Lady Bug, p.1Dante D. Ross / Horror
By Dante D. Ross
Copyright © 2013 by Dante D. Ross
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. - Romans 5:12
"Let me play!" Ronald screamed at his sister Latoya as she and her friends jumped rope in the street. It was a warm Los Angeles day and most of the children in the neighborhood were in the street riding bikes, skipping rope, or playing tag. Only stopping when the occasional car drove through hoping for them to get out of the way.
"I'm gonna tell mama!" Ronald stood with his face inches away from the whooshing ropes. He had no ability to jump rope but when you are a child little things like inability rarely enter your thoughts.
"Go and tell, crybaby!" Latoya shouted back while jumping, her barrettes clicking and hitting her face in time with her steps. "She ain't my mama anyway. She can't do nothing to me." Latoya began jumping as her two friends Tamika and Pearl turned the rope. Though she was good at ignoring her brother, Latoya was having trouble concentrating with him so close to the ropes. His complaining was not helping.
"She both our mama's," Ronald said. "And she gon' beat your butt when I tell her you said she ain't!" he yelled as he ran towards the front yard of the house.
"Wait" Latoya said. "You can jump. Come on" she said while motioning him over. "Go slow for him" she told her friends while winking. They smiled and stopped turning so Latoya could step out. She walked over to Tamika and took the rope. "You ready?" she asked Ronald.
"Yep," he said. It was summer and they had nowhere to go. Their father had left a few weeks ago and had not been heard from since. Latoya did not like her father very much but he was easier to be around than Ronald's mother, Lucia. Lucia would find any reason to hit the kids and if Ronald told her that Latoya would not let him play with her she would hit her later on. She figured that if she was going to get hit that she would give Lucia a reason to.
"Okay, Ronnie. Jump!" she said. As Ronald jumped as high as he could, which wasn't very, Latoya and Pearl swept the rope underneath him mid-leap and tripped him. Ronald crashed to the ground with a loud smack. He started screaming immediately.
"Ow! My arm!" he shouted as he ran to the house.
"Your arm ain't hurt!" Latoya hollered. Ronald got to his knees and turned towards her and held his arm up. It was dangling from the elbow down very unnaturally. "Oh…" she said, images of beatings from the future dancing in her head.
"Ooh, Lucia gon' beat yo ass," Tamika said.
"She ain't touchin' me,” Latoya said but not with very much confidence. She had just broken Ronald's arm and knew that not only would she get her ass beat but that she would also get punished by not being allowed back outside for a few days. When you're a child being trapped indoors is the worst thing that could happen next to being hit followed closely by being embarrassed in front of your friends. Being trapped indoors with Lucia was Hell itself.
Down the street about four houses down Miss May was in her garden as always turning dirt. She appeared to be in her mid nineties. Very thin, almost as if she were just dark black skin stretched over a skeleton, her straw gardening hat low over her head. The only thing visible was her mouth. A row of crooked, yellow teeth occupied the bottom half of her mouth. As for the top half there were no teeth to speak of. Her red dress with black polka dots gave the illusion of a very large ladybug. Her gardening claw in one hand and a large pickle jar in the other, she appeared to be some sort of pirate with no sense of purpose.
Miss May slowly rose to her feet. She pulled her hat further down on her face and looked up at the afternoon sky. Smoke slowly escaped her lips as she smiled.
"Almost sundown, Lord" she said as she bent back down and continued digging. Suddenly she stopped. Quickly removing her gloves she stuck her hands deep into the dirt with speed that defied her age. "Gotcha!" she said triumphantly as she held a worm in front of her face. "Just lookit you" she said as she placed it in the jar. Three young boys on bikes stopped in front of her yard grinning in the way young boys do.
"Bug Lady!" one of them shouted as they all rode off. Miss May just smiled and stood. She looked towards the boys and the one that shouted at her suddenly fell off his bike, crashing into a nearby chain-linked fence, slashing his arm. He screamed as his friends peddled away even faster. Miss May smiled and slowly made her way up the front porch. As she neared the front door she heard the sound of feet running away throughout her house.
"I know ya'll ain't…" she said as she threw the door open. She dropped her gardening claw on the floor and seemed to travel through the house almost as if she were floating. "Where you hidin'?!" she screeched. "What I tell you about playing 'round my house?" She walked from door to door in a long, dark hallway turning each doorknob, making sure they were locked.
She stopped in front of a closet and grabbed a shovel. She dragged it across her hardwood floor leaving a thick white scratch. Slowly made her way back around the house pausing in front of every doorway. "I know you hidin'" she spoke into the air. "The longer it takes to find you the later you gon' be outside" she said. She turned the hallway and saw a pair of small feet sticking out of the closet. She began walking towards them and they slid into the darkness in the hopes that they had not been seen.
Miss May walked with the large shovel behind her like a loyal pet. She opened the closet quickly and there was a small whimper. She threw the shovel into the dark of the closet handle first and there was a small cry as hardened wood met a small skull.
"Start diggin'," Miss May said as she walked away humming a song older than America to herself.