Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Day in and day out Ashley lay in her bed watching the hands of the clock on her wall race each other up the face of the clock. The skinny hand raced around the fat one in such a tremendous hurry.
She sat there picturing the fat hand as a turtle and the skinny one was the bunny rabbit from that children’s story. She watched the little bunny race around the clock faster and faster each day. Then the old man in the middle would tell her it was time to sleep when he chimed nine times.
Every day the people came and dragged her to the little room with the clueless doctor. Everyday she would sit and listen to the doctor tell her stories. They were mostly lies from the way she could figure it.
Ashley knew she didn’t lay a hand on her innocent husband. She knew because there was a man in her dreams who told her he killed her husband. Every time she went to tell the doctor it was the bad man, his face would appear, finger above his lips hushing her to silence. He visited her every night in her dreams. The first time she opened her mouth and words came out it was his words in her voice, screaming she killed him, and Molly Goldfish was next.
The door to her bedroom opened slowly. The men came in and untied her from her bed. They sat her in the chair with the wheels and strapped her in. Then pushed her down the hall. Ashley knew it wasn’t time for breakfast, she had eggs three long races ago. She also knew it wasn’t time for the doctor, they already had their session. Something was wrong. She thought back to the other day when George had come to see her. He didn’t remember a thing about him but she knew his name, somehow. It was written in his face, she could see it if she squinted her eyes. But, she couldn’t remember him.
The rolled her into a different room. She hated this room. It was the one with the bad man and the couch. He would make her lay down on the couch, used some kind of magic to make her dream and force her to remember things she had forgotten, or was trying to forget. She called him the evil wizard because he used his magic spell to force her to remember the pain she didn’t want to remember.
The men in the white pants put her on the couch and left as they always did. The man came in and said the same words he always said. Ashley tried to fight it. She didn’t know how he was able to get power over her but she drifted into her nightmare every single time he showed up.
She would try to force him out of her mind. Puppies. Think about puppies, Ash. Think about how your puppy Benjamin used to catch fish by the lake. Fish. Gold fish. Like the Goldfish on Ferris wheel. Molly Goldfish…
NO. Stop. If you think of her he wins. Think of something else. Trees. The changing colors of the fall leaves after school. Think of the school dance where you had your first kiss, Jake Hampton. Remember hold old Jake. He was into you since 5th grade. All he wanted was a sweat, innocent little kiss.
Oh, sneaky Ashley gave unsuspecting Jake more than he bargained for. Not her flower, she saved that for…Drake Thompson. No! Stop. If you remember Drake you will let the bad man win. Forget about Drake. He was a bad boy. Yes he was. His hand went right up our skirt, remember. He found our flower and carefully caressed it away from us. He was gentle, but firm. He was so firm. He was…
Ashley knew she was losing. She was drifting asleep. Into her nightmare she went.
Ashley was sitting on her bed reading a letter George had written her. He explained how his parents were forcing him to take Molly Hampton to the fall fair instead of her. His letter explained how he didn’t even like Molly and was going to ditch her first thing. She read the letter with tears of hope in her eyes. He had stopped by moments early to break up with her and tell her it was over. Before he handed her the letter, he kissed her on the cheek and said, read it after I leave, please.
Ashley knew Molly was going to try to steal her man away. She was going to sneak off to that fair and meet up with him like he promised her. The letter said to wait by the Ferris Wheel. He was going to get Molly a cotton candy and tell her to wait by the bathrooms while he ran an errand for his brother. He was then supposed to sneak off and meet her behind the rodeo bleachers. She couldn’t wait to see the look on smug old Molly Hampton’s face. She wanted to send her back to her parents. It was because of Molly stealing her man she tried to seduce Molly’s cousin in the first place. No. Ashley. Stay on point. The voice of the bad man crept into her dream.
Ashley remembered tucking the letter under her pillow for safe keeping. It was going to be her good luck charm she figured. She got dressed and dashed towards the county fair in hopes of meeting up with her boyfriend, George Thompson. She didn’t have plans giving him her flower but she was certainly looking forward to taking the next step, French kissing. She had only ever French kissed that one camp counselor last summer. She only did it because he was cute and played that song her wrote her on his guitar. It was such a pretty song.
Ashley ran as fast as she could to meet her lover. It was too late. When she got there she saw Molly Hampton putting her hands around George’s shoulders, kissing him right smack on the lips and he wasn’t even fighting back. The nerve! She was so distraught she ran off as fast as she could. That is when she ran into George’s older brother Drake. He had been moping around the place since his girlfriend Jennifer moved away. Nobody really knew what happened as her parents had good jobs in town.
Ashley’s memories get fuzzy here. The rest of the night is a blur of the two rolling around under the rodeo bleachers, his hand going up her skirt, her lips kissing his earlobe. She felt him firmly, but gently, remove her flower at his own pleasure. She couldn’t even remember her own name, let alone if they used proper protection. In that moment she could feel his soul borrowing into hers as his love sword borrowed into her. She couldn’t believe it. Here she was making love to the brother of the boy she had been in love with. A whirlwind of guilt, love, pain and pleasure rushed through her body.
Ashley didn’t have words for the ecstasy she experienced that night as he had his way with her. Afterward she lay on the grass, feeling his love seed crawl into her egg and make a baby girl. Unlike Jennifer before her, Stephanie didn’t run off to have an abortion or whatever it was. She gave birth to the baby girl. She didn’t tell kids in school it was hers. She took a trip to Europe to live with her Aunt Lizzy in Copenhagen. Not a word of it was true. She did stay with her aunt while she had the baby but they were in Virginia nowhere near Europe. She returned with a new cousin who had been taken by the state following her mother’s drug arrest or some such lie the family told people.
Despite knowing she had made a living, breathing little girl with Drake, she refused to tell him it was his kid. She knew it would only bring him heartache. She married her husband, the football jock she dated from that point on and never looked back. That was until the day Drake showed up, out of the blue, to meet his daughter.
Ashley couldn’t remember anything more from there. She began screaming on top of her lungs until the men in the white pants took her back to her room, tied her back to her bed and put the drugs in her mouth.
She lay in the bed watching the little bunny rabbit racing the big, fat turtle around the face of the old man. She did that until it was time to close her eyes and go to sleep.