Jayden's Revenge: The Tale of an American Family

BOOK: Jayden's Revenge: The Tale of an American Family
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Jayden’s Revenge

The Tale of an American Family

Copyright©
2012, Dirk
Knight.
All rights
reserved. This
is a work of fiction. Any similarity to real persons, places, or events is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

 

Acknowledgements:

A special thanks to my editor, Brandon Beam for his patience.

 

Cover art created by Stephanie Stephens

 

Author’s notes following the story

 

For
Vanessa,
I don’t know where you got the patience to let me work this project, but I am grateful to have a woman that believes in me
.
I love you.

 

“Come on baby, light my fire”

—Jim Morrison

 

|
1
|

1.

Jayden
gives her feet a rest
outside the
library
,
smoking
and
wasting
time until school
is
out so she can
catch the bus home
.
In front of the library, surrounding the fountain
is a ring of
hills
that
provide
s
360°
cover
. S
o
,
as long as no one walks up on her
,
she can puff and brood undetected.
It i
s beginning to rain

no surprise to her

and
she
is
prepared with Philip’s hoodie covering her black hair
.
I
t doesn’t smell like him anymore
; she
has worn it too many times and her
own
fragrance has melded with the jacket.

She ha
s
always preferred the taste of Marlboro, her mother’s cigarette brand, but with
her
gone,
she
is
stuck swiping Pall Mall
’s
from
the old man
.
She pulls a long draw into her lungs and is comforted by the warming sensation that hits her
throat
and eventually filters through her entire bod
y. She stuffs the carton of Pall
Mal
l
back into
the
oversized kangaroo pouc
h

his
oversized kangaroo pouch

and lets her rage escape with the exhaled smoke.

When she had first confiscated this
hoodie,
the pouch had contained a bag of weed and a CD. The weed was long gone and the CD, although she hated it after a single listen, she had ripped to her computer and put it as
a playlist

labeled “Philips S
tupid
Techno Crap

–on
her
iPod
. She is somehow comforted
,
just knowing that it is there and
that she
doesn’t have to listen to it. She misses being able to waste time with Philip, which is why she is out here
alone now

with nothing more than a hoodie and a crappy playlist.

All she has
now is her alcoholic father,
who
has become a burden
to her
as
the months
have
passed.
More often than
not,
she will enter the living room to find him passed out drunk on the couch, sitting upright, fork in hand, plate on the table, and kernels of corn on the floor with a cup of whisky in between his legs. She is forced to watch over him constantly.
Pat
hetic.
When she manages to usher him to bed he doesn’t sleep long before he is awakened by his own screams; she will find him
once again
passed out on the couch when she awakens herself for school the next day
.
Then
she will make him coffee so he can get her to school on time
… and away from him for a
blessed
while.

If the police pick her up again for truancy
he
will get a fine,
so
she
has to show up and get her name on the books
,
and then she slips the campus confines and runs across the lot to the hideout she shared with Philip last year
.
She discovered this
library
fountain the previous year;
h
er English teacher
had
walked
the
class over, when the weather was nicer, and let them sit on the knoll and write poetry about true love, world peace, and democracy

or whatever the
hell
happy
little seventh graders wrote about.
Hers talked
about death
, but
she
didn’t share it with anyone.

She
can’t
handle the happy smiling faces that the halls
hold
.
School Spirit?
This school
is
chock
-
full of
a bunch of snobby brats making fun of the other snobby brats who didn’t get
an
iPad
for
Christmas. Her dad wouldn’t notice anything in his state
and wouldn’t care if he did

unless
the cops brought her home again
...
Last Wednesday
was her birthday and he didn’t even notice that
. N
o one
had
.

Philip
is
always on her mind. She wishe
s
that things didn’t work out the way they did for him. She pulls her phone out
,
scrolls through s
ome pictures of the two of them,
and
stops on t
he one of their first day of school here
(
the first day they were Wildcats toget
her
)
. She
begins
to cry
softly;
surprised she still
can
manage tears after
everything
she
saw
this fall. He was a few years
ahead of her in school and last year
was the first time they
had
walked the halls together since before she was old enough to have an opinion.
Today
was supposed to be
like the good old days
,
but when she
entered the giant double doors, hearing the bustle of hundreds of students echoing off the vaulted ceilings and marble floors
,
she
imagined that she
was utterly alone
. T
he only sign of Philip was a picture of him and the rest of the team
, in
their
uniforms
,
next to
last year’s
Wildcats’ State Baseball trophy.

Sometimes she would sit at home and just hold his
practice
bat

a hardwood Louisville Slugger

next
to her side
, usually while wearing his hoodie
.
When she thinks about how pathetic she must look, knowing that Philip would have been the first
one to poke fun at her for it,
she lets out a little
chuckle that
barely has enough force to escape the weight of her sorr
ow
and weepiness.

She
feels
as if she
is
trespassing through his life now
, and
that he
isn’t
here to introduce her
as his
sister
,
so she ha
s
no identity. Everyone already knew who she was anyway. No one spoke to her; her family name had been in the papers and all over the local news… people just stared and gave her a wider berth than
the school halls demanded
for her slender body
. This was supposed to be different, but thanks to
her,
Philip is gone and all that’s left is
this
hoodie and
that
useless
Louisville Slugger.

2.

Derrick
Weller
is uneasy as he arrives home with a brown paper sack in his ample fist
, looking over his shoulders for nosey
neighbors
.
The paper is soaked through and offers no support for the weight of the bottle inside;
instead,
it provides the illusion that onlookers wouldn’t know it held whisk
e
y
.
A
gain
.
It is rainy and cold and the clouds are blocking most of the sun

s glory.
Derrick feels as if the weather has been like this forever.
The
cold front
is bringing on a
cough
as well as the possibility of freezing rain
;
he hacks up a big chunk of phlegm while fumbling through his
key ring
,
but
luckily,
he has some of grandpa’s cough syrup in his bag
.
As he walks over the
threshold,
he has
a sinking feeling
that something is not right. The hairs on his neck are standing
,
but he can’t quite put his finger on what
is
amiss.


Hello
,
is anyone here?” he shouts.

I am an idiot and I’m afraid of my own shadow
is what
sounds in the space
between his ears
.

A tour of the house gives him
some
peace of mind, but he still feels uneasy.
He finds nothing
out of place as he searches his one
-
level condo
room by room
.
I can’t ever relax

he thinks

How can
I
after dealing with the
torment
I
have
endured this year

as he
begins
looking un
der the beds and in the closets, making a second, more thorough, sweep through the house.
He pauses when he enters the first room on the left. The room hasn’t been opened in some time and
the air tastes older
. H
e doesn’t want to look under this bed but forces himself to.

He
came
home with
eve
ry intention of relaxing today

this
is
the first night he
has
the house to himself since Brenda

but
instead he is scouring the house as if he is involved in a high

-
stakes game of hide and seek.
He
is
afraid to be alone,
without
Jayden, his
fourteen
-
year
-
old
(according to his memory)
daughter. She
is
at a
sleepover
birthday party
with
her classmates.
He
ha
d
insisted that she relax and that he
would
do the same
.

Just chill out

he
says to
himself
as he pulls his weight up from the floor
in
the first bedroom,
abandoning
his search. This room
still
makes him uncomfortable; he doesn’t want to spend any more time in here.

He saw the
birthday
girl

s parents looking at him with sad eyes as he dropped Jayden off and said goodbye. The Weller family
’s

situation

has
been, and continues to be, the topic of conversation among families in the Hamilton
School District
. Der
ric
k kn
ows
this, but he refuse
s
to speak with the other parents
about the events
.
After being forced to share his misery during the innumerable visits with t
he court
-
appointed counselor
,
he
has
grown disgusted with having to relive that night.

The conditions
that caused his wife and
him
to finally separate were brutal.
Derrick, like many others in his situation
,
was reluctant to come to the police

until she became a danger to the children. He wouldn’t stand up for himself, partly because he felt responsible, and partly because he
has
always been
chicken—
hearted
when it
came
to conf
rontation. He hated to be alone–
better to be mistreated than to be alone

he would think to rationalize the
horrifying amalgamation that was their life together
.

He and Brenda got married
young. They met in high school.
She
was dark and misunderstood and that intrigued him; other boys were infatuated by her
,
too, but he was the only one that really
got
her. Derrick had been raised by a single mom, who had also
, of course,
been dark and misunderstood. Oedipus complex aside, he was struck by Brenda’s demeanor and had ex
perience in dealing with people (women)
who
were damaged. There was something so beautiful in her sadness. He had to know her
.

BOOK: Jayden's Revenge: The Tale of an American Family
6.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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