“I Died Once” – Chapters 6, 7 & 8
Novella One “I Died Once” Continues… Novella Two “Mady’s Storm” Kickstarter Project
BLACK AND WHITE SEQUENCE
A young, dark haired girl, maybe three, plays with a beach ball by the pool of Mady’s mother’s estate. As she plays, she is distracted by the sound of fighting within her home. The ball becomes loose and bounces towards the pool. The little girl pursues it and grabs it just before it falls into the water. The fighting continues.
She turns toward the house where she sees a man and woman fighting in the living room of the home. The little girl takes a step backwards, and is in the pool. As she falls, she lets’ go of the ball, and so, sinks slowly to the bottom. She stares upward through the water, but does not breathe. Not one bubble. Suddenly, a man is in the pool and pulls her out.
“Mady!! Are you alright!!?” he says frantically. The woman stands behind him and watches.
ALL TURNS BLACK
“I can’t stay here, Scarlet. I must go,” are the last words she hears before…
I’m awake. I find myself lying inside some sort of tent. I ascertain that it must be night, as the tent walls glow a wobbling yellow, like fire light. I grabbed a sweater and stepped outside. My father, er, Sam, had started a campfire and appeared to be cooking something. His back was turned to me.
“Boy, you really passed out,” he said.
“Mmm,” I replied, as I approached the fire rubbing my eyes. He looked at me while cooking something on a stick.
“Bad dreams,” interesting that he wasn’t asking. He was simply stating it like a truth.
“Perhaps,” I replied. Much silence went by,
save the clank of the tin plate as he dished me up some local meat and greens. “Thank you.”
The sounds of the African night were, well, torrential to the senses. But to the darkened soul, what else would they be?
It was at this point that he started to interrogate me again, or rather, make conversation. “So, pool, last breath, anything?” This surprised me, only because of the dream I had just had.
“Was my mother’s name Scarlet?” I replied.
He simply sat there staring at me. “It was, yes. You didn’t know your mother’s name?”
“No,” I solemnly replied. “Fred insisted on calling her Mrs. Holden,” as that was, er, is, Fred’s last name. Frederich Walter Holden the 3rd. Argh. “And she insisted that I call her mother.”
“Well, yes, Scarlet Violet Monroe, er, Vanderbelle was her maiden name.”
“What a tremendous name,” I proclaimed.
“Yeah, well, with a great name came a lot of pressure from her parents and her grandmother, Edith Donday Vanderbelle.” With this he seemed to almost growl.
“I see. Before you ask me a third time about not breathing in the pool, you might consider talking to me about something trivial.”
“Trivial?” he replied.
“Yes, like, where I got these boots, or…” I rose to fetch a glass of water, but he handed one to me first. “Thanks. …or why I never wear my reading glasses, and instead, set a book on my desk, and use the telescope from Uncle Henry to read them, whilst I sit in the comfort of my bed.”
He stood. “I don’t do trivial.” With this he cleaned up and headed for a blanket he had laid out on the ground for himself. I simply watched. Well, no wonder he left my mother. If he doesn’t do trivial, then he couldn’t have possibly “done” her, as the whole of who she was, was trivial. I went to bed.
During our next days of traveling we didn’t speak all that much, but the sights and views of Africa were more than apt to sustain me. As my deep blue eyes stared outwardly, they seemed to widen, or at least it felt that way. Minutes became hours, hours became days, until at last we reached my father’s estate. I was starting to give up on referring to him as Sam, even in the sanctum of my own thoughts.
He seemed to have business with a dark skinned man that ran the place while he was gone, and so I adjourned to the room I was given, which was near a small lake. I seemed to be dragging a bit today, as my bag seemed quite heavy, and I knew that it was not.
Once inside, it was a very nice room and would more than do. It was at that point that I found myself in some sort of catatonic stagger making my way to the water’s edge, and then it happened. I collapsed, and lay in a flood of my own tears. Was it my mother’s death? Or sheer exhaustion from the journey. I knew not. What I did know was I wasn’t going to let my father find me this way, as I’m sure he, too, was feeling the effects of this ‘sudden’ daughter. And so, I somehow rose to my feet, and made my way to the main house.
He was inside a smoking room with a short drink of whiskey at his side. “Well hello…” with this he rose to his feet and set down his paper. “…caught a nap did yah.” This struck me as a curious thing to say, as we had just arrived, but then, as I looked at the small watch around my
wrist, I realized that I must have been lying by the water for some three hours and not realized it. I removed the watch and set it on the end table nearby, for I had no interest in time as of late. Time had stopped the moment I descended into my mother’s pool, and in truth, I had yet to have ascended.
He approached me with a smidgen of curiosity in his eyes. “What’s this on your face?” It was as if time slowed as he reached and wiped away a bit of dirt from the side of my face, as I had made a resting place of the ground by the water. I teared up. Now, I knew he didn’t know how to react to this, so instead he began to walk by me. I felt my heart sink, but then his hand took mine as he passed. “Come on, Mady, Tatenda has prepared us some food.” And so we went to supper.
“You Must Seek the Truth, it is Inherent in you
From This Truth Will Come Love
From this Love, You will Fly Free”
THE CHRONICLES OF MADY MONROE-
The next morning I was awakened by the light, oh so bright. An African day awaited me. Outside I could hear the loud rumblings of some sort of engine. To my surprise, as I drew the curtains back in my room, I could see a decent sized four engine prop plane. Sam, err, my father, was all garbed out in goggles and a pilot’s hat and jacket, and was headed towards my guest house. I quickly threw my dark hair into a ponytail, which is no easy task with my wavy hair, and tossed on some khakis and a white blowsy shirt.
He came in. “Good Morning Mady,” he said. I waved back in reply. “It’s time you saw a bit more of Africa, as well as my diamond mine.”
“Alright,” I replied, not really knowing what to think.
“Come on,” he waved me outside.
Before I knew it, we had taken flight, and I was in the air. My instinct was to close my eyes and stick my arm out the window, but I would have to settle for closing my eyes.
“So you really are a pilot,” I said.
He looked at me, “Yes.”
The plane was very loud, yet for some reason I didn’t mind its rumblings. I closed my eyes and just listened to the engines hum as we hit the sky.
“Look,” he said as he touched my arm.
I looked down upon the African plain and saw a whole flock of giraffes running, behind them a male lion in chase. I gasped. “Will he catch them?”
My father looked at me, “All he wants is one.”
It was beautiful to see, and yet, somehow, tragic. My eyes started to tear as we flew over. Wow, it seems as though everything makes me cry these days.
The sky in front of us was vast, filled with strips of distant clouds, surrounded by soft, misty blue skies.
I closed my eyes for most of the journey, as I didn’t need them to see. It became quite clear to me why I was here. The pains inside would do their best to keep hold, but they would not be victorious. Not here. Not now.
Soon we reached the site of the diamond mine, a huge hole in the side of a mountain. “There it is,” he said.
“Ah.” I replied. He then swung the plane over and around it, and headed off into a completely new direction. “We’re not landing?” I inquired.
“Nah,” he replied, a man of few words. The next half hour or so were filled with such sights. I can hardly put it to words. My insides filled with mysteries and questions that only the landscape could answer.
After a while, I found myself dosing off, and noting this, he turned back and headed towards his estate. Bleary eyed, I rolled my head towards him as I lay it against the seat. “So, what do yah think?” he asked.
“I tried to kill myself,” was my reply. With this his eyes widened.
“Well…” he managed. Why did I say that? What was I thinking? “…that is a thing,” he continued. A thing, yeah, okay. I turned and looked out the window. Suddenly, he put his hand on my shoulder, grasping it really, and so I returned my gaze to him, my blue eyes darkening.
He stared at me with his deep brown eyes and said “My god, I’m glad you didn’t succeed,” and with this, he was the one who teared up. All I could do was simply smile. Something I hadn’t done in a long, long, time.