Read 100 Unfortunate Days Online
Authors: Penelope Crowe
Copyright © 2012 by Penelope Crowe
This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or other unauthorized use of the material or artwork herein is prohibited.
eBook formatting by CyberWitch Press, LLC
Illustrations and artwork by Penelope Crowe
Thanks to Dafeenah Jameel at indiedesignz.net for help with the cover
My best friend went to Portugal for a month during the summer we were in tenth grade. Her health had been slightly off and I was surprised her family was taking her on such a long trip. When she came home she had on a new gold necklace with a locket and a bracelet with some charms on it. I asked her if anything was in the locket and she told me she would rather not talk about it.
Eventually she talked.
She told me a priest in Portugal gave them to her after her exorcism to keep away the devils. He told her she had been possessed by several demons, and she should wear the charms at all times, and never open the locket. She told me her relatives kept her in her room for several days and nights, and through the walls she could hear chanting in a language she could not understand.
She said the night before the exorcism she could understand.
The next day her family brought her to a cave, and the priest began a prayer. That was the last thing she remembered.
They told her she fell as if she fainted with her head bent so far back they thought her neck would break. Her stomach began to rise and fall, and when her eyes fluttered like she might be waking, all four people tried but could not lift her. They told her the priest said one of the spirits haunting her was someone her own father had harmed in a business transaction, and this was its way of doing him harm.
On a rainy, boring Saturday we sat in her room and she decided to open the locket. Inside was a tiny ladder, a lightning bolt, some white cloth, dust or dirt, a cross, and several other items I cannot remember. She poured them out in her palm, and as she was examining them she shook her hand and remarked they had burned her. She told me they left red marks on her hand but would not show me. I was scared and went home.
I remember her thinking the devil was after her, and her boyfriend and I would tease her and try and scare her. She got sicker and sicker from an ailment that was never quite figured out, and eventually passed away from what the doctors said was Wilson’s disease.
A few years after that her boyfriend fell off of a second story balcony and broke his neck. He has been in a wheelchair ever since. I called her in the hospital in NYC a few days before she died and her mother would not let me speak to her on the phone, but I heard her voice in the background. Her once friendly, happy voice sounded like knives being dragged down a chalkboard, and I will never forget it.
Part of me feels I should not be writing this, that I should leave it alone. I don’t want to believe in the devil, but I may have to say that I do… Protection from St. Michael—you may need it: Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.
The pain behind my eye reminds me I have worms in my brain. Not a few, but millions. They have no room to multiply and are either dying or boring their way through to another part of my head. If a doctor asked me what my symptoms were I could say that there is pressure in my skull from an overpopulation of spirochetes. Sometimes I can’t think straight—and I get nervous.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night because my dreams go wrong. Like last night’s dream. I was having a delightful breakfast…steaming hot tea poured from an English service, light muffins with sweet butter, thin Swedish pancakes dusted with sugar and currants all situated on perfectly ironed linen on a balcony overlooking a garden. And then my teacup cracked. The linen looked worn and greasy. Small crawling insects found my food and fell onto my lap. The pancakes turned black and curled in at the edges yet I still wanted to eat them—but if I ate them the man at the train station would stop waiting and turn and start to walk to find me. Even if it was late at night, way past my bedtime, he would suddenly know where I was and need to get me—and that would not be a good thing. He would make his way closer, his face getting redder and redder, and I would hide behind whatever door I could find because I could hear him breathing. He doesn’t need a knife but sometimes he carries one.
There are three times in twenty-four hours when you have to be nervous. Some people know about these times, and some don’t. Some get a feeling, but they don’t know what’s wrong. The first time is when you wake up in the morning. The mornings are bad, but I can’t tell you the reason. The second time is right before you fall asleep. Anything that wants to get you has a pretty good chance of doing it at this time. These things wait and have far more patience than you or I. You are completely vulnerable at this time. Sometimes you think you’re awake when you’re already sleeping. You have no ability to discern what you’re allowing in or keeping out. And an invitation is an invitation after all. Once they are in, they don’t necessarily make themselves known right away. They can wait for hours, or days. They can even wait for years.
This brings us to the third time, which is in the middle of the night, usually right smack in the middle of your sleep cycle, when you are dead asleep. And something is going on. Something is infiltrating your mind and your soul and your psyche, but you’re unaware of it. So you wake up. You are scared and your heart is pounding and you are covered in sweat. But you tell yourself it’s just a dream. But why does the TV decided at that very moment to reset itself? Why does it shut off now…or turn on? Why does the dog wake up and start pacing around the house? Why does your son wake up and call you? You didn’t make any noise—none. You just opened your eyes and looked around because you were scared. Something is there with you, and you know it, but you talk yourself out of it. And what’s worse is you try and go back to sleep. A little crack is formed for the worms to get in—and they do. And after this, you never feel the same ever again.
If you wear an apron while you’re cooking, the food will almost surely turn out better than if you didn’t wear one. And if the apron has happy faces on it or pretty flowers with uplifting sayings like ‘God Loves You’, whatever you cook will be delicious. You can set out a beautiful tablecloth, use your best china and light some candles and everyone will be enchanted by the glowing light and the special feelings, and your husband will make lots of money and your children will go to Harvard.
On the other hand—if you hate to cook but you still have to do it because your family is waiting for their meals, and you get ridiculed for your mediocre cooking skills, bad things start to happen. Like the activation of the soft, wispy poison found in all of us from being told how terrible we are. And then we become even more terrible. If you look at your face in the mirror when there is just the tiniest bit of light, sometime in the middle of the night when something you can’t figure out wakes you up, you can see what you really look like.
We look in the mirror and can’t tell the reflection we are seeing is still us and we have to put our hands over our mouths because if we scream everyone in the house will wake up and remind us how terrible and mediocre we are. So we stir the soup and carve the meat and give the miasma the chance to leave us and spread around. We think we would never do this on purpose—but if we think really hard about our true selves—the self that no one could ever know about without needing very strong medication for the rest of our lives, we all know what we would do.
Everything happens for a reason. When we get old we can’t see as well as the day before. Our hearing goes bad. We lament and whine that we need our glasses for everything. We can’t read the directions on the shampoo bottle. But we don’t want to see what’s actually happening.
The mole on your face, the beauty mark which had been in a perfect spot your whole life making you look a bit glamorous, is now sprouting hair. And you look a bit more like a witch than you would care to admit. You’re not beautiful anymore. Your husband says he can’t see the hair though. Your wrinkles look softer through his old eyes.
We use reading glasses when we have to, but we cannot use them all the time because they don’t help with seeing the world from far away. But they have an operation now that can fix all that. In and out and you have perfect vision. It’s like antibiotics. A magic bullet. Because antibiotics can cure everything—so they use it in everything. Even soap.
And now we have diseases that can’t be cured with antibiotics—super-bugs that are going to kill us like before we had antibiotics. It’s just a matter of time. Soon the drive-thru eye operations will enable us to see better than before—maybe better than anyone has ever seen. We will have x-ray vision that allows us to see into the souls of others. We will be able to know who is filled with poison and who is not. Then we can get rid of all the people that are toxic and we won’t ever have to worry about them again.
Did you know that all the best people belong to country clubs? If you can afford the $75,000 fee to get in and if you don’t mind people coming to check out your house and if you think it’s okay to post your name in the clubhouse for approval from all the other members and you feel it is obscene to show your shoulders, you will definitely get in and be surrounded by the best people in town. Of course you want your children to rub elbows with other children of wealthy parents, because it is a sign that you are a much better person than all the other people in town who are not in the club.
At the club they have a pool and a golf course that you have to pay extra for every time you want to play. All members are expected to eat there at least four times a month—and they must pay for that too, because having lots and lots of money is a sign that God loves you. He wants you to live well and be happy and make lots of money. But don’t act like a big shot—and don’t do
well for yourself because then you will be considered conceited and no one will like you.
And why, for God’s sake, if you have so much money, would you live in that tiny house? It doesn’t even have the nicest decorations or a dark red dining room! By the way, your taste is not at all classic, is it? You have a tendency toward the eclectic, don’t you? And you really are such a handful, you know.
What do you mean you are going to a Junior League function? That does not seem like something you would do at
. It sounds like something I would do. See? You’re confusing and hard to handle. Wait—you could have gotten married at the country club and you
not to? Hmm. Really—who was going to sponsor you? And you don’t like to cook? Oh, that is too bad. I went through nine rugs before I finally settled on this one. Oh, I forgot to tell you, we are redoing the kitchen—again! I’m so excited! Do you want to come with me and pick out custom-made tile?
Dream analysis: If you dream there is a lion at one door of your Jeep, and a poisonous snake at the other, maybe you feel trapped. If you dream of blood—someone will die. If you dream you are driving and your baby is in the back seat and you are throwing French fries back there, you will fall out of love with your spouse. If you dream your friend is lying on the floor asleep and when she opens her eyes you see nothing there but the burning fire of a furnace—something terrible is going to happen.