“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” ~ Nelson Mandela
#NelsonMandela #quote #greatsayings #children #society #Africa
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” ~ Nelson Mandela
#NelsonMandela #quote #greatsayings #children #society #Africa
So that night, when the short and long hands eclipsed, Patricia promised herself to do some snooping around. Not only to figure out what was up between her Uncle and his wife, but also to figure out how t’was like between couples when it’s up. Call it youthful exuberance, or curiosity, the kind that killed the cat everyone talks about.
So, she tiptoed that Monday night, up the stairs, and landed on her summit at the guest room door. She was hoping to hear noises. Noises of Uncle Pat being haunted by that mysterious being and also other kind of noises, couple noises.
‘What could they be doing in there, and why’s it so silent?’ she thought. Could her hands be in his pants as she sometimes saw on TV? Couples do that when they’re not in the mood for sex. ‘Shut up!’ she yelled in her mind, ‘you shouldn’t be thinking that, your mind isn’t ready for that.’
‘Why shouldn’t I be thinking that?’ her other mind questioned, ‘Because the so-called adults told me so. Sex is sacred blah blah blah? It’s even yucky. I mean, why would humans want to get into their dirtiest parts so bad? Humanity is indeed fucked up. Shh! You shouldn’t say the f word.’
Patricia soon snapped back into reality, and still she heard nothing from the door of the guest room. What was she hoping to hear?
Aunt Lucy: I’m the demon in your nightmares, I’m the devil in your afterlife.
Uncle Pat: Please don’t hurt me, I’m eternally sorry for hitting you.
Aunt lucy: Are you? But I can’t see any repentance. You’re still a monster inside, and you will suffer in my hell. You will pay for all the torture you put me through. You will suffer a millions times over. You will beg for mercy. No, you will beg for death. You will–
‘Okay, focus!’ she yelled in her brain. ‘Nothing is obviously going on in there. Just go downstairs and sleep.’
So Patricia turned back slowly and continued her creeping session.
“What are you looking for?” said a voice from behind.
Patricia peed her pants. Then she thought of washing later in the morning. Then she peed again. ‘I’m done for’ was all that the tiny neurons in her brain could comprehend.
It was Aunt Lucy’s voice.
“Uh.. I just– uh.. you know, I was–”
Pathetic. She was obviously searching for words, just the way writers search for words when the juice is out.
“It’s okay honey, go to bed now. We’d talk later in the morning,” Aunt Lucy said.
Patricia was eased, although it was ironical given the fact that she just eased on herself. Something bothered her mind though, she hoped Aunt Lucy wouldn’t make mention of their encounter the next day to Mum or Dad.
‘But what did she mean by “We’d talk later in the morning”?’
For some reason, those last words felt so good to Patricia. What were they going to talk about? Would they plan together on how to torture her monster wife-beating husband together? Would she be the perfect apprentice to the witch, like a mother-and-daughter relationship?
Patricia slept that night with these laden thoughts in her mind. She even had a nightmare; her boyfriend cheated on her.
“How could you do this to me?” she said.
“Patricia… I mean, you’re kind of weird, you weirded me out. What was I suppose to do? You never talk teenage stuff, you always want to be smart and it’s kinda boring.”
“I’m smart, dummy, not wanting to be smart. If only your cheating ass neurons could move a tad faster then you will understand what smartness is. How did we even fall in love? Now I’m going to be fucking heartbroken.”
A knife was in the pocket of her jeans. How it got there is the stuff of dreams. Nobody knows how anything gets anywhere in dreams, we just know that when we need something it comes around.
Patricia drew the knife from its scabbard and plunged it into his chest.
“What are they fuck are you doing, Patricia? You’re mad! You’ve gone mad!” Thomas, her about-to-be-killed boyfriend, yelled in apparent pain.
“You broke my heart, Thomas, and now I’m going to break yours, literally,” she sobbed with a hint of a chuckle.
She held the knife in his chest and used her other palm to jerk it in.
She tore into his chest. Saliva, reddish, began bubbling from the side of his clenched lips. He tried to muffle something Patricia couldn’t get.
The knife in his chest made her feel so good she was actually scared in real life. But even though she knew she was dreaming, she still felt heartbroken and didn’t stop there.
She juiced his heart so that he felt the last pain of his life, and he fell to the ground just the way logs used to fall off the back of prehistoric fathers that arrived their huts. Those days when cutting down a tree into chunks meant a man was responsible and his wife would let him… you know, later that night.
Patricia almost woke up with a scream, but Georgina was there and she mustn’t know even beings like Patricia were capable of having nightmares. She picked up her voice teleportation device and rang Thomas.
“Hello, babe, what’s up?”
“Thomas, I want you to promise me that you’d never cheat on me.”
The poor boy felt like his future self where his wife would wake him up in an unholy hour and make him promise something totally unrelated to their lives.
“Uh… Patricia? Where’s this coming from?”
“Just promise, Thomas.”
He obviously wasn’t ready for that level of drama.
“Uh… I promise.”
“Why did you say ‘Uh…’?”
Thomas felt like being swallowed by the ground. What the hell was she on about? He kept silent.
“Thomas, are you already cheating on me?”
For a moment Thomas wondered where all of Patricia’s smarts evaporated to. This was the same girl always talking technical stuff and now she’s all ‘promise me this promise me that’. He couldn’t deal.
“Look, babe, I’m not cheating on you, okay?” he said briskly.
“I believe you, honey.”
That was the first time she called him honey, well, not exactly the first, but the sweetest first. Thomas felt like a man again.
When Patricia was done with her call, she headed for the guest room. At least it was broad daylight now, and she was, of course, welcome into the room. But she didn’t go for a welcome, she went for the “We’d talk later in the morning”.
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Over dinner later that Saturday, Patricia raised a topic.
“Dad, why can’t Aunt Lucy, Georgina and Paul be here with us? I mean, this is holiday time and we won’t have this opportunity soon again.”
Uncle Pat almost puked in his chair.
“Uncle, are you alright?” Patricia asked with a smirk.
“Yea,” I’m good, he said, as he dabbed his mouth with a towel.
Uncle Pat felt like tossing his plate at her face and flinging the dining table on her so she shut up once and for all.
“Uh… I think it’s up to them, Patricia. You could call to ask if they can come. Right, Pat?” Dad said.
“Uh… yea, of course,” Uncle Pat answered, unconvinced.
“That settles it then. Patricia, give Aunt Lucy a call asking if your cousins could come over.”
Patricia was so delighted, she could almost see rainbow coloured bubbles everywhere. She excused herself. In no time, Uncle Pat followed.
“What is wrong with you?” Uncle Pat stormed.
Patricia jerked as she wasn’t expecting anyone after her. Her phone dropped.
“Uncle, you scared me.”
“Why would you bring such a topic up in front of everyone? I told you in the car, they are busy with lessons.”
“I remember, Uncle, but there’s no harm in asking.”
Unlce Pat felt like kicking her where she stood. Stupid girl that won’t shut her mouth. He stormed out of her room and up to the guest room.
“Aunt Lucy, it’s me, Patricia.”
“My sweetheart, how are you?” Aunt Lucy replied.
“I’m fine. I called to ask you if Georgina and Paul could come spend some days with us.”
“Uh… that’s a big one, Patricia.”
Georgina and Paul were roaring in the background. “Mum, say yes,” they said.
“I’m sure you can hear your cousins, they are ecstatic over the idea of paying a visit. Let’s get back to you, dear. Do take care.”
Patricia felt victorious. Now she was going to see why Uncle Pat was so scared of Aunt Lucy. It made her feel good. She knew something was amiss with Uncle Pat and his wife, and now she was going to figure it out for herself.
“Patricia, have you called them?” James asked as he came into the room.
“I think they are going to come, James. Aunt Lucy said to wait on her.”
“So now we are going to know what’s making Uncle Pat so scared.”
“Indeed,” Patricia said with a smile.
“So are we going back in today?” James asked.
“There’s no need for that. Last night’s success lives on. Right now, the fat fool is too rattled and unsettled, and if we go back in we could be caught for real this time. Can you imagine that he came to confront me, asking why I asked that Aunt Lucy come?”
“For real? Wow, he’s really losing it.”
The next morning, Sunday, over breakfast, Dad had something important to tell everyone.
“Aunt Lucy called me called me this morning to say she’d be coming with your cousins on Monday.”
It was like Patricia had been taken to a trip to Mars and back. The happiness that coursed her body was pulsating her veins. She knew deeply that this was the opposite of what her Uncle was feeling.
Uncle Pat wasn’t himself. If someone came to him that moment with a teleportation device with a fifty percent accuracy, he would take his chances even if he could be sliced halfway on reaching his destination, bloody intestine dangling beneath his upper half, his lower half lost to space and time.
Monday came with the speed of light. Aunt Lucy, Georgina and Paul arrived to the delight of all except Uncle Pat. He couldn’t even mask his discontent. And no one cared.
That night, Aunt Lucy was to sleep in the guest room with her husband while Patricia, James and John shared rooms with their cousins, which was good for bonding.
That night, Patricia asked her cousin Georgina a question.
“Is everything alright at home?”
“Yes, why do you ask?” Georgina replied.
Patricia could see that Georgina suppressed some emotions.
“Georgina,” Patricia called and paused, “You know you can tell me anything, right?”
Georgina’s face suddenly became sullen.
“All I know is Mum tells us to go to our rooms and soon after I hear sobs, dad’s sobs.”
Patricia was lost for words.
“Your dad cries? Uncle Pat cries?”
“It all started when–” she paused.
“Common, Gina, you know you can tell me.”
A tear wrinkled out of Georgina’s eyes. Patricia drew her close and put an arm around her.
“You don’t need to cry, just tell me.”
“It all started when dad used to hit mum, then I think she had enough and she fought back, and now everything is just bad-bad-bad.”
“The house isn’t as it was before. I think she over did it and now dad has lost his mind. It’s never going to be the same for us, I just know it.”
She broke into proper tears this time, and Patricia had to console her.
“It will get better. It’s marriage stuff.” Patricia said.
But in her mind she knew this was more than marriage stuff. What she just heard reeked of sadness. The type that destroys families. For a moment, Patricia didn’t know what to think. ‘He hit her,” that’s bad enough, ‘Then she fought back,’ that’s unexpected. But how did she fight back that turned Uncle Pat into a sissy? That was what she had to figure out, and nothing could stop her.
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When they got to the room downstairs, Patricia removed all their wearings and threw them to the bed.
“Tell me that didn’t just happen,” James freaked. “Patricia, are you like a mind reader or something?”
“You almost ratted us out there,” Patricia said.
“I know… I know, but that’s past. I mean, look at what we did there. We completely freaked him out!”
“Keep your voice low, it’s midnight,” Patricia cautioned.
“Common, you can’t tell me you’re not impressed by what we did.”
“Did you hear what he said?” Patricia asked.
“Yea, something like, ‘I promise I won’t hit her again’.”
“What does that mean?” Patricia quizzed.
“I don’t know, maybe he beats someone at home or something.”
“Hold that thought,” Patricia said, “He hasn’t talked about Aunt Lucy or Georgina or Paul since he came over.”
“What are you trying to say?”
“I smell trouble at home?” Patricia said, “I think we might be on to something.”
Aunt Lucy was Uncle Pat’s wife, and Georgina and Paul his children. And truly, he hadn’t talked about any of them, not even in passing, since he came over. And this made Patricia suspicious, especially with all that happened tonight.
“Let’s reconvene in the morning,” Patricia said, “I need to sleep now.”
When James got to his room, he was too freaked out to think of sleep. He played the events of the night over and over in his mind. He didn’t understand how Patricia could get into Uncle Pat’s head so easily. Or maybe it was the night she boldly watched him as he slept, he thought. James recycled this thought in his mind until it was almost morning, then he slept off.
“James,” Patricia called the first time, but there was no reply.
James woke up with an avalanche of déjà vu. It was the same manner Patricia called him the night before. But this time she wasn’t wearing any latex mask or wig.
“What?” he said, grudgingly, as he sat up
“I have a plan,” Patricia said.
James was thinking, ‘Not again.’
“Patricia, we barely made it out the last time, don’t tell me we’re going in tonight again.”
“Barely? You call our success barely? You’re such a sissy. I bet you’re still peeing your pants. Well, the plan isn’t about going back into the room, not yet. I think we should question Uncle Pat about Aunt Lucy. I just have this gut feeling that something is wrong back at home.”
“We can do that,” James replied.
Uncle Pat had made a promise when he came to always take the children out on weekends. So Patricia, James and John gone ready and in no time they were out to Wonder Land for some fun. James loved the bouncing castle, he’d jump on all sides and even climb up to the top, and everywhere was bouncy.
While Uncle Pat was driving in Dad’s car, Patricia made the move to ask him about his wife, Aunt Lucy.
“Uncle Pat, how’s Aunt Lucy?”
Instantly the car swerved so bad that Uncle Pat struggled to keep it control. It was a close one, just at the mention of Aunty Lucy. Uncle Pat cleared his throat.
“Uh… children, look, we’re almost close to Wonder Land where you’re going to have lots of fun, all of you. We’re going to have lots of ice cream, and–” Uncle Pat said.
“Uncle Pat,” Patricia cut him off, “I said how is Aunt Lucy.”
“You know, Georgina and Paul called today, they said to say hi to you guys. They said they wanted to come over but I don’t know if,” he paused. “If, you know, she’d let them come.”
Patricia noticed some strains in Uncle Pat’s voice. And he didn’t call his wife’s name, he only said she. ‘Why is he so scared of his wife?’ Patricia pondered. Some must really be wrong back home.
“Why wouldn’t Aunt Lucy let them come over?” Patricia asked.
“Maybe because of their lessons and all of that,” Uncle Pat replied.
“Then maybe I’d convince her to come over with them,” Patricia said.
Uncle Pat lost control of the steering again and this time he brushed a car on the side. Both drivers had to come out and soon there was little pandemonium by the roadside.
“What is wrong with you?” the other driver asked.
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you coming,” Uncle Pat pleaded.
“Is that why you should swerve for no reason? Look, my car is brushed. How do I fix this?”
“I’m so sorry, we can get this fixed.”
“You better. Now I have to be late, I have sports by eleven.”
“I’m so sorry sir. Let me get your number, I’d foot the bill.”
So the other driver gave Uncle Pat his number. When they got back into the car Uncle Pat just wasn’t himself. He looked worked up.
“Uh… guys, I think we have to turn back. I have to get that man’s car fixed,” Uncle Pat said.
“But Uncle you promised,” John said.
“I know, John, let’s leave it till next week. Okay?”
When they got home, Uncle Pat and the kids narrated their ordeal to Dad and Mum, although they were a bit confused by the slight differences in the narrations.
“But I serviced the car earlier this week, and it’s been fine,” Dad said.
“I really don’t know what happened, I was on the steering, and next thing it swerved.”
“Hmm… I guess the mechanic would have to take a look at it,” Dad said.
Patricia knew in her mind that the way Uncle Pat told it wasn’t the way it went. For some reason, the name Lucy meant something horrible to him. And she had to figure it out.
James and Patricia didn’t talk the rest of the day, and James was fine with it. His sister had to learn to be wrong sometimes and to stop insulting him. James and Patricia have kept silent spells before. They fought one fine morning, and when Dad returned home, Patricia twisted the story in her favour. Dad was cross with James. “You don’t hit a girl, never!” he said. James couldn’t believe Patricia would lie in broad daylight, so he kept his distance. And though they went to school together, they didn’t talk to each other for months. He hoped this time it won’t take as long, but still he had to keep his distance. And so they went to bed on no-talking terms.
“James, wake up,” a feint voice spoke into his ears.
James could barely hear, for he was somewhere between life and peaceful death, a place called sleep.
“Wake up, James,” the sweet voice spoke again.
This time, James was beginning to grow some consciousness. He managed to open his eyes.
“Ahh!!” he screamed, but a hand held his mouth before for his voice travelled any distance.
“It’s me,” the now crooked voice said.
“P-P-P-Patricia?” James stuttered.
“Yesss,” it cackled.
The face before him was the face of nightmares. A ramshackle face James was sure had NEVER seen younger days. The hair an ominous white, so uniform, even the oldest of the old didn’t possess. The hideous creature hauled its face together with the wig away and lo and behold it was Patricia. She grinned from ear to ear.
“Not funny, Patricia. Not funny,” James uttered in vexation.
“Keep your voice low,” Patricia cautioned. “At least it worked with you. You should have seen your face, so terrified. That, my friend, is how our shameless Uncle must feel tonight.”
“Where did you even get– you know what, never mind.”
“Good. Now that we got all that sorted out, can we move to the next stage?”
James carried Patricia on his neck. She wore the latex mask and put on the white wig. They were ready for action. Patricia put her arms into the sleeves of the cloak and buttoned the top while James buttoned the bottom. Patricia put James through some movement training because he could barely see from inside the cloak. She nudged her legs to the side to signal side movements and clenched her legs to signal no motion. Soon after, they were good to go.
“Are you sure about this, Patricia? We could still turn back, you know,” James whispered, on getting to the door of the guest room where Uncle Pat slept.
“Quiet,” Patricia whispered back.
She held the handle, and with some torque they were in. The room was dark and it appeared Uncle Pat was sleeping just fine.
“What if he shouts?” James whispered from inside the cloak with as a tune as possible.
“Quiet,” Patricia said as she kicked him.
They went closer to the bed.
“Ouch!” James almost uttered audibly. He hit let against the bed and it hurt.
Patricia kicked him from inside, signalling him to behave.
James bent enough to give Patricia room to bend too and inspect Uncle Pat who was snoring in his sleep.
“Patrick,” she whispered in an unrecognisable way.
“Patrick,” she whispered again.
James almost peed his pants. He imagined all the horrible things that could happen to them if Uncle Pat wakes up and maybe turns on the light and catches them both in the childish act.
Uncle Pat turned on the second call of his name.
Patricia whispered his name a third time, and he made a discomforting sound.
“Wake up,” she whispered.
Uncle Pat made a sobbing sound, like he was in fear in his sleep.
Then Patricia nudged James to different corners of the room as she whispered his name.
“What do you want from me?” Uncle Pat responded sobbingly from his pillow.
James couldn’t believe it. It was like there was something he was missing. What he expected was that Uncle Pat put on the lights or something and figure them out. But for some reason, Patricia was speaking into his mind, so it seemed.
“I promised you, I won’t hit her again,” he continued, so much fright in his voice.
Patricia herself was confused. ‘Hit who?’ she thought. All she was aiming at was to scare the crap out of him. But now he confused her and she didn’t quite know her next words.
“And what will happen if you do?” Patricia played along.
Instantly Uncle Pat’s sobbing increased. Even with his eyes closed the fear he demonstrated was almost palpable. He pressed his face to the pillow and began reciting the Our Father amid other things Patricia or James couldn’t make out.
Patricia figured now was the right time to leave the room, and so they crept out.