Greetings and salutations distinguished readers of the blog,
I must ask yo to help me out. If you are enjoying the blog and the stories I’m sharing, please spread the word. My goal here is to increase my reading audience. It may sound vain, but in truth I love what I do and I want to share it. Just like when you here a new band or song don’t yo want everyone to enjoy it as much as you. So please, tell your friends, your neighbors, your family, even perfect strangers. Your kindness is appreciated.
So without further whining I present you the finale of Fearless. OH, and remember, there are some disturbing moments coming up. Tread carefully.
Jo smiled at the girl’s adoption of the moniker. She planned to tell the grocer not to send the girl again the next time she emailed her order. For some reason, she didn’t mention it. True to her word, Amanda with Freckles never bothered her again, although she continued to deliver Jo’s groceries for many months. Every week, Jo received a note, a simple “hi” with a freckled smiley face. A week before the next Amanda Grant novel would hit the shelves, she hung an advance copy from her door.
Amanda set the order on the floor and retrieved the usually empty bag waiting for her. Jo watched as she peered inside at the unexpected weight. Amanda’s eyes lit up when she opened the book to the title page.
To Amanda The True,
Thanks for the smiles.
Jo Scott :~)
Amanda searched her pockets until she found a scrap of paper and pen. After scratching away for a moment, she knelt down and slipped the note under the door.
Thank you for the book and for not telling the store on me. I’m sorry I won’t be your delivery person anymore. I’ve been accepted to Columbia. Good luck. Never stop writing. You can’t know how much joy your books bring the world.
Amanda the True
“What brought that memory back?” Jo wondered, sliding her arms into her robe. Amanda had slipped past her shield and somehow created the closest thing to a relationship Jo had experienced since college. Even though not a single spoken word had passed between them, Jo sensed an intangible bond. The doorman, who saw her four times a year for the past seven years, only grunted as she passed by on her way to visit her shrink. She wondered about Amanda the True. Was she enjoying Columbia?
Jo wondered if Amanda the True knew that she, herself, had graduated from Columbia with a degree in English literature and a lifetime prescription of drugs and psychiatrists. Those men and women with their degrees who wanted to help her. How could they possibly help when they had never been held down on a dirty mattress in an abandoned building off One-hundred-eighteenth Street near Lenox Avenue? They hadn’t been stripped naked, savagely beaten, and left for dead in the freezing cold. How could they help? She couldn’t help herself, except when she wrote.
She should have warned Amanda the True of her impending danger. Jo’s fear meter started redlining again. How could she warn Amanda The True? What would she say? “Don’t ride the subway at night. Stay away from abandoned buildings.” No, none of those things could keep Amanda the True safe. The girl would need to build her own prison to keep the world out. It was the only way to be safe. Could Jo tell her that? No. Would Amanda The True believe her? Who could understand, unless Jo told them the why. And she wouldn’t do that. She had never told anyone the why.
Back at her desk, Jo saw two messages in her inbox. The first arrived from The Justin Cooke Agency.
Great job, Hun. Eddie is already poring over the manuscript and smiling like the carnival clown in the dunk tank. It’s a little longer than usual, but we’ll squeeze it between the covers.
The other email read: From Eddie.Banks@hachettebookgroup.com
I love it. Two things to think on: Did you have a title in mind? Have you given any thought to punching up the sex scenes? They are becoming a little predictable.
Eddie had suggested that she “punch up” the sex before. The last time, he had specifically asked her to make the sex scene rougher. She had not responded. She wondered if she should send Eddie something to get him off her case. Could she describe what rough sex was really like to Eddie? Could she tell him about the aftermath of rough sex? The unending parade of hospitals, police, doctors, and drugs. The never-ending fear. What of the prison seventy-six floors above the most exciting city in the world. A prison that lay a short cab ride from One-hundred-eighteenth Street near Lenox. No, she could never tell him.
Her thoughts drifted back to Amanda the True. There was nothing to be done for her. Exhaustion settled on Jo like a truckload of sand filling in every gap. With her deadline met, and nothing to do, she took an Ambien and went to bed.
Jo woke at her glass and chrome desk again. The weak light that bled around the heavy drapes provided just enough illumination to see that much. But she had finished her novel and had no intention to start another for a while. So why was she here? She woke her i-Mac and read the last entry.
The wind swirled through the urban canyon blowing the discarded detritus of an absentee culture down an empty street. Leaning against an abandoned building, I kept vigil near the subway entrance. A sniper would recognize my stillness and patience as the hallmarks of training and discipline. For me they were merely tools, a means to an end. I waited. Footfalls clicked on the cold concrete. A young woman labored under the weight of a backpack. I tensed, and kept to the shadows following along.
A dark figure on the other side of the street stealthily closed in on the young woman. I mirrored his movement. A chemical odor wafted to me as he closed the distance between himself and the young woman. I made my move as he extended a hand clutching a rag toward his intended victim. The crackling sound of my Taser halted his motion sending him convulsing to the broken sidewalk. His crotch darkened when his bladder let go.
“Run!” I pointed at the girl. “Go. Now!” Her trainers slapped the cold pavement and the backpack bounced up and down toward the subway station.
With the chloroform soaked rag safely stuffed into my pocket I zapped the stranger again. Why did he have to be so big? This presented a challenge, but I managed to drag him into the abandoned building where we wouldn’t be disturbed. The hours practiced tying knots ensured he stayed put. Patiently and methodically, I applied a tourniquet at the base of his genitals, and reverently cut them off. My kitchen shears were ill suited to the task, and I made a mess of the job. Note to self, get a sharp knife next time.
The wind howled through the empty building. The hunter turned prey started to come around, pain and fear clearing his mind of the fog. The shock of his missing body components now replaced the electrical shock he’d received earlier. He watched, as I cut his penis into bite size bits. I poised my shears above his eye. “You can be blind and dickless or just dickless, it’s up to you.”
“No. Please, no more. I’ll do anything.” He whimpered.
At that, I fed him his own cock, one piece at a time.
Horrified by the graphic nature of what she wrote her finger reached for the delete button and paused. Her hand trembled above the keyboard unable to complete the task. Instead, she pushed away from the desk and headed for the bathroom. At the medicine cabinet she waited to see which fear would raise the panic. To her surprise, nothing rushed in to threaten her. The normal debilitating anxiety that constituted her normal everyday life lay dormant.
Instead, confusion reigned. For lack of a better idea, she took a long shower. Hot water filled her bathroom with steam. The simple pleasure filled her with contentment. Her mind wanted to sort out when she had gotten out of bed to write, but the sense of wellbeing repeatedly pushed it aside. She felt around for a towel and her robe. She couldn’t even make out the little night lite through the mist in the room. A groan from her stomach prompted her to go to the kitchen still dripping to get something to eat.
For the first time in years, she prepared a proper breakfast, including two eggs, bacon, and a toasted garlic bagel. Which to her amazement she finished. She carried a second cup of coffee into the dining room, lit up her i-Mac, and reread the what—she didn’t know what to call it. A story, essay, what? As she read she watched the scene play out in her mind recalling details not expounded upon on the page. Like the fear in the eyes of the young woman or the way, the man gagged on his force-fed meal. These elements are easily recognized, yet difficult to put into words.
“This is crazy, even for me.” She snugged the belt of her robe and went to get the morning paper from the hall. When she turned to metro section, she froze. A grainy black and white photo of Amanda the True stared from the page.
VIGILANTISM ALIVE AND WELL
Amanda Evers claimed she was spared from a mugging last night by an unnamed woman. Ms. Evers was unable to provide the police with any further information. “It all happened so fast. I turned to see this man reaching for me. Then I heard that zappy thing and a woman’s voice shouted for me to run. And I did.” A search of the area turned up one Raymond C. Herring, hog-tied in an adjacent building. His penis and testicles had been cut off. A spokesman for N.Y.P.D. stated, Mr. Herring suffered from blood loss and exposure. Mr. Herring is a convicted sex offender who has been in and out of the system for years.
Jo stopped reading feeling lightheaded, and a little giddy.
I don’t know if you found that uplifting or depressing? I would like to hear from you either way. Did I go too far? Only you can answer that question.
And now today’s quotation.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Thanks For Tuning In,