Crawling Moments: Chapter 16(Unforgettable change)***Final Chapter***

Our time in rehab ended and Ashlee managed to find something she liked doing and that was photography. She took pictures on her cell phone all the time and some of them were breath taking. Henry, or should I say dad, had her take some classes in photography and she passed top of the class. I continued with finishing my last year of high school so I could go to college and study psychology. I met up a lot with Corey after school. Slowly we both explored the things about me that made me who I was; the good, the bad and the absolutely horrible. In exploring myself I saw that what made me the person I was, was the fact that even though for so long I was ignorant, it was not that I was incapable. It was just that I was not enlightened. I learnt that I actually was not as dumb as I thought though it took much convincing for me to come to that realisation. I came to realize that I am very forgiving and that vengeance was not at all a part of me though previous actions proved otherwise. Ashlee would tag along whenever I met Corey and she would listen in on whatever he would be talking about. In a sense all of us needed the things he knew. In the adventure of introspection and learning about yourself, at most you can’t ever fully grasp whatever you are learning while you are learning it. The process is such that you know certain things about you but you won’t know how they contribute to who you are as an individual there and then. With the passing of time those things will speak for themselves through actions as they reveal the truth as to how they influence your character and identity. Patience is a virtue and keenness is a motivating factor for one to get to the end. I always wondered why I bottled up and collapsed easily. I kept things inside and let my pain out through tears. Though a hard pill to swallow I found out that certain parts of me corroded me all the time they applied themselves. Because of not having ways of letting my pain and anguish out, it would eat me up and destroy me inside. Corey told me something truly funny, “Do you know why a dog without teeth feels it is not a dog? Because it can’t defend the things it loves, it can’t chew the bones it likes and it can’t smile for the camera. A part of it has been taken from it and in the long run it sends it into a pit of depression and resentment. Now if you picture yourself as the dog, you are without the things that you do to relieve stress, anxiety, hurt and the likes, they will team up and defeat your confidence, your self esteem, your mind and all the things the real you finds strength from. In the end you become an image of those destructive entities and you slowly begin to die from the inside out. I find that writing helps me deal with a lot of my emotions as well as talking. But for you, just get a punching bag, you will do just fine!” Once you look past the things that are making you the person you are not and see the things that can make you who you ought to be, the battle is in activating those things one by one until your figure starts changing because of their influence. Though Corey viewed confessing emotions as a sign of weakness because that is how he was raised, I found it to be a way of strengthening my inner being because in acknowledging my emotions I would be able to come to terms with all that is affecting me with respect to anything on my mind or anything influencing me. I learnt that people are different and in this difference comes a difference in approach, volition, beliefs and hence a uniqueness of character. Life is a journey in which the hell on earth is supposed to make us stronger. My biggest lesson which I know my mother and father deep down in their hearts wanted me to learn was, ‘you can’t let other people tell you who you are and who you’re not. If you allow them to you simply cease to exist and their thoughts and ideas of you begin to live in you. In the end you die because their thoughts only go so far as to defining you. When the true tests and trials come, you won’t know how the assumed identity of yours can stand and fight. If you find out who you are and what you are capable of doing, you will stand on a rainy day when the rest fall. What you do not know can and will hurt you!’ Once I told Corey that I had learnt this lesson he smiled at me and looked down on the pigeons that were close to the bench we were sitting on in central park and said, “Bingo Jun, bingo! My job with you is done! You have finally conquered ignorance!” He stood up and walked away and I felt no need to leave. I sat on the bench for hours thinking of how long it had taken me to figure that out! Seventeen years to learn that. Truly ignorance is the virtue of the walking dead. With time I changed my dressing, how I kept my hair, how I spoke, the words I used, how I expressed myself emotionally and socially, how I reacted to things because I now had a picture of what I wanted to work towards with respect to who I wanted to be. One can’t remain the same after a taste of a tantalising future. I always thought of how proud my parents must have been with how I was finally coming out of the baby shell I was in. Though it was hard thinking of how my dad sold me, with time I didn’t bind him to it and I was actually quite thankful because in the end I got out a better person. No normal person can be thankful of going to hell, but I guess people are different, as I have reiterated earlier. I met a man on a bus one day and he said to me as he was getting off the bus. “You lady, life truly begins either when you fall pregnant as a teenager with no plan in sight or your parents die when you are much too young!” I agreed with the old man and the funny thing is I never saw him ever again. How he knew what to say, I just don’t know.

Life became even more interesting. With the passing of time, Jonah and Sylvanas became close friends and ‘soldiers in the marine core’. Corey never stops does he! I remembered his words when I opened the door and saw those two standing in front of me, “My task is to bring an end to this entire craziness.”  They taught me and Ashlee a lot of things that made us even more powerful Christians and better people. Jonah could never stop asking for forgiveness and Sylvanas dedicated herself to helping people out of the craziness she created. In all the craziness that happened that year, I learnt that everyone has crawling moments but in the end, there is peace! My dad was actually implicated into the fraud crimes but they couldn’t charge a dead man so the case never went far. They liquidated the assets in his name and paid back the stolen money. Everything was taken but to my surprise our house was left. It wasn’t under my dad’s name. It turns out the title deeds had me as the owner. I don’t remember signing them but the signature is mine. The house brought back too many memories so in the end I allowed Corey, Sylvanas and Jonah to stay in it! Ashlee became a prolific wild life photographer. She never had time for boys though and besides she is too cocky when boys are around! Joe and I, well let’s wait and see what the future holds. Corey, don’t see much of him, busy with computer science and the after studying hours job that helped save people like me. He does text a lot and calls when he is free. Jonah and Sylvanas, they show up once in a while and share about what they have been doing. Dad, well he now has a private practice in neurology! Don’t ask me I can’t understand the definition of that anyway. Belana, well she passed away. Up to this day I don’t understand how she died, no one does really! If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be here so my gratitude is to her and how she persevered for me. The police never believed my story so they are all cold cases. Can’t do much there now! I am back at my dad’s church, I was elected onto the board of elders in honour of my father and they say God told them to do so! Everyone expects me to pick up the saddle from my father but I don’t think so yet! It was really hard facing the people in the church. Part of me wanted to hate them because some of them wanted to kill me but I guess the true strength of believing in supernatural doctrine is that from it comes a certain element of tolerance and forgiveness. In the end I just concluded that people are people! The funniest thing did happen though! I switched on the TV to watch the news and a headline caught my attention, “Mayor attacked by rogue cat.” I waited for that headline to come into the discussion and my favourite reporter Covanta Williams was breaking down the story. A picture came onto the screen and it was no one other than my pet cat Pablo. “A rogue cat somehow managed to sneak into the mayor’s home and found its way to the mayor’s bathroom. It attacked him while he was allegedly shaving and sent the mayor into the sprint of his life towards his security detail with the cat in hot pursuit. The cat was captured and was sent to the East Side Lost Animal Centre. The owner of the cat can collect it there. If you wish to comment on this event you can call us right now on 0800-CAT-MAYOR.” I burst out in laughter with no remorse in sight. “Go Pablo, show him whose boss.” I had been looking for Pablo in the lost animal compounds around the city and I had almost given up when this came up. I went later to the lost animal compound mentioned in the news to pick him up and the press was waiting for the owner to show up. There was no avoiding them and the mayor got wind as to the arrival of the owner and rushed to the facility to confront me. I won’t begin to tell you what I went through with the mayor that day! These were my crawling moments!


Crawling Moments: Chapter 16(New family)

The weeks following my ‘liberation’, so to speak, were spent mostly with Corey learning more about God and about me. The police had called earlier saying they were still in the process of investigating the case my father was involved in but they however gave us clearance to bury him as his dead body was not tied to the case in any way. We held a burial service for my father on a Wednesday, at around midday, at the cemetery close to where we used to live. Henry, Corey and Belana attended the service. Elvis, the friendly undertaker, arranged for my father’s body to be brought here for burial. Joe attended as well. It had been a long time since I had visited that cemetery. My father had reserved three spaces for us there. He was buried next to my mother who had spent quite some time alone here. I didn’t know if I was meant to be happy that they were now next to each other or to wish my father as far away from my mother as possible. Who was I to judge though? I was never judged by the people who helped me. One of the lessons Corey taught me was ‘let the one who is without sin be the first to cast the stone.’ He would always finish it with, ‘but let him not forget that one day the stone shall be cast at him with the same measure or strength and judgement as he cast it with.’ God is the final judge of all things so by no right would I be clear to judge my father. We didn’t have a church service as it would attract too much attention. As far as most people knew, the body was still in the morgue. We had the body viewing at the graveyard. After so much trouble and torment I now had the chance to take a look at my dead father. I was afraid; I had never mourned the death of my father without other strings attached. I walked towards the coffin slowly as Joe followed me slowly. I came to the side and set my sight on his face. Emotions rested around my heart and it became heavy. I thought of all the good times, the jogging, the pizza eating contests, the car racing at the motorway close to home, the fights about who parks on the left side of the garage as it was the easiest to reverse from, the fights about who ate all the ice cream in the fridge, the warm moments watching soapies on TV. His beard was trimmed to his exact definition as always, hair flowing backwards and the dignified face I loved him for shined straight at me. I imagined him smiling at me but I guess that’s an imagination for you. I saw the bullet hole on the side of his head! The tears started trickling down my cheeks and I couldn’t hold back the words now. “Daddy, why did you do it? Why did you shoot yourself? Why did you have to go? You were all I had left. Why did you have to go. My life became a mess when you left. If it wasn’t for these people here today I would be lying next to all of you as well. Daddy, I am sorry I disappointed you. I wasted all those things you used to tell me about knowing who I was and having something to go at in life. I know now, I know now daddy, I need to find myself! I need to find who Juniper Trinity Rose Miles is and I need to get my house in order. Sorry too mom, sorry for being such a weak person when there was strength in me! May God keep you all and be fair on you in all he judges you for. This is for all the times I wanted to tell you that I love you but I was too angry at you. This is also for the good and bad times we had after mom left. I am safe now; take care of mom for me! Goodbye daddy, goodbye daddy!” I kissed him on the cheek and took my last picture of him. Elvis waited patiently until all was said and done and everyone had a chance to say their last words to my dad. Joe was somewhat my favourite at that time, “Ah, Mr. Miles, I am sorry you died before you could chase me down with a golf club for wanting your daughter. I will be good to her and I will try to take care of her as best I can. I can’t ask for you to trust me because you don’t know me but I know I won’t let you down. Rest in peace sir!” He was shivering when he said that, if my father woke up at that moment we would have buried Joe instead because he looked like he could go into cardiac arrest at any time. Henry asked for some privacy and I think I saw some tears on his face but he did well to hide them. Elvis had plenty of time to say goodbye because he had no words to say at the graveyard. Ashlee came into the graveyard well dressed for the event. She approached cautiously but I went and greeted her. I gave her a hug and thanked her for coming. She honestly did not expect such a reception. I walked with her and introduced her to my dad. She paid her respects and stepped aside. Elvis closed the coffin’s lid and started lowering the coffin into the grave. When the coffin was at the bottom, he took a shovel of sand and passed the contents to us one after another and gave us a chance to grab some soil. We threw it onto the coffin and stepped aside. Two groundsmen who maintained the graveyard came and started filling the grave. We left soon after and went to Henry’s house for lunch.  We got to his house and sat in the garden. It was a weird feeling being free again. I sat with Ashlee who looked like she had something on her mind. “What’s wrong Ashlee, what’s up?” She turned her chair to face me, “I don’t understand how you can be so nice to me after what I did to you. I had come to ask for forgiveness at the funeral but you welcomed me with a warm heart. Why Rose, why?” I smiled and pulled my chair closer to her. “What you did was not your fault, I don’t blame you. God is good and I have the strength to forgive you so allow me too. Let’s go back to the moments we had walking together and talking. God loves you and God loves me and by no right can I say I love God if I do not love you.” She almost cried and reached over and hugged me. “You are the first person in years to say that you love me! Can I learn about God from you?” that was the funniest moment of the day. I led Ashlee in a prayer of repentance, close to the one Corey led me in and she gave her life to God.

Corey watched from afar off and when all was done he came over clapping his hands at me with a very wide smile on his face. “Welcome to the marine core soldier!” I didn’t always get Corey’s jokes and this was certainly one of those jokes. We had a very beautiful lunch and we joked and laughed and thought of all the craziness that had happened in the past month. Henry broke the laughter when he stood up with a glass in his hand, “Attention please everyone! All of you played a role in bringing this moment together. I am thankful I met people like these. As a motion of my thankfulness, Juniper allow me to invite you to come and stay with me here as my daughter and take care of you as a father. I would like to honour you and your father in such a way.” I was speechless and I got out of my chair and walked over to Henry and gave him a hug. “I will only agree to that if you also take Ashlee as your daughter. I will not go anywhere without her!” Ashlee looked at me and saw me looking at her. Henry looked at her and looked at me, “Are you sure Juniper?” I nodded my head and Henry stretched his hand towards Ashlee. She stood up failing to hold the tears and joined in the bear hug. I had other intentions in the hug, I began crushing Henry and I think I crushed his pager which then pricked his skin. The man screamed like a girl. He looked at me with shock and I waved, “Hello daddy, your daughter here!” he smiled and threw a napkin at me. Ashlee was so overcome by emotion she couldn’t speak. We left and got my stuff at the old apartment and passed and got Ashlee’s stuff from her house. Ashlee had a hard time leaving her house, she really found it hard to step out of the gate but I knew deep inside her she knew she had found a family. Joe and Belana stayed at Henry’s house until we got back to help unpack. Life wasn’t turning out that bad after all; God exists in a sure way! We spent the better part of the night getting my room up and running. Ashlee seemed cheerful and was talking a lot more than she usually does. The rest of the night we spent in Ashlee’s room getting her room into order. Henry didn’t understand girl things so we banished him to work until we were done. Ashlee didn’t have a lot of stuff, clothes and things to make her feel like she really is a beautiful person. I had a lot clothes that were really nice and I gave her half of them for her to look fly like me, her sister!

Joe fell asleep on the couch in Ashlee’s room because after the packing there was a lot of talking and he isn’t a member of our species so there was a language barrier so to say. He looked so cute when he was sleeping and he couldn’t help but drool which everyone thought was disgusting except me of course! We didn’t sleep at all that night! Got up and made breakfast and Henry is never late for a meal he is not invited to. He snuck into the house, waited for me to dish out the bacon and potato and butternut cake for everyone. I left my plate on the dining room table and went to the kitchen to fetch some orange juice. When I came back he had sat at my place and was already half way through my breakfast. I grabbed a kitchen mallet and chased him around the house and into the yard. I lost sight of him near the pool deck. He snuck up behind me and grabbed me and threw me into the pool. Ashlee came from behind and pushed him into the pool and started laughing at both of us. She didn’t spend much time out of the water. She allowed Henry to get too close to her as she concentrated on hearing his jokes and he lunged up and pulled her into the pool. We spent a bit of time in the pool splashing water at each other before Corey came with towels and we got out. After a change of clothes, Henry told us that he had registered at a rehabilitation centre and we would be going there for the next three months. We would have to spend two to three nights in the facility every week to get us off the cocaine. Ashlee was happy about that and seemed to want to leave immediately. We spent the better part of three months involved in the rehab program. Doctors there said I didn’t have it as bad as Ashlee did as she had been on it for longer. After three months the urges were not that hard for me or Ashlee to overcome and we would always help each other out whenever they came around. Time in the rehab centre gave us time to bond and really get to the bone of our new relationship. I got to know the things she hates and likes, her fears and failures, and her few successes in life. One day though, she woke me up early, around 6 o’clock in the morning which by my definition was just one hour after midnight in terms of sleeping time! She opened my closet and picked out clothes for me and threw them onto my bed. “Get dressed and please come with me!” I got dressed grumpily wondering what the hell she was planning for us. Though I could drive she insisted we use a taxi instead! I called a taxi and soon enough it was outside. We got into the taxi and I looked at her trying to figure out where the hell she wanted us to go. “You are late Terrence!” The taxi driver looked back at us trying to cook up an excuse but I was baffled as to how she knew the cab driver. “Sorry Ash! I was coming you know.” I looked at Ashlee who glanced at me and held reached out to hold my hand. She held my hand and her grip was tight but she was shivering. “Take us to the first stop!” The taxi driver pushed a button on the dashboard that looked like it switched off the light for the cab sign on top of the car. The car took off immediately after and moved gracefully towards the downtown direction, close to where Ashlee used to stay. A few confusing turns and a few traffic lights and we soon stopped outside a cemetery. The driver switched off the car engine and turned to look at Ashlee, “Take the time you need and send my regards!” Ashlee smiled at the taxi driver and opened the door. She stretched out her hand to me and I followed after her. We walked into the cemetery and I was lost in a sense of endless confusion. “Ashlee, what are we doing here?” she was walking in front of me and she turned to look at me as she walked. She put a finger across her mouth, “shhhh” and I could see tears trickling down her cheeks. Her pace slowed and slowed until she was literarily dragging her feet to move on. She knelt down and screeches, moans accompanied by tears proceeded from her. I bent over and hugged her without a clue about why she was crying. She composed herself and stood up as she continued to walk to the middle of the cemetery. She stopped in front of one grave and looked at the tombstone as bravely as she could. I came up next to her and looked at the tombstone. “In memory of Kimberly Rosenberg; Born 12 August 1971, Died 14 June 2000. May your soul Rest In Peace!” Ashlee started crying even more and she didn’t try to hide it this time. “Hello mom!” I was suddenly stunned with shock as I remembered the story of how her mother passed away. I ran out of words and could not wrap my mind around what was happening. She looked at me and pointed to the grave, “this is my mom.” I didn’t have the words to respond. I simply nodded and I could see that she knew that I was overcome by the event. She put her hand into her pocket and pulled out a silver locket. She opened it and inside was a picture of her mother holding her. She broke into great tears and moans of pain that I almost cried with her in that moment. She closed the locket after she had regained her composure and walked over to the tombstone and put it at its bottom. She walked back to me and stood next to me. “I know I haven’t come to see you since the day I put up the tombstone, ten years ago. Words can’t express how sorry I am; how much I miss you mom, or how much I miss you playing with my hair or walking with me from school, or how we would bake scorns every Wednesday and I would make a huge mess in the kitchen. Words can’t ever get rid of all the times you cried when father hit you, everything is just stuck in my head. I know now that you are in a better place and that he can’t hurt you anymore. Mom, it’s been hard, I have done things you would not be proud off and I wanted to say I am sorry for letting you down. This is Juniper, she is my sister! A kind man took both of us in and is staying with us like his daughters. I am trying to change mom, I want to make you proud and I will. I wish you didn’t have to leave when you did but Aunt Gretchen tried her best but things where just crazy and hard. Cedric drove me here and he says hello! Things are better now mom, things are better! I will come and see you every month. Rest easy mom, the worst is now almost over. I love you like a blooming rose and I miss you like water in a dry winter. You said that to me every day when I left the house. I love you mom, rest now!” Ashlee wiped away her tears and stood with me at the grave for well over 30 minutes without saying a word. She looked at me, “Do you want to say anything to her. My mother is your mother!” I looked at the tombstone and breathed in to gain some courage. “Hello mom, its Juniper. I wish we had met while you could see how beautiful and courageous your eldest daughter is now. But I guess you have seen her in every passing day. Ash is someone I look forward to seeing every morning, afternoon and evening. I am sorry you didn’t have the chance to see her now but I thank you for giving people like me a sister like her. Words cannot really bring any peace unless a comforter walks amongst us in our time of pain and I pray that such a comforter will walk with us over our lives. Rest easy mom, we are ok!” Ashlee hugged me and looked me in the eyes, “Thank you for coming with me.” Ashlee waved at the grave and began to walk away and I followed after her feeling a sense of heaviness weighing on me. We got back into the taxi and the taxi driver was half asleep. He looked over at Ashlee with a serious face, “go home or continue with the journey.” Ashlee looked at him and nodded her head, “continue on!” the taxi came to life again and started rolling down the streets heading westward out of town. We cruised for a while until a sign came up on the roadside, “Belmont Maximum Security Prison.” The taxi driver turned left after the sign and drove a few more miles and soon enough we were at the gates for the prison. We went through two checkpoints until we had to get out of the car and walk. The driver remained in the car of course but Ashlee and I were escorted into the prison. We were taken to the warden’s office who rushed us into his office. “Take a seat ladies. Ah yes, Ms. Rosenberg you are here to see your father, Mr Kyle Rosenberg. Now surrounding your father, he is not allowed visitors but since you are his last surviving relative from what I hear you have been granted access to him. He hasn’t had a visitor in the last ten years so I am sure he would be thrilled to see you however you have to be guarded at all times. These two boys will see to it that you are kept safe. Ashlee nodded her head in agreement and thanked the warden for understanding. I never thought she would ever have the courage to face her father after all that had happened. The man who singlehandedly destroyed her life was waiting to see her! We stood up and followed the two guards to a secluded room in the prison. Ashlee held my hand again but this time it was so cold as if she had forgotten to take herself out of the fridge before her expiry date passed. One of the guards opened the door and the inside of the room came into view. There was a table in the middle of the spacious room. A man was sitting on a chair with his handcuffed hands resting on the table while his legs were attached to chains fixed to the ground. A guard stood next to him with a button stick in hand and another hand on his gun ready to pull it out at any instant. Ashlee paused at the door when she saw the man in chains. She was breathing heavily and the hairs of her body were standing to the tip. She walked forward slowly and I walked with her pace after pace. We approached the table and the man looked up at both of us. He was rugged, long bearded with sharp blue eyes and the ugliest dental hygiene record I had ever seen. He tried to stand up but the guard next to him held his shoulders and pushed him back into the chair.  We sat down at the table and the two guards stood immediately behind us. The man could not look Ashlee in the eyes; he did his best to avoid eye contact. Ashlee put her hand into her pocket and pulled out a huge stack of what looked to be letters. He put them on the table and pushed them to the man, “I never found time to reply them so you can have them back. Reply them yourself if you have the strength to.” The man reached for the letters and pulled them towards himself. “Ashlee, I am sorry for what I did. I never meant to kill her or hurt her. I know you will never believe me no matter what I say. If this place will give you the peace you deserve then I shall stay here till I die. All I ask of you is for you to forgive me for what I did to you and your mother.” Ashlee clinched her fists and I knew she was roaring with destructive emotions. I reached over and held her hand and I felt her calm down. She looked at her father, “You ask me to forgive you! What of mom, will you ask her too? You had no right to take her life; she wasn’t yours alone, she was my mother! I went through hell after you killed her. How dare you ask for forgiveness for your soul? What of mine, the pain you caused! Ever wondered how much I suffered because of your actions? How dare you father, how dare you fall to the same selfishness that made you kill mother? How dare you sit there and ask me to forgive you, what have you done other than write empty letters asking for the same thing? You deserve to burn father, you deserve to burn for what you did!” I tightened my grip on Ashlee’s hands and she gasped for air a bit as tears trickled down her cheeks. “The things she said in her last moments still haunt me even today. Do you still hear her voice as you hit her?” Ashlee had come here to meet her greatest pain, her father and she must have been thinking about this for a very long time. She was shivering with anger, pain and all sorts of raw emotions. I looked at her father and tears were rolling down his cheeks! Ashlee saw it too and remained quiet! After a few minutes she reached into her pocket yet again and pulled out a photo of her mother and pushed it towards her father. Her father picked up the picture and was overwhelmed by emotion. He sobbed for a moment before Ashlee’s words dragged his attention to her. “Forgiveness father! You ask of me what is hard to give. Maybe with time I can forgive but I can’t forget. Maybe with time things can be different but for now enjoy your time in here. Maybe by the time you get out you will be a better man. Don’t call me or write to me, if I want to see you I will find you. With those words said, Ashlee stood up and I followed her as we made our way to the door. We were led through the prison corridors until we were outside. We got into the taxi and no one said a word even when we got home. For days there was an undeniable silence in the house but with time it faded as life came back to normal. I learnt a new side to Ashlee that day, the side that wasn’t afraid to face its fears anymore and a great sense of respect arose from that. I loved every moment with her; she really was all I could have asked for in a sister. In the times we went out, if a guy who isn’t Joe tried to make a move on me she would always speak him down to a pulp defeating every sense of male pride and ego existing in him. The only man who got away with giving me hell was our dad though at times he would have to run out of the house at full speed with Ashlee in pursuit if I failed to catch him. Joe and I had our moments as well; the mall, watching movies and average days. In each and every day I found something in him that made me appreciate him more even though at times I would bump into things I hate about him. Like his snoring and how he would always forget to hold the door for me when he goes through the door first! Corey was ever present though not as much. He required me to go through rehab before he could teach me the things he wanted me to see. In him I saw that God has the strangest of people as his agents and looks can make you think they are not capable of supernatural acts.

Crawling Moments: Chapter 15(Fight of my life)

I summoned the little strength I had left in me and cried out as loud as I could. “God, I believe you. I believe you now. I am not ready to die, I don’t want to die. I believe you now, and all you have said. I believe you now Corey. I don’t want to die!” I put the longest finger on my right hand into my mouth and induced myself to vomit. I vomited the poison out. I heard footsteps coming up the stairs and towards me. The door opened and it was Henry. “Don’t worry Juniper, I am here, don’t worry!” He gave me a shot of something and administered unto me a lot of drugs to stabilize me I guess. I spent a few hours asleep on the floor trapped in my mind. It was just me and Henry! I believed now, I saw the craziness I had dived into and saw that there was no reason for me to be corrupted by it. I believed in God now, I believed in his love for me. I should have died a long time ago but I was still alive! Hours later Henry gave me a laxative and the moments after where not entirely pleasant. My system was cleaned in the process but I felt powerless. He gave me glucose to give me energy and cooked light porridge-like meals to get my system back in order. It took time for me to stomach what I was eating. Deep in my mind I knew I had come to the final conclusion, I wasn’t going to die! I wrote a message to Belana, “I believe you now. I believe in God. I want to serve him now. I believe in his love for me now!” After I sent the message I asked Henry to take me to Youth at Belana’s church the following day. He hesitantly agreed. Henry did not leave me alone that Thursday night. He fed me and kept me in working order. He got rid of all the alcohol and cocaine lying around and kept me safe through the night. He was paged a million times but didn’t leave. “Henry, how did you know I was about to die?” He looked at me from the kitchen and came and sat next to me on the couch I was lying on. “I had a dream half an hour earlier that felt real. I saw you take poison and start dying. I didn’t have time to figure it out so I just came here with the idea to save you. I honestly would have loved for it to be just a dream but I was surprised when I saw you on the floor and came to realise that it was in fact reality. You’re ok now, that’s all that matters!”

Friday came and he spent the day with me again. Around four o’clock in the afternoon he helped me out of the apartment into his car and drove me to Belana’s church. He left me there though he didn’t want to leave. The pager was now going haywire and he had to attend to it. Belana was happy to see me and she thanked God as soon as she hugged me. Words trickled into my mind, “Despise not the makings of a perfect man for in the end there is peace!” She held my hand and led me into their church and up the stairs into the small auditorium for the youth. The place was packed and everyone looked at me as I came in. I guess they all wanted to know who the visitor was. The entrance was such that you could see the audience well before you see the person on stage as you came in. I heard the voice of the person on the microphone and I knew it was Corey. “Thus says the Lord God, try Me and see if the words of your mouth remain the same by the end of next week Friday!” As I went up the stairs towards the available chairs Corey caught a glimpse of me but didn’t say anything. He continued speaking and going into the hearts of people. A chilling silence was across the room but it wasn’t a silence of boredom, rather it was a silence of introspection. “No man by any right can claim that he is not loved by God. How dare you say God loves you not? Know ye not that He is the Lord God strong and Mighty? How dare you?” I felt like I was attending a service for the first time in my life. I looked around and saw tears lining faces, some were lost in their thoughts, going into places they hold their doubts and misconceptions of God. I was one of them; I had insulted Him so many times, even denied Him. I felt I did not deserve His mercy but I sure as hell wanted it. For a few times in a minute, Corey stood in one place, outside of that he would go into the crowd while he was speaking, looking into people’s eyes and that in itself just sent chills into people. God for sure that day was there in person. The people there were just like me, teens who have their own versions of hell on earth. “Thus says the Lord of Hosts, try Me and see if the words of your mouth remain the same. One week, one week only. Try Him! It’s time to confront your situations and this He says, ‘I shall not leave you nor forsake you’.” I was now so lost in my mind thinking about everything that I never noticed Corey come up to me. By the time I saw him, his eyes were fixed on me like a heat seeking missile. I looked at him and I was just moments from erupting into tears. He came right in front of me and everyone turned to look at both of us. I looked down, ashamed of who I was, afraid of being judged. He didn’t budge, he stood there and started speaking softly, “God loves you Juniper. My gosh, He loves you! It doesn’t matter what you have done, He loves you.  Let Him in, He can fix everything up. He loves you Juniper. Despise not the makings of a perfect man for in the end there is peace!” He opened his hands and I just erupted into tears. I felt everything I felt, everything that I hated about myself, every ounce of disgust I had developed for myself rush to my tear ducts. He held me for a time as I kept on crying. I thought of my parents, I thought of Danny and the guy in the alley. I thought of all the craziness that had happened from the time my father passed away. It had only been less than a month but I had crushed down like a comet into the face of the earth. He kept on holding me and started to walk with me down to the pulpit. We got to the pulpit and he turned to face the people. “If there is anyone who wants to give their life to Jesus Christ, come!” People came out of their seats, one after the other, all with something on their face; a distant thought of where life started going wrong for them. Corey released me and left me to stand alone. He walked farther away but I felt I was in the midst of enormous power. He stopped walking and turned and faced us. “Repeat this after me if you will.” He led a prayer of repentance and I followed him, word for word, thought for thought, emotion for emotion. I prayed wholeheartedly for the first time to a God I believed loved me. After the prayer Corey was now immediately in front of me as I opened my eyes. He had a smile across his face, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold I make all things new!’” I wiped away my tears and the crowd burst into a cheer. I honestly thought it was a rugby game from the noise!

I got off the pulpit and Belana met me halfway. She whispered in my ear, “Told you, you should have come sooner. See what I meant.” Youth service ended and people left but Belana, Corey and I didn’t. Belana led me to where Corey was. I felt I was meeting the real Corey for the first time and I was a bit keen to see him. We found him talking to a group of people about something. When he saw us he quickly dismissed himself and came to us. “Juniper Trinity Rose Miles, and of course, the ever convenient Belana, how are we today?” Belana laughed and I smiled trying to find what was funny about the statement. “Forgive me Juniper, I am not much of a joker, please contend with me!” I nodded my head and I didn’t have words to say so I just approached Corey and hugged him. He looked bright enough to know that it was a thank you hug. “You are welcome Juniper, though you and I are not done yet, we still have one more thing to do. But that comes later. First, there is someone here for you.” I released him and he went away and quickly came back. Behind him was Joe, I was shocked beyond the measure of the Richter scale. “Well, he wanted to be here today so I couldn’t deny him that.” Joe came towards me and I just ran into his arms, happy as a dog I guessed. We hugged for quite a bit and I felt I had really found someone special. Corey looked like he didn’t fancy sentimental moments so he walked away. “I will be waiting for you outside Jun”, Belana said as she followed Corey out. Joe looked at me, “Can I be?” “Yes you can!” I replied. Joe ad I walked out to find Corey and Belana laughing about something that seemed to have them gasping for air in that moment. We got to where they were and Corey was all tears with laughter and I found the human nature side of him to be nothing short of a cartoon honestly. He puzzled me and still does strangely. He looked at me and stretched his hand to me, “We need to talk, a few minutes. I hope your ‘yes you can!’ doesn’t mind!” I looked at him puzzled and shocked and stretched my hand to him hesitantly. We walked a few metres away from everyone and he was back to his serious self.

“So you believe in God now ha! I wish I had that TV Jonah has, to show replays; they are very helpful you know. I am glad you came out of your shell! Truth be told I had my doubts at times but God insisted to see you through. I see His point now! I can’t allow you to go and stay on your own for the next weeks. Even though, there is something you and I must do now. Corey raised his hand and Belana came over. “It’s time!” We got a cab and went over to Henry’s house. When we got there we got into the lounge and locked all the doors. Corey pulled me by the hand to the middle of the room. “Kneel down please, we are all going somewhere!” I knelt down and Belana knelt down as well. Corey prayed for us as we held hands. Our minds seemed to go into a trance and moments later we were back in the room, Jonah’s operating room. Corey looked at me and tapped the bed. I went over to it and I lay down on it. He placed his hands on my belly and prayed. His hands felt like a pumping heart on my belly. I felt things crawling inside me. He raised his hand to Belana who in turn came close. He moved away and Belana seemed to know what to do. Corey faced the wall and closed his eyes. She cut open my shirt near my belly button and also cut the lining of my shorts in the inner part of my legs. Moments later those two things came out through the same way they went in, screaming, twisting and turning. They crawled on their stomachs and evaporated into the air. Belana smiled at me and called Corey to come. He turned and came to me and touched my head and prayed even more. I felt my head becoming warm and my mind was feeling ‘good’ so to say. He stopped praying and held me by the hand and pulled me up. I got off the bed and walked around the room. I felt relieved, like me again, and I felt good! “Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Someone or some people are here to see you!” Jonah came into the room through the wall followed by Sylvanas. They all looked angry as dogs on an owner induced hunger streak. Jonah came in and stood right in front of me with his eyes trying to get into me. I waved at him wittily and said “Hi Jonah, I take it you are not happy. Hmmm I will write that in my diary!” Corey came and stood next to me with a smile across his face. I think he smiled only when something hidden was funny. “Well, well. It seems the tables are turning!” The two fiends in front of us growled in utter anger and disappeared into the wall from which they came. Corey enjoyed the moment and one wouldn’t be wrong to conclude that he had an insatiable appetite for such things. Belana was so quiet! I was so afraid she had seen some scary thing or something for the first time in her life. The trance ended and we found ourselves back in the lounge with a very happy Corey, the only happy one it seemed.

Crawling Moments: Chapter 14(Stopping clocks)

Some hours later Henry showed up at Joe’s house and simply handed me the key to the apartment, and as he turned to walk away he said, “You know where I am if you need me. Be safe, I can’t force you to do anything. Oh, I told Belana where to find you but I asked her to give you some space so I doubt you will see her for a bit.” I took that as a cue to head back to my usual pad of disgruntled comfort. Joe escorted me and left me by the door of my apartment. I remember the moment our eyes met when he was about to leave. Gosh, even I at times wondered why he’d remained steadfast with all the rubbish I put him through but I guess in a sense such is human nature. The place hadn’t changed much except for the disorder I had left. A knock came from the door and I was thinking it was Joe so I turned to open the door and as I did I was greeted by the ever so convenient Detective Jonathan Ross. I tried to differentiate between the emotions of anger or the feeling of utter disgust but either one of them seemed to be fitting for the situation. “What do you want Ross? Oh, and this time you are not coming in!” He scanned me from top to bottom and seemed puzzled to an extent. “We got reports you were assaulted in the alley at the back of this building some days ago but we couldn’t find you afterwards. Now I see you walking into your apartment without a scratch. I can’t help but to wonder what really happened.” I was feeling awfully brave in that moment so I opened the door widely and rested my left shoulder on the door frame with my hands folded on my chest. “Wow, Ross does not have the answers today! Why don’t you go back to your source and ask how badly I was beaten. While some of you were stuffing your faces in starch based delectable’s I was getting my butt kicked. Had to be saved by someone I know close to nothing about. I don’t feel obliged to comment as this is not police business so if you are done!” Ross smiled a bit and turned to walk away but as he walked he turned his head, “You do know you are a suspect in the murder of Danny. I just can’t seem to find any evidence on the charge. I would be wary of who I piss off if I were you!” He continued walking and a cold chill raced down my spinal cord. Me, a suspect?! I looked at Danny’s door and flashbacks of what happened that night began to race into my mind and I could hear his voice screaming and the wall-bashing. My mind became filled with sharp and penetrating noises that caused severe pain in my brain. I fell to my knees and managed to close to door before I fell on my side and passed out.

A vision came to view in my unconscious state! I was in a room full of clocks; old, ancient and new. They were all showing the same time but they started slowing down. The ticking sound of analogue clocks began to echo in my brain and the alarms of digital clocks were going off. I looked at the time and they all didn’t show time anymore but they had words written on them, “Time is over!”  Nothing made sense so I rushed myself to try and wake up and soon enough I was awake. I had passed out for a few minutes and I woke up with a hunger for some coke. I rushed into my room and got some money and left the apartment. I made my way to Jamey’s place as fast as I could and got there in record time in my view! I knocked at the door and he came to see who was at the door. He saw me and smiled and opened the door. I didn’t have time to say hi, I simply gave him the money, close to forty bucks, and he went to the kitchen. He got me the stuff and gave it to me. “I put in extra for being a good customer. Ey, I have people coming over later tonight so if you want, come over!” I didn’t have time to respond to that as I opened the package and dipped my finger and took out some powder and put it into my mouth. I felt my senses come alive again and I rushed home to enjoy the rest. I made it home in Olympic time and I was confident even Usain Bolt would have envied my record. I opened the door and rushed to close it. I went into the kitchen and cleared the kitchen counter. I took some of the cocaine and sniffed it but I didn’t finish all of it. It seemed like an overdose if I did. I heard footsteps coming from my bedroom towards me. I moved out of the kitchen a bit to get a better view and there he was. “Corey!” He was holding my bible and laughing to himself. He looked at me, “The enemy came to steal, kill and destroy but I came to bla bla bla. I believe those were your words at one time when you read this bible. ‘I come to bring life and life in abundance’ is how it ends! I see you have finally become an addict. I wish you wouldn’t do what you do to yourself. God loves you so much; I just wish you would notice that. But in time I guess all things will be made whole. After all, it is the same God who says ‘despise not the makings of a perfect man for in the end there is peace!’” He put down the bible and walked over to me and gave me a hug and opened the door and left. I wondered about the last part he had said but I didn’t know what to think of it. I was feeling good, too good to care about him or God. For a few hours I was a god in my own sense and night time came. I got ready to go to the little event at Jamey’s house. I got dressed and took some more coke and got into an even better mood. I left the apartment and went to the party. I got there and for sure there was something happening there. I didn’t see Joe around and there were a lot of people I had never seen before. Jamey saw me and came over to greet me. “Hey Rose, glad you could make it. Go to the kitchen if you need a fix but linger around and have some fun.” I took up his offer and went to the kitchen and had a sniff, or two, I think. Don’t quite remember. I do remember that I added alcohol on top of it and I became high so to speak. I started dancing with this guy who simply couldn’t keep his hands off me. Later we found our way outside to a secluded alley and things got wild and crazy. We had sex in that alley and parted ways soon after. I started feeling sick as soon as we were done. My head was rolling and my stomach was hurting, it felt like it was on fire. I fell to my knees and onto my back. I rolled on the ground for close to thirty minutes as the pain got worse and worse. I began crying thinking about the pain, the craziness all around me and all I was doing. I thought of Joe and how he would feel about what I did. The pain started lifting but I was drained of energy and couldn’t walk home. I crawled up next to a dumpster and spent the night there. I didn’t get much sleep, if at all I slept was a miracle. Dawn started coming up and I felt a bit stronger. I got up and walked home slowly. I got to my apartment close to forty minutes later. I had to stop a lot along the way to take a rest. The stairs in the apartment building were the greatest hell. I fell down on my first attempt and slightly twisted my ankle. I broke into a loud cry with gushing tears as the pain was horrible. I eventually made my way to my apartment and when I got in I closed the door and collapsed. I didn’t have the strength for anything anymore. I was cold from being outside too long and my ankle was not being friendly at all.

Drifting in the fragile state of my mind, I hoped Corey would show up like he usually did and heal me or give me strength or something. I spent the better part of the day on the floor. Around mid-afternoon I managed to get up and grab something to eat. I got a bit of energy back and I took a shower and went into my room and looked for something to wear.  I remembered I hadn’t ironed any of my clothes and look at the batch from the laundry adventure earlier on. Strangely they had all been ironed and well folded. I didn’t put too much thought to it as I just grabbed something to wear and went into the kitchen. I had cereal and ate anything that I could that wouldn’t require too much energy to make. In the process of eating I saw the unfinished cocaine. I debated in my mind whether to take it or not. The debate helped put nothing good in motion as I stopped eating and sniffed up the rest of the cocaine. I felt good again and I felt like I was in control. I ate what I had put down and as I finished up there was a knock at the door. I went and opened it and saw Jamey at the door. “Hi! I wanted to see if you got home ok; I didn’t see you leave so I wanted to check. I brought you this. Don’t worry about paying, you can do so later.” I took the package knowing what was inside. “Don’t worry I can pay you now!” I went to my room and got money and gave it to Jamey. He waved and turned to walk away. As he was walking away something seemed to enter his mind and he turned to face me. “A guy at the party died last night. They say he was bitten by a snake or something on his way home! Anyway, I got to go.” When it sank in that I had done the same thing I did to Danny, to another person I struggled to think. I broke into tears and a web of confusion engulfed me as soon as Jamey left. For a number of hours I sat with my back against the door, crying and crying and crying. I didn’t see a purpose to living if everything had gone so wrong. I stood up and went to the kitchen and grabbed a knife. I thought I could stab myself but guess I didn’t have it in me. I used the knife to cut open the package from Jamey and I sniffed up a lot of it. I felt so rotten inside that nothing I did mattered anymore. I went into the bathroom and looked into the mirror. Jonah was right; I would never be beautiful again! I saw a bottle of painkillers that was in the bathroom. I opened it and took out a handful and chucked the pills into my mouth. I swallowed them and hoped I would die from drug overdose. Moments later, I began to hallucinate massively. I was seeing dead people all around me who were saying they had come to take me. I recognised Danny and the guy from the alley. They haunted me in every place I looked and bloodlust was all over their faces. “We are coming to get you. It is time for you to die! We are coming to get you. Thursday!” The day that day was a Saturday. For a long number of hours hallucinated figures were all around me and I was going crazy. I called Belana and I was speaking nothing that made sense. She tried to talk to me and help me but she struggled to make sense of me. All I heard her do was pray. “Goodbye Belana, you have been a good friend. Thanks for helping me. I have to go now; they are here to take me!” I cut the phone on her. Moments later a message came into my phone, “You are not ready to die, you don’t have what it takes to kill yourself. You are not going anywhere.” I knew that was Corey speaking. I didn’t die that day or that night either. I didn’t manage to sleep either. I was afraid of going to the chaos dimension or meeting my hallucinations.

The next day I went to the department store and bought a lot of ail. I passed through Jamey’s and bought a lot of cocaine too and went home. I drugged myself and drank that Sunday until I passed out. Monday morning I went to the department store again and bought rat poison. I came home and took a huge dose of cocaine and backed it up with a bottle of whiskey. I spent the better part of the day dangling on the line between passing out and remain conscious. I continued to drink well into the early hours of Tuesday. I passed out at around dawn. I woke up and ate around 2 o’clock in the afternoon as I was feeling insatiably hungry. I followed the same routine soon after. I drank, took cocaine and lamented over my life for the better part of Wednesday. I refused all contact with the outside world. I wouldn’t answer my phone and I wouldn’t answer the door. Early morning Thursday I was very drunk and lost. Hallucinated figures came in through the walls and stood around me. “We have come to take you with us!” I didn’t run and scream like a girl. I got to my feet slowly and staggered to the bathroom. I looked into the mirror one last time and had flashbacks of the entire ordeal. I saw my father, I saw my mother, and I saw Danny! I saw Joe and imagined if he would ever see me as beautiful again. My time was up; I had lost all sense of living. I took the rat poison, opened it and gulped all of it. It didn’t take long for the poison to kick in. My stomach erupted with unbelievable pain. Like the boiling pits orc caves from Lord of the Rings, everything in my belly was boiling and pain was rushing through every neuron of my body. I fell to my knees as I couldn’t stand the pain and crawled into the lounge. My hallucinated escorts to the valley of the undead where there waiting. I tried to withstand the pain but it was too much. I was losing touch with life and I could feel it. I thought of Joe, I thought of my life and I thought of all I had done. For sure I deserved to die; I deserved to die for what I had done. The pain became excruciating beyond the bounds of reality. I fell to my side and saw myself falling into the pit of fire again. I saw Joe and felt what I felt when I was around him. I saw Belana and the moments of friendship we had. I saw my mom and my dad in the good years. I was slowly foaming in my mouth! And in that moment I realised I didn’t want to die. I wasn’t ready to die and I didn’t want to die.

Crawling Moments: Chapter 13(Questionable vengeance )

Just like old times, Belana and I had a lot to catch up on. I told her how things had come to be this way and I hated seeing the look of pain on her face. My dad had been really fond of her, he even regarded her as another one of his daughters and she didn’t understand why things had happened as they did. I didn’t tell her everything. Gosh, how could I tell her that my father sold me for riches? I didn’t think I could ever tell her that but I did tell her about Jonah and what he put inside me and how I started using cocaine and about Joe. No one ever believed in the good in me like Belana did, she saw a way out for me even when I didn’t see an option. “I am so sorry Jun, I couldn’t find you. I wanted you to stay with me but I couldn’t find you. At least you are ok. We have to make arrangements for your father’s funeral once this is over but for now let’s just let the air rest. There is too much craziness out there! Don’t leave again please, don’t leave!” I doubted that Henry had the stomach for sentimental moments and my guess was right because he had already left the house. The note on the fridge said, “Not much to do for me here so I went to the hospital. See you later!” His new place looked nice, really nice. Better than the apartment, well at least more space but not much in the decoration department. I guess that constitutes the nature of most intelligent men! I sat down on the high kitchen chair and just thought of everything that had happened two days before. I wondered what Joe knew about what happened to me; he probably thought I was murdered. In the same moment Ashlee came to thought and I felt angry at her. I wanted to get back at her for almost getting me killed. I really wanted to rip her tongue out but I knew I couldn’t leave without Belana noticing so I wasn’t going anywhere and besides, I didn’t even know which side of town I was and how to get to the apartment. I spent hours sitting on the couch with Belana just talking about everything. Our conversation was broken by the door bell ringing. I got up to answer it as Belana was just laughing badly at my new haircut. I opened the door and was greeted by the shock of my life. “Hi. I am sorry about what I did. I was just jealous about you and Joe, that’s all. Please forgive me. I was wrong!” It was Ashlee; “the nerve” I thought to myself. I opened the door fully to avoid any hindrances and I knew Belana had noticed. I heard her get up and come towards the door. “I don’t care how you found me, but you have 5 seconds to leave or else I will make you unpretty.” She tried to talk some more, to plead for forgiveness but I started counting down. “5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Goodbye!” I grabbed her jacket and drove my right knee into her belly. Belana tried to hurry to the door to restrain me but I closed it before she could get to it. I grabbed Ashlee’s throat and head butted her two times and her nose started bleeding. I lifted her and threw her to the ground and sat on her. I heard the door finally open and started pouring punch after punch onto Ashlee’s face. By the time Belana got a hold of me and pulled me back, I had indented two black eyes into her face along with a cracked lip and broken nose. Ashlee tried crawling away and made it a few feet from me but I wrestled out of Belana’s grip and charged to finish her off. I readied my foot to kick her in the stomach when out of nowhere Corey charged through the gate in front of Ashlee, jumped over her and tackled me to the ground. He managed to get a hold of both my hands and held them with crushing firmness. His eyes cut straight into mine and I felt a chill of realism rush into me. “I strongly suggest you avoid hurting people or else I will be forced to return the favour!” He released his grip and got up. He walked over to Ashlee who was now sitting up but was failing to find the strength to stand up. He lifted her up into his hands and took her into the house. Belana was watching speechless. “Now you believe me Belana when I tell you that I am rotten. Just leave me alone, you will all hate me.” I got up and ran out through the gate as fast as I could, not knowing where I was going. Belana tried to chase after me but could not catch up. I remember hearing Corey calling her back, “Belana, come back. Let her go, she doesn’t have what it takes to kill herself. She is not going anywhere, she isn’t ready to die.” I ran and kept running until I was so far away from the house and had no clue as to where to go. I stood motionless for five minutes until a dumpster stopped right in front of me. “Hey you, I know you! I saw you with Joe at his party. What are you doing here? You look lost; want a lift back down town?” I nodded my head hesitantly but I felt I had no option. He opened the door and I jumped in. He drove his lumbering vehicle towards what was called home and did not say a word except for the usual questions of avoiding boredom. Thirty minutes later I began realising the place and moments later he stopped at a familiar door, Joe’s house. I shook his hand and jumped out of the dumpster. He sounded his horn and drove off. Soon enough Joe came out of the door rushing towards me as if he had seen a guardian angel. “Juniper, I am so glad you ok. I heard what happened. Thank God you’re ok. Its Ashlee isn’t it? Damn her!” All the time he was hugging me and I felt safe in his arms. In that moment I kissed him and I knew I wanted to do that for a very long time. I was so happy to see him and he was happy to see me as well. He didn’t let go of me, he simply lifted me up and went with me into his house and sat me on the couch. Everything seemed to become merry and whimsical whenever Joe was around but I put him through much even though truly I did care. I spent the night at his house though my senses tell me you think I slept in his bed with him. He took the couch out of courtesy and at most that is what most men should do. But even though it’s a good thought preceding a pleasant sign of respect, most men do not think that far! I did not sleep much that night even though I wanted too. The dream of this girl that night was to fall asleep and dream just like a normal human being but I guess not all requests are granted for the sake of observing normality. At around two in the morning I got out of bed and stood by the window overlooking the street. I gazed at the street light on the street pavement and seemed to get lost in thoughts even I could not comprehend. My thoughts were cut short by a knock on the door. “Jun, I can’t sleep. Can I come in?” I walked over to the door and opened the door to let Joe in. He came in and was a bit surprised to find the curtains fully opened and me not showing the normal agitation of being woken up in the middle of the night. He walked in hesitantly and I closed the door behind him. I presumed in a wild guess he thought I was about to throw him out of the window or something. He looked at me trying to figure out what I was going to do but I just grabbed his hands and wrapped them around me and pulled him to the window with me. It felt really good to feel his warmth again! I felt almost free with him wrapped around me. “Ashlee set the ambush! She went to the press and told them where I was and then tricked me into following her to a ‘safe place’. While I followed her she turned a corner and hit me with a baseball bat then she handcuffed me to a dumpster. The mob found me and threw eggs on me and beat me up but I was saved by a boy called Corey. He has been watching over me for some time, I never asked for the attention but it turns out my friend Belana asked for him to watch over me. He does weird things like appear in my dreams and say crazy stuff about God and stuff but he has saved me quite a number of times now. I just wonder why he doesn’t give up! He took me to the doctor’s new place and left me there and told Belana where to find me. While I was there Ashlee showed up to apologize but I didn’t give her a chance. I beat her up really bad and I am beginning to question if it was really warranted. She did me wrong and almost got me killed but she is just a poor girl who has it bad for you and wanted me out of the picture. I don’t know Joe! I am just messed up and I am doing things I never used to do. I have never beaten anyone in my life but I kicked you, beat up Ashlee and have done some horrible things. On top of it all Corey keeps on bragging about this God who still loves me after all this craziness, like honestly who is he fooling! God does not love trash like me, end of story!” I don’t know why I just spit out everything out like that but after all I said I honestly thought Joe was going to kick me out of his house for putting him through a lot of rubbish. He simply rested his head on my shoulder and pointed at a bright star in the sky and said, “I won’t leave you. You are the sun, you make me shine, more like the stars that twinkle at night, you are them all, close in my heart. You’re my daytime, my night time, my world, you are my life! I won’t tell you who sang that, find out if the words mean something to you.” We stood by the window for minutes on end until I started drifting to sleep and all I remember is being tucked into bed and getting a good night kiss on the cheek. I slept peacefully for a change and felt no urge to awake from my non chaotic slumber. I was however woken up by voices drifting into my dreams from reality. Joe was talking to someone and he wasn’t putting an effort to keep his voice down. I for a minute listened thinking it was in my dream. “Why are you here after what you did to her? You almost got her killed, and for what?! Just because you have a thing for me! Get over yourself; I don’t like you in that way.” I knew this was not in my dreams and started coming around to waking up. I woke up and got onto my feet and found my way to the door. I opened the door and the voices seemed to fade into silence. I made my way to where the noise was coming from while trying to rub the sleep from my eyes. I walked into the lounge and found Joe standing close to the front door with Ashlee standing in front of him. Ashlee to no surprise she was without a scar and I just thought to myself, “Corey has to tell me how he does that!” I walked slowly towards them both as they were staring at me and stood next to Joe and simply stared into Ashlee’s eyes. Truth be told, the girl wanted to run for her life but something seemed to have given her the courage to come to the one place I was most likely to be. There was a cold silence for a minute and then I breathed out and she stepped back ready to dash for the hills. “I am sorry for beating you up but I would appreciate it if you left. You are the last person I want to see right now. But however before you leave answer me this, how did you find me?” She seemed to try to find the courage to speak. All the time she had been avoiding eye contact and I guessed guilt was a greater killer than drug overdose in a sense. “Henry helped my aunt before she passed away. He tried to help her get her better but we couldn’t afford it so when she died he would come and check on me. When he moved he gave me the address to where he would be staying in case I needed to find him when conventional methods had failed. I figured it was the only place you could go so I came there wanting to say I was sorry!” She looked down as soon as she finished the statement and turned and began walking away. I heard her cry as she walked away and I slowly closed the door as she left. A heavy heart plagued me in that moment because even murderers reach a point whereby they question their actions; their so-called vengeance on the world they feel wronged them.

Crawling Moments: Chapter 12(Illusions)

Morning afterlife seemed to be a friend for many in this side of town. I woke up on the couch; my host was gracious enough not to kick me out. I took my time to shake off the weirdness I was feeling, pro-morning sleepiness I guessed. I stood up and stretched. Jamey was in the kitchen making what he called breakfast. He saw me standing up and smiled towards me. “Ashlee left earlier, said she had to go into the city for an errand or something. Making breakfast here, you can try if you want.” I didn’t feel the need to tempt the resistance of my intestines to the absurd and disturbing nature of middle aged boys’ cooking so I politely declined the offer. I didn’t waste time with saying my goodbyes, I needed to go home. I left Jamey’s house and made a quick walk home. I got to my apartment and it looked ever so dull. I took a shower and got into a new change of clothes. It was just after ten in the morning and I decided to do the laundry. I took my dirty heap of clothes and made my way to the basement and shoved them into a washing machine and waited 45 minutes for the wash to complete. I took my laundry back to my apartment and put it into my room. I didn’t have the strength for ironing and so I just left it there. I made my way into the kitchen to fix myself some edible breakfast when my phone rang. The caller ID said it was Henry. I terminated the call about four times as he kept on calling back. I finally answered the call and it was no courtesy call. “Jun, lock the door, now! Lock it now! Someone tipped off the press as to your whereabouts and now everyone knows where you are staying. I need you to lock the door and stay there until I get there. Don’t go anywhere!” Henry cut the phone and in a split moment I dashed for the door and locked all locks and imaginary knobs on it. My heart was beating at lightning speed; I figured Usain Bolt would be child’s play with the way it was going. I had almost forgotten about that dimension to my life, the crazy mob that wanted my head, the thing inside me, and all the craziness that was becoming the order of the day. I was panicking and I knew it wasn’t going to help me but what else could I do. I paced up and down the living room trying to figure out what to do. In that moment Jonah appeared behind me and stood until I turned to face him.

I felt a surge of terror run through me but I didn’t know where to flee too. He smiled and sat down on the couch. I didn’t have the courage to say anything to him and he knew I was now very afraid. “Oh well, Juniper! Life was going well wasn’t it? You thought you had gotten away. Even started on coke, oh my! I knew all this you know. It was part of the plan! Now your friends are about three blocks away. Don’t worry; they aren’t started with you yet! Now your crawling moments begin!” He vanished from the room and I heard a knock on the door! I debated what to do but felt a relief when I heard the person behind the door, “Rose it’s me, Ashlee! Open up!” I dashed for the door, unlocked it, opened it, pulled her in and locked the door again!” I was glad to see a familiar face and I didn’t waste time in crying a river! “Ashlee you’ve got to help me get to a safe place. They are coming to get me! Help me out of here!” Ashlee didn’t seem moved but she came in with saving words! “Ya, come with me. I know a place where I can stash you till it’s clear.” I grabbed shoes and a jersey and locked the apartment. We ran out of the apartment and made our way to the alley way at the back of the apartment. Ashlee was running ahead of me and disappeared around a corner. I ran faster so I could catch up with her but as I came to the corner I was hit by a baseball bat straight on my nose and I fell back first and hit my head on the ground. The pain was excruciating and I didn’t have the strength to lift my head. I heard the baseball bat drop and the person came to me. It was Ashlee! She came next to me and knelt down, “You can’t have Joey; I would rather have you die!” She pulled out handcuffs and cuffed my right hand. She pulled me across the alley and cuffed the other end to a dumpster and knelt again to look at me one last time. Blood was gushing from my nose and I was still dazed. “I am sorry Rose, I liked you but you can’t have Joey, he is mine!” She left me there and ran down the alley and disappeared around another corner. I could hear the mob in the street in front of the apartment now! They wanted me in pieces and on their dinner tables! I didn’t know what to think anymore, Ashlee had just sold me out! I started crying, I really thought I was going to die that day!” I heard the mob come down towards the alley and police sirens where now in hearing range. The first people in the mob came into sight and I figured Ashlee had told them where I was! “There she is, now she is going to pay!”

I didn’t believe in God as much as I should have but in that moment I prayed, “God please help me out of here! Corey. Joe. Please! Anyone!” The people got to where I was and they didn’t waste time in throwing insults. I remember a middle aged woman spitting on me and kicked me in the stomach. Another woman slapped me four times on the face, spat on me and walked away. A boy pushed through the crowd and smashed a baseball bat into my knee. I almost screeched in pain but I was cut short by someone who threw eggs onto my face. I immediately vomited and tried to remove the egg from my face with my left hand when unexpectedly more eggs were thrown all over me. I was running out of breath and I was in so much pain. Something like a gunshot cut above the mob’s racket and everyone dashed for their lives. I didn’t see a policeman or anything but moments later, Corey appeared and ran towards me. He had a key dangling from his hand. “Nice to see you Jun. Let me get you out of here. Keep quiet and don’t worry!” He unlocked the cuffs and pulled me up. He put me on his shoulder and that was the last thing I remember before I passed out. On the way to wherever we were going I fell into the chaos dimension with all the familiar feelings of nothingness surrounding me.


Jonah was standing in front of a TV strangely and he was marvelling at the beating I got which was now replaying over and over again. “Wow, that kid was the icing on the cake! I should send him a big cake for his birthday! Here you are Jun, here you are! Damn that Corey, you shouldn’t be this alive after today!” I looked at Jonah with murder raging through my veins but deep down I knew I couldn’t do anything to him. My rage slowly broke into tears as I was feeling the strain of defeat pouring down on me like a tide of a giant ocean-wave descending on a coastal village. Jonah looked at me, his eyes boring into me and laughed so loud that his laugh cut through my being and began driving me crazy and delusional. My mind was spinning and I felt like I was plummeting into a bottomless oblivion. The tunnel was a spinning tornado of fire and the circular walls had screaming faces of people I have known all my life. The heat was unbelievably scorching; my clothes were literally being burnt onto my skin. The screaming faces in the wall were now screaming so loud my brain was about to explode. I could feel blood tricking out of my ears and my body disintegrating into nothing. I had tried so hard in that pit to fight but I finally began to give in. I was falling head first into what I had now thought to be my death when I was shaken by a shattering noise ahead of me. I opened my eyes to see what it was and saw what looked like a hole in the pit’s wall as I passed it. I tried to look back at it but I was too weak to move. In a split second I felt hands wrapping around me tightly and suddenly I was pulled up and started going up the pit. I was beginning to pass out and I heard a voice in my ear, “You shouldn’t give up so easily.” I opened my eyes and saw I was in Corey’s hands. “Corey, wha, wha, what are you doing here?” I felt my strength coming back and Corey and I came to an immediate stop in the pit. I came to realise he was giving me his energy so that I would not die!

Corey released his grip on me and I stood on nothing just like he did! My feeble mind could not wrap itself around the possibility so I did not pursue it further. “We need to have a talk Jun. You can’t keep on like this!” “What are you doing here Corey? How did you get into my dream?! You always pop up when Jonah is nearby, why?” Corey walked around me a bit as if spotting bodily talent or something. “Firstly, this is not a simple dream, it’s an illusion created in a realm between your conscious state and your dream state and Jonah created it. Secondly, I am here because I know how to manipulate this illusion along with others and get people out of them. Thirdly, you say you do not believe in God! I find it strange that if you say so much against Him then why did you call for His help when you were by the dumpster? I am here because I have been here before. I was once a victim of Sylvanas’ and Jonah’s tricks. I stopped you early for the sake of your health! When I went down this pit I reached the bottom where there is a fire snake. Unlike you I didn’t have anyone to save me so I kept falling. In that moment I was afraid, terrified and horrified. I was eaten by the snake and I was bound in its belly, full of fire pits for five days. I will never forget the pain I felt in that thing. I was constantly burning and deafened by the screaming you were hearing on your way down. The pain became indescribable and that triggered something in my mind. My mind became hyperactive and in processing it all I realized that all that was around me was an illusion. I countered this illusion by creating a torrent of water to fall from the top of this pit towards the snake. It took a few minutes to get to where I was but along the way it tore down every bit of this illusion and that’s how I managed to escape. I always show up when Jonah is near because someone wants you alive and I have orders to keep you alive and I intend to keep them. I am not here to pull you out of this, but I am here to prevent you from dying. The rest is your beefcake. Please, do take a seat!” Corey sat down on nothing but it looked as if he was on a comfortable couch. I looked around and saw nothing and remained standing. Corey sighed, and stood up. “No wonder Jesus said ye of little faith, gees!” He grabbed me by the shoulders and turned me around. He let go, bent down and exhaled a breath of ice. The cold breath adhered to something and soon enough I could see a couch! He went back to his seat and sat down. I sat down as well and thought the seat was quite comfortable. To me this was bigger than the illusion I was first in. I looked at Corey with both enthusiasm and fear because I felt that at any moment I could fall down. “Ok, so you mind explaining what all of this is. Honestly because I am like so lost!” Corey laughed a bit and said, “Take a closer look around you.” I strained my eyes to see what he was talking about and soon enough I did! There were six copies of myself on either side of my couch, exactly like me with the burnt clothes. I almost dashed for cover but I came to my senses quickly. “How did you do that?” Corey clapped his hands with a huge cheer. “Now you are asking the correct questions! Ah, Junipers, please say Hello to the real Juniper!” The copies of me turned to me and said hello the same way I do and then turned to look at Corey. They disappeared soon after and Corey stood up and came closer to me. He knelt down before me and looked into my eyes, “I am not God, and personally I have never seen him! He just has people like me help people like you. What you were in was Jonah’s illusion but now you are in this illusion that I am controlling. He can’t hear or see us because he is not connected to the illusion and he doesn’t know how to manipulate them like I do. As I pointed out to you earlier, the illusions are created in a place between your conscious state and your dream state. Right now I am asleep as well but because of God I was able to come here and keep you from the fate of the previous illusion. My only interest in you is to help you overcome Jonah. My task is to bring an end to this entire craziness and you are high up on the people to pull out as soon as possible. It’s up to you whether or not to believe!” I looked at Corey with a raised eyebrow, “You have got to be joking me dude. You talk about God wanting me but where has He been when all this rubbish has been happening? My answer is no and it will stay no. Where was He when my mom died, when my father committed suicide? Oh yeah, you’re going to say he was there through you when I was almost beaten up but how do I know you weren’t just looking for a way to get at me? Buzz off loser, you and your God!” Corey stood up and smiled, he disappeared from right in front of me and I could feel myself waking up. I came into the real world and became a bit puzzled because I didn’t recognise where I was. I was in a bed and the place looked well looked after and up class. I looked around and became terrified as to where Corey had left me. The door opened and I grabbed a book that was next to the bed hoping to deal a death blow to whoever came through the door. I was shocked when I saw it was Henry with a bowl of soup in a tray.

He had a huge smile on his face as if he had seen an angel. “Don’t come closer you illusion or I will kill you!” Henry stopped and looked around trying to figure out who I was talking to. “Here, when you stop acting weird you can have some soup.” He put it onto my lap and sat next to me. “I was so worried about you Juniper. I got to the apartment and didn’t find you. Then I heard you were beaten in the alley so I drove around looking for you but I didn’t find you. When I came home, here you were but I couldn’t wake you up. It’s been two days now. I came in now because I got a text message from some unknown number saying ‘She is awake now!’ I remember how I checked your body for any injuries but I found not even a scratch. I think you might want to take look for yourself.” He stood up, got a mirror and handed it to me. He brushed his cheek and pointed at the mirror. I picked up the mirror and took a look into it. To my amazement the scar was gone, no trace of it whatsoever! I almost jumped out of the bed, then I thought of the little kid with the bat who smacked my knee. I began to think he had crippled me so I put the soup aside and Henry stood up. I threw aside the duvet and got greeted by my pyjamas. My heart raced but Henry knew what I was thinking. “I didn’t touch you. A friend of yours mysteriously showed up and I remembered her because she was in quite a number of your pictures. She is asleep in the next room. She refused to leave once she saw you so I had no option, really! She bathed you and changed you!” I touched my knees trying to find if there was any pain but they were completely painless. I got out of bed and found I could stand. I looked at Henry with a completely puzzled look on my face only to get the same expression on his face. “Which room is she in?” Henry pointed down the hall, to the first door on the right. I approached the door cautiously and opened it. I went in and treaded lightly towards the bed. I soon caught a glimpse of the person’s face; it was dear old Belana. I felt joy and I jumped onto her. She woke up ready to run into the wall with fear but she soon saw me and screamed my name out. “Are you ok Jun? Oh gosh I thought I had lost you! Thank God you’re ok.” It felt really good to hug a familiar person. We held onto each other for minutes on end without a word being said. Belana let me go and I got off her and sat next to her. She looked up to me with tears lining her eyes. “Thank God, Corey got to you in time! I was having dreams of you trapped in a crazy place but I am glad to see you.” I looked at her with a puzzled face and asked, “Corey, how did you know about him?” She sat up and looked at me, “You’re my friend and I know you do not take God seriously but when I heard what happened with your dad and how I couldn’t find you afterwards I asked him to send someone to help you. I got a name in my dream, Corey, and I remembered meeting him a few times at youth at my church on Fridays which you always declined to attend. That’s all I had to run with so I did and when you came out in the news I tried to get to where you had been said to be but when I got there you were gone again. I got a text message from an unknown number to come to this address because that’s where you were and so I did. So here we are. Oh, I gave you a bath too so yah!” My jaw almost dropped to the floor in shock and complete lack of words. “Corey!” is all I said.

Crawling Moments: Chapter 11(Surprise Interlace)

I guess in a sense, raw cereal wasn’t that bad! I joined Ashlee for a raw feast and it was quite filling. I had never known Ashlee, well this side of her anyway. She was in her bra and she wasn’t dressed in something that I found peculiar about her. In the few times I saw her, she had always worn long sleeved tops and I had always wondered why. We were getting awfully cosy after the cereal munching and she reached out to hug me. As she stretched her hands, I noticed cuts along her hands. Some seemed shallow but two seemed so deep that they must have hurt the time they were fresh. I took hold of her hand and took a closer look. She tried to pull away softly and I let go of her hand. She seemed to cave into this world of guilt, loneliness, fear and resentment soon after. She looked like she was about to cry a river and I wondered why because clearly I hadn’t done anything to hurt her. “Yah I know, you are wondering why I have wounds on my hands. Well they are not the only ones, there are all over me, I just cover them up. My mom passed away, nine years ago, when I was just ten years old. She was killed by my dad! Had an argument that got physical and my dad pushed her down the staircase and that was the last of her. I can still hear her crying, every day that my dad beat her up. ‘Lying bitch, which slime bag did you sleep with today? Look at me, look at me!’ He accused her of being a prostitute because his best friends said so. Every day, I would hide in my room, hoping the noise would stop, the screaming and the beating but I guess it’s only the fantasy of a child for her parents to come to their senses. I heard my mother tumble down the stairs, like a rolling boulder with no voice. She had locked me in my room before he came home; I guess she knew it was time to go! ‘Ed saw you at the department store, what were you doing there?!’ I remember my mom’s terrified voice, ‘I had just gone to buy pain killers, I didn’t mean to go out. I am sorry. I-” After that I just heard slap after slap, thuds as her body was shoved into the walls, gasps for air in the midst of consuming tears and drowning streams of blood. After that I heard one last hit and then she tumbled down the stairs and that was the last I ever saw of my mom alive. The neighbours called the police but my dad was gone, they found my mother and then found me! They found my dad later, trying to run away in his car. I testified in court, against my own father, and he was locked up for 55 years without a chance of parole. I wished life would be easy after that. Moved in with my mom’s sister soon after, stayed at the house I stay in right now. She had no kids! She had pancreatic cancer and didn’t even know it until it was too late. She tried as hard as she could to stay alive for me but she died when I had just turned sixteen. Tried to find work but I wasn’t good at anything, never had a sane mind after all that. School went down the drain no matter how hard I tried to get an education. Broke, distant and alone, I became addicted to alcohol and that led to cocaine as I couldn’t find satisfaction in alcohol. Buy it whenever I find money, social grants and stuff and it’s not much. When I am broke I get cravings, my blood is alive with hunger for more but I can’t buy any so I cut myself. The pain helps me to take my mind off the cravings. No one cares for me, no one! Only my mom, she took a lot for me and look where it got her! She never got to tell me that she loved me before she died! My dad writes letter after letter saying he is sorry for what he did but I can’t forgive him. I won’t forgive him! He took the carpet from right under my feet and for that he must burn. That house is all I can hide in, all that I feel free in. The world has robbed me of everything. Lost my virginity trying to get money for the next experience. So many times I have given myself to men even when I don’t want to but something inside me just calls out for the next experience. I have tried to stop a million times but I have gone back to get more a million and one times. Sorry, I shouldn’t be telling you this. Sorry!” Ashlee stood up and went to my room and put on her clothes and walked out without saying goodbye, tears rolling down her cheeks with a void stare in her eyes. I was speechless, really just speechless, shook to the inner essence of my being. I was locked in a state of bewilderment and a sunder sense of confusion. I really didn’t know why I was confused; at most I should have been happy. At least I wasn’t alone in a crazy world. I was pulsed to life by a knock on the door. I came back into consciousness and figured I had to go and open the door. The person knocked again and I jumped at the door. I opened it with a mild irritation in my mind only to feel like a wet chicken when I saw that it was Detective Ross. “Detective, what do you want?!” He smirked a bit, “To come in firstly!” I moved aside and cued him to come in and he gladly did. He looked around the apartment with a sabre sharp eye, trying to find something to start off with. He sat down and looked at me and I had just closed the door but I was still standing by the door. “Miss Miles, you have been spotted with a certain character, looks to be in his teens, always in black, not Caucasian! Who is he?” I figured he was talking about Corey but what struck me the most was the fact that I was being watched. “One of my sources actually told me he left this apartment just a few minutes ago. Care to tell me what he was doing here?” I looked at the detective and tried to find words but under my tongue lay agitation and in my mind was a vivid memory of why everyone hates policemen. “Last time I came to you, you kicked me out! I have nothing more to say to you. He is my, hmmm guardian. Yes, guardian. Now if you don’t mind, go and fatten yourself on doughnuts and coffee like most of you do. Until you have something credible to ask, stay away from me. I don’t have time for you or your kind so please leave!” I opened the door and waved for him to leave. “I don’t want to ask you again Detective, leave now!” The detective stood up and rubbed his cheek with a disbelieving smile cutting across the right side of his face. As soon as he was out I banged the door behind him and savoured myself in the moment. I wish he had listened to me earlier, but I guess the reason why policemen are put through police academies is so that they become as thick and hard headed as the people they are fighting. Ashlee was still plaguing my mind like an unpaid bill! I walked over to the couch and sat down, trying to come to grips with what she had told me but deep down inside I still couldn’t believe a lot of it. There was a knock on the door again. I was now seriously infuriated, “I told you detective, leave me alone or I will call the- Oh dang, you are the police! Just leave me alone damn it!” The person knocked again, harder this time. I got seriously agitated and I jumped at the door. My tongue was already harbouring rotten words of insult that I wanted to cast into the person behind the door but as soon as I swung it open I felt ashamed, it was Joe! We stood at the door staring at each other. “Sorry about last time Joe, I shouldn’t have broken down on you. I am sorry.” He rolled his eyes and I knew he didn’t take it too seriously. He came in and gave me a hug. In that moment he lifted me up and swung me around and I almost felt like laughing. He was in a good mood and I was curious why! He read my mind, “My aunt is coming home tomorrow, she is fine now, and I missed you as well!” He put me down and pulled me over to the couch. We both sat down and looked into each other’s eyes without a word. A part of me hated what was happening for obvious reasons but another part felt natural in the moment. I guess a lesson I learnt in all this was that ‘no matter where you are, you must face a moment of truth there and then.’ Truth is, I felt weird when I was around Joe, like I could trust him and that I needed not fear judgement. He looked at me and I liked the way he looked at me. He made me feel special. “Joe, I know you might think I am crazy but my life is crazy right now!” He put his left hand on my mouth and I took it as a cue to keep quiet. “Actions, actions. Don’t be quick to judge. You might not know the hardships people don’t speak up. It’s best to observe with a cool head!” Those words from him sunk deep into my mind in ways I didn’t think they would. He looked at me with no judgement and what struck me the most was that he actually came back. I held his hands and made a request of him, “Joe, you have become a very special person to me. I would honestly like, if I live till better days, to spend more time with you and get to know you more and get into all the corners that make you who you are. I think you can tell that everything isn’t alright with me and I need to find a way through. I need to find a way to forgive myself, my dad and everything that has happened to me. I really need to find some inner peace before I can let you into my door.” I honestly thought that he was going to be mad angry at me but he nodded his head with the lovely eyes still looking at me without a shift in mood or intensity. “All the time you want, I will be here till you come back.” He reached over and gave me a hug and in that moment I felt warm inside. It was nice having someone who cared in this situation. He stood up and walked towards the door. I felt like stopping him but I saw the need to let him go because I needed to be alone at that time. He left with a waving hand and soon enough my voice was mine alone. Ashlee was still bouncing in my head but not as much. It was almost four o’clock in the afternoon and I was thinking about things that had happened the day before. I needed to go and see Ashlee, see how she was doing. I took a short shower and figured a change of clothes was necessary. A little stack of dirty clothes had built up so I figured I had to go to the basement to do the laundry when I was back.  I dug into my clothes in the closet, trying to find something comfy to wear. In the process I met a small little purple purse. A little note was sticking out and I pulled it out and unfolded it. ‘For a rainy day!’ It was in my handwriting and I immediately knew what was inside. I had been saving for a new entertainment system in my car for two years and I was just about $100 short. I opened the purse and I was greeted by a thick stack of neatly folded notes. I didn’t need to count it because I knew it was a lot. I smiled a bit and pulled out a hundred dollar note and shoved the purse back into its hiding place. I got out of the apartment and out of the building and made my way to the department store across the street. I bought cool drinks and a lot of snacks and started on my way to Ashlee’s house. I didn’t know however where exactly she lived so I had to figure it out somehow. I passed Joe’s house and saw him standing by the window starring at me. He seemed to know who I was looking for and wrote something on a piece of paper and showed it to me, “Down the road, left turn, Number 6, third house on your left!” I blew a kiss to him and started walking towards Ashlee’s house and after five minutes I was there. I knocked on the door and there was no response. It didn’t sound like anyone was in there. I knocked again and I was almost scared out of my pants when Ashlee came silently from behind me and rubbed the back of my neck with a feather. “You scared the living daylights out of me! Where were you?” Ashlee smiled and went over to a bench facing the road and sat down. “I don’t get guests so I am not always a very good welcoming person. Come sit with me!” She seemed fine now and I went and sat next to her. I gave her a drink and some chips. She fought hard to hide the smile on her face and I figured no one had ever done what I did for her. I don’t think she even knew how to say thank you but circumstances seemed to not put her across as nothing more than a victim of cruel fate.

“So what made you come to these parts of town? You don’t seem to have it bad at all.” I noticed she had judged me from appearance as someone who didn’t have it as bad as she did. Maybe I didn’t but I think our stories weren’t that far off. “Let’s just say, our stories are not that far off from each other. My mom died from breast cancer and my dad, well I just don’t like talking about him anymore. My life just crashed down and I don’t know if I can pick it up anymore. A lot of weird things have happened to me.” Ashlee seemed indifferent now and she was constantly rubbing herself and I just figured it was cold since it was a bit chilly outside. “Hey lets go for a walk or something. This place is boring!” I agreed with her in that moment and nothing seemed more interesting than a walk. She stood up and made her way out and I followed. We turned on the corner I came through and we were in Joe’s road. She couldn’t help but stare towards his house as we approached it. Joe wasn’t by the window anymore but somehow I knew he was close. We walked past his house and soon enough he appeared at the corner of my street and his. He didn’t make too much effort to meet us, and I sensed Ashlee getting all mushy. “Hello ladies, I take it you are hunting for something. I think I saw it run down that corner but I can’t remember what it is though. If I get a hello hug from both of you I am sure I can remember what it was!” Ashlee knew this was her chance and she didn’t waste time. She gave him a hug that seemed like a back rub and a method of leaving breast prints on his chest. She really had it bad for him and I sort of felt guilty in the moment. They finished hugging and Joe turned to me and I opened my arms he fell right into them. We held on for a second too long and I could sense a black hole erupting in Ashlee’s heart. I pushed Joe away trying to cover up what was already too obvious. She smirked and looked aside but I knew something had shut off in her. She then looked at me, “Let’s go to that place again, and hang out there!” She didn’t wait for my response. She had already started walking and I followed but I waved good bye to Joe. Joe waved back and started walking towards his house. Ashlee never said a word while we walked to that run down house. We got there and she walked straight in and camped on the couch. Jamey came into the room with a baseball bat in hand and I thought he was thinking he was being invaded. He breathed a sigh of relief and didn’t seem moved by our presence. He just turned back and went to wherever he was. “Hey, you want to do it again? My treat! Double what we had the other day!” I hesitated to respond because I didn’t want to do drugs. She read me and winked at me, “Don’t be a sissy, it won’t hurt a single bit!” I didn’t want to aggravate the situation with her any further and I wanted to show her that I wasn’t a sissy. I agreed and offered to make it my treat. She called Jamey who came into the room with a half annoyed face. “Do you have the stuff, double?” He nodded his head and put out his hand and I took it as a cue to pay up and I pulled out a twenty and gave him and he smiled in a creepy way. He pointed to the kitchen and I figured we had to do the rest ourselves. Ashlee jumped and headed to the kitchen and I got up and followed her. She pulled the white powder from its hiding place behind an aged refrigerator and took out two small packets. She cut one open and split it up. She took a pipe and sniffed her share up really fast. She passed the pipe to me and I regret up to this day what I decided to do that day. I sniffed my share up as fast as she did and in a split second she cut up the second packet and divided it again. I sniffed first and damn I felt like a god in that moment. I felt my heart racing faster and I felt confident. Ashlee sniffed her share and rubbed her nose with her fingers. I could tell she needed more to get to feel what I was feeling. We went and sat in the lounge and I could feel parts of me that I never thought were alive. Like a symbiot, I had just found the host I needed to truly live in a sense. All the time Ashlee looked at me with an occasional smile. In the moment she asked me a question, “What is your full name Rose?” “Juniper Trinity Rose Miles” I answered and continued to try and realize this world I was in.