Her nails were finally dry enough that she could finish the last of the packing before she finished tidying up. She gave one last longing look in the direction of the mirror; still shocked by the sight of the shoulder length, dark honey colored hair on the person staring back at her. The sight nearly made her cry again. Her long wheat colored locks dumped into the toilet and flushed away made her sad. It had taken a life time to grow her hair to where it touched the top of her ass crack, she thought somewhat childishly. The telephone rang loudly jolting her away from her obsession. “Hello. No he’s not here. He just went out to get cigarettes. Do you want to leave a message?” She asked politely as the caller hung up in her ear. “Asshole!” She yelled as she slammed down the receiver.
She slipped into the garage hoisting the Army green duffel bag onto the bike; carefully bungee cording it securely to the sissy bar and rear fender. The bike was big for her but she had ridden it a few times when he got too drunk to ride them home from the bar or the clubhouse. It was a Night Train with baby apes lowered enough that she could touch the ground on her tip toes. The double twisted spokes sparkled on the Softail like jewels she thought; happy that the weight of six hundred pound machine was manageable for her.
Back inside she looked around trying to determine if she had overlooked anything. She disconnected the empty propane tank from the connecter at the back of the stove returning it to its place on the shelf in the garage. The potbelly stove that heated the house was cool after burning none stop this week. She scooped the last of the ash and bone into the large plastic trash bag making certain not to spill any of the ash onto the floor. She tied the bag in a knot before taking it to the garage. She’d wait until night fall to drop it into some distant neighbors trash can. Then she reloaded the stove with fresh logs just the way he liked it. She put on her leather jacket slid the black backpack over her shoulders then headed for the garage.
She ran back inside locking all the doors then pushed the garage door open placing her peanut helmet on her head before firing up the bike. After a minute she rolled it onto the driveway back inside she retrieved his helmet before closing the garage door. She slipped the helmet over one handlebar letting it hang there as she rode slowly out of the neighborhood. Like the bag of ash the helmet would be disposed of along the way. Thirty minutes later she was headed for US Highway 40 out of Charlotte, North Carolina headed towards a new life away from here and all the pain.
Growing up in Raleigh in a dysfunctional family filled with losers and lushes at least that’s what her Grandma used to say. Her Ma as the family referred to the tiny woman who gave birth nine times yet only managed to have four living children. Sadly she’d died giving birth to her only daughter Carrie Lynn Wheeler. Her father took to the bottle about that same time and the family fell apart sinking into poverty when the factory closed and her father lost his job. Carrie Lynn was four. When she turned six her eldest brother Eddie Lee began playing games with his baby sister. The extra attention for a lonely child became the norm. Little Carrie Lynn kept her brothers secret.
When she was nine their father caught them. He beat her brother black and blue evicting him from the family single-wide. To further punish her he killed her pet dog Lassie hanging it in the shed where she was certain to discover it before anyone else. Her next eldest brother was simple or so the county social worker said before taking him out of the home in order to give him a chance at life. His name was Bobby Lee named for a grandfather no one remembered. Her Daddy willingly signed the papers. That left her and Tommy Lee who was three years older than her and secretly blamed her for the death of their mother more importantly for the banishment of his hero and eldest brother. He worked hard at causing her pain. He arranged little accidents for her relishing in her bruised and battered body. Before her eleventh birthday she had suffered a broken wrist and ankle when the rope gave way on her swing. Later her father discovered it had been cut part way through. Her front teeth were knocked out and she received a concussion when the front wheel disconnected from her bicycle pitching her forward forcefully hurling her small body into the ground face first.
Her father understood the problem but was unable to find the answer before she was injured several more times. It wasn’t until then that he called the social worker and had his youngest child removed before her brother killed her. By age eleven, Carrie Lynn had moved on to the second foster family. She believed she had died and gone to heaven when she saw the large house and the beautiful pink frilly room that was all for her. Her new foster mother was a kind but frail woman who doted on Carrie Lynn. They had new teeth made for her called a bridge now the kids at her new school wouldn’t make fun of her. They bought her clothes unlike anything she had ever imagined. Life was good and for the first time Carrie Lynn felt safe and secure even loved.
After a backyard birthday party for her twelfth birthday everything changed. It was on that very night that her new Daddy as he insisted she call him crawled into her bed. He told her that Momma was ill and that because she was a good daughter she would do the things for Daddy that Momma couldn’t do any more. Still more innocent than worldly Carrie Lynn soon discovered what he meant. She cried and begged and pleaded not that it did any good. He took what he wanted when he wanted. He continued to do so over the next three years.
He didn’t beat her so she justified what she now understood was wrong as a trade off for clean clothes and a place to live. She and her Momma never spoke about what was happening in the pretty pink room. They shouldered on each in their on kind of hell. One morning just after Carrie Lynns fifteenth birthday she found her Momma hanging from the rafters in the sun room. The note explained it all and Carrie Lynn knew the dead woman had truly loved her. She also knew that life was about to get worse. She packed what she could. Taking every cent she knew her Momma kept hidden in the house then ran for her life.
She knew she couldn’t board a bus or a train. She was smart enough to know that for awhile they would be looking for her. She walked out of her comfort zone having nowhere to go and no clear idea of what to do. As she walked along carrying her one small bag the tears fell. She hadn’t been paying attention to her surroundings lost in the sadness. Grieving the loss of the first real mother she had ever known when a loud noise and a harsh voice broke through her thoughts. “Hey girl! Where you off to?” The gravely voice hollered over the loud engine of the motorcycle he was sitting on. Carrie Lynn looked at him tears stained her face. “Can I give you a lift?” He asked lowering his voice some softening his tone.
Carrie Lynn remembered her Grandma telling her the lord works in mysterious ways. Maybe this was one of those ways the young girl rationalized looking at the long haired tattooed man on the shiny machine. “Where ya going?” Carrie Lynn asked wondering. “I’m headed down to Charlotte got me some work down there. Hop on sweet thing I don’t bite.” He grinned almost eerily through his scraggly beard and mustache. “Names Jeff, Jeff Tyler. What’s yours pretty thing?” “Carrie Lynn” She replied the words came out almost as a whisper but he heard them just the same. “How old are you?” He asked looking hard at Carrie Lynn. She knew her answer was important round here anyone under sixteen was jail-bait she learned that from her new Daddy. He often told her he loved jail bait.
“Sixteen!” She lied handing him her small bag which he strapped to the front of the bike. He showed her how to get on telling her to hold on tight. She kept her hands to her self until the speed of the first corner forced her to grab hold hanging onto him for dear life. Charlotte was about a four and a half hour ride with the gas stops and the stop for lunch. He paid for her lunch which surprised Carrie Lynn. She thought maybe just maybe he was a nice man. She wasn’t about to mention the money she had with her knowing it was important to keep it well hidden. He had a few beers with his burger and fries which was nothing compared to the way her real daddy drank so she thought nothing of it.
When they arrived at their final destination he warned her before turning onto the block “You’re my ole lady if any of them boys ask. You say you’re with me and no one will bother you but if they think your free game well little lady look out. So you better act like my ole lady you hear me darlin?” Carrie Lynn did understand what he meant and was willing to play along. Jeff wasn’t all that bad. Still he must be thirty she guessed. He was tall over six feet with long wavy black hair and dark eyes. She noticed no matter where they stopped men seamed to be scared of him. They moved out of his way which oddly appealed to her and made her feel safe.
In her wildest dreams she could not have imagined what was in store for her inside the small clapboard house. The lawn was dirt covered with oil spots and motorcycles. Jeff unstrapped her bag and his own Carrying them both inside. The screen door slammed loudly in her face. The voices inside were boisterous and gruff. She stood frozen just inside the door watching the scene unfold. There were people everywhere maybe fifteen she guessed. It was afternoon yet none of them were at work. Someone passed a joint to her introducing her self as Shelly-bean. The young girl laughed as she said the words smiling asking her name. “Carrie Lynn” She answered blankly.
“Well follow me Carrie Lynn and I’ll show you to your new room.” She had lost track of Jeff who was more than likely in the kitchen getting a beer. Carrie Lynn stood in the doorway peering into the small ten by ten bedroom. A dirty double mattress lay on the floor and a rickety end table held a small TV on the opposite wall. The closet ran the length of the room but the doors had gone missing. It held nothing but an array of wire hangers and one crumpled old pillow. After the immaculate house she had come from this was a pigsty.
In the other three bedrooms lived his friends Dwayne, Big Jim, Nasty and Jon-Jon along with whoever they were currently sleeping with. The living room couches were usually occupied by more friends or girls. It was a never ending party, beer, pot with the occasional pills thrown in for good measure. There was rarely food in the fridge unless you call rotting left over pizza food. None of the girls worked with the exception of Mary. She was a dancer down at the titty bar on highway eight next to the truck stop. Mary didn’t look twenty-one to Carrie Lynn and in that moment she decided to corner her about it one night when the guys were out and just the girls were left at home.
Mary was more than forth coming. She like Carrie Lynn was a runaway however she had finally turned eighteen. Nasty her ole man as she often referred to the fat foul smelling bastard he’d gotten her a phony ID. He got it through someone he knows here in town. She thought he would help her get one too if Jeff said it was OK. Then Mary offered to show her the ropes of dancing. Mary was certain her boss would hire a pretty young thing like Carrie Lynn. The girls spent the afternoon drinking beer and thinking up Carrie Lynn's new stripper name. It all sounded like a game at first. Mary told her that her stripper name should be stripper name Rusty. She’d picked it because it was the color of Carrie Lynn's hair and it stuck.
Later that night which was actually morning when Jeff came home drunk and smelling like perfume Carrie Lynn for the first time in three months asserted her position as ole lady. Jeff beat her senseless telling her she was damn lucky to have him. He warned her that if she ever pressed him about what he did or with whom; she would get a lot worse than what she received that night. Carrie Lynn quietly cried herself to sleep on the floor of the closet curled up in the fetal position. The next morning the damage was obvious her eye was black and swollen. She was unable to open it. Both lips were swollen and the lower lip was deeply split. Her neck was bruised from where he’d choked her. There were multiple bruises everywhere from being grabbed and thrown into the walls and floor. She could barely move.
During the beating something snapped inside Carrie Lynn. Not that some part of her snapped shut more like something snapped open! Time moved on as she slowly healed and one by one the bruises went away. Something deep inside her very essence began to grow flashing hot; dangerously hot not that she was capable of understanding it then. Her life continued on as before. Carrie Lynn never repeated her first mistake with Jeff he came and went unopposed. He did as he pleased when he pleased while she cooked and cleaned and danced two nights a week. She gave him her money well not all of it but enough that he never suspected there was more.
Slowly one by one the roommates moved away and the house was empty with the exception of Jeff and Carrie Lynn. He worked days and was gone from six to four thirty on the days he did come home. He bought furniture not that it was new but it was an upgrade. He liked her cooking when he was there to eat it. He bought her an old car so she could get around and took her out with his friends once in awhile. He had the perfect life. Carrie Lynn was the perfect ole lady. His friends were envious because their women were far too possessive and demanding to allow them that kind of freedom. Sometimes he actually seemed to care about her. He even made her believe he loved her until the next conquest came along. Those moments were always short lived.
Three years passed more quickly than one expected at her young age. She was a seasoned professional on the pole and had a good following of sick bastards as she referred to her largest tippers. She worked three nights and two days now. Her fake ID still said her name was Jenifer Wilkins but at work everyone called her Baby including Jeff. They moved to a smaller but nicer house further out of town. They looked and acted like a normal couple on the outside. Jeff was a drunk he drank all day every day and had lost more than one job because of it. He picked her up at work once and beat up one of her best customers for being disrespectful to “His” ole lady. Carrie Lynn said nothing adding it to the list of indignities she had suffered at his hand. It didn’t matter anyhow she thought; she knew the time was getting shorter.
Slowly and methodically since the night of the very first beating she planned and plotted before sleep crept in. She rehearsed, rehashing the details until she could recite them in her dreams. She weighed carefully her strengths and weaknesses wondering if she had the grit to follow through. Part of her understood that she wouldn’t know that until the time finally came but it gave her pause and was a point of concern. Her bank account which was a coffee can hidden in the kitchen behind the flour and baking supplies where she knew Jeff would never look; held just under ten thousand dollars. That was due in part to Jeff’s more recent generosity allowing her to keep more of her money for herself.
It turned out to be far simpler and easier to accomplish than she’d ever expected. Jeff had been laid off from work again. Carrie Lynn had dropped hints for months that the next time he was laid off they were planning a trip to parts unknown. They were going to hop on the bike and go where the wind blew them. He’d even heard her say that but never bothered to correct her letting her have her little fantasy. She also had been priming her boss with the same information telling him she’d let him know in advance. In fact she worked more that week than she ever believed she would under the circumstances. She had purchased several tanks of propane over the course of many weeks not that Jeff ever noticed. It was import that she returned the rental tanks collecting her deposits before leaving town.
Jeff returned home late very late. He was drunk on his ass as usual quickly passing out in their bed. She gave him time wanting to make certain he was out cold before slipping the razor sharp ice pick into his right temple. She pushed it all the way through his alcohol drenched brain. It was practically bloodless or eventful for that matter. One minute he was alive the next he was dead. She stood there looking down on him feeling nothing but contempt and relief. She dragged his large limp carcass into the bathroom hoisting him into the large tan colored tub. She propped him up as best she could cutting into his femoral arteries to drain as much blood as she possibly could wanting to dispose of the messy part. With that in motion she placed the bloody pillow case in the potbelly stove turning it quickly into ash before going to bed.
In the morning she retrieved his electric saw from the garage. Carefully replacing the blade with the more durable one that the clerk at Home Depot said would cut through anything. She turned up the stereo blaring Bon Jovi then stripped down to her birthday suit and began working on Jeff. It took far longer than she had believed it would as well as proving to be extremely messy. However with determination two hours later Jeff was in manageable sized pieces. She washed the walls down with bleach then burned the plastic she’d covered the floor with in the potbelly stove. She instantly regretted doing that because the smell was awful requiring her to air out the house for hours.
She placed two of the smaller pieces of Jeff into the wood burning stove as a trial turning on the propane valve. She took a shower in the other bathroom and prepared to go to work stoking the stove before she left. The process continued around the clock day in and out taking the full five days before her mission was complete. She hadn’t been certain the stove would burn hot enough to reduce bone to ash but found that it worked well with the exclusion of the teeth and the heavier thigh bones which required much more time and heat. The teeth she disposed of in different trashcans starting with the one outside the back door of the strip club. It was better than what he deserved she thought more than once. She was glad Jeff had lost several teeth in bar fights or this project would have become far more tedious she thought before disposing of the last tooth.
To Be Continued......
By, Six Shooter Sally