Authors: Shon Cole Black
RATCHET: Book 1
This book is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places, and incidents are purely fictional. Any resemblance to any actual events, locales or persons, living or dead is coincidental.
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.
70044 Main Street, suite 300
Woodbury, Connecticut, 06798
“Shon Cole-Black” is a registered trademark and may not be used without expressed written consent. Trademark 2006.
“Happy Ever After”
is the story of Miss Rayqelle Davis; the stepdaughter of a Chicago police officer who grows up in a seriously dysfunctional home and turns to the streets as a means of escape.
Broken and torn apart by physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her alcoholic mother, Rayqelle leaves the safety of the suburbs to live with her grandmother on Chicago’s southside. There she quickly develops an insatiable fascination for the dangerous side of hood life.
That’s when she meets Chance, an extremely handsome, very intelligent, hugely talented artist from a wealthy family who turns her world upside down.
First and foremost I have to thank you YAHWEH, El-Shadai, Adonai, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The God who created the universe, the sun, the moon and the stars! Alpha & Omega! You are the only true and living God! Without you there is nothing, but through you all things are possible!
Thank you for providing me the creative ability and affording me the opportunity to do what I was placed on this earth to do. I bow before you, both now and forever more!!!
Now, I must thank every person that supported me in my dream and helped me along the way. Though you are all too numerous to name, I thank you.
An extra special thanks goes to the staff of Spaulden Publishing (Michelle Donnelly, Shannon Bayliss, Christine Myron, Kelly Reynolds, Ashton Becker, and Amanda Spaulden) for once more helping to make my dreams a reality.
Last but certainly not least, I want to thank
Mrs. Caroline Spaulden for her vision and generosity. I am eternally grateful.
Chance dashed down the last flight of stairs in the hotel with intense fear. The front of his clothes was covered with blood. He began noticing that he left crimson handprints smeared all along the wall and banister behind him. As he reached the bottom of the dimly lit stairwell, he quickly headed toward the back entrance and scrambled out of the huge rusty steel door marked emergency exit. Chance could hardly catch his breath; so he stopped a moment and kneeled forward with sweat pouring from his face. He struggled to figure out what to do, where to go, who to call and how he got caught up in such a helluva’ mess! As the sound of approaching sirens grew closer, Chance dipped back to the car and pulled out of the dark parking garage. In complete shock Chance sped down a dark back alley, disappearing completely into the night.
Chance is a funny word, and sometimes it’s even a little scary. It can bring opportunity, adventure and even an element of mystery. Ladybird used to tell me, “Rayqelle. What you don’t know, can hurt you worse than what you think you know.” Ladybird was my mama. Her real name was Brenda Dean but everybody called her Ladybird. She was an alcoholic and often spoke in riddles. I didn’t know what she meant at the time but as it turned out, she was right. Ladybird was right about a lot of things. Which was kind of funny since Ladybird also used to tell me that I would never end up being nothin’ but a lil’ ho’ or drug addict. Those are terrible things to say to a little girl but that’s how she was. I didn’t even know what a ho’ was (but I learned.)
I was born on the southside of Chicago to Brenda “Ladybird” Dean and John Mitchell. He died when I was five years old. About a year later Ladybird married Jimmy Davis; a police officer who lived in Justice, Illinois. That’s about twenty minutes from the southside. She got pregnant with Lynn about a year later. I’m the oldest, well me and my twin brother Johnny; however, he was killed by a hit and run driver when we were on our way home from school in the sixth grade. Ladybird never really got over it. She just tried to numb the pain with pills and alcohol. Officer Davis said, “The day lil’ Johnny died, Ladybird went with him; they just didn’t bury her.” Even though she still had me, Letah and Lynn, she had pretty much given up on life.
I spent most of my teenage years breakin’ just about every law I could think of; which was kinda’ funny seeing as how my stepfather was a cop. I wanted to be good, but once I saw how being bad got me so much more attention; there was no turning back!
I was always doin’ things that I knew I had no business doin’. I was always takin’ chances that most girls would never take. Guess I was hopin’ that one day maybe my stepfather might see how desperate I was for his attention; though Officer Davis wasn’t our real father, he was all we had. It became clear that he really didn’t have much interest in us. He worked really hard for the police department. He wasn’t home much and Officer Davis believed that a woman’s place was in the home. Ladybird stayed at home to take care of us, but after my brother died she started drinking a lot and was always in her own world. Ladybird pretty much left me and Letah to take care of the house. This also included takin’ care of my little sister Lynn who was born with congenital heart disease and stayed sick a lot.
Most of the time when my stepfather would come home from work after a 12 or 14-hour shift, he would find Ladybird passed out in the living room holdin’ an empty bottle of vodka. Davis would just walk past her shakin’ his head, but they never once argued. To be honest after Lynn was born they barely spoke to each other. Really, Davis didn’t say much to any of us at all. He slept upstairs in the attic, we slept on the second floor, and Ladybird would sleep on the couch downstairs in the living room. She drank constantly to escape her demons. Ladybird said that it gave her comfort; well, it might have given her comfort but it made the rest of our lives a livin’ hell! When she drank it made her really mean!
When Ladybird was younger she use to sing and she even put out a record. My grandma said that she just about came out the womb singing and that’s how she got the name Ladybird. Eventually she gave up singing and got pregnant with me and my twin brother; which made her really bitter and she always managed to take her frustration out on me.
Ladybird never hugged me or showed me any kind of real affection. When nobody was around, she would slap me and tell me how much she hated me and how I ruined her life! She’d always say I was ugly and I looked just like my black ass daddy.
Ladybird did a lot of crazy shit! Over and over she’d say I killed her baby (my twin brother). She felt it was my fault he got ran over by a car and that it shoulda’ been me that died instead of him! Years later as I started getting older, she used to tell me that I would never be anything but a ho’ because I would only play with boys. I didn’t get along with bitches, or maybe she use to say that because she saw so much of her in me. That was the way she really felt about herself.
Ladybird had gained a reputation when she was young for being the neighborhood ho’ and she got pregnant at a very young age. My grandmother used to say that Ladybird’s guilt would kill her one-day if she didn’t learn to forgive herself for mistakes she made in the past.
As I got older rumors started that I was fuckin’ this, and that nigga. It was mostly all lies. I mean, don’t get it twisted! I did whatever I wanted to do with whoever I wanted to do it with, but I wasn’t doin’ half the shit people said I was. Most of the guys I kicked it wit’ really were just friends. I never really had any female friends ‘til I got to college, and even then the girls I hung wit’ were more like partners in crime than anything else. I saw other women as the enemy. Maybe these feelings came from the fucked up relationship that I had wit’ Ladybird. Shit, I just figured that if I couldn’t trust my own mama I couldn’t trust no bitch!
It seemed like the older I got, the worse my relationship became wit’ Ladybird; she was always on my back about one thing or another. She was always accusing me of something and putting me down. So I learned to stay away as much as possible. I never understood why she hated me so much. Everybody always use to say how much I looked like her, maybe that’s why she had so much hate towards me. When she looked at me she saw her face and her mistakes.
Later on after one of her many nervous breakdowns, she was finally diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia… This was a mental illness that caused her to have hallucinations, and made her think people were plottin’ against her; meaning me for some reason. Which explained why she would accuse me of killing my brother. Ladybird had even accused me of having an affair with Davis! Apparently he had stopped wanting to have sex with her, and as with everything else I had to take the blame.
I remember sitting in my room at night cryin’ and prayin’ to God that he would give me the magic cure to make Ladybird better. I wanted her to be able to love me; it never happened. Ladybird hung herself from a wood beam in my bedroom the day before my fourteenth birthday. Not only did she kill herself, but she did it in my room. She wanted to make sure that I would be the one who found her. I guess this was my final punishment for being born. This was her final gift to me. I had nightmares for months after that! I never went back in that room.
Shortly thereafter I started runnin’ off to my grandmother’s house on the southside; just to get some peace. I considered this my place of escape. My stepfather eventually just let me stay with her. I guess he knew how much it hurt being in that house or maybe he was just happy that I was out of his hair and he really didn’t have to deal with me much anymore. After all he wasn’t my real father anyway, that’s just how it always seemed. It was always so quiet at grandma’s house, so we thought she hated noise. Nobody really wanted to be over there but me.
I didn’t realize ‘til I got grown that she didn’t hate noise, she just loved peace.
How was wise she was. At an early age I learned to appreciate peace and the beauty of quiet. See, Ladybird always kept up so much drama I never really knew what peace was… My grandma lived in a place that was very different than where we lived. Davis called it “the no good hood”. But I loved it, because everything seemed so alive, loud, and in yo’ face!
As soon as I got to the southside it was like all my senses started to heighten. The sights, the sounds, and even the air overwhelmed me. Every little thing excited me! It sort of helped me to escape the grief I felt over Ladybird’s death.
My grandma lived right down the street from the Southside Shrimp Shack. You could actually smell the shrimp and chicken cooking from her front porch. As soon as you crossed Western Avenue you could just feel the mood of the streets. You’d see the hustlas hustlin’, the pimps pimpin’ and the ho’s hoin’. Sometimes you could actually even taste the filth as you walked through the streets. It was thick and real.
There was even a smell that grew stronger as you walked the streets. The people were so interesting and everything was different from what I was used to. It was so alive! I got cool wit’ a few people around the hood (boys of course). They gave me my first true taste of hood life. Another reason I liked staying at my grandmother’s was because she was really too old and too tired to keep up with me, so I kinda’ did whatever I wanted. While she was busy cookin’, cleanin’, and runnin’ back and forth to church prayer meetings I was hangin’ in the streets and acting grown. I’d smoke weed, drink liquor and talk shit wit’ the niggas on the block. As long as I was back in the house by the time the streetlights came on, she didn’t really trip. Even when she did make me come in, I would just wait until she went to bed and sneak back out through the window in my room. Then it was really on!
Davis was cool with me staying at my grandma’s because he always knew where I was and what I was doing; so he thought. What’s funny is that he was supposed to be this great police detective, but half the time he never even knew what was going on with his own family. Or maybe he did and just didn’t care. A lot of things happened with me right under his nose; he was just too busy to see it.
My stepfather’s emotional neglect eventually caused me to start actin’ out. Ladybird was dead and I was starvin’ for attention, but he was always so distant. This led me to seek any kind of affection I could get, usually from boys and I even got involved with sex at an early age. This was my way of satisfyin’ my need for love. I never quite understood why, but oh well…. I mean; I wasn’t gettin’ it at home so I had to get it from somewhere. Therefore I started to mistake sexual attention for love, only to be let down and disappointed. Then suddenly one day it all made sense!
I had discovered the power that sex gave me. Sex made the men love me and wanna take care of me, and the women hated me! Ha ha ha! Sex gave me a real since of control that I had never felt before. I had been going about life all-wrong! I started to see that I could have my way with any man. So I started playin niggas and messin’ wit’ their heads. Sometimes I did it for money or material things and at other times I would just do it out of spite. I just wanted to break a muthafucka’s heart the same way mine had been broken. I used to call it gamin’.
It was easy for me because I had become so good at burying my feelings and doin’ whatever I needed to do to get what I wanted. Nothing mattered to me. Whoever got hurt just got hurt. All that I cared about was me and how I felt! I didn’t give a fuck! Even though I called it gamin’, deep down inside I was still lookin’ for love. To be honest I wasn’t sure that I even knew what love was. How strange is it was to be lookin’ for somethin’ and runnin’ from it all at the same time? I was so confused, young, and doin’ way too much! Usually my desire to be loved only led me to greater heartache!