Posted in Books & Stories

The Distant Factory — Chapter Two

I held on to Jeffrey’s hand as hard as I could out of paranoia that if I didn’t he’d lose his grip and let me go. I knew he wouldn’t let anything happen to me but I was still fearful. My mother had always told me to stay out of dark alleys behind buildings before she died, and that was exactly where Jeff was taking me. I was still so devastated by mom’s death and so was Jeffrey but he carried on. I hadn’t seen my brother Jeff in over nine nears, prior to a few months ago when he picked me up from the airport. I was two when dad took him to live in Harlem. I didn’t remember much about neither one of them. I did remember my mother saying that my father was a bad person though. She fought hard to keep Jeff but custody was awarded to my so-called daddy. While on her death bed, my mother begged Jeffrey to take good care of me, and to never let anything happen to me no matter what. He vowed to give his life for me if it ever got to that. I never doubted his words because he became my hero as soon as I moved in with him.

The alleys were all pitch black. No matter where I looked, there was only darkness, and more darkness. There were no streetlights, and the clouds obstructed the moon. Jeffrey begged me to stay quiet even if I was scared. I wanted to cry but I had promised him that I wouldn’t make a sound. Ricardo and Nick took the lead while Eddie, Robby and Fred were just a few steps behind us. I knew all of them pretty well after three months of living in Harlem and constantly being under one of them’s supervision. Jeffrey had told me that they did bad things because they had no choice, and to never end up like them no matter what. He also promised me that no matter what happened, they would always take care of me. In exchange I promised him to always be good and to finish school and to make a good life for myself.

“Why did you make me bring my sister?” Jeff asked, with an unusual sharp edge in his voice.
“There’s nobody to babysit her!” Nick snapped back, “this one isn’t as simple as the rest of them. And you can’t leave her in Eddie’s shit hole all by herself!”

I had no idea what they were talking about but in that instant I remembered my mother telling me that only bad things happened in dark back alleys. As my nails started digging into Jeff’s skin, he picked me up and held me in his arms the rest of the way. I pressed my face onto his chest and tightly wrapped my arms around his shoulders. Jeff will protect me, I thought to myself. I knew he would, he had to.

“It’s here!” Eddie called out from behind.
“Okay, Jeff, you watch out for jackass punks going around and Rob you survey the street for any vehicles.” Nick ordered, “let’s do this!”

Jeffrey put me down on a dumpster and told me not to worry. I pleaded for him not to go too far. He reassured me that he’d only survey two small alleys perpendicular to this one and he would always be within my reach if I needed him. His soft smile reassured me. I loved him, my brother Jeff. His blue eyes were just like mine and so was his blond hair hanging over his forehead on one side. Standing at 6’1” and 164 pounds, he was a giant for me. A friendly giant that I loved so much. I practically worshipped him. He was my hero. My provider. My protector. My big brother.

I sat on the dumpster all by myself, my hands huddled under my shirt for warmth. The breeze was cold and so was the metal from the dumpster. My eyes slowly got accustomed to the darkness and I could see a big building made out of large red bricks in front of me. Some of the boys entered through a back window but I couldn’t see everything clearly. I was so scared, but as the minutes passed, I became more relaxed. I assumed whatever the boys were doing inside was going well because there no sound apart from the humming of car engines in the distances and Jeffrey’s soft footsteps pacing back and forth. I began feeling calmer, and more at ease with the surrounding darkness. I no longer feared it, despite that I couldn’t see much. The streetlights were far away and none of the nearby buildings were lit up. The garbage smelled bad but the smell didn’t bother me. I was beginning to enjoy the cool evening air.

I had just started sixth grade in Harlem and didn’t know much about the nightlife. Jeffrey never let the gang members talk about their illicit activities near me. And instead of participating, Jeff stayed with me. If he couldn’t stay, he made Eddie watch me until he returned. He always made sure I was safe and in good hands. I trusted him and the other boys completely. One of them brought me to school every morning and brought me back to Jeff every night. I always had lunch money and clean clothes to wear. Wherever they took me, I never doubted them or their intentions. It was probably in part because I couldn’t possibly have imagined what they were doing while I wasn’t looking. To me they were soldiers. They protected me with their lives and provided for me, be it in ways that I couldn’t comprehend.

“Crap!” Nick came out of the building screaming just as shots were fired. “Let’s get outta here!”

Nicholas had his hand placed over the lower part of his stomach in an awkward way, as if applying pressure to an open wound. Jeffrey didn’t even have time to come get me, I was already running for my life. Multiple running footsteps trailed right behind me but I just wanted to get out of there alive despite that deep down I knew the soldiers wouldn’t let anything bad happen to me. I then understood what Nick meant when he said that this one wasn’t as simple. It wasn’t as simple and it hadn’t gone well either. And the thing was that I was just another headache on top of everything else that dark and frightening night.

“The kids got out!” Ricardo shouted from somewhere behind me, “I saw them running around here somewhere!”

And the footsteps ran in another direction. I kept on running but Jeffrey’s strong hands grabbed me and scooped me up into his arms. He ran as fast as he could to catch up with the other boys who had surrounded their target. He abruptly came to a halt and placed me down near a concrete brick wall, away from all the commotion. Despite the overwhelming fright that took over my body, I leaned over and peered at what the boys were doing on the other side of the old building. Ricardo was shinning a flashlight into the faces of two young boys who were just a little older than I was. The alley was at a dead end apart from a ladder that lead up the roof of a building. I didn’t want to look at what was happening but I couldn’t take my eyes off the pistol Ricardo had in his hand. The silver handgun was pointed straight at the two boys. I could see Jeffrey and Robby shouting something at them but their voices were barely audible in my moment of terror. All of the noise and the screaming was just a dissonant hum in the back of my mind. It was almost like a movie was playing in my mind except that a freight train was running through my thoughts and about to come crashing down off the tracks.

The tallest boy suddenly jumped up onto the ladder and started climbing. His light green shirt was draped in sweat as he climbed frantically for his life. I saw Ricardo’s finger squeeze the trigger of the handgun at the same time Eddie ran towards me, taking off his jacket to cover my eyes. But he was too late. I screamed and ran towards the boys just as the gun fired, killing the boy who tried getting away by climbing up the ladder. His limp body crashed to the ground and blood splattered everywhere. His green shirt turned to crimson in the deep of the night. The gunshot was so loud that in the moment I thought the whole world was crashing down around me.

“Don’t kill him!” I screamed in a pleading voice, “please don’t hurt him!”
“Goddamn kid!” Ricardo grunted.
“Please don’t hurt him!” I kept pleading, crying.

The surviving boy placed his hands meekly on my shoulder and begged for his life as tears started coming down his cheeks too. His face and shirt were covered in the other boy’s blood. I pleaded until Jeffrey and Rob came over to the boy and I. I kept on pleading the gang not to kill the boy while Jeffrey took me in his arms and carried me away. Rob tied up the boy and put his shirt over his face so he couldn’t see anything and so his cries for help would be distorted. The gang made fun of him because he wet himself during the whole ordeal and was shaking uncontrollably as he asked for his mother. Jeffrey held me in his arms while Eddie restrained the other boy in the backseat during the ride back to Lennie’s loft in Dobbs Ferry. The ride didn’t take long but it felt like an eternity for an eleven-year-old girl who had just witnessed a murder. I held onto the boy’s arm the whole time, still pleading for him to live. Jeff kept trying to reassure me that he would live but for the first time, I didn’t believe him. I had found out what his gang was up to when they were out. I really felt as if my whole world had just crumbled from under my feet.

Please don’t kill him.

Inside Lennie’s dirty little loft near the water, the boy was untied. He didn’t have anywhere to run even if he tried. His white shirt was stained red and his cheeks glittered with fresh tears. I ran over to him and hugged him. I held him as tightly as I could before Lennie’s old rusty voice interrupted the commotion going on.

“What the heck have you guys done?” He asked, obviously moved by the display.
“Well—” Nick began.
“Let me explain,” Jeff cut him off, “we were conducting a break-in on this family whom we knew had money in the neighborhood. Nobody was supposed to be home but the wife, the kid and that one were there too,” he said pointing to the boy, “she put up one hell of a fight for a little lady and wounded Nick before Richard shot her but the punks saw everything and got away.”
“And I shot the little snot but the kid ran to the other boy before I could execute him,” Ricardo added.
“Shouldn’t’ve brought the kid,” Nick whispered to himself.
“Please don’t kill him,” I whispered pleadingly.

Lennie opened the light to his dirty loft apartment and made us sit down on old wooden chairs around a table missing a leg. I had been to Lennie’s old loft many times before but it never seemed to be so dirty and broken. There was barely any plaster left on the walls and many of the floorboards were missing. He was basically tearing the place down from the inside out. That didn’t really bother me because the place was wide, open, and the bedrooms were big. I liked it and Lennie’s food was good. Most of all there was electricity and running water, unlike Eddie’s place. Leonard Crunch was a fifty-eight-year-old Dobbs Ferry native who lived alone in his loft slowly falling apart. He was 5’7” and 134 pounds with long brown hair despite his old age and big round brown eyes. He was a like father to the whole gang, supplying us all with most of the money and other necessities. I thought it was funny that his last name was Crunch and so I always called him Cap’n Crunch, much to his amusement as well as mine.

Cap’n Crunch was the definition of a hippie with his bushy beard that was beginning to turn grey. His clothes were disheveled just like his appearance was and basically his house too. He lived off the land, with a garden in his backyard and some solar panels around the property, he almost lived there for free. All he paid for was the rent. I didn’t know how he got all his money but he did, and he took care of us. To me that’s what mattered the most.

“What’s your name kid?” Lennie asked the boy in a friendly voice.
“Byron Davis-Harris,” he replied blankly.
“Oh! You’re the preacher’s son up in SoHo!” Lennie exclaimed.
“You know him?!” Robby asked in disbelief.
“My daughter went to school with his uncle,” Lennie added nonchalantly.
“The parish is now in Bronx, we had to move,” Byron added quietly.

Byron openly discussed anything we asked him without hesitation. After question period was over, Lennie let him use the shower and gave him some new clothes. I never let him out of my sight. I was afraid Richard or Nick would kill him if I did. It was hard to believe that big bad Nick Fleming would get stabbed by a little woman. The 5’11” and 147 pound second in command to Richard from Houston, Texas would have been able to put up a much bigger fight if Ricardo hadn’t intervened. His piercing blue eyes and short dark brown hair gave an eerie chill to him, the one of a murderer. His small round face and his snow white skin made his big eyes stand out. His thin lips nearly disappeared in his face once those eyes got a hold of your stare. He always gave me the creeps, and frankly I think he gave everyone who encountered him the creeps. You didn’t mess with the guy, you just didn’t.

That night I begged to sleep with Byron and Jeff. I always slept with Jeff and occasionally I slept with Ricardo unless both of them were out I stayed with Eddie or Lennie. I could sleep in a large bed at Lennie’s, unlike at the other places I had to stay. That night I had my face pressed to Jeffrey’s back as it always was and had Byron safely against the wall behind me. Not Richard nor Nick could get to him there. Jeff seemed to be exceptionally warm that night, or maybe it was just because I was scared, but I couldn’t let him go. Byron held me the same way in complete horror. He cried most of the night fearing what I was fearing, but nobody laid a hand on him. I’m sure they thought of him as a liability for a long time, but nobody ever touched him to harm him.

The following day, the soldiers brought Byron up to the factory and Ricardo taught both of us how to shoot a gun. I had only been to the factory once before and I found the big building to be eerie somehow. Lennie came with us and had a word with the gang and I before any decisions were made to decide where we would go from that point on. Lennie put gang life on the streets of New York into a whole new perspective for the guys since they had Byron and I involved. The boys agreed to no longer keep me in the dark about what was going on but also agreed that I was too young to participate. But I protested until they agreed to bring me along to every other robbery and break-in. The look on Jeff’s face indicated profound disapproval but Nick reminded him what I had already witnessed a murder and that I was mature enough to understand the things going on around me. They all made sure to explain to me that they had no choice to do what they did. They were on their own, and they somehow had to survive. Being so young, I believed them. I simply thought that that’s just how it was and everybody else was just like us. Plain and simple.

Back at the factory shooting a gun wasn’t hard at all. We shot at an old container on the factory’s lot. My brother watched us from a distance, but nobody was around our shooting range. It was the perfect opportunity for me to talk to Byron alone.

“Hold old are you Byron?” I asked him as I reloaded my gun.
“I’m thirteen,” he replied, “and you?”
“Eleven.”
“You’re so young! And you’re part of this gang?”
“My brother Jeff is, and I am too now I guess.”

I looked at him for a moment and he showed me his beautiful smile for the first time. In that precise moment I knew an unbreakable bond had formed between us. I was left in awe at the angel looking back at me. We were both so young, but already had lived through some life-changing experiences that would alter our destiny forever.

“And by the way,” he continued, “thank you for saving my life. I never got to properly thank you for that, but I will somehow.”
“You don’t need to Byron,” I replied in a sympathetic voice, “you don’t deserve to die. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

He looked down and sighed.

“I couldn’t live with myself if I had let them shoot you like they did to your friend.” I continued in a soft whisper.
“That wasn’t your fault.”
“But it is my fault that you’re here.”

Byron could never go home, but at least he was out of harm’s way as long as he stuck with the gang. I had practically given him a death sentence by letting him live, but I couldn’t’ve lived with myself if I had let him die like he was originally supposed to. Part of me knew he wanted desperately to return to his family but another part of me knew he would be just fine living the street life with the rest of us.

Posted in Books & Stories

The Distant Factory — Chapter One

Morning sun rose just like it did every other day. Woke up in someone else’s bed just like I did every other day. That morning it just happened to be in Ritchie’s bed. Actually, it was Eddie’s bed, but Ricardo was in it. I passed my fingers quickly through my hair, and then touched my face. It was still there, just like I remembered it. I had lived through yet another cold night without Jeff’s warm body to snuggle against. I didn’t remember Ricardo’s snoring waking me up and irritating the life out of me. I must not have slept for long since nobody had woken me up. My head was not pounding either, surprisingly. I breathed in the cold morning air as my senses slowly became awake.

“Morning Drifter,” Eddie’s voice said from behind me.
“Morning Eddie,” I replied in an absent-minded tone of voice as I sat up on the bed.

I had known Eddie DeSalvo most of my life, my street life at least. Since I was eleven years old, he had always been there in the shadows. He was quiet, reserved and always kept to himself behind those brown eyes and those 145 pounds of muscle. A twenty-two-year-old drifter from Buffalo, he was a lot like me. Except I was the Drifter. He was so different from me at the same time. He was a 5’10” merciless kill-for-hire hitman of Italian descent living in Yonkers, yet he was one of the nicest people I had ever known. I was nothing but Jeff’s little sister, 5’3” and 89 pounds. Blue eyes just like him with formerly the same blonde hair until I dyed it black. I didn’t want to think about him, Jeffrey.

Eddie had short dark hair under a forest green beanie. He rarely ever took it off, even when the weather was hot. He looked much older than he actually was with lines appearing on his dark skin and those bags under his eyes. He looked a thousand years old! I was beginning to look older too, it wasn’t just Eddie. Things become quite different when you don’t know whether or not you are going eat on any given day or find a decent place to sleep at night. Thankfully though, I wasn’t on my own. At least most days they didn’t let me be alone.

“Slept well?” Eddie asked me, yawning with his mouth wide open and tongue sticking out like a cat would.
“Not as well as him,” I looked over at Ricardo.
“Sleeps all day and is up all night, that’s just Ritchie,” he added, chuckling.

Nobody ever called him Ritchie apart from me. He never let anyone call him Ritchie apart from me. Nobody apart from little Anastasia Sims. Even Jeff had to call him Richard since he didn’t like Ricardo and couldn’t stand Ritchie. He was another drifter but he wasn’t like Eddie. There wasn’t that kindness and warmth to him. I always asked myself why he didn’t just stay in California. Maybe he wouldn’t have been in the mess he was in if he had just stayed where he came from. I didn’t like him very much, and I wasn’t shy to let him know, but he was an essential part to the gang despite that I absolutely couldn’t stand him. I understood that we needed him and most of all, that he needed us too.

I sighed and rubbed my tired, bloodshot eyes. I tried to carefully move over Ricardo so I wouldn’t wake him because I knew he would be angry and get off the makeshift bed without making a sound but my effort miserably failed. I came crashing down onto Eddie’s wooden floor, landing flat on my face and waking up the Californian beast. Eddie laughed uncontrollably, irritating me completely.

“Qué?” Ricardo asked, half-awake.
“Maybe if you moved your ass outta bed this wouldn’t have happen!” I angrily snapped back.
“Excuse me, Drifter but this is a single bed. It’s your own fault that you got in after me.” he replied with his signature grin.

I looked over at Eddie.

“You actually brought her in,” Eddie told him, “she was sound asleep in your arms.”
“Well, if it isn’t for lucky little Miss Sims to be escorted to bed!” Ricardo teased.
“You could’ve just left me there, I’m not your responsibility!” I snapped back at him in irritation.

I was old enough to take care of myself. I had just turned sixteen a little over a month ago on June 22nd. I didn’t need anyone to watch over me anymore. I had been on my own since Jeff died almost three years ago anyway. Yeah, maybe Lennie took me in and the boys took care of me but I was still by myself. My mother and my brother dead, my father in federal prison, it was just me and no one else. There would never be anybody else. Not ever. I was alone yet never alone. Surrounded yet so isolated. In truth, I loved to be alone but there came times when the loneliness just wouldn’t leave me alone. Maybe it was just something in my blood that made me that way.

Through the small dusty window over the mattress sitting on top of industrial crates, the sun was rising. I knew the sun rose just before six every July morning but I never bothered to look at the old clock Eddie had on the wall. It’s not like it even worked in the first place anyway. Time was just another inconvenient of life in my opinion. The orange light was starting to illuminate parts of the room. Eddie never cleaned his room. It wasn’t exactly dirty but it wasn’t particularly clean either. Old clothes were scattered all over the floor along with dust accumulating everywhere. His room without any lights, apart from the natural sunlight, was barely the size of a one-man jail cell. An old wooden desk sat lonely at the end of the room, with the bed on a stack of old boxes and various tools used in break-ins and robberies hanging on the opposite wall.

Nobody bothered us in there. The three story building once belonged to a wealthy family in the late 1800s but the neighborhood had since decayed and consisted of mostly abandoned buildings since then, slowly crumbling apart from the inside out. Eddie’s room was formerly some sort of closet, but it was the only livable room in the entire building. The ceiling didn’t leak, and the floor boards weren’t missing. Yeah there were other buildings, but it was as good as we could get. Welcome to the street life, in one of the apparent best countries in the world, one in which the government turns a blind eye to you and all your needs. At least that’s what it was like for me. And what are you supposed to do about it? At least I had Eddie to count on.

With his short brown hair and no distinguishable facial features, Eddie could be anybody else after a robbery. It was still hard to believe even after five years that a young man with such perfect white teeth could be one of the lead criminals in the whole gang. I didn’t know much about him, nobody did, but I was still closer to him than any of the other guys. Eddie didn’t present himself as a criminal, and avoided going on crime sprees when I was around. But I had learned the hard way that a life like the one we were all living on the street was a tough one when I witnessed Jeff and Nick’s first murder, nearly five years ago.

Cobalt was a village of a few hundred people tucked away in an isolated area behind Dobbs Ferry. It wasn’t even on the map, because nobody had developed the area after the great depression. Everything closed down and nobody bothered to reopen anything. Things were always quiet up there, with most people only owning cottages or seasonal properties on the side of the river, far away from any civilization that once existed there. Cobalt-On-The-Lake was a different story though. Nobody lived there but most of the land was owned by wine companies. Fields of all sorts of grapes stretched as far as the eye could see. The boys and I would often sneak into the fields and devour the Chardonnay grapes, they were my favorite.

On the outskirts of Cobalt stood an old factory of some sort. It was obviously abandoned because in the five years that I had been hanging around in the yard, there had never been any sort of activity at the plant. The road to it was blocked decades ago when it closed down, and no one ventured there. Except us of course. I only been inside once, and I swore I never, ever, wanted to return. The property was huge back at the factory. Securely hidden behind a conservation area of forest, the industrial land stretched almost as far as the eye could see, kinda like the vineyards. The ground only consisted of sand and gravel, with some rocks between the rails for the trains that once passed through. The railroad tracks were everywhere in the yard, they all led to the hangars and garages behind the factory. Storage containers lied here and there, old and rusty like the factory itself. A small metal building, similar to a shed but much bigger, was where the gang hung out.

Neither one of us was ever able to break open the large steel doors on the left side. Nobody knew what was inside. Nobody cared. We only hung out there because we could be in the shade during periods of scorching heat in the afternoon while not having to be stuck indoors. And we loved to sit on the steel boxes, crates and containers on the side of the building. We could watch every sunset from there, at the same time we could tilt our heads back and rest them against the hard and uneven steel rusted away by years of oxidation. That was as comfortable as we could get. We could sit and watch the waters nearby, or turn around and look at the sun illuminate the various shades of rust on the old factory. It was all the way back there in the distance, quite a ways to walk from where we hung out, but it always loomed over there with its multiple structures and three huge towers that once polluted the air with toxic black smoke and dumped the rest of the waste into the river.

The sun illuminated my colorless face. My skin was nothing but white. White like a dead person’s skin. Colorless, emotionless, lifeless. Only I wasn’t dead, I wasn’t like Jeff. I looked at my skinny white fingers. Only skin and bones. If my skin had been darker, I might have looked like Ricardo. He was 6’2” and only 146 pounds. He was just skin and bones too. We also had the same shoulder-length black hair. His was real, but mine was dyed. Mine was cut in a bob while his was just outrageously messy. His wide jaw and small dark brown eyes made him very handsome despite being so thin. My favorite thing about the twenty-four-year-old drifter from San Francisco was by far his narrow cheekbones and dark Hispanic skin. Devilishly handsome, if only his personality was the same.

I suddenly though of Jeffrey. His personality matched his looks. I immediately shrugged off the thought of my brother. I didn’t want to think about him. I sighed again and rubbed my cheek, where it had just kissed the floor. Ricardo go up after me and stretched his long skinny legs before he walked out of the room with Eddie and I. We passed through the narrow hallway, being very, very careful not to fall through the missing floor boards, and slowly made our way down the cheap metal staircase spiraling down to the main floor. I imagined that once upon a time the place had been beautiful, fancy and expensive, but that beauty had long since faded away. Ricardo pushed open the hefty steel door since it was too heavy for me, and Eddie trailed too far behind us. Ricardo just couldn’t wait for him, he plowed through the doorway and landed all of us outside on the sidewalk.

The chilly early morning air was fresh and pure. It wasn’t polluted, not yet. I took a deep breath, filling my lungs with the most fresh air they could possibly hold. I felt better almost instantly. Most of my life was spent outside, and the air in confined spaces made me sick. Especially with Ritchie around. He probably washed once a month or once every few weeks because he didn’t smell like flowers. The stench of sweat and filth was evident as soon as you passed near him and his breath was no better. With every breath he took, disgust swept over me. The streets of eastern Yonkers were quiet, it was just passed six in the morning. There would soon be crowded though, so we hopped into the little red Acura Ricardo had stollen a few days prior. We needed to get down to Dobbs Ferry and meet the others before we ran into more trouble.

“Did Byron tell us to pick him up?” Ricardo asked speeding down the street, “I don’t remember if he did or not.”
“Yeah he did,” I replied, still half-sleeping in the passenger’s seat, looking at the buildings fly by.

I was able to relax and go into an almost dream-like state. I closed my eyes, still conscious of the speeding car I was riding in, and thought back to when times weren’t so miserable. Back to when New York wasn’t in a recession. Times were so grim and the evidence was present on everyone’s faces. My eyes only opened when the vehicle came to a screeching halt. I peered out the window and saw Byron waiting on the side of the street. He just stood there with his army green satchel swung over his shoulder. He wore the same old jean jacket that was too small for him with a plain white shirt sticking out under it. He always wore a beautiful smile on his face no matter the situation. And he always tried to look good despite the situation. Out of us all, only Byron looked completely normal, and deep inside I knew he was. He hopped into the backseat with Eddie and I and Ricardo soon sped away towards Dobbs Ferry. Things were becoming more and more hectic in the streets as the city slowly started to wake up.

“Anybody else?” Ricardo asked, tired.
“Nope,” I replied, not wanting to hear his voice.
Eddie and Byron conversed a little bit in the backseat while I returned to my dream-like state as Ricardo kept on speeding down the streets. Standing at only 5’9” Byron wasn’t much taller than I was. I didn’t have to break my neck when I looked into his deep green eyes. His black hair was combed back out of his face, revealing his bushy eyebrows. I especially liked it when he held me in his arms compared to any of the other guys in the gang. He somewhat reminded me of my brother. At 150 pounds, Byron weighted the most and every time I wrapped my arms around him in a hug, I realized how much I really missed being held by Jeff. I missed taking someone into an embrace and actually feeling something in between the bones and the skin.

Byron and I were never really close but he was so easy to get along with. We both shared a special, unbreakable bond with each other. His presence was always warm and friendly, his smile always kind and his dark green eyes always loving. He had just turned eighteen but didn’t look a day older than fifteen. His face still bore the same features it did when I first saw him and brought him to Lennie’s apartment with the rest of the gang. His chubby cheeks and little lips made him look like a teddy bear you could just squeeze and never let go of. His features remained innocent despite the corruption and the violence. Even after all those years, I still felt so attached to him, yet I couldn’t bring myself to be close to him. The bittersweet memories always got in the way.

Posted in Books & Stories

Lost Thoughts — Volume One: All Parts

Visit my official website to download the free PDF version of this book as well as many others or scroll below to read the stories right here on WordPress. If you enjoy these free stories please consider supporting my writing career by buying one of my paid books. 😀

This first volume of one thousand word stories contains fifteen short stories. This collection contains everything from very emotional stories to very comedic ones and everything in between. All of these short stories were written between 2011 and 2016 and four unfinished parts at the end were originally parts in a longer story that was never completed.

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Table of Contents

Posted in Books & Stories

Lost Thoughts — Volume One: The Kidnapping (Unfinished Story Part #4)

After we came back to Lac-Retsina I was quite disillusioned with the place. I wanted out. I wanted to go to Ottawa. I wanted to go to Ottawa permanently. The truth of the matter is that this wasn’t the first time I was disillusioned with life in Lac-Retsina. It happened once before when I first became a teenager. I supposed that this happens to a lot of people when they go through puberty because it seems like our brains fry and everything gets screwed up. Some people tend to be more screwed up than others and I just happen to be one of them.

For some reason the natural order of things made it so that girls mature faster than boys, and maybe only girls ever really mature if you ask me. This makes it so that girls really get annoyed with boys when they are teenagers (and beyond too I’ve come to see) and maybe this was a prerequisite to the condiment fiasco, but one time one boy in the neighbourhood pushed my buttons just a little too much.

Being a girl who went through puberty first I had the advantage of being bigger and stronger than the boy and although I don’t know if it’s this way for everybody, I’ve always had my intelligence. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that you can lure about any horny teenage boy into your grandmother’s garage by the promise of a kiss. At that time my grandma rented a small two bedroom house with a small garage only big enough for a small vehicle. The boy, a kid named Joey came to the garage almost immediately, well at least as fast as he could.

What he didn’t know is that I never had any intentions of giving him a kiss. I’d set up some type of torture chamber, not to harm him, but just to scare him. Once he arrive, I didn’t waste any time, I jumped on him, pummelled him a little bit and then tied him up and duct taped his mouth. My young and undeveloped mind hadn’t thought about much more beyond that point so until I made up my mind I left him there and went into my grandmother’s house for eat the grilled cheese she made me. Well, I ended up forgetting the boy there overnight.

It was only the next day in the late morning I was out in town with my mom and while she was in the grocery store and I had stayed in the car listening to the radio when I heard a report that my neighbour little Joey was missing and hadn’t been seen since the previous day. I had completely forgotten about him in there! And worst than that, after my mom was finished in the grocery store we were headed straight to my grandma’s house and the car was going straight into the garage. I was trapped. I had to do something and fast too!

I really had two options; I don’t know who put him there was the first one and the second one was to jump into the driver’s seat, race to my grandma’s house, release the kid and come back to the parking lot before my mother came back. I decided to take a change and jump into the driver’s seat. My mother had left the keys so I simply turned the ignition and drove off. I’d never driven before, I was just a young teen and I could barely see over the steering wheel in that 1991 Chevy Cavalier and I passed by two police cruisers but it seems like they missed me.

I honestly didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I didn’t know if I was going at the right speed limit, I blew a couple of stop signs and when I arrived at my grandma’s place I drove over some grass and flower beds half in the neighbour’s yard but I ran into the garage and untied the poor kid who had yet himself and gave him a stern warning to not tell a single soul that it was me who had done that to him. He could say whatever he wanted, but to not implicate me. He ran across the street and disappeared between the houses. I got back in the car and drove back to the grocery store hoping that I would make it back before my mother got out so I wouldn’t have to explain what the hell I’d been doing.

Once I arrived back at the store I didn’t see my mother wandering around but the previous parking spot was now taken so I had to find another one. I was stressed because there wasn’t another one in close proximity so I had to park the car on the other side of the lot and the car was completely crooked in its spot. My mother’s parking was always perfectly straight so it was obvious that the car had been disturbed but I was out of town and I didn’t want to attract any unnecessary attention to myself so I left the car there and jumped back into the passenger’s seat.

My mother never said a thing about the crookedly parked car in a different parking spot, the police never came to question me about Joey’s disappearance and subsequent reappearance and that puddle of urine in the garage, well the adults were just gonna have to figure that one out by themselves.

Posted in Books & Stories

Lost Thoughts — Volume One: The City of My Dreams (Unfinished Story Part #3)

In reality the universe did not punish me for completely flipping my lid (and the lids of a few condiment containers) at the deli. Once I walked out of that hospital it wasn’t long before I completely fell in love with Ottawa, the city of my dreams. I’d never really had the chance to go anywhere before and I really wasn’t aware of all the amazing things that were out there waiting for me in the world. In school they don’t teach you shit about the world or anything relevant to real life.

So history is awesome and it’s important to take lessons from it, I agree with that, but what about the modern world! What do they teach us about that? Not a whole lot. At school my knowledge of the world went like this:

  • Stalin is a dictator with a big moustache
  • Hitler is a dictator with a little moustache
  • Some guy named Borden has something to 
do with Canada
  • Winston Churchill was one hell of a chain 
smoker
  • President Roosevelt had a homemade 
wheelchair
  • Pearl Harbor was a good movie
  • Some people got trench foot and that was 
really nasty
  • Canada became a country in 1867
  • Steam trains are awesome

Now please tell me how this is valuable knowledge for the modern world. It did not help me pick a decent boyfriend. It did not help me keep my cool at the deli. It did not help me in the hospital. It did not help me with my cooking “skills.” It did not help me with dealing with harassment by people from a local church.

One time I was invited to a church supper by a girl from school, and since she was a nice person and had always been nice to me, I politely accepted her offer and went with her. There was nothing insane about that in itself, the cookies were good (after the food poisoning I hesitated to eat certain other things) and the guy playing the violin put on a good show.

Well, the fun turned out to be short-lived because after I wasn’t interested in their preaching and they found out that they couldn’t oppress me enough to get me exactly where they wanted me the mask came off and they weren’t so nice anymore. The worst part is that I didn’t even string them along, I told them straight up, nicely and politely that I wasn’t interested but for some reason they couldn’t take no for an answer. Then the harassment came. First the driving by the house, then the knocking on the door, the emails and the phone calls and even trying to lure my friends in the hopes that I would follow. Well, I didn’t.

The last straw came when one of them broke into my car but they didn’t take anything, instead they left something. I didn’t even look at their damn catalogue, I set it on fire and threw it in the parking lot of that cult establishment as I drove by one day while they were there. To me that was really just a taunt to tell them to come back for more (and then I’d file a restraining order) but I had no further problems with them after that. I guess maybe they took it as some satanic ritual and I defiled their church and if so then I’m happy about it, despite that I know nothing about witchcraft or much of anything.
And the sad thing is that such screwed up people give a bad name to normal religious people, which make up some 95% of the religious community. The dude that lives next door to me is Catholic and he doesn’t behave like that. I ended up eating at a Jewish restaurant several times in Ottawa (kosher is actually very good) and the Jews didn’t behave like that. The Muslims at the shawarma shop didn’t behave like that. But I suppose that there are radicals in every group and some people probably call me a radical too.

Really I don’t hate God or religious people but I suppose that after this experience I’m more understanding of people like Rudolf Höss who become disillusioned by such organizations after bad experiences. That’s also my story with school, but I think I’ve made enough nasty comments about that already. I’m just glad it’s over. And I’ve learned to never accept dinner invitations from anybody else after that too.

So basically what I was getting at about my little vacation in Ottawa after getting out of the hospital… Damn the streets were so clean there! I saw so many people walking barefoot on the sidewalk and it wasn’t because they didn’t have any shoes! The boys and I took this awesome tour around the city in this amphibious bus that also took a dip in the Ottawa river. It was the coolest thing in the world.

Ottawa also has a whole lot of museums and historic sites. There’s the Parliament but back then it unfortunately wasn’t the very handsome Justin Trudeau in office so I didn’t take much interest in it. The boys and I rode around on public transit a good portion of the night but Ottawa really isn’t party city. It’s the complete opposite, it’s business city.
We stopped at a costume store and we dressed up Nick as a girl and if it hadn’t been for his disheveled facial hair he probably would’ve been a pretty decent girl. We took him around town but much to my disappointment there wasn’t much of an uproar about it. In my shitty little town WWIII would’ve broken out and the people at Tim Horton’s would’ve talked until their lungs gave out, but not in Ottawa. The people are surprisingly cool there. They aren’t like in Lac-Retsina. They are like a whole other breed of human. I really fell in love with them during my time there and I was severely depressed when I had to go back to Lac- Retsina. I freaking hate that place.

Posted in Reblogged Posts

When the Sultan took in Jewish refugees

A very important story ❤

The Muslim Times

Bayezid II, the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, saved my family’s life during the Spanish Inquisition. The Israeli government could learn a thing or two from him.

By Tom Pessah

Sultan Bayezid II.

Sultan Bayezid II.

I am a Jew of Sephardic origin, which means the defining moment of my family’s history was their expulsion from Spain in 1492. I still have relatives who speak Ladino, the Jewish language that evolved out of medieval Spanish and was preserved in the countries the Jews arrived in. We have our own dietary customs and liturgical traditions.

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