Authors: Jason Conley
Defiant Publishing Group Electronic Edition
©2015 by Jason Conley
All rights reserved.
This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblances to anyone past or present are purely coincidental.
About the Author
Jason Conley grew up in Anson, Texas. He spent 14 years serving in the United
States Air Force. He received his Masters degree in Political Science in 2015. He
is an accomplished columnist with stories and opinion pieces appearing in news-
papers and online. He was awarded 3
best columnist in Texas in 2014. He
lives in Abilene, Texas with his wife, two children, three dogs, and his Harley.
The moonlight shone through the small crack in between the curtain and wall. Carissa lay in her bed; the leopard print comforter tucked tight under her chin. She stared at the ceiling. She knew what was coming. It was not fate. It was not meant to be. It was not star-crossed. It just was.
Green florescent stars shaped into teddy bears, hearts, and unicorns reminding her of who she had been…before. Now, she blocked those thoughts and replaced them with something else entirely. She was not a child nor a woman nor anything in between. She was something else. Something more complex, more surreal, more damaged. The shape above her unwillingly defined who she had become. However, the shape was not a shape at all, but a word…Jen.
Distinct, the fight beyond her bedroom door pierced through the wood grain. There was no attempt by either party to conceal their anger. Carissa heard the voices moving through the hall, but refused to comprehend. Eyes closed, her heart raced.
Carissa glanced at Lea. She envied her little sister. Lea slept feeling the safeness children feel in the mindset they call home. Carissa recalled a time when she felt the safety Lea felt, but that was a different phase, another life. An existence she could not get back.
Lea, so soft in form and grace, lay in the twin bed, a cloth baby doll nestled to her face. Her soft blonde hair resting weightless on her pillow. She let out a soft whimper.
I love her so much.
Carissa gazed to her desk where her only sanctuary rest. The notebook lay brimming with the thoughts and feelings of a young woman with a secret tearing into the realms of fashioned thoughtlessness. The notebook was not a diary in the general sense, but more of a collection of poems. Though coded, the writings could be deciphered by anyone who has seen the devastation of Carissa’s condition.
Carissa longed for her pencil. In the moment of absolute impuissance, the pencil lay waiting to end her days with the sanity of every seventeen year-old girl. Well, it tried to anyway. The poems were her last chance at coping with her consuming indignation. Confounded with questions and only herself to answer them, she wrote the protective displays to understand. Carissa's only outlet for the aching was in the words. Terrified, she knew Lea's turn would be soon and the words could not help.
In the silent glow of her florescent half-light, she looked beyond normal memories into the vulnerable reaches she only read about in sappy women's magazines. She would attempt to trace back to a time when she was three and her mother was still alive. Carissa was sure she could understand the pain only if she could remember something beyond the picture that sat in a small wooden frame next to her notebook. Every night staring at the word, she hoped to jog some repressed memory from a past she had buried in animus soil. Carissa had no repressed memories, though she wished she did. The thought would always fade with the degeneration of the glowing light.
The drunken argument continued with a howl, "You’re an asshole." Carissa’s time was near. With those words, she new Casey would soon be slamming the door and the gruesome party would begin.
Casey would drink all day just to either fight or fuck all night, sometimes both. Bourbon was Casey's lover, her best friend. It never told her she was wrong or crazy, absent of judgment. The sting of a straight shot from the bottle would warm Casey to her dizzying ecstasy, right where she wanted to be.
Silent and steady, Carissa watched the door. The pauses in the brawl lengthened. In a few short minutes the stink of night would consume Carissa and she would be pulled into contravention once more.
Trembling, Carissa thought about this act in which she was forced to perform. The agony of defeat was a cliché that she knew all too well. Though her swings were not for inflicting pain, they were to make it through without the lament most encounters induced.
The screams ended with a slam. Pictures rattled with the vibrating walls. Carissa's door crept open. Light from the hallway rushed in, charging the florescent stars.
Jen marked the spot.
As the door shut, Carissa closed her eyes and began to pray. It never helped. She prayed anyway, thinking that one day it might be heard; her prayer answered. It never was.
A dark figure moved across the room. The impending force would be on her soon. The green glow glistened off her hair. The figure stood by her bed. Light from the window sparkled on the figure's unusually white teeth. A shadowed hand pulled the covers back, exposing her darkly lit, naked flesh. On nights like this, she knew the routine.
The figure stepped back into the dark. Carissa hoped for the door to open again. It had before, maybe once or twice.
Carissa felt the fatal touch. The figure climbed in. She spread her legs wide, exposing herself to the grateful shadow. She closed her eyes.
Carissa had no thought as warm flesh pressed in between her thighs. She felt his tongue caress her vagina. The fluid motions sent a shiver through her body. Her juices began to flow. Chin stubble raked across her delicate pink flesh. Kisses moved up her belly and to her breast. Motionless, her neck was caressed.
Carissa felt the sting of hard flesh bury inside her. The thrusting began slowly, but harder with each passing stride. She wrapped her arms around the figure. She dug her nails into its back to keep from crying. A small grunt burst from its mouth then the thrusting stopped. It was over.
Relief consumed her as the figure crawled slowly off its mount. Carissa closed her legs and looked back at the word on the ceiling. If only Jen were here. The figure slowly opened the door and the light spilled in one last time. It turned back to Carissa, "I love you, baby."
"I love you, too, Daddy," Carissa said as the door shut leaving the room with the portentous glow of Jen.
Carissa climbed from her bed feeling the squishy present he left behind. Treading to her table, she turned on the desk light. The click of the switch echoed in her ear. The notebook lay tunneled in her sight. She eased into the chair. As she did, she felt a drip down her thigh. She reached for a crumpled shirt laying careless in the floor. She wiped herself and looked back at the spot-lit haven ready to record more of her bane. With a delicate touch, she opened the book to a blank page and began to write.
Carissa's pencil scratched across the paper as if she were not in control of its destiny. The words poured like water from an over-turned glass. Thoughtlessly, her code did not appear.
He steps through the door
With running anger.
She lies in the bed like a whore
Waiting for the man,
And his growing eager.
He pushes flesh upon her gladly,
Taking deeper with his stride.
After innocence is taken
And young is no more, He says,
"I love you, Baby."
I love you too, Daddy.
A satisfied sense of honesty swept through her. As she closed the book, she looked at the picture of her mother. Carissa was not sure if she even loved the woman. In her mind, the two had never met. However, Carissa was sure Jen’s presence would have changed the acts that began when she was eleven. The “nighttime” would have never come, not like this.
Carissa rose from her desk and moved to the dresser at the head of Lea's bed. She carefully opened the top drawer and retrieved panties and a night gown. She looked at the character that had once been colorfully portrayed on the chest of the nightshirt. Though faded, Carissa loved unicorns; they made her smile. This was her favorite gown.
Carissa walked quiet to the door. She turned the knob until it clicked. A soft squeak projected across the room. Carissa turned. Lea still nested silently in her bed.
Carissa turned to the now darkened hallway. She crept into the hall listening close to her own steps. A soft pat and light creak then she opened the bathroom door as cautiously as the last. Carissa threw her gown on the floor beside the bathtub. She reached down and turned knobs as she had done hundreds of nights before. She pulled the lever on the bathtub spout and water rained down from above. The tapping of droplets against the plastic pseudo porcelain meant that tonight was over. She was seventeen-year-old Carissa once again. The moment she felt the water touch her outstretched hand her anger, disgust and filth escaped. The shame washed off her fingertips and down the drain. She stepped in and sat down in the basin, letting the warm water cascade and flow down her face. She was normal.
The morning light broke through the curtains. A single beam of sun shine splashed across Carissa's face, waking her almost instantly. She opened one eye then the other to give each time to adjust to the new dawn. She looked at the alarm clock on the head of her bed. She still had ten minutes. She was sure that the extra time would not mean anything, but it was worth a shot.
She pulled the covers over her head but could not go back to sleep. She thought about the night’s events as if they were a dream that kept haunting her sleep. Carissa jerked the alarm sounded. She slapped her hand across the sleep button, knocking the clock into the floor.
With a loud grunt, Carissa pulled the covers off her head. She looked at Lea’s bed. As usual, Lea was already up. Carissa was not a morning person, but she knew that Lea would be chipper like a fucking beaver. Lea’s chipmunk voice would pierce straight through Carissa’s ears, making a great start to a, “Good Monday morning!”
Carissa slid off her bed and lurched to the closet. She opened the door exposing the large array of flannel shirts, skinny jeans, and the square rimmed glasses only a serial killer could love. She sifted through her button-ups finding her favorite shirt, light blue with “Steve” printed in red letters on a thick white patch. The word was faded and the neck was beginning to fray but still she loved it. For some reason, she thought the shirt symbolized the ultimate in teen irony.
Carissa pulled off her night gown and draped the shirt around her shoulders and over her firm torso. She tried putting one foot into her pants while standing, but these were her XX-skinnies with the low waist line so the act of leg insertion was far more complicated. One hard push into the jeans was enough to set her off balance, but luckily her forehead took most of the force from the wall.
Slight concussion but these pants are fucking rad.
On her back now, she put the other leg in and slide her jeans high. They fit tightly on her hips and thighs, but belled slightly at the bottom. She looked in the mirror to brush on a few specs of make-up here and there finishing with a touch of lipstick and scrunched a kiss to the mirror.
Grabbing her glossy black boots, she walked out the bedroom door and down the hall stopping where the aroma of freshly fried bacon originated. She sat her boots to the side of the refrigerator and opened the door. She searched for, then located the object of her desire, orange juice. Her father had once told her that her mother loved orange juice, so Carissa thought of Jen every time the tangy cold hit her puckered lips.
Casey stood at the stove, cooking breakfast for the family. The bags under her eyes made the hang over apparent to everyone. She rubbed her forehead as she took a drink of her hair-of-the-dog. She put the Bloody Mary next to the carton of eggs laying open on the counter. She stirred the drink with the celery stalk standing triumphant in the glass. The alcohol began to swim through her veins as she started to feel a little better. However, the pounding needed a little more persuasion to subside the rushing blood. Casey reached into the open cabinet above the stove. Her hand immerged with a tall bottle of vodka, Absolute. She poured the liquor for maybe four seconds, but it was long enough to top off the glass which had only been three-quarters full just the moment before. She stirred it twice with her finger, then took a long drink. The sting of the vodka comforted her aching body.
Casey turned in time to see Carissa pull the carton from her lips. Casey felt a temperature spike in her cheeks.
This is the last time you little bitch
. Using the egg stained spatula, Casey pushed the bottom of the carton high. The juice poured freely across Carissa’s face. Her nose stung but the flow missed her eyes.
"What the fuck, Casey?" she said as her shirt soaked the remaining liquid into its weave.
"Don't talk to me like that! I've told you a hundred times not to drink from the carton. Besides, why would I want to taste whoever you had in your mouth this week?"
Carissa put the carton on top of the refrigerator. "Fuck you, Casey."
"Don't talk to your mother that way!" Randy said as he sat down and opened his newspaper. Carissa’s glare made it apparent she did not agree with the validity of his statement.
"Carissa get a glass. Is that so hard?" He looked over his paper. Casey’s face did not soften. Carissa refocused her scowl to Casey. Without breaking focus, she opened the cabinet and reached in for a glass. The disguised defusing seemed a boiled tension.
“Urghh! Can I have some bacon now?” Lea’s said. Lea looked as if this were any other normal day. Casey put some bacon on a saucer and gave it to Lea.
"Did you sleep well, Carissa?" Randy said as Carissa poured her glass. Randy asked her every morning but on these mornings he had a secretive tone. A swaggered rhythm that instantly staggered Carissa, turning her stomach. The adrenaline rushed through her body.
You know how I slept
. "Fine, daddy." A tremble projected from her voice. She swallowed hard.
Carissa sat her glass on the counter. Carissa could see Casey out of the corner of her eye, watching her.
"What about me, daddy?" Lea said with a little giggle.
"And how did you sleep?" Randy said as he put the paper down, leaning toward her.
"Well, you know I've been wanting a phone?"
"Oh God, not this again," Carissa said as she sat down, her clanking against the table.
"Let your sister talk," Randy said.
Lea turned to Carissa a stuck out her tongue. Carissa returned the gesture. "Anyway," Lea said as turn back to Randy, "I dreamed I had a Samsung S6 and I was texting with my friends. Well, I got this text from Lara someone…"
"Hates you," Carissa interrupted.
"Carissa let your sister talk!" Randy said.
“And,” Lea elongated as she grinned at Carissa. “She said someone LIKED me. I texted, ‘OMG, who?’
"Then I heard the ping of the text, looked down,” Lea paused for effect, “and I woke up."
"To bad," Carissa said as Casey sat three plates of eggs on the table. The smell of the scorched whites filled the room. Casey sat down as the family grabbed their plates. Lea shoveled the fluffy yellow and black slop into her mouth as quick as she could. Randy looked at the plate wondering if he would survive the meal. Casey brought the, now more, vodka than tomato juice Bloody Mary to her lips.
Breakfast is served.
"These are fucking burnt," Carissa said as she prodded her charbroiled egg matter.
"Carissa, Casey's sick and she got up to cook breakfast. You could at least say thank you." Randy did not even agree with what he had said.
"If she wasn’t drunk every night, she wouldn't be sick every morning."
"That's none of your goddamn business, young lady." Randy put his fork on the table.
Any reason not to eat this garbage.
The straw broke. "You disrespectful little shit," Casey said as her fist connected with Carissa's left ear. Casey's Bloody Mary rocked over spilling across the table. Carissa sat shocked.
She did it, she actually fucking did it
. Carissa’s eardrum rang, stinging.
Carissa’s heart boiled, fists clenched, and her jaw tightened. She shook slightly as the rage pulsed through her veins. Brewing deeper, despair, fear, pressure, and anxiety all flooded into a pool pushing at the walls of her self-control. Carissa knew she could take Casey. She felt her knuckles harden as her refrain fluttered into the wind. At that moment, “Mom,” Leah said.
Carissa struck, her nails gouging four chunks of flesh from Casey’s cheek. The blood seeped from the opened wounds. Casey slapped as Carissa’s fist connected to Casey’s eye. It swelled immediately. Carissa caught a hand full of hair with the other and threw Casey onto the ground. Carissa kicked Casey in the stomach just as Randy pulled Carissa back.
Yet, it only happened in Carissa’s head. Lea’s voice was enough to keep Carissa from erupting. Carissa knew that if she touched Casey all would be lost. She would never see Lea again. Her father would only become a ghost. While she hated her father for what he does, she very much loved him because he was her Daddy, well, was once her Daddy.
“Carissa, calm down and go to your room!” Randy pointed as if Carissa had thrown the blow.
Carissa reached out her hand and flipped her plate onto the floor. “Bitch,” Carissa said leaving the room.
“No,” Randy said interrupting Casey. “Leave her alone!”
Randy looked disgusted as he started looking into his paper. “You know she’s right,” He said as began to read the letters to the editor.
“Jesus Christ, Randy, I don’t need this shit from you too.”
“Well, if you just let a few things slide, you wouldn’t have this much trouble.”
Casey grabbed the plate off the floor. “I have enough shit to do without her throwing her food in the fucking floor. I’m calling the police next time.”
“You hit her.”
“Well, what the fuck can we do then?”
“You always start the shit. You sucker punched her. What kind of reaction do you expect? ‘Oh, I’m sorry Casey.’ No. She’s not going to sit and take it forever. Frankly, I think she should have hit you back.” Randy walked over to Casey. “You don’t touch her again.” He stepped on the eggs as he walked out of the room.
“Why don’t you back me up?” Casey said as she started to cry.
“I like burnt eggs,” Lea said as she reached for Randy’s breakfast.
Carissa sat on her bed crying as the inaudible murmurs filtered through the walls. She looked up at her fluorescent stars and wanted to be with her mother, her real mother. She was sure that if Jen were alive, that Casey wouldn’t be here. Casey’s missed placed anger and insinuations were taking their toll.
Why does Casey think I am such a whore?
She knows it’s not true.
Carissa did want to get along with Casey, but now it was impossible.
The door creaked open. Randy poked in his head, apologetic guilt creased his face. Carissa offered an accusing glare. She did not want Randy but pined for Daddy to come to her rescue.
Randy sat down beside Carissa. He put his arm around her. He said nothing. Like a loving father, he sat quiet not pushing the issue. Carissa reluctantly embraced him. Her tears fell, without any hopes of her controlling herself. “Daddy,” she whispered squeezing tighter.
After a few minutes, Carissa’s loosened her hold, took two deep breathes, and reapplied her vail, masking the pain once again. Randy let go. He placed his massive palms over both her cheeks, kissed her forehead, and smiled.
“She didn’t mean it, baby,” Randy said.
“Yes she did. She is always on my ass.”
“I’ll talk to her.”
“You always say that. It doesn’t help.”
“I’m sorry, baby,” Randy said as he clinched her once again.
“I have to change my clothes,” Carissa said as she pulled from his loving arms. She felt too safe there, and that was more uncomfortable than thinking of her father as a monster. She loved him though, as every little girl loves their father.