcohol.

 

"Cliff, take my sis, will ya?" said Merrick, to one of the fraternity brothers near the lakeside deck. Cliff, a tall dark skinned fellow with light brown highlights also looked runway material. I looked to the other brothers, and they prime caliber of model good looks with stylish fashion sense. Silver Creek was an enclave of the gorgeous and rich families in Boulder County. This was not an imagination, it truly was my reality.

 

A hip hop song came on, My Pony by Ginuwine, with beats demanding moves to release my nerves from all of this guilt. Merrick took my right arm and whispered, "Since you're alone tonight, I'm taking my chances." His tongue spoke flattery, but I shook my head, "No."

 

Yet, he came closer, and whispered, "Yes."

 

Melody was suddenly beside me, girating her shoulders and poking fun at Cliff, who swirled his left hand over his head.

 

"You're babe on top!" He moved in to kiss Melody, as she kissed him back. The room became sexual, and I was utterly nervous. Samantha was gone, and I felt the same fear when I lost my father in a crowd of strangers.

 

"Stop. I can't," I told Merrick, he held me close to his chest. Instead, he held on tighter, and lifted me over his shoulder, and carried me to the kitchen. "Put me down! Merrick! Put me down."

 

Merrick put me down near the kitchen island, and no one cared. He kissed me and forced his tongue down my throat, holding my jaw hard. He took a test tube shot, and held it over my lips. He squeezed my jaws, opening my mouth as my hands shook. I tried to push him away, but he was too strong for me.

 

"Just once, try it. Just for tonight," he whispered. He poured the Love Bomb into my mouth, as my tongue wiggled from anxiety. "Just drink, baby."

 

Tears rolled down my face, because I wanted to be their family, and so I swallowed. He held my waist tight, and he kissed me rapturously, and I gave in out of passivity. Our bodies bounced to the beat of the hip-hop remix, as Cliff came to the kitchen island with Melody and whispered in secret to her.

 

The next song was Billy Currington's "People are Crazy," and Merrick gruffed my arms, and pulled me close. "Slow dance," he whispered. The vocal chords that would wail during cheer was silenced, and the darkness and loud music made me frantic. I couldn't speak, and I didn't know what to do.

 

The room spun in my eyes and the black lights made the polyopia worsen. I staggered away from Merrick, and felt my body lift up from the floor into his arms.

 

...

 

The dim light from the lamp next to the bed was too bright, as the crevices of my eyes opened slowly. The light burned my corneas as I grimaced and tried to open my eyelids slowly. I felt the edge of a messy bed with my hands as it was spread open as an eagle's wings. My body felt fatigued, hollow, and sore. My stomach felt like eels ate through its layers. I was frozen, incapable to think. There was a dim lamp beside the bed. I felt my tank top was still on, and so were my jeans. I raised myself slowly, and felt my jeans were on too high, as if someone forced it up my hips. My tank top was on backwards, because I felt the front seam was higher than the back.  

 

As if a screwdriver was stuck in my belly, I felt it twist inside me as I cringed in pain. I felt bruised internally, and my pelvis felt tender, as if someone used my stomach as a punching bag. My vagina felt sore and my head was still spinning.

 

"What happened to me?" I mumbled, swiping my hairs away from my face. "I'm so drowsy."

 

My eyes wandered around the empty room, with a flat screen television in front of the bed with matching furniture. My blood boiled from under her skin. A spirit inside me said, "Something is wrong," as my mouth felt dry and my tongue had mint and mouth wash after taste. Something in me inflamed, stirred, and shattered.  

 

My eyes moistened, as I struggled to focus with blurry vision. My head felt heavy and splitting open. My brain throbbed inside my cranium.

 

"What happened?" I asked myself again. Fears filled me up to my chest, and I heaved again, and tears gushed out.

I struggled to walk out of the room, because of the intense pain in my abdomen. The party was still on, but fewer people were inside the house. It was later in the evening, but I didn't know what time. My soul felt burnt by a sinister force. I didn't know who to ask for help. I stepped down the stair case, and nearly fell down the stairs. The dance floor was bumping, and I saw Melody, still grinding Cliff.

 

Melody looked up the stair case, and saw me, "China Doll, why are you upstairs?"  She briskly walked up the stairs to face me. Attitude, anger, and coarse language was next. "How dare you sleep inside one of our rooms? We didn't give you permission to sleep here!"

 

"I don't know what happened," I said. "I don't know how I got there."

Melody walked down the stairs to the living room, turning on the lights. The dancing stopped. The music stopped. Everyone froze in place.

 

"I don't know what happened. I think I was raped," I said. Tears on my face, I felt my skin dry, aged a thousand years, as my soul cracked from between my chest.

 

 Melody was bewildered, and in a rage, she yelled, "Slut! This is not a whore house! Get out!"

 

 "I think I was taken there by someone," I said. I didn't understand what happened or how to speak at the moment. All I wanted to do was cry, and ask a wise spirit if I would be okay. "I think I was with your brother last, Merrick."

 

"This is just so rude. Angelina, you're ruining my party. Merrick's outside and he doesn't sleep around. How dare you come into our private rooms without my permission," Melody says, in all coarseness of speech. "Get out, slut!"

 

My feet rooted to the ground as I found myself in panic. The whole house stared at me, as if I was ugly animal inside a zoo of peacocks and butterflies.

 

Sobbing, I said, "I need help."

 

Melody yelled, "Get out, China Doll! You need to go home. This is an exclusive party. I expect you to be respectful of my home, not treat it like a hotel."

 

My body shivered from distress and humiliation. I slowly walked to the door, and no one came to help. Not a single person at the party wanted to look at me.

 

The door slammed behind me. I stood in front of her house, in sobs as the lights inside the house turned off again. The pains in my vagina burned and my gut felt a jabbing pain. Help was a far cry at this moment, because I wasn't sure if it was an emergency, a crisis, or a dream.

 

 "Papa, I am so sorry," I said, under my breath. Nobody could hear me. "I don't know what to do, Papa."

Drowsiness and fear made me feel so completely confused, and all of my intent to go home early was the only thing inside my head. Was this supposed to happen? Was this real?

 

"Is this rape?" I asked myself. I felt I was raped somehow, by someone.

 

The walk felt like a gauntlet in medieval times, with barbarians awaiting my death. Some men who looked familiar were in front of me, and I felt so lost and in defeat. I lost to temptations, to shame, to judgements, and was thrown out from the most desireable family in all of Silver Creek. One of the high schoolers from the party looked at my tank top, and looked to the ground in embarrassment. There were other high schoolers standing outside near the parked cars, whispering.

 

I was savaged out of the comfort of my being. As helpless as a dying queen, I lost control of my body, my soul, my mind.  Racing thoughts came to me, and I sobbed and sobbed. I felt my pockets, and my keys were there.

 

"I don't know what to do?" I told one of the familiar faces. He looked down. Their silence showed disgust towards me.

I kept walking, as my heart kept bleeding. I staggered to the Prius, and slowly sat myself inside the car. My microcosm of life was now brutally damaged.

 

"I have to drive to the ER," I said to myself. The human body was resilient and so was the human mind, but all these ideas must be theoretical. I felt dumb.

 

"I am so hurt. Please help me," I sobbed. I wailed inside the car in agony.

 

"Help! Someone help me!," I screamed inside the car. "Hospital! I need hospital! I was raped!"

There was nothing that could prepare me for this tragedy, not even the angels. I was a sole victim, in a house full of princes and princesses. I felt trashed.

 

I drove to the hospital, barely aware of street signs, and dodging incoming traffic. There must be a patrol officer who would ticket me, or so I hoped. But, none was around early in these hours.

 

I saw a light to the left, Silver Creek Hospital, as I swerved into the drive way. The front door looked empty of visitors, so I drove to the front of it and slowly walked in, hoping for some help.

     

"Please, help me," I said to the front desk volunteer, sobbing with my blurry vision as my head spun out of control. I waited for her to reply, but my vision faded to black and I slumped to the ground.

 

 

 

Chapter 5 – Ichabod

 

 

In peace and tranquility, I walked on soft grass inside this garden with birds serenading my thoughts. The tall trees soared to the skies as the clouds burned from the hot sun. I looked above me and the sunshine was tender, loving and constant. The stony path ahead was unscathed by the tall grass, it grew around it, and I wondered if such was possible with natural growth? What was this, I wondered? A dream or fantasy unheard of that puzzled me. The sun was a sign that beamed a bright journey ahead in my life, as my face enjoyed its glorious light. Ahead of me was a bench underneath a sequoia, and as I approached it, a voice boomed about me.

 

"Welcome, Tobias," said the low echoing voice. Why that name again? This was serious, if even spirits couldn't recognize me with my birth name, what was I in reality to humans?

 

Searching for the source of the voice, I turned around as the sunlight beamed upon the stony path. Particles of the sun came down from the clouds and formed into flesh, that of a man with a long wooden staff. His dark skin vibrant in contrast to his tattered cream robe. As he came closer, there were freckles on his cheeks. The face of a humble soul, with hair was dark as the soil and his tattered brown robe seemed hundreds of years ancient, with torn parts sewn back on with patches made of thick animal leather. There were threads protruding out of his brown robe and the glow of golden yarn in the midst of the ripped and torn parts as if beauty out of human suffering on his cloth shined through.

 

He wore a smile as if I was his family.

 

"Tobias," he said, opening his arms to me. He had a regal walk, that of a warrior with a soft glow of light surrounding him.

 

"I'm Ichabod," I replied Ichabod. "Who's Tobias? "Why did you call me by that name?"

 

"Your spirit is Tobias, my son," said the man. "I am your father, Raphael, the healer."

 

"But, my Father left my Mother and I, for another woman," I said. 

 

"This is about a young maiden, Sarah," Raphael said. "You are meant to be here."

 

Of all the gods in the world, I was not sure this man was a god at all. He looked somewhat ordinary, a man of humble appearance, although his voice was comforting and his presence felt diety.

 

"You are chosen, son," Raphael said. "To help someone as Tobias came to help Sarah long ago."

 

"Why would you come to me for help? I have Major Depression," I asked him. How would I help another, if I couldn't understand what was before me? Watching National Geographic was beaten to this strange fantastical encounter.

 

"Because your help is valuable, Tobias. You will understand," Raphael said. He reached for my shoulder, as my brain tingled with sparks through my synapses. "Do not be afraid, I am with you at all times, and so are your guardians."

 

His touch calmed my soul, and I felt a wholesome peace inside my chest. I felt safe, and I felt home. I breathed in, immersing his presence into my being.

 

"Guardians?" I asked.

 

Raphael stepped aside, and the same particles of sunlight formed into another man. A man, much younger and shorter in stature, came into form. What circus magic was happening in front of me? This was baffling!

 

The newly formed man wore a similar robe with dark hair and dark eyes, but a youthful face. The face of a boy holding an orb made of glass, and inside it were the hands of time ticking before my eyes.

 

"This is my friend, Gabriel. He holds time and space," Raphael said. He had a kind smile, a smile of a friend with whom we all knew. His dark eyes befriended me, and his boyish face reminded me of myself when I was a boy. He shook his body and shivered.

 

"Life and death, is in the palms of heaven," said Gabriel. "Thank you, Raphael, it was cold in between passages of the worlds."

 

Raphael nodded, and replied, "You are most welcome, and here comes our protector."

 

Another man came into form out of the particles of the sunlight. This time the transformed man appeared to be in between in the ages of Raphael and Gabriel. He was tall with dark hair and dark eyes. He had a face of a fierce swordsman, with lines along the sides of his cheeks, as if signs of battles won.

 

"He is your protector, Tobias," Raphael said. My shoulders tensed as I felt a force around me, cocooning my body.

 

"Michael," the new man told me. "At your service."

 

He truly was as I expected, with a white sword on his belt of jagged edges that shined as steel. In his other hand, an object unbeknowest to man. A small oval magnifying glass with a gold rim encasing it, covered by metal of somekind. He came gallantly towards me, as I stumbled back in fear.

 

An invisible force pushed me against gravity and lifted me to face him, as he hugged me. His hug felt like a bear was holding me close to his chest, in safety, strength, and solace.

 

"My honor," Michael said. "And with the strength of dragons and lions, I will protect you," He took the glass object and held it to the skies.

        

"Protect me from whom? Or what?" I asked Michael, as my nerves and anxiety radar was on like a fog light in the dark. This moment felt like an omen from above. Not desireable to a young man with his whole life ahead of him.

 

"Show him, Michael," Raphael said to him. Raphael turned to me, and said, "Michael has the eye of the universe."

 

Michael took the small oval magnifying glass that hung on the strap on his chest, and held it to the skies. It reflected the sun, and quickly, the day turned into night as the sun became the moon. The clouds moved across the skies faster than during a storm. The wind gushed about me inside the garden and a cold chill froze me on the spot.

 

The object Michael held showed an image as if a large screen was afront. A film, or perhaps something else? There was an image of a young girl, about my age with a beautiful oval face and long silky dark hair. 

 

"She looks familiar," I told Raphael. "Who is she?" Suddenly, the girl on the screen evanesced into the darkness.

 

"Watch closely," said Michael. He tilted the magnifying glass to reflect the light from the moon.

 

"She is your Sarah," Raphael said. "She is in trouble."

 

 "You are to help her, Tobias," Gabriel said. He placed his orb inside his leather pouch across his belt. "There is much to be done."

 

"Guardians, please call me by my birth name, Ichabod. Calling me Tobias only confuses me," I told them.

 

"Fair enough," said Michael, holding the oval glass higher towards the clouds reflecting the moonlight. Standing next to them, I felt protected and strong as a stealth ship. 

 

"The devil cheated through time and space," said Raphael. "Look closely."

 

There was a party showing on the screen, a dark room with glowing objects and some familiar faces. One face I knew since Freshmen year. "Melody Johnston," I said. "Why am I watching this? I don't like her."

 

The screen showed Melody walking upstairs to a room, as she opened the door, there were men inside. Men of elite status, I presumed. Good looking, almost aristocratic, fit to be kings and princes.

 

"Is this the cheer squad glow in the dark party everyone spoke about at my school?" I asked, pointing to the screen.

 

"Tobias, warning," Raphael said.

 

"ICHABOD!" I yelled and pleaded, may hands in a fist in front of me. "Let there be no punishment for this. I never knew Tobias. I am not him!"

 

"Your soul is. In the other realm, you are Tobias, on Earth, you are Ichabod," Gabriel said. "But, let us call him by his birth name."

 

"Keep watching," said Michael, holding the oval glass closer to his chest, and centering it as the screen became closer to view.

 

The men inside the room were standing around the bed, and there was a body, a strange sort of act was committed.

 

"She's snug, bro," a man said. Melody closed in to the group of men, and her brother, Merrick, a man I won't remiss, stood in front of her.

 

"Melody, don't watch," Merrick said. "She's hot, brother. Tight as rumors said."

 

"China Doll don't disappoint, right?" Melody high-fived her brother., Merrick.

The room appeared dimmed, but the young girl's body was in the center. Merrick held a beer in his hand, drinking it, downing it, as he walked about the room.

 

"Cliff, you next," he told his friend. Another man with dark skin stood in the middle, and unzipped his pants.

 

"Tighest vagina on Earth, Bro!" Cliff said. 

 

Michael shut the object with the gold rim with its covering, and the guardians stood in silence.

 

"What happened?" I asked. "They objectified her and de-humanized her?" My mind could not grasp the very detail in such a short moment of time. What tragedies unfolded before me?

 

"They took turns assaulting the young maiden," said Raphael. "All of them, all those men of different races and backgrounds. They destroyed her."

 

"We need you to help her," Gabriel said. "She doesn't know what is ahead." Flabbergasted, I stood in silence. Was this a life long mission? A journey? A season of friendship? Why me?

 

The sun came back above me. The night turned into day, and I looked to the skies with the clouds above me. Michael's face as doomed as my depression. The lines on his face became more defined as his tall figure walked further down the cobbled path. Michael took out his sword and slashed the tall grass in front of him, destroying the tranquil pasture apart.

 

Raphael took me beside him as we walked away from Michael. Gabriel stood still, with his right hand over his forehead. They knew I was not confidently in agreement to the challenge.

 

"Ichabod, Sarah is not her name," Raphael said. "She is a friend, with a ravaged soul."

 

"Why would you ask me to help her?" I asked Raphael, his dark face soothed my spirit.

 

With gentle eyes and his friendly voice, he replied. "Just lead her, but let her work her own salvation. Ichabod, you are the crux of time."

 

"My own father doesn't want me. He left me for another family," I told him. My voice deepened, loud, agitated. "I was left behind."

 

"Not everything you believe is true, Ichabod," said Raphael. "Truth won't always feel convenient."

 

"What made you think my life was convenient? I have mental illness," I told him. "Nothing in my life has been convenient."

 

I never felt sane or at peace, since my own father left our home without care. He took all of my sanity and hope with him. "What do you want me to do?"

 

"Lead her to truth and love," Raphael said. He took my hand and encased it with his two hands. "We will guide you."

 

My eyes were deeply shut, but a jolt woke me. I raised up from the bed inside Room 25, with Mother, asleep on the chair beside me. My hands palpated my stomach, and as I lifted my shirt to check, Mother awoke. "Ichabod, are you okay?"

 

There were no more bruises, and my own Mother gasped. "How did it disappear?"

 

"Mother, I had guardians in my dream," I told her. Seldom do I remember the details of my own dreams, but this time I felt destined to remember.

 

Mother scratched her forehead, and said, "Nothing bored me since I gave birth to you. The bruises, the pains. I saw them, and now, they're gone." Mother touched my stomach gently and raised her palms to cover her eyes. 

 

A knock on the door startled her. I rubbed my stomach, and breathed in.

 

"May I come in?" asked the woman behind the door.

 

"Please do, perhaps you could explain some things," Mother said.

 

"Ichabod, how are you?" said Nurse Practitioner Young. She had deep set eyes, and dark shoulder length curly hair with light brown eyes. A round face with a subtle smile and a voice of an endearing woman, soft and comforting.

 

"The bruises, they disappeared," I said. I lifted my shirt and with a bare stomach gifting her a moment of surprise.

 

"This is very strange," Nurse Practitioner Young said, as she came closer. She pressed her hands into my gut, and asked, "Any pain?"

 

"Nope," I answered, smiling.

 

"Truly, odd," said Nurse Practitioner Young. "A fluke won't explain the level of your anxiety last night. You looked tormented and in agony."

 

"Yes, he was," Mother said. "Would allergies explain what happened?"

 

"No allergies caused jabbing pain, Mother," I told her. I kept rubbing my stomach. "I had a dream last night." I told the Nurse Practitioner.

 

"I see. A disturbing dream? Or a pleasant dream?" Nurse Practitioner Young asked.

 

 I sat stunted for it was all of the above. "Both," I answered.

 

 "Jenni, is Ichabod still taking his anti-psychotic and anti-depressants?" Nurse Practitioner Young asked Mother.

 

"Yes, both of them. But, how could you explain the bruises?" Mother asked. For the first time, in years, my own Mother argued against medical proxy.

 

Nurse Practitioner Young stood up from her chair and leaned onto the wall. Her hands over her chin, she answered, "I saw the bruises. And from the level of pain you described, it felt internal. But this speedy recovery showed signs of healing from external symptoms. Which meant, nothing affected your organs or intestines or anything in your physiology."

 

"Ichabod, were you reactive to something else?" Mother asked me.

 

"You meant lie? You are asking me if I lied? About the bruises and the pains?" I asked her, with my voice calm but inside my chest was a volcano erupting. My breath short and my face felt stiff, from anger, from accusations. No one in my life thus far, believed in me, even with physical evidence last night.

 

"Ichabod…," said Nurse Practitioner Young. "It is medically impossible."

 

My eyes moistened. Rage and fury entangled inside my chest, as I was doubted by the most intelligent and believable staff who heals human beings.

 

The dream, the bruises, this situation felt alien and I couldn't handle it. Tears gushed and I felt my eyes warm from anger as the tip of my eyelids tinged. Life was too difficult with mental illness and this soul of mine wrung out of control. Mother held me close and hugged me.

 

"I want to go home," I told my Mother. Depression wasn't the cause of my trauma. It was their disbelief.

 

To be continued...Just write.

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ICHABOD FRENZY - Chapter 2 & 3

Chapter 2 – Angelina

 

 

Sweat dripped down my royal blue and green crop top, as the two cheers tumbler, a tuck and double back, cross the cheer formation. No small business. Our four rows of five cheers staggers in straight lines on the gymnasium floor go in formation, as we preluded with a chant to dance for the hip-hop mix.

 

"Thirsty….Fury….Wolverines," I chanted with my hands caressing my throat with an insatiable thirst for victory for the basketball team. "Thirsty….Fury….Silver Creek High!" I chanted as I wiped my lips in slow motion, whisping my hips as my fellow cheers slide close to me, the lead in center floor. The music started, Fashion by Lady Gaga, the beat of techno and pop mixed with a splash of lyrical rap.

 

"Wolverine, we come right out of the ground, ripping you apart, slashing you so tight. We're wolverines! We leave no survivors behind!"

 

We tossed our poms in the air and synchronized to a standing tumbling. We landed on two feet, catching our poms on our spot. I was, Angelina Lee and cheer lead for this year.

 

We broke into a dance routine to the hip-hop song, and the formation divided in half, forming two rows of cheers. I was center with my co-lead, Melody Johnson, as usual. I had to admit, we owned it.  Our two rows broke into four, Melody, my co-lead next to me. The music stopped. Acapella chant resumed.

 

"This is Silver Creek High!" Melody and I staunchly pointed to the ground, indicating territory. "Go on, go home!  We will ravage you! Go on, go home! We will annihilate you! We're Silver Creek High! We'll take the trophy, thanks! We're Silver Creek High! Here's our wave goodbye!" We fluttered our hands higher and higher, shooing off the other team. Two tumblers finished off with a double back hand spring, from the back to the front, then to both sides of the rows of cheers, and back to the center to finish with a hand spring.

 

We spotted each other for an aerial, with Melody and I for an air-split, returning back on the springs of our cheer-arms, and back to the ground on two feet. The music pumped loud, the sound of techno mixed with pop beats. It felt like heaven springing into mid-air, kicking high off the ground, with our dance routine. Nothing felt right if dancing wasn't involved in my cheer years. This was my first year as lead with Melody, and it felt perfect.

 

The sweat on my temples made me yearn for more tumbling, swishing my hips left and right, pushing my arms forward, and clapping to spread the pomp.

 

This was just practice, but I couldn't live without it. The music stopped, as Melody and I kneeled on our left knees with our arms to a "v" to the ceiling. "Wolverines, Silver Creek High! We're justified!"

 

My chest heaved, and my crop top was moist. My bare stomach trickled with sweat of effort.

 

"Allright, ladies, it's like last time. We take showers and next time, we do one or two more aerials, with just something simple like a mid-air twist," Melody yelled out loud.

 

"Thank you, girls. You're hot!" I yelled out in confirmation. We group high fives, and took a breath a bit, before hitting the showers.

 

I walked towards the far end of the gymnasium, still a bit heaving. Samantha stood near the entrance to the shower hall, popping her pop rocks inside her mouth, playing with her braids. The pop rocks exploded into squirts of pink juices on her tongue, and she showed it to me. Her eyes squinted from the sour rocks. She squirmed and squiggled, all by herself near the benches, doing her own candy cheer. I shook my head, "You've got a silly case of the wiggles," I told her. After a few seconds, she opened her eyes, and walked towards me and Melody.

 

"Practice is DONE!" said Samantha. "Can we go home now?"

 

She waved to the girls and I couldn't help but smile at Sam, as I called her. Samantha and I met in middle school when she had braces and short hair. Then she grew boobs and so did I, and we compared the lengths of our knees, and we've been pretty much the same height since then. We grew about four inches, and if we never grow again, I really didn't care.

Melody kissed me on my cheek, and sprinted to the gym showers. On her way there, she yelled at me, "See you at my bash tonight!"

 

 "I'll be there!" I replied to Melody. I pick up my duffel bag and hugged Sam, "I saw you getting it on from pop rocks," I told her, smiling. Samantha's eyes roll.

 

"So, I heard the bash is a Glow in the Dark Jam!" Sam said, sucking the juices of the pink pop rocks, as it fizzed inside her mouth.

 

Spring Semester at Silver Creek High School beckoned house parties and spring romances. Some of my girlfriends, Melody especially, called me China Doll. Being in the varsity cheerleading squad and the girlfriend of the power forward, meant China Doll has to go to the last spring fling thrown by her co-squad leader, Melody Johnston. It was just manners.

 

"How do you know this?" I asked, throwing my duffel bag beside Samantha's feet. "How come you know everything?" I looked quizzically at her, fixing her ponytail. For a sidekick, Samantha knew every update about the popular crowd, from her mutant hearing near the lockers and during lunch hours.

 

"Today is Friday, too! Oooo….date night!" Sam always teased me. "Do you make out on every date? I'd make that a requirement. Collin's lips are just too inviting to ignore," Samantha touched her lips pretending to kiss someone, then quickly licked her mouth. I truly believed Samantha was a genius, but she was also a nutjob.

 

"You know, if you weren't such a great friend of mine, I'd give you a penalty," I said. "I'm keeping you for comedic value." I love teasing Samantha, because she reminds me of a cute kitten with sharp claws.

 

As for me, I had feather shaped eyes, and soft rosy cheeks. My cheer uniform was tight, but not too much to show every curve. I got by being teased as a pretty girl and "China Doll," being the only Chinese girl in the squad.

 

"I'd make it a requirement," said Samantha, offering her chapstick to me. For a bi-racial Jewish and half African American teen, Samantha was an unconventional beauty with long silky braids, and perfect supple lips and hazel eyes. Samantha was the coquettish best friend whom Colin's friends would love to date, but she claimed she was a prude publically and announced to everyone that father was a human rights lawyer.

 

"It the kiss was consensual, it wouldn' be a crime, and there would be no penalty," Samantha joked. I giggled.

 

I took the chapstick from Sam. As for Collin, he was just perfection. The all-American boy next door, with dirty blonde curly hair, brown eyes, chiseled jaw and sharp nose. Two years ahead of me, a Senior, dating me a Sophomore. Collin was a tall and athletic looker, from a long line of restaurateur.

 

"It's going to be the same in college right, you and me?" Samantha asked, "You know I can't be left alone with all those men. I'd start charging Visas and Mastercards."  Samantha's virginal status leds to some teen sexual frustration at inopportune times.

 

I laughed out loud. "You talk big, girlie. You know human trafficking is illegal," I told her, looking into her eyes, "Yup, still a virgin."

 

Knowing Samantha's innocent disposition, I couldn't help but to shoot down her talks on sexual angst with mockery. Samantha was too sweet to talk like this.

 

With a sleek lean stature and big brown Bambi eyes, she easily passed for hot stuff. She prefers unfussy jeans, and button-down shirts for everyday wear. Underneath all the hormonal talk, Samantha was an "intelligent" from an upper-class Jewish family.

 

Samantha kicked my heels, and I tripped midst walking.

 

"You are so annoying!" I yelled, as I toppled to the ground, and landed on my knees. Samantha chuckled. I shook my head.

 

"Get up!" Sam lifted me up. "I have to keep you grounded, otherwise that "China Doll" stuff will get to your head."

 

 "Hi Angel," Collin walked towards me, reaching for my hand. I feel my eyes twinkle at the sight of him. His baby blue shirt with rolled-up sleeves and blue jeans made him looked photo-shoot ready. "Hi handsome," I said. In my chest, I hoped I was the only girl in his life. It has been two years, but I was shooting forever.

 

Samantha tickled me, and I squirmed. I gabbed at Collin, "Oh…ugh, Ah, hi, Colin," I caught Samantha's hand in mid-tickle. "You HAVE to stop this!"

 

"You are too fancy!" Sam joked. "Tickling cures everything. Even googly eyes for Colin."

 

"Sometimes I wonder about you crazy girls," Collin said. He kissed my forehead. At six feet, he towered over my five feet and three inches height.

 

"I got to go, you guys get a room," said Samantha, walking towards the parking lot.

 

"Your regular Target walk about?" asked Collin. He sneered at Samantha about her penchant for walking around stores, looking for strange items. Samantha believed she was always on a mission for something, because life was a daring mission for her. Collin and I wondered what happened to her, because she was always on a scavenger hunt at some store somewhere on Earth.

 

Samantha turned around, and stuck her tongue out, and told him, "That was personal injury and bullying. Two counts of misdeameanors." She walked away and stuck her pinky finger out.

 

I breathed in for a minute, covering my blushing cheeks with both of my hands. Collin kissed me on my lips by suprise. His kisses tasted like fresh like strawberries with sugar crystals, as I bit his lower lips tenderly.

 

"You taste like dessert," I softly told him, and kissed him.

 

"I'm so happy," says Collin, taking me into his arms. He pulled me close to his body, holding me close for a few minutes. "Wanna get ice cream?"

 

"Yes," I replied, holding his cheeks and kissing his lips again.

 

He took my book bag over his shoulders, and we walked towards the parking lot. Tonight was our usual Friday night hideaway, Sacred Ground Cafe.

 

"I have two recruiters coming for the game," Collin told me. "UCLA and USC."

 

"You're not going to CU Boulder?" I asked. "Silver Creek is a sure route to CU, Colin."

 

I was surprised because I really wanted him to stay, even after he graduates this year.

 

"No, I'm staying, but I just want to keep my options, just in case," he said.

 

"But, I thought we were going to stay here until I meet you all the way there?" I asked him.

 

"I know, but I just want to know how high I can reach," Collin said.

 

I stayed quiet and didn't want to speak to much about his decisions. But, I couldn't help but wonder.

 

Silver Creek, Colorado, was known as the armpit of Boulder, nestled between the border of Boulder and Longmont, but never making it into the big city. The city had a main street, with a charming parlor, a pottery shop, a nutrition store, a burrito joint, and some odds and ends stores that makes a quaint little downtown.

 

"What if your father wants you to go for USC?" I asked him, my heart a bit anxious.

 

"That's why I'm staying for the rest of the year, and we can talk about this later," said Collin, approaching Sacred Grounds parking lot. The last thing I wanted was for Collin to go away.   He smiled because he knew how crazy I was about him.

 

"Collin, do you want to go with me to Melody's party tonight?" I switched the subject. The thought of him leaving to another state meant the end of love for me.

 

"Nope. I don't like her, she always checks me out, although she knows we've been dating for two years now. There is just something about her that I'm not comfortable with," said Collin. "You're going though, I know you would. She's squad leader. Chinese manners."

 

He looked to me, and winked. "Yes, Chinese manners. It's her last party, and she's been giving me lead cheer for a while now," I said.

 

"I'm just going to hang out with my Dad, and maybe watch a movie," said Collin. "I just don't want to be around her. She's pompous."

 

"What do you mean?" I said. To me, Melody was a talented dancer with perfect gymnastic skills, and rumor had it, her family was royalty in Silver Creek.

 

"Well, I saw her a couple of days ago, and she kept gossiping about other cheers in the squad. I'm just not into backstabbers," said Collin. "For a squad leader to do something like that, it's looked down upon in general. My mother taught me well." He held my hand and breathed in. "But go. I know you want to end your squad year well. Give me a call this weekend."

 

"I'll stay and pay respects to her and leave. Won't take nothing but an hour, maximum," I said, holding on to his soft hands.

"Sounds good to me. Call me this weekend for sure," said Collin, shifting to parking gear.

 

Sacred Ground was always full of local newspaper reporters, following their lede for the most current news for this small town. News was, Colin and I were off the market on the teenage dating game.

 

 

 

Chapter 3 - Good Friday for Ichabod

 

 

Every Good Friday deserved a good night sleep for a gentleman's slumber, but not without a mint and patchouli bubbly lather inside this bath. The week was harsh, with trialed times on the tracks as athletes found ourselves so, and there were more mass shootings in North Carolina and the Mid-West. The television replayed the latest violent attacks on Asian grandmas crossing the street in New York, and I couldn't believe someone would punch her on the eye. If I was the man who assaulted her, I'd think twice and opted to ask for some Post-Chinese New Year Money. She wouldn't care if I was Jewish. But tonight, I wanted peace and ceased violence.

 

I swayed my sword, melamine as it may, to the Coldplay tunes, Viva La Vida.

 

"Nothing could keep this soldier from Battle of the Goar!" I said, my voice resounded through the roof of my bathroom.

The hour-long bath proved to soak off the callouses out of these tired feet. Drying off with a large black towel, I marveled at the sight of my muscle striations and mumbled, "Fierce!" as I pumped my two fists and tightened biceps. I bumped them, and whispered, "Force!"

 

The melamine sword shall rest for now, because everything deserved a re-charge.

 

I felt my hair upon my face and took a pair of shearing scissors, to trim my dark mane. Snip. Snip. Short strands of dark brown hair fell down upon the sink. "I am a good-looking monster," I uttered, smirking with playful confidence. This lad might be a bit stocky at five feet and nine inches, but my heart could crush a pride of lions.

 

Humming a few random notes, a sharp object jabbed into my pelvis. My neck strangled, and I choked as something cusped my nostrils. I felt a hand yanked out the hairs of my scalp. The strangling constricted my breathing. My legs bumped the tub and I fell to the ground.

 

"Help! Mother, Help!" I screamed. What demon attacked?

 

Crouching down on the bathroom floor, a force punched my face! I crushed down into a helpless fetal ball, as I held onto the toilet. "Help! Mother! Help!" I kept screaming.

 

"Stop abusing me! What evil ghost are ye?!" I yelled in defense. Friday nights were for contemplations, not violence!

 

My body jolted in shock, and the back of my skull bashed against the tub. Another jolt shook me from inside my body. Paralysis might be next but the stabbing pain penetrated into my gut pressing down mine intestines. I vomited with volatile pain, as clear liquid expunged out of my mouth as my nostrils dripped with body fluid.

 

"Mercy! Please….mercy!" I implored, with my vocal chords shattering in fears, tumultuous to my brains. "What have I done to your soul? O good spirit? What have I done?!" I yelled in agony. My Mother never came to help me in my need.

 

Foggy mist filled the room, as frost condensed on the full-length mirror behind the bathroom door. A chill came over me, as the hairs on the back of mine neck raised to vunerability. Rivers of tears gushed from mine eyes.

 

"Good god! Please give mercy upon this gentle soul," I begged to the invisible force in utter confusion.

 

An apparition of a young woman with silky black hair appeared in the mirror behind the door. Her face covered by her youthful hands.

 

I spoke in complete agony, "Who…are… you?" My voice trembled. "What… are…you?"

 

The pounding on the door frightened me.

 

"Ichabod!" I heard Mother's voice in feral tremors. "Are you allright?! What is happening in there?!"

 

The door was locked, as it should be upon bath time.

 

"Ichabod, open the door! What's wrong?!" she yelled, trying to break down the door. I reached the door knob with all of my sanity and stability fumbling. I held on to my gut and opened the door for Mother.

 

"Mother, I saw a ghost," I told her, pointing to the mirror behind the door.

 

Mother stepped aside and closed the door to see the mirror behind it. There was nothing but fog on its surface. She took my bathrobe and covered my body, as I sat curled up with my knees to my chest.

 

"Baby, are you okay?" Mother closed in on me. "What happened? Speak to me, please, Ichabod."

 

"I don't recall I have experienced anything like this before," I told her.

 

Another jab gutted me as I twist into my stomach with mine hands. I cried in terror. "Aaarrrgghhh!" Tears and sobs came, although nothing was around me or Mother that caused it.

 

"Baby, hold on," Mother said. Her hands capped my skull to prevent my head from a concussion. "We must go to the hospital, Ichabod."

 

"Mother, please believe me. It's the spirits again," I told her. The stomach pains dissipated, but the jabs kept on. Hitting my full conscience as if I was inside a horror film. My breathing sparsed and I felt the cusp upon my face pressed deeper. I tried to yank out of my face, this evil besotted upon my death. Then suddenly, the jolts of pain stopped.

 

I was in disbelief.  "Mother, please believe me. It's the spirits, since I saved Leona, the spirits stalks upon my life," I told Mother, as she tried to hug me. "Perhaps it was the curse of a True Knight?"

 

"Baby, that's untrue. No one dares to take your life away," says Mother, as she caressed my cheeks, calming my nerves. "And you're just a weird kid, baby. It's okay."

 

"It stopped," I said, as I rose up from Mother's dancing space. I pressed into my stomach, but there was no pain. I dared to stand up and succeeded, although mine eyes were moist with tears of fears. I breathed in peace, and exhaled hope. 

 

"Meds, baby. Did you take your meds?" Mother asked me. She opened the medicine cabinet, and took a small orange tube with white pills that I regrettably deplored out of my soul. She placed one on my tongue and I ingested the cursed crutch. 

 

"Thank you," I said, with a cathartic breath, releasing the satanic depression.

 

My father left the family for another woman on rainy night in October, a decade ago, but it seemed like yesterday. Tears kept gushing out. Was I a handicap?

 

"Maybe another therapy session?" Mother said. "And take an extra pill when you feel the jolts."

 

"Something is wrong. The spirits, they don't usually appear after a good day," I told her. "I was not the demon, Mother. It was the spirits again."

 

"Do you believe in transformations, Ichabod? It is possible," Mother said. She held me close to her because moments like these required comfort to cast away all fears.

 

"No, yes, I meant…it was no hallucinations," I told her. Why was it so difficult for her to believe in my judgement, my capacity to decipher between reality and wonk? I was NOT a lunatic.

 

"If the depression becomes worse, we can handle it together, Ichabod," my Mother said, trying her best to console me. Her disbelief hurt me. 

 

"Ichabod, if it's not the spirits…," said Mother.

 

"Mom, it is. I know it is. I felt it, that night Leona almost died. I know the spirits visits me," I retorted.

 

"Okay, okay, but if it is some other type of mental illness, we can deal with it," Mother said.

 

The stomach pangs disappeared with no more jabs, at least for now. I wanted nothing more than a good restful night. My face drooped as I walked out of the bathing room, to my bedroom, in confusion and jagged edges between my chest from Mother's repudiation.

 

"Good night, Mother," I told her. I closed the door with my belittled confidence and distrust from insanity.

 

Inside the bedroom my bed swooned me with soft pillows and comfort. My pelvic was tender as I closed my eyes in the belief all was calm. I laid on the bed, with my eyes closed. Suddenly, my abdomen throbbed this time as I felt a sting from inside my gut with redness burning through my skin.

 

"No! No! O god, please help me!" I cried out.

 

A ghostly, soft voice whispered into my ears, "Tobias, awaken and lead her to love." My heart beat a million times per second as this moment crushed my spirits again. Why tonight? Fridays were for peace.  Who was this eerie spirit speaking of?

With all the blood of courage inside my heart, I answered, "My name is Ichabod. Who is this Tobias?"

 

Soft whimpers of a young girl crying came from the ceiling as the apparition formed across my bed of solace. Sparkles came from outside of the window transforming into an amorphous image surrounding her. The voice whispered in my ears. "She is a friend, Tobias. Awaken!" said the voice.

 

Cringing for a moment, I held on to my conscience, afraid to speak. I slowly got up to touch the young girl, but the girl vanished.

 

"What's wrong, Ichabod?" Mother asked from outside his bedroom. She opened the door, as I touched the hard wood floor where she once was, touching it, and feeling it. Perhaps, it was real?

 

"I'm Tobias," I told Mother, my face taut. "Perhaps these spirits will visit again tonight, inside my dream." I knew I had a soul touched with something peculiar. My father told me it was an illness. To me, it was a gift.

 

"We have to talk to Leona about this," Mother said with her eyes scrunching like a feral kitten in disbelief. "She would know what to do. At least they're good spirits, right, Ichabod?"

 

"I believe someone needs help," I said. "Or, I might need to help someone." Feeling rather significant since ghostly spirits had revealed to an interstellar purpose of some kind.

 

Mother came towards me, and gently said, "Let me see your stomach." Her caring voice carried her far into her nursing career. She lifted my hand over my stomach, revealing red swollen marks across my abdomen, all the way down to my lower pelvic bone.

 

"O god! We must go to the hospital! Now!" Mother yelled frantically turning about like a lost pug chasing its tail.

 

"Maybe it will just go away," I told her. I squirmed with her every touch, pressing into the swollen areas.

 

"Emergencies are non-negotiable, Ichabod!" Mother said.

 

She took me by my shoulders downstairs, and we walked me to our family car as if I was a handicapped but to be honest, I felt I was at that moment. We drove me to Silver Creek Hospital Emergency Department within five minutes flat, escaping accidents, crazy policemen, and mass shootings.

 

"I just don't know what to do about these spirits you experience, all on your own," Mother said. "I'm so worried, Ichabod.

Perhaps we need some form of brand name anti-psychotics, not the generic anti-depressants you usually consume."

 

"I have bruises, Mother. They are evidence for something," I replied, in my attempt to convince her on the evidence to prove my sanity. Another twisting pain, as I squirmed on the passenger seat. "Good god, it hurts!"

 

"We're here! We need the wheelchair and a nurse," Mother told me. She parked the car and ran out of it, towards the entrance of the hospital emergency department. 

 

A female nurse rapidly came to me with a wheelchair. With Mother, they lifted me into the wheelchair and wheeled me inside. 

 

"Don't leave me, Mother," I told her. Intense with distraught, I felt fragility over my bones as if a brutal crime happened upon my body.

 

The night was restless for Mother and I, as she cried beside me. What spirits could possibly caused bruising and swellings? Everything was too baffling, too strange, and too incomprehensible, and most of all, violently traumatic. This was one Frenzy Friday!

 

Just write.

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ICHABOD FRENZY - Prologue & Chapter 1 - Battle of the Goar (or Deep Thoughts on a Winning Move)

This entire literary work is a work of fiction. All characters, certain locations, events and descriptions are entirely works of fiction. Any resemblances of any persons or events are purely coincidental. All symbolic version of religions beliefs are all works of fiction and not to be miscontrued as fact.

 

ICHABOD FRENZY

By

Diana Kurniawan 

 

 


"Scientists tell us that without the presence of the cohesive force amongst the atoms that comprise this globe of ours, it would crumble to pieces and we would cease to exist, and even as there is cohesive force in blind matter, so must there be in all things animate, and the name of that cohesive force among animate being is love. We notice it between father and son, between brother and sister, friend and friend. Where there is love, there is life." – On Non-Violence by Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

 

Prologue

 

Every moment mattered, and everything meant intrigue to him. His red beanie with an embroidered sun tilted to his right temple, exposing the soft brunette strands of his baby hairs.  He softly tiptoed on to the stony dirt path ahead of him, as each step of his small bare feet gave into the earth. A leaf fell on his nose, that was wet from the dewy moisture of the spring morning in Longmont, Colorado. He blew the leaf away. Wisps of his breath danced in the air, as he walked one step at a time with gargantuan curiosity.

 

The vision of white soft fur enlarged his eyes. The rabbit hopped. One hop, two hop, three hop. He leapt to catch the white cottontail from behind, but missed. He landed on the dirt on his front yard, face first and ambition second.


"I'm catching you," said Ichabod Frenzy, seven year-old hunter of small furry animals and a fan of mud. Smearing dirt on his striped green shirt, he sneaked to the bushes near the steel gate towards the neighbor's house.

 

Leona, his neighbor, was pruning the lavender with shears and empty eyes, almost glazed as that of a mannequin. Snip. Snip. Robotic movement of lavender stem being pruned, to concoct her usual lavender and mint oils. Ichabod stared at her dry cracked lips, almost whispering to herself. Something along the lines of, "Bad landscaping."  

 

Strange but interesting, Ichabod thought.

 

Her tear-stained eyes glanced to the center branch and met Ichabod's doe-eyes. Stillness beset them both. They raised their heads and met each other in full view.

 

"Boo!" said Ichabod jokingly.

 

"AAArrrrggghhhh!" Leona's bottom slipped away from her gardening stool, as she landed on the dirt. She never anticipated ruckus and gardening mayhem at this early in the morning.

 

"Oh gosh," Ichabod hid back behind the lavender bushes that were overgrown past the trellises.

 

 "Who are you?!" Leona yelled, cruelly.

 

"Ichabod. That's my name. Ichabod Frenzy. I'm seven," he said from soil level. He slowly raised his head, and asked, "Did you see a bunny rabbit?"

 

Leona turned around, and saw the white rabbit hopping across the other side of her lush garden.

 

"I'm your neighbor. It's my new word "neighbor." I like you," Ichabod said, half smiling. "My mom said we should be friends with our neighbors."

 

She gathered her pruning shears and gloves to go back inside. Ichabod scowled seeing her silent movements to abandon him without a reply. She has to be kind somehow, he thought.

 

She was about to pick up her gardening stool when the grey haired lady across the street yelled, "Top of the morning! It's pretty today, isn't it?"

 

This was way too much attention for Leona. A fake smile was too much of an effort for someone she hardly cared for. Noticing Leona's silence, the old lady across the street grumbled, "Ignoramus," as she scowled and crouched down to get back to her own gardening work.

 

Leona grabbed her shears from the ground, then smeared the mud off on her brown shorts and ragged t-shirt. She turned to Ichabodm and tenderly spoke to him. "Don't listen to her, you're still little. Don't believe rubbish," she said.

Ichabod nodded and smiled, because she'd finally spoken to him. He saw the old lady hissed at him, then ran back into her house across the street. Ichabod ran outside of his yard and opened Leona's front gate, to see if the cotton-tailed rabbit was still inside her fecund garden.

 

The roses of Sharon bloomed, as if it was the epitome of blossoming love that Leona lacked in her life. Ichabod did not care who Leona was, because the rabbit was his main concern. There were judgments about the neighborhood that Leona was the peculiar, single, and barren lady living next to the Frenzy family. On the contrary, Ichabod was the doe-eyed darling everyone wanted to meet, simply because he was the bright ornament to the otherwise mundane neighborhood community.

"I'm hunting," said Ichabod, searching underneath Leona's rose bushes.

 

The house Ichabod and Leona lived in were a pair of two-story Victorian style doll-houses made life sized, with fish-fins details on the roof and ornate trimmings with a porch swing on the Frenzy side and a bench on Leona's side. Leona's front yard was trailed with cobbled stones steps from the front porch, leading to the front gate. Her perennial garden charmed the house, with bursts of colors and robust characters. The Frenzy family front yard was detailed with round topiaries and an arched walkway, with finely trimmed green grass and a small little fountain to the left of the stony path. Longmont, was a small city with its fair share of Victorian style neighborhoods, and the Frenzy block was one of many.

 

The grey haired lady across the street slammed her front door shut after she went inside. She peeked outside of the window and stuck her tongue out to Leona.

 

"And people say I'm weird," Leona said, seeing the grey haired lady scratch the window like a tiger on its prey.

 

Jenny, Ichabod's mother yelled at the top of her lungs from next-door, "Baby! Where are you? Let's go to the pool! Summer time, summer fun!"

 

Ichabod immediately ran out of Leona's yard. "I'll see you tomorrow. I'm busy, I have to go play," he said. He sprinted back to his house because pool time beats a white cottontail rabbit anytime, anywhere.

 

       …

 

The next day was sweltering hot. There was no air conditioning in Ichabod's house, only the occasional breeze from the open windows. From noon to three in the afternoon, Ichabod popped into Leona's yard every ten minutes, to see if she would ever come out.  There were no signs of her at all. Anxious and impatient, he took off his beanie hat, and threw it on her front porch.

 

Leona peeked outside through her windows, and closed her curtains immediately. She cracked open the door a few moments later, and took the beanie hat inside. Ichabod wiggled from side to side, giggling uncontrollably, and covered his mouth with his hands. "She loves me," he said to himself. He ran back happy into his house, and the rest of the afternoon was all about coloring and puzzles.

 

Several days passed and the summer heat on that day could burn unprotected skin, but that didn't stop Leona from walking to the flower shop.  She wore Ichabod's red beanie, and held a basket of pink roses. Ichabod saw her and ran to say hello.

 

"Did you like my hat?" he asked. Leona fell to the ground and dropped her basket of roses. Tears hovered in her eyes and the embarrassment trembled her hands, as she tried to clean up her own mess. Ichabod quickly helped to pick up her roses, to put them back inside her basket.

 

"I'm the strange lady, remember?" said Leona nervously. She picked up the rest of the roses from the ground and started to sob uncontrollably.

 

"What's wrong? You're not strange. I like you," said Ichabod. He took one of the roses from the ground and gave it to her. "Not everyone is mean."

 

Leona ran home out of fear, because perhaps, Ichabod had broken the ice of friendship.

 

"You can keep the hat!" Ichabod yelled, holding a stem of pink rose in his hand.

 

That same evening, Ichabod was restless. There was a sadness looming about him, the same feeling he got when his bike was broken, and he couldn't spend the day riding around. He ran next door to Leona's house. The front door was ajar, and when he walked inside, he found her on the couch with one leg partly down to the ground and her body, lifeless. There were large bottles of wine with empty plastic pill bottles on the table.

 

"Are you asleep?" said Ichabod, tapping her and kneeling next to the couch. "Are you dead?" He whispered in Leona's ears. He shook her body and thought, maybe he had a dead body in front of him, making his evening full of peculiar surprises. Yet, something harrowing discreetly seeped into his blood. She was a friend, how could she leave me without saying goodbye? He thought.

 

Tears rushed down his cheeks, as he looked frantically for a telephone and dialed 911.  The emergency dispatcher picked up the other line. "I think the lady neighbor is dead," said Ichabod. "No, she lives alone. There are medicine bottles on the table, and other bottles too."  The operator said the paramedic was going to come home for her immediately.

 

Ichabod dropped the phone on the floor, and knelt next to Leona. He wiped her tear stained eyes with his bare hands. He understood that Leona was not strange, instead fragile, and needed a friend. He kissed her forehead and as he held on to her hand.


A source of light rushed down from the sky, as if a star had rushed in from heaven. The light travelled into Leona's house, jolting Ichabod's heart. The impact threw him across the room, and the force wilted him to the floor.

He never saw Leona again, not until months later, on one evening in mid-October.

 

 

 

Rain was pouring, as if a hurricane from Florida had paid Colorado a visit. With big droplets of water and whirling wind, leaves were flying in small tornadoes on the neighborhood street. Leona stood inside her living room, looking out from her curtained windows at the ferocious storm. A car pulled up in front of Ichabod's house. A man in his black suit and tie, got out and ran to the open the passenger side. A woman with a brown raincoat stepped out, and they kissed, passionately.

 

"Hurry! Before they come back from their aunt's house," yelled the man in the black suit. He picked her up over his shoulder, as the woman held the umbrella. They laughed together and went inside. Leona closed her curtains and lit her candles to enjoy the rest of the night.

 

A few hours passed and as she was about to eat her fettuccini alfredo, loud poundings on the front door made a rude intrusion. She opened the door, and couldn't help but empathize for a cold little soul, dripping wet from the thunderstorm.

 

"My dad wants to leave us. He hates us," said Ichabod, sobbing as he wiped his wet hair away from his eyes. "I want you to be my dad."

 

"You have a dad," said Leona.

 

"He wants someone else. He doesn't want me and my Mom. Can you be my dad? Please?" His wet shirt stuck to his body. His hands were folded and begging Leona for a resolution.

 

"Come in," said Leona. She opened the door for the scared little boy and hugged him. His wet shirt seeped into her dress, as she held him tightly to soothe his tears.

 

"Stay here, I'll grab a towel," she said, as she closed the door.  She hurried upstairs and opened the linen closet. 

    

Another loud pounding came to Leona's front door, and her heart thumped. She accidently dropped the towel from her hands, and Ichabod wailed out loud. Leona panicked because she was scared of whom it might be.

    

"Leona, I remember you. This is Jenni, I'm Ichabod's mom. He told me about you. Is he there with you? I can hear him crying. Please ...," the voice pleaded from the far side of the door. "I've been walking out in the rain to find him. I'm so sorry to bother you. Please, are you inside?"

 

Leona opened her front door and smiled at Jenni, who was also sobbing and wet. "My husband. He's out of his mind," Jenni said. "With his co-worker." Her blonde hair glistened under the moonlight, and her whole body soaked in the rain as she sniffed and sobbed.

 

Leona nodded and was compassionate about her little lifesaver's family, especially since his Dad was a cheat. "He's here," Leona widened her door, and Ichabod ran to his mom and hugged her knees. Jenni picked him up to hug him tight, and looked to Leona, speechless. Jenni's bright blue eyes drooped, swollen red from hard crying.

 

"You can stay here as long as you need to," said Leona. She moved close to Ichabod and kissed him on his forehead. As the two tattered souls walked inside, Leona closed her front door to shield them from the wind and rain. As a matter of fact, she closed the door on the world, to protect Ichabod, Jenni and herself, from harm.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1 - Battle of the Goar (or Deep Thoughts on a Winning Move)

*(To be accompanied with The Champion, performed by Carrie Underwood and Ludacris)*

 

 

 

The melamine sword inside the plastic scabbard neatly tucked underneath my cape, to the right side of my hip. If it was real, it would cut linen the same. Might be a sin to carry such a thing inside a Walmart, but who would notice? The Battle of Goar commenced behind the Silver Creek High School on hallowed ground behind the tennis courts, far from the real world. Legends of past alumni told, the grassy knoll was once a place of ancient rituals to knight students with high honors and respectable sportsmanship. It was part of the secret society for young teens with the highest IQ in all of Longmont. This might be true, but I was never invited.

 

The silver cape on my back was made of silk and rayon, and no one argued of its regal appearance. A cape of a soldier who won battles exactly three weeks afore this day on these same grounds. The Battle of Goar came with our own adversaries, the Reckards, of Boulder High, who stole our trophy a year before, our nemesis clan just as the Legions, of Niwot High, followers of The King.

 

I was a Luthien, a tribe in the Fantasy Club at Silver Creek. Everyone wished they were a Luthien, only to be found soaking under the Spring Rain in May if they didn't pass our 3.1467589 grade point average.  

 

The Reckards's colors were red, thus their red capes. A little awkward and egotistical for anyone to handle if you asked me. They felt powerful because Superman wore the same color, but their fantasy was delusional. First, because Superman didn't carry a sword, and although he was a fantastical character, what potion made them believed of the same time period as The Battle of Goar? Anachronism! Second, The Reckards were made of the spoiled brats with the permission to carry a metal sword, combined with their egos, these monsters were twins with Osama Bin Laden.

 

The Legions carried firecrackers as missiles with their bows and arrows. Crossover from The Hunger Games, with shoulder length hairs of fools from the 70s Show. They might as well wear lipstick and slobber underneath their masks. Covid-20 would stick on their hairs and bows and arrows, plus they'd have to fetch those darling arrows like baby toys after the battle was won by The Luthiens. Their firecrackers were Chinese Pops, those that popped on the ground upon a slam. There were no skills involved, only bad aims. The Legions never won a single battle, and after our Fantasy Club social, all of Silver Creek High portend of a powerful journey ahead by showing them a salute for being good sports.

 

The Luthiens wore silver capes and plastic swords, but we were all soccer players. Stamina and drive were our skills, and we looked up to Sia and Lady Gaga for motivation. Beginnings were hardest, because between The Reckards, The Legions, and The Luthiens, no one wanted the first attack, but we all agreed losers always makes the first strike.

 

The Luthiens never felt defeated, although we were last year. As men and women of The Luthien tribes, defeat only meant practice runs for a championship. We shall drink two doses of 5Energy drinks next time, because it proved its reward now, as I sauntered inside a grocery store like a champ.

 

For now, Ichabod shall lay low for next Spring, sipping two percent milk and eating Starbursts.

 

Once Summer beckons for play, The Battle of Goar Round 2, will be won….again!

 

I, Ichabod, the triumphant one.

 

Just write.

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Thoughts with tiny bubbles

My head submerged underwater and my lungs breathed out the condense air as tiny bubbles floated over my face. The evening news showed deaths of Asian women in Atlanta a few days ago, but I refused to listen to the thought and immersed myself in the bath water relaxing my mind. 

Two days ago, an active shooter murdered 10 innocent people at the King Soopers Grocery Store, in Boulder, Colorado, nearby a cafe I frequently spent time in to write. There was a clearing force injecting my heart, to clean nonsense and only give space to those who loved me and no one else.

 

The rest of the world no longer mattered, and I felt forced to shelter in the comfort of stable friendships, critical people only, because those were my community. I didn't want to speak or process my grief to anyone around me. I wanted to close the door to the friends I have yet to meet or develop relationships with, and focus only on the current and immediate close circle of families and friends.

 

Those violence almost closed the door to a future filled with harmony, new friendships with beautiful lives and souls, and almost impeded my growth as a human being.

 

My drive and purpose in life came knocking on the gates of my brain, and asked it to open and relent compassion for my well being; through trauma processing and making connections with my fellow coworkers and customers I met on a daily basis.

 

I realized, my purpose was to send out beautiful energy and to help others in words, action, and love, more than I received. It was my calling to fulfill as a fateful destiny, for which I never chose but it chose me and happened accordingly. 

After witnessing those tragedies via social media and television, I almost lost my sparks. It stunted my creativity for a couple of days, from fearful thoughts that I might pose as a threat for a senseless and irrational human being. People who committed mass shooting, racism, rapes, violence, terrorisms at all levels, including stalking and gang banging, have no purpose in life, their souls full of egos. They felt the existence of good prevents them from their freedom to release the erratic behavior to oppress those who pose as revolutionary. They felt threatened in their subconscious by good lives, opportunities, diversity, tolerance, harmony, and peace. The crazies almost had their statements fulfilled, but that would only suppress growth of our future and ridicule our youth. 

Came back my thoughts to the knocking of my own heart beats pumping my subconscious. It asked me to write out my thoughts and gave me a newfound freedom of expression. It was my right to be Asian because I was born with it, and my right to want gun safety, and my right to grieve for my beloved Father, who died a month ago.

 

I had the right to process it, to not fear it, to be angered by it, but not to be negatively moved or provoked by it. I was the strong tower who had the right to sunshine, and it was an ordained future. Those vile acts and the death shan't lead me to captivity. I was free to express my emotion, because it was sane and creative, not vehemence of ghore. 

Submerged underwater, my brain cooled down, the door to my mind and heart opened for a life of adventurous journey, running with beating pulse pacing my life to enjoy it once again. The tiny bubbles kept floating over my face and I rose up exposing my shoulders over the bath water.

 

This was a thought processed, after a few dismal days.

 

Just write.

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Good People

~ Dedicated to all of the children and young adults I met in my life. You are my bright shining Sun. ~


I'm a good kid

Because I know how to love

I know I care

About me and my heart

 

I'm a good kid

Because I can smile

When the sun shines bright

Or when the moon hides behind the clouds

 

I'm a good kid

Because I know I can fly

Even through the storm

And when the sky turns grey up above

 

I'm a good kid

Because I have courage

To stand, run, and dance

Even when the world will not give me a chance

 

I'm a good kid

Because I am strong

Even when I am weak

Or when the Earth turns upside down

 

I'm a good kid

Because I care enough to make it

Although the valleys are deep and wide

 

I'm a good kid

And I am on my way

To become good people

 

Because good people laugh

through the cries of sorrow

 

Because good people hug

to embrace another

 

Because good people speak

of lovely words with uplifting voices

 

Because good people live

and keep on breathing, through and through

 

 

Because good people are honest

taking lies away further from the truth

 

Because good people shine

living with pure light inside their minds

 

I am on my way

To become good people

 

Taking each step

One at a time

 

I am on my way

To become good people

 

Loving my life

Living with love

 

I am on my way, to become …

 

Everything I am meant to be

 

Precious

 

Beautiful

 

Wonderful

 

Honorable

 

I am a good kid

 

I love me

 

I love all I will be

 

Good people, I am meant to be

 

Good people, that's me

 

 

The end. Just write.

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The Boy Who Knew Everything

~ Dedicated to Jonathan Brandis. I'm always going to be proud of you, kiddo. ~

 

I met a boy at school once, and he knew everything.

 

He thought everything was easy, and he made the hardest things become the simplest ideas.

 

One day he came to school with a picture of a tree.

 

The boy asked me, "Look at this picture, and tell me, what do you see?"

 

"I only see a tree," I told him. "But, what do you see?"

 

"I see a whole new life, and a whole new vision," said the boy.

 

"What do you mean? What else do you know?" I asked and wondered what it was that the boy saw in his visions.

 

 "I could see the future," said the boy.

 

"I believe you. I wish I could see the future too!" I told him, and he smiled at me.

 

He walked ahead of me and I never saw the boy again.

 

One day, I saw some people at school talking about him. I asked them, "Did you see the picture of the tree?"

 

A friend looked at me, and asked, "What do you mean? What tree? The boy was taken to a new school, with new friends. He said he could see the future."

 

The next few days, I saw his face on several newspapers, with the frontpage headline titled, BOY WONDER FOUND CURE TO THE FUTURE!

 

Everyone in the city spoke about him, and one man said, "He is a genius!"

 

THIS BOY IS A WONDER OF THE WORLD, printed the newspaper.

 

"But what did he see?? Could he fly? To the moon?" I asked some random people in the city.

 

"I think the boy could do anything, and see everything!" said a young man.

 

No one knew where he went, so I thought, "I hope he remembers me."

 

I minded my own life, but never met anyone like boy wonder since.

 

Years went by, and I often thought of him after the newspaper printed the story.  

 

My time at school was amazing, and wonderous things happened to me. 

 

I found the greatest things in my lunch box after school, and fresh apples on the seat of my bicycle, but there were no apple trees nearby.

 

I wondered, "Does someone know me? But, I am just a random kid at school."

 

One day, I found a little sparkling glass star, with a note that said, "You're famous!"

 

 There was also a picture of a tree on the seat of my bike, "Who left this here?"

 

My eyes moistened and I began to cry because I realized, someone loved me.

 

"I think, I know who this was from," I said to the clouds.

 

I rode my bike to the lake, and looked up to the sky with tears in my eyes.

 

I yelled at the top of my lungs, "I want Boy Wonder to fly to the moon! To the SKIES AND UP ABOVE!"

 

At that moment, I felt the future was the greatest thing, EVER!

 

I loved myself from then on, because I found out what the boy knew, and it was called, HOPE!

 

Not long after, I saw on the frontpage of a newspaper, a picture of him but a little taller.

 

The newspaper printed, BOY WONDER IS FLYING TO THE MOON.

 

I read the paper carefully and saw something wonderful on the picture.

 

Boy wonder had a button on his shirt of the same tree he drew at school, and underneath it was a message that said, "FOR MY FRIEND."

 

 

The end. Just write.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Know that I Love You

 ~ Inspired by Janet Nuss and Dr. Marian Mehegan, DDS.~

 

Broken cups, spilling milk,

Or plates tumbling

When you're hiding, running,

Jumping, or screaming

 

Know that I love you

 

When you cry and

Everyone sees

Even with bandages

On your knees

 

Know that I love you

 

After a fight, and

You've been pushed down

Even when everyone

Keeps poking fun

 

Know that I love you

 

When people are laughing

But you are embarrassed

Hiding behind your palms

Eyes red and heart calloused

 

Know that I love you

 

When you feel a bit

Tattered inside

And no one could place

Your sadness aside

 

Know that I love you

 

When the going

Gets rough

When you feel you're

Not strong enough

 

Know that I love you

 

When your heart is

Joyfully dancing

And you are

Jubilantly singing

 

Know that I love you

 

When you are

The winning team, and

You've reached everything

You can dream

 

Know that I love you

 

When you have to make

A perfect choice

Hoping and praying

To hear a voice

 

Know that I love you

 

When you're facing

So many choices

Trying to make

The right decision

 

Know that I love you

 

If thunder and lightning

causes some fear

And the darkness

Comes crawling near

 

Know that I love you

 

When nothing can

Give you despair

And every second is

A breath of fresh air

 

Know that I love you

 

But, before, after,

During, or while

And when everything

Gives you a smile

 

Know that I love you

 

When you've found

Your true love

Truly divine from

Up above

 

Know that I love you

 

In winter, spring,

Summer, or fall

Blooming flowers, and

The gentle breeze call

 

Know that I love you

 

I love you

 

I love you

 

I will always love you

 

 

The end. Just write.

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How To Make a Stamp

I am a little person from the island of No One.

It is an island, above Nonsense, and Everything.

 

I want to move from this island to become SOMEONE, because I feel everyone in No One, seems to know something, although they really know nothing.

 

So, I pack all of my things, to go to Anywhere, Everywhere, before somebody tells me to stop!

 

I gather all of my belongings, 44 years in the making, and I have a PLAN.

 

I will make SOMETHING, to make me SOMEONE, out of No One.

I will make a stamp! So people can see how I was nothing, and became SOMEBODY.

 

I say to my parents, "Mom, Dad, I am good to go. I even have a "plan!"

"Since you are over 40 years old, we can trust you and we think you can make it!" My parents says to me.

 

On my journey, I met a man, he says, "Look at me, I am half Nothing, partly Somebody, and I made SOMEONE out of myself."

 

The man is strange, with curly brown hair and a spiky-yellow goatee.

I shake his hand, and tell him, "I am a little person, from the island of No One."

 

He laughs, and tells me, "I was a No One too!"

I reply, "Really? Where from?"

 

"The big part of Nonsense, and our family, often goes to see Everything," he says.

 

"Wow, I am happy for you!" I tell him, speaking as a No One.

 

"Well, I'm on a journey to become SOMEONE!" I tell him.

 

His eyes glistens as he tells me, "It's good thing you know! Look at me now, I'm a HUGE SOMETHING!"

 

I say, "Wonderful, I even have a "plan."

 

He pats me on my back, and he says, "Well, little No One, I'll go and bid you good luck. So, one day, you can be SOMEONE."

  

I am joyful, and my smile shines as HUGE SOMETHING rides off into the sunset.

 

I soar my arms as if I am flying, and I feel the wind while running to the nearest, "Air Mail Station."

 

It took hours to find EVERYWHERE, and finally, I see on the horizon, ANYWHERE is somewhere near.

 

I start running and got so excited that my arms flops up and down.

 

"I'm almost there, the place called ANYWHERE, EVERYWHERE! I am so proud of me!" I say to myself.

 

I walk inside the Airmail Station, and say to the man in front of me, "Hi, I'm a little person, and I have a plan."

 

"Yes, thrill me!" the man says. I believe his name is Airmail Worker as he looks at me with a gargantuan grin.

 

"I know how to make a stamp!" I say to him with a smile.

 

"Wow, you're one of those. The type with a plan," says Airmail Worker, as he strokes his chin.

 

"I told you, I told you, I know it!" I yell, showing Airmail Worker see, how capable I am to reach the sky.

 

"I'm hoping your plan will work," he says.

 

"I think it will. I even told my parents about this," I say to him, with excitement.

 

"Well, you have to be at least 21 years old," says Airmail Worker as he pulls out a form.

 

"I'm 44 years old! YES! I made it!" I cry out, because I am happy.

 

"Definitely, you are old enough," he says, as Airmail Worker shakes my hand.

 

"Fill this out. It's a form.  And you must sign the back of this piece of paper," Airmail Worker says.

 

As I fill out the form, I pull out a small, old, photograph of me, when I was a baby with black hair.

 

"This is it. This is my photo!!" I show Airmail Worker.

 

Airmail Worker looks at my photo, and say, "Ha Ha Ha Ha! This is hilarious! You really are a little person!"

 

"I am actually from the island of No One," I immediately say to Airmail Worker.

 

"I am very touched, and since you look hilarious. I don't see why this photo won't work as a stamp," says Airmail Worker.

 

"That's exactly my point! I am a very hard worker, that's the talent of a little person," I say to him, showing Airmail Worker my excitement.

 

"I will process this form, and take this photo to see if my Supervisor will love it," he says. "Just stay around, little one, and don't go around EVERYWHERE," says Airmail Worker, as he walks to the back of the store and disappears.

 

I stand near the counter at the Airmail Station for a while.

Still, not even after the ghost of Thanksgiving stuffing came, Airmail Worker is a no-show.

 

I cover my face, and say to myself, "Maybe my photo is too funny?"

Then a school-boy, riding on his bicycle strides by and yells, "WOW! Are you the little person?"

 

"Yes, is there something wrong with that?" I say to him, feeling a little worried.

 

"Oh, my goodness, IT IS THE LITTLE PERSON!" School-boy suddenly shouts.

 

"WHY?" I stand up taller, and try to face him, head-on.

 

"I want your autograph, because I see your picture around EVERYWHERE," shouts School-boy some more. "EVERYBODY! RUSH HERE! IT'S THE LITTLE PERSON!"

 

By the time I look around me, I can see everyone, from ANYWHERE, EVERYWHERE, crowding around me.

 

I am so surprised because they know who I am, and I feel like an important SOMEONE.

 

"How did you know I was the little person," I ask School-boy.

 

"My teacher, Mr. Strange told me about you!" School-boy says, as he claps his hands, and jumps up and down at the same time.

 

"Who is Mr. Strange?" I ask him in panic.

 

"He is our best teacher in our school, because he is so WEIRD! He tells us stories of important people," School-boy shouts again.

 

The rush of crowd subsides, and I ask School-boy another question, "Does he have brown hair and a spiky-yellow goatee?"

 

"Absolutely! I love my History teacher!" School-boy tells me while shouting again.

 

I can feel my hands shaking, "How did…?" I ask.

 

"Let us show you!" School boy and some people from ANYWHERE, EVERYWHERE lead me to a nearby store. My photo is on the window display!

 

"I had no idea!" I cry to myself with teary eyes.

 

"Go inside, and see the store owner," School-boy takes my hand, and leads me inside the store.

 

Near the back of the store, Airmail worker is talking to a lot of people about a stamp.

 

"It's you!! How did you own a store?" I ask Airmail Worker.

 

"I'm sorry for taking so long to process the form, my life turned upside down," he apologizes.

 

"What about all this? And my stamp? I thought you had gone to process my form?" I ask.

 

Airmail worker answers, "I was stuck in my life, because it turned upside down. My wife passed away.  I could not process your form, because I realized you are not from ANYWHERE, EVERYWHERE, and I could not use your photo as a stamp," Airmail worker says.  "But, I told my Supervisor I am willing to take you, as my son, so I showed him your picture and he believed me. I am very sorry, but I hope you will help me and we can work together," he says, with some disappointment.

 

Mr. Strange walks in, and taps me on my shoulder, "Hey, Stranger," he says.

 

I smile, and say, "I thought you are a HUGE SOMETHING! I was right!" I shake his hands.

 

"I told my kids at school about you," he smiles.

 

"Why?" I ask Mr. Strange, "I am just a little person, from No One."

 

"That's why I told them about you. You are a big person, for pursuing what you love.  Also, for being original and honest," Mr. Strange says.

 

"Thank you, all this time, I thought my plan was wasted.  I was scared," I say to Mr. Strange.

 

Mr. Strange sees Airmail worker, and shakes his hands. "Looks like you've got yourself a friend," says Mr. Strange.

 

"I feel like a SOMEONE already," I say to Airmail Worker.

 

I turn my head to the man with the spiky-yellow goatee who is no longer a stranger, but strange still in his very own right.

 

"Thank you for being honest, and I am happy to have met a friend in life," I say to Mr. Strange.

 

Outside of the store, everyone is taking pictures of us, as I tell them about my adventure. But, all they all want is to take a picture of Mr. Strange. He strikes a pose stroking his goatee and then another one with one hand behind his back and the other on his waist.

 

"This store is mine and yours kid," says Airmail worker to me, and Mr. Strange.

 

From then on, everything I plan and dream of the stamp, made me SOMEBODY. I keep making more stamps of important people in life. There was a woman who sits on a bus to get to her job, and another man who was a President but really really fat, and another woman who sits on a chair but sleeps during a Presidential speech, but she rafts on Sundays and just died in 2019.

 

Meanwhile, in the island of No One…

 

My Father is watching television, and my Mother is eating bread with strawberry jam.

 

I feel lucky I had a plan.

 

Keep pursuing your dreams. The end. Just write. 

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The Week Before Christmas - A Teen Angst Moment

Kenzo looked into the mirror in his bathroom, staring at his small slanted black eyes and limp straight black hair. He wondered how his soul was ever chosen to have black, the color of darkness, to be a part of his features.

 

Kenzo was convinced that Caucasians, Latinos and African Americans didn't have to deal with being called "chink," although he was actually Japanese. But, he was pretty sure other races and ethnicities had their struggles. Why did they exist? Those labels? The subject was so deep that Kenzo felt a swirling headache for about five seconds just thinking about it.

 

His skin tone was pinkish pale, with some pimples on his face that looked like tiny volcanoes with pus inside, awaiting some pressure from his two fingertips to erupt. He was holding the temptation. He decided not to press them because there were already some scars from the previously throbbing pimples that he pressed, and they were now dark spots on his face.

 

"I wish I was handsome," he said. All he thought about today was Melody, the dreamy senior he dreamt about last night because she has the most alluring brown eyes and the cutest smile. "She'll never notice me."

 

Kenzo didn't mind being Japanese or even Asian, but he did mind being called "chink" or "gook" or "nip" or "chino" or "trash." The taunts felt like a knife to the core of his heart and soul because he couldn't help to look the way he looked.

 

Jim, his best mate, thought Kenzo had a "dozen" calculators, because Japanese people from Intel created it in the 70s. Kenzo was so afraid of saying, "Nah, that's not true." Kenzo remained quiet because he would rather have Jim thought he was smart and knew about the scientific calculator, instead of finding out he had the lowest grade in math.

 

Kenzo wasn't sure he could accomplish anything, but he sure knew he could possibly fail at everything.

 

"Kenzo, come out. Get some dinner and talk to me," said Maria, his Mom.

 

Maria knew high school was rough on Kenzo, but she won't let him stay silent about his hard days at school.

 

Kenzo came out and sat at the head of the nicely set up dinner table, with a small bowl of rice and a plate of pork cutlets and sautéed seaweed with garlic. "Dinner can't last more than fifteen minutes," Kenzo figured.

 

"So, I have to tell you a story, Kenzo," said Maria. "I never really told you how your Dad and I met."

 

"Yeah. I still love you," he said. His eyes slanted to the left to watch her face, because he understood his mother. As a son of a single Mom, he never expected her to tell him the truth about her past. "I believe everything you told me before."

 

"What did I tell you before?" asked Maria.

 

"That Dad had an affair with his co-worker and he left you in Japan. So, you moved to Hawaii illegally and started to work there and finally got your citizenship," said Kenzo.

 

"Well, I want to change the story a little bit," said Maria.

 

"What do you mean?" Kenzo asked.

 

"What if I tell you that I was pregnant before I got married? And that your Dad married me because I groveled?" asked Maria.

 

"Dad was rich, is that why you groveled?" asked Kenzo. He remembered growing up in a huge house with a Koi pond and his father always played with him in the garden. "You mean to tell me that Dad is not my father?"

 

Shocking life, shocking face, and all this in one day. How would I ever live through this? Kenzo placed his fork down and his eyes were tearing.

 

"No," said Maria. "I was so hurt so bad. I didn't have friends, too. But I made it Kenzo."

 

"Oh God, Mom!" said Kenzo, rolling his eyes. "Is this the truth or one of those hypothetical to make me feel better?"

 

"Both," said Maria. "So, pretend tonight that I groveled to your father and he married me out of fear because he was getting old and limp."

 

"Jesus!" said Kenzo. The phone rang.

 

Kenzo walked to the phone and tapped the 'talk' button. "Yeah, this is the Yashi residence."

 

"Kenzo?" said the darling voice on the phone. "May I speak to Kenzo Yashi for a moment? My name is Melody from his high school."

 

"Melody? Switzer? Is this real?" Kenzo said, accidently saying his thoughts out loud. The same swirling headache from earlier in the evening rushed through his whole head.  He was passing out.

 

"Oh, hi, My name is Melody and I'm the student representative from the Anti-Bullying group at school," said Melody. She sounded nervous.

 

"You're so brilliant," Kenzo uttered. Gasp.

 

"Oh, you're so sweet," said Melody.

 

"Kenzo who is it?" asked Maria, from the dinner table.

 

"Can I help you with anything?" asked Kenzo, walking to the dinner table, sitting back down in front of his mom with his cell phone on one ear.

 

Maria sliced her pork cutlet into small pieces and stared at her son who was smiling from ear to ear.

 

"Must be something good. You're smiling," said Maria. She forked a few strands of garlic seaweed and a pinch of rice.

 

"Jim told me that someone called you a derogatory name today. I want to apologize for that," said Melody. "Jim also wanted to say sorry about the 'calculator' thing. He just wants you to feel better about being who you are."

 

"Jim, he's a good man," said Kenzo. He couldn't believe 'dream brunette' was on his phone line.

 

"So, what are you doing for Christmas this year?" asked Melody.

 

"My Mom and I were just going to go to the nativity show at the Presby church around the corner then go home," said Kenzo.

 

"The Anti-bullying team is having a Christmas party at the Flaggstaff house. Up Baseline Avenue in Boulder," said Melody. "Would you come? It's free. The fundraising team made sure we can invite a date."

 

"A date?" Kenzo asked and tears were hovering in his eyes.

 

Maria choked on her pork cutlet, and asked "Is she cute? Kenzo?" Kenzo raised his index finger to his lips.

 

"Yeah. I know you might want to come if Jim will come too, so I made sure another girl is asking him to come. Care to join me?" she asked.

 

Melody's voice creacked because she understood that being different could cause a lot of heartache. "Just to let you know. I was bullied because a lot of girls are jealous sometimes and I get hurt. So I know how name calling can cause heartaches."

 

"You're the most beautiful girl I've ever met. Yes! I want to go. Don't change your mind," Kenzo said with a tinge of nerves. "What should I do now? I've never been asked out before."

 

"I never asked anyone out before, either" said Melody.

 

"She sounds like a warrior," said Maria, chewing the rest of the pork cutlet inside her mouth.

 

"You don't have to do anything. Let's talk tomorrow. Come to our meeting on the second floor library," said Melody.

 

"Okay. Let's do that then," said Kenzo.

 

"Okay. I will talk to you later, Kenzo. And...," she said, as she paused for a moment, "I really want to thank you, for not making me feel embarrassed for asking you out and for not rejecting me. I've been hurt before, too. So I think we'll have plenty to talk about."

 

"I know we'll be best friends," said Kenzo. His heart beats a little faster and tears rolled down his cheeks as if his eyes were two leaky faucets. I couldn't believe this just happened, Kenzo couldn't help but to think of this, and replied, "I'll see you tomorrow." They hung up.

 

"So, you have plans this year for Christmas," said Maria. "I will be free to go with my girlfriends and have a girls' nite out." Maria smiled, because finally she wasn't worried about her son feeling alone or horrible during the holidays.

 

"I think that was a Christmas miracle," said Kenzo. He stared at the wall, because he wasn't sure if the whole thing happened at all.

 

"So, a girl just asked you to go on a date, for Christmas," said Maria. "Yep, it happened."

 

"Mom. I love you. I know Dad is Dad and you're my Mom. You don't have to make up stories anymore. I'm going to make things happier. I'll work harder and I'll make better friends. But, Jim is a keeper," said Kenzo.

 

"I thought he was a pot-head. Not true, huh?" said Maria. She smiled.

 

"Christmas isn't going to be a bad day after all," said Kenzo. He took his mother's hand and kissed them. "I love how you make up stories to make me feel good. I love you forever, Mom."

 

"Merry early Christmas, Baby," said Maria.

 

"Merry Christmas, Mom," said Kenzo.

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