- Downs stairs music played. Blackie could hear her mother’s laughter drift up the stairway; it mingled with the faint scent of gardenias that dotted the tables and buffets, the last one saved to tuck into dark locks of her dark hair that fell in curls around her shoulders.
At nine years old, Blackie’s hair fell like her mothers, Bback as the night, gentle waves laid against her milky cheeks. Her eyes flashed when she giggled, glowing emerald green and gold. Not like that of a child, but a woman who knows things.
Blackie moved down the long upper gallery of Summer Wind, her lips puckered in frustration. She didn’t like that boy; she had begged her mother not to invite him.
“Please mom…please don’t let him come, he’s bad.”
“Just try to be nice to him Blackie, for me…Please?” Her mother knelt down in front of her daughter, smiling. Her perfect white teeth behind rose color lips, eyes that matched those of her daughter.
Blackie looked down at her feet, barren with pink toenails standing out against the dark floor. She nodded her head knowing that despite her protest, this was a battle she would never win. Her mother wrapped her arms around her child; her fingers twirled the satin curls in her fingers.
“It will be ok, I promise.” She whispered into her daughters ear.
Blackie turned and dashed up the sweeping staircase and back down the gallery to her room.
The little girl stood at the window and looked over the valley. The mountains rose high over its edges holding it like a gem in one of her mother’s cocktail rings. The expansive lawns gave way to a meadow now billowing with Black Eyed Susan’s, a small creek still ran and pooled at the south end of Summer Wind. Blackie liked to go down to the pond on days when it was hot and splash her feet in its coolness from the dock. Her eyes darkened in despair at the thought of that boy. James… His pale hair, pale skin and eyes so light they were without color. There was darkness about him, it was in his soul, it grew inside him, lurking deep in his mind. He was nothing less than evil.
“I am going downstairs to get snacks and a drink. I will bring you something too.”
James looked at her from across the table. “Sure.” His small voice was without emotion and thoughtless.
Blackie’s small feet moved her swiftly down the long corridor over woolen rugs brightly colored from faraway lands and cultures now gone. Crimson and marigold, purple and saffron, treasures from her fathers travels. He had sent them home to his wife and daughter to remind them that the dig season was nearly over, and that soon he would be home with his girls.
The landing over looked the grand foyer. To the left the dining room glowed golden, candlelight glittered off of the crystal wine glasses, platters and bowels. The thunder clapped, while the wind blew wild into the open windows, the chandelier swayed, it’s heavy drops of crystal tinkling together.
The little girl rushed into the dining room and over to the buffet that was nearly as tall as she. She reached for a plate from its white marble top and filled it with squares of cheese and little rounds of soft bread, everything else looked yucky to her so she settled for slices of fruit and the her favorite frosted grapes. She filled two glasses from the punch bowl, carved deeply with flowers and vines and peacocks.
Balancing one glass on the plate, she carried the other and gingerly made her way back up the stairs. She pushed open her door with her foot; the room was now nearly dark as she made her way to the mahogany wood child’s table at the far end of her sitting room. As she sat the plate down the glass on it rattled against the china, she then placed the other drink down at James’s seat.
Deep in her belly she felt an icy coldness creeping in.
“James…?” Her voice was small and she was nearly deaf as her adrenaline rose, with the exception of her own heartbeat thudding loudly in her ears. The thunder and lightning had given way to rain and it blew in through the window now swung open into room. She went to her door, as she reached to close it, it slammed shut in front of her.
“BOO…” James’ voice was low, his face expressionless and his clear lifeless eyes looked through Blackie’s.
“You’re an idiot.” She exclaimed. “What’s wrong with you?“ Her fear folded into rage while her tiny fist clenched at her side, her jaw set. “Go find your mom… GO!” She pointed to the door, staring at him eye to eye… watching as the the evil rose up in them. James stood there in silence looking through Blackie, her and her sweet innocents, all light and joy filled with hope and love…. except for him. She knew him and the darkness that dwelt within him.
Finally he spoke. His voice was old, it was evil, it breathed out of his mouth in a rasp. “I want you.”
She turned from him; she knew she could not show the fear that was welled up in her body. She reached down for the glass of punch and drank heavily; wetting her throat that was so dry she could not speak.
“Go… Go… now.” She whispered. He was behind her; she could feel him, smell the stench of all that was dead inside of his small disgusting body.
“No, I am not done.” his words were thick and slow.
She closed her eyes tightly in an effort to level her voice. “Yes you are.” But before she could speak another word, his right arm was around her neck and his left about her waist pulling her in tight to him.
Instinctively she bent forward, hard and fast sending them both crashing over the low wooden table then to the floor. He was beneath her and he continued to hold on. She struggled into a sitting position her legs in front of her, his hand groped at her chest his nails sunk deep into her flesh his other hand ripped at the thin fabric of her dress finding her panties, he ripped and tore at them till they were no more. She doubled over into a ball scratching at him with her own nails then bit hard into his pale, skinny arm. For a moment he paused, his breath coming in heavy gasp in her ear his stench surrounding her.
“Blackie…. Blaaackie…, I am going to kill you…” His voice whispered low in a sickening nursery rhyme…”Kiiilllll you… kiilll you… How does it feel to know you are going to die…?”
Her fear had long since turned into rage. It consumed her like a fire whipping fast and furious across the mountain. She could hear the music and the clinking of silver on china plates in the dining room, she could hear the rain beating on the rooftop, and she could hear her blood coursing through her veins.
She had grown still and silent for a moment… Then with the rage and power of a full grown man she stood. “Not if I kill you first.” Her body came full off of the floor, the evil boy still on her back. She moved fast in a rear motion slamming him into the armoire, stunning him. Turning, she waited there just a few feet away, her feet shoulder width apart, cemented onto the soft rug. He came at her, her arms reached out for his head grasping each side, her fingers wound tightly into his hair and she shoved him back into the heavy cabinetry with a crash.
He laughed,” I am not done.” His voice was heavy as he lunged towards her again. Her right arm struck out to his neck pulled in deep to his flesh as her left held him by the hair at the top of his head. As she flung him to the floor, blood sprayed in beats, spattering her dress and face. He fell with a thud… his hands bloodied, grasped the gaping wound at his neck.
She knelt there beside him his blood pooling around him, flowing slowly towards the girl. The hem of her cotton dress wicked blood into its seams, sticky beneath her feet with the pink toenails… Next to him lay a broken punch glass, its jagged edge speaking. James was colorless, his eyes blinked slowly, without any understanding… lost.
Blackie wrapped her little arms around her knees and settled her chin on the top of them. She starred down at him as he faded away tipping her head to one side, then the other.
“How does it feel James…?” Her voice was deep, a millennium of evil dripping from each syllable. “How does it feel to know you are going to die.?”