September 19, 1948
Nights with a blood moon the baby wouldn’t sleep at all. These nights I would get up in a trance fresh out of rem sleep and creep to his room in just a night gown. The winter air would bite at the tops of my feet and when I finally reached his crib side, his eyes glistened up at me in the blood moon light. These were the only nights he threw his fits. I would cradle him in my arms and walk to the window to see how bright the moon had cast its red glare across the tops of the frozen corn stalks. Strange to me such a farm crop could sparkle like red diamonds in a blood moon light out here in the middle of nowhere, if only their value really were that of diamonds. It could get us both off of this farm forever.
“God dammit woman! If you don’t shut that thing up, I’ll come shut BOTH of you the hell up!” My eyes squeezed themselves shut expecting a belt to the head but it was just a bark this time. A bark that was much worse than his bite but it came from afar. It would take him 6 minutes to get through the hall to the staircase up the stairs down the hall and finally to the babies room depending on how many beers he had had. If he had had more, it could take even longer for him to get to me.
That “thing” was his child too. The only “thing” in this old house was that thing yelling at me. That thing that tortures me daily and that thing that has kept me trapped on this farm for far too long. Anger and alcohol had mustered up a small frame of adrenaline to get him off his ass and up the stairs to attack me and his child. Adrenaline took my hand and helped me out the window with my baby in my arms. I sat my butt on the sill and swung my legs out into the bitter cold, wincing with from the iced rooftop on my feet. I lowered my butt down on top of the slanted roof and sat down. I clutched my crying baby to my chest as hard as I could without hurting him and sat indian style and away we went. Flying like the wind down the ice-slicked slanted roof and THUD! We landed in the snow safely. The second we landed is the second I leaped to my feet and ran the opposite direction of the window. As drunk as his eyes may have been, I couldn’t let him see my trail. I ran to the road where there wouldn’t be snow tracks, given we had some small traffic that day and it hadn’t been coming down hard or for long. I ran until my feet I couldn’t feel my feet anymore and stopped myself before I collapsed in the road. I gazed in front me as the blood red moon’s incandescence glimmered around a small cabin, pumping steam out of its chimney. My baby still cried. I staggered up the driveway with violet feet.
I threw myself and my crying child into the door with dead weight and slid down it into a sitting up position, staring at the grey clouds with gleaming stars poking through them. My limp head fell back against the door causing another knock on it. A blanket of warmth covered my baby and I when the door flew open and I fell into the doorway.
“Oh my! Oh my Lord! What do we have here?! My goodness my lady get in here! Come on let’s get you…” the woman had her hands under my armpits as she pulled my limp body next to the fire. “Oh your poor child! Let me just..” my eyes opened to a slit as she shut the door on the fierce winter blast.
“Please, my baby needs food, my husband..he..has..he has been..”
“He has been beating you for the last, what? 10 years? Keeping you trapped on this farm?” The woman’s wrinkly face stared down us. As she finished my sentence my eyes were like a deer caught in a spotlight.
“How did you..” My mouth hung open.
“Know?” She asked eerily. “I’ve known young lady. I’ve been expecting you. You see your husband and I keep two homes out here in this country. We have this little cabin in case you escaped, and that big old farmhouse where we’ll be raising your son!” The last thing I felt was the knife slice across my neck. My skin filleted open and the warm blood washed over me while my baby continued to cry.
By Cristina Jones