OXRO—Episode Six

 

The Beginning of The End of Normalcy

“What’s that?” Asia asked herself looking at the back of her neck in the floor length mirror. She rubbed her finger along the horizontal sliver at the top of her back. She’d never seen that precise scar before. Her brain brought back nothing from the sight of it. No pain, no story, no nothing. A void clung to her mind. She could call back every moment and every tale that came along with the many scars that riddled her body. Asia was no girly girl then again she wasn’t a tomboy either. She was in this uncharted zone right in the middle; wearing a summer dress while playing flag football with the boys.

Out of all the scars she had, there were three that were the most memorable. The long jagged scar running down her forearm was a reminder to always wear a seatbelt. Fifteen feet, that’s how far she was thrown out the car when it hit the light pole. It was seven hours later when Oliver sat by her bed telling her the grisly story, how he saw her fly through the windshield and the glass slicing through her arm like a butcher knife smoothly making its way through a pork loin. She cringed as he demonstrated how her blood splattered over his face while he was strapped in the backseat. They missed their little league game. The Copper Wood Jaguars were no longer undefeated.

Asia dropped her towel and quickly strapped on her blue lace bra as the blasting air chilled her dewy skin. Then she pulled up the matching panties to see the scar running across her pelvis. She didn’t think sneaking out of the house could ever be dangerous. She did it numerous times, mostly because her ultra strict parents had an even stricter curfew: everyone had to be in the house by seven. Really? Seven. All the fun things didn’t happen until at least ten. So, when Denver relayed the message that Heather Burns was having a rave at the Miller Barn out on Old Farm Road; she knew she had to be there. She didn’t want to be the only junior at school the next day that missed out. She had already lived the shame and despair of not being in attendance at Tyson’s St. Patrick’s Day Party. So, when she was stalking through the house groping in the dark en route for the back door how was she suppose to know her father was coming home early after a tough shift from the Sheriff’s Station. The pain was immediate and so was her glass-cracking scream. Denver heard it all the way outside as he sat in his car waiting across the street with the headlights off. It took ten stitches to close the hole, the seven-inch army knife made.

The pumpkin spice lotion she massaged into her legs made her hunger for Thanksgiving. She slid her hand over the third scar, a circular dot on her calf. It’d be fun Ethan said, as he signed their names on the clipboard. It would be one way to earn extra community service hours before the college application session of senior year began. All and all it did start off as fun; learning how to assemble the foundation of a house, mixing concrete for a driveway, and looking through swatches for the perfect shade of brown. The summer seemed to fly as Habitat for Humanity picked the family that would be staying in the house she helped build with her very on hands. There was one more thing that had to be done; a portrait of the family was to be hung in the living room. Asia told Ethan to just use the hammer but he insisted he could make due with the nail gun; he’d been using it all summer; he knew what he was doing. He knew what he was doing all right. He tripped over the Persian rug causing his finger to jam down the trigger of the nail gun and like a bullet the nail shot through Asia’s leg hitting through bone.

Asia pulled down the grey tight crop tee over her massive-damp bun and snapped on the faded denim overall shorts. She slipped her baby soft feet into her dingy white Pumas that were halfway under the bed. The cleanness of skin drew a smile on her face. The warmness of the room smoothed her tired muscles. Her calves throbbed from the early morning run. She’d run to far in the hot sun. It took a toll on her body that couldn’t be soothe by the steamy therapeutic water of the five star shower, which she’d be in for what seemed like hours. Not to mention how long it took her to detangle all the coily curls of her hair, drenching every tress with oil leaving it with a shine that would make Aphrodite jealous.

Asia sprung down the hallway with a spring in her achy step. It was time for her to get new running shoes. The balls of her feet throbbed with every step, crying to be placed in spongy flip-flops or in a cool pool. She dashed down the stairs welcomed by a current of noise. She hadn’t seen them since midnight, her friends; her family. She smiled a little bigger. Eric looked away from the TV witnessing Asia’s gleam and mimicked it. He loved seeing her that way, happy. It was the smile she lost a year ago when her life got complicated. Her smile faded when her older brother, Cole, died in a freak accident; a ski trip to Big Bear that went horribly wrong.

“Are we staying in the house all day?” Asia hopped off the last step yelling over the rapid gunshots Yasmin and Jordan fired at each other as they battled Corvus playing Call of Duty: Black Ops III.

“What!” Denver shouted instead of turning down the speakers of the twenty-seven inch iMac which blared Yung Jeezy.

Asia walked past Denver as he swiveled in the maple desk chair as Leslee leaned over his shoulder pointing out the songs she wanted him to click on. Denver shot Leslee a stone glare. He didn’t feel like hearing one of Taylor Swift’s my-ex-boyfriend is a jackass ballad’s.

Leslee waved Denver off, “I want that playlist.” She tapped on the screen with her freshly orange painted nails still reeking of chemicals. She glanced toward Asia. “We’re waiting for the pit to get hot.” She nodded outside where Ethan stood in front of the BBQ pit fanning at the blazing fire.

“How long has he been doing this?” Asia stood by Shaka as he howled at the door with a look of concern painted on her face.

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Yes, Shaka was a black wolf. Yes, it may seem strange he was her pet but she didn’t care about the confused looks people shot her way. She had him since she was twelve. They had their own language and he never left her side. It was a little disconcerting that he would sneak out the house and follow her. Eventually it made her feel safe knowing he was lurking in the distance.

Jordan pound on the controller, “For like thirty minutes!” He kept his eyes glued to the screen as a robot jumped in front of him out of nowhere causing him to jump too. “Can you shut him up?”

Shaka’s howl cancelled all the noise vibrating against her skin. “What’s wrong, boy?” Asia rubbed his black-furred sides. His golden eyes glanced at her as he stopped howling. His irises studied her bister optics and she felt his anxiety. Shaka punted his wet nose against her arm, trotted to the front door and begin howling at the thick pine door.

“I didn’t hear a knock.” Eric being closer grabbed the doorknob. “But then again its not like we can hear much.” He nodded to the TV as he blindly whipped open the door.

Shaka jumped back as the door swung open and a body fell limp in the doorway. Shaka nudged its pale face with his wet-onyx nose.

“Ashlyn!” Asia ran to her as Eric lifted her languid body off the hard, cold floor. “Is she dead?”

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