Posts Tagged Problems
If I could change it
I am not quite sure I would
For from the deep pain
Has come more compassion than
I otherwise would have known.
I have seen the dark
Inside the very heart of
And I have lived the death of
The sweetest most precious gift.
Losing your children
Without watching them grow strong
Or even later
Is an agony beyond
All human capacity.
What more pain it must
Be for all-knowing, all-loving
God to contemplate
The loss of those who shun the
Mercy freely given them.
We are not able
To comprehend suffering
Deeper than our loss,
But Christ died, in agony,
That we might gain eternity.
One day, I will hold
The hands of those now missing
The joy of glad reunion
Because Jesus loves even me.
© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Monday, January 20, 2014
Are they memories, or the delusions of my mind? So hard to say, and no one to answer… so I will pray that I make it through another day. I know God holds the answers and knows me completely, so I give it into His hands and remember Christ has the power to calm every storm.
Faith must trust in midst of turmoil, even if the turmoil is internal. God is greater than any trial, God is greater than any disease, God is greater than any person, and His love reaches out to each of us in our need. He sent His Son to save. Jesus became the sacrifice for sin in every life choosing to accept grace. His death, His blood, redeems. Christ’s resurrection shows the great power of Almighty God and how very great a love He bestowed upon us in giving us a future hope. His Spirit abides with us, bringing us to acknowledge Christ’s call upon our lives and then sealing us forever. No power can snatch a child of God from His grasp. Love enfolds us…
These things are sometimes hard to hold onto, but we are made strong through Him despite our weakness…
I stumble over words, but I pray God reveal Himself…
The following did not go on Facebook; I wanted to share it here first:
I went to Sunday School this morning, and it was Sanctity Of Life Day, which is a difficult day for me. Had I known that, I probably would not have gone. Someone said she could not imagine how anyone could have an abortion, and my heart broke all over again. My mind began to shatter as it always does when I think of choices I have been forced to make.
If you have read this blog much, you know my life has been a struggle and an adventure, but for those of you who are newcomers I am going to digress a bit. This is going to be sketchy, so if you have questions ask them in the comments.
I was once totally against abortion. I had to fight against it during my pregnancy with my wonderful son, Alex. I thought I might never have an opportunity to have a child, because I had wanted one for years, but never had one. When I got pregnant with Alex, I refused to terminate. He was born in 1988.
I had a miscarriage later, then in 1999 I became pregnant. I was carrying twin girls with Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, which is a rare disorder where both babies share the same blood supply. Google it for more details… It rarely goes well. I was very sick all during the pregnancy and on bed rest. We knew the babies were developing at different rates and the neonatologist was very concerned. One day I went in for a sonogram and the smallest twin had died. The neonatologist recommended we terminate the pregnancy because the outlook for the remaining twin and myself was rather grim. I went home to make the hardest decision of my life.
Because there was no hope of a healthy baby being born and every indication that there would be severe problems for both of us, and because there was an almost certainty of losing the second baby, I chose to terminate. I cried, prayed, and suffered through agony. When we went in and her little heart was stopped, it nearly destroyed me. Then my ob-gyn refused to deliver the babies and told me to go to an abortion clinic. This was heartless and cruel of a highly respected doctor who serves politically. I did not want this outcome, but made the choice because of the health consequences. While devastated and emotionally in agony I had to try to find someone to deliver my twins. After two days, one of the other doctors in the ob-gyn practice had mercy on me and mine and delivered the girls in the hospital where I had hoped to have healthy babies.
I got treated with some respect for the grief I was suffering, but I felt overwhelming guilt. I continue to experience it. I doubt I made the right decision and wonder if the doctor could have been wrong. I hate myself for making a choice I feel only God can make, but I also know I was very sick and weak.
So I have come to believe there are circumstances where a woman may find herself almost forced to terminate a pregnancy… I am no longer totally against abortion. As I have often come to realize, life sometimes intervenes and brings unhappy choices. Not everything is always simple, there are gray areas.
I wish I had been strong enough to carry Katherine Rose to term, but after Melissa Faith died, and the blood was still flowing through her body as it decomposed, there did not seem any hope. I wish my babies had been healthy and I had born them. My life would no doubt be very different, but that was not the situation I was given. I made a tragic choice in a tragic situation.
Maybe others would choose differently, maybe I was wrong. I hope God can forgive me, and that perhaps my story can touch someone and make some hearts a little tenderer toward those who make hard choices in life. We are, after all, only human and prone to error.
We talked about the Sanctity Of Life on the other end, when caring for the elderly among us. I have dedicated the past thirteen, almost fourteen, years to the task. It is a hard job. My mother has a variety of health issues and I am her full-time caregiver. I, myself, suffer from Schizo-Affective Disorder, so am not without personal challenges daily. I will continue caring for my Mom as long as I can.
Sometimes, a little care and compassion can go a long way.
Otherwise Entertained (12)
Morgan woke up shivering on the bunk bed where she had fallen into an exhausted sleep. As soon as she gained consciousness, she realized her left wrist, right ankle, and back were in worse shape than she had imagined before she lay down. She turned on the lamp her mother had given them as a wedding present and realized her wrist was an angry shade of purple, almost black. Her ankle was hurting worse than it had the first morning after she fell in the ravine. Her back smarted where the whip had dug into her tender flesh.
She wished she could go to the hospital, but it was Sunday morning, she had no insurance because Tony had not been at his job long enough to gain coverage, and she doubted he would appreciate her writing a check for the cost. She knew there were a couple of thousand dollars in the account if he had not spent all the money she had deposited from her working summer jobs. She did not know the balance because he insisted since he made all the money that he should have control of the finances. He gave her a cash allowance for groceries and other spending. She knew he made good money at his present job, but she had no idea what he spent when she was not around. If the tip he left last night was any indication, there might be less money in the account than she guessed.
She tried to use the crutches to hobble to the bedroom, but found it hurt to put any pressure on her left hand. This was not a good state of affairs. She wanted to go to church because there might be questions if she were not there. She managed to hobble to the bedroom bracing herself on the right wall. Tony was still asleep and she chose not to wake him. She did not think she could take more punishment like that of last night and she had no idea what mood in which he would awaken.
She felt around in the closet her father had constructed and found a long sleeved shirt and a long skirt hanging together. She wished it was appropriate to wear jeans on Sunday morning, but knew people would stare if she did. She did not wish to draw undue attention to herself. She got fresh underwear out of her childhood dresser and limped to the bathroom.
When she turned her back to the shower, she nearly fainted. Now she knew what slaves felt like after being beaten by an overseer. No pain so excruciating had visited her body before. She almost forgot her ankle and wrist hurt. God only knew what she had done to deserve this suffering. When she got out of the shower, she took a makeup mirror and turned her back to the mirror over the sink. The reflection made her gasp. There were deep red welts crisscrossing the middle of her back. She was glad the shirt she had found was dark and thick.
She dressed and combed out her hair. She decided makeup was necessary and carefully applied it to her face. She checked on Tony again, finding him still asleep. They did not always go to church together so she figured no one would be overly concerned when she showed up alone.
She tried to eat a bowl of cereal, but found she had no appetite. She picked up her purse, and slung it over her right shoulder. Again, she felt pain shoot through her. This was not going to be easy. She hobbled out the door and shut it quietly behind her. She made it to Katie in a few wobbly steps. When her back touched the seat, she drew in a deep breath. She cranked the Cadillac and backed out of the driveway slowly, trying not to rev the big engine.
Driving was no fun, every time she made a turn or put on brakes she was reminded of her injuries. She made it to the small white church on the hill and found the parking lot already crowded. She parked as close to the building as possible and tried to walk inside without limping. She ground her teeth together to avoid moaning.
One of her friends hugged her, and she wished she had not done so. One of the older women asked what had happened to her foot. She answered that she had fallen down some stairs. She made it through Sunday school without any more questions about her condition. The teacher did ask where Tony was and she told him he had wanted to sleep in because he was very tired.
The pastor preached a beautiful sermon on First Corinthians Thirteen. She thought how that definition of love was lacking in her life with Tony, but she smiled thinking of Kelvin. Then guilt overwhelmed her and tears trickled over her cheeks. She swiped them away with her right hand. She shut her eyes and prayed that she could be forgiven.
When the service ended, she walked out as quickly as she could. A few people stopped her to shake hands and hug her. When she got to the car, she sighed with relief. She thought it had gone very well, but she felt no absolution.
She drove home slowly trying to avoid as much pain as she could. When she got home Tony’s Camaro was missing from the driveway. That could not possibly be good, but she was relieved she would not have face him immediately.
She went inside and put down her purse and Bible. She limped to the bedroom and changed out of her church clothes. She put on another long sleeved shirt and jeans. Her back smarted when the material touched the welts. She limped to the front room and took a Diet Coke from the refrigerator. She thought of the crutches, but guessed they would be more trouble than help. She hobbled to her desk and took out her journal. She wondered if it was safe to write about last night and this morning. She decided she had nothing to lose. After writing down what she experienced, she put the journal back in the bottom of one of the drawers where she usually hid it.
She took out some paper and wrote a couple of poems. One was a prayer of contrition asking for forgiveness and the other was a love song. It had been a long time since she was inspired to write about love. She thought about that and decided it was a sad commentary on the state of her marriage. After the preceding night, she wondered if she was crazy to be sitting in this apartment. Her pride prevented her from admitting to anyone else how horribly wrong she had been to get married. Now Kelvin knew she had reservations, but she did not think he would reveal what she had said to anyone else.
She heard a car pull up in the driveway and stuffed her papers into a drawer. In a moment keys rattled in the lock. Tony burst into the room and glared at her.
“Where the hell have you been?”
She answered, “I went to church as I often do on Sundays. You were sleeping so soundly I decided it was best not to wake you. I knew you had a tiring week and thought you could use the extra rest.”
He nodded and said, “Thank you. That was sweet of you. I am sorry I was so rough on you last night. I will not do it again. Can you forgive me?”
She could not believe what he was saying, but she did not want to upset him. She said, “Of course. It was not so bad.”
He looked at her feet and then met her eyes, “You’re wearing the bandage again. Is your ankle hurting?”
She answered, “It seemed a little worse today and I thought it would be good to wrap it.”
“Do you want to go get something to eat? I’ll drive,” he said.
She answered, “I think I will stay home, but if you want to go get some chicken that would be great.”
He smiled and said, “Sure, I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
He left and she sat stunned at her desk. She wondered how he thought a few words could erase the deeds of the night before. Maybe she was crazy, but it seemed like he would realize how badly he had hurt her. She wished she knew someone she could talk to about it, but it was long distance to call her best friend and she did not think anyone else would understand.
After about twenty minutes, she heard the Camaro outside. He came in and served their plates from the bucket of chicken and side items. He sat down on the bunk and patted the place beside him.
He asked, “Why don’t you come sit over here?”
She carefully balanced her plate and limped the few steps over to the bunk. She sat down, and he patted her on the back. She bit her tongue to avoid screaming. She wondered if he could truly be so insensitive, or if he had forgotten whipping her. She decided there was no good explanation for the way he was acting.
After they finished eating, he took their plates and emptied the bones into the trashcan. He ran a sink full of water and washed the dishes, putting them in the drainer to dry.
She got up to go to the bathroom and he asked her, “Do you want to use your crutches? I can get them for you.”
She did not want to explain about her wrist, so she said, “I am doing fine without them. They make my underarms hurt worse than my foot.”
He nodded and crossed the room. He said, “I bought a new album. Would you like to listen to it?”
She called back over her shoulder, “Sure, when I come back from the bathroom.”
She looked closely at her face after she washed her hands. She decided that maybe the damage did not show, except in the depths of her eyes.
When she got back to the front room, he started the album. She recognized the artist as Pat Benatar. She had never heard the whole album before. As the song, Hell Is For Children played she felt tears begin trickling down her face.
He asked, “Are you okay, darling?”
She wiped her eyes and said, “Sure, I just have not heard that before. It caught me off guard. It is a really sad song.”
He said, “It is horrible that some people do that to their children. When we have ours, it will not be like that. We will be marvelous parents.”
She thought, no God, no children, not after last night. Please Jesus save us all from such suffering.
© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Otherwise Entertained (13)
Monday was the regularly scheduled game day at Ramsey’s house, but she was dreading it this time. She did not want the group to see her in her current condition. She was tired of wearing long sleeves already. She was a very warm natured person and she was overheating.
At noon, someone knocked on the door. Her heart raced because she thought it might be Kelvin. When she answered the door, she found a woman holding a huge bouquet of red roses. She thought there was some mistake.
The woman asked, “Are you Morgan?”
She answered, “Yes, I am.”
The woman handed her the vase and said, “Then these are for you!”
She returned to her van without giving Morgan a chance to ask any questions.
Turning around and shutting the door she wondered why she had received such a lavish display. She limped to the bar and searched the arrangement for a card. She found it and opened the envelope. The message was scrawled in Tony’s handwriting.
It read, “Thinking of you with love and affection today. Hoping these bring a smile to your beautiful face. Yours forever, Tony.”
She found herself frowning with consternation. She did not understand why a man, who always said flowers had absolutely no meaning, would send her roses. He had never done anything like this when their relationship had been more loving.
She sat down in her desk chair and stared at the flowers sitting on the bar. They were undeniably gorgeous, but she felt their beauty was tainted by his recent actions. She wished she could accept them as a lovely gift, but instead they bewildered her. Was she simply going insane? Should she accept the gesture as one of love and good will?
She reached for the phone, but realized Yvonne would be in school at this time of day, and it was long distance anyway. She wanted to talk to someone who loved her, but would not react over-protectively as would her mother. Her family really could not know about this, someone would lose their temper and the consequences could be disastrous. Her male family members were hot heads who would not hesitate in using force to settle a score. Hurting a female was unconscionable, especially a female who belonged to them.
Lost in thought she jumped when someone knocked loudly on the door. This was turning into an unusually busy day for interruptions.
She limped to the door and opened it. Kelvin stepped briskly inside and closed the door behind him.
He said, “Are you okay?”
She said, “I think I might be dreaming. This day is becoming extremely strange. Aren’t you supposed to be in school? What are you doing here?”
He took her in his arms and kissed her. He said, “Does that prove you are not dreaming? I took the afternoon off, senior privilege. I wanted to see you and thought this might be a good time. Does that answer your questions? Are you still convinced things are strange?”
She tried to hide her pain and said, “Too many surprises. I think I need to sit down.”
She stumbled as she stepped to the bunk and he grabbed her left hand. She gasped.
He said, “What’s this? I thought your ankle was healing and you did not seem to mind my holding your hand the last time I saw you.”
She pulled her hand away and put it down beside her. His eyes followed the movement.
He asked, “Are you going to answer me? What is wrong?”
“I fell, spraining my wrist, and reinjuring my ankle,” she answered.
He shook his head, “This said by the girl I have watched sprint up several flights of crowded stairs in four inch spikes when late to class. Tell me another story. I disbelieve that one.”
She shrugged and said, “That’s the only one I have.”
He stood over her and lifted her hand, pushing back her sleeve, “You are obviously trying to hide something because I never saw you in such thick clothes even in the dead of winter. Now you want to tell me the truth?”
She looked away from him and closed her eyes trying to think of an explanation he would accept.
“You forget I told you I care about you. I know you, probably better than the rest of the group. You think you can deceive me. You are forgetting who I am. Now look at me and tell me why I find you more broken than I have ever seen you,” he said.
She sobbed, “Why can you not be satisfied with a simple answer?”
“Because you are one of the strongest people I know, and my questions have reduced you to tears. What did that son of a bitch do to you? Did he figure out I had been here? Is this my fault? Other people may accept your stories or fail to notice something is wrong, but I am not other people,” he said in a voice roughened by his emotions.
Morgan looked him in the eyes and said, “You really don’t want to know.”
He roared, “You think this is none of my business? You think I walk away when someone hurts someone dear to me. After so many months in my presence, you have learned so little about me. Come on Morgan, if you do not tell me now, I swear all of us will beat it out of him tonight. Don’t try my patience and remember I never make idle threats.”
“He did not know what he was doing. I made him angry. It was my fault,” she said softly.
“I have heard about the bullies who tormented you. Did you make excuses for them like this? Is that why your brothers never beat the crap out of them?” He demanded.
“No they were older and I never told them what happened, they never asked,” she said.
“Well, I’m asking, and you are going to give me an honest answer or I am walking out of here and you will never see me again. Answer me now, woman. I will not ask again,” he said with such force it frightened her.
She motioned for him to sit down beside her; he shook his head and said, “No thanks, I’ll stand so I can see your face. You cannot lie to me if I am looking at you like this, I will know if you do.”
“He came home a while after you left. We went to the Barbecue House for supper. He flirted with the waitress and left her a twenty-dollar tip. I drove to the theater and we saw a horror movie. When I was scared, he laughed at me. He refused even to hold my hand. He walked way ahead of me to the car and played the stereo so loud it made my head hurt. When we got home, he locked me out. When I stepped inside in the dark, he grabbed me and covered my mouth as I screamed. Is that enough to satisfy your curiosity?” She said looking into his eyes.
He said, “I don’t think that is the end of the story. You have started; you can tell me the whole thing.”
She nodded and continued, “I stumbled and he let me go. I fell hard on the floor and twisted my ankle again. He cursed at me and refused to help me up off the floor. He told me he had plans and told me to crawl to the bedroom. As I was crawling, he walked by me and kicked my left wrist. I nearly fell on my face. He got to the bedroom and turned on the light. He threw me on the bed and tied my hands over my head with rope. I really don’t want to say any more, is it not enough? You don’t understand, I have to relive it all as I tell you.”
There were tears in his eyes, and he said, “I need to know the rest of it. I cannot help if I do not know.”
She took a deep breath and began again, “He left the room and came back with a tumbler of whiskey. He took both our clothes off. He turned me onto my stomach and beat me with a whip. When I begged him to stop, he demanded I do what he wanted. I did it and he threw me back on my stomach. He took me roughly from behind. When he finished he drank some whiskey, lit a joint, and told me to leave him alone. I made it to the bathroom, untied my hands, and put on my bathrobe. I slept on this bunk. I woke up in pain.”
He moved to her side and sat down beside her. She realized he was crying and began sobbing herself.
She said, “It was all so awful. Now he is being unusually kind. He even sent me those roses today.”
He said, “That low down son of a bitch. He is going to pay for this.”
She grabbed his balled up fist, “No, it is not worth it. I am okay.”
“The hell you are. Now let me see your back,” he said reaching for her shirt. She ground her teeth as he pulled it up.
“Oh my God! I have seen some bad things, but this is too much. You poor darling! No wonder you did not want me to touch you. You should have gone to the hospital. I can take you now. I have my license even though I don’t have a vehicle,” he said.
“No, no one can know!” She said quietly.
“I know!” He exclaimed.
“You would not let it go. Others would not either. Someone would get in terrible trouble. You have to keep it a secret. Tell no one!” She said.
“You think I am a coward? I will give him worse than he ever imagined,” he said.
“You will let it go if you really care about me. I cannot lose you now,” she said and kissed him.
“I am afraid to touch you. I might harm you. How am I supposed to sit in the same room with him tonight?” He asked.
“You pretend it never happened and treat him just as you always have,” she said.
“You forget who I am, and try to take my manhood from me,” he said.
She whispered, “No, I know exactly who you are and I respect you more than you guess.”
“Maybe so, but you don’t understand what you are asking,” he said.
She said, “A time will come.”
He said, “I can guarantee you it will.”
She kissed him and put her arms around his neck. She said, “Thank you for not giving up until you got the truth and for listening. I needed someone to talk to about all of it. Why do you think he is being so nice now?”
He explained, “Probably because he feels guilty, is a coward, and thinks that being nice will save his ass by causing you to keep quiet about what happened. I am sure he knows he should have never treated you that way. He may be scared you will talk to the police. They would arrest him in a heartbeat after seeing your back. I will take you to talk to them if you want to go.”
She shook her head and said, “No, it would get back to others and they would not stop until they did something so horrible they would never be free again.”
He said, “You know sometimes consequences do not matter. Only revenge matters, there is satisfaction in making someone pay for his or her actions.”
He kissed her gently and said, “You know someone should put something soothing on those welts. I do not know how you will avoid terrible scars. How can you trust anyone when he did this to you?”
She smiled, “Just because one person does something hurtful does not mean that another person is also cruel. Each one should be held accountable for his or her own actions. God calls us to let go our judgment of all others and love each other alike. Forgiveness is a gift of peace that we give to ourselves.”
He said, “I knew there was a reason I admired you. Come sit in my lap for a few minutes before I leave. This has not been exactly the afternoon I envisioned. I do not pretend to understand why you insist I keep this secret and mete out no punishment. I will warn you not to come between our characters in Ambazzar. How are you going to answer questions from the others tonight? They may not call you out on it as I did, but they are apt to wonder about anything you tell them.”
She said, “The others tend to be less observant than you. Sometimes I think they all consider me just another of the guys.”
He said, “I can assure you they all realize you are not one of the guys.”
He kissed her long and passionately. He said, “He managed to come between us again. One day I will have you all to myself.”
She said, “I would like that very much. Now you should probably be leaving. I cannot imagine what he would do if he caught us together like this. I do not think it would be pretty. He was not even happy you carried me out of the woods.”
He asked, “Do you think that is why he did this to you? Do you think he suspects us?”
She answered, “No, but there is some tension between you two. I have been watching it for months now. You are a leader, and I know he resents authority.”
He said, “I think you have a lively imagination. Take good care and don’t get hurt!”
He kissed her once more and slipped out the door. The apartment felt so empty to her when he left.
© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Otherwise Entertained (14)
Sitting at her desk, Morgan thought about Kelvin. He would have a hard time carrying her secret and keeping his hands off Tony. She knew he never backed down from a challenge and always defended his friends. His admission of care for her put her in the position where he would want to fight for her. He was not a jock, but he had proven when he carried her from the woods that he was strong. Only her pleas that he not act on his feelings of revenge would keep him from beating Tony mercilessly, if those worked. She was unwilling to give up the game nights, but maybe Tony would fall away from the group. She knew there would be some repercussions for his treatment of her. Even if they did not know what happened, the others would probably sense something. Kelvin might not act in reality, but Kaos had no inhibitions.
She took the green Royal out of its case and rolled in a sheet of typing paper. She thought how things were between she and Kelvin and began a poem.
Hidden beneath the surface
Not allowed the light,
Their passion like a jewel
Centered deep inside.
No one must hear a whisper,
No tales could now be told,
Their kisses must be secret
Treasured dear as gold.
No longer a maiden
Not counted extremely fair,
Worried, conscience laden,
Afraid promises to foreswear.
A knight golden
Striving to be white,
To no one beholden,
Spoiling for a fight.
A quite unlikely couple
Though friends throughout time,
An affair born in trouble
Surely could not be a crime.
She took the paper from the typewriter and read it over. It was like most of her poems, something no one else would ever read, but it eased her soul to write the words.
She heard the Camaro pull into the driveway and tucked the poem beneath some other papers in a desk drawer.
Tony unlocked the door and burst into the apartment, the door banging against her desk. His eyes swept the room and came to rest on her face.
He said, “I see you got the roses. Do you like them?”
She sighed and answered, “They are quite beautiful and totally unexpected.”
He smirked and said, “You deserve them and so much more.”
He walked to the bedroom and came back changed from his brown uniform into jeans and a striped shirt.
He took her hands and asked, “Would you like to have a steak tonight? I think it would be nice before we go to Ramsey’s house.
She gently disengaged her hands from his and said, “That sounds very nice. You know I enjoy steak.”
He gathered their gaming things from the black metal shelf, gave her purse to her, and said, “Let’s go then. Is your ankle still hurting? I can drive Katie for you.”
“That would be nice,” she said as she limped to the passenger side of her car.
He came around her, set the books on the hood, and opened her door.
Her eyebrows raised as she said, “Thanks Tony.”
As he closed the heavy door he said, “You are very welcome.”
He drove to the restaurant and opened her door for her. He held her arm, allowing her to lean on him as they walked inside. After they finished the meal, he helped her back to the car and made sure she was comfortably seated before starting the Cadillac.
At Ramsey’s house, he helped her inside and went back to the car.
Wagner asked, “Shouldn’t your ankle be better by now?”
Several of the others nodded in agreement and looked at her closely.
She swallowed and answered, “I guess it was a little more serious than I thought.”
Kelvin shuffled some papers and said, “I think we are in for quite an adventure tonight. I am looking forward to it.”
Tony came in with their books and gaming gear. He handed Morgan’s things to her and started to sit down near Kelvin who suddenly spread his books out into that space. Tony changed direction and took an empty chair across the room.
Morgan noticed some puzzled looks pass between the guys. Kelvin gave a slight shrug when their eyes met his.
Ramsey gave them a little background on the nearby dungeon through non-player character conversation in the tavern where their adventures began. The group rode out in high spirits.
Tony’s character, Cornelius, took the lead position, entering the dungeon first. When they encountered a small group of Minotaur, the fighting became intense.
When only one Minotaur remained, Kelvin rolled his dice and announced, “Kaos accidentally hits Cornelius in the back with his sword while aiming for the Minotaur. He does six points damage.”
Ramsey rolled his dice behind the screen and said, “The Minotaur hits Cornelius with its axe and he falls to ground, bleeding profusely.”
Max called out, “Silas attempts to pull Cornelius away from the fighting.”
Kelvin and Ramsey rolled dice simultaneously and Ramsey said, “The Minotaur lifts Cornelius’ nearly lifeless body and darts into the shadows.”
The rest of the group pursued the Minotaur, but it got away in a maze of corridors. Ramsey rolled some dice and told them, “You find a room with several doors…”
The adventure continued for an hour in which Tony could only watch and listen because the group did not return to town. When Morgan glanced at Kelvin, he gave her a satisfied smile.
Ramsey suggested they take a break and have some snacks. They all filed into the kitchen carrying on lively conversations about the game. Morgan noticed Tony sullenly refused to participate. Kelvin seemed determined to keep his distance from her husband.
They returned to the den and Tony rolled a new character. In their next sally into the dungeon, Kelvin’s character, Kaos, again turned his weapons on Tony’s character. Tony was left sitting quietly in the background as the game continued around him.
When the game broke up about an hour later, Tony left the house without a word to anyone. Kelvin picked up Morgan’s gaming gear along with his own and walked her to the car. Tony was already sitting in the passenger seat with the stereo blaring.
Kelvin opened the driver’s side door and deposited Morgan’s gear in the back seat. He said, “Tony, don’t you think you should drive? Your wife seems in no shape to be handling a vehicle.”
Morgan paused before sitting down and heard Tony say, “She can drive well enough. What was your idea of killing my characters tonight?”
Kelvin laughed and said, “Just bad luck, sometimes it is all in the roll of the dice.”
He patted her on the shoulder, saying, “You take care of yourself and drive carefully. You know our numbers if you need anything.”
He closed the door and backed away from the car. When she cranked it and began backing away, he waved.
The driving was not so bad, but when she attempted to turn the stereo down Tony batted her hand away from the knob.
He yelled, “Take me to the liquor store. I need some Jack Daniels.”
She drove there and he slammed Katie’s door especially hard when he got out. She turned the stereo off and enjoyed the quiet. After a few minutes, he came out with a brown paper bag.
He said, “I picked up another bottle of Bacardi 151 so you can join me as I drink tonight.”
She took a moment before saying, “The bottle we had was not nearly empty, but it is nice of you to think of me.”
He turned the stereo back on at high volume. When they reached the apartment, he jumped out of the car leaving their gaming gear in the back seat. She gathered it and limped to the closed apartment door. She was not surprised when she found it locked. She opened the door and stepped inside. She saw him pouring Bacardi 151 into a glass on the bar.
He said, “You were right. Your bottle was not near empty. I took the liberty of preparing your drink for you.”
As he put it in her hand she said, “Thank you, but I really did not need it.”
He took a Led Zeppelin album out and placed it on the turntable. He said, “You may not need the drink, but I don’t want to drink alone.”
He sat down on a bunk and began drinking. She sat in her desk chair and listened to the music. It was not as loud as he had played the stereo in the car because he could not afford to disturb the neighbors above or in the other basement apartment next to theirs.
He patted the seat next to him and said, “Come on over here. I don’t bite.”
She joined him, but asked, “Don’t you think you ought to get to bed since you have work tomorrow?”
He answered, “It is not as late as some nights and I really need to calm down after this evening. I never realized how boring it was to just sit and watch the game being played. I wanted to punch Kelvin for killing my characters. Tonight was awful. I am not sure I will go Wednesday. I could go hang out with Michael while you were gone.”
She said, “I am sorry it was not pleasant for you. I am also very glad you did not hit Kelvin. It would have been bad for a fight to break out over the game. Ramsey’s mother might have banned everyone from playing there anymore and that would be unfair to the others.”
He said, “Yeah, I thought of that. I knew it was all an accident anyway. I have not been in a fistfight in years and did not want to hurt anyone.”
She said, “It was good you thought about it. I would hate to see you in a fight. You might get hurt and that would make me unhappy.”
He finished his drink and said, “I think I will head to bed. Work time comes early. Will you join me, I hate for you to sleep up here.”
She said, “I will be back in a while. I have a few things to do before I settle down. I will slip in quietly without disturbing your rest. Sleep well with sweet dreams.”
He left the room and then she heard the bedroom door close. She thought about what Kelvin had done during the game and smiled. She knew he would like to do something similar in real life, but she was glad he had restrained himself throughout the evening. She wondered what all of them would think of her coming to play alone, but she guessed she was enough a part of the group that it would make little difference.
She took out the poem she had written that afternoon and read it again. It was not great, but she liked it. Maybe one day she could share it with Kelvin. He might like it, but then again some people had no use for poetry.
© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Friday, November 8, 2013
I had a very hard time getting this written. I am still uncertain I handled the love scene well. Fortunately, in the end the words began to flow and it got easier. Please be advised there are adult language, content, and situations in this post. If you were abused there may be triggers here. As always, read at your own risk.
Otherwise Entertained (11)
Morgan did not sleep well, troubled by uneasy dreams. She woke before the clock alarmed at 6:00. She cooked scrambled eggs and toast for Tony’s breakfast. He grumbled about having a headache, but left for work without mentioning the night before.
She turned on the small black and white television for a few minutes hoping to distract herself, but she found as usual that it did not entertain her. After turning the television off, she put Neil Young’s Decade on the stereo. The music provided a pleasant background for her to tidy the apartment. Side one of the album finished playing and cut off itself. She wondered what Kelvin was doing this morning, but guessed he would still be asleep.
She showered, but before she finished dressing, someone knocked on the door. She grabbed her plush white terry cloth bathrobe, put it on over her underwear, and belted it tightly at her waist. She wondered who would be visiting this early on Saturday morning. As she passed the window, she noted that only Katie was in the driveway.
The knocking continued and she opened the door. She was surprised to find Kelvin standing there.
She stepped to the side to let him in and asked him, “How did you get here?”
He said, “I walked, as I do most of the time.”
After he shut the door behind him, he took her in his arms. His embrace was tender and warm. She wrapped her arms around him in return.
He murmured into her damp hair, “You smell so sweet.”
She looked up at him and said, “I need to go dress. I just finished my shower.”
He lifted her chin and kissed her hungrily. She responded with equal ardor.
He took her hand and led her to the bunk against the wall. When they were seated, he asked, “How is your ankle?”
She answered, “It seems to be getting better. Thank you for bringing me out of the woods. I do not think I could have walked so far alone. You seem more concerned about my ankle than anyone else.”
He said, “I care about you. You should realize that.”
They were still holding hands and she thought how nice it was. Kelvin slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her tightly against him. They kissed again and Morgan felt her body reacting to his tenderness.
He said, “I don’t like the way Tony treats you. You deserve better.”
She looked into his kind brown eyes and said, “You are making it better by being here. I never dreamed you would walk this far to see me. It is not safe for either of us.”
He kissed her again, and said, “Safety is overrated. Besides no one knows I am here, there is no car to give us away. I suppose that is one advantage of being the only person without a car at eighteen. I never before thought there was anything positive about it.”
They kissed and he said, “Are you in love with him? It does not seem possible, but I need to know, before I…”
She put a finger to his lips, and said, “He has been pulling away from me for some time; he hurts me with words and actions. I do not feel like I used to, I made a horrible mistake marrying him, but he was different then. I think some of it is the drugs he takes. I think those have changed him. I was not aware of that habit. I have tried to get him to quit, but he ignores me. I was so stupid.”
He caressed her cheek, and said, “It is not your fault. Sometimes we rush into things without being certain what we are going to be getting.”
Their lips met and the kissing went on for several minutes. She broke away from his mouth and snuggled into his neck, kissing him there. He pulled her onto his lap and slid his hands beneath her robe. She moved her hands over his chest.
The phone rang, startling them both. She limped across the room to answer it. It was a telemarketer wanting to sell her magazines. She hung up.
He was at the refrigerator when she turned around. She guessed he needed a drink.
“You know you really should clean out the leftovers sometime. I noticed this stuff growing last night,” he said as he sat the dish containing the spaghetti on the bar.
She answered, “Yeah, I found that yesterday, but got busy, and forgot it.”
He dumped it in the garbage and ran water into the dish in the sink. He returned with a Coke to the bunk where she was sitting and handed her a Diet Coke.
“You do not seem well prepared for marriage. Maybe you need someone to teach you,” he said and kissed her again.
When their mouths separated, she said, “I think you will find me a fast learner, but perhaps I can teach you a few things too.”
He grinned, “I would just bet you can. I am willing, teach me.”
They lay down facing each other on the bunk and as they kissed, they explored one another’s bodies. The gentleness with which he touched her made her body quiver and tingle. There was no rush, no selfishness, and she reacted in kind.
The piercing ring of the phone made them both jump. She got up to answer it, and took a few deep breaths before she lifted the receiver to her ear. She turned to face Kelvin as she said, “Hello Tony.”
While he told her he wanted her ready to go out when he got home, she and Kelvin were making themselves presentable. Tony was getting off early. It appeared he had forgotten to tell her he wanted to go for dinner and a movie that evening.
When she got off the phone she said, “You had better go, he has decided to come home early. Maybe there will be another time for lessons.”
Kelvin kissed her deeply, and said, “I am sure there will be. He cannot always spoil things.”
He slipped out the door, closing it softly behind him. She hugged herself and wished things were different. Wishing they did not have to worry about being discovered. They were lucky this time; Tony could have come home without warning. She wondered what she was going to do. Nothing was as simple as it should be.
She limped to the bedroom and put on jeans and an embroidered blouse. In the bathroom, she brushed her hair until it shone. She put on a little make up hoping Tony would be pleased.
When he came home, he rushed past her, and slammed the bedroom door. He came out a few minutes later in jeans and a concert tee shirt. He grabbed a beer from the refrigerator.
He asked, “What are you looking at?”
She said, “I was just thinking you should not drink and drive.”
He frowned and said, “What makes you think I am driving? You can do it just as well as I can. At least you are good for that.”
She winced, thinking how different it was dealing with Kelvin. She wished she could walk away, but it was all so complicated. When she moved out of her parents’ house, she had promised herself she would never go back to that torment. Yet there was really nowhere else she could go. Better here with Tony, than there.
They ate at her favorite barbecue place, but Tony flirted with the waitress every time she came around. He left a twenty-dollar tip and laughed at Morgan’s raised eyebrows and open mouth.
The movie was another horror film. When she tried to hold his hand during the scary parts, he brushed her away. When she screamed, he laughed at her. Walking to the car, he strode off ahead of her. He turned the stereo so loud on the way home that it gave her a headache.
He jumped out of the car when they reached the apartment and hurried inside. She found the door locked again. The lights were out when she came through the door. She reached for the switch and he grabbed her wrist and slipped in behind her putting his other hand over her mouth when she started to scream. She stumbled and he let go of her. She fell hard onto the floor.
He laughed, “Not such a brave bitch now, are you? Get up you sorry piece of shit! Get to the bedroom; I have a little game in mind.”
She tried to get up, but found her ankle did not want to support her.
She said, “You’ll have to help me, Tony. My ankle twisted again as I fell.”
He yelled, “I’m not helping you. Crawl like the dog you are, but hurry the hell up.”
She whimpered, and crawled toward the bedroom. She was grateful the floor was clean since she had vacuumed that morning. Tony passed her and kicked one of her hands from under her so she almost hit the floor face first.
He turned the bedroom light on and she was grateful for the light. As she entered the room, he grabbed her, picked her up, and threw her on the bed. He took a rope and tied her hands above her head.
“You stay there, I’ll be right back,” he said.
She did not see where she had much choice, but to do as he told her. She wished Kelvin, Ramsey, and Wagner would appear at the door, knowing there was little chance of it.
He came back with a tumbler of whiskey over ice. He sat it on the nightstand and began undressing. He almost tore her clothes off. He rolled her over on her stomach and then she heard a hiss and felt a sting on her back. She cried out.
He said, “How’s that feel baby? You like that?”
She felt the sting again several times, and wondered what had given him this idea. She had known he bought a whip a while back, but thought it only a keepsake. He had never been this mean.
She said, “Please stop! I’ll do whatever you want, but please stop.”
He said, “Then get up and get me off. Since your hands are tied you will have to use your mouth, but you are good at that. Real good.”
She did as he said, trying to think of something else. Trying not to dwell on the degradation. She knew she could survive this, knew she would be okay. She had already proven herself strong.
After she had pleasured him once, he quickly revived. He threw her back down on her stomach and took her roughly from behind. When he was done, he finished his drink, lit his pot, and told her to leave him alone.
She stumbled out of the room, leaning heavily on the wall, with her hands still tied. She went to the bathroom and managed to get the rope off after several minutes. She put on her bathrobe and washed her face. She limped to the front room and found her crutches under one of the bunks. She got a Diet Coke out of the fridge; thanking God the episode was over. She hoped he would fall asleep, as he usually did after sex, and leave her in peace.
She thought back over the day as she sat at her desk. She took out pen and paper to begin writing. She shook her head musing what a difference a few hours could make.
© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Otherwise Entertained (10)
After doing chores and a quick shower on Friday morning, Morgan decided to go shopping at Winn-Dixie. She needed to pick up a few things in case the guys showed up that evening. She limped outside and got in Katie. It was the first time she had driven since injuring her ankle, but she had suffered such things in the past and thought she could handle it.
When she arrived at the store, she grabbed a buggy in the parking lot and hobbled inside. She put some chips, dip, orange juice, lettuce, tomatoes, Catalina, Ranch, and Thousand Island dressings, mushrooms, bell pepper, cucumbers, Froot Loops, milk, eggs, bread, hot dog buns, hamburger buns, butter, cheddar cheese, bologna, hot dogs, sliced ham, ground beef, grapes, oranges, strawberries, a bag of ice, Diet Coke, Sprite, and Coca Cola in the cart. While waiting in line she leafed through Cosmopolitan magazine, and glanced at the cover of Vogue.
The woman rang up her purchases and she checked the total. She realized she had enough money to afford the magazines and asked those be added to her bill. She paid with cash and pushed the buggy out to the car. There was plenty of room for everything in the cavernous trunk.
She drove home carefully, wincing when she had to stop at signs and traffic signals. Luckily, in the small town there were not many of those on her route. She unloaded the car and put all the groceries away. She noticed the spaghetti Tony had made several nights earlier was beginning to mold, but she was busy and forgot to throw it out.
She was a little nervous about what might happen that evening. She knew Kelvin said they would be there, but there had been no calls to confirm and she was not sure which of them would actually come over. She had not been able to concentrate very much on making up a new game scenario. Her mind kept wandering back to the magical moments in the woods. She marveled that one kiss could so disturb her equanimity.
Tony had been distant all week, as had been his demeanor for some time. She did not mind it so much, because her mind was elsewhere anyway. They did have sex a couple of times, but he was not tender or loving. It was just something to satisfy his physical needs. He had not been willing to take her to the hospital, so she was not sure how badly her ankle was hurt. He did nothing to make accommodation for her injury. When they went out, he had walked swiftly and left her behind him.
She took a second shower, enjoying the caress of the hot water and the sweet smells of soap, shampoo, and conditioner. As she toweled dry, she wondered what she should wear. She picked out a ruffled white shirt, black jeans, and a belt with a large Celtic buckle. She had never worn much make up, but she did her face carefully that afternoon. She highlighted her hazel eyes with an extra bit of mascara and curled her long straight auburn hair. As she applied the deep red lipstick, she wished her lips were thinner. She could not help remembering the taunts of her peers who called her nigger lips. Fortunately, the bullying had ended when she left school. She did not miss it much, although she always enjoyed learning new things. She thanked Jesus again that she no longer had to wear glasses, but had contacts that made the world much clearer than ever before. She decided to leave the bandage off, not wanting to draw any attention to her foot by going without her shoe. The Nikes were comfortable and she thought she would be fine. She should probably be using the crutches, as she had most of the week, but that was something she did not care to do in front of the guys, especially Kelvin.
Tony came home around 6:00, and said, “What have you been up to today? I see you cleaned yourself up nicely; too bad no one cares what you look like. You are basically useless.”
She replied, “I bought groceries and cleaned up around the house. You know your clothes do not pick themselves up off the floor and deposit themselves in the hamper. The bed would be a mess, as you left it, had I not made it. The dishes and the floor would still be dirty without my cleaning them up. I hope your day went well.”
He said, “Another day of endless packages, but I guess it could have been worse. I could have spent hours waiting on you to do something.”
He went to the bedroom and slammed the door. In a few minutes, she glanced up and saw him walk naked to the bathroom. He slammed that door and she heard the shower come on soon afterward.
When he came out, he yelled, “Why don’t you come bring me some clothes?”
She went to the bedroom and laid out an outfit she liked. He frowned at her, but did not complain. She was glad because she did not wish to argue over clothes.
About 7:00, there was a knock on the door. She opened it and found Kelvin, Ramsey, and Wagner waiting. They had their gear and some food. Wagner brought in a twelve pack of beer.
Tony said, “Thank you for bringing that buddy. I have had a rough day. An Olde E will go down good.”
Wagner said, “Yeah, I thought it would lighten up the evening.”
Kelvin took the twelve pack and put it in the refrigerator then passed Tony, Ramsey, and Wagner each a beer. He began arranging the food they had brought on the bar. There were nuts, a box of doughnuts, and a loaf of banana bread.
Morgan said, “Let me get that, you go sit with the others and relax. How was the day at school?”
“Ah, same old, same old. You know I am ready for it to be over. You were lucky to meet your requirements in the first quarter. You have always been extremely smart; it was not hard for you. I will be happy just to graduate on time,” he said with a rakish grin.
She laughed, “I am only a C student. I was just determined and I left my electives toward the end so the study was not too hard at the finish. The math in my sophomore and junior years almost defeated me. It was doubtful I would pass at times. Those D grades blew the rest of my average.”
“Yeah, you would say something like that, always humble,” he said.
“Not so much, just realistic. Now go sit, and enjoy yourself,” she said gently pushing him toward the others.
He grinned, grabbed a beer from the fridge, and took the few steps to where the others were seated.
There was a knock at the door, and Kelvin jumped up to open it. Cade, Jason, and Max poured into the room. They sat down on the bunks and Kelvin grabbed a few beer from the refrigerator. Morgan noticed he paused and shot her a puzzled look before closing the door. He handed out the brews without saying anything to her.
Tony finished his beer and told her, “Mix me something stronger. I want J.D. on the rocks.”
She took out a tumbler and fixed the drink. Tony snatched the glass from her hand and frowned at her.
“Can’t you move a little faster wench,” he growled.
She saw frowns on several faces around the room, but only Kelvin spoke, “Hey man, come on over here and chill out. Everything is cool.”
Morgan set up her game gear, but Tony said, “Just put on some music. I don’t feel like you managing my life tonight, even if it is only imaginary.”
Wagner said, “So we’re just going to drink until you are satisfied? The rest of us came to play the game.”
Tony spread his arms and said, “My house, my rules. You don’t like it you can get your asses out of here.”
Morgan put Black Sabbath on the stereo and moved back behind the bar. Things were not going as well as she hoped, but she thought a salad and sandwich might appease Tony. She fixed the food and took it to him because he had not had supper.
“You going to be rude and offer food to no one else. What a bitch!” He said and almost tumbled the plate and bowl from her hands.
Kelvin said, “The rest of us already ate, but there are plenty of snacks. Enjoy your meal.”
The album reached the end of side one and Ramsey turned it over. The tension in the room was palpable.
Some of the others got a second beer and took snacks from the bar. The chips needed refilling, so Morgan poured some in the bowl.
Cade said, “Tony, what if we play in Ambazzar tonight? I am sure Ramsey is prepared for some gaming.”
Ramsey said, “Sure, if that is okay with you, Tony.”
Tony nodded and said, “Sure, I just did not want to play in her world. I have too much of her in my life already.”
Ramsey pulled out some papers and asked the others, “Do you all have your characters?”
There was a unanimous chorus of yeses around the room.
As they played in the dungeon, Morgan handed out more beer and fixed drinks for those who wanted something stronger. She noticed Kelvin and Ramsey were nursing their first beer of the night. Some of the others began to show signs of inebriation because the liquor was flowing too.
She limped to the bathroom and locked the door behind her. After she washed her hands, as she was drying them, she heard the door rattle and Jason stumbled into the room. He stopped and locked the door, then turned to face her.
She backed up and he reached out for her. He said, “I’ve come for you, Morgan. I have been waiting for a long time. I’m going to take you to Hell.”
She screamed, knowing the others were only a few feet away. He grabbed her shirt and she slipped out of his grasp. She almost fell as she backed into the tub. She screamed some more, but there was no answer. Jason grinned at her and his eyes seemed to blaze.
As he came closer to her once more, she said, “Get thee behind me, Satan! The blood of Jesus Christ saves me. You have no dominion over me. Leave now!”
He shuddered, turned, and left the small bathroom. She crept out of the tub. When she looked in the mirror, she realized she was deathly pale. She straightened and buttoned her shirt where his hands had rearranged her clothes.
When Morgan limped back to the front room, Jason was laying sprawled on the floor fast asleep. No one else seemed to know anything untoward had happened.
The game broke up a while later and the guys drifted off. Max and Cade woke Jason and supported him as they walked to the car.
Before Kelvin left he asked her, “Is Tony working tomorrow?”
“Yes, he said he had a full day. Why?” She said.
“I just wondered, he may have quite a hangover the way he has been drinking. You have a good night and take care. We’ll see you soon,” he said and left.
As she began cleaning up, Tony said, “Leave that, it can wait. Come to bed with me. I want you.”
When she stepped in the bedroom, he grabbed her roughly and almost bruised her mouth as he kissed her. His mouth tasted strongly of whiskey and she tried to turn away.
“You whore, don’t try to act innocent with me. Please me. You know how I like it. Do it now.”
He tore her shirt and pushed her onto the bed. He pulled her clothes off and undressed himself. She focused on the owl across the room as he took her repeatedly.
After he fell into a satisfied sleep, she got up and showered herself off. It did not seem to wash her clean though. She went into the front room and cleaned up the mess of the night. There were beer cans and glasses to be collected. There was not much food left, but the dishes had to be washed and put away.
When she was done with that, she sleeved the albums and put them in the rack under the stereo. She sat down at her desk and took out her journal. Thank God, no one ever read it. There was no way anyone would believe this night.
© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Monday, November 4, 2013
I have a warning for you all who are reading going forward, there are adult language, situations, and content in the coming pages. If you think this might offend you, you probably should refrain from reading the story. I think I will be able to write without being too explicit, but at this point I am not positive where the story will take me. I would think it could get by with a PG rating were it a movie, but it might possibly be R. I don’t think I have what it takes to write X rated content. I did want to warn you though. There are also possible triggers for those who might have experienced abuse… As with all stories, you read at your own risk…
Otherwise Entertained (9)
One afternoon after coming home from work, Tony changed out of his brown uniform and put on gym shorts and a tee shirt. He suggested they go to a local burger place for something to eat before heading to Ramsey’s for the evening of gaming.
In the line for their orders, Morgan noticed several high school girls staring at Tony. She followed their gaze and realized his penis was sticking out of the leg of the shorts.
She leaned over to him and whispered, “Your parts are showing.”
He laughed, “It’s okay, I meant to do that.”
Morgan just stared at him a few moments incredulously. She wondered whom this man was she had married.
When they got in the car after the embarrassing moments spent eating, she suggested they go home for him to change before going to Ramsey’s house. She did not want to sit through whatever comments might be lobbed at them if the guys saw him that way. He agreed and they hurried to make it to the apartment and then arrive for the game on time.
Kelvin, Wagner, Jason, Max, Cade, and Ramsey were waiting and Morgan apologized for her and Tony being late.
Kelvin said, “Actually the rest of us are early, you two are almost always on time.”
She smiled at him, grateful for his kind remark.
In moments, they were embroiled in a battle with giant spiders and somehow Celeste was killed. Kaos put her on his horse and carried her back to town. The party tried to find someone to resurrect her, but they found they did not possess enough gold to buy such a miracle. Therefore, she was burned on a pyre and her ashes were scattered on the water of a river.
Morgan rolled a new character, while the others discussed the next adventure. She named the human magic user, Morgana, and rejoined the game. The rest of the evening, Kaos stayed near her, and Cornelius did not seem to mind.
Morgan wondered at Kelvin’s interest in her character, but figured since his Kaos was a half-orc and Morgana had an eighteen charisma score that it might all be part of the game.
After two hours of unrelenting game play, everyone packed up their stuff and went to the kitchen for snacks. Ramsey suggested they do something different since it was a full moon. He wanted to play a game of war in the wooded acreage surrounding the house. Evidently, everyone except Morgan had known about it beforehand, because they all simply went to their vehicles for flashlights. Tony went to the car and came back with one light. Morgan thought this would mean she was left out of the fun, but Kelvin went back out and came in with an extra flashlight.
Sawyer decided to join the rest of them and Ramsey explained if someone hit you with their light, you were dead. They divided into teams based on dice rolls. Tony and Morgan ended up on opposing teams. Kelvin knew the woods because he and Ramsey had been friends almost as long as they could remember. He told her to stay close to him.
Under the trees, the moon only dappled a portion of the paths. They all spread out and Morgan had trouble keeping up because she kept stumbling over roots. Kelvin seemed like he belonged in this environment as sure footed as a mountain goat. They had to keep their flashlights out so as not to draw attention to themselves and be killed. There were bursts of running and then times when they tried to move as quietly as ghosts.
After about an hour in the woods, a couple had been killed. Kelvin began to move again and Morgan followed. She looked away a moment because she thought she heard someone else moving nearby. She somehow managed to fall down a small ravine. Her ankle twisted and she gasped at the sharp pain, but she could not call out because it would mean being captured or killed by the other team. She waited, hoping Kelvin would realize she was no longer with him. After several minutes, she heard someone approach on the path above.
Kelvin said, “Morgan are you somewhere here?”
She whispered, “I fell down and hurt myself. I cannot climb out of this ravine. Can you help?”
Kelvin said, “Yes, I think I see you. Just be still and I will be down in a minute, but keep quiet, others are not far away.”
She waited, watching him carefully scale the slope. After he reached her, he helped her to her feet.
“I cannot put much weight on my right foot. It really hurts,” she whispered.
He turned on his flashlight and said, “Sit back down, but let me look at it. If you are badly hurt the game is over anyway.”
She pulled up the leg of her jeans and they both saw the ankle, which was already beginning to swell.
Kelvin leaned over her and said, “Put your arms around my neck and try to stand. I will take you in my arms and carry you back to the house.”
She began to protest, “It’s too far for you to carry me. I’ll…”
“Quiet now, it’s no problem. I have you. Remember, no man, or woman, left behind,” he said.
He slowly climbed the steep wall of the ravine. She was surprised he could carry her because he was rather thin and did not look very strong. When they got back on the path, he stopped.
He looked around and seemed to determine they were still alone.
“I’ve wanted to do this for quite a while,” he said and gently kissed her.
It was so sweet, and Morgan responded to kiss by returning it. She thought this was probably very wrong. In fact, she knew it was wrong, but now it felt totally right.
He gripped her body a little tighter and said, “We should get back, someone might wonder what happened to us.”
She said, “Yes, that would be best.”
After about fifteen minutes, they made it to the area where the cars were parked.
Tony, who they had killed earlier, appeared out of the shadows and asked, “Why are you carrying her?”
“I fell and twisted my ankle. He brought me back because I could not walk this far,” Morgan answered.
He laughed, “Oh yeah. I knew this was no game for a girl like you. I would have made you walk. You want to act tough, you can be tough.”
Kelvin set her on her feet near Katie and said, “Some sport you are, Tony.”
He headed to Wagner’s car and sounded the horn in three long blasts. Soon everyone appeared out of the woods.
Ramsey asked, “Why did you call off the game Kelvin?”
“That is what we usually do when someone is hurt. Morgan twisted her ankle falling down the ravine,” he replied.
Tony said, “Yeah, she cannot run with the big boys.”
Ramsey said, “Well, it was a good night and we can always do it again. You’re going to go get your books and things, aren’t you Tony?”
He said, “Sure,” and went into the house.
Kelvin asked, “Is he like this often?”
Morgan shook her head and said, “Sometimes, not usually where anyone sees it.”
Ramsey said, “That really sucks.”
Wagner spoke up, “Yeah, he should not act that way with his wife.”
When Tony returned, Kelvin said, “You should drive home. It would not be good for Morgan to do it. Do you have an ace bandage to wrap that ankle in?”
Tony answered, “Yeah, she has one from the last time she sprained something. I’ll get her home alright.”
Morgan opened the door and got in the car, when Tony turned on the ignition she rolled the window down and told the guys, “Thank you all for the great night. We will see you soon. Maybe Friday night at our apartment.”
Kelvin said, “Yeah, we will see you then.”
Tony drove home with the stereo blaring and did not even speak to her the whole way. When he parked in the driveway, he got out and went in the apartment leaving her in the car. She limped to the door and found he had locked it. She took her keys out of her pocket and unlocked it.
When she got inside she saw he had already went to the bedroom and shut the door. She silently thanked God that she had her keys. She sat down at the desk she had used for homework growing up and thought over what had happened.
She had not expected Kelvin to help her by toting her through the woods. The kiss had come as a total surprise, but she wondered if it would happen again. It was very special. She knew it should never be repeated, but she hoped it would be.
It was unusual for Tony to act so mean where others could see and hear it, but she was well aware he could be abusive.
She went to the bathroom and found the bandage to wrap her ankle. It was extremely swollen by now, but she hoped it was not broken. She went back to her desk, took out some paper, and began writing a poem. At least writing would keep her mind off the pain.
© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Monday, November 4, 2013
Many evenings the group spent at Ramsey’s house, but other times they would meet at Morgan and Tony’s apartment. The space there was very crowded, but no one seemed to mind.
One evening, around 7:00, Kelvin, Ramsey, Wagner, Jason, and Cade came to visit. Morgan and Tony offered Olde English 800 Malt Liquor to the guys along with various other beverages. Kelvin and Wagner decided to have a sword fight out in the yard with their machetes, just to set the mood. Tony, Ramsey, Jason, and Cade chose to take their turns with the blades as well. Morgan watched their antics with a mixture of amusement and fear. She knew one wrong move and someone could be seriously injured. The athletic males finally decided to go inside.
Everyone was hungry after the exertions, so Morgan decided to fry some chicken. It was something she had never done before, but she guessed it could not be too difficult. Her mother had prepared it at least once a week for years. She did wish she had paid a bit more attention to how it was done.
The guys sat around drinking and talking on the bunk beds, turned couches, in the tiny front room. When the perfectly browned chicken was finished, she served it up with corn on the cob and green beans.
When Kelvin took a bite, he sputtered and cursed, “Damn Morgan, this chicken is raw! What the hell do you think you are doing to us? Are you trying to kill us, as you do in your world? I thought we were safe outside of EverMost! Damn!”
The others returned their plates to the counter. Morgan began to tear up, but she refused to let them see her cry. Although she was mortified by the horrible mistake she made, she did not want to have anyone go hungry.
She turned to Tony and whispered, “Pizza?”
He nodded and answered, “Sure, I’ll order.”
Morgan dumped everything in the trashcan without another word. She was grateful Tony was willing to make the call for pizza and pay the bill. Another disaster averted by his kindness. Everyone except Kelvin seemed willing to let the situation go. He kept glancing at her and shaking his head.
He finally commented, “If you can cook no better than that, you should stay out of the kitchen.”
She sighed and said, “That was the first time I tried frying chicken, but I will take your advice into consideration.”
The pizza arrived and everyone ate happily, seemingly willing to forgive the mess Morgan had made. When the boxes were empty, the group appeared satisfied.
Ramsey asked, “Ambazzar or EverMost, Morgan?”
Tony answered, “She has been working on an adventure for days, staying up late, doing drawings, and studying the books. I think we should try her world tonight.”
Kelvin said, “I hope it works out better than the chicken!”
Everyone, except Morgan, laughed and began arranging their gear for play. She smiled, thinking perhaps a little payback was in order. The dice rolled in the adventurer’s favor and they had a very fortuitous foray into the dungeon. Only Ramsey’s character, Garrison, was injured in the melee with kobolds. The group traveled back to the Sleepy Eyes Inn and retired for the night.
Ramsey had introduced Tony and Morgan to the music of Neil Young and she put the album, Live Rust, on the stereo. Everyone was in a party mood, choosing to stay late since it was a Friday night. Tony was off for the weekend, as were the students, and Wagner was not likely to apply for work until Monday. After another hour or more, Ramsey, Cade, and Jason told them good night and went home.
Sometime later, Tony suggested they go for a ride. Kelvin and Wagner agreed and loaded into Katie. Morgan drove to a stretch of highway where she could let the 472 engine run wide open. She managed to hit 100 before she got to the end of the road. As she slowed, blue lights popped up behind the car. She heard metal clanging together as the machetes were pushed under the seat. At that moment, she wondered why they brought those in the first place.
The police officer came to the window and she rolled it down, “Good evening officer,” she said as politely as possible.
“Good morning ma’am. Can I see your license and insurance please?” He asked.
She took the cards out of her purse and handed them to him. He walked back to his vehicle.
After several minutes, in which the atmosphere in the Cadillac became increasingly tense, he returned to the window.
He asked, “What are you all doing out here at this time of morning?”
“We were just out enjoying a drive, listening to music, and taking in some fresh air,” Morgan answered.
He said, “Well, this is a dangerous neighborhood to travel in. You all be careful and stay out of trouble.”
Everyone in the car answered, “Yes sir!”
They drove back to the apartment at much reduced speed. Morgan was thankful he had not searched the car because of the weapons and the open beer all the guys had been drinking.
When they got back, Kelvin and Wagner gathered their gaming things and drove away.
Tony went to bed and Morgan stayed up to clean up the remaining mess. The night had not been a total loss, but it was bad enough she was sure she would never forget it. She had learned a valuable lesson about cooking. Never try something for the first time when the results were important and open to criticism. She considered that several moments and decided the wisdom could also be applied to other aspects of life. She thought of how close they had come to getting in serious trouble on their drive. She was grateful things had gone no worse.
© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Sunday, November 3, 2013