Hello, people of Hive, here I leave my participation for this Writing Challenge, Season 2 Week 4 by @theinkwell.
I want to thank you for the value you have given to my stories in this community and for the possibility of continuing to publish in this space. So it's a pleasure to publish again in @theinkwell, which as you know is a Hive community started by @raj808 and run by @shanibeer and @stormlight24 with support from @carolkean and @jayna.
A STORY FOR SOPHIE
I do it exceptionally well.
I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I’ve a call.
Being right is a lonely place. That's what I was thinking about while we waited for David -my brother- until late. Well, I always hoped he would come. My mother, father and Sophie -David's girlfriend- fell asleep earlier; my parents were drunk. The idea was to welcome him with a party. The celebration was double. David had finally finished his military service and Sophie was expecting his child.
From the morning, Mom and Sophie tidied up the house and put up some decorations and a banner that said "Welcome Home, David". For his part, Dad did some shopping that my mother had ordered for him, including beer and some sausages that would serve as appetizers.
Nobody, neither mom nor dad, went to work. Mom requested special permission to celebrate her son's arrival and Dad, since he was self-employed, took the day off. However, I did have to go to school in the morning which, as always, was boring. If it weren't for Sylvia, who sits next to me, I would spend the whole day seriously disrupting my class.
The truth is that after lunch at home, I went up to my room and read Jules Verne's story that I like so much.
I fell asleep for a while; I woke up, took a shower and went for a ride on my bike. Together with my friends I passed by the building where, they say, a woman lives who shows her tits for little money.
I was in charge of going up to the woman's house (second floor, second apartment) as I was the only one who had not had the pleasure of seeing her. I tried to get closer and I saw a child snuggling up to her door. The child looked sad, I was extremely nervous; it seemed as if I was committing a crime. I moved my ear to the door and heard sounds similar to those I heard when I watched forbidden movies at Louis' house.
I approached the boy, he must have been about nine or ten years old, too young for the aggression he showed towards me when I asked him if he was waiting for the woman who was showing her breasts to come out. He tried to hit me with an object he had in his hands - maybe a rock, I don't know - and I walked away when I saw two children coming out of the house next door to help him. I ran down the stairs, grabbed my bike and rushed out with my friends. I crushed part of the garden in front of the building and almost tripped over some girls who were swinging in a kind of park that the inhabitants of the building had made for their children's recreation.
We moved away from the building, very close to my house, by the way. I said goodbye to my friends, because at home, I explained, they were waiting for my brother to arrive. They called me a coward and whistled at me as I ran home.
When I arrived I found my parents already celebrating; they were very happy with the arrival of the first grandchild - true happiness according to a Chinese proverb, they said. But my brother had not yet arrived and I was bored. To distract myself, I went to my room and turned on the TV. I had to turn up the volume, as the music my parents had put on would not allow me to hear properly.
Due to the celebration, there was no dinner. So I had to join the party to eat what was on the table. While I was doing this, my mother took me to the center of the room to dance with her. I was totally embarrassed, especially when Sophie looked at me and smiled.
Well into the night, everyone was already annoyed with the wait. The first one to go to sleep was Sophie, she said she felt bad and my mother thought it was because of the pregnancy. I think there was something else, because once she had locked herself in the room she was going to share with my brother, I went to the door and heard or seemed to hear her crying.
Then Dad must have put Mom to bed after she threw up in the kitchen. I sat on a couch nearby where Dad had left his drink. I waited for him to come down and lock the door and turn off the lights.
I tasted Dad's drink and it tasted like a demon (I mean, I've never tasted a demon and I don't think you can). Dad must have fallen asleep too, since he didn't come down.
I was there for a while, thinking about what the woman in the building's tits would look like. At the same time I felt that they opened the door, I got up, scared, to see what it was. My brother arrived, with a certain smell that denounced his state of intoxication, very happy. He hugged me and showed me the gifts he had brought from afar.
While I was opening the gifts, I accidentally spilled the glass that contained Dad's drink. Its color changed to red, like blood, and it spread all over the floor as if some pipe had broken. I got very scared and woke up.
I got up and went to drink water, I was very thirsty. At that moment, just like in the dream, someone opened the door. When I went to see who it was, my brother ran into his room. He didn't even notice my presence. I went after him. Sophie got up when she heard the noise David was making and was shocked to see him crying and hugging his legs.
The next day, I woke up curious, wanting to know why David had arrived so disturbed. The last thing I remember from the night before is that Dad, hearing the noises, got up in a panic and, realizing that it was David who had arrived, went to the room that my brother shares with Sophie. He was surprised to find him in that state, he must have thought I was drunk because he said "damn liquor" and sent me to sleep; but before sleeping, he objected, I should lock the door and turn off the lights, no, not turn them off, leave them on. I saw David getting up and hugging Dad, and Dad when he waved his finger at me and closed the door to the room.
I turned on the TV. I don't usually do that at that time in the morning because they only show news. But I turned it on, because the noise could keep me awake and I needed it to prepare for my trip to school. The TV was broadcasting the news about the death of some students during a protest in the last few days. I washed my face, got dressed, packed my bag and went to the kitchen for breakfast.
I don't know if it was a surprise to see my whole family in the kitchen. They were not happy, they looked worried. David was sitting at the table with his head down, Sophie was lying on a piece of furniture, Mom was walking back and forth in the kitchen like she was playing a game and Dad seemed to be looking at the press rather than reading it.
For the first time, no one paid any attention to me, nor did they serve me breakfast. Then Mom said we were going on a trip, on vacation; to Uncle Richard's beach house; that he would not refuse to lend the house because he had always offered it and she had never used it.
I thought Mom had gone crazy, but deep down I wished with all my strength that what she was saying was true so I wouldn't have to go to school. Sophie got up and served me bread and butter, scrambled eggs and coffee and milk. Everyone, except for me and Sophie, left the kitchen; I saw my parents talking, then Dad went outside and I thought he had gone to work without remembering to take me to school; Mom ran up to her room after David handed her a suitcase.
I asked Sophie if she would not go to school and she said no, she thought she would not. She also left the kitchen. After I finished breakfast I went into the living room and tried to turn on the TV, but David's terrified scream stopped me. It was the first time, since he arrived, that he addressed me and did so to scold me. I didn't understand why I couldn't watch TV, but David came up to me, hugged me and said "I'm sorry, I'm sorry; don't turn it on, okay?" I nodded and sat down on a piece of furniture in the living room. I looked in my purse for my pencil and notebook and set out to finish writing a story I came up with yesterday after the bike ride.
After a while, Dad arrived saying that he had already got the keys and Mom came down with the suitcase, which was quite heavy. Dad helped her and carried the suitcase to the car. Then we all boarded and left for Uncle Richard's beach house.
The tour was not like others we had done to different places at different times. Everyone, except for me, was (rather) tense and very serious, as if nervous. Nobody said a word and I took the opportunity to finish writing my story, and showed it to Sophie. It was called Incident, it went something like this:
It was in the morning, early. The two brothers (children about ten and twelve years old respectively) leave their house –an apartment rather. As they leave they find Johnny, their neighbor, distressed and waiting on their doorstep.
–What do you do?–, asks the older brother.
–I'm waiting for my mother to finish–, he answered.
–Finish what?–, asked the younger brother.
–Go to the door and listen carefully–, he asked the brothers.
Children, though they don't fully understand, sense. They are sex noises.
–Let's go to the street and play–, proposed one of the children.
They run down the stairs, as if in a hurry. They walk for a while on the swing. Marcus, the youngest of the brothers, finds a long gun near the garden. He doesn't know what it really is, perhaps a toy forgotten by a neighborhood child. It's heavy and he can't carry it well. Robert, his older brother, takes the gun away from him and points it at him and Johnny. He plays for a moment, threatening them. He pulls the trigger and is surprised by its effect. It happened so quickly that he didn't even realize he had hurt his brother and his friend. They were on the floor, bleeding, as if they were sleeping.
Sophie didn't think it was right that at my age (eleven, although I would soon be twelve) I should write about vulgarities and even less so about death; that I was a child and had to think about other things. I explained to her that I knew those children, who tried to beat me up, and she asked me why. Then I did not know what to answer, I blushed, bowed my head and said "for nothing, for nothing". At that moment Dad stopped the car at a gas station, I pretended to want something to drink and got out of the car with Mom who was going to buy some things.
In the store, a very pretty girl worked as a cashier, in a way similar to Sophie. From the moment I entered, I did nothing but look at her, she noticed and, when I went with mom to cancel the purchase, she gave me a candy that I took gratefully and kept in my pocket.
When we left, Dad was already waiting for us with the car running. We left right away and I fell asleep for a while (I don't think for a long time) until Dad woke me up because we had already arrived at the site.
It was hot, but a refreshing breeze was blowing from the sea. We went down some rocky stairs, with quite a few trees on either side, to get to the house. It was not, as Uncle Richard said, majestic; rather modest, but beautiful. It had three bedrooms (the necessary ones), two small bathrooms, a kitchen-dining room and a spacious living room. It was surrounded by many trees, as if hidden. It had a side door that faced the stairs where we came from and a door that faced the sea, with four or five steps to go down to the beach.
We were there for several days, and I was really happy for several reasons. First, because I was not going to school; then, I was with the whole family; and, above all, I had the beach at my disposal at all times.
During those days, everyone in the family was more relaxed and happy. Dad rarely went to the city and that was when we needed something. Mom received constant calls to her cell phone from work to advise on some situations. She said that, considering her situation, she had been given the necessary permission to spend a few days away from work and home. David and Sophie spent time together, sometimes arguing in front of everyone and no one saying anything. But once, when I passed by the kitchen, I heard Mom reproach Sophie for ordinary fights in front of the rest of the family, she had to do it in private. Most importantly, though, we all spent most of our time on the beach together, and once in a while, Dad and David tried to fish in Uncle Richard's boat without much success. We rarely ate fish or seafood, as if the proximity to the sea prevented us from abusing its blessings.
But nothing lasts forever. Everything changed when one night we were visited "cordially" (so one of them said) by a group of men in uniform (I don't recognize the type of uniform, but it looked like a movie) and with long weapons. Everyone in the family (except me again, of course) seemed to be expecting that visit. Dad, when he saw the men standing by the doors, said he would get the shotgun, but Mom stopped him; David and Sophie hid in the room. For a moment I thought they had forgotten about me. Mom went to the door and opened it as if to welcome some friends. Then she went to Dad and the men came in quietly, preceded by what seemed to be their boss, who said his name -Mumford or something like that- and said they were looking for David, who was to report to the army as soon as possible. Mother said she hadn't seen David for a few weeks when he went on leave and mentioned that he would be leaving the service in a few days.
The man didn't believe it, of course, and with a slow voice and confident tone he said that they were coming to protect David (he called him by his last name); that there were people interested in harming him and they were coming to help him; they also asked, as a favor, that he be allowed to search the house and he gave a hand signal (which seemed to mean an order) to the rest of the men. There seemed to be many of them and they began to search every corner of the house.
When one of them tried to open the door to the room where David was supposed to be, Dad tried to stop him and was hit hard in the stomach. Mom got upset and was thrown to the floor, so I went over to the man who pushed Mom and bit him on the hand, but he kicked me and I fell to the floor as well. Anyway, they were able to open the door and David wasn't there, you could just see Sophie lying on the bed as if nothing bad was happening.
The truth is that David had escaped, through the window or through the roof, although I was not at all sure what was happening.
At the end of the search, the men, in a bad mood, gave up and left, apologizing for the inconvenience caused. Dad asked me if I was feeling okay and I lied, saying yes, I had nothing. Mom tried to call someone and Dad said it wasn't worth it, that the phone was probably being monitored, that we would wait for David to come back (Sophie had confirmed his escape) and leave.
I had to go to bed, after all I felt bad, and the others stayed waiting in the living room; but David didn't come back, surely he thought that the men who were looking for him were going to stay close by. So Dad woke me up very early and announced our retirement from the beach house.
I was sad, really; not only were we walking away from the beach, but we didn't know anything about my brother. Like everything else, the trip was slow, boring; I tried to write something that would please Sophie, until we got home.
I went to my room, slept for a while, woke up and took a shower. I was hungry and went to the kitchen to eat something. The phone rang and I went to answer it, but Mom stopped me. She answered and cursed the caller a thousand times. Soon Sophie explained that someone was calling just to annoy me. I said I was hungry and Sophie made me something. Then I tried to go outside and was told I couldn't, that no one would leave the house until things were fixed.
I sat down next to Sophie and told her that I had changed the story; that her name was now Prima Vera. She asked me what it was about; then I told her that the characters and the setting were the same elements of the previous story, only this time the children did not kill each other, nonsensically (incidentally it was the right word), with a gun. In this story, a girl arrived at the building, a cousin of one of them, whose name was Vera; it turns out that the three of them fall in love with her and end up fighting, with a clean shot, for Vera's love.
Sophie told me that despite appearing to be a quiet child, I always think about violence. I thought that was an offense, so I went to my room to watch TV.
In the evening I went down to the living room, everyone looked calmer, serene. After a while the phone rang and I thought the insults were still going on, Dad answered and was happy when he heard my brother's voice. "It's David" he shouted and, moved, repeated everything David said so that those of us present could hear. "He needs money; that we meet, in a while, in such a place; that I make sure that nobody follows me; that he sends greetings to all and a kiss for Sophie; he cannot speak for long; goodbye son, take care".
I saw Sophie excited, her eyes watering. Dad sent me to sleep and I said I wasn't sleepy, but contradicting myself that it didn't matter, that I had to go to bed anyway. When I went up to my room, I saw that Dad was keeping something on his waist, and he went outside.
Once I was in my room, I thought that the best option I had was to write. I had to forget about that stupid story that Sophie didn't like and I started to write a poem that I didn't finish because I fell asleep for a while. I dreamt that David and Sophie were traveling to an unknown and beautiful place where their son would be born. The paradox was that I was upset because I would not see them for a long time.
I woke up and wanted to go down thinking that - erroneously - they had all gone to sleep. From the upper corridor I could see that mom and Sophie were in the living room, anxious, as if waiting for some event. Then the phone rang and Mom was startled, and I was scared too. I wanted to know who I would talk to, so I went to Mom's room, where there is another phone. I waited for Mom to pick up the phone and, imitating her, listened to the conversation.
I knew that was wrong, forbidden, it had been a long time since I had done that because of the punishment I had been given last time. Nevertheless, I felt that this time it was important to listen. It was Dad who was calling, his voice sounded distant and you could tell that he was speaking in a disturbed way, slowly but surely. He said that David had not arrived at the place where they had agreed, that he had waited there for an hour or two, that he had gone for a walk and returned, but David had not arrived at all, he asked an innkeeper if he had seen a boy with his characteristics, but no, no one had seen him. He was alarmed and thought of going to the police, then he realized it was a stupid idea. So he stayed for a while, going back and forth. Mom didn't interrupt at all what Dad was saying; maybe she sensed something, since she always talks the most. After that, Dad kept telling, he received a call informing him that his son had been attacked in the street by some thieves and seriously injured. He asked where he was, but they had hung up on him. Mom cried bitterly and threw the phone away. I heard the noise and went to see, distantly, what was happening. Mom threw away everything she had in her reach and Sophie tried to calm her down, hugging her, and cried just like Mom. I thought about finishing the story to try to please Sophie somehow, but nothing at home, from that day on, was the same.