Brand New Day is a little different from my usual stories. One thing which makes it unique, is the fact that it takes place in flashbacks. When it opens, the main character is in the hospital. It hops back to her past, as she remembers what brought her to this point in her life. It’s also very sad in places. I’ll try to put a tissue warning on it. And finally, there is one incidence of teenagers having sex (though it is NOT graphic by any means).
I hope you enjoy Brand New Day. I’m not entirely sure where this came from, because I’ve never experienced anything like Janet did. For some reason, the story insisted upon being told.
Lubbock, Texas. 2000
Janet May Yarkowsky lay in bed shivering from withdrawal. Whatever Tex had given her was making her crazy. She had a vague memory of events the night before. The only thing outstanding in her mind was that she’d stood there placidly as he’d threatened to kill her eldest son.
How could I do that? How could I let him threaten Danny? What if next time he didn’t just wave the gun around? What if, somehow, he finds out the truth? That Danny isn’t his. What then?
Another fit of shakes gripped her body as she huddled under the tangled covers. She had to fix this. Had to stop Tex before his hatred and drug augmented paranoia drove him to kill.
She knew Danny wouldn’t leave her like this, not forever. He left her last night because she’d been crazy, too. Standing, frozen, on the porch, staring like a zombie while Tex threatened her boys with a sawed off. Danny did the only thing he could. He took Ricky away. He called his aunt and uncle and they picked the boys up, carrying them to safety.
How did I let it get like this? She asked the wall, but it had no answer. I loved him once, didn’t I? Danny, what would you do if you knew Tex wasn’t your daddy? Would you kill him? Beat the hell out of him like he richly deserves?
She couldn’t tell him and prayed he wouldn’t find out on his own. Another man had her first. A man she loved more than her own life. But it wasn’t meant to be.
“If only….” She whispered to the four walls. “If only….”
Scottsbluff, Nebraska. August 1975
“Janet May, get your lazy butt outta that bed. NOW!”
Sookie, her baby sister, turned on the lights and threw back the covers. Janet had ducked under to get away from the blazing lights. Sookie yanked her hair trying to get the blankets off.
“Mama said get up outta that bed now!” Sookie did everything Mama said. Frequently, that was torturing Janet. “Get up now!”
“Sookie Ann, you leave me be! I still got five minutes.”
“Mama didn’t say to scream like a banshee and be a unholy terror.”
“First day of school!” Sookie yelled. “Its the FIRST DAY!”
“I know that!” Janet bellowed, sitting up in bed. “I’m awake, blast it. Leave me be.”
She threw her pillow for emphasis, clipping Sookie on the rear end. Her little sister howled like she was being killed.
“Mama!” Sookie wailed.
Their mother stormed in, on Sookie’s side—as usual.
“I hit her with a pillow,” Janet said before her mother yelled. “She turned on the light, yanked my hair, and nearly snatched me bald. Jerked back the covers like I can’t get up on my own.” Her alarm clock went off. “See? I was gonna give myself five whole minutes. I swear, Mama, y’all treat me like like a baby!”
Janet stormed out of the room and headed to the bathroom for a shower. It was hot and muggy. She wanted to be fresh her first day. She wasn’t in three minutes, hadn’t even soaped her hair, when Sookie banged on the door, yelling.
“Mama says—get out!”
“I will when I’m done!”
“Mama said now!”
“Mama can come her own self and tell me. Go away, Sookie.”
“Sookie Ann, swear to God!” She cut off the water.
Dripping and furious, she flung open the door. Sookie stood there looking smug, arms crossed over her flat, ten year old chest.
Janet shoved past her, walking toward the kitchen. “Did you send that little brat to get me?” she demanded of her mother.
“You got to catch the bus….”
“Mama, I know how to get ready. I’m fifteen.”
“First day of high school, I want to see you off.”
“I’m not a baby like Sookie! I been taking care of both of us forever!”
“There’s no need to talk to me like that.”
“There is a need! There’s been a need since Daddy left. But I was too young to know. It’s not my fault he’s gone.”
Her mother stiffened. “You saying it’s mine?”
“You’re the one he argued with, not me. Daddy loved me.”
“He loved you so much he left?”
“He told me—before he left. He told me—Girls belong with their mamas or he’d take me. He told me he loved me and he was sorry, but he had to get away.”
“So, then he just left you, huh? All alone with your mean old mama?” The tone of her voice stung more than her words.
©2020 Dellani Oakes