By Anita Marie Moscoso
Inspired By The Soulfood Alphabet Project:
Tory Devenish was eight years old when his Father married Cascara Pomeroy. Sixteen years later, to the day, Tory Devenish would be sitting in a pale green room eating his last meal and sitting across from him in a chair that was bolted to the floor was Cascara. She didn’t say a word. She just looked at the clock, turned her face back to Tory and smirked.
“It should be you at the end of that rope Cascara not me…it should be you.”
Cascara laughed until tears ran down her face but she didn’t make a sound.
Tory use to enjoy it when Cascara came to the house to visit. Tory would wait for his father to leave the room and then he’d whisper “I hate you Cascara” and then he’d stick out his tongue.
Sometimes he’d even try to spit at her but Cascara would look down at him and smile that dark empty smile and she never said a word.
“I told Cascara I hate her,” Tory told his Mother on one of her infrequent visits.
“You did?” Mara Beth asked, her eyes wide and sparkling and with a wider and even brighter smile.
“Yeah, then I did this…” Tory stuck his tongue out and shook his hips from side to side and Mara Beth laughed and swept Tory up in her arms. “You’re a silly boy Tory Devenish.”
Tory looked into his Mother’s face and that’s when the thought came to him for the very fist time. “I think Cascara is a Wicked Old Witch.”
“She’s an ugly old witch!” Mara Beth laughed in agreement.
Tory’s heart warmed and burst and his Mother’s smile flared and burned bright and golden and consumed him until there was nothing left of him at all.
It was after that visit that Tory really let Cascara have it.
Cascara’s dog disappeared, her herb garden died over night and the dry soil smelled like liquid laundry detergent long after the dead plants were cleared away and Tory would mouth the word “Witch” when his Father’s back was turned and he’d screech it out at Cascara when he wasn’t home.
“Are you accusing me of being a Witch?” Cascara asked him once and Tory stuck tongue out and sang over and over again, “Cascara is a Witch, Cascara is an ugly Witch.”
Cascara never got mad and she never yelled. She looked at him with her slightly crossed dark eyes and smiled at him with all of her teeth and she laughed. She laughed and laughed and she never seemed to take a breath.
Years passed and Tory went from being spiteful little boy to spiteful teenager and one day he turned into a spiteful young man with a nose ring and jet black hair with blue and gold stripes above his ears.
“You know Tory, “Cascara said on that last afternoon he would be a free man “since you came into my life I can’t remember the Sun. Isn’t that funny? It’s like I’ve been locked in a dark room since my Wedding Day.”
Cascara seemed to be talking more to herself then to Tory. “Since I married your Father you have buried me alive in your bile and spite. Why, I’d go as far as to say you’ve killed me with your poisonous nature. I’ll bet there isn’t a court in the land that wouldn’t find you guilty of my murder.” “Now there’s a thought.”
“What?” he snorted.
“You at the end of a rope, twitching away with a hood on your head. Wow, it would almost and I mean almost makeup for the years of Hell you brought into my life.”
“You’re sick,” he said.
Cascara went to the phone and he saw her hit the speakerphone button.A flat impersonal voice asked for the nature of the emergency and Cascara screamed, “It’s my Stepson…oh my God! He’s got a kni-“
Cascara jabbed the off button and walked out of the sunroom and into the kitchen. Tory could see her lean over the sink and when she came back into the sunroom he saw the knife in her hand.
“ Put that down you crazy old bi-“he started to say.
“You said it yourself Tory, I’m a Witch, and I’m an evil old witch. Who’d have thought that a vapid little worm like you would have noticed or cared about anything outside of himself.” “I’ll be damned.” She said with genuine surprise. “No, “she said “I take that back…you’ll be damned Tory Devenish.
Then his Stepmother pulled the knife across her neck and as the blade whispered against her flesh Cascara was looking at something behind Tory and she winked at it.
Tory spun around to see what it was that her dead eyes where taking in and he saw what she saw.
It was her plastic cat clock with the tail that was supposed to move from side to side.
It was 8:25pm.
The Police collected dozens and dozens of statements that seemed to tie Tory to Cascara’s murder. After all, he had spent the past 16 years telling anyone who’d listen he wished Cascara was dead.
“ He was preoccupied with Cascara,” a neighbor said “ he couldn’t stop talking about her and how much he hated her guts and he wouldn’t shut up about her being a witch.”
There was a trial and his Father died from a heart attack right before the verdict was read. Tory hadn’t his seen or spoken to his Father since the night he was arrested for Cascara’s murder. He hadn’t seen his Mother either, he hadn’t for years.
So in the end all he really had was Cascara.
Tory is waiting in the pale green room with the stainless steel table bolted to the floor and he’s eating his last meal (cheese pizza and Buffalo wings) and sitting across from him is Cascara Pomeroy.
It’s 11:30pm and the executioner is at the door Tory stands up as the door swings open and Cascara leaps to her feet and she looks back at the clock and smirks.
Tory watches the clock flip back minute by minute until it reads 8:25.
Then he looks down into his plate and back up at Cascara and she starts to laugh her dark silent laugh and it descends and echoes forever into an eternal night.