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Urban Fantasy Suspense Thriller

Ignorance is bliss, or so they say.

The problem with that saying is that you don’t get to choose, not when your eyes have been open to your situation or your predicament. Once you know, there isn’t any going back.

Would I want to go back? 

No, I wouldn’t go back and lose the one thing that counts in this gods forsaken place. She’s given me something I never knew existed, not for someone like me anyway. I stopped believing in fairy tales even as I read them. My mother made damn sure of that. 

My own particular fairy tale was a mother who was very much in touch with her masculine side. I dunno what she would choose to identify as these days, but for me, she was Pain. Yes, Pain with a capital P. This was a woman who was meaner than a hyena and crueller than the biting North winds. She didn’t take a belt off to me, but only because she didn’t wear a belt, instead she had it there, hung on the wall, ready any time of night or day. 

At night she took that belt to me when I was asleep. She did it so that soon enough I wasn’t asleep. She beat that out of me and she beat everything else out of me. 

The beatings weren’t the worst of it. The beatings were just the soundtrack to the life I had with that woman. After a while, that belt didn’t hurt no more. She knew that, but it didn’t stop her. She knew it because she knew how to hurt me every which way. This was her speciality. This was her area of expertise and in all my days I have found that the very best of those who bestow Pain upon others are women. 

You see, men can be just as cruel as women, but they all of them, resort to physical violence. Men are blunt weapons. This makes life easy for a guy like me. I have plenty of violent currency and I speak that language. I speak it well.

The cruelty of a certain kind of woman is sharp, it cuts deep and it knows no bounds, it knows no limits and that includes time. That sort of woman has a stamina that no man ever could. A man keeps going until he’s all punched out, but that woman never tires and she will never ever stop. 

That rhyme about sticks and stones? That’s the biggest piece of horse shit I ever did hear. Words are as bad as it gets. If a person has one on one access to a child twenty four seven, and they weaponise their words then the Pain they can bring is beyond measure, and it is for keeps. 

There are so many ways to smash a person to smithereens. To render them unrecognisable to themselves. After a while, they don’t even have a self. 

Imagine that. 

You can’t. 

It is beyond imagining. 

You, wrapped up in your cosy little world. The world you created. You are incapable of imagining what it would be like to have nothing. Oh, you might dabble at it. Removing the image of your car first, then your house, and your job.

Keep going and you’ll get nowhere near what it is to have an absolute nothing in place of where you and your life should be. The difference is that you won’t be able to remove your self. You will still be you and you are not capable of imagining not being there. That’s why death frightens most people. The thought of no longer being there and instead being rendered to a state of complete nothingness.

Me?

I’ve never been alive, so death means nothing to me. 

I was my mother’s life’s work and she devoted all her time and energy into dismantling me. She took me apart to the smallest components imaginable and then she smashed each and every one of those pieces until all that was left was sand. Dark, painfilled granules of sand.

I am darkness.

I am Pain.

I am sand.

Sand is coarse and jagged and it never stops wearing away at everything until there is nothing.

Sand is Pain, and Pain is anger and hatred. 

Nature abhors a vacuum, so I was never lucky enough to be left to be nothing. I am worse than that. I am what resides in the nothingness, I am why people fear the dark. My mother replaced everything that I was and everything that I could be with Pain and soon enough there was no way back for me. Not ever. 

Did that stop her?

When the job was done?

What do you think?

Gotta hand it to that woman, she never let up. There was not a minute, in an hour, in a day, where she did not launch into me. She was a relentless hail of acid words that added more and more Pain to my burden.

She never would have stopped. Not for anything and not for anyone. Then one day I woke up to see her laying there on the kitchen floor, with that belt of hers biting deep into her neck. It had wrapped itself so tight around her neck that there was blood coating the leather. Her face was blue, and those hate filled eyes of hers bulged out of the sockets so far that they were about to pop out and roll along the linoleum like the marbles I never had. Even in the state she was in, her eyes retained that hate of hers. I was kinda glad of that because the worst of it was that tongue of hers. That tongue hurt me in a way I couldn’t understand, a way I didn’t want to understand. It poked out between her lips like she was being playful, like she was having a little joke with me. That was not my mum. My mum never did that, and to see it as she lay there was a travesty. There was a wrong to it that stained me from that day forth.

I say I woke up to see her laying on the kitchen floor, and I did. That there isn’t a lie or me being economical with the truth. I was not conscious, and then I was. I was standing in the kitchen, oblivious to the world around me and then I was awake to the world, a world that no longer contained my mum in the capacity I had always known her to fulfil. She had changed and I think you’ll agree that she had changed for the better.

I left that place the very same day.

I never went to school, so I didn’t have that to worry about. I never did any of the things kids do. I sometimes wonder whether I ever existed. I’ve heard that there are philosophers who have spent their life thinking about this one. They shoulda come to see me. There is no record of my ever having existed, and my mum tortured my existence outta me for good measure. She conditioned me into being something special.

I wonder about that sometimes.

I am a billion fragmented pieces of black sand and I hurt all of the time. 

Does this make me special?

I never dwelt on it all that long. Most of my thoughts, well they are those sharp, dark granules, cascading through my mind. 

Then She came along and She changed everything.

Sandy.

Of all the names.

When I think of Her, I think of anything but sand. The only thing She had in common with sand was She was golden like one of those beaches in faraway places. Whereas me? My sand is as dark as it gets. She brought light to my life and She didn’t ask anything in return. She showed me kindness and She treated me like I was good enough for Her kindness. With Her, I felt good enough.

She found me in an alley. I was in pretty bad shape. That happens sometimes. She helped me back to Her place and patched me up. Didn’t kick me out after the job was done. That confused me. I get confused a lot. When you’re special like me and made from sand, it can get difficult to know what to do. One of the hardest things is to know how to be around these people. You see, I’m dangerous and I know it. I should wear a sign warning people to back away and find another route to wherever they’re going…

What am I saying?

You see! I really do get confused!

I am a walking warning. I’ve been beat up so often my face ain’t the same as anyone else’s. My mum made sure of that. I have criss-crosses of scars from that belt of hers and since she passed, well, my face has seen more action than Mike Tyson’s punchbag, and it don’t look half as pretty.

So, when that angel put Her soft hand against my cheek I damn near launched myself through the ceiling with shock. I didn’t know what She was doing or why she was doing it, and for a moment back there, I think I shut down, only I was still there. I didn’t zone out like I sometimes do. I was there and I was confused and then I wasn’t. I look back and I have questions. But She did something with that touch that was magical. All that sand that I am? For that night with Her, it became something different. Those billion pieces of me joined together and I was a man for the first and last time, I was something other than a raging swarm of pain and anger. 

I think that maybe, in that small bedsit of Hers, I was me.

It took an angel to heal me, if only for a few hours, and She didn’t want anything in return. I tried to pay Her and She laughed, but She wasn’t laughing at me. Somehow I’d made Her laugh and the sound of it was like bells in heaven. She lay with Her head on my chest and She stroked my scars. She told me this was all She wanted. This right here and right now and that discussion was over. I knew it as She traced a finger along my skin and told me my body was a map. That She had never seen anything like it and it was the most beautiful thing She’d seen on a person.

I didn’t know about that. Me and beauty have no reason to be in the same place, not ever. But She was saying it and I couldn’t not listen to Her. I knew that She meant it, I just wish that I was bright enough and together enough to understand what She meant.

Because now She’s gone and I will never have a moment like that again. 

It was enough though.

More than I deserved.

I am sand, and in that sand nothing can ever grow, but for one night there was Sandy. She was an oasis in this blighted world I dwell in and I will never forget Her.

Even when I find whoever it was that killed Her and avenge Her death, I will not forget Her. 

She was my angel and She came down from heaven, just for one night.

When I woke up the next morning, She was dead and those wings of Hers had been torn off so She couldn’t go back to the place She came from even if She’d had a breath left in her body. 

I’m sorry Sandy.

I was there.

I should have stopped him.

You didn’t deserve to die.

I was asleep when he came for you.

Sometimes I sleep so deeply I might as well be dead.

Sometimes, when it gets like that, I find that bad things have happened. 

He stalks me and he does those bad things when I am not in the world. That first time, I think he freed me from my mum, and for that I was grateful, but now he has taken more than he could ever give and I am coming for him. 

I’m coming for him, and I’m doing it for you Sandy.

You see, I don’t matter because I am just sand, but you do and I will get him Sandy, if it’s the last thing I do.

August 19, 2022 15:10

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10 comments

Lily Finch
02:31 Sep 01, 2022

An interesting take on the prompt. I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you, Jed. LF6

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Jed Cope
09:15 Sep 01, 2022

Thank you! I'm glad it hit the spot!

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Graham Kinross
23:57 Aug 29, 2022

I like that you didn’t take the prompt literally and you came up with something more abstract. Well done.

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Jed Cope
02:27 Aug 30, 2022

Thanks, I do like it when a prompt throws me an interesting curve ball. I enjoyed writing this one!

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Graham Kinross
02:41 Aug 30, 2022

Your enthusiasm shows in the writing.

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Jed Cope
09:46 Aug 30, 2022

Thank you.

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Keila Aartila
15:31 Aug 27, 2022

An interesting and creative take on the prompt, and a compelling read.

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Jed Cope
18:25 Aug 27, 2022

Thank you, I appreciate you taking the time to read my story and leave this feedback. Glad you enjoyed it!

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06:58 Aug 27, 2022

Amazing story. Sandy is the emotional oasis for the narrator. Your description of the abuse the narrator faced was so dark but so gripping. One of the best stories i have read so far. One thing i would have liked to see was more development of Sandy because when you read it it feels like she’s just a dummy that only exists there for the narrator to use. But anyways, very good story. You have 16 submissions! Wow! Keep on writing, i wish i could write stories like you. <3

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Jed Cope
07:58 Aug 27, 2022

Thanks for your wonderful feedback, it means a lot to me. Interesting take on Sandy. For me, Sandy didn't need all that much substance, she was the only person to show anything like humanity to the main character, and she didn't have to give all that much in order to be the oasis in his world. That makes his desert all the more sad and desperate. I pushed the boat out last week with the stories and wrote one for each of the five prompts. Back to my novels after the weekend!

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