Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Born to the Enemy (Chapter 2B)

   Soon it was the eve of Ezra’s eleventh birthday.    He did not know this of course because acknowledging this or celebrating it would be a way for Acacia to admit his humanity.    She would never allow herself to ponder if she had stolen anything from him.   In her state of darkness,  she did not even understand what she had stolen from herself,  much less feel conscience stricken by his loss.     One day when Ezra knew Acacia  would be gone for a while,  he decided to follow the path that Acacia had long ago beaten toward the elusive village of Gladstone.    He could still see her foot prints on the dewy trampled grass as he anxiously tread on each of her steps to the place where people go about normal,  happy lives.     As he approached this village his heart began to race,  his hands began to sweat,  his throat became very constricted.....WHAM!   A sudden darkness fell over his face,  he heard a scuffling sound after which he must have blacked out.    When he finally awoke,  he was locked in his twig and twine cage that was getting really small for him by this point.    Acacia fashioned this prison for him when he was only three or four so it did not fit like it used to.     He looked through bleary eyes to see a scornful Acacia glaring at him as she mixed up some smelly goop with her twig handled spoon.     He could tell that she had smashed him on the back of the head  with some kind of club as evidenced by the goose egg that now smarted right behind his left ear.    He never saw her.   She must have sensed that he was following her,  hidden herself,  and waited for a chance to ambush him.     She knew it would have to be this way because he was getting tall and nimble enough to outrun her any day.    

     Little did  she know,  however,  her days of having no mercy on Ezra would soon be over.     Ezra had been noticing that Acacia burped a lot more than usual.    It was rhythmic almost,  as if she were  hiccuping.    As he laid still in his cage wondering what kind of gunk she was going to force on him,  he observed quietly that she seemed to be breathing more rapidly than usual,  belching  more and more.   Suddenly,  to his astonishment  she dropped her bowl of trash,  slumped over the chair that she had been standing by,  and made nearly inaudible gurgling sounds!     “Acacia!”   Ezra screamed.     “What is wrong Acacia?”   Ezra begged.     Despite the cruel treatment he received at her hands,  it still frightened Ezra to think that she was dying.    Indeed,  she seemed at that moment to be dead.    He could not know for sure since he was locked up,  but he had never seen anything like this before.  

    A creeping fear consumed him as he faced the dawning realization that there would now be no one to let him out of his cage.    “Acacia, please get up!”    Acacia just laid there over the chair.    “Acacia, can you hear me?”    Nothing!    Ezra had never actually tried to get out of his cage.    It was his normal.   He now made a decision to try with all his might to get himself out of his bonds.   He grabbed the arm that he had used so many times before to reach for Acacia’s bread.    He was aiming to get the bread knife close enough to reach with his hands and then he could begin sawing at the twine that held his cage in one piece.   

     As the tip of his long arm touched the knife, he gave it a pull, trying to edge it closer.    As though someone were invisibly trying to end him,  the knife went the wrong way.    No amount of stretching could help Ezra get that knife back toward his grasp.     After two hours of trying in desperation to reach the knife,  he slumped over, truly exhausted.    It was a fitful sleep,  but sleep he did.   Ultimately he spent two days in that cage,  in that house with a dead lady before a  passing traveler stopped by wondering if he could get a drink of water.    The stench of death overcame him as he approached the house.   He could hear a rambling, nonsensical voice crying deliriously for a sip of water.    Imagine the traveler’s horror when he found Ezra and discovered the shroud hovering above that house,  evidence that the grisly reaper of death had walked through.    Ezra’s first ugly reality was finally coming to a close.    Sadly there would be more to follow.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Born to the Enemy (Chapter 2 A)

                                         The Abduction of Baby Ezra
                                                             Chapter 2
     Before anyone could say,   “Horse drawn carriage,”   Acacia had disappeared with baby Ezra.    Cassandra’s husband,  John Charlton,   made a feeble attempt to try and get Cassandra to reveal where Acacia may have taken the baby,  but he was to absorbed with his sorrow at the loss of baby Edmund.    Sadly, he often numbed the disappointments of life by swilling alcoholic beverages.   Also,  like many men of that time,  he left the care of children to the women and Cassandra had convinced him that Acacia was going to raise Ezra away from the house,  like at a boarding school.   Cassandra also knew how to make her man miserable and she allowed John to feel the full heat of her displeasure if he interfered with her decisions.  This was the beginning  of a series of decisions to ignore or pretend that all was well.    Cassandra of course knew better,  but such was the persuasive power of Acacia over Cassandra that it became very grim for the little infant Ezra.    The young boy was thought by Cassandra to be a cursed child who may have the power to steal the breath of any additional babies that might be born to her and John, so in her heart  she did not care to see him at all.    Dreadful,   I know.    
    As the years passed slowly in the little village of Gladstone,  Ezra did the best he could to survive the cold care of  the possessed and paranoid Acacia.    She would only feed him roots from the forest plants,  water,  and she forced him to drink a nasty concoction that she brewed up from fish scales,  pond water,  and old potatoes.    This was hardly survival food so when he knew that Acacia would be gone for a bit,  he would use his handy fashioned extension arm to knock Acacia’s bread from the table,  gobble it up and pretend to be none the wiser when she returned.    Oh,  by the way,  Acacia kept him locked in a twig and twine cage that she had made with her hands.     This was indeed the stark reality of Ezra’s young life.    It was as if an evil spirit had so warped the mind of Acacia and his birth mother that he was trapped.    Trapped in a sick and twisted figment of someone else’s imagination.    
    Please note that until Ezra was four,  he had never even met his real mother!    His father seemed to have forgotten him too.     By the time Ezra was  six years old,  his real parents had welcomed three more children into the family.   Sheridan,  Eliza,  and Maribeth Charlton.     After the visit that Cassandra paid to Acacia’s home when Ezra was 4,  Acacia told Ezra that  Cassandra was his birth mother, but that she had given him to her in order to consecrate him for a higher purpose.     He was to be a sort of medicine man raised in her tutelage.     She began to include Ezra in her rituals when he was only three.     She would bring live critters such as frogs,  snails, and salamanders to the table.   She would encourage Ezra to bite these creatures.    When he would not cooperate she would chant strange, guttural things and then she would grab a knife, chop the poor creature in half and smear the blood of the slain all over him.    Ezra hated these rituals and tried his best to fabricate wonderful reasons to dismiss himself when he felt that she was working herself into one of her frenzies.

Years passed and Ezra grew healthy and tall by seeking every possible means of nourishment.   Berries, birds, insects.   By the time Ezra was about eight he became aware that Acacia had somewhere to go where she would speak to and enjoy other people.    He became extremely curious about these people,  the village that she occasionally described.     You see,  Acacia thought she had sufficiently tamped down his human spirit and independent reasoning.    Wicked people always seek to isolate those that they mistreat because deep inside they know they must hide their works from others.     They prefer that nosy meddlers do not interfere with their plans so they try to brainwash the person that they wish to keep control of.     Acacia did not figure into her schemes that a plan and a purpose had been laid for Ezra long before his mother and father chose to abandon him to her wickedness.    Just as Acacia kept her deeds shielded from the world,  Ezra also had an internal compass that told him that things were not right.    

Born to the Enemy

                                       A Heartless Mother
                                                             Chapter 1
    A ghastly squeal arose from the silence of the burgeoning dawn.   Suddenly a strange and frenzied bird flew across the rooftops of the small village of  Gladstone.   Scarcely anybody was up and about at this early morning hour.   Up on the hill that shadowed the village like a dark promise,  sat the foreboding glare of the deserted  mansion that had once belonged to a man named Ezra Charlton.    The life of its owner is a legend,  a tragedy,  and at times it was a miracle that he lived to tell his own story.  It is simply known that the builder,   Ezra Charlton,  lived privately,  had odd habits,  and he was quite disposed to visit orphanages and would only leave when he had spent several hours regaling the children with tall tales and make believe stories of valor.    Or were they make believe?     Ezra and his mansion ignited in most people these  seeming flights of fancy that few could account for.   From it’s groundbreaking beginning to it’s  current state of crumbling decay,  Charlton Mansion had been shrouded in mystery, intrigue,  suspicion,  and  sometimes even death.     

 It wasn’t that anybody intended to be generic in their description of the place,  after all, many mansions can be described as spooky or haunted, but the shoe fit.   Perhaps the mysterious and macabre early connections of its owner lent itself to these remote if not fantastical leaps of logic.   His early life is as strange as it is fascinating.    Within each spirit there is the chance to turn towards the light or the chance to turn to the darkness.   Sadly for  Ezra,  he had a run in with two chasers of the latter variety pretty much as soon as he was born.  You must be patient for the story to unfold in a manner that befits its peculiarity.    The best place to start is at the beginning of life for the mansion’s original owner,  Ezra Charlton.
     Ezra was born in July of 1836.    He was born as a twin.   His twin brother,  Edmund,  died as soon as he took his first breath.   Edmund was a perfectly formed baby,  rosy cheeked and plump,   seemingly healthier than his twin brother Ezra.    Edmund was born 12 minutes after Ezra.   Their mother, Cassandra,  was attended by a Haitian midwife who had a strange influence over Cassandra’s perceptions.   Indeed,  some believed at the time that  Acacia,  the Haitian midwife,  practiced a form of witchcraft or voodoo over Cassandra.    No sooner had Edmund taken his first and last breath,  when Acacia swooped in and grabbed the dead  baby and began to chant a haunting repetition that no one in the room could understand.    After about twenty minutes of this,   Acacia seized the live baby from his mother’s arms,  muttered a frantic warning to Cassandra,  then turned and ran quickly for the door with little Ezra in tow.    This was the odd and tragic early happenings of Ezra Charlton’s life.     Acacia had somehow usurped a mother’s love and replaced it with fear and suspicion.    How did she do such a thing?   Well,  it is generally accepted that we must be careful of what philosophies we allow to take strong hold within our hearts.   Acacia planted in Cassandra’s mind the idea that the one baby,  Edmund,  had died because Ezra came into the world first,  determined it was all his,  and then,  when Edmund took his first breath,  Ezra quickly overcame his life by stealing his next,  hence making his brother die!     I know,  it’s preposterous but you would never have convinced the superstitious Acacia and the mother that had fallen under her spell of this.    Instead of taking the tiny babe to her bosom,  the new mother quite adamantly rejected the living baby in honor of the dead one.     Things like this never turn out well for the living.    Both the mother and her living baby would suffer terrible consequences because of this superstition of Acacia’s.   When Acacia died in 1847,  Cassandra had become a woman chained to her choices,  always ruining her peace with frightening skill as if some puppet master had strings attached to her soul.  Cassandra laid a foundation that reverberated in the years that followed.   Ezra Charlton would have had a very different life if his mother had ignored a flamboyant medicine woman who brought her witchery over from her homeland.   One thing is not known,  what kind of man would he have become if he had been raised by a pathologically narcissistic mother?  Sad tales often have a bright spot so let’s see if we can find one. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Don't Let Life's Lemons Leave You Sour

      Cliche'd as it seems,   the advice to make lemonade with your lemons can be a good strategy.   Whatever you are facing,  consider that your outlook and subsequent response will dramatically impact your ability to cope.    It has long been known that cheery hopefulness and optimism do a greater service to the cancer survivor than doom and gloom that has enveloped many a victim.   Laying down and waiting on things to get worse decries a certain fatalism that will bring about the self fulfilling prophecy that no one really looks forward to.   So even when it seems hopeless,  just know that people have survived and thrived their way through worse.

1.  Financial Disaster -  This being so common right now,  and true for me as well,  I thought it would be a good topic to cover.   Be willing to let go of things you don't need.   Have a yard sale,  sell excess belongings on ebay,  or look for a niche where you can provide a service.    Look into the legalities for your state but in this economic climate there may be areas that in a different economy would not necessarily have potential,  but would now take off dramatically in the current climate.    One cool idea is to offer your clean up and sanitation services  to banks that own homes that are foreclosed and need to be cleaned up for a quick sale.      Think outside the box and brainstorm what is occupying people that you could do for them to make a modest wage.     Also remember that people who underestimate themselves will rarely be able to convince others of their value.     Exude confidence and assurance if you want a positive response.     Offer a great value.   This is a big deal because people are looking for a bargain.   You've heard it before;  money is not growing on trees so keep in mind that to grow a business right now you may need to be willing to  charge less in order to get more work.

2.   Relationships - Live in honesty,  treat others how you want to be treated,  and forgive as much as possible.    If you cling to every wrong and demand apologies from all you will die angry and befuddled.   Just remind yourself of the times you were wrong but too stubborn to admit it.    Realize that you are dealing with other flawed humans and it will stink on occasion to number your self among the living :)    Take cheer in the fact that what goes around usually does return to the sender in some form or another.    Pick your friends wisely and choose your marriage mate based on how they treat you and others.   If he/she is rude and thoughtless while dating,  it will not get better,  but more than likely it will get worse!      Rule of thumb whether a guy or a gal,    if you're afraid to let them meet the family,   then either your family or the prospective spouse needs a tune up!    We can rarely fix others so don't go into a friendship or a marriage with the idea that you can change a person.    This has ended in tragedy more often than not.

3.    God - To fully live your life with the ability to bounce back like a red rubber ball I prescribe God.   He is changeless, timeless, and ever compassionate and desirous of our love and devotion.   In return for your love and devotion you will have the enviable assurance that somehow all will be alright.    I am living proof of this fact.    No matter how loud the blare in my ears becomes,  no matter how strong the storm winds blow,  I am at peace.    Peace that surpasses all understanding,  supernaturally infused within my heart by praying to the 'One' who has "all" right in the palm of His hand.