Diving right in...this is a bit of writing I wrote in New Orleans one evening, gripped by the need to get the words on the page so I could not type fast enough (on my ipad, at a white tablecloth fancy restaurant. Oh well.). It does not fit in my current WIP at all...I hope to find out the rest of it some day.
Go with the man, Mama said. the man was terrifying. He smelled wrong. All wrong. Of
fear.Fear was the worst smell of all, Eugenie thought. worse than anything. Worse than death.
She had smelled death. It smelled worse when there was fear, but fear smelled worse than death itself. And this man liked fear. She wanted to protest, loudly and a lot, but Mama's fear was suddenly overwhelming. It made her want to bend, to fall to the floor, to curl against its force. She could not understand the fear. The man was wrong and the fear was wrong. It was all wrong.
The man led her away. She followed. Mama had sent her with a box of things. Clothes and other things. Things that would help her. Things that would comfort her? She did not know. She
looked back. "Don't look," the man said. But she looked. She looked. She kept looking. She saw the men who came, who grabbed her mother. She screamed. She kept screaming. the man scooped her up and covered her mouth with his hands. She kept screaming. On the boat, the boat moving. Screaming. If she screamed loud enough, she could change it. She knew she could. They put her "below." That's why they called it. There was a woman. She was not kind. She meant to seem so, but she was not. Not in her heart. Eugenie could see. She screamed.
And then, she understood. With the screaming, she could not get away. She stopped screaming. They let her up. for sun, for air. See she was a good girl. Yes, yes she was a good girl.The screaming was in her head now. It felt too big too hold. She felt her mother's screams, she was sure. it felt like all the screams, ever. All the screams of all the women, ever. She stood on deck. That's what he said. "Welcome on deck." She was on deck and the screaming filled her up. It felt like she was on fire.
If she touched anything with her hands,she was sure it would light and blaze. All the anger, all the pain. So wrong. Wrongly felt. All in her, all in her tiny body. She was not enough to hold it.
Stop, she said in her mind. Please. I cannot. It continued, still. It blazed. Her heart burned. Her mind. Every emotion. Felt as far as it could be felt. She looked at the endless water. Two thoughts. The water takes me back to mother. The water cools the fire. Who can say which was louder, which was stronger? She answered. She jumped. Released herself to the water. Take me, she told it. Take me. Make the fire stop. Make it stop. Did she hit her head? Perhaps. But the water stopped the fire.