Melissa, p.1
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       Melissa, p.1
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           Jose Ponce

  Jose Ponce



  Copyright © 2015 by Jose Ponce

  All Rights Reserved. This book may not be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from the author, except for brief quotations embodied in reviews. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. All characters and storylines are the property of the author and your support and respect is appreciated.

  This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

  Edited by Jose Ponce

  Line edits by Jose Ponce

  Cover by Students of Full Sail University's Media Design Program


  Many thanks to the Full Sail student(s) who created my book cover, and Brandon, who's feedback helped improve my stories.

  Table of Contents

  Lifting the Curtain

  Treading Through Darkness

  Message from Jose


  Lifting the Curtain

  “Pass me the cheese,” said a burly man in oil stained clothes.

  I fumble around in my pocket until my music gets louder, ignoring the request completely. Staring into my plate, I twirl some spaghetti around my fork. Satisfied with the small mountain of pasta I've created, I crack a smile. The moment doesn't last long though, they never do. Before I could react, my head jerked to the side and I was left with a sharp, stinging sensation around my left cheek. My headphones fall to the ground and I look up, seemingly unfazed.

  Nostrils flaring, the man yells, “You know goddamn well you heard me!”

  I massage my cheek for a moment, pick up my headphones, and I reach for my fork. From the corner of my eyes I can see him clenching his grimy hands. Of course I knew what would come next, but compared to his other beatings this was nothing. The pain always subsides once I've lost consciousness, and that's enough for me.

  His fist met with the side of my face, knocking me hard onto the kitchen floor. A steady flow of blood and tears formed a small pool on the tiles. I watched the ripples on the pool expand outwards until they were no more, only to be replaced by a fresh set of droplets.

  “Now look what you gone and made me do,” the man scratches his balding head, “You think I like hittin' you like this? Now your mother, she was a no good whore, she deserved to be beat up on. I mean hell, she practically begged me to do it.” He chuckles to himself and picks at an open scab on his right knuckle, “Ooo weee, that was one hell of a punch!”

  I looked in his direction and saw him creeping closer to me.

  “Yeah, your mother sure as hell couldn't keep them legs of hers closed.” His voice trails off, “But you...” He strokes his scraggly beard and smiles, “You're still my sweet little angel.”

  His fat hands grabbed me by the jaw and tilted my head left, then right. With his other hand I could see him undoing his belt. I made an effort to get to my knees, but he held me down firmly. He leaned in closer to me and I felt his slimy tongue roll over a wound on my cheek.

  “Don't you worry now, I'll be real gentle,” he said as his hand worked its way inside my blouse. “I wouldn't wanna leave you all banged up like before. Them folks at the school don't do nuttin' but cause me trouble.”

  I tried to force him off me, but my body wouldn't respond anymore. I felt my body going numb, a feeling I knew all too well. All I could do was laugh, as the darkness overcame me.


  I awoke in a large, empty room strapped into a wire-frame bed. The only light in the room came from a flickering light above me. As my eyes adjusted to the constant shifts in lighting, a woman near the edge of my bed came into view. I immediately noticed her long, black hair. She wore a tattered gown and a face mask that covered the majority of her features. My first thought was to scream, but something about her seemed to comfort me. Instead I called out to her.

  The woman edged closer into view, slowly approaching. As she came further into the light, my comfort turned into desperation and I began to scream. Her pupils were a hazy blue-white and her hair was dirty and graying. Her arms hung loosely at her side, rotted to the bone. She pulled her mask down and tried to speak to me. I cringed at the sight of her face and I struggled, hoping to loosen the restraints.

  I felt a sharp pain around my neck, and once more my body began to numb. The last thing I saw was her decrepit arm shaking wearily in the air as the world faded to black.


  A doctor approaches a set of double doors, checking his watch for the time.

  “Where's the Harthridge couple,” he says as he passes a help desk.

  A nurse approaches him and says, “They're still in the waiting room. They refuse to leave until you talk to them.” She studies the doctor's expression and asks, “How is she anyway?”

  “I'm not sure. We knew that she suffered from delusions, but they've always come and gone,” said the doctor. “She's progressed far past the point of recovery, even with heavy medication we can't get her to acknowledge this as reality.”

  “I can speak to the family if you'd like,” said the nurse. “One of the EMT's told me what happened at the home. You did nothing wrong,” she says as she grabs his hand.

  He pulls away, but the nurse continues to speak, “Had you not performed the way you did, she may have injured her parents, or even worse, herself.”

  The doctor walks away and heads toward the family.


  I rose to my feet, fighting back a dizzy spell. My head ached and my vision was slightly blurred. Even so I could tell that there was blood all around me, but surely it couldn't be mine, could it? I found myself back in the kitchen and I took a seat at the table. My pasta mountain now toppled and the remains of my headphones scattered across the floor.

  As I sat there collecting my thoughts, a strange wave of uncertainty crept over me. I'd seen this before, no, I've lived through this. I looked around the kitchen and noticed a blood trail that led directly to the front door. I knew where it led, yet I followed anyway. Just as I approached the end, I saw him there. His cold, lifeless body.

  I fell to my knees and laughed, as I was consumed by darkness.

  Treading Through Darkness

  “Melissa! We know you're in there!” says a strained, male voice.

  Melissa's gaze drifts to a motionless child on the worn bed of the Tidesend Motel. She slowly walks towards the door to speak to the man, peering through the door's peep-hole. She watches him pace around anxiously, the heat of his breath visible in the frigid air around him.

  “Please, don’t knock so loudly, you’ll wake Sophia,” she replies.

  The man’s voice softens, “Melissa, please, you have to let me in. I want to help you, you just have to let me.”

  Melissa hears the cries of her child and rushes over to the child's side.

  “Shh, mommy’s here now,” she says, fighting back tears, “There, there. Mommy will always be here for you.”

  She stares at her child hoping to get some sort of a response, but there’s nothing. The child doesn't offer even the faintest of cries.

  “Melissa, the mother and father of Emily are here. They'd like to see her. Can you bring her to the window? No harm will come to you,” says the familiar voice.

  Melissa, confused, responds, “Their baby? No... that can't be right, Dr. Lassiter. This is Sophia. There’s no Emily here.”

  Dr. Lassiter responds in a harsh tone, “Please, Melissa, we just want to see how the child is doing.”

  “She’s fine. She’s sleeping right now,” s
he says.

  The faint cries of a woman can be heard just outside, “My poor angel, please let her be okay.”

  Melissa watches the child, discontent.

  “Oh, Sophia, you’re so cold. I’m sorry,” she says.

  Melissa covers the child with a black woolen blanket. She walks over to the thermostat and turns the heater on, then lifts the blinds, catching a glimpse of a flustered Dr. Lassiter. She retreats to the bed.

  “Melissa! Enough with these games, either you open the door or we will be forced to take action. This is your last chance!” Dr. Lassiter can be heard talking with others. “Melissa, what will you do?”

  Melissa stares at the door intently. She grabs the child and embraces her tightly.

  Forcing a smile she looks at her child, “I’m sorry... but mommy has to go away for a while. I've done some terrible things. Just... don’t forget me, okay?”

  The motel room door comes crashing in; two men in white rush in quickly and take hold of Melissa. Not far behind an older man walks in, his nametag reads: Dr. Lassiter.

  He takes note of the child, “What have you done...” He turns to meet the gaze of a couple entering the room, but instead he lowers his head.

  The woman collapses to her knees, in tears. As Melissa crosses her path she turns to her, grabbing at her legs, “You stole her... from m-me. She was my angel, she-“

  Unable to say anymore she releases Melissa and rushes to the lifeless body of her child.

  Melissa smiles and turns to the mother and says, “Shh, you'll wake her.”


  A Message from Jose Ponce

  Thank you for taking the time to read my short stories. This is the first of many short story collections to come. I hope you enjoyed it. If these stories were to your liking, be sure to check my profile occasionally for new content.

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