Mixing it up with the Writer Gal Letters are short stories that I experiment with, for form, for storytelling, for exploring the darkest, most heinous side of human nature. And, because my MA lit prof once told me I could never write a short story.
Tainted is part five of a short titled ‘Remorseless Beauty.’ I hope you enjoy it.
Three hours later, I sat in a state of shock while Principal Stevens explained things. Things like an internet profile, abuse of school property and gang rape echoed in my aching head. And I didn’t really understand anything. I couldn’t understand anything at all.
“Mrs. Appleton, do you understand what I am saying?”
I said nothing. Words like expulsion and lawsuits were ringing in my ears. And I still couldn’t comprehend anything. My cell phone, the one I had finally switched off in desperation, was an accusation as it sat on the oak table of the Principal’s office.
I heard THE VOICE in my head. It was all I could hear.
The principal shoved a monitor to my face. Just to get me to focus. And there it was. My picture and my profile. Nude. Bare. Laid for all to see.
Tainted. Wrong. WRONG.
The scream rose in my head again. The Principal clicked a button and Del’s beautiful face filled the screen. And the five words that were in screaming bold letters, they filled the rest of the page. I shook her head. How could this have happened? Who would do something like this to my baby girl? Who would be so monstrous?
“I’m sorry,” I said dully, for lack of anything else to say.
“Mrs. Appleton, I am sure you appreciate the gravity of the situation. You do, don’t you? You can understand why Delilah can no longer study here and I know, I know it’s a hard time for you now. But we at Hemery have enough problems and enough statistics to deal with. Delilah invited this trouble on herself and we can’t help her anymore. With her substance abuse and everything else…” Principal Stevens trailed off.
“Del, where is she?” I whispered.
“In the Trauma ward of Hemery General. I am so sorry, Mrs. Appleton. I wish–” The Principal shrugged. What could he say, exactly?
I nodded, even though the pounding in my head increased unbearably. “Someone can take you there, Mrs. Appleton. Although I think, Social Services is getting involved. Someone’s there right now, taking your daughter’s statement, if I am not wrong.” He added almost as an apology. An afterthought
I barely heard him.
Where did I go wrong? How could I face my baby now? The tears started again. I broke down. It was embarrassing and no one seemed to want to stop me. To give me comfort. The curse of a world that had seen it all. That could only condemn and judge.
I wanted to tell them, I DIDN’T DO IT. I am not that woman. I AM NOT! You know me. I am part of your school’s Booster Club. But who would believe her? There were phone calls. Emails. There was legitimacy to everything. And who would believe a Scarlett woman? So I didn’t protest. What was the point? And now my baby, my little girl, the tears came down in full force.
What had they done to her!
Vicious monsters. MY GOD…where was the justice in all of this? Where was God when you needed him? Why didn’t he come to help my fourteen-year-old daughter?
Ginger walked in a daze to the bed of her traumatized daughter. She looked so pale, so lifeless, breathing through tubes. The nurse she was, the mother she had been cried out at the small form that lay on the bed. And there was a dark-dressed woman who was looking at her curiously. Distastefully.
That lady from Social Services.
Statistic. They were just another statistic.
Like the lives of Grace and Delilah Appleton had been reduced to two profiles on the most popular pornographic site and whatever judgments the authorities could make from then on. The School. Social Services. Every person with a penis who had access to the internet. The Hospital Board which would soon get to her. Now that everyone knew her big secret. The courts, if the school was anything to go by, would come after her too.
Prison…..Ginger started hyperventilating as spiraling images of disaster started hitting her, one after the other. All of them more horrific than the next. What was she going to do? WHAT WAS SHE GOING TO DO?
Ginger screamed then. As if she couldn’t stop screaming …
Eyes wild with unseen terror. Face tearing up in pain and agony and anger. Her body collapsing under the terrible strain it was under. And all the while her daughter, victim of a vicious gang rape lay in her semi-conscious state and breathed through tubes while a monitor beeped for her. The lady from Social Services asked for help and figured this one was a lost cause before anything could even be implied.
She thought as to what she could put in her report and not condemn the daughter to prison…
To Be Continued…