The Emerald Truth: Five

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Noelle sat on the edge of the bed, her skinny knee bouncing rapidly as she waited. She could still hear the men outside talking and she needed to pick the right moment so she wouldn’t get busted. A few more moments passed before she heard the car door slam and she made her move. She would lose them if she moved too slowly out the bathroom window or down the block to their car. Kyle had been excessively anal about their movements for years, for good reason. Noelle watched the black van pull away from the hotel parking lot as she jumped into their blue Honda. She’d wished her father was inside the car with her during her first pursuit, but she could hear his voice in her head as clear as a bell. Not too close, two car lengths behind. Stay in the next lane so they can’t see you. Be careful.

            She followed the van to the entertainment district; a block lined with strip clubs, bars, and a movie theater advertising XXX classics. The van turned down the alley behind Club Solo, obscured in the darkness. Closed for the evening, it was a perfect mark. Noelle parked the car across the street and made her way back to the alley, hiding behind the few still cars that lined the street. She could see her father and the mysterious man breaking into the building and disappearing inside. Noelle leapt from her hiding place and raced to catch the door before it locked her outside. She found herself in a dark stairwell and had to use the red EXIT sign to find her way up the narrow stairway. She could hear voices as she approached the door at the top. The doorway led to a balcony above the abandoned dance floor of the club. The lights on the stage were on, shining purple and blue discs across the room. She followed the balcony and the voice to the hallway, where she could finally see her destination.

“You got a lot of fucking nerve, Santos,” the man said with a scowl. His palms were flat on his desk as Kyle rapidly relieved him of the contents of his floor safe.

“I’m just coming for what’s mine,” Santos said, shrugging his shoulders.

“Dirty pig motherfucker,” the man spat. Santos stepped closer to the man, his aim unwavered at his head.

“We’re good, let’s go,” Kyle said, standing. He swung the heavy bag over his shoulder, ready to escape.

“One more thing. Give me the ring,” Santos said. From the hall, Noelle couldn’t see the item he’d requested, but for a second, it drew the attention of all three men. Continue reading

The Emerald Truth: Four

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Dr. Wilhelmina Harris didn’t have an appointment for another 2 hours, so the light rapping on her door surprised her. She opened the door for Dorian Shaw, one of her more unwilling patients. He hadn’t been to see her in some time and she assumed it was important if he was here. “Good morning,” she said with a smile, letting him into the well-lit room. It seems as if the sun was shining in the room as beams of white light illuminated the modest room. “Hey Doc, do you have a minute? I didn’t make an appointment or anything but…” Dorian started before the doctor ushered him inside.

“No, no, it’s fine. Please, sit,” she said, gesturing to the oversized teal sofa in the center of the room as she sat in the matching armchair.

“Everything I say here is confidential, right?” Dorian said, wiping his damp palms on his slacks. Continue reading

The Emerald Truth: Three

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They’d shut the door, but Noelle could still hear from inside. “She stays here or the deal is off,” Kyle said, puffing his chest towards Santos, whom was unfazed by his bravado.

“She‘ll Have world-class care.”

“No deal,” Kyle said, starting back towards the room, before he was seized by Santos.

“Eh, amigo, don’t forget, I own your Black ass. One phone call and your little girl will have a lot more to worry about. This isn’t a discussion,” Santos growled into Kyle’s face, before releasing him and straightening his jacket.

“My daughter is staying here. You need me,” Kyle said, unwilling to back down. Santos smiled, his gold molar shining against his weathered skin. “Fine. I’ll have a patrol car sit out front. Just in case,” he said, pulling out his phone. At least, in the motel room, she’d have the option to escape. Santos dialed a number and Kyle took the opportunity to go and prepare her for the worst.

“Dad…”

“We don’t have time. If I’m not back by midnight, I want you to go out the bathroom window.”

“What?”

“I don’t have time to explain. If I’m not through that door, you need to leave. Go as far as you can with what’s in your bag and I’ll find you. I promise,” he said, planting a kiss on top of her head. As much as she wanted to believe him, she couldn’t find the words to say as he walked out the door. The empty feeling that settled over her was familiar, since she’d been abandoned before. Continue reading

The Emerald Truth: One

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I can help!” Noelle repeated, following behind her adoptive father. Kyle ignored her again, going over his checklist in his head once again. He just wanted this night to be over.

“Dad!” Noelle yelled, hands on her narrow hips. The moniker still caught him off guard; never did he expect to become a father in such a short amount of time.

“El, you are helping me. Your job may be the most critical of all.”

“Packing bags? That’s kid shit!”

“Yes, well, with the way you’re acting, I’d say you were very much qualified.”

“What if you need me to squeeze into a ventilation system or sweet talk a guard? I’m useful!”

“You don’t need to prove yourself to me, El,” Kyle said, sighing.

“Then what is it?” A knock on the door interrupted them.

“It’s time to go.” Continue reading

2. Spark

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Of all the men Ray brought home, Trenton was the worst. Outside of the often visible and audible PDA they engaged in, he never seemed to leave. Reagan, now 15, usually ignored her mother’s company, since they never stuck around long anyway.

Reagan stood in the bathroom, snapping pictures of herself in the new striped shirt she’d purchased with her first paycheck. She’d felt him creep past a few times, but ignored him. If he was hovering for the bathroom, he could wait; this was HER house.

The last time he walked by, he lingered in the doorway. Even though he was obviously homeless, his clothes and shoes were always brand new. “Don’t you think those shorts are too short?” he said. Reagan turned to see his eyes snap back upward to her face.
“What?” she said. Normally, she’d answer respectfully, since he was an adult, but she didn’t take kindly to her mother’s company talking to her. At all.
“You got…a lot going on. I don’t want anyone getting the wrong idea about you,” he said. By now, he was obviously looking at her body with more than concern. Reagan reached the handle and slammed the door in his face.
 
She remained there for the rest of the afternoon. Alma marched up the stairs and banged on the door with all the strength her palm could muster. “Reagan Mae Dobson, you better get the hell out my bathroom before I tear this door off the frame!”

Reagan opened the door, now clad in her grandmother’s robe. “I thought you had somewhere to be. Why are you in my robe?” Reagan tried to open her mouth and tell her grandmother what happened but she closed it. The only thing she felt was shame and couldn’t handle whatever her grandmother would say. She crossed the hall into her bedroom and shut the door.

Alma was on her heels, joining her in the room before the latch could catch in the doorframe. “Reagan, talk to me,” Alma said. She knew something was wrong with her granddaughter and she feared the worst.
“Trenton told me my shorts were too short.”
“Well, who the hell is he? If I bought them, they’re okay.”
“No. It’s not that,” Reagan said, folding her arms across her chest. She couldn’t shake the disgust that snaked up her spine. Alma sat on the bed next to her granddaughter, patient as she waited for her reply.
“It was the way he…looked at me. Like he does when he follows Mah into another room.”
“Lust,” Alma sighed. Beneath the surface of her smooth cocoa skin, she was fuming.
“Talking about he didn’t ‘want anyone to get the wrong idea about me’,” Reagan said. She roughly wiped away the tears that had begun to fall, annoyed she’d become this emotional again. Alma pulled the girl into her chest and held her. “You didn’t do anything wrong, Reagan. You’re a good girl, you always have been and I promise that it will never happen again, as long as you are under this roof and there is breath in my body.”

Continue reading

More of the Same

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The stove’s clock changed to 10:52 silently. The flat was dark, except for the dim light that shined in from outside. Sonia sat at the dining room table, spinning her 3rd glass of cognac between her fingers. The last 6 years had been the same: her husband would walk out the door for work and manage to find his way between the legs of a young co-ed. Marcus was beautiful and charming in the beginning. He’d lavished her with gifts and trips, promising that she was the only woman he’d ever loved. They consummated their relationship in the balmy waters of Santorini & they were inseparable from then on. The first year they were married was everything she’d hoped. He spoiled her, prompting to her to quit the measly desk work she’d believed was her career. He helped her mother & sister move to a better home in a better community and doted on his wife, loving her as largely as he could. Continue reading