by Rhawn Joseph
It came as a warning. He would be eradicated. Death had been decreed. He and others like him, would be exterminated, the decision made before he was conceived.
His own mother had been chosen for the dastardly deed. Her swollen belly, evidence of sin, she wished and prayed he would stop living, and then decided: She would abort him.
Instead, she took a fork, and stabbed herself, five times, repeatedly in the head; not deep enough to harm the brain, but to gash and tear, drawing blood and searing pain, and to drive the death-wish from her now crazed mind.
And yet, again and again, she wished his death and decided to kill him on the day he was born. He knew she'd do it, he could see her thoughts, smothering him after she gave birth. So he had no choice, and decided to kill her instead.
She died, in a bedroom of the old farmhouse, screaming, crying, and hemorrhaging away her life. He murdered her, so he could live, using his mind as a surgical knife.
And so his grandmother resolved to wash away this sin. But, she too, was unable to perform the foul deed. And not because he was to all appearances a white haired angel. Instead, it was his green eyes which had flicked open and bored knowingly into the depths of her soul, filling her with the horrors of her contemplated sin.
But, just to be safe, he took control of her mind, and she took the sharp edge of the serrated blade, and sliced off two of her fingers. Then she stabbed the blade through her hand, twice.
This was the first warning.
My first memory is from before I was born, on the very day I was conceived. Yes. I know that's impossible. But I recall it all clearly.
And I remember my grandmother complaining to her sister, my mother's aunt, after they discovered mother was pregnant with me. I could see and hear everything, even their thoughts:
"My daughter had sinned," the old lady lamented. "The sin of carnal lust."
The old lady grimaced and then sadly shook her head as her sister commiserated and her daughter hung her head.
"It was drugs, you know. Drugs and alcohol. And the shame of it. Lying there for all the world to see. Lying there, face down in the dirt," she sniffed, blowing her nose in a snot stained rag.
"That was how I found her, you know. Lying face down near that one lane highway. Her hair and clothes a mess. Lying there unconscious. Passed out from the drugs and alcohol."
"Tsk tsk tsk," her sister commiserated, furrowing the deep lines and wrinkles in her face.
The old woman shook her head sadly. "Where had I gone wrong? She had been such a good girl. Such a good girl. Blond and pretty as a picture. She could have had any boy in the holler. Any boy in the village...
"And then the girl lies to me..."
"No mamma," she cried. "I didn't take no drugs. I didn't have no alcohol."
"She was lying. I could smell it. On her clothes. In her hair. On her skin. Drugs and alcohol; and not the kind most folks drink neither."
"Lord have mercy" her sister said, giving the girl a wrinkled look of stern reproach.
"The smell!" the old woman complained. "It was bad. She smelled like medicine and wood grain alcohol. Moonshine! The girl was lucky she didn't go blind. Lucky!" the old woman spit.
"I helped her get inside, dragged her to the bed, and pulled off her clothes and... and... the girl's got on no bra and panties. Instead, she's got cuts and bruises. On her thighs, on her breasts...and, and, she shaved...down there...shaved..."
"Lordy, Lordy, Lordy!" her sister exclaimed through the huge gaps in her blackened teeth.
"And then, the next morning, she lies again and claims she don't remember.
"I don't remember nothing mamma."
"What do you mean you don't remember nothing. You gots to remember something," the old farm woman argued.
"Mamma. I was walking, walking through the corn fields. That's all I remember. I was just walking home...it was just gettin dark...and...I remember... I heard something overhead, and there was a light... in the sky. I was walking...
"From Earl's house!" the old woman hissed.
"But we didn't do nothing mamma. Honest. I swear."
"But she had. She had sinned," the old farm woman lamented. "The sin of carnal lust. And then, a month later, she comes crying to me. I knew it. I knew it! She was pregnant!"
"Oh, the shame of it. The shame," her sister exclaimed.
"And she tried everything to kill it. Herbs and roots. But she just continued to swell up with that baby. Then, she goes crazy. Stabbing herself with a fork! Crazy, she was!"
"Oh, the shame of it," her sister hissed through the gaps in her blackened teeth.
"That's why she stayed inside those last few months. Because of the shame. Because she had gone plum crazy!"
She was crazy to think she could kill me.
So yes, I remember everything that happened, even on the day I was born. The pushing, the shoving, the light at the end of that dark tunnel, and then the screams. My mother screaming, crying... And there was the rusty red metallic odor of blood and the medicinal smell of death.
I closed then opened my eyes and there was a light bulb hanging from the ceiling by a frayed black electric cord, and a moth that circled round, bang bang banging at the light. The light was so bright, I closed my eyes.
I remember the voices, including the fading, dying voice of my mother.
I know it sounds strange, perhaps unbelievable, but as I remember it now, the voices were wishing for death. Voices wishing to kill me, and my mother's anguished voice, wishing for us both to die. So I killed her instead.
And then, as I lay, squirming, cold and wet between her legs, she gasped her last, and died. That was when my grandmother and the voices resolved to kill me.
Yes, perhaps that is understandable. The voices believed me to be evil.
Evil. Evil. Evil. That's what I remember, that and my grandmother's voice. Or maybe it was her thoughts. She was thinking I was evil. Evil. Evil. Evil.
She was going to kill me.
The voices were loud. And I remember being swept up from between my mother's legs, high into the air. That's when I opened my eyes a second time, and stared into her reddening, gray wrinkled old face: my grandmother. It was an angry face. Filled with hate. She was going to strangle me. Dash me to the floor, and then bury me in the trash heap behind the old outhouse, near the corn field.
"Impossible," you say? OK. Sure. Impossible. But that it what I remember, that and this tremendous surge of green light. Of green energy that filled my eyes and then filled the room.
I think that green light came from my eyes. I did not want to die. I rebelled against my fate. Made her stick herself with that blade. And then made her confess to that doctor who came to dress her wounds:
The old woman grimaced as the doctor bandaged her hand. "That's why God punished her, you know? She died for her sins. She whored before God, and God killed her."
The old farm woman blew her nose into a ragged stained hanky. "It was God's will. And I thought it was God's will that I kill that baby, for it had been conceived in sin."
The doctor, cocked his head and through his thick coke-bottle glasses, looked up at her in shock and surprise.
"I was going to kill it," the old woman continued. "And then...as I held it in my arms, it opened it eyes. Those green eyes. And I couldn't. I couldn't. And then God's voice told me... told me... I was about to commit a mortal sin... and then both me and that baby, that white haired green eyed baby, began to cry. And," she said, weeping, "that's when I took the knife and cut myself."
Even though I was a baby, I still remember everything that happened during the next 12 months. The memories are like movies and snap shots that I can unfold and experience again and again: The pigs. The chickens. The crows. The rows and rows of corn and cotton. The picture books that granny would read to me.
And I remember exactly what happened on my first birthday. I was lying in my mother's bed, dream-sleeping, while my grandmother sat in the front room of the old farm house, knitting.
How can I remember what my grandmother was doing while I was dream-sleeping? I just do. I can even remember her memories, or even someone else's memories.... like I'm seeing it on a TV screen.
So, I'm lying there dream-sleeping, visiting the others, communing, planning, learning, developing my powers for the great day when we take over, and my grandmother is in the other room knitting. And then there is a roar... and then footsteps... and flapping wings
The old farm house shook as it was buffeted by a roar of wind. "What in Devil's name," The old woman muttered. Laying her knitting on the small wooden table, she got up and walked quickly toward the window, intending to investigate. But then she thought of the baby.
Pushing open the rickety wooden door, she gazed at the sleeping infant. It was then that she saw, out of the corner of her eye, the two men, in black, just outside.
The old woman blinked and then blinked again. There were two black crows sitting on the window sill. Crows--where moments before she thought she had seen the reflection of two men in black, outside, against the window pain.
The crows, their heads cocked, were eyeing her with one eye, the other eye focused on the little boy as he dreamed and napped.
Her eyes darted back to the baby. Like an angel, he slept. His golden-white hair reflected, like a halo, the setting sunlight of the late afternoon which streamed through the open windows and formed pools of light that splashed and shimmered on his face and golden curls.
Yet, although he had the continence of an angel, the old woman could not help but think that an evil lurked hidden deep within... that he should die, die... that she should.... The old woman blinked. God was speaking to her: She should take the knitting needles and poke them in her eye. "If thy eye offends thee, pluck it out," God said.
She gazed back at the open windows. The crows were gone.
She stepped to the window, her eyes sweeping the darkening woods, pastures and hilly fields. A lone chicken stood pecking at the ground.
There was some kind of car parked a respectable distance from the old farm house, almost hidden by the thick grove of pines that lined both sides of the long dirt driveway.
It was an odd looking car. Foreign probably. Silver, shiny, and sleek, with a clear glass hard top which almost made it look like a convertible with the top down. And quiet! Maybe that was why she hadn't seen or heard it drive up.
But then, remembering the roar of the wind, she reconsidered.
Squinting her eyes, her head out the window, she looked high and low but could see no sign of the two men in black.
God spoke to her: The men are evil. Evil. Kill the men.
The creaking of the floorboards announced, they were at the front door of the old house.
"Kill the men," said God's voice.
The old woman gave the dream-sleeping child one last uneasy look, and then went to fetch her shotgun.
His green eyes popped open. He regarded the two crows just as she opened the front door.
He was not surprised, even though he knew they weren't really crows. He had seen all kinds of crows. And now they were no longer crows, but something big and huge, and standing in his room. They stood tall, hovering, with their huge alien drooling bird heads inclined above him.
They were dressed in shiny black. If not for the bird-heads they could have been knights in shiny black armor, but with a helmeted head instead of the nearly invisible big bubble that sat upon their thin, stooped shoulders and bird-heads.
They were speaking to him. Speaking inside his head. Whispering. Asking him. Probing him with thoughts that spoke a thousand alien dialects.
That was when he was given the warning. It was a crystal clear voice, like a molten stream of silver, speaking louder and then louder still, drowning out and then forming a protective layer, like an impenetrable bubble around his brain that deflected the probing thoughts of the two black armored bird-headed men.
And then, as the bedroom door flew open, they both just disappeared.
His grandmother swept into the room, her eyes darting here and there and to the open window. She leaned out, the shut gun at the ready. There was no sign of anyone. And, the silver car was gone.
Her eyes darted back to the golden-haired baby.
He was evil.
Evil. Evil. Evil.
He should die.
She lifted the shotgun, pointed it at his curly head.
Evil. Evil. Evil. Die. Die. Die.
She wrapped a finger around the trigger, and then God spoke to her:
"If thy eye offends thee, pluck it out," God said.
The old woman took her finger from the trigger, turned, left the room, retrieved the knitting needles and then poked them in her eye.