The small white house set at the end of a quite street nestled among pink dogwood trees which had began to bloom. He looked out the car windshield toward the kitchen window in time to see the curtain move.“ My dear God tell me what to say.” He thought, “She is going to kill me.” Liberty lay sleeping in the crate basket, her soft sigh bubbled from her small pink lips.
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Elijaha Hargos was a soft hearted man from a family of hard workers who had all helped him finance graduate school, right down to his great aunt, who said she wanted to see the day when someone from the family did more then work for someone else. He had made it so to speak in socialized eyes by graduating with honors from University of Michigan . There he met Carrie who was entering her third year of school, hoping her talents with the artist brush would be discovered . Her ties to family abroad were cut when she announced the fiasco, as her family saw it. Her father gave her the sharp edge sword with his back turned, so school was no longer an option. They married after a short engagment before he began medical school. She had been a good wife through the years although times were hard she was the rock he could go to for comfort. Now how could he set before her a unannounced child.
Carrie raced to the car as he was removing the basket. He dreaded turning to face her, so he blocked her view. “ Elijaha!” She said. “ What are You hidng?” She bounced around like a ball anxious to see if the surprise was for her.” Come on!’ As she darted past his shoulders her eyes fixed on a small baby in a dirty crate. “ What on earth?” “Elijaha?” she stood staring down at the small round face as the baby squirmed about feeling the gust of cold air take her breath. She was much to small much to frale. She looked more like a small animal then a child. Her forehead boare a purple mark that resembled a starfish. “ Who’s baby?” She asked as she looked back at him. “ It’s a long story Carrie.” She looked even more puzzled, backing away from the car. “ I hope not to long.” “ No, its not what you think.” “Come on .” “She said, “The baby is freezing.” She carried the crate as Elijaha followed her in the house.
It didn’t take long before Liberty was a permament member of the Hargos family. She was Carrie’s pride and Elijaha’s joy . Soon a new member entered their life, which was Emmanuel who would carry the family name. Liberty was now three and very much the cat of mischief with a spit fire attitude. She was angered that a baby could take her mother’s time and dad’s attention.
She some how found ways even if exhausted from trying. She would desperate for ways to cover their eyes with the image of herself rather then her brother. Even if it meant a head ache from crying she bellowed over anything just to have them run to see what was wrong.
Doctor Hargos and his past remained ghostly as times grew dim favoring the help from a secret group some called razor backs . He would find the knock of hard times once again rapping at his family door. September nights were cooling as he lowered the children's window. He wondered to himself what would become of the two children and his wife which he had promised to keep safe.
In a few short years Liberty grew more precocious and more inspirited from her desires for exploration.If there was anything to get into; Liberty would find it from a small nook to a large hole she would crawl through searching for adventure.
She spent most of the hottest days of summer in a shaded spot where woods lined the back of their small subdivision. There she snapped back at turtles and hopped with frogs. Every day she would bring home a new friend, most of which would fit in her pocket. “ What now, Libby?” her mother asked as she heard her tip toe through the hall to her room. “ And get those shoes off. I just swept the floor.”
Liberty raced down the hall in her dirty sock feet over joyed that she had found a blue striped lizard to replace the one that had died. Ok bosco, she said as she plopped him in the glass tank. This is your new home .I hope you like it.”
Doctor Hargos peeked through her doorway smacking a folded newspaper against the palm of his hand. “Libby your mother says to see what you ‘ve been up to.”He half scorned.
She stood in front of the tank full of sand. “ Not a thing papa, not a thing.” Doctor Hargos smirked as he replied. "Go find your brother then and get yourself cleaned up for dinner.” He leaned in the doorway a little farther to catch a glimpse of what she was hiding. “ You better remember water this time. If you want him to live.”
She smiled up at her dad with baby blue innocent eyes as he lightly flippered her on the head while she ran out the door. It was hard to see that she was a girl underneith the apparel of over alls and a tattered cap which belonged to her brother. She didn’t care summer was here and school was finally out. At
the ripe age of ten who needs gender.
The neighbor hood was small so most of the children knew Liberty and Emmanuel. She knew exactly where she would find him. At the park watching the older boys play craps.There he was, a small thin boy mostly arms and legs, bent closely over a circle of boys on their knees. He had big brown marbled eyes that always looked sort of sleepy and a thick bottom lip like his father. His hair was almost the color of mustard if you mixed it with with tea, atleast that was what Libby told him.
She was always experiementing in the kitchen while trying to make a podium from a crate,she said for spells. She had read in a book of fables,which was pasted with brightly colored pictures,;how a witch conjoured a spell to make people do what she wanted them to and it seemed conceptual to her, that tea and mustard were the main ingredience.
The mixture only as potent as its receiver's conception,so she whacked off a piece of Emmanuel’s hair with a kitchen knife. She magically pitched it in her bowl as she chanted her spell. “Emannuel will know that I have all powers over him!” She announced, twirling her hands in the air while making a sizzling sounds. Libby threw flour in the mess for the effect of smoke. As the white powder blew into their face poor Emmanuel became a zombie. From that day forward if Libby spoke he listened.
She sailed over the wood fence dividing the parking area.“There’s big sis.” One of the boys smirked as he nudged Emmanuel “ I know.” Emmanuel answered squirming like a worm on a hot side walk as he watched her approach. He dreaded it. He wanted to feel as big as the rest of the guys but when she came around she was the boss no matter what.
Libby ran toward the crowd of boys sliding to a stop as she dug her heels in showering them with dirt. They all fell like domino‘s. “Hey!” One boy shouted, “We’re busy here!” She stuck her tongue out giving Emannuel a stern look. “Time to go.”
He first ignored her until she yanked at his ear. “ Papa said dinner!” The boys all laughed as they watched them leave . Libby was still holding to his ear. “ Stop Libby!” He yelled out. “Well looks to me,” she said as she
released her grip. “That my spell needs revised.”
He shifted his eyes around to see if anyone heard her. “You better not say that to loudly, someone might just wonder what you’re talking about. “ Oh!” she popped off. "I don’t care one way or the other if someone hears me.”
He made a conscious space between himself and her before making a reply. “ I guess if mama knew you been looking in that book that would be ok too,right.” Her lips stuck out as she shouted “You better not tell !” Those baby blues turned cold as she chased him down the street. “ I’ll make you wish you were a frog!”
Sunday morning came way to early for the Hargos children . As Libby slowly rose she could hear her father in the back room having a conversation . She tip-toed over closely pressing her ear against the door. “Liberty Belle.” Her mother said. “ What are you doing?” Libby sheepishly dropped her head. “ Just wondering who was in papa’s office so early on a Sabbath-day.” Her mother guided her down the hall by her shoulders.“ You go wake your brother.”
After church the two children had vanished away from their parents eyes to the wooded area that Libby loves so well. It was getting late and Libby had challenged Emmanuel to a race home. A deep path had been sett where most of the children used it for a short cut. They both jumped the ditch at the same time.
When they made their way back toward home Libby felt as if ice cold water trickled down her spine. She suddenly stopped running. At the end of their drive a mysterious long car backed away. Libby stood still watching as the gray mystic smoke lightly puffed from the exhaust.
This type car was a unfamilar object in their part of town. She looked toward the house to see her father walk into the front door with his head down. From his posture she could tell he had been given bad news. Her brother had already rapidly made his escape , heading in the house behind him while Libby stood staring down the long road at the car’s back wings as the brake lights light red. The left signal light slowly blinked as it turned the corner.
When entering the house her mother was sewing as if nothing was wrong.The constant hum of the machine the only sound in the empty feeling room.
“ Libby.” He mother said without looking up and then she stopped sewing for a moment.“You need to set the table , while I try to finish this dress.” “ It’s the last of the things that has to go back to the store.” She rocked the wheel of the sewing machine back and forth as she pumped the metal petal. Then began to work again.
Dinner was not easy as the family ate in silence.Libby watched her father retire to his office while her mother finished her sewing. When night fell a heaviness filled the house along with the stale air that lightly blew in from Libby’s window.
She watched the curtain draw back and forth as she thought of being a bird. She stood up in her bed crossing gently over her brother who was sleeping next to her. When she looked out the stars seemed closer like the earth had some how moved its position in the universe.
The luminous of the sky had changed some how thicker . She thought about church and then wondered why she never felt at home no matter where she was. She looked at her brother .His hair in shadowed looked like a raven. It reminding her of one in her fairy -tell book. Her father had the same hair but his eyes and skin were fair. Her mother reminded her of the full moon with her coloring.
She looked in the mirror at her speckled eyes. They reminded her of the grass in the fall. Right before frost when some would still be green but high lighted with gold. Her being felt empty but she didn’t know why. All she could think was when she grew up it would be here that she rested.
She listened for her neighbor’s car.Who always came sliding in on two wheels to land in his drive during late hours of the night. He worked the night shift at the thread factory. Although Libby's father had made away for them to eat she had noticed a great change in how many of the locals came to be aided. She had questioned her mother who said that was a grown ups affair for her to remind her nose where it needed to poke and that was out from under the cover when she slept not in her father’s business.
Libby could here the lonely grind of a far off ship leaving the barge. She watched quietly a tattered old cat ease by her window.The cat's attention seemed with the trash that lay in the alley just below . The cans mostly papers and rags but he found something eatable as he groaned in pleasure.
Contented she watched its thin ribs inflate then deflate reminding her of the black ribs of a accordian. As it ripped and swollowed the waxed paper from someone discarted fish she could hear the neigbor yell out. “ Here!” “Get out of here you ole’ cuss!” The loud bang of a rock hit the tin can as the cat with its tail poled in the air fled into the night.
Libby heard her father’s voice mumble from the other side of the wall then heard her mother cry for a moment. She knew she shouldn’t listen but her better thoughts always seemed to be persuided easily .She set still trying to make out what she could. “ I know Carrie, but I have to do something. You know as well as I its like we have a sign on the door that says we already have a pledge. I don’t have a choice its either. Do it or what? I can’t go through that again.”
Libby ran to her door just in time to peek out into the hall. She watched as her mother run after him, then they both slumped to the floor holding each other as they cried. She wanted so badly to run to them but she knew how her mother felt with her always watching things around her. Many times she had found herself with her nose in a corner for having stuck it where it didn’t belong.