#WQWWC – #Writers Quote Wednesday #Writing Challenge – “Fantasy”
Well, luckily with animation, fantasy is your friend. — Steven Spielberg
Cars rarely passed by a mobile home well past its prime, preferring to avoid the soft sand of a road that ended in forest 1000 feet from a lonely country highway. The ground so low, the septic tank was marked by a square mound; a good rainstorm turned the narrow road into quicksand passable by one form of transportation, the monster truck.
Inside a home close to the forest, a child closed a door, with several boot holes at the bottom, to muffle the sound of her mother and stepfather arguing about money. A sleeping mat made of moving blankets took up a quarter of a bedroom lined with plywood paneling. An old dresser found next to a set of trash cans took the space next to it. On the other side of the room, a child’s plastic picnic table served as a study desk, her chair a plastic crate with a pillow her mother had found at a garage sale for 25 cents.
“I’m 8 years old today!” Jean Ella announced to the entity sitting on the plastic crate across from her.
His grey hair perfectly coiffed, his red velvet smoking jacket spotless, he said in a perfect British accent, “Your mother acquired a lemon cake mix in her free food from a church today. She sifted enough of the weevils out of the powdered sugar to make a barely edible icing for the top.”
“Can I practice speaking like you?” Jean Ella asked.
“It is safe, for the moment,” He said, lighting a wooden pipe with a long curve. He reached toward the plastic table, grasping with his fingers a long-stemmed crystal glass that simply appeared in his hand.
“My mother states you are simply a fantasy man, a figment of my imagination,” Jean Ella said, giggling at the pretentious sound.
“I am your great, great grandfather who, unfortunately, bedded one too many house maids. I fired your ancestor when her pregnancy became obvious. That is the way civilized people handled problems when I was alive.”
“My mother and father were never married. No one in this century cares.”
“Jean Ella!” Her mother yelled through the door. “You talkin’ snooty again?”
“No, mama, I ain’t,” Jean Ella said. “I’m tryin’ a figger out my homework. Can ya help me?”
“Hell, no,” her mother laughed. “Tommy n I’re going to the bar. We’ll be back in an hour.”
“She will be home at midnight,” Jean Ella’s companion scoffed. “Then we will listen to Tommy grunting and feel this tin can move like a boat in rough seas.”
“See ya,” Jean Ella said cheerfully.
The front door slammed, the old monster truck growled like an angry Allosaurus, spinning sand as it lurched toward happy hour at a bar one mile down the road.
“Jean, it is time,” her companion said. “Do you remember what we practiced?”
She opened her bedroom door, looking down a hallway floor covered with peeling linoleum from the 1970’s. She lifted the receiver of a plain, grey push-button phone, dialing 911.
“What is your emergency,” A woman’s voice asked.
“My name’s Jean. I’m 8 today. My mama went to Joe’s Bar ‘n left me all alone. I heard her talkin’ to her boyfriend ’bout my dad. Mama tol’ me he left us. Tommy said he buried him by the big oak tree. Please… I’m so … scared!”
“What is your address?”
Jean Ella looked up at the amused entity who whispered, “1313 Sandmire Road.”
She repeated it, relieved when the woman said, “I’ve dispatched a car to your location.”
Jean Ella felt the texture of her mother’s lace curtains, tears forming. She’d enjoyed countless biscuits and gravy on this polished oak kitchen table, loved going to yard sales with her mama…
“When the deputy comes, look down at the floor and always answer politely.”
“If your mother loved you, the money for that princess cake she promised last week wouldn’t be spent on drinks tonight. I promised you a real bed like the one your mother sleeps in. I promised you a new family. I promised to teach you the art of speaking well, and of acting, but you have to do everything I tell you. Can you promise you will do that?”
“Yes, grandfather,” She said, copying his perfect British accent.
“First, you must never tell anyone about me, or you will be sent to hell.”
Jean Ella’s eyes widened. “I don’t wanna go to hell. Mama said it’s like the time I burned my hand on the stove.”
She jumped at the sound of a light knock on the door, opening it to find a kind woman’s face smiling at her. “Are you Jean?”
“Yes ’em,” She said meekly, eyes looking down at the tiny feet protruding from each end of her flip-flops.
“It’s all right, little one. We found your mother and her friend whooping it up at the bar. They’re in custody.”
The entity touched Jean Ella’s shoulder and said, “Do not fear. I will lead you to the spot where your father is buried.”
“Is there something special about that picture?” The officer asked her, looking at a cheap knock-off of a crying clown in a plastic frame.
“Me an’ mama found that picture together,” She said.
Kneeling down at eye level, the officer gently asked, “Can you tell me more about your father and a grave?”
Jean Ella nodded her head yes, walked down steps made of concrete blocks and said, “Foller me.”