People like to believe they have depth like the ocean. They’d do well if they could be consistent like a river, or natural and clean like a stream, or bubbly and pleasant like a babbling brook. But most are like ponds, cloudy at the bottom, murky, not much depth, stagnant, predictable. You could be certain that unfavorable things were living at the bottom, or worse that they were hiding something.
On a daily basis I investigated people who were like this in my work, shallow, inconsiderate, inconsistent, with a potential to be ruthless or dangerous. Oh, my work is nothing glamorous, I’m not a paranormal investigator, or a detective; mostly I investigate the behaviors of people who care for elderly and children. On a daily basis I have the misfortune of coming in contact with some of the most awful individuals living among what is considered to be civilized society. Shit some of them weren’t even a pond more like a puddle, with a grease slick on the surface, and nasty stuff on the bottom you wouldn’t even want to get on your nice work shoes.
On one occasion I found myself wallowing in the shallows of what might have been the remains of golden pond, some cranky rich bastard who hated everything and everybody. Reports had said he locked his mother in a dark closet, and denied her food for days. He was verbally abusive to everyone within hearing, and I had been told that if one stepped within reach he was as likely to be physically abusive. He had been allowed to be this way two-thirds of his life, and now that he was in his dotage, he was not likely to change.
His mother was eighty-eight, a quiet southern raised woman who had neither directed nor contradicted his upbringing. She had been a beautiful talented graceful debutante, with qualities that two-thirds of all woman would admire even if they didn’t have the balls to desire them. She had not gone away to school when it was suggested, rather married the first big wallet that proposed to her, and began providing heirs to his fortune.
She was forced to raise her children in a particular manner, and she accepted it the same way she had accepted her own. That was fine until she was a victim of his childhood beliefs. In his world infirmity meant weakness, and catering to one meant vulnerability. He was not going to fall for that ever.
But in my work I had met worse than him, and it was not likely that he had ever had the pleasure of company like mine. I was far older than his mother, though I had ceased to age a long time ago when the Americas had become a pit of living cesspools. I didn’t need to hunt to keep my beauty; my rivers were fed by pools of inequity. On a good month, I fed often enough to keep my beauty for a century, on a bad one I could still last for years.
Humans had forgotten that I even existed. Nothing more horrifying than themselves could possibly inhabit the earth; at least that is their belief. How arrogant of them to think that they were at the top of the food chain.
I approached the house without hesitation. On this day I found his mother sitting on the veranda. She was smiling and sipping tea. As I approached her she seemed to be waving and beckoning to me.
“Have you come to have tea with me?” She asked.
“No, but I will sit with you for a moment if I may.” I said.
“Of course,” she answered and went back to sipping.
“How often does your son lock you in with no food,” I whispered.
She glanced around and whispered, “When I am upset, or having a hard time. He seems to believe punishing me for being weak will make me stronger.” she giggled a little, but there was a passing sorrow in her eyes. “He is not the person I thought he would grow up to be. His brothers and sisters live in fear of him and as long as he lives I will never be able to do anything for them.”
“As long as he lives you say. I can help you with that.” I said quietly.
“But, I thought you were the lady from the agency? They said they would be sending you. What can you do?” she asked.
“I am that lady, but I can also help you. I have helped lots of people with difficulties like these but you must promise me that no matter what you hear inside you must stay out here and do not look. You promise?” I said.
“Yes, I promise.”
As I enter the house the son approached me.
“Who the fuck are you and what do you want?” he bellowed.
“I wanted you to stop torturing you poor mother, but now I just want to drain you of your life force and put an end to your terrorizing.” I said.
He laughed, “You ain’t got it in you to stop me. I’ve seen shit like you before.”
“Really,” I said, “If that were true you would not be here, and I would not need to intervene on your family’s behalf so that they could live and prosper. I plan to give them everything you have.”
“Over my dead body!” he laughed sarcastically.
“Suit yourself.” I said calmly.
He sprinkled me with holy water, and dangled wolf’s bane at me. The motherfucker even had the nerve to flash his crucifix.
It was my turn to laugh, “I’m not a goddamn vampire you asshole, you don’t even have the good sense to know who’s eating you!” I yelled.
“And I don’t give a fuck!” he screamed, “Do you best!”
He brandished a walking cane and approached me with a loaded pistol.
“Very well,” I said.
Then I drained him, and left his nasty residue exposed to the open air so it could disintegrate and be swept away.
As I departed I spoke to his mother, “Don’t fret or regret, some bodies of water are destined to flow into the sea and others simply serve their purpose for a time and dry up. You have a family to see to.”
I touched her aged hand and life flowed into it. She wouldn’t be like me, but she would live long enough to see her family prosper.
I walked down the driveway to my car and checked my phone messages to see where I would be wading next.
Ponds © DJuna Blackmon 2014, All Rights Reserved