Hey there horror fans,
Another short excerpt from “The Poet” this week. I feel obligated that to let you all know that this section has some foul language and a nasty rape scene, so make sure the eyes of all tiny horror fans are re-directed to something awesome like Gremlins, Ghostbusters, or one of my boyhood favorites Monster Squad!
I hope you all enjoy. I wrote this piece a while back and have always remembered it fondly. It is not perfect, but I feel that due to its content it does have some thread of relevance here at HOTHB.
When the smoke stopped rising John took a moment to savor the clean air. Curiosity got the best of him and against his better judgment he dared to peek over the thick branch. His visitors, whom he had identified as a man and a woman based on their occasional coughing were oblivious to his presence. After peering over the ledge he saw a man that he did not recognize. The man stood bundled in a heavy black overcoat that appeared to have a liner made from a plastic trash bag his face was hardened and sculpted by the elements but his deep set eyes shown with the vulnerability and constant fear of a captive animal. The woman was someone he had seen before in the park, John was pretty sure her name was Charlotte. What he was sure of was that she was one of the few unfortunate women indigenous to this park and that because of the terrible ratio of men to women she always had to be on guard, ready to fend off unwanted sexual advances.
“Can you light me up?” she said to her companion as she put a crumpled cigarette in her mouth.
The man dug in his jacket pocket. Emerged with a lighter and lit Charlotte’s cigarette.
“Give me some of that?” He asked.
“Fair enough,” Charlotte smiled, took one last drag, and offered it to the man. “Thanks again for the buzz. I had fun.”
The man shoved his hand in his pocket and leaned against the tree. He sucked a few greedy hits off of the cigarette then thrust his hand out, offering it back to Charlotte.
“Here ya’ go,” the man said as heavy tentacles of smoke crept from his mouth and framed his face.
John watched from his branch as Charlotte smiled and leaned in to take the cigarette with her mouth. The man placed it gently between her lips. As she took it the man grabbed a fistful of wispy hair, and pulled her down. She screamed instinctively and the half smoked cigarette fell to the grass. The man pulled a folding knife from his pocket and opened it with a flick of his wrist.
The man held the blade to Charlotte’s face. She was crying now. He traced her jawline with the point, dropped it to her neck, and then to the swell of her breast.
“Give me some of that too,” he said through a grin like acid.
Charlotte looked up and desperately searched for the night sky through the dense tree canopy, she remembered how she used to look up at it as a promise of openness, a promise of freedom. She looked up at the stars that used to re-confirm to her that God was watching her from above. She focused on one, solitary star and prayed that God couldn’t see her as she was now. Charlotte the defiled one. The dirty one.
The animal sound of rape wrapped around John twice as heavy as the crack smoke ever had. A tiny part of John wanted to explode. To intervene. To save. John pushed this tiny part back, he knew that it would just bring him pain or death. He gripped his belt tight as if to hold this courageous spark inside. Closed his eyes and took deep calming breaths in time with Charlotte’s sobs. As his consciousness began to break under the immense weight of his exhaustion his hand fell near the edge of the branch.
Charlotte focused on the branch above as her rapist thrust into her over and over and over again. Movement caught her eye as John’s hand fell limply over the branch.
“Hel–“, she choked as her rapist’s dirty hand fell over her mouth. He pulled her roughly to face him.
“You do just what the Sergeant tells you, and I just might make you my bitch,” the Sergeant pulled her hair as thick globs of spit escaped between his rasped words and flung across her face. “You do want to live, don’t you?”
She nodded after a bit of hesitation, and felt disgusted that she didn’t have the guts to tell the truth. She had hoped for death for some time now. After all that has happened to her, Charlotte lowered her head, and prayed that somehow, someway, her wish would come true.