Monday, November 10, 2008


I awake shivering. It can’t be but maybe 5:00am and the moans from below my treehouse pyre softly rumble into a background noise. There are other noises; the first twitterings of Mourning Doves and an owl hooting in a distant tree.

The throb in my punctured arm is nothing compared to the throb in my head – a dehydration headache perhaps. Or maybe from lack of daily caffeine. I carefully and slowly roll over and look through the cracks in the rotten wood at the nemeses below. The Damned. Nothing changed overnight; still two rotting children, two rotting men – circling the tree, moaning. I need to get out.

My chest tightens signaling a long overdue panic attack. I slowly sit up causing the wood underneath me to groan. My breathing gets quicker and my chest hurts. I close my eyes and try and meditate on The Five Precious Wounds. A little residual Catechesis. It takes me about twenty minutes to calm myself and breathe regularly and by that time the morning light is creeping in to brighten the sky. I put dawn at about 5:50am. I look around to see if there is anything I can use to help myself out of here. Nothing. No hidden Indiana Jones rope tucked away in the corner, no matches, no gun, no miracle, nothing.

My parents’ house is about a football field’s length away. If I start screaming when I think they’ll be awake, I might have a chance to get out my S.O.S. Maybe someone will come running in on a steed of metal to save me.

At about 7:00am when I think my family would be awake I clear my throat and start my screaming:


I space out my screams so it sounds intentional and not like I am actually being killed. I do this for about an hour and forty-five minutes straight and with every moment of silence that follows I lose more and more hope. My dry throat burns and my vocal cords, strained and abused, refuse me any further service. A raspy cigaretty sexy voice of desperation. I give in to a good five minute crying session. In my fit, my hand claws at the end of a rotten wood floor plank and unconsciously pulls… the edge tears off in a long splintered piece. I hold it up in front of my dirty tear-streaked face and touch the surprisingly dense yet splintery sharp tip. Oak was always reliable, even when dead. Maybe it would work. It could penetrate skull, maybe. I didn’t have a choice now. Do or die. Or both. I hope the internal rot of these freaks has mushened their bones.

Like a madwoman I start ripping at the edge of the rotten floorboards, yanking up yard-stick long pieces to use as weapons, embedding many nasty splinters into my own skin. When I had about six good sized pieces I took my shirt off and wrapped it around the bunch and tied it to my back like a rigged bundle. A she-MacGuyver in a white Wal-Mart bra. The hard part would be gingerly climbing down the makeshift and crumbling ladder to get just within reach to plant the spear-sticks into their rotting heads. To do this without putting myself in jeopardy would be a trick.

My hands were moist with sweat and shaking I lower myself to the first step. Moaning continues below and gradually loudens when the beasts realize I am coming down the ladder. Another step. This one feels a bit more shaky. I pray the nails don’t give up their duties. One more, honey, come on. My chest and stomach scrape desperately against the bark of the oak, sending small dead pieces of wood shrapnel and dust raining down. My hands are not doing me any favors by sweating so profusely. My fear of heights does not help. Then I get to the magic step. It seems firm enough. I trust this piece of wood and it could be my doom, but I balance both feet as I twist my body sideways. My feet are just out of clawing reach and I cling to the trunk with all my shaking might. I reach back into my makeshift shirt-bundle and – OUCH! I stick myself with an end of a spear. Stupid! Ignoring the pain, I manage to grope and grab the first oak spear, balancing and clinging to the tree with one hand like a spider monkey. A scared one. I hover and wait with my spear upraised for the best opportunity to nail the first one through the top of the skull…

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