Sunday, August 2, 2009


She felt the cold of the concrete against her naked skin. The points of contact created a numbness surrounded by diminishing rings of radiated pain. The air smelled of stale mold from an overly damp, dark closed space with no ventilation. Her mouth tasted like thousands of different bacteria had taken up residence on her tongue.

The breath she pulled through parted lips caused her ragged throat to rasp in harshness; since it had known nothing of moisture in longer than she could remember. The pit of hunger in her stomach ached in spasms with the beating of her heart. The cramps in her stomach set a rhythm of their own against the back drop of nausea.

Her mind had gone numb in an attempt to hide from the incessant pain of the red ants feeding on her scalp. The instantly infected bites caused venom filled, hardened blisters of puss to create a landscape of ever expanding mountains of oozing sores. The acid like fluid ran from the sores into her left ear to eat away at the tender membrane of her eardrum.

More damaging to her mind than the pain were the thoughts she had of the last thing she could remember. She had watched her father close and lock the door of the small building in the front yard of their house that housed the water pump. He had locked her away after she had seen him in the process of dismembering the body of a woman with an electric chainsaw. Up to the moment she witnessed his actions, she thought her father had hung the moon.

It was in that moment she realized her father had been nothing but a lie. The sweet man that had tucked her in at night and gave her tender sugar kisses at the first morning light, was a brutal monster capable of taking from her the other most important person in her life, her mother.

She was now more alone than anyone would ever be in the future or could have been in the past. The cold reality of life without the most nurturing woman known to man, and the lie of her illusion perfect father was more than her four-year-old mind could reason through. The deafness caused by the puss collecting in the vessel of her ear canal, and the collection of dead ants in her right ear prevented her from hearing anything other than the white noise hum of a broken mind.

In the moment of her last remembrance, she felt the infected sick blanket of cold wrap her so tightly that she would later say it had warmed her to the bone. The blackness closed in from the edge of her vision to create the illusion of walking backwards into a tunnel.

She sat up, startled by the pain that engulfed her body, and scrubbed her head with her hands to get the ants off her, but there was nothing there. The infected sores were gone now, replaced with her long black well taken care of hair. The light in the room helped bring her back to reality, and she found that she was sitting on a bed.

The linens of the bed were soaked in sweat and were bundled around her naked waist. She saw the light from the windows creep through the windows to create boxes of illumination across the floor of the darkened room. The realization of her location sank into her mind and her breathing slowed to a normal pace.

Victoria Able sat in the middle of the bed and pulled the covers up around her throat in an attempt to hide from the dream. She wanted to forget what had happened and in many ways had forgotten. She knew that the little girl in those images was her, but now it seemed as though she could watch the events in a disconnected way, not allowing them to fully capture her. The last thirty-two years had helped soften the effects of the damage done to her when she was a child.


  1. Red ants in a shack when you're four, too devastating on a person to leave this character to one short, I think. Nice read.

  2. Oh, but I disagree...I like the short but intense devastating-ness of it. I particularly enjoyed the opening progression of sensations, from taste to breath to hunger to pain to emotional pain. It's a cool pull back. And then you get slapped with the plain fact that she is four. I think it's a great snapshot of time layered on time.

  3. Excellent short, Robert!! You have a typo in paragraph 4 - women should be woman.