Deep in the fiery pits of hell
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lives not only the sinners,
robbers, rapist, murderers,
not only do the soul
of the wrongful rest
their head upon the pillow
of eternal flames
somewhere engulfed in pain
is a lost and misguided soul
and they spend every second
trying to overcome that
only to be taunted
by the laughter of demons.
Daddy lay next to me, still out of breath, panting on his back trying to feel the nonexistent breeze in our old smelly apartment. The heat still lingered around, and though I was burning about possibly on the brink of a heat stroke, I buried my head under the covers in shame.
I squinted and strained to see the pages of my favorite book. The En-cy-clo-pe-dia A-L; Momma said in a desperate attempt to educate me her only child that I should read big books like that so I’d get smart real quick and be able to start school. I wanted to be real smart to make her proud when she finally came back, but she forgot to teach me how to read so when I shoved my nose in that great big book so heavy I couldn’t hold up I looked at the pictures one by one for hours, noting every speck of color and every curve of a line.
I was six when I realized that my mother might not be coming home from an alleged trip to the grocery store. Two years ago in the middle of the night, Momma woke me with her kiss, told me she was going to the grocery store on the other side of town and she might not be back for a while. My naivety reassured me for two whole years that she’d be back, but after waiting for so long at six I was determined to go find her.
Searching in the darkness for each article of my clothing starting with my panties and ending with my jacket, an old hand me down that I could never fit, I wanted in my six year old mind to find my mother, while I walked through the door, but to get away from my father, who lay shamelessly snoring as if everyone has sex with their six year old daughter.
Daddy said that since Momma was gone I’d have to be his special woman because me that every man needs a woman to fulfill his needs. So every night he’d force his way into my bed and chip away at my innocence, then dare to call me a little whore, keeping me away from all the other kids that lived around and my older cousins. I was his slave and with the bravery of Harriet Tubman, I walked joyfully to the bus stop.
I went to the store, riding 8 miles down the same street, crossing 10 different gang territories, to the other side of town the rougher part as if were I lived with my father wasn’t rough enough.
The grocery store had gone through a lot since the last time I went maybe three years before. It had burned down and ran through and homeless men slept in the darkest crevices. I sat innocently on the corner about 10 feet from a liquor store and the alley where a bunch of whores where pulling tricks.
I sat and sat and sat, waiting patiently for nothing to happen, singing my ABCs over and over, laughing and giggling at nothing at all. Slowly my spirits fell along with my eyelids and maybe an hour later I was frightened out of my sleep.
Two prostitutes stood before me. I had been sleep on the curb and I’m cold too. “Hey, little girl wake up”, one with red hair says.
I just stared at them, not wanting to say anything and having had don’t talk to strangers beaten in my head with a belt my daddy. They looked at each other and whispered something. They turned back to me and asked me, “Are you waiting for your momma?”
I nodded yes and they maybe thinking she was tricking nearby ask, “What’s her name?”
“Momma,” I said, not even realizing that she had a name like the one I did, having never heard it.
“Have you ever heard anyone call her anything else?”
“My Daddy calls her a stupid bitch.” I tell them joyful that I know the answer.
They look at me concerned and I know now that it takes a lot for a hooker working the corner to be concerned. They in empathy offered their hand; not knowing that the only pain I felt was that in my stomach. I hadn’t eaten in who knows how long and I was sleepy too, little girls shouldn’t be up so late.
“Maybe you could come with us and wait for her at our house a lot of people go there she may come.” The other girl said.
She pulled me into a house it looked on the outside as if no one lived there, the windows nailed shut with boards. Momma had warned me to stay away from houses like those because little girls don’t belong in them, but I thought it wasn’t that bad since I was waiting for her. So that night I lay my head down on a mattress in the middle of a floor in the upstairs bedroom of a crack house.