Lilies on her grave

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Chapter 20

Mirror, mirror

Mark Karle pushed the snooze button on his digital alarm clock for the third time. After having one too many beers the night before, he found it very hard to get himself motivated to face the day. It had been three days since his last visit with Norma Jean. Three days since she had stabbed him with a piece of glass from the baby food jar. He had to give it to the girl for her ingenuity. She was a real fighter. The most spirited one yet, and in a weird way he had his mother to thank for it.

The thought of his mother laying the room down the hall, with her diapers full of shit, made him sink deeper into his bed. Diapers that he was going to have to change. His alarm went off again, catching him by surprise and making him jump. He grabbed the alarm clock and threw it at the wall on the other side of the room, where it shattered into several pieces.

“Marky!” his mother’s voice screeched. “I know you’re awake!”

“Shut the fuck up!” he cursed, forcing himself out of bed. He put on a plain tee shirt, and a pair of loose fitting sweat pants, and lumbered his way out into the hallway and down to the bathroom. He turned on the cold water and splashed some of it onto his face. After drying off, he put some toothpaste on to his toothbrush and stuck it into his mouth.

“Marky!”

Jesus Christ, he thought, give it a rest for once.

“I’m hungry!”

“You should have done it a long time ago,” his reflection told him, a reflection not brushing his teeth. A reflection not even holding a toothbrush. This was something new.

Mark took the toothbrush out of his mouth and stared at his reflection.

“You know I’m right. Just imagine how stress free our life would be without her,” his reflection said. “You wouldn’t even need to go down in the basement anymore. It would just be you and me. Free to do whatever we wanted.”

Mark leaned closer toward the mirror, as did his non-toothpaste reflection, and stared deep into own eyes. Toothpaste oozed from his mouth and dropped into the sink, as he blinked his eyes several times, but his reflection failed to mimic his movements.

“Marky!”

Mark’s attention broke away from the mirror, just for a second, as he turned his head toward the door, but he noticed, through his peripheral vision, that his reflection did not follow his movements again. He whipped his head back toward the mirror, as fast as he could, and found his tooth paste filled mouth’s reflection staring back at him. “Get a hold of yourself,” he said out loud, wiping the toothpaste from his mouth.

His mother kept calling his name, but Mark did his best to shut her voice out. He went down stairs, and got himself a bowl of cereal, which he ate in front of the television. When he was finished, he ventured outside to feed Gunner, who was still tied up behind the house. The dog had been barking constantly at something, while Mark had been eating his breakfast. He made his way around to the back of the house, and as soon as Gunner saw him coming, the dog lowered himself to the ground, submissively, and waited for his master to feed him. Next, he then made his way out to the mail box, and grabbed yesterday’s mail and the paper, before going back inside.

He placed the mail, and paper, on the kitchen table, and took a jar of carrot flavored baby food out of the cupboard. Having wasted as much time as he could, Mark finally lumbered his way back up the stairs, and down the hall to his mother’s room. He did his best to walk as lightly as possible, avoiding the creaky spots in the old wooden planked floor. Standing in front of his mother’s door, he listened intently, as his heartbeat began to increase. He dreaded each and every morning in this house. Dreaded it with every fiber of his being, but he was a man of his word, he kept telling himself. He would be nothing without it. There was no forgiving the things had done over the years, and he knew that. There was no forgiving the sheer pleasure he experienced when he did the unspeakable things he had done, but at least he had his word. His one true compass point in life.

“Marky! I know you’re out there!”

Mark felt his heart trying to beat itself out of his chest, as a feeling of anxiety crept through his veins. Taking a deep breath, he put a smile on his face and opened the door to his mother’s room. He hadn’t even taken a single step into the room, when the smell of shit slapped him in the face.

“I need a bath,” his mother told him. “A real deep cleaning. Show mama how much you love her.”

The pure rage that Mark had kept bottle up, deep inside of him, had finally reached its limit. His grip on the jar of baby food tightened, as he heard his knuckles crack under the tension. He wanted nothing more in this world then to throw the small glass jar as hard as he could at his mother’s head. He took a few strides into the room and raised the jar above his head, before throwing it all the might his arm could muster. The sound of breaking glass exploded throughout the room, as the jar of baby food crashed through the window next to his mother’s bed. The old woman looked at her son with an expression of shock and fear, as her mouth gaped open.

Mark pivoted on his heels and walked out of the room, slamming the door so hard that several pictures on the wall of the hallway fell to the floor. Before he knew it, he was standing in front of the special door in his basement. His heart was racing like the wind, and he could feel a vein throbbing in his neck. Taking another deep breath and exhaling it loudly, he twisted the door knob and pushed the door open.

Norma Jean woke with a start at the sound of the door opening. Her face was badly bruised, and dried blood was smeared across her bare chest and face. She curled into a tight ball, and began to shake uncontrollably.

Mark slammed the door shut and screamed at the top of his lungs, being careful not to let out all the rage he had been building up toward his mother. He needed to save some for sweet Norma Jean, who began crying at the sound of Mark’s primal howl.

“Why does she treat me like that?” Mark asked, his question causing Norma Jean to look in his direction. “I gave up everything for her. My entire life. Do you think I really want to be changing shit filled diapers every day? God, it would so much easier if I could just kill the fucking bitch!”

Norma Jean could tell that Mark hadn’t been talking to her. His head was lowered at the ground, and his eyes looked as if they were a million miles away. Maybe if she could connect with him somehow, he wouldn’t kill her. If she could only make him believe that she was useful. “Then why don’t you?”

Mark slowly lifted his eyes, and brought his full attention to bear on sweet Norma Jean. “What did you say?”

“If you hate her so much, then why don’t you kill her. It’s obvious that you’ve done it before.”

“Oh, you have no idea,” Mark replied, licking his dry lips. “It’ll be your turn soon enough,” he promised. “As soon as you out live your purpose.”

Norma Jean stopped crying and sat up. This was the most time he had ever spent talking to her. She needed to summon all of her courage. Her life depended on this, and she knew it. “It doesn’t sound like she’s being a very good mother if you ask me. A mother is supposed to care for her children, not the other way around. They’re supposed to cook for them, and clean for them. Make sure that they live in a clean house, and have clean clothes. Make them feel protected, and loved.”

Mark let out a loud, boisterous laugh. “Not in this house. My mother never had time for me. She was always too busy trying to be relive her past, and now she’s nothing more than a waste of oxygen, who does nothing but eat, shit, sleep, and make my life a living hell,” he said, walking over and taking a seat on his throne.

“I could take care of you,” Norma Jean said, the words struggling to pass her lips.

Mark’s ears perked up upon hearing her speak.

“I could do all of those things for you, if you let me,” she said. “And more…” she added, slowly spreading her legs.

Mark just stared at Norma Jean for a while, tapping his fingers on the chair’s arm rests. “There’s only two problems with your plan,” Mark finally said. “Number one is that I promised my father, upon his death bed, that I would watch after my mother, and I am a man of my word if nothing else. The second problem is that your sole purpose in my life is to allow me to do the things that I can’t do to her,” he added, standing up and removing his shirt.

Tears began to run down Norma Jean’s blood smeared cheeks.

“The sex is just an added bonus,” he told her, taking off his pants. “I have no inclination to fuck my mother. I’m not a pervert. It’s just…the act of taking you by force arouses me like nothing else. So the minute you let me have you, is the minute my interest in you is lost, and that is when I will end your life, which is something else I will take great pleasure in doing, and then I’ll simply find another plaything to spend my time with,” he added, coming to stand above her.

Norma Jean brought her foot up as hard as she could, kicking Mark square in the balls, causing his to double over in pain, as he backed out of her reach. Scrambling to her feet, she took up a defensive fighting stance, and put her hands out in front of her.

Mark took in several deep breaths and quickly exhaled them just as fast. “Whoooo!” he exclaimed. “That’ll get the blood flowing,” he replied, taking a large step toward her. Norma Jean grunted hard, and threw a right hook, putting her weight behind the punch. Mark took the punch with ease, as his head barely turned. “That’s more like it,” he said, slapping her so hard across the face, that her knees buckled.

Mark wrapped his arms around her and slammed her hard down upon the mattress. Norma Jean knew that he would win in the end. He would take her, and there was nothing she could do about it, but she wanted to live. Now more than ever, so she fought with all of her strength. Whatever he did to her, she had to make sure that he didn’t lose his interest. That she didn’t lose her purpose.

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