Hope’s Sparkle

Swept away by the night breeze,

ragged breaths,

steeped in suffering,

are all that remain of

Hope’s life.

Her mind floats

amid essences of honeysuckles,

above a body bent and tucked,

distant of Crazy Bill’s hurt

and pain

and abuse.

All around her

the night is warm

and alive,

yet all Hope feels is the 

coldness that numbs her.

She barely notices 

the cold hand sliding beneath

her dying body.

Caked lashes flutter and

Hope’s one good eye opens to gaze

upon a fretting woman

as destitute as she.

“Dear child,

who did this to you?”

The words are emotional,

loving,

words Hope has not heard since the day

Crazy Bill stole her away.

She coughs,

spills his name,

then is lost in the woman’s smile.

The kiss is quick.

Incisive.

Invasive.

The lips smooth,

the breath old and fetid.

It is not her mother’s kiss,

yet in that fleeting moment

between life and death,

when life flees and time stops,

Hope understands

and welcomes her birth.

* * * *

Haughty and arrogant,

with words sharper than her teeth,

The woman speaks silently

to Hope again,

“Show me this thing…

this Crazy Bill, you speak of.”

Hand in hand upon the

warm night currents,

they rise together

like ghostly

apparitions escaping graves.

Hope’s thoughts swirl anew.

She is alive again,

soaring,

flying with the night birds

that flee before them.

They settle on the dark side of the road,

beneath a starry summer night,

near the park where Crazy Bill claimed her.

Hope’s eyes fix on Crazy Bill’s house.

“Is that his house?”

The woman’s question is not a question,

but a confirmation

of not who,

but what he is.

Hope nods.

Inside the cloistered hell hole,

beyond the dull glow of lights

framing shadeless windows,

his shadow moves,

striding,

malignant.

Memories stir of tortorous weeks

when Crazy Bill kept her hidden,

a thing he played with,

a toy he owned.

When Crazy Bill lurches onto the porch,

his fat-bellied T-Shirt soured and stained,

Hope licks her lips,

and then spits,

expelling a sizzling plume of hatred

that evaporates before it hits ground.

She tugs to free herself from

the woman’s hand,

but the grip is strong and firm,

unrelentling.

Wicker creaks

and rockers moan as he settles into the chair.

Light flairs around Crazy Bill’s head

and a raspy sigh

dispels a streamer of blue

white smoke into the darkness,

soiling her night.

Hope breaths deep,

inhaling his pungent essence

that is tantilizingly sweet.

“Would you like to meet him again?”

Hope nods again,

and together,

they rise and drift across the road

towards Crazy Bill.

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