Is the darkness ours to take?

Based very, very, very loosely on a character created by Marla at Marla’s World for which the link is (and yes, ma’am, I’m bad for including it here) https://marladragon.wordpress.com/2023/02/01/passthebaton-challenge-for-february-2023/. But don’t be fooled into thinking that this is the next part in Marla’s story because that task belongs to Sadje and then Jim (but, let’s face it, none of the rest of Marla’s readers knows me and so I’m highly unlikely to be nominated to do anything here). Anyway, it doesn’t matter because this is not part of the accepted canon being, as it is, way off the beaten track and far away into the dusty future. That said, I like it, so read it slowly, word by word (if you so choose).


Anyway, it was February, but that didn’t mean cold ’cause, where I was at, was as hot as midday in a bakehouse and the chocolate hundred percent seemed like it was melting off my body as if it’d decided not to be a part of me no more. I used to like my skin but just a lately it’s started to get to be a real pain above the eyes; the kind you wake up with in the morning that arcs across the daytime blue like a fiery comet. Yeah, my skin’s getting old, shug. Not so much as you can see that from across the bar on a smokey drinking jag night, but on a day like today? It’s as weather-wracked as the green-gone-brown hills hereabouts. But I digress.

I stuck out a thumb as the latest in a long line of dusty wrecks crawled its way out of the pit of San Sunning, Texas heading for who the heck cares where and stuck out a leg for good measure. Some of them freaks can’t see for bug spray. The shape of woman’s womanly parts rings a bell hard enough in their pant to twitch a foot towards the brake and that’s all I cared about after that mad uphill walk outta town. Easy riders make easy rides.

Texas ain’t exactly hot but a 66°F early morning sweat is enough to make me step out of the sun into any shade I can get and, let’s face it, I ain’t no stranger to strangers’ cars. I dumped my rucksack over my shoulder into the back too late to see it was gonna get to be close friends with what I swear looked like a pile of body parts trapped in Saran Wrap. I sighed the latest of a whole bunch of sighs but at least I had the grace to keep it quiet. Johns ain’t too keen on sad. I learnt that a spell ago a long ways North of there.

I was aiming for amiable as scooched my shanks down in the seat of the already-moving car but whatever juice I’d squeezed out froze right there as if someone’d maxed the AC. A dame! And one none too pleased to see me if the scowl plastered across her face with a rough trowel was anything to go by. My pearly whites flickered in and out like some electric bulb on the blink then I caught myself and surged the power giving her my best talk show host smile. Heck, she stopped for me, didn’t she? That’s gotta count for something.

“Don’t y’all be doing that now. Y’all gonna hurt yourself smiling upside your face like that. Ain’t nothing but lottery money or Uncle Charley with a rusty old steak knife in his foul, kiddy-fiddlin’ guts should make you want to light yourself up like that.”

I kinda half nodded, I guess, as I thought that’s a heck of a lot more than I wanted to know.

“Stella,” she said and stuck out a hand.

Shrinking Violet that I’m not I still shrank back against the door trying to figure out what I|’d gotten myself into here. I looked at her face. Pain and lots of it grained into it.

I dropped my gaze as she turned to me. Was that blood under her nails? And crusted into the lines around her finger joints? And … Jeesh, what the heck? I worked on the image some. A claw curled around two things. One was the steering wheel, but the other? A steak knife? A rusty steak knife with something dripping from it. Red registered in my brain as I felt my arm cross my body and twist behind me, fingers scrabbling for the door handle. I found it a second after the clunks sounded. She’d given up on getting a handshake and whapped the central lock button instead.

“Can’t let you do that, hun.”

I shook my head uncomprehendingly.

“Going too fast. Rocks by the road around here’ll bash your brains out as soon as a cockle-de-doo in the morn.”

I couldn’t find a way to make myself look at her face because that there knife was dragging everything I had towards it like mesmerism or magnetism or some fool word like that. It was blood. It formed a drop that dripped downwards. I followed it until it went out of sight. I felt it hit the floor as I became aware of needing to breathe and so I did. A long, raggedy rasp of a thing. Then I looked at her face.

She was grinning.

“This?”

She let go of the steering wheel and sliced the blade towards my face. My head whacked back against the window. The car veered towards the edge of the road. She seized the wheel with her other hand and wrenched the car back under her will.

“Whoo, whoo whoo,” she said as she swooped the blade backwards and forwards in front of me. My eyebrows dragged my eyes open and then widened them up some more while my fists grabbed onto thin air like it held the key to a future I couldn’t find then and there.

“Ha,” she said as he pulled back her blade hand and flung the knife casually over her shoulder into the back seat. My bulging eyeballs swivelled as they followed its course. It landed on the body parts.

“Chicken.”

“Wha?”

“Chicken. Chicken, chicken, chicken. You don’t habley the Engleesh?”

“Yeah, I mean, no, I do speak English.”

“Well then?”

“Chicken. It’s chicken parts.”

“What, you thought I’d whacked old Uncle Charley?”

“Uh …”

“Nah. He went a while back. Nothing to do with me.” She held both hands up in mock surrender, driving with her knees. “Cancer.”

I nodded mutely.

“Swapped out his morphine for saline though.” She grinned.

I suddenly saw that she was stunning. It was like the sun came out; you know what I mean? Old, sure. Kinda crusty around the edges, but a real beauty. Like a rose growing out of garbage heap.

Anyway, February went and March came around and I was still there on Stella’s farm. Course by then I was …

But that’s a whole ‘nother story. Go to sleep now.

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24 thoughts on “Is the darkness ours to take?

  1. This is a really good read! I was riveted. Your descriptions are amazing. My favorite was when her eyebrows dragged her eyes open; so opposite of the usual image provided which is the opposite. I also like how the whole thing is written in a form of a Texas drawl.
    Thank you for informally participating!

    Liked by 1 person

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