F5: Devils Temptation
So, whadayasay? How ‘bout it kid? A voice said in a still, small voice in Jane’s head.
You really wanna know what I say? Sure. Why not. So, whadayasay, how ‘bout it kid?
I say, shut up and go away.
Jane had been battling this voice since she was thirteen. It was a voice of comfort to her when she was most troubled, and, at times, seemed so tempting that she wanted so badly to say yes. She knew it was the voice of her own psychotic, suicidal subconscious, but to her it was the delicious and wonderful voice of death. There had been several occasions where she almost HAD said yes, but at the last second remembered that she had responsibilities to her friends and family.
There would be times when that voice would be silent for a long time, then there would be times when it would torture her during the day and haunt her in her dreams. It was always there, though not always audible, and it was always asking the same thing. So whadaya say? How ‘bout it? All it takes is a little pop on the window screen, a blade or that canister of Compound W Freeze Off, and your gone for good. No more pain or anguish over day-to-day life. So whadaya say? Ya wanna do it? I know ya do. How ‘bout it kid?
There had been many times when a few extra holes in her body, a lung full of dimethyl ether and isobutane, or maybe some nice hot lead for breakfast did not sound so bad, but she remembered that she was depended on and, in a way, needed. Though her family fought constantly, she could not leave her siblings, Aphrodite and Duncan, who were only ten months appart in age, with her frail, old grandparents, one of which was still working to keep a roof over their heads. As much as she hated life, and living, she could not trust that her siblings would take care of her grieving grandparents.
Her friends needed her just as much as her family did. Even though Jane did not get to talk to her friends much, or see them, she knew that killing herself would hurt them, and she could not do that to them, no matter how bad things seemed to be.
Still, she heard that still, small voice talking to her, haunting her dreams, making her dream of various methods of suicide, including her favorite--jumping into tornadoes. Though everyone else in those states were scared out of their pants of tornadoes, Jane loved them--mostly because she would dream about them. Living in Oklahoma did not help those crazy and exciting dreams go away either. But, at least to everyone else, Jane was a normal girl. Or that was what they thought, anyway.
It was Spring, the air was fresh and crisp, the grass was a deep forest green, the sky was clear and blue. Birds were flying about merrily as Jane and Catherine strolled around the park silently, listening to the birds chirping and lawnmowers in the background cutting grass, and thinking of various different things when the voice popped into Jane’s head.
So whadaya say? How ‘bout it kid?
You wanna know what I say?
Sure. Why not. So whadaya say, how ‘bout it kid.
I say shut up and go away.
Though Jane would have loved the idea, she was sure that Catherine, who stood next to her at about five foot eight, with medium brown hair to her shoulders and hazel eyes that turned blue when she cried, would not have liked it so much.
Right now they were just hanging out together, as friends should. School was out for the weekend, and it was perfect weather to just go outside and hang out like friends. Catherine could see a troubled look in her friends lovely hazel green eyes. The sun shone on her dark, chocolate hair that had been highlighted at the top of her head, making it shine bright and beautiful as it always had. A light breeze blew a few unruly strands into her face, which were promptly pushed behind her ear.
“What’s wrong Jane?” asked Catherine, concerned.
“Nothing.” She lied.
“You look troubled.”
“Just thinking about the stuff at home and about school.” she said. It seemed to convince her concerned friend.
“Well don’t. You are going to worry yourself into anemia. Besides, we are here to have fun, not worry about our personal lives.”
“Where to next?”
“How about Hot Shotz. You up for a Breve?”
“Not especially. Just the usual quad shot mocha with extra chocolate. My treat.”
Jane did not sound very enthusiastic about going to their favorite coffee shop, but Catherine could tell, or so she thought, that she was hiding the enthusiasm.
“Sure.” said Jane seriously.
They walked silently through the sun-shiny streets full of cheerful people. They stuck out like sore thumbs, two silent friends with somehow gloomy faces--at least on one face--walking down a street full of busy, smiling, talking men and women on their way to work, to pick up their kids from practice, or out to lunch with their own friends.
It had taken nearly half a mile to reach the little coffee shop in the little town in Oklahoma, but to Jane it had seemed like only seconds. Inside they could smell the tempting wafts of Illy coffee beans, the smell of mochas and breves and cappuccinos, all within a small shop on Bridge street. Janelle, one of Jane’s formal friends who was also about five eight with dark brown hair and bright blue eyes, was behind the counter, preparing a volcano--an iced coffee treat with chocolate, carmel, and whipped cream--for one of the customers that was already there.
He was standing in the back of the shop, back to Jane, reading a magazine. He looked about six foot two, with brown hair, khaki pants, and a beige shirt. He was a smart dresser, and one she recognized, even from behind. It was David; the same, handsome David that Jane had had a crush on since she was thirteen.
“Hey, David.” Catherine said, snapping his attention away from the magazine to the two girls standing near the counter. Catherine knew that Jane would have been too shy to say hi, and she had to get over it.
“Oh, hi Jane, hi Catherine.” he said in his deep, booming voice. His baby blue eyes seemed to sparkle at the sight of his two friends that had always stuck by him.
“Hi” Jane said timidly.
“You here for the usual?” he asked.
“Yup.” she said quietly, feeling that the bright burgundy walls were making the red in her cheeks even redder.
“Ever tried any thing else, like the volcano or a jet tea smoothie?”
“Yes,” answered Catherine, to Jane’s relief, “we have. We just prefer the usual sometimes.”
David nodded in confirmation.
“Good,” he said as he paid for his volcano and started to leave, “See ya later.” he said over his shoulder as he left the shop.
“Bye.” Said Jane and Catherine in unison.
“So, do you two want the usual?” asked Janelle, her eyes and face smiling.
“Yup.” said Catherine.
“Then that will be the usual.”
“All right.” Said Catherine as she pulled out a ten dollar bill and her punch card. Janelle gave Catherine her change and punched two holes in her card--just two away from a free drink--before she turned and got to work preparing an iced mocha for Catherine and a breve for Jane.
As Janelle prepared the coffee, Catherine nudged her friend in the ribs gently with her elbow as they watched David walking down the street out the window in front that read “Hot Shotz” with a picture of a steaming cup of coffee under it.
“I saw that.” She said teasingly.
“Saw what?” Jane said trying to act innocent.
“Duh, you blushed like a ripe tomato!”
“I am sorry but I can’t help it. I am glad he is coming around, though. I was worried about him.”
Jane was speaking of the recent events in which David’s supposed friends accused him of molestation, which he was aquitted of when he took a polygraph. Jane had known all along that he was innocent, but their father was a cop--a dirty one--and he wanted nothing less than to have David thrown in jail, even though he was only seventeen years old. Jane had felt so bad for him that she found herself crying over him when no one was around, bringing him and his family presents, and trying to do whatever she could to try and bring comfort to them. During that period, the voice was silent.
“Yeah, poor guy. Doesn’t know who to trust as a friend any more. I don’t rightly blame him. I considered them my friends too.”
“It seems so strange that they should do that, except for Jonas. I never did trust him.”
“I can see why. Well, at least he is showing his face in public now.”
“Yeah. I hear his new school is great and he loves it there. Maybe that is the reason why he is doing so well now. We should visit him during school sometime.” said Jane, fully knowing that she was the real reason why David had been doing so well.
“Good idea. How about tomorrow? Your meteorology class isn’t until one thirty and my biology isn’t until two. We can see him around eleven thirty or noon.”
“Sounds like a plan to me.”
“Start at your place?”
“Sure.” It was then that they were rung up by Janelle, who had finished their orders.
“Thank you, Janelle.” said Jane.
“No problem. Hey,” she said just as they were about to leave, “do you two know that guy? The one that was dressed in the tan?”
“Yes,” said Catherine, “he used to attend our school. Why do you ask?”
“He left his change. Maybe you can deliver it to him for me with this window sticker?” she said.
Janelle held out two dollars and fifty cents and a little strip of paper that you could barely see through to read the little words “Hot Shotz” in the same font that was on the front window.
“No problem.” said Catherine.
“Thank you.” she said.
They walked out the door, crossed the nearly empty highway that separated the plaza from the bank across the street, and went down the one-way street where David lived. They soon came to a tall, white house with a freshly mown front lawn, a beautiful flower garden in front, and a light blue front deck with two rocking chairs and various white plastic lawn chairs. Jane’s heart began to pick up speed as they approached the front door.
Bing, bong! Went the low, almost melancholy doorbell when Catherine pushed the little white bar. Loud, thumping steps were heard, and soon the door opened to reveal David’s handsome face.
“Hi, David,” said Catherine, “Janelle sent us to give you your change. You left it there.”
“Hmmm, I did. Thank you.” he said as Jane handed him his change and he went back inside a step or two, “Do you two want to come in?” he asked.
“No, thank you.” Said Jane. All she wanted to do was get out of there before her heart exploded and her face burned to a crisp.
“All right. See you two later. Thanks again.” he said as they left. After they had come within a few blocks of Jane’ house, Catherine spoke up.
“Jane, why did you do that?”
“Leave like that instead of going in and chatting with him. You have to get over that shyness of yours.”
“On my own time.”
Jane could now hear her family fighting as usual, and they were a block away.
“Look, I have to go now, I have errands to run,” she lied, “I would offer for you to come in, but I have to go, as in now.”
“All right.” said Catherine.
Catherine and Jane split, Catherine turning and going down the adjacent street and Jane going straight up the hill to her house where all the voices and screaming could be heard. Outside the greyish blue house, where half of the bushes were dead and the other half needed trimming, there was a weedy front yard that needed mowing, a brown Sharpe/golden retriever mix sitting in a hole in the bushes keeping cool, a pretty little budding flower garden in front of a large, lavender lilac bush, and a dirty porch swing on the front porch, just behind a grimy barbeque grill and a bright yellow bicycle. The driveway had four cars--a dark blue Dodge caravan, a burgundy Ford Taurus that was in pretty good shape for it’s age, a grey Chevrolet Spectrum that needed a paint job badly and an engine overhaul, and a dirty, black truck that was not used because no one bothered to get rid of the hornet’s nest that was housed in one of the holes on the side of the truck bed.
Jane walked up the long wooden ramp, not relishing what she would stumble upon once she opened the door, and walked inside. Her ears were nearly blasted out of her head by the screams and hollers of her sister as she fought with her grandmother to once again get her own spoiled and selfish way. Jane ignored the screaming, and went down into the basement to the sanctity and safety of her perpetually cool room.
Jane groped her way through the narrow passages that had been afforded her since they had built Aphrodite’s bedroom downstairs so her grandmother could have a room of her own. She was welcomed by a sweet rush of cool, perfumed air that seemed constant in her room no matter the time of year. Jane turned on her radio and listened to music as she read a book, laying on her bed. She had read only a few minutes when she heard the light little bing bong! of the false doorbell sound--the one on her laptop her mother had bought her--always gave whenever she had mail or when someone she knew online signed in.
Jane opened her laptop, signed in with her name and password that she had to use to keep Duncan out, and immediately signed into her Hotmail account, where she had three messages. Two were junk mail from hotmail, which she promptly deleted, and the other was from David.
It read in the usual chat room type:
thanks for dropping by my change. i had intended for her to keep the change, but that is all right. btw, i meant to tell u, but i guess i forgot. i don’t mind seeing you once in a while, it is nice seeing a friendly face once in a while, but can u plz cut it down a bit? i am not much of a social person, and i really appreciate my alone time. u can still come over, but plz no more than 1 or 2 times a month. david
Hot tears stung Jane’s eyes. She had known that he was not interested in her, but an e-mail like that was like telling her that he did not want anything to do with her.
(So whadaya say?)
She knew that he just wanted his alone time now, and figured that he really did not want to see anyone from his old life, no matter who it was, to remind him of what it was like. She did not blame him, but it still felt like someone had stabbed her with a dull knife and then had given that knife a few good twists. She had done everything to cheer him up when he was down, and it had obviously worked. Maybe it had worked too well.
Her heart ached like crazy, and she wished she could tell him how she really felt--that she loved him--but deep down inside her heart she knew she could not. She was too afraid of what he might say or do if she did. Would he hate her? Would he tell her never to see him again? Would he start being cruel to her? Jane did not know, nor did she want to risk it.
Jane closed her laptop forlornly, not bothering to shut out of hotmail, and put it on the inflatable chair that was next to her door where she usually kept it. She sat on her bed, hot tears that she could not feel flowing from her red-rimmed eyes and down her pink cheeks, wondering if maybe she was starting to lose her mind. Slowly her thoughts shifted from David and the goings on around him, to plans of her own death. Where, when, how, and what she would be dressed in. Every detail was crucial.
(So whadaya say? How ‘bout it kid?)
Once she realized what she was doing, Jane snapped herself back to reality. She was letting the voice take control of her again. She had more important things to think about, like homework she had gathered over the weekend from her meteorology school, her job there, and some of the weather reports that were coming in. She went into the kitchen and started to prepare dinner, which was later eaten quickly and greedily by her grandparents, Duncan, Aphrodite, and, admittedly, herself. The pork steaks, potatoes and vegetables seemed to do some good, though she really did not taste them much, and somehow helped put her mind at ease just a little.
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