Chapter Seven 

I take a deep relaxing breath and open the door to Billy's room.

 

"Can we try this again, maybe a little different this time?" I asked.

 

He doesn't say anything and looks at me with a vacant expression, almost like he will speak, but then doesn't. He rocks back and forth, pulling at his own hair, while bashing his head off the table.

 

"Things are fine dear William, you can speak to me, Nylah, or Etta, anytime – about anything. You’re safe here, young man. Please, trust us."

 

"N-Nylah, only Nylah -- no one else. She is the only one I’ll maybe talk to." Billy said.

 

***

 

At my apartment door my kitties are there to greet me. That Blake case gives me chills -- I have more to look over tonight. Hans says that Billy wants to talk to me -- he says he wants to talk to only me. Our next meeting has me nervous.

 

Moved in here not long ago, well, six months ago. Boxes are still scattered around, half-unpacked. The moon glistens off the empty bottles as they sit atop the counter -- there's a calm to it. Yes, a mess, but my little chaos -- a small mayhem I'm grateful to have.

 

It isn't the best building; the management hardly speaks to anyone. This isn't a terrific location or apartment by any factor -- but the place is mine. Haven't been able to say that before.

 

Moved out of my parents' house not long ago and I'm excited -- and anxious. When things are good, they aren't for long, somehow things are taken from me. Whenever I'm happy the universe puts out a call for destruction, 'she's happy, attack her.'

 

I'm afraid I'll get attached to someone, again. When I have attachments to lose, I can be hurt. I never want to pang like that again. I moved out and lost my mother -- all I have left in this world is my dad and little sister and I fear losing them every day. My little sister isn't well, and my dad's health could be better.

 

I head to my bedroom to take off my clothes and put on my pajamas. The satin glides well against my skin. The comfort of such a little thing like that aids so much, I know this now. I start to unpack a box sitting in front of me -- my gown slides down my body and rests on the curve of my bottom.

 

Carefully, I take out a glass ornament -- it was my mothers. It mangles me, a memory ghost. A thing, place, song, movie -- anything can have a memory phantom glued to it. This ornament has one. I inhale deeply and place it in an empty spot on the window ledge. The wave of emotion slapped me so hard I almost fall over. Sometimes the flashbacks hit like a slug to the chest, sometimes they take my breath away.

 

I glance out the window at the neon rooftop patio of one of those new condominiums. It must be nice to be able to live in one of those places, one day -- I shake my head, and grimace -- maybe not. I argue with myself.

 

So many people moved by force from where they grew up -- pushed out of their homes, for what? So fancy fucks could build some big and plentiful little boxes that those who live here surely can't ever afford. Built where many have raised their children and families? Memories, stories, childhood -- all gone, stolen. All so people can live in an expensive tiny box overlooking a crime-ridden, savage of a city -- no thank you.

 

The phone rings and I look at the clock, twelve-thirty in the morning. Who calls anyone these days and who would call me at this hour? Stu, if it is you again, I am going to give you a piece of my mind. I know how much you lack in that department; it may be useful to share some with you. When will he take a hint? Fuck it, I'm going to let him have it this time!

 

I look at the call display, unknown caller. What do you think I am, new? You might play the game player, but I'm the coach. My heart flutters, but not in a safe way -- why do I let him get to me like this? I slam the phone into my cheek.

 

"Give it up, Stu, It's late. I'm tired of this shit-" I begin.

 

"What a lovely nightgown you're wearing this evening Nylah, I love the way it hugs your curves," It was a deep earthquake of a voice. It sends chills down my back and straight to my toes. The vibration of it tickles my eardrums and raises the hairs on the back of my neck.

 

It was a voice that I didn't recollect and not the voice I was expecting.

 

"Who is this?" I demanded to know; my voice vibrated.

 

Nothing but dial tone, the line went dead -- my heart tumbles into my tummy.

 

***

 

He will come for me if I speak, I know it -- but Nylah, she's so lovely. She says she's on my side and that she'll help me with anything, and I want to believe her so bad -- but I can't. He will slaughter her too, then that will be my doing for bringing her in. Talking will put her in danger.

 

My face is getting red and hot, I start seeing little white stars flash before my eyes. Collect yourself and think, what should I do? No one believes me that he is still around, but he is, I see him late at night, he spies on me. He sees everything and he'll find out. He has been here -- he threatened me and tried to eradicate me!

 

Should I trust her? These quacks all think I'm insane. They're always pumping me full of all these medications and shocking me. Hate Rockleigh! I want to give him some of his own medicine one day. He treats me different when people aren't looking. He hurts me and gives me pharmaceuticals that make me ill when he comes into my room late at night. Some sort of lousy chemicals -- I'm not sure what they are.

 

The other doctors and aides aren't aware he does this, and he always tells me not to say anything to them or dreadful things will happen to me. He cackles, knowing I won't speak to anyone anyway.

 

Should I tell Nylah about everything, my brother and Rockleigh? She'll believe me and not think I'm wacky like everyone else does. What if he kills her too, and me? He said he would, and I know what he can do. If he did that at ten, I don't want to see what he is capable of now, at twenty -- but I'm fourteen now though, not four. Perhaps I can fight him and win?

 

"Hans, H-H-Here. C-C-Come." I spewed words so low; no one heard me. I don’t know if I should speak-out now?

 

***

 

The shocks they give me hurt so bad. Not much of anything can be seen, but I know someone else is standing here with Dr. Rockleigh. I see is four legs, because of the slight drop of the blindfold they have on me -- I can't hear much though. The constant bolts of electricity running through my neurons are deafening -- ignoring that sound, I eavesdropped.

 

They're talking about money. Rockleigh discusses saving money on testing one of the lesser cost, experimental treatments, instead of the approved more efficient one. He isn't telling the medical board that he uses the inexpensive experimental one. He gets the funding for the other more efficient and overpriced one though, and he pockets the rest.

 

Dr. Rockleigh has been giving me and others, electro-shock therapy. Pretty much from my first day here, I’m not sure how long the others have been here, suffering. I'm his guinea pig -- we all are! They said he is going to help me speak, calm down, and rewire my brain to a 'normal' brain. You should analyze your own egghead because shocking people isn't normal -- it isn't right. I don’t see how that could calm anyone down!

 

At one point I was getting better, but I made the mistake of telling someone that. The moment Rockleigh found out, he put an end to that abruptly. My progress, little as it was at that time, dropped within days.

 

He was coming in after the nurses left and injecting me with something. Not sure what it is, but I do know I'm ailing afterwards -- very weak and sometimes even excessively angry and irritated.

 

Even snapped on Nurse Etta once too, because of it. They hid me away all secluded for almost two whole weeks. There aren't any windows where they put me, and I couldn't see or hear anyone else -- I thought I was going to die. They only gave me bread, hard cheese slices, and water, for the whole two weeks. If I complained, I didn't even get that.

 

***

There she is, the most beautiful girl ever -- how have I lived without her for so long already? I walk up and hug her, giving her a peck on the forehead. As usual, her aroma is like a garden of roses. She's that rose that grew from that concrete, exactly what she is -- my rose, my beautiful rose. We continue to walk past the new expensive buildings.

 

"Imagine living here?" I asked.

 

"They're nice, but a bit much, don't you think?" she asked me.

 

"Not too much for the yuppies who live here, right?" I kid, while spinning and laughing -- I end up face first, into the chest of said yuppy.

 

"Are you saying I'm a yuppy, dick?" Ducas asked.

 

"He was kidding around asshole! Let's go Malachi, I don't want to be around this jerk!"

 

"Oh, what's wrong, baby? Didn't you have a good night at my ball? Thanks for coming. Sorry that you didn't come, Malachi -- or did you?" he said, while he snickered.

 

She was wrong, I do mean every word. Fucking douche bag this guy is, I don't like him -- and what does he mean by that? Nylah hasn't said much about that night. She said that something came up, and she had to go and visit her dad right away. I didn't ask her anything else.

 

I'm not particularly eager to pry, knowing that a lot of stuff is going on in her life with her family, school and work. Don't want to be that guy that is nosy as fuck and crowds her -- that's the surest way to make a girl go away.

 

"Fuck you, broke loser!" he complained, and pushed me.

 

I stumbled back but don't fall and lunge forward at him, punching him square in the bill. He rubs his chin, as overconfident as can be -- as though the sock did nothing, he laughed.

 

"Nylah, you should get a man who can defend you, because this one can't swing, your boyfriend's a broke-ass pussy. I know you got a little more fight in you and that's good, because you're going to need it if this is your knight in shining armour. I'm sure you'll be good, from what I remember the other night, you did have a little spunk in you."

 

"Go fuck yourself, Ducas, he's more man than you'll ever be -- money can't buy that. That's what bothers you most, you can't buy this woman or be that man," Nylah spit back at him. "You can only take me, and pretend to be him," she cried and marathons down the street. Ducas acts as though he's been fake shot.

 

"Ouch, right in the heart I don't have," he said, while holding his chest and walking the other way.

 

"I'll see you around, eh?" I threatened and gave him the finger. What did Nylah mean by that, you can only take me?

"Oh, you will," Ducas agreed. "You will see me around."

 

***

 

I struggle to get my key in the keyhole, shit. Did I put away my tainted drawers in the restroom? There hasn't been a girl here for me in so long -- did Kingston leave his porn mags on the table? Fuck, open it Malachi, she's just standing here waiting.

 

"Sorry, sometimes it jams."

 

Don't want her to see how spooked I am, I never get like this around girls. What's going on, man? Finally, I get it in the hole and open the door. I look around for anything hideous that will seal my fate as a complete and utter slob, nothing yet.

 

"Sorry about the shambles, my friend leaves his shit in each place when he's here," I explained.

 

"That's fine, don't worry -- I'm not here to judge you."

 

And she isn't, but I still care what she thinks about me, and I don't want her to think I'm slob-like. I'm not a total clean freak, but I've been mega busy, so there is a bit of a mess. In my defense, Kingston does leave his shit everywhere -- but slightly move one thing out of place at his castle though and watch out.

 

She scampered up and kissed me, tasted as sweet as strawberries. I kissed her back and lay her gently down on my bed. I want this to be a special night -- I don’t mean sex. I mean, I’m not against sex, but I’m not trying for it in any way – out of respect for her. I just hope Kingston doesn't come in with one of his tarts, unexpectedly. He does that randomly, the prick – I always must clean the cushions after, with the stank-ass bitches he brings by.

 

"What did Ducas insinuate by that comment, and what did you mean by that response?" I asked her, but she ignored my question.

 

"I need you, Malachi, I need you to make love to me, right now!” she starts taking off her clothes.

 

"Are you sure about this, Nylah, is this what you want at this moment?" she doesn't answer me and keeps taking off my pants, like they’re on fire or something. Should I stop her?

 

"Just hold me, Malachi! Hold me, and then will you make love to me?" she asked me.

 

Did she just ask me that? I want to, boy I really do, and how could I say no to such an angel? But why right now?

 

“I love you, Nylah Diamond -- I’ll show you how much. I want this and us, too. Forever. I’ve never wanted anything or anyone more, and I’ve never felt this way about anyone, in all of my existence.”