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Excerpt for Unloved and Unwanted by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


Unloved and Unwanted

By: Shanycia Mitchell





Copyright by Shanycia Mitchell 2019


First Smashwords Edition


Smashwords Edition, License Notes

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Table of Contents

Title page

Copyright page

Table of contents

Mariam

No Looking Back

Alone

The Knock

About the Author





MARIAM

By: Shanycia Mitchell


In the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, Mariam stares down into the abyss. Her green eyes try to focus on something, but all Mariam sees is darkness. With the strength of her tail, she spins around slowly as she waves her hands angelically through the water.

The glow of the northern lights shines into the ocean reflecting off her scales like fine china or a fancy chandelier. Her pointy ears flinch with each movement like the have a mind of their own. She swims slowly towards the kingdom of sirens. She watches the iced towers of the castle as it glistens in the distance.

“Mariam, what are you doing out here?” Athena asks causing Mariam to glow in fear. Her ears stood up straight as all sirens do when they’re startled. She turns towards her sister.

“What do you want,” Mariam says.

“Mother will kill you if she knows that you snuck out of the castle again. Why can’t you just be normal for once? You know leaving the kingdom is forbidden?” she says. Mariam swings her tail abruptly barely hitting Athena. Athena’s long, silky silver hair push forward, pushing her body back as she dodges Mariam’s powerful blow.

“Normal. What? You want me to be like you, obeying mothers every wish? Being her perfect puppet siren, stuck in the castle? There is a whole ocean out there. Dad would have…” Mariam tells her sister. She pauses at the thought of her father. Flashbacks of him sitting at her bedside as he tells her stories of their ancestor’s adventures beyond the castle. She would fall asleep dreaming of the mountains, sunsets and the sound of birds from the vivid descriptions in his tales.

“Well, father isn’t here. Next time I catch you leaving the castle, mother will know,” Athena says. She swims off leaving Mariam floating between freedom and confinement. Mariam sighs and swims away. She enters the castle gate and disappears into to crowd of sirens. Male and females, children and babies swim around the busy city talking and playing amongst each other. They ignore Mariam as she glides through the crowd, her mind still on the former king, her father.

Mariam returns to the castle to find her mother, Queen Magdalene and her sister waiting for her return.

“Failure to follow the rules result in banishment,” Queen Magdalene says to her daughter Mariam as they make eye contact. She holds her scepter made of sea shells with one hand and moves the other back and forth swiftly barely touching the marble like flooring made of cooled lava and ice. The tip of her scepter lighting the entire room as it reflects off the ice walls.

Athena stands next to her like the perfect daughter. Like a puppet. Mariam twists her lip up and attempt to swim past them. “Just because you’re my daughter doesn’t mean you are exempt Mariam,” the queen says. She blocks Mariam’s path with her scepter. The pointy tip barely touches the floor.

“Why? Why must we stay restricted to the caste? There is a whole ocean out there.” Mariam cries. Her tale glows in anger.

Madeline slams the bottom of her sphere on the floor cracking the ice bottom. “The stories your father told were fairytales passed down for centuries. They aren’t real Mariam. There is nothing out there but danger. That’s why we’ve stayed hidden away in this castle for centuries.” Her voice softens. “For centuries we have been safe in this kingdom, and the only one with a problem is you. The story your father told aren’t real Mariam, let them go,” she says.

Mariam can’t let it go. She knows that her father stories are real. She could feel it. Besides, someone had to see it to talk about it. Mariam glances from her sister to her mother.

“May I be excused?” She asks. Queen Magdalene sighs.

“Yes,” she says. Mariam swims pasts them and out the transparent doors. It opens automatically from the force of the water. Her scales glow, lighting up the hallway as she swims away.

“They were stories of our ancestors. I know they are real and I’m going to prove it to you mother, Athena and everyone in the kingdom. Sirens were not made to live in hiding. We were meant to explore the ocean,” Mariam says to no one in particular. Her voice carries throughout the room bouncing off the brick shaped walls.

“I forbid you to leave this castle,” Mariam mocks her mother’s words as she swims back and forth.

“Or what?” Mariam challenges out loud. She turns around and swims past the room that she was just confronted in by her mother and sister. Mariam glances over where they once stood, it’s empty. She continues through the crowd of happy sirens enjoying their restricted lives. Mariam proceeds out the kingdom gates and returns to the edge of the cliff overlooking the abyss. Mariam takes one last look backward and swims off into the darkness.






No Looking Back

By: Shanycia Mitchell


I watched her sitting, legs crossed as she leaned back and placed her hands on the top of the tacky hotel comforter. I sat across from her at the oak desk provided in the room. I leaned over and placed my elbows on the center of my thigh. I held my head with my hands and began to speak.

“So, after ten years, that it?” I asked my wife. I looked up at her as she stared at me impassively.

“I don’t love you anymore,” were the words that passed through her lips. I studied her eyes to see if I could see anything, love, regret, hope, but I saw nothing. Her eyes were empty and detached. I got up and sat next to her on the bed.

“What happened to us?” I asked her. We hadn’t been married a year, and just last week she made love to me like I had been gone for months. Being blindsided by the words “I can’t do this anymore,” would be an understatement.

“I thought I could do this. I thought that I could love you, but I don’t love you,” she said.

 Her words cut deep like a knife, slicing through my heart at a warp speed. My face dropped, and tears formed in my eyes. She sat there apathetically, twirling the wedding ring I worked so hard to surprise her with. The white gold five-carat, princess cut ring that I put in over a month of overtime to surprise her with was nothing to her anymore. The months I spent getting her friends involved and planning the significant engagement meant nothing.

“I won’t accept that. I deserve to know why. What made you stop loving me?” I asked her. I got up off the bed and stood near the balcony. The moon was bright and full shinning down on the city reflecting off the glass buildings.

 “You are the perfect man. You’re sweet, charming, and you love me like no other---”

“Then what is it, Cora?” I said. I spun abruptly knocking the dingy brown curtain off my shoulder. The hostility in my voice made her jump.

“I’m not happy, Frank. I’ve never been happy, and I can’t go another day pretending that I’m this perfect wife. In this perfect marriage,” she said. She slowly pulled the ring off her finger and sat it on the bed. I stood there watching her. I shook my head in and lifted one side of my lip in disgust.

“You wasted ten years of my life for you to sit here and tell me that you never loved me?” I asked her. I leaned back on the coffee table, arms folded. I glanced over at the two suitcases full of clothes that I had packed the night before. I shook my head and stared back at Cora. She got up and walked towards me. Standing in front of me tried to wrap her arms around me.

“Don’t fu—,” I said knocking her hands out of the way. I stepped around her and stood near the door.

“I’m sorry. I could have said this a thousand time--

Ugh.

“But I didn’t want to hurt you,” she continued.

I opened the door to the hotel room and stepped to the side. She sauntered to the door. Finally, I could see tears forming in her eyes. At least she was showing some emotion. Disregarding her tears, I looked down at my wedding ring and slid it off my finger. I tossed it in the small trash can that was sitting near the dresser where the television was placed.

“I’m sorry,” she said stepping out into the hallway. She turned around and looked into my eyes. I closed the door slowly and walked over the bed. I stood there looking at her wedding ring sitting neatly on top of the tacky hotel comforter. I picked it up and walked to the balcony.

I took one last look at the ring that I spent months picking out, the ring that I got down on my knee and presented from the bottom of my heart to a woman who I was deeply in love with and threw it as far as I could. I watched it disappear in the moonlight along with the love I had for a person I thought I knew.




ALONE

By: Shanycia Mitchell


I ran my fingers up and down her arms slowly. Her skin, soft and silky, warm like women’s lingerie fresh out the dryer. I could feel the hairs on my wife's arm rise from my touch. They were soft along my fingertips, poking into my skin like newborn baby hairs. I rubbed my hands down to the creases of her forearm, then up to her shoulders. I placed soft kisses on them and gave them a firm grip.

“Baby, I miss you so much,” I said. The tip of my lip touched the top of her ear, her body trembled as we connected. I wrapped my arms around her neck squeezing her tight but not too tight. Her body relaxed, and she squirmed between my legs, melting into my chest like it was the only place she belonged. She let out a soft moan and grabbed my arms. Her hands were ice cold causing little bumps to form on the surface of my skin.

Her red spaghetti strap shirt exposed her shoulders as they glistened from the brightness of the room. The blanket wrapped around her midsection and legs hugged her small frame perfectly. The back of her head rested on my chest, listening to my rhythm of my heart. The curls in her hair tickled my chin.

“I miss you too,” she said. Her voice soft and low, in a whisper. She turned around and faced me. She placed her knees in-between my legs. She wrapped her arms around my neck and pulled me close. Forehead to forehead, I wrapped my arms around her waist.

“I can’t do this without you,” I said. Tear drops formed in the corner of my brown eyes blurred my vision. I blinked my eyes and let the tears run down my cheek. Warm against my face, then cold as the liquid fell unto my t-shirt and disappeared in the fabric.

“What am I supposed to do?” I said. I closed my fist tight to ease the vibration of my hands. Sasha sat up and grabbed one with each one of my fists with her small, fragile hands. She gripped them tightly and brought them up to her face. She kissed each knuckle carefully. Her cold hands and lips gave me chills causing my body to tense. I looked up into her hazel eyes. They were bright but empty.

“You have to continue to live baby,” she said. That was easier said than done.

“How am I supposed to live? You were always the one that made life worth living,” I said. She kissed me again. Our lips mashed together with force.

“You have to baby. If not for yourself or me, do it for Mathis. He needs you,” she said. She caressed my cheek.

“No, he needs his mother, and I need you,” I said. There was pressure in my chest. Like someone was sitting on top of me, holding me down with strength. I took a deep breath to calm my breathing. My white shirt soaked with tears, sticking to my chest like I just finished and hectic workout.

“You have a piece of me who is looking for you,” she said. The smile on her face was assuring but sad. I dropped my head in embarrassment. I had failed her and our son. He was hurting too, and I only thought about myself and my pain. I neglected him, stuck in my sorrow.

“This is hard,” I said.

“I know baby, and I will always be here when you need me the most. I promise you that. Right now, Mathis needs you, and you have to be there for him. Can you do that for me?” she asked. Her voice started to trail off fading away in the air. Reached out to her, but my hands went right through her like she was a figment of my imagination.

I got up off the couch and followed her fading silhouette. I reached out to her, but she only faded further away. The more steps I took, the further she floated back. I followed her until I came face to face with the wall.

“Sasha,” I screamed. I looked around in a panic, grabbing the blanket that was placed beautifully across her and threw it across the small room. I grabbed the sofa and flipped it over. I searched around to find anything that she could hide behind. The walls began to close in on me, swallowing me into an abyss. The room became dark and the air started to thin. I could no longer see anything. I floated in darkness until I felt something pull at me.

“Sasha,” I said. My eyes flickered as I began to see light. I was back in the hospital room. The beeping of the life support machine bought me back to reality.

I looked over at my wife who was lying still on her back. The sound of the monitor echoed in the room as the oxygen mask filled her lungs causing her chest to rise and drop. I reached up and kissed her freezing hands.

The beeping of the machine slowed her as her chest became still.

“I love you,” I said. The door burst open and I felt someone pull me away.





THE KNOCK

By: Shanycia Mitchell


A knock on the door interrupted Tom’s nightly television game show. Sitting on the couch enjoying his microwaved dinner and Budweiser beer, he had his feet kicked up in his recliner chair. The leathered Lazy Boy recliner chair was a faded green color due to overuse. It had holes in the fabric, and little cotton balls were sticking out through them. Sitting the now warm mash potato and Pillsbury steak microwave dinner on the crowded coffee stand, he moved old news articles and a few empty cups out the way to make room. Tom leaned back slowly gaining momentum and then pushed himself forward getting out of the chair in one swift motion.

“Who’s at my door?” he said, his jaws tight, nose flared, and teeth clenched. He had his hands balled into a fist tightly like he was preparing for a knockout punch. His voice was deep and forceful, agitated from been interrupted from his nightly routine of game shows and microwaved dinners. Opening the door slowing, Tom peaked through the small opening.

“I said who’s there?” he said gripping the door handle with one hand and reaching for the two-shell shotgun he keeps near the front door with the other. Still, no answer but Tom could see a silhouette of a figure. The shadow on the shadow on the ground was tall and thin, resembling the figure of the supernatural fictional character, The Slender Man. Tom gripped his gun and turned to safety off. Ready to shoot, he opened the front door and stepped into the light.

“Hi, I’m sorry to bother you this late in the evening--” The Slender Man said walking towards the door. His voice was deep but calm. We'll dressed as if he was going to a business meeting, dark three-piece suit with a white dress shirt. He was carrying a briefcase, black with a gold combination lock on the handle in his right hand and his left-hand in his pockets. Tom noticed the look on his face, lost and concerned, full of worry.

“Sir, are you lost?” Tom asked. He sat his shotgun back in its place and whipped his hands on his dirty sweatpants, stained with old food marks and smudges.

“My car broke down not too far from here and I was wondering if could use your phone?” He asked. The tone of his voice low but stern.

“Sure,” Tom said. He unlocked the screen door. The rusty hinges on the old door squealed like fingers being dragged across a dusty chalkboard as Tom opened it and stepped aside allowing the visitor into his home.

“Thank you. My name is Jack Nelson,” he said extending his hand for a handshake. His hands dirty and rough, like he had been working in the garden before showing up in the middle of the night at Tom’s door.

“Tom,” I said stepping to the side letting him past. He looked left and right like he was confused or expecting someone to come around the corner as he stepped inside of the house. Jack slowly removed his sunglasses and squinted holding his hand over his eyes like the sun was in his face. Folding his sunglasses, he placed them in the inside pocket of his suit jacket.

“What brings you to Etna, California? I don’t get a lot of visitors up here in the mountains,” I said. He sat down slowly and with ease, unbuttoning his suit jacket with one hand and the other still gripping the suitcase handle and up to his lap.

“I’m just driving through and caught a flat. I have friends in the area. If you let me use your phone, I can call them and be out of your way.” He said. Shifting his body and pulling the suitcase up to his chest. Lifting the sleeve of his jacket, he checked the time on his watch. I pointed to the phone that sitting on the side table to the right of him. He reached quickly for the phone and dialed out.

I sat back in my recliner with my eyes squinted observing him. His white cufflinks stained with black residue and there were dirt spots on the knee of his pants. His unclipped fingernails dark, like he had been working in a garden laying fresh dirty.

“Hey, it's Jack. I broke down somewhere in Etna, California--” He said looking at me for assurance. I am nodding my head up and down, letting him know that he was correct.

“Off 65—Yes, I will meet you there,” He continued through the mouthpiece on my home phone. He hung up the phone and stood up quickly.

“Your welcome to wait here,” I told him.

“No, no, no thank you. I will be fine –

Breaking news: Taylor Lawson, the California man accused of murdering his wife and kids just a few days ago. Lawson was last seen at the Exxon of highway 65 wearing dark shades and carrying a black briefcase--

I turned my attention to the television.

This man is said to be armed and dangerous. This is a sketch of the suspect. The Los Angelo’s police department had advised everyone to keep a safe distance and call 911 if you come across Lawson. With widened eyes and shaky hands, I turned around slowly.

I felt a shape pain on the side of my stomach. Looking down, I could see a small trail of blood sliding down my side, staining the bands of my week-old sweatpants and Star Wars t-shirt. I felt another sharp pain in my back and yelled out in pain. I turned around quickly to see the barrel of my two-case shotgun pointed in my face.





About the Author

Shanycia Mitchell is a film writer and novelist for drama and fantasy fiction. She is earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She is the author of "No Looking Back," a flash fiction story published in the Scarlet Leaf Review. She believes that a good cup of coffee and a great novel is the cure for most things. https://wordpress.com/view/storiesbyshanyciamitchell.wordpress.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/shanycia-mitchell-660a09164/



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