The Coin (Conclusion)


One Pysar Coin from Zanzibar circa 1299 AH (18...
Image via Wikipedia

The Coin  (Conclusion)

Reggie
waited confidently by the river.  There
was no point chasing Vanna.  The coin
would bring her to him.  She would know
it was their fate to meet and interact.
Reggie was sure she would think he was on the run, afraid of her and the
coin.   But she would not know this was a
trap. The coin would not warn her in time.
Reggie knew the coin had powers over people and Vanna controlled it.
That’s why she would be overconfident until it was too late.

Reggie had a
secret.  The coin’s powers would work for
Vanna while it was in her possession unless….someone had control of the rest of
the coin collection.  Fortunately he
still had the collection and it was nearby, locked in his car. He The
collection was nearby so the powers would be stronger. She would walk right
past it and never know.    When
she was least expecting it, the coin’s powers would be turned against her.

Reggie
stayed in the shadows where he was less likely to be noticed.  He wanted to surprise Vanna.  If she was accidentally alerted by someone, Reggie
wasn’t sure how she would react, or for that matter, how the coin would
react.  The situation could get ugly.

Two young
men loitered by a bar on a nearby street.
Reggie wondered if they were looking for an easy mark, someone tipsy or
alone.  He hoped they would leave soon
and be out of the way.  If not, he would
have to take matters in his own hands.

Vanna
arrived later than Reggie expected.  He
was tense and irritable and eager for a confrontation.  The two men were still there, apparently unaware
of him, staying close to a streetlight.
Reggie was tired of waiting and ready to make their lives uncomfortable.

He had
almost given up and was sliding out of the shadows when a bus stopped at a
corner two blocks away.   A woman got off
and the bus pulled away.  Reggie knew it
was Vanna even before she turned and walked towards the river.

A woman
alone was easy prey.  He could feel the men’s
excitement increasing.  He wasn’t worried
because he knew she had the coin and at any time she could unleash its powers
against them.  He was uneasy about
letting others crash his party,  but he decided
to relax and enjoy the show.

Vanna stopped
and talked to the young men.  That was
unexpected. They didn’t follow her which also surprised Reggie.  They stood there for a few seconds surveying
the scene, trying to determine if they were being watched or followed, before
disappearing into the darkness.  Reggie
decided the coin had worked its magic and they wouldn’t be a problem.

Reggie was concentrating on Vanna and the coin
because its power was zeroing in, challenging his authority.  Because his attention was diverted the sound
of  breaking glass never registered, and
he never dreamed that the two young men would ransack his car.

Vanna stopped a few yards away and called out,
“Reggie! I know you’re there.  Come
out!  Don’t make me use the coin’s
powers.”

He
laughed.  ”Vanna, you don’t have as much
power as you think.  The coin is mine and
will do anything I demand of it.”

Her knees
were weak and her stomach was churning.  The
coin was vibrating and she felt her control weakening.

“Just like
before, Vanna.  You’ll do what I want.”

She stared
at him for several seconds and then began slowly gyrating, dancing to music she
remembered from before.  Reggie urged her
on.  “Keep going, baby.  Feel the rhythm.”

She wanted
to resist but resistance was futile.
Unbuttoning her blouse as she danced, she watched Reggie. There was no
change in his expression but she could feel his hatred turning into
indifference.

At first she
was chilled by his expression and the cool breeze coming from the river.  Then a strange warmth began in the pit of her
stomach.  The warmth came in waves, each
wave increasingly invasive.  She hated
him and yet she was beginning to want him, feeling love in spite of her hatred
of all he had done.  She continued to
dance for him until she stood before him naked and waiting, obediently ready
his next command.

The coin,
still clutched in her hand, began to vibrate.
She took several steps back and pressed her hands to her head.  The trance was broken.  Suddenly she looked up and defiantly said, “Where
are your powers, Reggie?  Did you lose
them?”

Reggie
stared in disbelief.  “Don’t even try,
Vanna,” he snapped.  “Do you really want
to challenge me?  Vanna,” he ordered, “go
jump in the river.  It’s time for you to
go.”

She ignored
him and began getting dressed.

Reggie was
losing his self control.  “What did you
do?   Where is my collection?”

He noticed
the two young men standing nearby.  “This
is your chance!” he shouted. “I won’t stop you whatever you do. She’s yours for
the taking.”

“Reggie,”
one man said, “you don’t have power over us anymore.”

Reggie’s
eyes narrowed as he recognized one of the men.
“Karl, where is my collection?”

“I put it in
a safe place for Vanna.  I trust her. She
is in charge now,” Karl responded.  “She
can answer your questions.”

“Vanna, give
me my collection and I’ll let you go,” Reggie gasped.

“Reggie, it’s
too late for you.  You won’t hurt anyone
ever again.  Karl found the collection and
it’s in my possession.  You wanted me to
die in the river.  I’ve decided you can
take my place.”

Vanna rubbed
the coin.  Reggie backed down the levee
bank and stood ankle deep in the water.  “Vanna,
please,” Reggie begged.

She rubbed
the coin again.  Reggie’s hands gripped
his throat and he fell to his knees.  He
gasped twice and then pitched backward into the current.  He was visible only for a moment before he
sank into the darkness.

Vanna turned
to her brother.  “It’s over, Karl.  Now you’ll have to get your life in
order.  You can’t continue being with a
gang and living on the edge.  The coin
will turn against you if you forget. Now you and your friend go home.  No more trouble.  Understand?”

Karl knew
she was right and he knew he had no options.
She would be in charge and life would be different.

When she
returned to the apartment there were several messages from George.  She didn’t want to deal with his probing
questions or even to talk to him.  She
didn’t feel the same towards him. Yet George was persistent and one evening she
found him waiting at her front door.

“You don’t
want to see me, George,” she warned.  “I’m
not the same person you knew.  So much
has changed since I last saw you.”

“I don’t
care,” he insisted. “Whatever you’ve done or wherever you’ve been does not
matter to me.  I don’t want to know
unless you want to share.  All I know is
that I can’t live without you.  I love
you, Vanna.  I always have and I always
will.”

His arms
surrounded her but she pushed away.  His
arms were too confining and reminded her of the humiliation and torture she had
endured and the conflicting moments of pleasure.  Could she forget any of that?  Could she ever be a good wife and mother?  George would expect life to be orderly and under
his control.  She had gained her
independence and it was too soon to give it up.

She looked
into his eyes and said, “I’m not ready to make any commitment.  Give me some time.  You deserve someone special.”

“Vanna, you’re
the one I want.  I’ll take care of you.  Get those silly notions about being
independent out of your head.  I’m
disappointed that you don’t want to have a life together.  You’ll change your mind.” He grabbed her arm
and pulled her towards the door.   “You’re
going with me to the priest right now and we’re going to say our vows.  You’ve been brainwashed by someone.  You’ll be straightened out in no time.”

“Let go of
my arm!”  Her tone got his
attention.  “I said, let go of my arm!”

“You’re
different,” he said, “but you’re mine and you’ll do what I tell you.”

She rubbed
the coin and George fell to the floor temporarily paralyzed.  “Don’t ever touch me again without my
permission. You don’t own me and you never have.  I’m not a possession. Stay away from me
unless I decide you can be in my life.
Do you understand?”

Perhaps the only way he could learn was a
simple jolt that would shake him to the core.
She waited a few moments before releasing the power that held him.

“Go,
George.  Someday we might work as a team,
but for now I have my doubts.”  She would
have preferred a less harsh way of dealing with him.  That door to her past was closed and George
was probably gone from her life.

Vanna knew
her life would be going in new directions.
She was not timid or obedient anymore.
She was ready for excitement and with the coin in her possession she
would turn her neighborhood around and make it safe again for families.  For now, she had much work to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Coin (Part 8)


Calderilla coin
Image via Wikipedia

Four huge impressive
pillars at the entrance of the Superior Court almost stopped Vanna from
entering the building.  She passed people
in suits, men and women in police uniforms, and a variety of others in more
casual attire.  She asked herself again, “What
am I doing here?”

She was not a risk
taker and had never wanted to be one.
She was just Vanna, daughter of a preacher, who made a habit of doing what
she was told.  She had stayed out of
trouble all her life, was called an “over achiever” by her teachers, and made
the Dean’s list in college before she was forced to drop out in the middle of
her third year . 

“Don’t get even.  No revenge.”  She could almost hear her father’s voice
admonishing her. “Your life should not be ruled by hatred or fear.”  These words had been taken to heart but they
were high ideals in an imperfect world. Two months later he had been shot in
front of his church trying to thwart an attempted robbery. What good were his
words then?  And where was God when that happened? 

Vanna had been
disillusioned and angry, but kept her feelings tightly contained. She decided
she would take charge of her own destiny but her life continued to unravel.  Two months later her mother died from a brain
tumor and Vanna dropped out of school, taking charge of her four younger
siblings.  Her almost perfect life had
taken a nosedive into an abyss.

Jobs were scarce, but
Vanna found a job working as a maid.  She
would rush to her job, rush home afterwards, and then help her sister and brothers
with their homework and listen to their personal problems.  Vanna was overwhelmed by it all but she was
determined to keep them all together.
She thought they were doing well until she learned Karl, her 14 year old
brother, was hanging around the wrong group. She worried constantly, “ What could
she do to keep him out of trouble?”

Now as she moved about
the court building she had the sinking feeling she would be back, perhaps to
keep Karl out of jail. She wanted to turn and run but the coin was vibrating
against her breast, overriding any thoughts of slipping away.  Her world had changed and now she had no
choice but complete her mission. 

Several policemen stood
in front of one set of doors.  They
admitted a few sharply tailored lawyers carrying briefcases and stacks of
papers.  “Miss,” one of the policemen
said, “you’ll have to wait down the hall until it’s time to come in.” 

Vanna didn’t need to
stop there because the coin was urging her on, up the stairs to the second
floor.  She walked past the room
designated for the jury pool and noticed it was filled with people.  Some were pleading with the clerk that they
had hardships and could not serve, others were sitting quietly, and there were a
few who seemed eager to be selected.

 As the coin vibrated, Vanna sat down in an
empty seat and waited.  A clerk held up a
paper and began reading a list of names.  As their names were called, people got up and
headed to their assigned courtrooms. Vanna rose with the second group and
followed them down the hall and into a room.

 When the group was seated the lawyers began
the selection process, which Vanna thought was ridiculous.  She stifled a giggle as she imagined what the
lawyers might be thinking as they began dividing the group. “You take one and I’ll
take one, and we’ll find all the jurors who have emotional links to the victim
or the defendant and toss them out.” She straightened up and listened intently
when the prosecutor asked a young man, “If you believe the evidence leaves
doubt as to whether someone is guilty, could you vote for conviction?” “I
could,” he replied.

 After the jurors and alternate jurors were
selected, the rest of the group was dismissed.
Since Vanna was only pretending to be a juror she went out into the
hallway. While she was at a vending machine she overheard the young man talking
in the hallway with another juror.  “I’ll
vote “not guilty” if the rest of the jury decides against him.  Women lie about being raped all the time.”
Outraged by his irresponsible statement,Vanna glared at him but still said
nothing.

This seemed to be a
waste of time.  The coin had not led her
to her attacker, nor given her any clear directions.  Just when she was ready to give up, the coin
started humming and Vanna returned to the courtroom.  The jury was seated, the lawyers were in
their respective places, and the bailiff was stationed.  The bailiff said formally, “All rise while the
Honorable Judge enters.”  A man in a
flowing black robe entered and sat behind the Bench.  The bailiff faced the audience and said, “Please
be seated.”

Vanna looked around the
room searching for someone she recognized.
When she looked at the judge her heart began to pound wildly. He was one
of her attackers! She knew it even though she had no evidence to prove it.  She stared again at the judge, expecting some
sign of recognition.  The judge did not
notice her behavior or anyone else except for one. His gaze swept the courtroom
and rested on the jury, then on the young man in particular.  A slight nod and then the judge declared the
court to be in session. 

Vanna was shocked.”What
had just happened? Was the defendant going to be declared innocent because of a
judge that couldn’t be trusted? Indignantly she willed the coin into action, expectantly
waiting for the judge to topple over with a heart attack.  Nothing happened.  The coin was allowing justice to be trampled
on. Her anger rose quickly, and she almost stood up. “Kill him,” she
thought.  “Kill him.”

 A lifetime of inner restraint caught her in
time. “What was she doing?”  The coin was
vibrating softly. Then she realized it was working against her!  She glanced quickly around the room.  A pair of black glittering eyes glared
menacingly at her.  A cold shiver went up
her spine! Reggie! What was he doing here?

Her hate. His hate. A
battle was going on inside the courtroom without anyone knowing.  They were mentally sparring, jab for jab,
blow for blow. No one was winning.
Reggie sat there grinning smugly knowing the coin still responded to
him. Vanna was furious yet contained. Suddenly she remembered one of her father’s
sermons. “The only thing that can conquer hate is love.  Love is more powerful than hate. Don’t let
hate win.  Love more and hate will flee.”

Love was not something
she wanted to think about.  She wanted
justice and revenge, not love.  But
slowly she focused her thoughts on her parents, her sister and brothers.  She let her compassion flow to the rape
victim and then to the young man in the jury.
Reggie appeared confused.  He rose
and hurried from the room.  The judge,
seeing Reggie leave, tapped his gavel on the bench.  “There will be a thirty minute recess,” he
announced. Then he disappeared into his chambers.

Vanna sat there with
her eyes closed, still thinking about people she cared about.  When she thought about people who had
mistreated her, and how she forgave them, she could feel the coin’s power
growing.  This time it was following her
lead. 

The Honorable Judge Hudson
never returned to the bench.  An
announcement was made after an hour that the judge was sick and a new judge
would be seated to take his place.  The
jury was dismissed for the day but they were told they would reconvene the
following day.

Vanna waited outside
the court, wanting to get more information.
She thought she saw Judge Hudson rush away, almost as if he were
escaping inner demons.  The coin hummed and
then fell silent for a moment.  Vanna
hurried outside, trying to get one more glimpse of the judge.

Outside a crowd of
people were gathering by the street.  Someone
called out, “Call 9-1-1”.  Most of the
crowd appeared stunned and distraught.  “He
just stepped in front of a taxi,” a woman wailed.  “He didn’t even look at it.”  Vanna knew it was the judge but wondered why
he had done this.  She had already
forgiven him.

 (to be continued)

 

 

 

  

Condemned For Loving Too Much


Condemned for Loving Too Much
Poetry Palace Award

Loving (TV series)
Image via Wikipedia

“Condemned for Loving too Much”

All was quiet in this forgotten town,

Because of the record snow tumbling down,

Yet in the plaza crowds were shopping still,

Looking for entertainment to get their fill,

There were walkers, and talkers, shops all ablaze,

Restaurants still open but countless delays,

Marge was waiting patiently and talking to a friend,

This day had been perfect, she didn’t want it to end,

Somehow, she noticed him, standing off from the crowd,

His gray eyes fixed on her, haughty and proud,

His brown coat, his lean frame, the thin twisted nose,

Why she alone could see him, she could only suppose,

His eyes asked questions, the answers she didn’t dare,

What kind of man was he? One that didn’t care?

Was he an angry ghost or a demon of some kind?

Why were his thoughts penetrating her mind?

Somehow in his hands he held her new fate,

She thought, “Is it possible to love someone you hate?”

As this thought surfaced, Marge pushed it away,

She had never seen him before, not until today,

“He is not attractive,” she thought, “not in the least,”

But he continued to stare at her like she was a feast,

Her face flushed, and deep within the heat began,

Rising in waves until perspiration ran,

She was uncomfortable, she needed time to think,

But he watched her diligently, not once did he blink,

“Is it possible to love your enemy?” she thought,

“What is it about me that’s so eagerly sought?”

She was thirty-three years old for goodness sake,

And ten pounds too heavy, give or take,

Yet she was flattered by his attention even more,

Unlike her friends, all her faults he chose to ignore,

He willed her to move forward, but he didn’t insist,

Although she closed her eyes, she was helpless to resist,

Silently Marge turned, her demon she faced,

When he smiled, her legs trembled, her heart raced,

She took one step forward, two, then three,

She unbuttoned her blouse, letting him see,

She hated him and yet she was offering her kind,

Melting into love, her body yielding to his mind,

Seeking his hatred, demands, contempt to slay,

Doing what she could, loving his hate away,

An act of love determined Marge’s fate,

Is it possible to love, someone you hate?

All is quiet again in this forgotten town,

But there is one less demon standing around,

No one wants to question or be out of touch,

Should Marge be condemned for loving too much?

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