Parasol Ch. 01byMabelCinnamon©
I'm tired. Yes tired. I know people say they're tired all the time. But this time I really mean it. I work hard and have never really had an hour of peace since they moved in. Who are they? They are the spawn of Satan himself. They masquerade as toddlers, but I know the truth. They are demons! Insidious, surreptitious and downright sneaky cretins that have crawled their way out of the clutches of hell simply to bring misery into my life. They are referred to as Shannon and Silas. My neighbours' "children". About a couple months ago they all moved into the house next to me. I was a bit put off as the previous neighbours were childless and very quiet. However since the Storms moved in (I lie not, that was their name) life and quiet became vengeful enemies. I never thought of children as evil, however, these twins could sway the minds of parliament.
I was always a bit of a hermit in the small community. I kept to myself for one single reason: people suck. Yes I have never come into contact with one person who has been able to impress me with their characteristic prowess and personable abilities. Yes, that may strike you as odd but I was an only child. My parents died when I was 15 and I lived in an orphanage for the next three years. During that time being the small, quiet black girl earned me the label of "freak" and I was ostracized due to my reluctance to ignore commonsense and suppress individuality. I wasn't a carefree hippie, who believed that "we are all special", I just believed that I didn't want to be a mindless drone in an army of invalids. As such, on the year of my eighteenth birthday, I left the orphanage with a dream to be comfortable. Not rich. Not famous. Not even happy. Just comfortable. It took me ten years to accomplish my goals.
And as soon as I reached that level of comfort, they moved in. It wasn't like the Storms were a bad bunch. However their children like most (all) people I know, sucked. They were loud and nosy. They were always in my yard, interrupting my gardening session. They always had questions and never took "I don't know" as an answer. It was like they got out of bed with a mission to exhaust every adult they came into contact with. So here I was on my knees, in my garden trying to find an inner peace that can only be met when the Storm children either die or grow up. It was the vacation time, so school was not coming to save the day. Shannon, or Princess Shannon as she demanded I call her, came and sat next to me. Note: these children do not process glares for their social meaning of "go away". So that when Princess Shannon sat next to me I did not feel the need to waste a stare. She sat quietly for a few moments. Looking at me, then at the garden, then at me again. She huffed. Then she shifted so that she was on her knees too. She poked the soil. She huffed again. Finally,
"What are you doing, Ms. Burke?" she asked, with genuine concern in her voice. I looked at her to see if she was sincere. It was obvious what I was doing. But there she was, with an expectant look on her face, bright blue eyes repeating the question to me.
"I'm gardening, Shannon," I said, trying my very best not to sound too annoyed.
"I can see that," she announced, "I meant, what are you gardening?"
This time I actually did not mind her question. It seemed she was actually interested and not simply asking to fill her quota with the devil. So I stopped and looked at her. Then I turned to the garden and pointed to the blocks as I told her the names.
"Chrysanthemum, daffodils, hyacinth, and tulips," I said proudly. My garden was not big but it made me happy. I looked at Shannon. She looked over the garden as though making her own assessment. Then after much consideration she looked up at me and broke into a smile so big my mouth hurt.
"Could we grow roses?" She asked. No, the word "we" was not lost on me. I looked at her and ran through a host of replies, but all included yelling and big girl words. So I calmly said
"No." She looked at me, her smile shrinking gradually, and then becoming a deep frown. The bad girl on my shoulder whooped in victory. However the rest of me did not share in the celebrations. Something about those blue eyes and their dull resignation made me feel... something.
"Why do you want to plant roses, Shannon?" I asked. I knew I was opening a door that was sealed shut, but it felt like an "out of body" experience. I saw myself engaging her in conversation, but I could not stop it. She beamed immediately.
"My uncle is coming to visit. He loves roses. White roses," she said, eyeing my garden for her prospective occupants. I looked at her for a while. Did she say uncle? Another Storm to disrupt my life. God help me. She looked up at me and I realised that I missed a valuable part of the conversation.
"What?" I asked, trying to think of a way to get her away from me.
"I said, he's coming to spend the whole month with us. He's a teacher in the city. He says he wants peace and quiet," I looked at her as though she had grown a second head. Why on earth would a sane person who knew (and is related) to these demons want to come here for peace and quiet? Shannon continued to poke my garden. She got her fingers dirty and then proceeded to "clean them" on her dress. I bet her mother would just love that. I returned to my gardening, if I don't look at her she'll eventually disappear.
"His name is Malcolm," she said, thwarting my plans.
"Who is Malcolm?" I asked, really concerned for my sanity if I sit with this little girl any longer.
"My uncle. Malcolm Storm. He's daddy's little brother," she replied. She was now inspecting my tools. As she picked up my shears I heard her mother bellow. Thank God!
"I'll be right back, Ms. Burke," she said on her sprint home.
"Take all the time you need," I grumbled back. Finally getting the peace I longed for I continued my gardening until the sun got unbearable. I collected my tools and returned them to their rightful places in my garage. I'm an editor, and I enjoy working from home. It limits my contact with the countless morons of the world. So I had a bath, releasing the tension Princess Shannon caused, then I dressed and headed to my office. I picked up my first manuscript of the day.
"Hi, Ms. Burke!" A voice hollered at me. I was frazzled instantly even though I knew that voice like I knew my cycle.
"Hello, Silas," I said calmly looking out my office window on the ground floor. He was peeking his head over the windowsill; no doubt his toes barely touched the ground. He was a tiny boy.
"What you doing?" he asked. I was starting to think these children had a theme.
"I'm reading, Silas," I replied, using my best calm impression. These children were like pythons, if you are calm and collected they usually left you alone. However Silas seemed to be on a special mission. He suddenly dropped from my window. I heard his little feet stomp to my front porch. Sadly and expectantly I heard a little knock on the front door. I ignored it. Again in my attempt to rid myself of him. As I noted before, these children did not heed hints. He knocked again, only stopping when I grudgingly opened the front door. I looked at him, irritation seeping out of my freshly cleaned pores. He looked up at me, straining at my 5"9 inches. He broke out into a smile that screamed innocent verdict. I was not deterred.
"Silas, I'm busy," I said, my most professional voice. He looked at me and smiled some more. Why haven't these children lost teeth yet? Another piece of evidence that they were unnatural.
"But Ms. Burke, I really need to talk to you," he said, childlike desperation easing into his voice. I looked up and stared into his empty yard. How is it that his parents were never around? I moved to the side and allowed the miscreant into my home. He walked in looking around, no doubt casing the joint. He passed a fleeting palm on some of my ornaments, but seeing as I was not thoroughly fond of household ceramics, his interests were quite limited. I cleared my throat, when I noticed the little punk was ignoring me. He turned around and a small blush crept onto his cheeks.
"What is it, Silas?" I was beyond annoyed and stood like a principal I used to know. He looked up at me and took a deep breath. I should have realised that this was a bad sign.
"My uncle is coming next week to visit. I really wanted to surprise him with a present, but if Mommy finds out she'll get mad. I was wondering if you could keep something here for me, please." He gushed out the words like he read my mind.
"No." It was all I said to his little speech. He looked as if his dog died.
"But Ms. B," he called me that exasperating nickname, "Uncle Malcolm really likes snakes and last weekend I got him one from the pet store. I saved all my money for 6 months to buy him one." I looked at him, astonished, not by his declaration, but by his audacity. I was so taken aback that I stood, mouth agape, for a moment. Then I finally pulled together all the diplomacy I had in me and said
"GET OUT!" Now this was not the best way to handle the situation I know, but I just could not believe these children. Like a good little boy, he bowed his head and slowly trudged out of my home, not before he said to me,
"Please don't tell Mommy." He then ran across to his home. I was NEVER having children. I closed my door. I decided that I would not tell the woman anything. I considered it payback for having the little monsters. I actually played with the idea of her waking up in the morning to a disturbing bed companion. I went back to my manuscript.
As I sat there, reading a rather intense author's work as he butchered the English language, I thought back to my day. It seemed that this "Uncle Malcolm" was an event to be had at the Storm residence. It simply solidified my notion of him being just as disruptive as the rest of the clan.