…On Poetry and Fiction
Just “One Word” Away (“Secrets”)
written by: Phyllis P. Colucci
One word becomes one idea, becomes one sentence, becomes one poem, becomes one story. It must start from just “one word”. Today my one word is “Secrets”.
(An excerpt from Chapter Six of my Novella, “Secrets and Lies”, titled “SUPPER, CONVERSATION AND MR. GRECO)
…As the house remained quiet through the “sleeping” hours, Gina lay awake in bed. Her unsettled mind kept her up. The thoughts of her Dad’s unconscionable escapade with the boss’s daughter and the fact they produced a child together, left her numb. She couldn’t sleep. The alarm clock read 2am. Gina got out of bed and tiptoed into her brother’s room to check on him. She found him fast asleep with his soft breaths and low snores bouncing off the walls in the darkened room. She smiled to know that he managed to fall asleep peacefully through all the family turmoil. “Amazing how kids can do that,” she thought to herself. Then the sadness rolled upon her, once again, as she thought about her Mom. She wondered how Grace was truly coping through her father’s infidelity; through his lies and through his betrayal. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she made her way into her mother’s bedroom. She crawled into Grace’s bed, and hugged her Mom from behind. Grace wasn’t alarmed. Gina often did that whenever she was scared or upset. This time she was scared for Grace. Grace grabbed her daughter’s arms and held them tightly, as Gina softly wrapped them around Grace’s body. Grace whispered, “We’ll be okay Gina, I promise.” Gina brushed her face against Grace’s satin pajamas and closed her eyes. They both took comfort in each other and rested soundly, until they were harrowed by the loud ringing of the doorbell!
“Mom, who could that be at this hour?” Gina whispered. Grace’s body vibrated from nerves. She replied, “I don’t know, Gina. I’ll check by the window. You stay put. If your brother wakes up, keep him here with you.” Grace made her way across the floor towards the front window in the small foyer. The soles of her feet grew cold as she glided across the bare wooden floors. A haunting chill caressed her body from head to toe, and unwelcomed fear stood by her side. Her apprehension at opening that window to see who was at her doorstep at this crazy hour of the night, left her shaken and frightened. “Frank should have been here to do this! He was the man of this house! He was supposed to be here to protect us! Damn him!” she murmured.
As she raised the window up with weakened arms and hands that were still asleep, she yelled, “Who is it? Who’s down there?” To her chagrin, a male voice replied, “It’s Mr. Greco, darling Grace. So sorry to disturb you at this hour, but I was in the neighborhood and thought I’d stop by to check on you and your family since Frank is still in the hospital.” Grace said, “At this hour, Mr. Greco? What game are you playing?” Mr. Greco answered, “Oh, no game at all Grace. We’ll all be one happy family soon. Just wanted to let you know I’ll always be around. By the way, you have a lovely daughter, Grace. I see her peeking through the other window. The light from the lamppost is highlighting her young glamorous face. Maybe one day she’d like to work for my company. I’d be happy to show her a good time on one of our business trips like your husband showed my daughter.”
Grace was flabbergasted. She yelled down, “You stay away from my daughter, Mr. Greco! She has nothing to do with this. She’s an innocent child. You need only deal with me and my husband. Do you understand me, Mr. Greco? I will go to the police if you harass me or my family! Do not come to my home ever again, Mr. Greco!” Mr. Greco laughed maliciously, and stated, “Really, darling Grace? You are in no position to make threats to me dear. I will be watching that lovely little girl of yours. If your husband doesn’t do the right thing – well then, I guess I won’t either. I know where she attends school, Grace. Maybe one day I’ll pick her up with my chauffeur and show her a good time. Good night Grace. Sorry to disturb you at such an inopportune hour.” Mr. Greco tipped his hat in a demonly fashion, then blew a kiss towards Gina who was still looking down at him from the other window. Both Grace and Gina watched as Mr. Greco stepped into his limo and disappeared into the night.
Grace slammed her window shut, ran over to Gina, and clutched her in her arms. Gina shook pitifully while Grace struggled to comfort her as best she could. They walked back to Grace’s bedroom, climbed into her bed, and fought hard to fall asleep next to each other. Grace promised Gina that she will protect her. She also promised her that her Uncle Joe will protect her too. Grace then promised herself that she would call Joe first thing in the morning to let him know about the intimidating visit from Mr. Greco tonight. Grace looked up at the crucifix on her wall, made the sign of the cross, and thanked “God” for having Joe in her life. She and Gina both fell asleep, sedated by a large dose of fright; courtesy of the big, bad Mr. Greco.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
Sometimes a “Novella” is short enough to read when time is not a luxury, yet long enough to take you on a journey into someone else’s life of love, family, danger, betrayal and romance.
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