Trapped

Glad you could join us for the next terrifying episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…

Elliot T
Photo credit: Hendy Mp

“Please allow me to introduce you to a few Members of the Brotherhood of the Holy Mansion. They are here to collect your Donation.”

Scritchy-scratchy tiptoes scraped from every crack and crevice as tiny green versions of the large orange stranger closed in on Elliot in a creeping, tightening circle. He swiveled his eye stalks wildly searching for Cassandra. He didn’t find her. She must have escaped, he thought. I couldn’t live with myself if anything happened to her! But he kept looking. He needed to be sure.

The stranger stepped up onto a rocky outcrop against the far granite wall beneath a sheltering overhang, and observed the scene with a look of beneficence.

“Little Brothers!” he called, “The Great Spirit Man’Tis, Granter of Prayers, is well pleased with the Work you have done so far. Now, in answer to our Prayers, he brings us yet another Gift — a fine, if smallish, Donation of Construction Materials! This Child of the World, heavy with the World’s Burdens, has come here of his own Free Will. It is your Job to relieve him of the Weight he bears and transfer it to our Hallowed Hill of Shells.”

“Wait!” Elliot yelled. “I’m not giving you my home!”

“My Child,” the stranger said, “of course you are. Imagine the Glory of Sunlight gleaming through Walls built of Shell. Pinks and Ambers, Golds and Purples, suffusing the Holy Mansion with Magnificence beyond Imagination! It is your Destiny.”

“NO!” Elliot bellowed as one of the Brothers leaped onto his back and stabbed his neck with a needle-sharp finger. Elliot jerked forward in pain leaving the edge of his shell exposed to the vice-like grip of the determined thief.

With a sluicing slurp, the shell began to separate from Elliot’s writhing body.

To be continued…

Previously, on Elliot’s Adventures ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Next time . . .


Today’s twofer from April 26, 2016:

Trust

I injured my dancing doll. I don’t know how old she was, but I was four. It was kind of an accident, but if I’d understood the physics of stress, I might have saved her.

Doll 1
Not my Dancing Doll, but probably a distant cousin. Mine had a cloth face and a softer expression.

She was lying on the bed with one of her arms stuck out between the mattress and the foot board. I was going to take her with me, so I grabbed her arm and pulled. My four-year-old brain assumed that because she was soft, her body would smoosh down to fit through the narrow space, and expand again when she came out on the other side. You know, like real babies do when they’re being born.

She was not a real baby, and I was stronger than her stitching. A brief ripping sound and I was bouncing on my booty with Dancing Doll’s detached arm dangling in my hand.

“Oh, no, Dancing Doll!” Me. Jumping to my feet, horrified.

I yanked the rest of her off the bed and ran to my mom as fast as if my poor friend might be bleeding to death. (No one said “bleeding out” back then.)

Mom was busy homemaking, but when I showed her Dancing Doll’s pieces, she said:

“Calm down. I can fix it.” Mom the Homemaker

And so I entrusted my dear Dancing Doll to Mom’s care.

I waited what I thought was long enough — days, weeks — all right, I forgot about Dancing Doll until I remembered. It might have been months later. When I asked Mom if she’d sewed Dancing Doll’s arm back on, she looked at me like I’d asked if she’d made mud pies for dinner. She said:

“That old thing? I got rid of her a long time ago.” Mom the Trust Breaker

If I’d understood Dramatic Effect, I would have fainted.

Flash forward approximately one year. I was five, and I was playing with my stuffed dog, Ebony, my oldest surviving toy. (Grandma Ranscht had given him/her — I never could determine Ebony’s gender — to me for my very first Christmas.)

Somehow, Ebony ended up covered with something that might or might not have been bath powder. I tried my best to dust it off, but there was no removing the fine particulate that changed his/her black fur to a dark, dusty charcoal. I was prepared to live with it, hoping it would eventually leave of its own accord, but Mom came in and saw the mess. She might have been putting laundry away, or maybe I’d been quiet too long. She said:

“Here, I’ll fix it.” Mom the Homemaker/Toy Vanisher

Reluctantly placing Ebony in her outstretched hand, I asked in a quavering voice:

“Are you going to throw Ebony away?” Me. Remembering.

She looked at me like I’d asked if she planned to drown my little sister Kim during her bath.

“Of course not. I’m going to throw him in the wash. Why would you think I’d throw him away?” Mom the Forgetful

Dancing Doll and I knew why. I followed Mom to the laundry room. Just to be sure.

I was there when she took Ebony out of the washer and the cloth under both ears was slightly blue. She offered to wash him again to try and get the blue out, but I wasn’t willing to risk that it wouldn’t work and she’d think Ebony was unfixable and I’d never see him/her again. So I told a fib:

“No. It’s okay. I like the blue.” Me. Fibbing.

And I was there when Mom emptied the dryer. Just in case. Ebony’s ears were still distinctly blue, but I hugged that warm little stuffed dog and took him/her back to my room. Eventually, the blue left of its own accord. As you can see:

IMG_4027
I took this picture yesterday. See how well-loved Ebony is? Woody, Winnie-ther-Pooh, and Velveteen Rabbit would be proud.

Most of the time it takes a major betrayal to shake our trust in someone we love, but sometimes, it’s a small thing they aren’t even aware of. Do you remember the first time you lost trust in someone you loved?

#AtoZChallenge A-to-Z Fictioneers: Interested in original fiction? Here’s a list of writers who are writing stories for the 2017 A to Z Challenge. The author’s link will take you to their “A” post. If you know of any other story writers I can share, please drop the link in the comments!

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Author: Sue Ranscht

I am a writer. Let me tell you a story...

32 thoughts on “Trapped”

  1. What a precarious situation Elliot is in! Hopefully Cassandra is getting help and will come to the rescue :O

    I distinctly remember a similar loss, and it’s a story I tell quite often, because it taught me a valuable if heartbreaking lesson. When I was a little girl, my mother would often straighten my hair with a hot comb, literally a metal comb that heats up to a very high temperature. It served to straighten many a little black girl’s hair, and it…sucked. Because you want to get as close to the root as possible, I was always getting burned by the comb, and God forbid if my mother put grease in my hair before hand, because the heat would melt the grease and hot grease burns are awful. If I complained or flinched away, my mom would yell at me, which I know now is absolutely terrible, but at the time, though I knew it was wrong/unfair, it wasn’t something I could possibly question nor did I have the wherewithal to do so. I’d just have to sit there and deal with it, and I hated it, because well, who wants to have their scalp burned?

    Anyway, I finally grew tired of it and I hid the comb by throwing it deep into the closet in my parent’s bedroom. When the time came to straighten my hair, she couldn’t find it since I’d hidden it, and she asked me where it was. I lied and said I didn’t know. After a week of trying to find it, she finally probably got wise and asked me if I’d hidden it. I said that I hadn’t. Then (and this is where I learned my lesson), she told me I could tell her if I’d hidden it and she wouldn’t get mad, and I fell for it. I told her, and OF COURSE she got mad and probably slapped the sh*t out of me. I was so angry at myself for falling for it, but I know as an adult that of course I would. Why wouldn’t I trust my mother at that age (I was probably around 7 or 8)? The lesson learned was not not to lie, but don’t get caught in a lie. If I’d continued to say I didn’t know where the comb was, I wouldn’t have gotten caught. It taught me I needed to be a better liar and I couldn’t trust my mother at her word. She had no problems being manipulative to find out the information she needed, and it was such a heavy emotional blow. I was totally justified in not wanting to be burned by a hot, metal comb, and it wasn’t okay that she’d get mad at me for flinching away from it when she’d burned me numerous times.

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    1. Damn. I’m sorry that happened to you. As kids, I think we mostly feel that we have no choice but to accept the way our parents treat us. We can feel the unfairness of it, but it’s a confusing message until we develop enough independence to fight back. She was wrong about the comb and she was wrong about the manipulative lie. As an adult, I imagine she had some very strong feelings about what that hot comb could do for you, and she believed she was doing what was best for you — of course it wasn’t her intention to burn you, but the stakes were high enough in her mind to justify any pain you experienced. The lesson you took from that event was completely predicable. As parents, we have to learn to ask what our choices teach our kids. Are we just passing down our own fears and insecurities? Is there a way to change that into a lesson about self-acceptance? Believe me, it’s an intensely deliberate process, and we have to make the effort to see who the child really is before we can decide what’s best. What would Brylan be like now if my message had been that he needed to hide his love for Baby Jason from the other kids because they might make fun of him? Imagine a childhood of those messages.

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      1. Being a parent is without a doubt the hardest job in the world. You are literally the next generation. It terrifies me to think that I might mess up another human being beyond repair when/if I do have children. People have told me that the fear I have is a good thing because it means I’ll be thinking about it BUT I also don’t want to constantly be questioning myself. I do watch the growing number of my parent friends, and I see how they do things. I really like my one single mom friend who has never used any physical punishments with her son. She listens to him, lets him be himself, but I remember one day I saw her count to three and before she got to that number, he did what she asked. Respect is not the same thing as fear, and I’m afraid many people conflate the two.

        See, you’re asking the right questions! I also think too many people believe “If I don’t do this, my child won’t be that” where the “that” is just who/what they are. The only way you can really fail at parenting is if you don’t love your children unconditionally, which I know sounds a bit childish itself, but it’s something I firmly believe.

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        1. Hard, yes, particularly if you’re doing it alone. But also, I think, the most rewarding job. Every first time parent I know says the same thing I thought when Brylan was born: I had no idea this kind of love existed. Even if your parents gave you unconditional love, it looks and feels different from the parent’s perspective. I promise you, until you’re a parent, you will never love anyone the way you’ll love your children.

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  2. What a horrible experience, for you and Elliot. I’m glad it helped you in your parenting, though. Hopefully, Elliot’s experience will help him somehow…and he’ll survive it. (I can understand the beauty of a shell building, though; it sounds very pretty! But they need to find another way to make it happen.)

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    1. Those experiences hit us hard as kids, but I had a tendency to see them as beyond my control, so I just had to accept them. But I took to heart what they revealed about myself and the other people involved.

      I’d love to see the inside of a shell building, too. I think one basis for villainy is a lack of respect for other people. Couple that with a sense of righteousness, and we’ve got trouble, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Elliot! This is so not a good thing! I’m not sure I’ll be able to sleep tonight.
    But thankfully you’ve distracted me with your your dancing doll and Ebony tales. Ah the vagaries of mothers as rescuers. I remember when I was 4 I had a giant stuffed pillow dog – one of those TV-watching lounging-on things. For the first time ever I took him into the basement one day and that very night we had a huge storm that flooded the basement. Poor MacIntosh was henceforth relegated to the garage where my mother assured me he was undergoing medical treatment. We were allowed to go out and visit him once a day, but he needed plenty of “rest” and couldn’t be disturbed. Alas, he apparently succumbed to a lethal case of mildew and mold and disappeared on day. I’m sure my mother was hoping I’d forget about him before his appointed time with the trash pile, but you know how that goes. Little minds have long memories. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You light a smile in my heart, Debora. I love your emotional commitment to Elliot.

      Poor MacIntosh! I’m sorry for your loss. Mildew is an insidious way to go. I’ve worked not to be that kind of a rescuer. Consequently, I have an attic full of things I’m sure my son will eventually have to sort through. I’m guessing he’ll wonder why I saved many of them. 🙂

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  4. What is it about those dancing dolls? I remember having one that I twirled with until it shredded – or so I thing. Maybe Ma just tossed it after it got to a certain delapidation! 🙂
    And no, I’m no dancer/coordinated person, either!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your sympathy, Diana. As I grew up, I realized my mom just didn’t have much sentimental attachment to things. I guess she figured neither did any of us. Maybe that’s part of the reason our house always looked like a model home even though there were five kids. The rule was that we put things away as soon as we were finished with them, and Mom periodically had us clean out the closets and drawers to get rid of things she felt we just didn’t need. I just learned to watch her like a hawk if I turned any of my things over to her when I expected them back. lol

      Elliot is growing and learning how strong he really is. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Marcia. Ebony does have a few thread bare spots, like around that button nose. But s/he would have been a tattered wreck if s/he’d been through what Elliot’s been through! I look at the events that were so important back then, and, now, from a mother’s point of view, they seem insignificant and transitory. Not only can I see how they shaped me, but I tried to look at Brylan’s big moments through that filter, which I think had an impact on our relationship all along the way.

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    1. You’re right, trust is sometimes impossible to regain. Forgiveness is necessary for healing and moving forward, but I think it’s necessary to remember even after forgiving, so that you take the lesson with you while you leave the anger behind.

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  5. OH NO!! ELLIOT!! I KNEW IT WAS A CULT!!
    (Brilliantly suspenseful writing btw…I need a cup of tea now!)
    The loss of trust in a parent is both shocking and formative…my mother swears to this day that I asked to go to boarding school. I didn’t. I did, however, meet my headmistress who is a totally amazing lady that I am still in touch with today 💞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Samantha!

      Hmm… I wonder if I asked my son if he’d like to go to a school like Hogwarts, and he said, “Yes!” I might tell him later he said he wanted to go to boarding school.I wonder why your mom is so certain. Parent/child communications aren’t always on the same level, are they. I’m glad you found such a positive influence you’ve kept a part of your life. ❤

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          1. Yay! I’ll take a look. The last two weeks have been crush time for the costumes I’m working on, so I’ve got a lis of reading to catch up on. This week end should have a bit more free time.

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