In celebration of my muse's homecoming, I'm going to share an excerpt from THE HOUSE ON CARROLL STREET. I wrote this particular piece quite awhile ago. I hope you enjoy it! (warning--it's a darker piece and some may find it disturbing)
THE HOUSE ON CARROLL STREET
I could hear them. Little voices. Little voices coming from the trashcan by the door of my brother’s bedroom closet. Little voices whispering so rapidly, so quietly, I couldn’t quite understand what they were saying.
Mom told me the last time I heard the voices that it was just my imagination. I imagined a lot of things at night. Shadows turned into spiders sliding across the wall. Thomas's fat, six-toed paws padding across the linoleum turned into the feet of wicked little gnomes running under my bed. Yes, I knew it was just my imagination, but knowing that didn't make any difference. The fear was too real--and it won. Always. I pulled the covers over my head, and squeezed my legs together tighter, praying that the feeling would pass--praying that I wouldn’t have to walk by that trashcan filled with those scary little people and their scary little voices.
I pissed myself only once before. It happened four years earlier in first grade when Tanya McDonald decided to take a nap in the class bathroom. I didn’t know I could ask Miss Mills to use the one in the hall--so I sat at my desk, crossed my legs, and waited. I waited until the butterfly wings began tickling the back of my throat. By the time I stood, it was too late. Hot pee raced down the inside of my pumpkin-colored cable tights and flooded my new, white, patent-leather Mary Janes. Across the hall, Billy Maynard leaned across his desk and watched me through the open doors with those big, black-rimmed glasses magnifying his chocolate brown eyes. I loved Billy--but he saw me. He saw me piss myself.
And now, the butterflies were back--but, so were the voices.
Mom’s warm body lay motionless behind mine, holding me close. On the other side of her was my sister, Ann, who was two years older than me. A second bed held my younger brother, Mark, and two of my older brothers, Steven and Matt.
“What is it, Jaynie?”
“I have to pee.”
Mom pulled the covers down and we climbed out of bed. I buried my face in the lavender warmth of her flannel nightgown and wrapped my arms around her hips as she walked me across the frigid linoleum floor, past the trashcan full of those scary little people with those scary little voices, to the door of the closet. She opened it, grabbed a flashlight off a side shelf, turned it on, and aimed it at the floor. Two startled cockroaches scuttled out of the light, disappearing into the darkness.
“There you go, honey,” she whispered. “Try to do it quietly.”
The light reflected off the metallic sides of the make-shift toilet.
You see, this is what happens when my drunken father passes out at the bottom of the stairwell. I have to piss in a coffee can.