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Authors: Penelope Crowe

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BOOK: 100 Unfortunate Days
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Day 36

If I go to my high school just before dawn, there will be a hole in the ground in front of the school where I can lie down. I will be able to look up from the bottom of the hole which is dark and deep. I can see the transparent clouds going by as the sun rises in shades of apricot and velvet blue. I know the world above me is speeding up, and I can feel myself die which is so wonderful because I’ll never have to listen to myself again. I will be able to watch and listen to everything and everyone else and never think again about my past or my future—I can if I choose—but there will be no need.

If I die I will not have to worry if bad things might happen or if I am the cause of someone’s hardship. My brain will be replaced with shards of glass and my blood will be gone. I wonder if I will miss the taste of food or the touch of skin. I wonder if I will be able to see myself in the mirror or if I will wear a yellow jumpsuit and get the job of yard maintenance in the afterlife. Will I get that veiny look—will people think that I am more lighthearted—will dogs run from me?

The idea that everything will be good in the afterlife is bullshit, I fear. But I do know my mind will be clear. I’m relatively sure that parts of the day will look like a Tim Burton movie and other parts will look like a beach, but there is a spider web in the corner that no one talks about. If you speak of it you realize you may not be dead, but you just wish that you were.

Day 37

I had a friend who was possessed. She told me the devil lived in her bathroom and I believed her. She was afraid of the song
Bad Blood
by Neil Sedaka and I thought it was so funny. She invited me to one of her parties and she ran up to me so happy with her eyes shining and I knew there was something different about her. We kind of broke up. Her parents brought her to Portugal for an exorcism. The days before the exorcism she said she could hear chanting in the walls of her room in a language she did not understand. Then the next night she said she could understand what they were saying.

They brought her to a cave and a priest prayed over her, and when she passed out, no one could lift her. She came to and they gave her charms to wear to keep the devil away. They told her never to open the locket on the charm, but she did. Inside the locket was a tiny ladder and a lightning bolt, and what looked like a tiny piece of cloth and some dust. She was fascinated looking at them and then they burned her hand. They left the tiniest red marks. She said she should not have opened the locket. I bought Tarot cards for her and she said they kept turning up Death and the Tower. Death is fine by itself, but when Death is near the Tower it can be a foreshadowing of disaster. After she died her parents told everyone I was a witch.

Day 38

I just realized I’ve spent much of my early adulthood trying to be who I am, yet running away from the devil. I read Tarot cards for a while and was deadly accurate, and people paid me to do it. I would light a candle and watch the smoke from the match swirl to the ceiling. I lit sage in an ashtray and passed the cards through the smoke to chase away evil spirits. I never let the customers touch the cards. “You will travel by water, and your husband has a decision to make involving three women, and none of them are you,” I told a customer. Her eyes grew large and she knew exactly what I was talking about. And she paid me again and again.

I loved to read cards. The two of cups means you are in love. I loved doing this as a job for a while and spoke to spirits—but I had to stop. My eyes looked different in the mirror and I knew the danger I was in. I teetered on the fence again and missed the smell of the matches. There are fortunes to be made by people who don’t worry about their souls. I wish I did not have to worry about mine. But I know I have to.

The enchanted forest appears beautiful and special, but it is a dark, dark place. You should be careful when you visit. Someone may slam the door on the light and you need to get through the black to get back home.

There are places in these woods where little people live. One is pink, one is blue, and one is green. They are very pretty and delicate, but what is inside them can kill you. You don’t have to walk past them to get to the enchanted forest, but you know they are near.

When you get to the forest you can open the door and the light automatically goes on and it smells like life. There are chests of drawers on the right that hold treasures—and the treasures change for everyone who looks for them. I found a magic potion in there one night and I shut the door because if anyone saw me they would take it from me and put me in jail. The light went out when I went inside. I shut the door and I could feel the bugs start to crawl on me and I could hear the owls and bats begin to stir. The potion began to get warm in my hands and I knew if I did not drink it I would lose. I uncorked the bottle and drank the whole thing. And I slept for years.

When I woke up I shook off the dust and pulled off the thorns. I had to get used to the guardian angel that I had been assigned. I only had to walk past one door, but that room had the snake in it. Though part of the room was cordoned off where the snake could come in, I knew that it could still get me if it wanted to.

It never blinked.

Day 39

One part of my town turns pink at dusk. Not a pretty highlighter pink, but muddy thick pink, and you have to get back to your house before the sun sets. There are no vampires as far as I know, but people get lost during this time. People stare at you for a little too long as you go past them on the street. Their eyes look a little too big. So you walk a little faster and you can’t find your girlfriend. And then you see her but she is crawling up the street toward you like a spider. Her head is on upside down and she can walk very fast now because she has eight legs and you can hear her scurry. Her body is twisted backward and she sees you and you can’t move as she watches you with eight eyes as she walks by. In your mind you wonder if you will ever be able to taste candy again, or see anything except pink.

Day 40

There is nothing more wonderful than having a garden maze next to your house. You could have sold the lot for bushels of money and they could have built a house there—but you kept the maze and watched the garden grow. At the back of the maze there are string beans growing in curls and turns that are over two feet long. And they are delicious. Past the wires and thread that hold the twisting beans, there is a broken fence. Thick trees let the sunlight shine through in thin strands. You can’t go back there because it belongs to someone else—but you have never seen anyone there.

At the entrance of the maze is a chestnut tree and it can tell if a person is good or bad. Once on Thanksgiving, when no one knew we were there, I brought my boyfriend Frank to see the maze. It was late at night and everyone was sleeping. But the tree knew how Frank really was and dropped two prickly chestnuts down. One hit him on the back and one grazed his face. He said it hurt a lot and I called him a baby. We went in the maze anyway.

It was the first time I had been in the maze in the dark. I saw a mouse underneath the black-eyed Suzies. Frank thought it was ridiculous in the garden, so we left. And I left him. Past the chestnut tree there are hydrangea bushes that are ten feet tall. The flower clusters are as big as holiday serving plates. They are twilight purple and crystal water blue and rose-pink and every shade in between. There is a small opening where the bushes don’t quite meet. It’s through here you can step into the garden. The bees will swarm you, but they are happy to see you, so they don’t sting. Their home is in the garden, and they never have to leave because they have everything they need.

When you open your eyes after the bees scare you, you find yourself standing in a small clearing. Beneath your feet are flat pink and grey stones with thick green grass and clover between them. The sun seems brighter right here and you blink. The clearing is ringed with flowers: daisies, pansies and bleeding hearts, and there are three paths you can take, right, left or forward. The path to the left looks dark, and you think there might be some scary things that way. You would be correct. The path straight ahead looks manicured and well-tended and feels the friendliest. The path to the right looks a bit overgrown and wild. You would find yourself surrounded by green because the vines grow over your head like a covered bridge.

Although I’ve gone left several times, I never had the nerve to stop near the trap-door in the grass. I saw my aunt pull open the first door there and black beetles poured out. She started to crush them with her thumbs. She told me to run and I did. When she came back out into the clearing to find me she looked happy—but she never spoke of it.

Day 41

One of the best days of my life was when I turned right. The curly vines stretched down and some of them touched my face and hair. At the exact point where the vines stop is a patch of snapdragons. When you pinch their cheeks, they open their mouths and tell you a secret. You have to listen very carefully. One of them told my sister never to tell anyone, but she did. I pinched a red one that day and a glass bead fell out of the flower’s mouth and into my hand.

If you look very carefully at the bead in the sun you can see a tiny baby inside it. When there is no moon, the baby moves. I had the bead made into a ring and the jeweler told me I should set it in gold because it was a ruby. I did because the ruby is my birthstone, and if you wear your birthstone you will be lucky. The ring was beautiful and I took it off to wash my hands in a restaurant and accidentally left the ring there. The baby did not like being with me and found someone else.

Day 42

My double in the parallel universe is wired directly into my brain. This is troublesome in the real world because sometimes I have issues discerning what is here and what is there. What is right and what is wrong has always been a problem for me. What is right for me here is not necessarily right for me there. And the other issue is that my
other
is much prettier over there than I am here, and I dream about the other me all the time. This causes me to have self-esteem issues.

My parallel other also followed through with everything she should have—there are no strings left unknotted for her. Although she is not smarter than I am, it seems she is because she does not need to listen to me in her head—I am blocked from her. So she does not know I exist and her life is easy. She does not have to second-guess herself, because there is no second her. On the other hand—I am my own doppelganger…and not a good one.

My other has ESP. Her house is bigger than mine because she writes novels about astral travel, which she can do. She also writes about ley lines, because she knows where they are and she created a new science, something like Feng Shui, based on ley lines and black lines and searchers. She can feel them and she knows what directions they run. She can tell you if your energy is being stolen because you are living on a black line, because if you live there you will get cancer. She can also tell you to relocate to a chord point so energy can run back into you and your cancer can be cured. Everyone knows her there and everyone loves her. Her house is much bigger than mine, really.

Day 43

Pick the symbol you like the most:

1. *

2. #

3. @

4. &

5. ?

6. %

7. +

8. !

9. {

10. }

 

This is what the symbols mean:

1. If you picked the * you have the ability to read minds sometimes. Sometimes you can tell when the phone is about the ring, and sometimes you can even tell who is on the other end of the phone. Sometimes women find you confusing. You say you are going to do something but you really don’t mean it.

2. If you chose # then you are smarter than you think you are. You also have a really big secret that you want to tell people but if you actually told them they would think you were weird. You love iced tea and you had a really odd nickname in school.

3. Choosing this symbol @ means you love to drive and fly in planes. You have also contemplated cutting yourself with a knife or burning yourself with matches—not a lot, but just enough to see what it feels like. Maybe one or two of you have actually done it. You like the Beatles and have them on your iPod.

4. The & symbol means you are more spiritual or religious than you will openly admit. There is a part of you that wants to tell everyone how much you love your god, but you are afraid they will think you are freaky. You like to swim in the ocean and you like the smell of burning punks in the summer. You hate mosquitoes.

5. Liking the ? is not as obvious as you think. You are not necessarily confused but you do want a lot of things that you can’t have right now…like a new car. You also wish you could be in better shape. You love jelly beans, especially the red ones, and you like to gamble.

6. The % sign is evil. You pretend you like people when you really don’t. You talk behind people’s backs. You like hamburgers and shellfish. You really are bad though.

BOOK: 100 Unfortunate Days
2.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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