The morning of September 24th was cloudy but sunny, with the cool air of the second day of fall. Dew was forming on the nicely cut grass of the front lawn. The kitchen began to smell of bacon and eggs. Carrie and Anna began to wake up and prepare for school in their room around seven o’clock. They had to wake up early to get to the bus stop to be picked up by the bus. It took thirty minutes to walk to the bus stop from their house so Carrie and Anna quickly ate breakfast and left early to reach the bus stop to arrive just in time before the bus arrived at 8:00 A.M. Middle School started at 9:45 and it took the bus an hour to pick up all the kids on the way to school.
Carrie was one year older than Anna and in the seventh grade, Anna in the sixth. Once at school Carrie and Anna went their separate ways to sit and talk with their friends who were gathering in little groups on the floor in the hallways away from the lockers. Carrie talked to her friends about the homework assignments and the projects that were due today or in the near future. Anna usually talked about new songs and new music videos that came out recently by both new and current popular artists. After taking their time talking the girls went to their lockers on different floors of the school to put away what they didn’t need for classes like their backpacks and lunch boxes. There was a hook in each of the lockers so that students could hang up their backpacks. A majority of the kids would hang up their backpacks on the hook, only a few like Carrie and Anna didn’t because their backpacks were too large for the locker door to close.
Carrie and Anna didn’t have lunch together because the school had different block lunches based on what grade level you were and whether you had a math/science class or a history/writing class before lunch. Carrie had the first block of lunch first because she had a science class and sat with her friends and they started talking about sleep overs and inviting people over to their respective houses. “We should have a sleep over!” Valerie said excitedly.
“Whose house should we have it at?” Chelsea questioned equally excited.
“A sleep over sounds really fun!” Carrie grinned.
“What about your house, Carrie, we’ve never been to your house. Can we have the sleep over at your house?” Valerie asked. Carrie fidgeted in her chair.
“Well my house isn’t the best house for sleep overs, it’s too small.” Carrie said softly. “What about your house Chelsea? I still haven’t been there yet. I want to see what your room looks like!”
“Well it’s a mess but I can clean it up for you guys and we can hand out and if you bring blankets and pillows or sleeping bags we can all sleep on the floor. I think there is enough room.”
“Great. It’s set. Sleep over at Chelsea’s house.” Valerie said in confirmation of the proposed idea.
“Okay, so does this weekend work for everyone? Carrie, you know you actually haven’t ever been to any of our sleep overs, you always say that you are busy.” Chelsea said in recollection of all the absences Carrie has had for extracurriculars outside of school events.
“You know I am always busy, I have to take care of my sister too, especially when my parents are always working.” Carrie said in defense of herself.
“Anyways if you can come it would be great to hang out this weekend, don’t hole yourself up at home all the time.” Chelsea said, trying not to make Carrie uncomfortable about not spending time outside of school with her friends.
“Thanks, I’ll ask my parents if I can go.” Carrie said plainly having stopped smiling at the suggestion of hosting a sleep over with her friends. At the end of lunch the girls went to their history class and the next lunch block started.
Anna went to lunch and was also eating with her friend. They talked about a concert coming up in the AT&T Center downtown. “I really wanted to go to that concert but my mom wouldn’t let me spend 500 dollars on tickets for it.” Abigail whined, trying to gain sympathy from her friend.
“At least your mom was willing to let you go to the concert. You only couldn’t go because the tickets were so expensive. My parents would probably never let me go to anything outside of the events hosted by the school.” Anna complained.
“That’s so true. My parents are so much cooler than your parents. Speaking of parents I haven’t ever seen yours before. Do they even exist?” Abigail said in pure wonder of what Anna’s at home authority figures were. She had always seen Anna with her elder sister Carrie. Those two were always together.
“Yeah I have those things known as parents.” Anna said in a disrespectful tone. “Honestly I would be better off without them. Then I could go to all the concerts I want with my sister!”
“True parents can be annoying. But they just don’t remember what it was like to be a kid, else they wouldn’t be parents. They changed from their experiences from time and growing up in the world.” Abigail said intuitively almost as if she understood the explicit differences between kids and adults. Anna agreed with Abigail and walked with her to her science class.
At the end of the school day all the kids piled up together in the cafeteria to wait for their bus numbers to be called so that they can load onto the buses as they drive up to the back doors of the cafeteria. There Carrie and Anna were sitting together quiet, trying to listen for their bus number amongst the noise produced by the other kids in the cafeteria. A teacher called their bus about fifteen minutes after they had sat down and they both stood up to walk to the bus. Once on the bus they sat in seats right next to each other and began talking about their day at school. While they were talking about their day each one of them checked to make sure that they had all their belongings. One item of specific importance was their first aid kit. This kit looked like an ordinary stylish metal lunch box on the outside. It is because of their first aid kits that the girls’ backpacks didn’t fit on the hooks in their lockers.
Once confirmation of the kit was complete the girls rearranged their things so that the kit was the first thing they could access when they open their backpacks. They then began to talk in low whispers about what they wanted to do when they got home. “I want to play outside.” Anna said.
“But I want to watch TV.” Carrie said.
“We can split the time.” Anna said.
“Yeah let’s do that, we will play outside first and then sit inside and watch some TV.” Carrie said in agreement.
The bus arrived at the bus stop. It took about an hour and a half to get home from school on the bus. This is mainly because more people ride the bus home than they do to school in the morning. The other reason is that traffic starts building up towards the end of the bus ride. A thirty-minute walk followed after they are dropped off. They began approaching their house. At the sidewalk that leads up to the front door, they pulled their backpacks from their back. While walking to the front door they smoothly unzipped their backpacks and pulled out the first aid kit which they quickly hid beneath their backpacks that they had swiftly zipped closed and swung back onto their backs. They walked faster and faster to the front door of the house and suddenly the door opened. Carrie and Anna were ushered in so quickly the people who pulled them in were never seen outside the house.
Inside the house there were beer bottles and cans lying all over the floor. They are seen on almost every surface imaginable, including the coffee table, counter, and dining table. Once inside the house Carrie and Anna stood still, one in the hands and arms of an older clean-shaven man and the other in the hands and arms of an older woman with messy hair and smeared makeup. And then it began. The shouting was loud as usual. The only people who heard it were Carrie and Anna. They cringed as filthy words filled their ears and spit covered their faces. The words coming from the man and woman’s mouth were Carrie and Anna’s world. Each self-deprecating word could have not been truer. The girls weren’t “little s****” and “f****** monsters” but having been used to being described by these two nobodies as such things, Carrie and Anna never knew any better words to be described by. Of course they both learned early on that such words were a no-no for school, but that was easily fixed. Besides, they had more attacks coming at them because they left for school in such a hurry that they didn’t clean the kitchen up after making bacon and eggs for themselves.
Suddenly the world was shaking so much that their heads started hurting. Oh wait, it was them that was shaking. The faces in front of them were spinning and eventually their arms were sore from where the man and woman were grabbing the girls’ arms. As the man and woman slowly eased up their grip on the girls, the girls who had endured this front to hold their first aid kits tightly in their hands quickly pulled out a syringe filled with a clear light blue tinted liquid. They injected their assaulters with this liquid in the most inconspicuous place, so that they wouldn’t be able to find the injection point on their body and waited for their serum to work. Once injected the man and woman felt sick and decided to lie down on their messy bed and fell asleep. Carrie and Anna having made sure that the two were asleep, went out to play. Their serum only worked for an hour. For thirty minutes the girls played outside and the last thirty minutes they watched TV on the couch together. When their time was up they walked into their separate rooms and locked their doors. The man woke up first and went over to Carrie’s room to pound on the door and yell something along the lines of she should have never been born. Then the woman woke up and went to Anna’s door, shaking the door knob telling her how she wished Anna had died.
When Carrie was born the man and woman were married and they were the happiest couple at the time. But then the man lost his job and began to drink and act erratic. Because the man lost his job, the family had trouble paying the bills and the woman decided to get a job. She did get a job and since then she has been the secretary to a CEO of one of the smaller major businesses in town. As the woman was always away at work the man had to take care of Carrie. He fed her, burped her, changed her diaper and yet felt no compassion towards his own daughter. The next year Anna was born and for a while the woman took leave from her job, she would work from home to take care of Anna. She fed her, burped her, changed her diaper and yet wished she had died in childbirth. The man hated Carrie because he hated his wife. The woman despised Anna because she hated being around her husband, especially when he was drunk. Once Carrie and Anna were old enough to take care of themselves and separated themselves from their parents with the locks on the doors of their rooms, the man had found a new job as a regular day worker at the same company his wife had been a secretary at for many years.
In the morning they went to work together, never said a word to each other, worked, and came back just as quiet with plenty of alcohol to smooth over their coexistence with each other. At home the girls taught themselves how to cook, read, do math, and even science. They had miraculously come upon a family recipe that when injected or ingested by a person makes them feel sick and go to sleep for exactly one hour. The book was written by their great grandmother on the mother’s side of the family and she was a sort of herbalist. Carrie and Anna made the potion. They used it on their parents the next day with some old syringes the found in the trash from one of their parents “Get High and Go Hide” parties. The man and woman felt sick and went to bed to go to sleep and that was it, it worked. The girls’ lives were slightly better than they thought they could be. Now they had one hour to themselves to do anything they wanted to.
The man and the woman never noticed what was happening. The girls lived a life of torment that for a long time they believed they had deserved because they ruined the man and woman’s lives. In the morning they woke up, got out of the house as fast as they could, hid in school, and went home enduring a verbal and slightly physical attack to have their one hour. For years life hadn’t changed, it was a recurring cycle. Didn’t the man and woman get tired of yelling and shaking? Maybe they thought it was what everyone else did? Eventually Carrie left the house for college. She took Anna with her. Carrie knew Anna wouldn’t last long in that house. She also took the book with her. After college, they both found people they loved. Their lives were practically normal. Except after they each had their first child, their family broke down and they too became just a man and a woman that their own children couldn’t come to love.
It seems that the girls never read the whole book front to back. The serum didn’t come with a price. But being related to their great grandmother did. At the back of the book their great grandmother wrote: “To the future generations of our family. I know you will know what I am writing about because you will have used this book many times for a specific purpose. At the beginning of our lives, we are born innocent little babies, but from early on we become corrupt by the truest form of evil. Not all humans are evil and not all evil is human, but our family easily brings out unnatural animosity against the innocent. If we could just be forgiving, we would otherwise have one of the best lives to live. I know you have found yourself caught in this predicament, because your parents are successful in some form, yet they have been beating on you since you were able to take care of yourself. For that I can only offer this blue serum, for one hour a day you can be free and enjoy life without parents. Please pass this book on to your children.”
The note was signed “To the success and never ending cycle of our family” by Carol Blackman. Even though Carrie and Anna were now just women in the eyes of their children they were even more successful than their mother and more successful than their husbands. Yet at home their success meant nothing. It translated to more yelling and hitting. Kids became very good at lying, interpreting people, preparing, and improvising. All great skills for becoming the next successful generation.
But right now all that these kids want is their one hour to themselves.
© 2019 C L Whisper