Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Whispers in the Night

shadow imageBy Tillie Mush

Editor’s Note:  Please welcome Tillie Mush, whose short stories are a journey into mind and its need to find closure with its past. 

She heard him whisper from somewhere in the darkness of her room. She felt his breath on her neck.  She felt his hands on her.  She felt his teeth on her skin and his poison in her soul. She heard herself gasp, cry out and struggle to break free. Climb out of slumber, find her way through the dark fog and find the light. She heard his slow deep laughter.

It was a night think and cloying, dark and heavy. She was bathed in fitful sweat and twisted in sheets. She sat silent. She rocked back and forth holding herself close and asking for silence. No more she thought..I just can not carry it, release me. He was dead and gone, or so she thought. He found her again, he always did…and he whispered in her sleep and laughed in her dreams.

She was just a little girl. Maybe she looked like a half woman, but she was just a little girl. Gawky, awkward and a pool of hormones. He kissed her lightly..and it felt so good. All these years later she felt those lips on hers, full, moist, gentle. The first real kiss delivered with desire..a powerful consuming desire. Even at 12 she felt it, felt the stir of it, the beckoning weak surrender of it. When he held her close and kissed her deep, she did surrender ,she did let go. It was like falling, like floating. She heard a whispered moan and knew it was hers. What it meant or why it was, she didn’t know. She didn’t seem to know anything anymore in that moment but she felt. With out thinking, with out any understanding at all..her hands reached..held him so close and kissed back with all the crazy unknown desire of a 12 year old girl..awakening to the world of woman. His lips on her neck, her skin on fire and she was breathless…what was this emotion what was this yearning and this fire. He touched her breast and she held her breath.

He was so strong, so big and so 17. There was in her a feeling of some kind of love maybe, more acceptance..of being desired, wanted and she didn’t want that feeling to end. She was 12 an ugly duckling in a world of beautiful swans, unloved, unsure..and really just plain 12. Powerless to stop it, and not really knowing what she doing or why or how, she let herself feel and let herself go. Her hands roamed, he held her close and she felt his heartbeat,she heard his low moans. The darkness surrounded her and she let the moaning lead her on. He was hard where she was soft, she was wet and weak. She just let it all go.
It hurt when he was on top of her, it hurt and she didn’t know why. But some how mixed with this unknown feeling of desire, there was the word no. She couldn’t say it, and if she had it would not have stopped what came next, but in her mind in her heart and in her little girls was all she heard. She twisted away as best she could, she turned her face from his and closed her eyes so tight. She heard him whisper from somewhere in the darkness of her room. She choked back tears and waited for this to end. Oh please she screamed in silence no, please, and end this.

“Its ok really” he whispered in her ear. She had her nightgown back on and laying in a fetile position, trying so hard not to cry and crying anyway. “Don t cry, and really its a good thing, you’ll see and this is our secret” There was a knock at the door, a little brother coming to her rescue. “Whats wrong, why is my sister crying?” In shame, in pain and in disgust she heard herself say “I had a bad dream, I’m ok go back to bed”.  She turned to the wall, held herself tight and just drifted away from it.  He stood over her and looked down..”go” was all she could say..and “just leave me alone.”

In the light of morning she knew she was different. She new she was flawed. Somehow not right. It was not a good thing, but she couldn’t really know what it was. She knew she wasn’t like the other little girls, she was bad and out of control. She shouldn’t have, she did. It was her. She didn’t say no. She told her mom that maybe she was old enough to babysit the kids, maybe they didn’t need the boy from down the street anymore. She began the process of denial and forgetting. She grabbed the mask of good girl sweet innocence and placed where the world could see. She was just a silly gawky awkward little 12 year old girl..almost half a woman but just a foolish child.

Its was a dark night. The thick air was full of tension and doubt. It seemed to just hang heavy on her she was a captive. She rocked back and forth. Tears in her eyes and no longer a little girl. Her innocence was long gone, a very distant memory. she understood now all too well what had happened. She didn’t hold herself responsible for the actions of a 17 year old boy. She didn’t hold herself responsible for the non action of a silly little 12 year old girl. She never said no, but she was a child..she shouldn’t have to. She told herself she had no guilt. She told herself it was a thing that happened in another life and it had no effect on her now. She told herself. Most times she believed it too.

She was silent. She was curious. She wondered why now. She had grown into a strong and true woman. She had survived the teens and twenties and thirties and mother hood and wifedom. She wondered why now on this dark dark night. She heard his voice..his murmur his moan and his whisper from the darkness of her memory. She heard the word secret, she heard it was a good thing.

Fuck you and fuck you all she spit out. She slipped out from shadow into the visible world, unmasked and open . In the light. In the mirror. I am not wrong she thought, damaged or flawed. I am not a secret.  Little girls grow up, and hide in the hearts of women. Little girls learn to say no, and women keep them safe behind the mask. She kept on the light to keep the darkness from closing in. He was dead and gone years ago, and she wasn’t a child anymore. It was just bad dream and she couldn’t really remember anymore anyway, probably didn’t happened like that. She was fine, no more voices whispering from dark places, no more reliving what cant be changed. No more secrets. She closed her eyes and slipped back to shadow..under the bright light with the music on and knew the past was best let alone. The little girl would always be there, but someday the voice would stop.

By karlsie

Some great perversity of nature decided to give me a tune completely out of keeping with the general symphony; possibly from the moment of conception. I learned to read and speak almost simultaneously. The blurred and muffled world I heard through my first five years of random nerve loss deafness suddenly came alive with the clarity of how those words sounded on paper. I had been liberated for communications. I decided there was nothing more wonderful than writing. It was easier to write than carefully modulate my speech for correct pronunciation, and it was easier to read than patiently follow the movements of people’s lips to learn what they were saying. It was during that dawning time period, while I slowly made the connection that there weren’t that many other people who heard the way I did, halfway between sound and music, half in deafness, that I began to understand that the tune I was following wasn’t quite the same as that of my classmates. I was just a little different. General education taught me not only was I just a little isolated from my classmates, my home was just a little isolated from the outside world. I was born in Alaska, making me part of one of the smallest, quietest minorities on earth. I decided I could live with this. What I couldn’t live with was discovering a few years later, in the opening up of the pipeline, which coincided with my first year of junior college, that there were entire communities of people; more than I could possibly imagine; living impossibly one on top of another in vast cities. It wasn’t even the magnitude of this vision that inspired me so much as the visitors who came from these populous regions and seemed to possess a knowledge so great and secretive I could never learn it in any book. I became at once, very conscious of how rural I was and how little I knew beyond the scope of my environment. I decided it was time to travel. The rest is history; or at least, the content of my stories. I traveled... often to college campuses, dropping in and out of school until one fine day by chance I’d fashioned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. I’ve worked a couple of newspapers, had a few poems and stories tossed around in various small presses, never receiving a great deal of money, which I’m assured is the norm for a writer. I spent ten years in Mexico, watching the peso crash. There is some obscure reason why I did this, tightening up my belt and facing hunger, but I believe at the time I said it was for love. Here I am, back home, in my beloved Alaska. I’ve learned somewhat of a worldly viewpoint; at least I like to flatter myself that way. I’ve also learned my rural roots aren’t so bad after all. I work in a small, country store. Every day I greet the same group of local customers, but make no mistake. My store isn’t a scene out of Andy Griffith. The people who enter the establishment, which also includes showers, laundry and movie rentals, are miners, oil workers, truck drivers, construction engineers, dog sled racers and carpenters. Sometimes, on the liquor side, the conversations became adult only in vocabulary. It’s a good thing, on the opposite side of the store is a candy aisle filled with the most astonishing collection, it will keep a kid occupied with just wishing for hours. If you tell your kids they can have just one, you have an instant baby sitter; better than television; as they agonize over their choice while you catch up on the gossip with your neighbor. We also receive a lot of tourists, a lot of foreign visitors. They are usually amazed at this first sign of Alaskan rural life style beyond the insulating hub of the Anchorage bowl. Many of them like to hang around and chat. They gawk at our thieves wanted posters. They laugh at our jokes and camaraderie with our customers. I’ve learned another lesson while working there. You don’t have to go out and find the world. If you wait long enough, it comes to you.

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6 thoughts on “Whispers in the Night”
  1. It reminds me exactly of Charles de Lint’s character ‘Jilly’ and leaves me wondering if you have been reading him lately. That said it is…unresoloved, but understandably so.

  2. That meeting place between child and womanhood can be such a difficult bridge, but you arrive at it quite nicely, looking in both direction and bringing both parts together under a single viewpoint. Somehow, i do feel a resolution in it; the resolve to accept what has happened and can’t be changed.

  3. I still see it as unresolved, the last paragraph is what does that for me. The little girl is not grown and until the woman faces the shadows grasps that hand and walks with the girl there will be a certain amount of fear, hatred, anger and…voices.

  4. I agree that it is both resolved and yet unresolved. She has grown and has put the past behind her…and yet as with many things in haunts, when unexpected. The time between girl and woman can define us as the women we will be. We change and eveolve as we learn to accept ourselves, and yet sometimes pieces from the past, unwanted memories find their way in…bringing doubt and insecurity to even the strongest among us…well thats how I see it…

  5. Tillie, well put. And that is how it seems to be mostly. But there are places and planes where the girl and the woman meet and can hold hands helping one another. The woman does not have to let the girl be scared and the girl does not have to let the woman be hard.

  6. I absolutely agree. In my life its what I strive for. I received a compliment once, that to me was one of the sweetest I have ever gotten. A friend was describing me to some one, they asked is she a girl or a woman. He said She is a full grown woman who is really just a girl. How great is that!!

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