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Category Archives: Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Bayou Gauche Death…

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Bayou Gauche Death

untitledDrawing by Anneka Reay

 

At dawn, Ruby Waters life light went out, in the dark her children cried; a candle glowed against the rustic rough boards of the shanty shadowing the souls left behind.  Laid to rest quickly in the Louisiana heat; the moon cast a glow on her shallow grave.  The children’s tears burn hot upon their dirt-streaked faces as relatives who heard the shots took them away.  Drunken Gat Waters had shot his emaciated wife because she was pregnant again then yelled, “Now dat’ are two less mouths to feed”.  They were swamp folk no one outside Bayou Gauche would ever know.

 

 

 

 

Text Copyright © 2016 by Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree 

Publishing Rights AsterialThoughts.100WordShortStories 2016 by Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

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Bayou Gauche Death is a work of fiction.  Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

 

 

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The Intention to Deceive…

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An excerpt from “Fire, Rain and Lies”…

 

The intention to deceive…

A sad woman and her children stood in the graveyard on top of a small knoll watching the funeral service of her mother; asking herself, why she had come to this so-called deified ground.  The real “family”, the one acknowledged by a small gathering of people standing quietly next to the little mound of Alabama’s blood red dirt accepted the family, the two people and their children worthy of mourning the dead.  These worthy people sat in front of the casket, chairs prepared for a “family”.  A relative, a lecher, a pander of a church, an on-line bought preacher spoke of someone that he did not really know. 

There on the knoll stood four people, the woman too proud to let it show that she was being insulted and snubbed; her children protectively at her side.  Treated like yesterdays garbage upon arrival for this audacious occasion, shunned, hate shown without remorse from the “family”.  Why, because she dared to be there.  The dead, the woman in the casket had never wanted her, and although she came to see her faithfully, the selfish woman pushed her away.  Is there a hell for such people, should they or do they deserve to be called Mother?

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One week earlier, when the Mother lay dying… the lies began, “family” needed time to  open Wills, to move around assets to the “family” coffers.  Like so many years before, greed was again desperately trying to kill the seed.  Kept an aged body alive for financial gain, keeping “it” alive was beneficial. 

She was told not to come to the hospital.  The lies quickly followed, while all the time the entitlement that raged through the “family” was all that was present, no grief, instead of the grimness of death there were on faces of greedy ploys.  Gluttony bloomed before the sun would set upon that final day; looks of lying and take, take, take, their lives took on the presence of a forged tongue.  Always speaking of God, hope and prayer will not remove the presence of lies.

She left with her children knowing the “family” would hope that she would never return and they got what they wanted for a time.  She eventually returned in hopes of finding change, finding a family that wanted her, as she had always wanted them.  Lastly, she said her final good-bye. Never again, to face open jeers, false deeds, see honors lost; the price of greed can be at a great cost.  Roars of detest, to feel abhorrence of; hate; dislike intense continues now with the one’s that worry she may return.  Most of the “family” has since died but there still lies in the misty breath of strife… hate.  She is glad that the “bad omen” did not follow her in life and now destiny has finally caught up with the liar’s and their lives.          

 

©2017.elizabethannjohnsonmurphre

 

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A Motherless Child…

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A Motherless Child…

I believed and continue to believe myself to be a motherless child.  A simple family gathering where my Aunt Vina made the statement when correcting a story regarding my daddy.   She said, “No, that happen after Roy came for Ann”; then added, “Remember, she was with me until she was two years old”.  I heard her.  The truth freed a family secret; Southerners are very good at keeping secrets.  My mother unflinchingly said, “Well, it was Roy who wanted her back home, not me”.  The words cut like a knife; they would not be the last damning words to me that my mother would say.

charlotte-36-copy(This is the only picture of my mother that I have)

Questions of a lifetime were answered.  I was a tough child, strong minded, creative and resourceful; I knew how to survive.  My daddy took care of me as best he could until I was five years old; he then brought home a wonderful black lady called Aunt Francis (yes, it was the day where such names were given that today would be offensive, but I loved her) she would be my mother until I was old enough to no longer need the care a mother would give a child.  Was my mother there, of course, she was…doing her own thing.  My mother was a brilliant woman with great potential; she also had love in her heart but it was reserved for others not me.  She did not want me at birth and she did not want me the day she died.  However, that’s another story

I survived, I grew up in the tranquility of the woods that surrounded the house I lived in, I had daddy, and Aunt Vina my daddy’s sister was still in my life.  Aunt Francis taught manners and how to live with adversary; my Great-grandmother taught me how to survive in all ways.  My mother instilled fear in me.

I loved my mother with every breath I took, I remember pretending that she would put her arms around me lovingly, calling me with a voice filled with love and caring.  No, in all of my life, my mother has never put her arms around me or told me she loved me.  And, I survived it all physically, mentally is still being questioned.  Nonetheless, I flourished under those heavenly Alabama skies, I am still silent within my own loneliness, a motherless child before and after she died.

 

Note from Author:  These stories are true…there were many children in my situation, yet few continued to love their mother as I did; I have accepted the fact that it is my destiny to be alone and to be lonely.  However, writing the stories will be my gift to all who read them, I will write until the well of words dry up. 

 

 

©2017.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Fire, Rain and Lies…

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 “FIRE, RAIN AND LIES”…

An excerpt from the beginning of my autobiography:  

These days I contemplate the mystery of life, of my life; and that I exist at all, born in the South during a time when people were trying to pull out of the Great Depression, the year was 1939.  The rural South I am told, was affected the most.  My daddy worked as a tenant farmer, never making enough money to get ahead, but just enough to buy some store bought foods.  I guess that you could say that we were better off than most, many were forced to beg, train hop, or look for daily work to feed their families. 

10.Cabin in the Meadow

“Above is a watercolor painting I did of the place where I was born, fortunately it was there long enough for me to place it in memory.  It was unoccupied and burned down by vandals in 1949”.

 My daddy use to say, if Hoover had been reelected everybody in the south would have starved to death, he was tired of eating Hoover gravy; as it turned out he lived on Hoover gravy and fatback for years.  Even when Mr. Roosevelt was elected and long after the depression was over my daddy would find himself no better off.

My mother and daddy married in May 1932, my sister was born in February 1933; this would be the only child my mother ever wanted.  She was almost happy in those days, then in 1938, she found out she was pregnant with me…

I repeat these days I contemplate the mystery of life, of my life; and why I exist at all!

[This autobiography is ongoing and has been for a few years, complicated, thorny and heartbreaking I continue to write about a life fill with abuse, sprinkles of happiness and mammoth lies.  I will bring you updates from time to time.]  

 

Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree    

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66th

 

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The Poor and the Homeless…

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I spent most of my Saturday night binge watching a series from Australia called “Keeping up with the Jones”; although it was redundant, I found it interesting.   This family owned over one-million acres of land in Australia and the images were amazing, especially the stars dancing across the heavens at night.

Nonetheless, the show made me think of all of the poverty in the world.  This family owned a “fleet” of helicopters to herd cattle, and although I understood their need for the trucks, tractors, trailers; not to forget horses, boats, water skis, just about anything one could want.  And, their “cook” prepared great food, deserts and no one went away hungry; I repeat…no one went away hungry!

Today, my reflection on the series is not that the Jones’ have a copious amount of wealth, they work very hard and at times face dangerous situations; their lot in life was to be one of abundance.  I just have to wonder with such wealth all over the world why did fate not spread it around.  There should be no hunger, health care should be free and plentiful; I am not asking the Jones’s of the world to give up their wealth to the poor, no.

On this Sunday morning, I am questioning all Gods, the Gods of every individual in the world, and why these Gods did not spread it around; no one should be hungry or homeless.  Never do I see images of the rich worshiping their God(s), while images of the poor and middle class worshiping their God(s) are abundant.  The hungry and homeless need help, the help of people and the God(s).  I’m just saying…

 

And, if you get a chance, watch “Keeping up with the Jones” on Netflix, you will marvel at Australia’s landscape and those billions of stars.  Have a great day.

 

Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

Authors Books on Line:

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The Little Black Box…

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Rebecca watched her father walked through the double door without looking back at her.  Her mother and husband were making a fuss over how she had been upset with the miscarriages and talking of killing herself.  She looked at her arm, the rubber tubing, the syringe, and felt the numbness that caused her to feel heavy, weightless at the same time.  Her vision blurring, the fleur-de-lis wallpaper in her mother’s living room became waves of beige and gold swaying in an invisible breeze.  The reason she was there dissolved into an ocean of oblivion.

When Rebecca began to regain her senses, she was lying on an examining table in a Shelby County Tennessee Medical Clinic, she recognized the doctor who had given her a shot at her mother’s place.  Standing in the corner of the room were her mother, husband and two sheriff deputies.  This time Rebecca did not protest when the doctor gave her another shot of his magic that sent her to a place where she no longer cared.  The wheelchair bumped over each crack in the sidewalk, each feeling as if she was falling into a crater.  The doctor and nurse put her in the back of a squad car as her mother began to tell Rebecca’s husband that his wife would never leave him.  She leans far into the back seat, and in her own heartless way said in a low evil voice.

“You see what happens when you try to disgrace me, putting you away for being insane will be more acceptable than have you leave your husband.  You’re a southerner for god sake, southerners don’t leave their husbands”

Her body quivering beneath the threadbare blanket as Rebecca fought violently against the straps confining her to a bed, her mind battled with drugged hallucinations; when she slept, they became chaotic dreams.  In the end she always gave in, lie quietly watching the unwanted souls shuffle back and forth in the dimly lit hallway.   Rebecca knew of Challis Manor, at the edge of the Appalachian foothills it provided medical treatments for the mentally ill, a place where wealthy Tennesseans paid to have members of their families placed to avoid embarrassment; Rebecca was not there because she had a mental or physical problem, it was 1959 she was there because she tried to leave her husband.

Rebecca struggled in the confusion, she had already undergone several shock treatments, and it had not taken away her need to be free.  She fought confinement, she fought treatments and she wanted her father to come and take her away.

A nurse brought Rebecca two small pills, it was extra medication and it could mean only one thing, it was time for another treatment.  They put her on a gurney and placed her in the hallway outside her room.  She could not stop her mind as it suspended itself between reality and the delusional.  Should she doubt herself, she examined the redness of her wrist made by her constantly fighting the heavy leather straps causing deep cuts.  Finally, Rebecca’s involuntary thrashing turned into calmness.

Rebecca’s mind seemed frozen in time and her body was controlled, but they could not free her of the madness of her confused memories.  She would drift for what seem like hours in hopelessness, her flesh burning, she wondered if she would ever escape her anguished nightmares of her childhood, her marriage, her life.

“Daddy”

“Daddy I’m afraid.”

“Daddy, are you there?”

Rebecca’s visions clung to her like the sweat that gathered and rolled down her face; she remembers a little girl riding with her daddy on the back of a fine Tennessee walking horse in an open field.  She felt someone pick up her hand, turning it was another white clad figure, the gurney was moving, and then stopped.  A glass syringe glittered in the semi-lit room; it was more medication to help them imprison her mind.

“Daddy, daddy are you there, I’m afraid.”

Rebecca knew about the small room designed for suffering; the plastered walls had cracks that snaked toward the ceiling like vines in winter.  She tried to open her eyes but the glare from the lights blinded her.  The room filled with people, nurses, doctors; one saying shock treatment again might be risky; somewhere in the distance, Rebecca could hear her mother’s voice fervently auguring with someone.  She could picture her mother’s face contorted with anger; her mother preferred a lunatic in the family instead of a divorced daughter.

White flecks began to explode behind the lids of Rebecca’s closed eyes.  Her arms and legs strain against the leather straps as convulsions, a reaction from the drug that raced through her body.  She opened her eyes and watched as the blood coming from her bound wrist spread across her pale flesh leaving a crimson trail down to the sheet.   She drifted among abysmal visions of pain and humiliation; traveling into a realm of kaleidoscopic dreams when she heard her mother say…

“I am paying you people enough to take risk, I signed a waiver, and I will be responsible for anything that happens.”

Rebecca opened her eyes and looked at the mirrored window across from her; she knew behind it stood her mother, and husband.  The poignant smell of antiseptic became heavy in the air.  Rebecca felt herself losing control of her thoughts, her body; she could feel her eyes as if on a mission of their own dart back and forth taking in the limited boundaries of the small treatment room, a surge of electricity violated her body, her mind, and her senses.  A nurse had put a wooden paddle between her teeth; the electrical current coursed deeply into her brain.  If she woke, she would try to remember how she got into the asylum and who she was before she married the man her mother had chosen for her.

Rebecca’s eyes opened and were oblivious of the intense light invading her enlarged pupils; she tried to focus on a large mirror above her.  In its reflection was that of a young girl lying on a small narrow bed, leather straps on her arms, legs and across her chest, her skin had the bluish tint of death; her body emancipated, her hollow raven eyes seem more animal than human.  Then the lights became soft, a white garment of serenity blanketed the young girl.  Rebecca closed her eyes then opened them for one last look looked; she knew that she and the young girl were the same and would soon be free; she smiled.

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It was just a small black electrical box sitting on a chipped white enamel table, nineteen-year-old Rebecca her eyes now dark stagnant pools.  Before they wheeled her from the room she closed her eyes for the last time, she had firsthand knowledge of the power of the little black box!  It altered minds, made people submissive; her mother and her husband would no longer have to worry about being embarrassed, there would be no a divorce in the family, she would miss her daddy.  Rebecca knew that her mother and money controlled “the black box”!

Rebecca smiled; no one noticed that the innocent young girl had just taken her last breath!

 

 

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Second Anniversary…

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Today is the second anniversary of my blog Confessional Fiction, Free Verse Poetry, Prose, Non-Fiction and Art. During the last two years, I have been fortunate enough to acquire 1363 followers, 680 Twitter followers from the blog and 355,885 hits. 

All of this is because of “you” my followers, and those who drop by just to browse.  You have supported and help me get through serious health problems and the continued grief of a lost love one; this is because of you. 

Then, there are those of you who have become “Cyber” friends, and to these friends…you held me up when I was down and you walked beside me in spirit as I struggle to become healthy, write and create, a special thank you goes to you and you know who you are.

Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree   

27.Night Dragonfly

NIGHT ANGELS

 

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