Saturday, November 22, 2014

Graeme Brown (An introduction to a novel I am considering) Part 2


I woke in chains lying beneath a small window beside a yellow dingy painted cement wall. Everything was hard in this room; the walls, the ceiling, an even the air. I took an inventory of myself; something I learning in track in high school. To maintain calm and stability, you must always look inward and assess what is inside of you vs. what hurts. I noticed my back first. How long have I been laying on this cement floor with my hands cuffed? My head spoke up and I felt the throbbing pain under my eye, then my wrists, that were caked in old blood from the cuffs.

But the worst; my stomach. I remembered that everything I have ever loved on this earth was gone. I crumbled.


I was sent catatonic to several jails over the next few weeks. One interrogation after another. No one got what they wanted because I wasn't there. I was somewhere between existence and hell, trying to remember the sound of my daughter's voice or my wife's laugh.

My son used to worry about things that no one else would worry about. He would tremble at the color of the sky or the feeling of butterflies in his stomach and think the worst. I used to tell him it came from his mom, but it was all me. When I was only 5 or 6, I used to worry about nuclear war. It was irrational, but the threat existed and I couldn't let that go.

I laid on the floor of each cell I visited, refusing to take the mat. I voided in my pants and let myself fester. Guards beat me and tried to force me to speak. They would offer me food and I would nod in the negative. They would force it into my mouth and press it into my esophagus with their fingers down my throat. I got skinny. I stunk. I was revolting.

This went on for months with no words from my mouth. Then one day, a postal worker came in to drop off some mail. She walked past me on the floor and cringed at what she saw in front of her. She buried her nose in her armpit and walked past me, leaving behind the most beautiful scent I have smelled in my entire life. She wore the perfume that my wife wore when we met. A perfume that she gave my daughter to wear when playing dress-up. All at once, I was enraged. My senses returned as a lion stalking prey. I became aware. I was still alive and so were the people that did this to my family. The latter must be remedied.

I continued to lay there, but I still wasn't me. I was a monster, but a practical one. I thought logical and also disgusting thoughts about revenge. I went mad. Every day the guard would open the cell and place my tray on the table and I wouldn't eat it. Every day, he got a little less concerned with me actually being in the room and able to harm him.

On the 67th day when the cell opened and the guard turned his back to place another tray on the table, I sprung to life. I grabbed him by his throat and threw him against the wall, following with my elbow to his teeth, relieving him from his ability to eat. This man had forced food down my throat, so I forced my hand, then wrist down his throat. I stood there still as he couldn't even gasp for air; with only my forearm visible protruding from his mouth. He died within moments. I watched the life leave his eyes. I saw first anger, then fear, then longing, then emptiness. I took his keys and freed my hands. He was dead.

I stood for some time in that open cell looking at my hand. I had been a minister of God for many years. What did this mean that I took a man's life like this? It didn't take me long to remember that smell and my beautiful family.

I rushed out of the cell and into the hallway. At the end of the hallway were two doors. I took the one to the right and found a room full of police looking bewildered at me. They drew their batons. I would have thought they would have drawn their guns. The first led with a blow to my right arm, sending a crushing pain throughout my body. I countered with a left hook, dropping him to the ground sleeping. I grabbed his baton and moved toward my next obstacle. I ducked under a baton and came up with a blow that smashed the eye of a young looking guard. My next swing would find purchase in the temple of the police captain and the next the nose of his lieutenant. I drew blood all over the room and didn't suffer another single blow.

I stood in the center of the room filled with sleeping policemen, again all alone. I missed my wife again at this moment. I took a moment to breath and shake off my fear and exited the front door of the building.

I got outside and the sun was brighter than I had seen in months. In fact, "I hadn't seen the sun in months," I thought. I was blinded by the warmth and the white light that closed my pupils. I was free. Then everything went black with a sudden and paralyzing blow to my head...a sand filled bullet. I found myself with my mouth touching the cement and went black again with a blow to the back of my head.

I woke in a cell. I took an inventory.  My head, my face, my right arm, and my stomach. My stomach still hurt the worst. I looked around me and saw only angry faces in my cell. At least 5 or 6 of them looking at me. One guy spit on my face when he saw me open my eyes. There were bars and the same dingy yellow painted walls all around me. But this time I wasn't in chains.

A guard came to the cell door and called out "Kerr," and the prisoner moved to the gate. I could hear the sound of people cheer in the distance and looked at the face of the man being taken from the cell down the hall. Moments later, the crowd would cheer and the loud voice would pierce the air and then silence. "Kerr" would never return to the cell.

Three days later, while laying on the floor of my cell, a guard would shout "Brown." He would shout my name three times before I recognized I was still this man. I would reach the gate and take one step after another until I stepped into the sunlight.

It was absolutely beautiful at first. I let myself absorb the warmth I had missed for so long. I opened my eyes to the sound of the loud piercing voice. I let my eyes adjust to an arena full of people cheering and nothing but black concrete separating me from a very large man standing 100 yards from me. The crowd cheered a name, "Blood, Blood, Blood, Blood, Blood!" Blood stood in front of me spitting out a full goblet of red fluid he had just taken in upon arrival to the arena.

We both stood looking at each other and then the horn sounded.


Thanks for reading...Z