Friday, January 21, 2011

The Prerequisites of Perdition: PREVIEW

The Prerequsites of Perdition

PREREQUISITE: required beforehand

PERDITION: utter destruction or ruin


“Good, so don’t talk to me about being selfish. I’ve given up too much and risked everything for everybody else. I’m the one who has to keep secrets and is tortured every day by the truth. I’m the one who’s sad all the time. I’m the one who doesn’t remember what it’s like to not be depressed,” she told Nash. At that moment, there was something in her voice that frightened him. Somewhere, hidden in her angry, hushed whisper, there was a terrible confession clawing to escape. Nash was terrified to hear it but, he had to know.

“Brenda, where are the boys?” he asked and waited for her to answer. Somehow, the look on her face when he asked this time let him know that he was about to get his answer. She paused and then took a deep breath before she spoke. Her confession had finally fought its way from the recesses of her mind until it found her lips.

“This morning wasn’t any different from any other morning. My husband had his coffee, way before I woke up, kissed me goodbye and left for work, long before the sun came up. I told him to have a good day, went back to sleep and waited for the alarm clock to wake me again. Once I was up, I got my boys out of bed and started to get them ready for daycare and school. I put them in the tub together to take a bath. I usually stayed with them, made sure they got clean and played safe. I don’t know why I left them alone. I knew it wasn’t safe,” she began her story. Nash’s heart was racing and fear gripped him mercilessly.

“What did you do Brenda?” he asked, disturbed by the direction her story had taken. Her mannerisms as she retold that morning’s events, terror crept into her face.

“I don’t know what was wrong with me. I just felt so tired. I knew that I shouldn’t have left them alone in the bathroom. There was more than enough water in the tub so I don’t know why I left the tap running. I sat down on the couch in my living room. I couldn’t see them but the house was quiet and I could hear them splashing and laughing,” she continued. Her voice was barely a whisper and all of the blood seemed to have drained from her caramel face. Her eyes were wide open but she didn’t seem awake. Nash sat on the edge of the uncomfortable wooden chair and when she stopped talking, fear gripped him again.

“Brenda, what happened to the boys?” Nash asked, terrified of what her answer would be. He gripped her arm firmly to get her talking again. She continued with her story although she still seemed distant and lost.

“I don’t know what was wrong with me. The sunlight from the window was on my face but the room felt dark. I sat on my couch and felt like I didn’t want to move, ever again. I felt like I was too heavy to move. I wanted to just sit there forever. I was chained to my life by secrets and lies and I didn’t want to be. Then, I realized that I didn’t hear them,” she said.

“What do you mean you didn’t hear them?” Nash asked.

“I didn’t hear them splashing. I didn’t hear them laughing. I just sat there with my eyes closed and acted like nothing was wrong. I should have panicked when I didn’t hear them. Any good mother would have panicked but I didn’t. I didn’t move. For a split second I wondered if they’d drowned. For a split second, I wondered if my little boys were dead. And may God forgive me, I felt free,” she said. Horrified, Nash reached across the table and grabbed Brenda by both her shoulders.

“What have you done?” he said.

Find out what's required before utter destruction and ruin with Keith Kareem Williams' gripping story "Prerequisites of Perdition" in CROSSROADS: THE ANTHOLOGY, coming Spring 2011