Flashing blue lights promised justice as the police hauled away the young, handcuffed menace, while his mother’s pleas, a grating sound against the chalkboard of that justice, polluted the air.
“You just don’t understand him,” she cried inciting angry protests and hateful glares from her neighbors. “He’s a good boy!”
Jasmine, hunched over what was left of the front door after the swat team burst through it, clutched the arms of her shirt, but it did little to stop the quaking that rattled her body. It did nothing to warm the chills seeping into her bones. A hollowed shell, she regarded the naked black sky and swallowed the tears that swelled in her throat. In a few short hours, the sun would rise in all its pomp and dispel the black of the night, but its emanating arms wouldn’t reach the infesting darkness consuming her soul.
Jasmine glowered at her boyfriend’s mother wailing on her fat, knotted knees as the police sped away with her precious son. A switch clicked off in her head, extinguishing the last of her light, and a vengeful command drove her straight to the pathetic woman.
With very little thought, but with all her heart, she kicked Linda right in the head. A chorus of approval rang out and she kicked and stomped her again and again. Tears stung her eyes, but she didn’t need to see. The music of the woman’s grunts and the blood splattering the concrete empowered her, the neighbors’ applause encouraged her.
Linda should’ve been occupying one of those police cruisers. She was more culpable than her son. Everyone knew Jerome was merely a rotten apple from a diseased tree. That cunning crone had an uncanny ability to get into people’s heads and make them see what she wanted them to see.
Like her beloved son Jerome.
Linda insisted that if anyone ever took the time to get to know him, they’d understand why he did the things he did. It didn’t matter how his actions affected other people, or the people who got hurt, even killed. In Linda’s eyes, Jerome could do no wrong, and for too long, Jasmine was a cult believer bewitched by all Linda’s lies. She too, had suffered by the hands of Jerome, and when she dared to stand up for herself, she suffered by the hands of his wicked mother.
But no more. Tonight she would be free from them both…
Massive arms wrapped around her like a vice and robbed her of her objective. Jasmine shrieked, writhing and kicking, but to no avail. Will she ever get justice? Someone shushed in her ear, his warm breath misting on her earlobe while another set of hands stroked her hair. “We know, baby girl,” she heard him whisper. “We know.” Resigned and spent, Jasmine planted her feet. Rough, calloused hands gently turned her around and cradled her face while a thumb swiped away the tears that soaked it. She blinked hard and opened her eyes.
Jasmine first saw the weathered face of the older man who ripped her away from Linda, then she saw her neighbors fenced around her. Each of them, eyes full of care, slowly approached her and placed a hand on her, touching her hair, her arms, her back. Heat emitted from their fingers, emanating through her body and it was like an answered prayer. Jasmine gasped and fresh tears streamed down her face. Suddenly, the night no longer seemed so dark. And when the waters poured from the sky, ending the six month drought, the young woman smiled. There was hope for her, after all.
© D.L. Lunsford