Finding Happy: Prologue-2

So this particular short story used to be called “Third Degree” before I realized it was going to be another long one. I’m on the rough’s of the fifth chapter as of writing, and naming is something that isn’t really set in stone. I do apologize if this causes people confusion!

Prologue-II is similar to prologue-I in tone and style. It’s very much exposition with a few hints and foreshadows. Enough of that, though, enjoy!

 

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/13/third-degree-part-1/

Related Artworks: 

https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/18/distant-fall-artwork/comment-page-1/#comment-85

https://bluebeard-art.com/blind/

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Prologue-II

 

I really shouldn’t have put off this drinking thing for so long, I feel fantastic! Matt was talking to a couple of his friends, but Casey wasn’t really listening. His arm was draped over her shoulder and she was leaning her head against his muscular chest. “Matt!” shouted Casey, unintentionally cutting off the tall girl who was speaking. “Oh…shorry, about that, I’m a little out of it.” The girl giggled, shooting her a look she couldn’t place. Pfft…Like I care anyway. Everything is great.

Laughing now, Matt asked, “What’s up?”

“Let’s go in the pool, it’s hot out.” Said Casey, nuzzling his under-arm with her fore-head.

A surprised look shot across his face before he smiled, and said, “Sure! Let me go get another drink though, I think I need to catch up to you!” Casey laughed, drunkenly. I’ve only had like five or six drinks, can’t be that bad. What was alcohol’s disassociation constant again? “You gonna be okay if I leave for a minute, Casey?” He sounds like he’s joking but his eyes actually look a little worried.

Casey’s mouth curled into a self-conscious smile, her brow furrowed, and she said, “Of course I’ll be fine! I can take care of myself.” As he left, she stumbled slightly and looked around. Parties are a strange thing. What’s the point of a pool if no one uses it? There’s at least forty people just standing around and literally no one is in the pool. Casey stepped back and relaxed, letting her back gently rest against the house’s expensive looking rose-wood exterior.

It really is a beautiful home. I don’t even know how you treat wood to get that shade of blackened brown, but I’d bet it’s expensive. Those tables, too. The cheap-ass red cups can’t even hide the crystal. I wonder if Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher realize Christie is throwing a drinking-party. Probably not, but with a house this nice, I’m sure they travel for work or something. It’d really be a matter of shutting the neighbors up, and the next house is a quarter-mile out, so no worries there, I suppose. I feel out of place, I guess wearing vampire teeth to a full-on slutty Halloween party wasn’t proper planning, though. Alcohol really highlights those silver-linings. Casey closed her eyes, smiled, and let gravity pull her neck to the left.

“You still good to swim, Casey?” asked Matt.

Lazily, she opened her left eye, and responded, “Always.” He already changed into his swim-trunks? What’s the point of being a sailor if you don’t swim?

“Awesome! I hadn’t expected to actually swim, glad I brought my trunks now. You want me to hold your drink while you go change?”

“What? Nah, Bra’s…Two-piece’s, same thing.” Said Casey, playfully biting her tongue through a wide grin. “Oh, don’t look so surprised, I can party too, just because I make grades doesn’t mean I can’t have fun!”

“Whatever you say, boss!” said Matt, laughing, before running at the pool and jumping in, splashing a couple making out in the hot-tub. Gotcha! Casey chugged the rum and coke Matt had handed her, set it down, and pulled her tank top over her head. Best leave the shorts on! Making eye contact with a confused Matt, she winked, and sauntered towards the hot tub. Ignoring a whistle to her right, she stepped into the steamy water, quickly did her hair up, and sat. God…this is literally the best temperature. The girl across from Casey gave her a nasty look before turning back to her gentleman of the evening.

Casey recoiled in shock as Matt fell, feet first, into the shallow water, splashing water into her face. “Hey! What was that for?” asked Casey, giggling uncontrollably.

Closer now, ignoring the distraught couple he’d splashed twice, he replied, “You pranked me first you know! That water was actually kind of cold.”

Suddenly serious, she nodded slowly, and said, “Awwwe, is the little athlete sensitive? You want me to warm you up?” Taken aback, Matt opened his mouth to reply, but nothing came out. Feigning frustration, she grabbed his arm and pulled him down. “Just kiss me, please.”

Cautiously he brought his lips to hers. Shivers shot down Casey’s spine and she pushed forward, deepening the kiss. As Matt curled his muscular fingers into her black hair, she swung her legs over his lap, pulling herself closer. Matt pulled away for a second, breathing heavily to catch his breath. Taking advantage of his momentary weakness, she bit his neck with her fake vampire-teeth, and giggled with elation. “Wow! I see you’re into some weird stuff there, Casey.” Pulling away for a moment, locking eyes as she cocked her head in mock-confusion, she removed the silly teeth and attacked his mouth.

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Thanks for reading!

Continue here: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/28/finding-happy-prologue-3/

Saving Hadley: Chapter 17

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/prologue-2/

A brief chapter, but one that provides both context and an introduction to one of the major antagonists of Act 3.

Enjoy!

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XVII

November 1st, 2021-Nessa

            They’d strapped Nessa to an uncomfortable chair after giving her a clean set of clothes. The room had an obnoxiously bright fluorescent light that accented the concrete-mirror structure of the room with something that felt like despair. From one prison to another, at least these clothes are comfortable, I suppose. After the soldier had knocked her out, she’d woken up in what appeared to be a hospital, but the presiding doctor wouldn’t answer her questions as he performed his various examinations and blood tests. Apparently, something in her tests had made whoever these people were decide to keep her alive, for now.

A few moments passed before the white painted door opened. A man in an expensive looking black suit walked in, smiling. His strong jaw was accentuated by grey eyes, grey-black hair, and a grey five o’clock shadow. Enthusiastically, he asked, “So! What’s it like being the daughter of the infamous Donovan Sullie!”

Confused, Nessa said, “Who? I don’t have a father, sir.”

The man looked up, pursed his lips while jutting his jaw forward, feigning a thoughtful expression. Looking back to Nessa, he said, “Well, you seem polite, but I’m not sure I believe you. Obviously, you were in quite the predicament when we found you, but I still can’t believe Sullie would sell his own daughter without a good reason. What’d you do to piss him off?” Who the fuck is this arrogant piece of shit?

Annoyed, Nessa repeated “I don’t know a Donovan Sullie. Where am I?”

The man’s smile curled, cruelly, as he said, “As a whore, strapped to a seat, do you really think you’re the one who gets to ask questions? Now I’m going to have my best two boys down here tomorrow morning to get the truth out of you, no matter what you say now. Honestly, I just wanted to meet you to see if Donovan would even want you back, which he clearly, does not.”

As the man turned to leave, Nessa shouted, “You act all posh, but I know you, you’re just another fucking coward, hiding behind money while you abuse children, pretending you’re a real man…Scum!”

The man paused, and called over his shoulder, “Now I know how that gutted corpse got in your room. I like that fiery spirit, do me a favor, never lose it, Nessa. You may refer to me as Governor Haskell, of the state of Massachusetts.” What the fuck?

Daily Blog 9/16/17: Chapter 15

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/08/27/daily-blog-82717/

Silgan returns from the appointment to gather his materials per Alex’s request.

*Explicit language and gore. 

 

XV

Present Day-Silgan

 

Silgan hurried into the apartment lobby, the fluorescent nightmare had diminished in response to the morning light creeping in through the many windows. Ms. Caldwell, Lauren, was still working the front desk. Noticing Silgan, she smiled, flirtatiously, and asked, “Rushing like that, Mr. Sheffield…might give a girl the wrong impression. You trying to dodge me?”

Silgan paused, embarrassed, and returned her smile. Indignantly, he explained, “Me? Never! You know you’re my favorite, Lauren. I’m in a hurry for something related to work and I need to meet an associate in about forty minutes.”

Blushing, she caressed her bottom lip with her left thumb, and said, “I hadn’t realized we were on a first name basis, you know, there’s a lot of things you can do in forty minutes. I’m sure your friend wouldn’t mind if you were just a little late.”

Taken aback, Silgan stuttered, “Any other day, Ms. Caldwell, but this could be a matter of life and death.”

Pouting, Lauren said, “Well, I mean, move your pretty little ass if it’s really that important. Besides, you know where to find me.” She winked coyly before turning back to her ledger.

Relieved, Silgan said, “Take care, Lauren.” as he turned towards the elevator room. Silgan walked past the first two, public, elevators, and swiped his RFID on the old management elevator. The old gate opened slowly and Silgan stepped in, turning to press the button that read “13”. As the elevator began its sluggish ascent, he shuffled his feet, fretfully. Okay, we need to clear out everything I can’t easily replace.

“That’s seventy percent of what’s there, dumbass.” The voice of an elderly woman mocked.

Then we can booby trap the room, as a precaution.

Cackling, the woman’s voice gained power, “So you can piss off Haskell even more than you already have? Quite the headache he must have, pondering how to deal with his star extractors insubordination.” Silgan’s spine tingled with anxiety as his right hand started to tap his suit-pants to the tune of staying alive. “I bet he’s already got a man waiting for you up there, no time to prepare now. See what you’ve done? You’ve fucked over all of us, all your friends, we, he guided and supported you when you needed a push to do the right thing.”

Does torturing an innocent woman qualify as the right thing? The elevator came to a halt and opened. Silgan walked out, turned right and headed towards the narrow hallway. At the intersection, he turned left, walked five more steps, and inspected his tan colored door, marked “1304” in silver lettering. You do raise a good point though, I need to make sure no one’s waiting for me on the other side of the door. Silgan set his briefcase down, opening the side pocket opposite to where he had stored the tracker gun. He pulled out his customized 220 Sig Sauer and slotted the chamber back. Loaded. Turning the safety off, he leaned down to examine the doors lock. It’s scratched up. Fuck. Expecting the worst, Silgan took out his key and slowly inserted it into the lock, Sig Sauer loose in hand. Slowly, he turned the lock, and heard a click. Leaving the key in the slot, he stood back, tensing his quadriceps and gluts, preparing a kick. With his left hand, he pulled the handle down, pushing forward slightly. His hands were perspiring, his breaths came shallow and fast. With a small grunt, he kicked the door open, quickly recovering his balance, and raising his pistol. Looking through the holo-sight he started forward, scanning back and forth rapidly. As he walked through the doors small frame, he could hear a quiet movement. It was coming from behind his bed.

“Hey, come out, I see you!” Silgan shouted, snarling in his rustic baritone. Abruptly, the rustling stopped. Silgan felt light headed, as his vision became hazy. Realizing he’d forgotten to breath, he gasped for air, trying and failing to keep his aim steady.

“Worthless!” the woman’s voice mocked. “Can’t even aim a pistol without nearly passing out, you’re going to get all of us killed, Simon.”

Shut up!

Biting his lip, he moving forward. He could hear a pathetic whimper, a forlorn moaning. It reminded Silgan of the time he’d hit a deer, getting out of his car, only to find the deer dying, struggling through the door to its next reality. Moving quickly around the foot of his bed, Silgan shouted, “Hands up!” He lowered his weapon, mouth parting, eyes widening in horror.

“I’m trying Simon, my arms, I can’t move them.” Wailed Hadley, with deep crosses cut into her wrists. Her skin wasn’t right, it was cracked, a dark and hallowed green. She’s not real, Simon, she’s dead…you buried her. Taking a deep breath, Silgan stepped back from Hadley. Hadley’s eyes grew desperate as Silgan backed away. “Please…Simon don’t leave me here, it hurts baby, it hurts so much worse than when I did it. I’m so sorry, help me Simon!”

Tears welling, Silgan responded, “I…I can’t help you. I failed you, I’m sorry Hads. I miss you every day.” Silgan turned away, forcing himself to look his cabinet. Focus. Productivity, what will help you survive. Grabbing a small duffle at the foot of his bed, he walked to the cabinet, set the Sig Sauer on the cabinets counter, and zipped open the duffle before throwing it back onto his small bed. Opening the cabinet, Silgan suddenly felt overwhelmed. There must be two-hundred separate ingredients here, how the fuck do I decide which ones to bring? Christ, I have room for fifteen or so. If that. Silgan cringed at the terrible moaning as he reached for a case of empty dart-syringes. Ignoring Hadley, he put the pack into his bag, eyes darting across the various chemical labels.

Silgan froze, as the woman’s voice returned, “You’re going to let her die, again? You coward. And for what? So you can turn tail and run?”

You’re right, I am a coward. But why show me this, I know I can’t save her. But I can save that poor girl, Nessa, and that’s what I’m going to do.

Suddenly determined, a wave of clarity drowned the wails and Silgan realized the chemicals he needed. Quickly, he grabbed a fast acting spasmodic, a cyanide potassium solution, and three cryo-contained vial of , or mustard gas. He packed each vial in a rubber stabilized mold before setting them next to the darts. I only have one more pressure resistant mold, I need to pick carefully. A moment later, Silgan grabbed two clear and unlabeled solutions, and packed them into the mold. Hurrying, he reached for two small vials of adrenaline, a small tub of batrachotoxin–he’d scraped it off the backs of poison dart frogs himself–and a cryo-vile, containing VX. He’d have to be careful not to be caught with the VX if he traveled, as the UN classified it as a weapon of mass destruction. The worlds stockpiles had been destroyed twenty-five years ago, but it was relatively easy to synthesize. It was essentially a liquid nerve agent that had a low boiling point, making it an easy to use gas.

Silgan packed the rest of the vials into the rubber chassis before gently resting it in the duffle. Finally, he ran to his chemical work-bench and retrieved three gas masks, as well as a few extra filters. He packed these into the side pockets of the duffle, carefully mounting the valuable bag over his shoulder.

Turning to the cabinet, Silgan picked up his Sig Sauer and turned the safety on before holstering it into the specially stitched pocket in his suit coat, hidden by his left lapel. Just the pills now. Moving to the kitchen drawer, he wiped some of the lingering dirt off his white dress shirt. Silgan opened the small drawer before rummaging for his painkillers. He removed the oxycodone, Vicodin HCL, Secobarbitol, and Compro, before setting them on the counter. He unsaddled his duffle and set it on the counter, then stashed the Vicodin and oxy in the duffle’s left pockets. Those are less conducive to performance than the Compro. Silgan opened the Compro, took two pills, then closed it, before stashing it next to the Vicodin. As Silgan opened the Secobaritol, his shaking hands jerked unexpectedly, causing him to spill the pills on the floor. Shit, my nerves are frayed. He fell to his knees, gathering the pills back into their container.

Freezing, Silgan focused on a small black circle on the bottom of the counter. It can’t be…was someone in here after all? Moving closer, he squinted at the black smudge. A transmission mic. I’ve been bugged. A nauseous anxiety spread from his core as he finished picking the pills up. He left one out, and dry swallowed it. “Eh, Silgan everything alright in here?” asked a voice he couldn’t quite place.

Turning, Silgan saw his neighbor Herald looming ominously in the door-way. “I’m good Herald, did I make too much noise or something?” asked Silgan, ambivalently.

Smiling easily, Herald stepped forward, and said “Nah mate, I mean I heard you talking to someone, you sounded upset.” Herald leaned forward examining the room, looking back and forth. “Musta been on the phone though, it don’t seem like nobodies here right now, besides me that is.” Herald chuckled at his joke. He wore a dirty T-shirt and torn jeans. He was probably in his early fifties, though his voice was clearly smoke damaged and made him sound much older. While his facial structure was handsome, his meth-cracked skin and teeth were not. His eyes were jaundiced, his nose was the kind of red that only twenty years of binge drinking could lend.

“Yeah, I was fighting with my brother, a financial matter.” Lied Silgan.

Laughing loudly, Herald responded, “You know, Hadley is a weird name for a brother if you ask me. But my parents weren’t too creative either. Coming up with Gerald than Herald, I mean who rhymes their kids name?” He must have been the one who planted the bugs.

Face hardening, Silgan asked, “Herald, I don’t suppose you know anything about who might have tampered with my lock there, do you?”

Herald tensed, responding, “Eh, what you tryna say, bud? Man ought to be careful about accusing a co-worker of something like that.” That face, no way in hell it wasn’t him.

Silgan’s muscles tensed, anticipating a fight, as he said, “You know, it’s the funniest thing, I just found a small microphone glued to the bottom of my counter, right before you walked in, Harold.”

Harold sighed, relaxing, and said, “You got me Silgan!” raising his arms above his head in mock exclamation. “It’s not like I did it for fun though, order came from Haskell himself, just a few hours ago. He wanted me to keep an eye on you.” Harold paused, smiling cruelly, he continued, “So imagine my surprise when I hear you, one of our most skilled laborers, over my lil radio talking to your dead wife. I don’t suppose Haskell would be happy to hear you’ve lost your fucking mind, eh bud?” Harold croaked loudly, laughing as Silgan blushed and looked down. “Don’t feel bad, bud, you know I kinda miss that girl I got pinched for assaulting. Sometimes I talk to her too, mostly when I got a whore up here who’s willing to act though, you know.” Haskell already suspects me, it’s now or never.

“I’m going to give you one chance to get out of my way, Harold.” Silgan said, flatly, meeting Harold’s eyes. Harold looked amused, and took a step forward.

Closer now, Harold whispered, “A’ight coach, what you gonna do? Cry to your bitch an’ tell her ol’ Harold’s given you a tough time?” Harold shoved Silgan, hard. Croaking again, as Silgan stumbled, Harold followed up with a wide right hook which landed squarely on Silgan’s left cheek. He fell hard, head hitting the floor with a crack. He shouldn’t have done that. Silgan reached for his concealed Sig Sauer, clicking the safety off with his right thumb. “That all you got big man? You a fake bud, can’t even take a punch.” Rolling onto his back Silgan aimed the Sig Sauer’s holo-sights at Harold’s face. “Oh shit! What the fuck man, it was just a tussle.” Harold raised his hands, desperately murmering, “What? You gonna shoot me with that thing, unsilenced? Whole buildings gonna hear it mate.”

Silgan pushed himself back to his feet, keeping the firearm trained on Harold. Quietly, Silgan said, “I’m crazy, remember? How about you apologize for calling my wife a bitch, scum.” Harold stayed silent, smiling slightly. Moving forward, Silgan grabbed Harold’s dirty T-shirt and shoved him up against the wall. “Say…you’re…sorry.” He set the guns point to Harold’s left jaw.

“Man she musta had a vice grip on your tiny balls, I’d never let a bitch–BANG!” Harold’s eyes twitched wide in surprise as the lower half of his face was torn off by the Sig Sauer’s blast. His broken jaw dangled from what remained of its right hinge. Bleeding heavily, he slid down the wall, and let out a hideous, gurgling screech. Silgan stepped away, letting him fall, letting him struggle. Harold’s tongue waggled back and forth wildly, finally coming to rest near the base of his throat as he fell to his left. Blood quickly pooled. Silgan felt sick. What did I just do?

                “Well I can’t say I approve, but at least you’re showing some initiative now.” Said the woman, malevolently.

Daily Blog 9/12/17

*Violent, disturbing, and graphic content. Bad language.

The aftermath of chapter 10, and the first chapter of Act 2. Revenge, no matter how much someone deserves it, isn’t gonna fix what they did.

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/08/27/daily-blog-82717/

 

XIII

October 30th, 2021-Nessa

 

Nessa watched Ben fight for every breath. She’d desecrated him, like he’d done to her. Unfortunately, the euphoria had been short-lived. Ben’s white golf-shirt was now a satin-red, his small wound had four and a half feet of his intestine trailing from it. She’d removed his testicles, where a steady flow of blood and other unsavory liquids continued to flow. His screaming had stopped five minutes ago, at which point he’d started to choke up a mix of blood and vomit. His eyes were wide open, flicking from one end to the other in shock. He’d defecated, messily, off the foot of Nessa’s bed.

Nessa watched him die, not because she enjoyed the suffering, rather, she had to see him pay. She was waiting for the moment when she’d suddenly feel what she imagined justice was supposed to feel like. The longer she watched Ben pathetically struggle for air, drowning in his own vomit, the more she feared that the feeling wouldn’t come. Then the guards would come, and they’d beat her, maybe rape her, and kill her. What was it all for? What’s the point of life if all that exists is cruelty. Cruelty that can never, truly be paid for. Does justice even exist?

                Frustrated tears welled rolled down Nessa’s cheek and onto her blood-stained nightgown. Anger welled deep in Nessa’s core, igniting every synapse of every muscle. The rage built, bursting to boil. Ben gurgled. Pig!

Nessa walked up to Ben and screamed, “Why did you do it you disgusting shit-stain! What? Did it make you feel powerful?! Does the pain, the suffering get you hard?! Because I don’t get it, I get no satisfaction for doing to you what you did to hundreds of little girls, you sick fuck! You hurt people who can’t fight back, all so you can stroke your fucked-up ego!” Nessa hit his forehead with the hilt of her hook-knife. “Come on! Fight back, cunt!” She hit him again and his eyes rolled back, exposing his jaundiced whites. “Don’t you die, coward, fight back!” She hit him a third time, a bloody hole appearing on the spot. “Not so strong now, are you!” As she hit him again, the hilt of the hook-knife broke through his skull with a loud and sickening crunch. Nessa tried to pull the hook-knife out, but it was stuck. “Give it back, you’ve taken your share!” she screamed, struggling to get her weapon free. “It’s mine–BANG!”

Turning towards the noise, Nessa froze. Two men with ski masks and automatic rifles stood at the now lockless door. “On your knees!” the man on the left shouted. Nessa got on her knees, abandoning her knife. The right man moved forward, quickly, keeping his gun pointed at Nessa.

Noticing the mess on the bed, he whispered, “What the fuck.” Calling back to his partner, “She’s massacred him. What should we do with her?” The left soldier moved forward to examine the mess. Just as quickly, he backed up, audibly gagging. Pussy.

“Take her in.” Said the soldier between retches. “Those were the orders. I can’t though, not with that smell.” The sickened soldier left the room. One down.

                Amused, the remaining soldier said, “Well, you’re a sick little fuck, aren’t you?” He lowered his weapon. “What’d this guy do to you anyway to deserve that?” Nessa stayed quiet, assessing her situation. Obviously, I won’t win in a fight. Especially with no weapon. Maybe if I do what they say I can escape at some point. “Well, I didn’t really want to know anyway, he probably deserved it. Turn around, gonna cuff you.” Nessa did as the soldier asked, lowering her hands to her lower back. The soldier got down behind her and cuffed her left hand with a “SNAP”, before doing the same to the right.

Daily Blog 9/11/17

Start from the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/08/27/daily-blog-82717/

All published chapters are archived under the Saving Hadley menu at: https://bluebeard-art.com/

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*Contains graphic, accurate, and disturbing depictions of self-harm and emergency medical procedures. Also has naughty language. If any of that stuff bothers you, please don’t read this. I also suggest you go here to get the good feels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zidiWe9yq88

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Simon’s perspective of what happened in chapter 11-1.

Enjoy!

XI-II

February 8th, 2017-Simon

 

Simon had left work sick, not that he was sick. Not in the traditional sense. The urge to slip drugs in that setting was simply too much for him to handle right now. He was barely holding on, and Hadley…Hadley wasn’t holding on. He’d caught her going through their old store of painkillers two nights ago. Simon had tried to stop her, but she had threatened him with the dull metal scissors on the counter. He’d had to distance himself that night, sleeping on the couch. I’ll talk to her about it, get her help.

Simon went over what he’d say as he pulled into the large driveway. I hate what happened to Adam, but we’re still here, we’re still young, we can beat this, together. Parking, Simon opened the driver’s side door of his Audi, and got out. Closing the door behind him, Simon walked towards the side entrance. He pulled the key out his pocket, put it in the lock and twisted. Things are going to be all right, we’ve been to hell and back together. I just need to stop being so damned distant all the time. I’ve never been good at handling emotions. Hadley had recently theorized why Simon had made a good ER doctor. He remembered the sting he’d felt as she’d said, “It’s because you don’t care when the patients die, and you can just tell the family then go have a fucking cigarette.” She’s right, though. I need to be more available. I’m going to settle this. Walking into the kitchen, looking around, Simon yelled “Hadley, you up?” It’s nearly 7:30, don’t tell me she’s still in bed.

As Simon walked towards the stairs, he heard a muffled noise. What was that? Simon paused momentarily, listening. Not hearing another noise, he called out a second time “Hads! You okay?” while starting up the bannister. About halfway up the steps, he heard another noise, a scream. No…no. Simon rushed up the stairs, skipping a step with each stride. “Hadley! Where are you?” he rushed towards the master bedroom. The door was closed, he tried the handle. Locked? Oh shit. Voice cracking, Simon yelled “Hadley!” as he kicked the door. It didn’t break. On the second kick the doors frame concaved slightly.

He heard Hadley scream “Simon!”, she sounded in pain. What is she doing?

Panicking, as the door failed to cave after the third kick, Simon shouted “Hadley! I’m here, hold on honey, I’m here!” On the fourth kick, the lock broke and Simon rushed into the dark bedroom. Hadley was still screaming, but Simon couldn’t see, fumbling for the lights he called out, “Hadley I’m here, don’t worry, you’re okay!” Finding the lights, he realized Hadley was in the master bathroom. Simon barreled into the bathroom. The lights were dim, looking around his heart sank. Small pills were scattered about and there was blood all over the floor, and the Jacuzzi…the water was a dark, lifeless, red. No.

Simon rushed into the Jacuzzi as Hadley mouthed something, he couldn’t tell what. “What did you Hadley, what did you do. Lovely, what have you done.”  He wrapped his arms around her, picking her up into her arms. He left the Jacuzzi and set Hadley down gently onto the cold bathroom floor. My god, her arms. No. It can’t be. Not like this. Panicked, Simon ran to the second bath, turning the shower on and stopping the drain. She’s too warm. I need to stop the blood-flow. Returning to Hadley, he picked her up gently, making sure her wounds faced up. Grunting, he carried her to the shower, setting her down carefully with her back against the glass, letting the cold-water wash over her. “Hadley! Wake up Hadley!” Simon cried in desperation as her eyes fluttered. She was still mouthing the same, inaudible words. “I can’t hear you, honey, stay with me, I need you Hadley, I need you to stay here… to stay with me.” He could feel her pulse, a wave of relief shot down his spine. It’s weak, I need to act quickly.

Turning, Simon got to his feet and walked to the sauna’s towel rack. He opened the sauna door, grabbed two towels and threw them inside before setting the heat to max and shutting the door. He grabbed the other two towels and ran to Hadley. Why is she smiling at me like that? Simon wrapped the first towel around her left arm, tying it off, and repeating the process on the right arm.

Hadley’s eyes had opened again. Quietly, she murmured “I love you.”

Stricken, Simon responded, “I love you too, Hadley, you’re going to be fine, stay with me.”

Eyes closing again, Hadley whispered “Let me…go.” Never. Hadley fell limp, blood soaking through the towels. How did she cut so far up the arm? Simon ran back to the sauna, grabbing one of the now-hot towels. Turning back to Hadley, he draped the hot towel around her famished midsection and turned the cold-water stream off. Too cold and she’ll go into shock even faster. Her pulse felt weaker than it had a few moments ago. She’s lost too much blood. Simon ran to the medical cabinet adjacent to the sink. He grabbed a high-volume syringe and a tourniquet. Quickly, he wrapped the tourniquet around his left arm, found a vein and drew blood as quickly as he could without blowing the vein. Damned anxiety is constricting my vasculature. Stay calm, Simon, or Hadley will die. After about thirty seconds, he’d managed to fill the syringe. Now comes the tricky part. Her arms are completely shot and I don’t have an IV.

Moving to Hadley, Simon paused, looking for a vein on her inner thighs. I’ll worry about infections later. Hands steady, Simon pushed the syringe into Hadley’s Femoral vein, pushing slowly but steadily before retracting the syringe and moving to Hadley’s greater saphenous. He switched back and forth until the blood in the syringe was gone. The injection sites aren’t bleeding, low pressure, not good. Simon checked her pulse, it was gone.

Tears streaming down his face, Simon ran back to the medical cabinet and found a small bottle of adrenaline. Come on, just another ER shift…Keep it together. Grabbing a new, lower volume syringe, he drew half the adrenaline, hands shaking. Rushing back to Hadley, Simon pulled her left tank top strap down over her arm. He palpated the area, feeling for a break in the ribcage. This has to work. It WILL. Finding the spot he was looking for, he carefully pushed the long needle into her chest, until he felt a break in the resistance. The heart. He injected the adrenaline, pulled the syringe out, and threw it aside. He maneuvered her cold, limp body so that she lay on her back, arms to the side. Getting on top of her, he started compressions. His arms and face had gone numb from the anxiety, making it difficult to keep going. Must…keep…going, I have to save her.

Crying, he shouted “Come back to me, Hads, come on baby, you’re okay, everything’s going to be fine!” After about a minute of compressions, he felt Hadley’s ribs break. Slowly, defeated, Simon slowed his compressions. Leaning back, he cried out in agony. I’ve failed.

_____________________

Thanks for reading!

Next chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/13/daily-blog-91217/

Daily Blog 9/5/17

This short chapter formally introduces one of the main protagonists of the story, Nessa. She’s definitely a supporting character for the first two acts, but is largely the focus of act three. She’s a fiery, determined, and intelligent character who was dealt an awful and unfair lot in life. She doesn’t like to play the victim, even when she is, however.

In other news, Chemistry has been going a lot better. Got over the initial hump I had in the first experiment. Cleaned it up before completing the entire second experiment in one go today! Additionally, the first project scores came back, and I got 100% which felt nice with a 70% class mean. Made up for my initial fumble in the course. The key, I think, is preparation. I ended up preparing my spreadsheets outside of lab, giving myself the entire period for data entry and experimental procedures. I have a class screening that’ll last a few hours in about 17 minutes, so I rushed a little bit on the edits today. Luckily the chapter is short, and only had a few mechanical issues (I used “women” three times when referring to a singular woman haha). It’s always the little stuff!

I’m planning on getting a lot of art out this weekend. Many of these chapters are meant to have specific covers, like a pseudo-graphic novel written in long-form. A lot of those drawings are really difficult and require planning (for instance if you read the 1st chapter, the shower hallucination where Silgan see’s his diseased wife in a parallel shower).

Enjoy the story!

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/08/27/daily-blog-82717/

 

VIII

October 30th, 2021-Nessa

 

Nessa laughed, excitedly, as a tall, blonde woman tickled her belly and under-arms. “St..stop!” Nessa exclaimed.

Pausing momentarily, the woman raised her eyebrows, and asked, “I suppose that depends on what you’re going to do if I don’t? I mean, will I still get some cake?”

Quickly, Nessa shouted, “No cake for you! It’s my choco, all of it’s mine!”

“Well, if I don’t get cake either way, I guess I’ll have to take it from you by force!” responded the woman, tickling Nessa even more aggressively. Screaming, Nessa rolled forward, crawling between the woman’s legs, making a break for the cake. As Nessa ran, she looked over her left shoulder to see if the woman had followed. Nessa’s smile faded, the woman was gone. Slowing to a stop, Nessa turned, and called out, “Nanah! Where’d you go?”

The room grew darker, as a loud siren began blaring. The comforting wooden floor of her childhood home morphed into a stony, obsidian colored, surface. A sinister voice called from her left, “The rougher kids are waiting.” The walls broke with a crash and the siren grew louder. A hand, thrice Nessa’s size, crawled into the room from behind the broken wall to her left. Its movements were foreign, unpredictable, almost spiderlike. Nessa turned to run, screaming, except no air broke her lips. She was trapped, suffocating, alone. Again. The walls closed in around her as the thing crawled towards her. The hand was green, with reptilian scales lining the fingers, acting as inhuman joints. It twitched, convulsing, preparing to kill its prey, as the siren grew deafening. Then; darkness.

Nessa woke to the alarm with a start, breathing fast. She’d soaked her beddings in sweat again. Rolling to her left, she slammed the off switch with the bottom of her fist. Time to get to work. The room was dark, illuminated slightly by the blue Digitex on her night-sill that read 5:12 AM. She had a little under an hour before the rooms lights would be activated.

She’d grown accustom to moving quietly and effectively in the dark. If she made too much noise, she’d be punished. She’d learned this lesson the hard way, accidentally knocking her teapot off the center table one morning. Through trial and error, she’d internalized the relative locations of landmarks in the dark room. Sweeping aside the wet bed sheets, she swung her legs off the bed, getting up. They’d been mad, but Nessa knew if she was caught again, the punishment would significantly more severe. If they find it, they’ll kill me, or worse. They’d come close on a few occasions, beating her within an inch of life, and for much less than manufacturing a weapon.

Moving around the twin-sized bed to its foot, she kneeled, lifting the mattress. She grabbed the serrated chunk of metal she’d been working into a hook. Fashioned with care, from a large iron bolt she’d painstakingly wiggled free from the back of her night stand. Nessa felt the makeshift knives edges and grooves, sensed their malice, and grinned. The outside curve of the hook needed to be sharp enough to stab into a man’s abdomen. Then, all you had to do was twist until the inner hook dug into the surrounding tissue and pull. It’s almost done.

Standing, Nessa carefully tiptoed to her right. Five more steps. Blind, Nessa reached her left hand out, feeling for the small round table. Upon sensing the tables familiar texture, Nessa crouched, crawling under the table. Following the worn ridge, she felt the table-stand, slowly moving her hand down its length. The tattered wood suddenly became cold, unforgiving. The metal brace. She forced the rough hook against the damaged metal brace, sharpening the outer-edge, making sure to keep the blade even. It’s my turn to punish them.

Nessa fully understood that by using the blade on a customer, she’d be killed. I’m ready to die, if it means saving another woman from these cruel, twisted men.

________________

Thanks for reading!

Next chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/08/daily-blog-9617/

Daily Blog 9/4/17

Chapter 6-2 and 8 are very positive chapters, especially compared to the maelstrom/gauntlet that is 9, 10, 11-1, 11-2, and 12. These lighter chapters are easier to edit than the heavy ones. Revisiting some of the darker chapters tends to sour my mood as I remember writing it and being in such a negative place. But they’re important to the plot and overall pacing that I’m striving for, so it’s worth it.

Besides, to edit, is divine. This is one of the easiest ways to edit. Simply go over a single chapter a day at a time. I caught about four typos/mechanical errors, and improved the overall flow in about forty minutes of working with this chapter, which is really encouraging. About two chapters ago, I found a major issue with the timeline, and was able to fix it pretty easily which was great.

I hope everyone had a great Memorial day weekend! Mine was basically preparing chemistry-related class materials, which wasn’t as bad as it may sound. But I hope you guys got to do something fun with friends and family!

Enjoy! : D

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/08/27/daily-blog-82717/

*Explicit language.

 

VI-II

December 4th, 2015-Hadley

 

“Would Hadley Sheffield please rise to testify?” recited Keller, as he turned to Hadley, smiling in his collected, grandfatherly, gate. Alright, stay calm. You can do this. Returning Keller’s smile, Hadley pushed back her seat and got up. Simon gently patted her lower back as she walked around him towards the stand. As she sat, Hadley noticed for the first time how many people had bothered showing up. There must be over forty people here! A bit of an audience for a shut-in like me. Deep breathes, Hadley. In the back, there was a channel 6 local news camera-man. The case was by no means high-profile, however, Simon’s academic fame had drawn some media interest, exacerbated by an outburst during lecture five months prior.

The Judge recited, “Do you, Hadley Sheffield, swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; so help you God?”

“I do.” said Hadley, steeling herself.

Keller smiled reassuringly at Hadley, and asked “The pills you took that night, what were they, Hadley?”

Returning his smile, she responded “It was folic acid, during my pregnancy with Adam, I took a morning and nightly dose.” Clear and confidant, pretend it’s a school presentation.

Nodding, Keller continued, “CPS ended up performing their screening for drugs based on Gia’s report. While her intentions were noble, she didn’t understand the circumstance. SS shouldn’t have administered a drug test until it was clear what you had taken. Furthermore, the drug test did not find traces of oxycodone in your system. What can you tell me about what they did find.”

Cautiously, Hadley answered, “I can’t lie, Keller. I’ve struggled with addiction since I was seventeen, but I’ve been clean for quite a while now, despite having Adam taken from me. I took the heroin they found in my system long before I knew I was pregnant, I thought I’d gained a couple pounds, initially, as the doctor had recommended, I put on at least fifteen pounds and I was eating a lot at the time.”

Nodding, Keller asked, “The drug test also discovered light traces of a barbiturate. What can you tell me about that?”

This caught Hadley off guard, they hadn’t gone over this part. Why mention that? Biting her lip, Hadley responded, “Well, Simon prescribed me a very light dose to ease the severe withdrawal symptoms. He said it could be dangerous to go cold turkey without immune support as well as a barbiturate. He actually told me the withdrawal could potentially harm the baby more than continuing the drugs, and he said the risk was minor.”

Looking back to the Judge, Keller said “The defense rests.” Keller gave Hadley a quick, reassuring wink as he went to sit down.

Jacobs turned to Jeffrey, asking, “Would the plaintiff like to cross-examine?”

“Yes, your honor.” Jeffrey said, in his haggard southern drawl. I’d give anything to not have to talk to this troll.

Approaching Hadley, Jeffrey fixed his collar. Wearing an expression of disgust, he asked, “Mrs. Sheffield, you don’t honestly think Adam would be better off in your care, do you? A woman, who readily admits to injecting heroin for at least six years of her life?” How dare he judge her?

Hadley felt a sudden twang of rage, fists tightening and cheeks flushing, she shouted, “I never said that! I only used for a year. I said I struggled with addiction for six years, and I’ve been clean. Dumbass.”

“Language, Mrs. Sheffield.” Warned the Judge.

“For what, two months?” Jeffrey responded with mock sincerity.

Hadley’s jaw tightened and her grip tightened around her knees under the table. He’s making that obnoxious face again. Baiting me… Against her better judgment, Hadley spat, “Fuck you!”

The Judge slammed her gavel, announcing, “Order, Mrs. Sheffield, last warning on your language. Mr. Jeffrey, this is not a criminal trial, get to the point.”

Jeffrey smiled, nodding at the Judge before saying, “I think Mrs. Sheffield has proven my point. Plaintiff rests.” Sighing, Hadley got up and returned to her seat, guiltily avoiding her husband’s gaze. As she sat down, he rubbed her back lightly. As she looked to him, he smiled, before mouthing “It’s okay.”

Looking to Keller, the Judge asked “Mr. Ross, is your final witness present, and willing to testify?”

Keller glanced at Simon, who nodded, and replied, “Yes, Mr. Sheffield is ready.” Simon stood and approached the stand. He was wearing her favorite navy blue suit, the one with the matte finish that contrasted well with his striped blue and black tie, and clean white shirt. As he swore his oath, he made eye contact with Hadley. His face looked tired, worn down. She gave Simon a quick smile, before turning towards Keller as he started, “Simon, the Plaintiff’s noted in their opening statement that their appeared to be MDMA, also known as ecstasy, in your wife’s system. You’ve indicated that these readings may be inaccurate, can you elaborate for the court?”

Smiling, Simon responded, “Yes, what the lab results actually tell us is that Hadley tested positive for heroin, in addition to an unknown empathogen. The marker used to detect this is not drug specific. This means that several different drugs could cause this positive read. One is MDMA, another happens to be the barbiturate I put her on to ease withdrawal related symptoms. In my medical opinion, the suggestion that Hadley had used MDMA within the stated period is an invalid assessment because she is already on a drug that will trip the same blood marker. Any qualified medical practitioner or toxicologist will tell you the same.” Damn, he’s sexy when he’s smart.

Keller gave Simon an approving nod before announcing, “Defense rests.”

The Judge looked to Jeffrey and asked, “Will the Plaintiffs cross examine.”

Looking smug, Jeffry responded, “I don’t believe it to be necessary, your honor. Unless the court is willing to take an expert testimony from someone who clearly has a conflict of interest.” He knows Simon would make him look like a dipshit.

Curtly, the Judge said, “Are you insinuating that Mr. Sheffield, a widely respected medical doctor, would risk his considerable reputation by lying in a publicly televised courtroom proceeding? Now, unless you have evidence that Mr. Sheffield has committed perjury, a criminal offense, or anything relevant to your claims, I suggest you keep your speculation to yourself. This is not a criminal trial, we are here today to determine what is best for Adam Sheffield, nothing more.”

On the verge of laughter, Simon stood, and walked back to his seat. As he sat down to Hadley’s left, she whispered, “That was good, wish I had kept it together.”

Smiling, he muttered in response, “Well…it was an easy question. I didn’t have that dick looking down my shirt while shouting at me either, though I want to give him a piece of my mind after this is all over.”

“You’d stan–BANG!“ Hadley started before being interrupted by the Judges gavel.

“I believe, having heard from both parties, that I understand the case.” Oh shit, she’s already decided? “While Mrs. Sheffield may have shown poor judgment in the past, I’ve heard no evidence that supports the CPA’s allegations that Mrs. Sheffield knowingly used illicit drugs when pregnant with Adam Sheffield.” Wait, she’s siding with us? Suddenly, Simon gripped Hadley’s hand, she could feel his perspiring hand quiver, ever so slightly, as the judge continued, “Adam’s safety is of utmost importance to me, which is why I’ll be releasing him to his biological parents.” Yes! “On the condition that they willingly submit themselves for blood testing, once a week, for one year. If both Mr. and Mrs. Sheffield stay clean, and the fitness of their financial situation remains reasonable, Adam will be released to them on December fourth, two-thousand and sixteen.” Another year…but we’ve done it!

____________________

Thanks for reading!

Next chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/05/daily-blog-9517/

Daily Blog: 9/3/17

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/08/27/daily-blog-82717/

Previous chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/02/daily-blog-9217/

 

Happy memorial-day weekend everybody!

*Explicit language and brief torture/violent scenes.

VII

Present Day-Silgan

 

Lethargically, Silgan walked to the observation window closest to the technician. He felt empty, helpless, as Alex walked through the door. “Who are you? Where am I?” Nessa asked, frantically trying to get a look at Alex. Her voice echoed clearly through the observance PA system. She had short-cropped black hair and wore a yellow tank top with a cartoon mouse Silgan didn’t recognize printed on the front. She wore loose, black pants, and had no socks on. She’s too young…this isn’t fair.

Red welts branded her wrists, neck, and ankles; where she was strapped down to what appeared to be an old psych ward apparatus. “Please help me! I don’t know why I’m here…Please!” Alex, ignoring her, pulled the metal table within her view and set down his toolbox. “What is that, si…sir please don’t hurt me.”

Alex paused, slowly looking up to meet her gaze, and said, “I don’t have to hurt you, but I will if you don’t answer a few simple questions.” His tone was flat, emotionless.

Nessa’s legs started to quiver, as she shouted, “I’ll answer anything, please, what do you need to know?!” The poor girls already cracked. She can’t know anything, look at her!

Silgan felt a rush of anxiety as the voices responded, “Do what you have to Simon, it’s either us or her, and no matter what you do she leaves in a body bag. Either man up or join her.”

I can’t hurt her, I can’t let Alex hurt her. She looks like a young Hadley for Christ’s sake.

“So what? You gonna do yourself in like you did Hadley?” mocked the voices, cruelly.

It wasn’t me who did that to her…

                Alex removed a small, metal razer. Nessa stared at the tool. “So, where’s your father?”

Eyes wide and confused, Nessa responded, “I don’t know who my father is! What are you talking about, what are you going to do with that.” Please Alex…don’t, I can’t watch this.

                Sneering, a gruff voice shouted, “We can watch it…and you can too if it means survival.”

Alex brought the razer to her right shoulder as she struggled against the cruel straps. Suddenly, he dropped the razer on the table next to her shoulder. She slowed her struggling, looking at him warily. “I should disinfect the area first, sorry, I almost forgot.” He said, smiling slightly. Reaching back towards his toolbox, he picked up a small packet. He opened it, exposing a small alcohol wipe. He quickly wiped a small portion of her right shoulder, discarding the wipe afterwards. Nessa started to whimper and struggled back and forth as Alex picked up the razer. Silgan put his head down as she started screaming. Alex dug the six-blade razer deep into her shoulder, and pulled down quickly, deliberately removing the top layer of Nessa’s dermis. Nessa’s screams were high, full, and accented by tears. I…I can’t…I’ll stop this.

Silgan went to the technicians PA monitor as Alex moved the blade back into position a few inches to the right of the first cut. Quickly, Silgan pressed the broadcast button, and said, “Alex, I think I have a more effective idea than…well, that thing you’re doing there.” Alex moved the blade away, turning around with a small, innocuous smile.

Shrugging, he responded, “Be my guest.” Alex put his razer back in the toolbox and walked towards the door. The large man gave Silgan a suspicious glance.

Silgan put his hands up defensively, and said with a humorous inflection, “Hey man, you really think she knows anything? I’m just trying to get this over with, and my chemicals will get the job done a lot faster, with a lot less screaming.”

Smiling, the large man responded, “You’re the boss, chemist.”

Silgan gathered his briefcase and headed for the door, Alex patted his back as they passed. Silgan closed the door behind him and moved to the metal table near Nessa. Her arm looks terrible, it was only one cut too. Three-by-two inches of skin was peeled off her shoulder. She was contorted in fear, tending toward the left, away from Silgan, and the metal table. He could hear her crying and whimpering from where he stood. I don’t have much time. I will save her.

Silgan set his suitcase on the metal table and opened it quickly. He scanned the various chemicals he’d packed. Thank Christ I brought the muscle relaxants. He grabbed an empty syringe and put it on the table. As he reached for “Part 1”, he asked, “Nessa, what do you know about where you were being held?” She relaxed slightly, but didn’t turn her face towards Silgan.

Quietly, she responded, “I don’t know that much about it. But there were men, who’d come throughout the day… I’d have to help them or the mean people would hurt me.” What the fuck. How did the boss think this was a fucking lead, this girls probably the kid of some other poor girl Sullie raped. “That’s really all I know, I don’t know anything about my father or who ran that place.”

Silgan released the cryo-tube “Part 1” was trapped in and set the solution on the table. I need to hurry before the reaction gets too far along. Picking up the syringe, he said, “I believe you, Nessa. So let me fill you in. The man who ran that prison is a…political adversary of the man I work for. He seems to share your DNA. Which honestly, considering the circumstances, makes him a real fuck. You see we thought his daughter might know something about her father’s operation, but he didn’t treat you right, and I don’t respect that.” A father using their child this way… makes my blood boil. Nessa had turned towards him, studying his face, cautiously. Silgan glanced up to meet her gaze, giving her a quick, and reassuring smile. Her eyes shot to his hands drawing “Part 1” into the syringe.

Panicking again, she asked, “What is that?! Please don’t hurt me anymore, sir, I’ll do anything!”

“I’ll tell you exactly what this does as soon as I finish mixing it. It’s a very time-sensitive process, I’m afraid. Let’s make a deal, you and I, you stop talking, and I tell you what it does when I finish?” Silgan responded in an even tone. He gave her a reassuring nod before turning to grab the type-B muscle relaxant. He set it on the table next to “Part 1”, opened it, and drew about half the volume of “Part 1” he’d drawn. Approximations will have to suffice. 2:1:1 should do the trick, she’s small.

Finally, he removed the two Lortabs from his pocket, set them on the counter, reached for his damaged surgical knife, and crushed them with the butt of the knife. He took a small plastic cup from his briefcase, swept the Lortab dust into the cup, and added a small amount of deionized water. After swishing the cup around a little, he took the now bubbling syringe, and drew about three fourths of the Lortab solution into it.

Syringe in hand, Silgan moved close to Nessa’s ear, and whispered, “Keep your eyes open as best you can, I’m going to get you out of here. This will slow your heart rate and put you in a temporary coma. They will think you’re dead. I’ll come collect you before you wake up if possible, but I can’t promise they won’t kill me for uh…killing you. I’ll put my surgical knife in your back pocket, if you wake up in a bag, remember the knife and use it to escape. Please scream now.”

She started screaming as Silgan brought the Syringe to her right inner elbow, he slapped the skin and found a vein quickly. She really is malnourished. Silgan pushed the syringe into the large vein, and injected.

___________________________________

Thanks for reading!

Next chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/04/daily-blog-9417/

Writer’s response Saturday

Picture note: Took this in Amsterdam over the winter break.

________________________

Why do you write? What drives you, motivates you, and inspires you to do it? As many of you know, it’s not an easy thing to do. You pour countless hours into something, that is essentially the summation of you as a person. For what? 

Feel free to respond in the comments, in a DM, or whatever you find easiest. Maybe just think about it. No real structure here. I’ve found my answer to the question usually reaffirms my belief in what I’m doing:

I’ve found myself thinking about this a lot recently, especially with the new school and volunteer load. For those who I don’t personally know, I work a lot with big brothers/big sisters and a hospice/palliative program through the Mercy hospital systems. I’d being lying if I said those experiences didn’t influence my writing.

I think more than anything, though, I write for myself. It helps me create a different world, a different body, that I can escape to. This is weird, too, because I’m generally a horror writer. You wouldn’t generally consider my characters escapist, because terrible things happen to them! I think it’s a cathartic release though, it helps me return once I’m done. If it were all sunshine, I think when I returned to being me, it would be too hard. It’d make some of my issues more salient, make the anxiety/depression/whatever-it-may-be hit harder.

I think as authors, writers, and artists, we create to escape. By doing so, we often provide others with a way to escape, but there’s a difference in the level of escape. I hope a person reading my work would find entertainment and be able to relate in some way to my characters, but for me, I become the character in the scene. I very deliberately put myself in that situation, I feel what they feel, emotionally if not physically. A lot of times this has been painful. After particularly disturbing scenes, I’ve myself hating what I’ve just done as a certain character. A good example of this would be Ben from chapter 10 in the novel I’m writing, he is a disgusting piece of human refuse. But I still had to put myself in his shoes. I felt tainted for days, disgusted with what I did. Thank god that chapter was from the point of view of the victim, so I inherently related to her feelings more than Ben’s, but it’s also a strange thing to be literally hate yourself. It’s like there are more than one you, and the other you is just terrible, so you murder the other you. Writing characters can be weird like that, they cause emotions that seem unnatural upon reflection.

But I digress, the reason I write is to become something more than myself. To create something that might last, even if nobody reads it, even if nobody likes it, even if people think it’s sick. It’s me, and that matters, no matter what anyone else might think.

Daily Blog 9/2/17

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/08/27/daily-blog-82717/

Previous chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/01/daily-blog-9117/

__________________________________________________________________________________

This was a fun one to edit and review. The court case chapters were originally a single chapter, but were split into two parts: 6-1, 7, 6-2, 8, etc. They were seven pages, and very cumbersome. I think I’ve gotten them both to a digestible point, and they provide a lot of answers to questions posed in the early chapters. You find out what triggered the slew of events that’s about to go down in a relatively hopeful way.

It was one of the most difficult chapters to handle, due to the amount of research I had to do. I ended up watching multiple CPS related cases so I could understand the ins and outs of what I needed to portray in a concise manner. Dialogue can become very cumbersome, very quickly, so I had to pick and choose carefully what to omit. This is exacerbated by the motion-focused structure I’ve chosen to write this book in. There is a lot that happens in the decade or so that leads to what’s going on in the present. The order matters, especially when there are a total of seven characters perspectives to consider. I started with just three for act one, then cover a different group in act 2, which makes it a lot easier to manage (and understand from a flow/timeline perspective).

Enjoy!

*Explicit Language

December 4th, 2015

Hadley closed her hand around Simons, who sat to her left. She was three months sober, too sober as the jurisdictional hearing regarding Adam was about to start. The court itself was unimpressive, cheap wood and scratched furnishings. TV loves to play these things up.

A young male bailiff announced “Please rise. Honorable judge Tracy Davids is now presiding.” An old woman entered the room. “Court is now in session.”  Hadley rose, still grasping Simons hand, and studied the frail old-woman as she approached the judges stand. Her hair was a dyed light brown, her mouth cornered an ugly grimace, compounded by tens of frown-lines running up her cheeks. She wore a loose black-gown under large spectacles with a gold accent and chain securing them to her neck. As Judge Davids reached the stand, the bailiff announced, “If you have any electronic devices or cell phones, please silence or turn them off. You may be seated. Thank you.” He’s awfully chipper. 

Sitting back down, Hadley let go of Simon’s hand and started to nervously scratch her own. You can do this, Hadley. She’s human too, and a mother, she’ll understand. The Judge was shuffling papers around. Probably the social services complaint. It’s author, Gia, was sitting twenty feet to the left of Hadley and Simon. It took everything Hadley had not to try and tear her lying throat out now. But had she lied? I don’t even know what she told CPS. She was my friend, I’m being unfair.   

Voice cracking, the Judge started, “This is the case of Simon and Hadley Sheffield vs. the State of Massachusetts regarding custody of Adam Sheffield.” Thank Christ Adam isn’t here, I wouldn’t be able to control myself. “Are the defendants present?”

Simon’s lawyer rose, addressing the Judge, “Yes, your honor. Mr. and Mrs. Sheffield are seated to my right. My name is Keller Ross, and I will be representing their case, your honor.”

As Keller sat, the Judge asked, “Who will be representing the plaintiffs today?”

An older looking man rose, and said, “Your honor, I am Bill Jeffrey, and I will argue on behalf of the state.”

“Very good, Jeffrey and Ross, you may be seated.” Responded the Judge. She sounds…bored. Well fuck you too, bitch, you better do your job. This matters! As the two lawyers sat down, the Judge continued, “Gentlemen, I am Tracy Davids, and I will be presiding over this case. Now, from what I understand this case was appealed from a lower Court’s decision by Mr. Sheffield. Is this the council’s understanding?”

Keller stood, remarking “Yes, your honor, it is.” Before re-taking his seat. As the Judge looked to the plaintiff’s, Jeffrey simply nodded. Is he taking this seriously? Our case isn’t that hopeless, is it?

Jacobs pursed her lips, reviewing the document before saying “Due to the…severity of this documents implications, and the limitations of a single Judge presiding, I think it’s important to manage expectations, Mr. and Mrs. Sheffield. I find it unlikely that your son will be released to you today, however I will consider your arguments and potentially recommend this case for further review or a special conditional release, in the case I find issue with Social Services conduct in removing Adam from your care upon birth.” How dare she say his name. I just want my…my son. “I find these types of hearings to be more efficient allowing the plaintiffs to start. Go ahead Mr. Jeffrey.”

Standing, Jeffrey said, “Thank you, your honor, I’ll try to make this quick for you.” Smiling slightly, he walked forward, and continued in his monotone drivel, “Your honor, the defendants have demonstrated a clear pattern of neglect, abuse, and borderline criminal intent towards their son. All of this before he was even born!” Fuck you, you…bastard. I love Adam, you don’t know shit. “As if Gia Sheffield’s report to CPS wasn’t disturbing enough, I urge you to consider the toxicological reports, which found SMS traces of both heroin and MDMA in Mrs. Sheffield’s system.” As Jeffrey said this, he turned to look at Hadley. “As you likely know, your honor, this means it is a scientific fact that Mrs. Sheffield used both of these illegal and highly destructive drugs during the beginning of the second trimester or later. Due to this abuse, Adam was born prematurely, your honor.” Jeffrey’s face contorted into a vindictive, cruel, smile as he looked Hadley in the eye. “It’s a miracle that Adam was even born. An attempted murder case, would be far more appropriate under these horrendous circumstances than a simple custody battle.” As he finished, Hadley’s jaw started quivering and her eyes welled. He’s trying to fuck with me, I need to keep it together.

Gently, Simon reclaimed her hand under the table, squeezing twice, before tightening his grip. Hadley moved her right hand to rest on his. Thank God you’re here, Simon. Before Jeffrey could continue, Keller interjected, “Objection, your honor!”

Curtly, she responded, “Reasoning, Mr. Ross?”

Noticing the tone, Keller, exasperated, responded, “Your honor, besides the fact that Mr. Jeffrey seeks to intimidate my client by making aggressive faces at her, his argument is clearly speculative. He has no place making character assessments or suggesting a charge beyond the scope of this court.”

“She’s hardly on the stand yet, Mr. Ross. I see nothing wrong with Mr. Jeffrey’s opening statement. Please refrain from making comments about the oppositions face, moving forward.” Replied the Judge, smiling ever so slightly at Keller’s disbelief. She already thinks I’m unfit.

Chuckling, Mr. Jeffrey continued “I suppose I’ll end early, I think the court gets the gist of what’s happened here.” As Jeffrey returned to his seat, Simon’s hand tightened. Wincing in pain, Hadley looked up at her husband. His jaw had tightened, lips had folded into a snarl, and he was staring straight at the Judge. He needs to calm down, I’ve never seen that look. Hadley started messaging Simon’s forearm and kissed his shoulder.

Moving closer, she whispered, “She’s a bitch, it’s not our fault, we need to keep it together, honey. His face softened as he lowered his head in a defeated manner. I’m not sure I like that look any better.

Keller got up, approached the Judge, and said, “My clients admit they’ve made poor choices in the past regarding use of prohibited substances. But it has been stated time and again, that neither Mrs. or Mr. Sheffield realized that a pregnancy had occurred. When they did, Mrs. Sheffield immediately withdrew from all drugs that could harm her child. The test used is sensitive to the past six months, it was administered half a month after a premature birth, meaning Mrs. Sheffield could have stopped all use during the first trimester.” I tried. That has to count for something, right? “It’s widely available information that some women do not show in the first trimester, or even until the end of their second.” When you weigh one hundred and five pounds, you do. “As for my client’s sister in law, Gia Sheffield’s claims were both unwarranted and inaccurate, which I will demonstrate.” Keller moved back to his seat.

The Judge, looking unimpressed, turned to Jeffrey and asked, “Is your first witness present, Mr. Jeffrey?”

Standing, Jeffrey responded, “She is, your honor. Gia Sheffield please rise for testimony.” Hadley watched as Gia got up and walked towards the stand. She wore a modest, green dress that draped over her knees. She was a stout, uptight looking women in her early thirties, and stood at a modest 5’3. As she sat Hadley made eye contact and Gia pursed her lips into a conservative, almost sympathetic smile. Don’t give me that look, I’ve been trying to reach you for months. Gia’s eyes were a dark grey with brown accents near the center of her iris. She had a clear complexion, muted cheekbones, and a long, angular jaw. She’s pretty, nothing special though. 

The Judge recited, “Do you, Gia Sheffield, swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”

Wavering, in a mousy voice, Gia said, “I do.”

The Judge turned to Jeffrey and said, “Plaintiff’s witness.”

Nodding to the Judge, Jeffrey approached Gia, asking, “Mrs. Sheffield, is it true that on August fourteenth, two-thousand fifteen, you attended a party thrown by your brother in law, Simon Sheffield?”

“Yes.” Gia responded, looking down at her lap.

Nodding smugly, Jeffrey continued, “Mrs. Sheffield, could you describe both the nature of the party and what you saw Hadley Sheffield do at said party?”

Gia quickly glanced at Simon. Her face had an apologetic, almost guilty grimace. Looking back to the states lawyer, Gia answered, “Well, Simon and Hadley had just found out they were pregnant. Tom and I were really excited for them, since they’d been trying for about a year. So, I guess it was to celebrate the good news. I need to be clear, Simon, Tom, and I were having drinks, probably too many, but Hadley wasn’t. That was good, but about halfway into the poker game, I saw her go into the kitchen and take a white pill. Normally I wouldn’t think too much about it, but Tom had just had surgery to fix his L2 vertebrate, you know he lifts a lot at that gym, and I always tell him he should slow down.”

“Please focus on what Hadley Sheffield was doing, Gia.” Said the Judge, annoyed.

Cheeks flushing, Gia bit her tongue, and continued, “Sorry, anyway, after his surgery he had to take these little white oxycodone tablets. The pill I saw Hadley pick up looked an awful lot like that. So, I was worried about the baby, you know. So, around thirty minutes later, Simon and Tom went outside for a smoke break. I don’t smoke and I guess Hadley had quit for the baby. I suppose, we were left alone, so naturally we talked a little bit. Eventually, Hadley went to the restroom…” Gia paused, blushing deeper. “…and I went to the kitchen to look for the bottle, just to make sure, you understand. In the second drawer, down, there were a whole lot of bottles. I’m sure that Simon, being a big-time doctor had some stock for various reasons. But on top of the pile was a bottle of oxycodone, and it wasn’t prescribed to Hadley.” No…I don’t understand! Fuck you! Wasn’t your god-damn place to snoop around our private property. Bitch…

“Who was the bottle prescribed to, Mrs. Sheffield?” asked Jeffrey, looking self-satisfied.

Pausing a moment, seeming to not want to continue, Gia said “It wasn’t a name I recognized.”

Looking to the Judge, Jeffrey said, “Plaintiff’s rest the witness.”

The Judge, face flat and unreadable, inquired, “Would the defense like to cross examine the witness.” As she said this Jeffrey sauntered to his seat. He looks so relaxed, so sure he’s got us beat.

Rising, Keller answered, “Yes, your honor.” He approached Gia, a kind, exposed look marred his aged face. “I understand, you must have been very upset, Gia. Finding out your friend, no, your sister, may have been exposing her unborn baby to dangerous chemicals?”

Eagerly, Gia responded, “I was! I was devastated! I mean, I love Hadley, and I love Simon. They are family to me, and they’ve always been the nicest to me out of Tom’s relatives. I couldn’t believe it. But I had to file a report to CPS, I didn’t want to, but for Adam’s sake…” Friends? Friends would ask for the context before shouting off to CPS.

Nodding empathetically, Keller continued, “Under those circumstances, I’d be a wreck. I’d probably have a hard time knowing what to do next, too.”

Jeffrey stood, suddenly, and shouted, “Objection! This is speculation!”

The Judge, smiling, responded, “Questioning sustained.” Shows him right, maybe Jacobs isn’t a total cunt. That was bad, I need to work on my language, getting too jaded…

Nodding at the Judge, Keller continued, “Now, under the circumstances, you were upset. Rightly so. What you describe, the entire drawer of pills, is concerning to me. Yes, you saw Hadley take a white pill, and yes the oxycodone you found was white. But as exhibit c-7 clearly shows, eight of the seventeen pill containers in the drawer contained white pills, four of which are similar in size and shape to the oxycodone. One, of particular interest, was a folate supplement prescribed to Hadley.” As Keller said this, Gia’s face paled. “As you likely know, having had a child, folate is extremely important to the development of the fetus. Most new mothers are given this prescription. Now I’m not saying you did something bad, but considering the sheer number of pills in that drawer, wouldn’t it have been prudent to simply ask Hadley what she had taken?”

Gia’s pallor had taken on a ghostly hue, as she responded, “I…when I took folate, it was a green pill. I hadn’t even thought of that.”

Smiling kindly, Keller continued “I understand your confusion, but you see, Hadley was taking a concentrated form of folate, folic acid, which is generally sold in a white capsule or a white tablet casing.” Damn, I see why Simon wanted Keller so bad. 

Gia’s brow tightened in distress as her eyes welled up. Scrambling, she wiped her eyes, looking to Hadley, and pleaded, “I had no idea, I’m so sorry Hadley, Simon. I didn’t know.” You should have asked, Gia. Feeling a sudden pang of sympathy, Hadley nodded at Gia, smiling in slight reassurance. Some color returned to Gia’s face, as she wiped the tears from her cheek.

Looking to the Judge, who seemed more engaged at this point, Keller stated, “Defense rests, your honor.”

Head hanging, Gia pushed herself up and returned to her seat, avoiding Jeffrey’s gaze. He was giving her his look. Clearly, he’s unhappy with how that unfolded. Not so cocky now, eh? Maybe we aren’t screwed after all. Hadley looked to Simon and saw a thin, hopeful smile on his face.

_____________

Thanks for reading!

Next chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/03/daily-blog-9317/