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Angeline's Lullaby (Adult language and sexuality) (1 Viewer)

Benjamin Button

Senior Member
1984 ...

“Rock-a-bye baby, hmm - a - hmm hmm”

Sque-ak.

The room was dark, Angeline’s voice shaking, she hummed “Rock-a-bye Baby.” Soundless lightning revealed her in a chair--a shaggy headed mom rocking her shaggy headed boy; the mom trembled in her white gown and bare feet. In the next flicker, the closet door by them creeped open. The mother's eyes were shut, her lips wet with snot, she sputtered words to the lullaby. Three more lightning strikes, the closet gaped open. A shadow that stretched to the ceiling hovered over them. Its hand rose with six fingers, curvy and sharp like kitchen knives. She cringed, squeezing her son like a shield. Between unintelligible cries, she said, "you have to go through Tom to get to me. C’mon, Tom, fight. Fight!"

2013 ..

Tom Darling, sporting a blazer and tall fauxhawk and reading a posting on the wall for Saul’s swords, had grown to be just short of average height for a man but was quite handsome under the one of few working LED lights. Handsome until he turned toward the shadowy end of the hall at Beatrice who called his name; six scars swept across the left side of his face. She held her eye contact and smiled. “Glover is ready for you.”

A desk with paperwork and a potted venus flytrap separated Tom from where Walter Glover sat, and a box crammed with legal records occupied the guest chair. “Ariel's been.” Glover cleared his throat. “Away now for three weeks.” He leaned his bald head over the table and pinched his white goatee. “I can’t help but think…”

With hands on his hips, Tom rolled his eyes at the stained tile above them.

“Thomas, this monstrosity that came after her, among other abnormalities, had six fingers. Of all curiosities, yours should be triggered.”

“She’s your wife. At some time or another she’s heard you talking about my … My fucked up mother. She’s using it as an excuse.”

“You think I have nothing more to do than talk about you? I’m running Tampa’s number one supernatural agency, one that for --whatever reason-- sponsors the greatest skeptic on God’s green earth. You should write a book on your atheism. Would be quite academic, I imagine.”

“So why’d you call me in, Glover? I know it's not so you can spill your guts. And since my skepticism is suddenly a liability, it can’t be so you can assign this to me.”

Glover slid halfway over his table, spilling paperwork and tilting the flytrap. “You hold the key! Look at you. You survived it.”

“Don’t you ...”

“We have to talk about this. You think it’s easy for me?” Glover dropped his head, and Tom smiled with a gleam in his eye, fanning papers in the box and flames in his mind. “You’ll be the customer. I'm not splitting the commission with you or anyone else.”

Glover lifted his head, eyeballs seemingly ready to jump out.


***

This is a man’s world.

But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.

Behind three shot glasses atop a balcony’s ledge and past a water view, Tampa’s skyline was lit in the night. James Brown's Man’s World played and a party of hands and elbows rested along the long ledge, while oceans of conversations sent sound waves into the air. A small hand extending from the sleeve of a tan blazer, put a fourth empty shot glass down.

“Glover’s a weak bitch, wears his feelings on his sleeve. What I hate is he calls me an atheist.

I don’t get my emotions tied up in this shit like they all do, don’t care what’s out there, not at awe when I see something extraordinary. It’s business.”

“He’s paying you well, I hope.” A cold voice said.

“One hundred-thousand dollars in one payday if I can rid his wife of this monster. That’s more than I’ve made in a single year of my life. Gonna take it out in cash and lay it across my bed, sleep on it; might even fuck on it.”

“You can’t have those there,” a bartender in blond pigtails said.

Taken aback, Tom fake laughed.

“I mean it. Take those glasses down now.”

“You mean these?” Tom said, back handing the four shot glasses. They clinked against each other and fell over the ledge.

“You need to leave,” she said.

"What if I don't want to."

"Then, I'll get my manager."

“Why don’t you get those glasses?” Tom grabbed her and hung her halfway over the balcony. "Wanna be a big woman? Tell me what to do?" Legs kicking out her skirt, she screeched, "put me down. Toxic ... Pig!" His hand, like the tinniest swatter amongst a hoard of bees, got a couple stings against her bare legs before he let her go.

Flushed and messy headed, she pointed her finger. “I’m going to tell the manager, the owner, the police! You’ll be thrown out and taken to jail.”

Keeping the same stoic monotone, the cold voice that’d been chatting with Tom said, “I am the owner and trust me--the police will listen to me. Better you take a break and calm yourself. You have my permission, go -- sit a minute -- unless your hide’s too burnt.”

This is a man’s world

But it wouldn’t mean nothing. Not one little thing …


***

“It’s so bright in here,” Tom said, rubbing his forehead. He gently headbutted a bookshelf in Beatrice's cluttered office. He felt suffocated by the packed shelves and often joked with her that since she only used electronics, she didn’t need books wasting her precious, little real estate. “My head’s pounding,'' he said.

Sitting at her small desk, Beatrice poked her face up from her tablet. She was cute and chunky with dimples, laughing. “Ok, hung over. Was last night another night of noise ordinances?”

Tom frowned.

Under her long brown hair, she giggled and threw her hands up. “What?”

“I’m a different person when I get drunk.”

“You know I read a study that said people aren’t that different under the influence? Just makes you do what you wanted to do anyway.”

He grimaced as if he tasted something more bitter than the vodka in his system from the prior night. “Ok, so other than that your study on drinking apparently proves I’m a loose cannon, what did you find out about this supposed monster?”

“It's Anakim.”

“Anakim?”

“From the Bible. A race of giants that Joshua expelled from Canaan. Some of them took refuge in Philistia. Goliath descended from them, but…”

“Uhh, I guess I’ll bite, what?” Tom said, holding back a laugh.

“Listen to this, Second Samuel twenty-one, verse twenty, ‘there was a war at Gath where there was a man of great stature who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. Four and twenty-four in number.’”

“Twenty-four when you add up the fingers and toes?”

She shook her head. “Or twenty-four hands and feet. Notice the scripture didn't say six fingers on ‘both hands and feet’. It said on each.”

“Ok, well I'm not catholic.”

She sighed, playfully. “That’s why you're going to Hell, Tom! It’s not only scripture that talks about this thing, though. Ever heard of Hecatoncheires?”

“A Greek god with fifty arms. So what?”

“Point is different cultures have seen things similar to this: gigantic, lots of arms.”

“So have different whack jobs.” Tom caught her dismayed expression. “Hey, what's wrong?”

“You basically said my bomb ass research was crazy.”

He headed for the door. “It’s not you who's crazy, it’s the women who are seeing this thing.”

“Where are you going?”

“Out in the field. I have to get a statement from one of those whack jobs that Anakim's supposedly terrorizing.”

She laughed. “So we are calling it Anakim?”

He nodded. “Anakim it is. Have me a name for the flying spaghetti monster when I get back. I'm going after it next.”

As Tom entered the hall, the AntLux flickered, thunder crashed, and rain hit against either side wall and on the ceiling.

Drip .. drip ..

Blood trickled from the tile like raindrops. Tom peered down the hallway, Angeline stood in front of him.

"Mom, not now."

In her bare feet, bed hair, and red stained white gown, she locked eyes with him. Wrists bloody, she approached his soul’s windows, singing, “Rock-a-bye baby...hmm hmm a hmm hmm.”

A pipsqueak voice echoed from within. “Mama, I’m not singing that. I’m a boy!”

In a growling inflection she said, “you're no boy; you’re a pussy just like your dad. Couldn’t protect me.” She dropped to her knees in a dramatic finale and lay on her face, contorting the gashes in her wrists upwards.

As the rain and thunder ceased, Tom stood above her, a body lying in a pile of its lifeforce that he knew she spilled years prior.

“You see that?” Glover said from behind him. Tom jerked in his direction.

“The storm came and went so quickly. Strange.”

The floor where Angeline lay was empty. Glover put his hand on Tom's shoulder. When he did, Tom felt fingers pressing through. They cut deeper and deeper inside six different places. ”Ow!”

Glover whispered, “it’s not too late for my Ariel.”

He shoved Glover off, placed his own hand over his hurt arm. “Don’t ever touch me again.”

“What is ... What is wrong with you, Thomas? I merely embraced you.”

“Look, all you need to know is I’m on the case. Don’t trust me? Why don’t you send Beatrice with me. Beatrice!”

Beatrice came out of her office with a bewildered look.

“It won’t be necessary,” Glover said. “Dray will miss her tonight, I'm sure.”

“Well actually, I could use the overtime,” she said.

“Ok ... well ... you can go with him only to get the statement,” Glover said, balling his fists and gritting his teeth in a smile. “Once we know what we're dealing with, the rest is between me and Thomas. Thomas, you hear?”

***
Inside Tom’s old mustang, Beatrice turned the knob for the air condition. Tom rolled the window down and said, “it’s broken. Gonna be getting a new BMW soon.” Watching her laughing and rolling her window down, he smirked to himself.

“This is a confusing complex,'' she said, ''I think we’ve ridden by this grocery store two dozen times.”

In the grocery store parking, an attendant --elderly male, tall, and hunchbacked in a red vest -- stopped packing brown bags in the trunk of a man's Lamborghini long enough to wave at them. After they past the store, Beatrice said, “these people seem so happy. Look!” She pointed out a golf cart in oncoming traffic. “Even get their asses driven around wherever they like. I’m going to tell Dray, why haven’t you gotten us a timeshare, boy!”

"They’re suckering you in.," said Tom.

As the golf cart rode by, the driver, a woman with a bun, lifted her hand. Beatrice squinted. “Did you see that?”

“What?”

“Nothing. Don’t worry about it.” He looked at Beatrice for more information but she just smiled and shook her head.

As the side of a building with the number twenty-four inched by, Tom braked mid rode, reversed back, and turned into it. “It’s the fourth one down,” he said, parking. “Ariel's mom gave me this address. You coming in?”

“You said I wouldn’t have to, though!”

Tom got out. “If it gets too hot, come in. I got a big payday riding on this, so I may be in there a while.”

He knocked on the door, and a woman with a curly red ponytail opened. Tom grinned. She had a beauty mark above her top lip and another above her low cut halter top. She took his breath away, and good thing she did, because if he could speak right away, the first thing he'd ask is why would a woman like her be with a man like Glover. She shook her head in a daze of her own.

“Ariel?”

“Maybe. What gives?”

“I’m with the supernatural agency.” He opened his wallet, showing his license. “We think you may be in danger.”

Her eyes enlarged, and she pointed a fake red nail. “I told Walter not to come for me.”

“Listen, he’s just worried about you.” Tom said.

“This is his fault!” When Tom caught the door as she pulled it to her, she glanced down. "You know what they say about men with small hands.”

“They’re smart enough to know Glover is a jerk? Matter of fact, maybe you can help me get to the bottom of this and take him down.”

“Now you have my attention, little hands.”

Ok, now he was close
Tried to domesticate you
But you’re an animal
Baby it’s in your nature


While Robin Thicke’s blurred lines blared on the CD player, the door was wide open to the bedroom with a jacuzzi, and over in the kitchen, Ariel shook her ass in her little jean shorts, singing while uncorking a bottle of scotch. “You drink?” she said, peeking over the kitchen’s bar.

“Yes, family curse. Mom was the biggest alchoholic.”

Holding her glass and handing him his, “she said "Was? Did she quit?”

“Yeah, when she died.”

“Drank herself to death? That’s mighty weighty for your small hands.”

“Her demons got her, more ways than one. She was always afraid of something. Which makes me think … You don’t strike me as someone hiding in fear of their life. Frankly, you strike me as someone bored and playing games.”

She frowned, and turned the music off. “Who the hell are you to judge with your fucked up face and tiny hands.”

Tom slammed his drink and stood, his height came about to her eyebrows. He smiled and said, “but a heavy drinker, no? So what have you heard about my mom?”

She pushed him. “Why do you keep asking me about her? You have some kind of mommy fantasy or something?”

“C’mon! That story you told to get away from Glover -- her exact story.”

“Story? That thing that came into my house … Walter--ask him-- nearly killed him, too.”

“So, why are you running from him, then?”

“Who do you think brought it in?” She paused as if to draw up saliva to spit. “My husband is a cuck. Took more and more to satisfy his need to be shamed, finally bit off more than he can chew that night. That beast rose out of the man he brought in, must be the blood pressure that raised it. Nearly got its nails into Walter.”

Tom replied, "my fucked up face as you call it-- mom told me that thing did it, but I suspect it’s a cover up.”

“Oh that was definitely done by Anakim.”

“Wait,” Tom said, dropping his fawxhawk into his hands. “How did you know that name?”

“They are monsters, don’t let them fool you. Come in like gentlemen, suits, ties; tall, dark and handsome, but underneath their human suits, they’re women killers. And if any boy or cuck gets in the way, god help them.”

“You women,” Tom said, his hands grabbing his hair, “such liars.”

“Oh, you think the way he left his mark on you is something, little hands? The Anakim are proud of those six fingers. But you want to know what they’re really proud of?”

Tom nearly ripped at his hair. “Lying whores! Did Beatrice give you that name?”

She laughed. “My mama always said, Ariel, you’re such a whore. Little hands, look at this.”

Tom lifted his head, his eyes mad, and he glued them to her -- her turned around, shorts on the floor, ass naked and indented with the shape of a phallus from one end to the other. “Oh, those Anakim men mark their territory. And look how big a mark he left. Sid's savoring me right now, but soon he’s going to cut chunks out of me.” As the music came back up, Tom found his breath and breathed it heavily.

***​

Blurred lines

While she heaved and moaned over the bar with Tom behind her, a tall man in a dress shirt and tie came by the window. She stopped her ruckus, looked back, and said, “you have to go. If Sid catches us, he’ll cut me up sooner than later.”

“Uhh.” Tom said, zipping up, looking for an exit.

The door opened, and the man ducked his head under the entrance to get in. He wore slick hair and a red tie. “Hi, honey, I’m the early bird and guess which dirty bird’s getting the worm this evening!” He saw Tom and gawked at him as he swaggered forward. The closer he got, the more Tom felt like a little boy by comparison.

“Oh god, it’s too late, he’s seen us,” she whispered.

Sid hummed Rock a-bye baby, picking up her shorts from the floor. As he approached them, he kept a smile on his clean, tan countenance, and looked down at Ariel's bare bottom half. “Such an expeditionist, I hope you didn’t spoil your appetite.” Wrapping his large hand around her neck, he pressed her gullet with his thumb, while resting his five other fingers under her ear.

Tom was a shaggy headed boy again, in the dark, six claws stretching for him, “Fight Tom,” Angeline said.

“Tsk, tsk, Ariel. You should know a boy can’t do a man’s job. Hey, what are you staring at, sport?” Sid said, staring down at Tom.

Beating against the living room window ensued. Beatrice, on the other side, motioned for Tom.

“I’ve got to go,” Tom said, averting eyes from Sid’s hovering.

“You were staring at my fingers,” Sid insisted. “Does it bother you that I'm polydactyl?”

Gripping the doorknob, Tom turned at Sid who had both hands up, showing all twelve fingers. “g polydactyl only means I have the strength of two hands in each one. Bad idea coming inside my timeshare, sport, because you don't want me coming in yours.”

As soon as Tom got out the door, Beatrice threw her arms up, “Tom, it’s Anakim. It’s here! That guy inside is one of them.”

“Yea, let’s start walking.”

As they headed to the car, she said, “I was staking out, like in the detective movies.'' She laughed. “And all the people in vests have six fingers. Remember the lady driving the golf cart?”

“Yeah..” Tom said, hurrying to the car and getting in. She dropped into the passenger’s side, still talking. “I thought I was seeing things, but when she waved, she had six fingers, too.”

“Listen, this isn’t a game. It’s dangerous.”

Ring

A tussle to get the cell phone to the ear, and the stoic voice was on the other end.

“Building four.” The voice said.

Click.

“What? Who was that?”

As the car squealed and smoked going out the parking lot, Tom said, “It’s Saul-- owns half of Tampa.”

They pulled into building four, he unbuckled -- only out of habit that he buckled in the first place -- but she sat back.

“Come with me,” he said. ”Saul’s a collector, says he’s found the right weapon for me to use on Anakim.”

“Weapon? Tom, what are you thinking?”

Inside the apartment stood a sword in the jacuzzi. It leaned against a wine glass shelf.

“One hundred and one centimeters .. Wooden grip ... Forged blade ... Aged finish. Do you know what you’re looking at?” Saul said

Tom shrugged. “Not really.”

“It’s a reproduction of King David’s sword, replicated by the finest craftsmen. David beheaded Goliath with one very close to this.” The sun gave the sword a magical air, casting light on it from the window above.

“And you trust me with this?” Tom said.

“Men like us -- we care about things for their value, not for emotions attached to them. After this is dipped with the blood of an Anakim, it will convert to a million dollar asset.”

Tom stood next to Saul, stepped a foot on the tub’s stool and wrapped his hands around the grip. “Tom, what you thinking?” Beatrice said. “How do we know Anakim’s not human? Maybe, we’re in a weird community of people with six fingers. We’ll get arrested if we kill them, won’t we?”

“You’re a giant killer.” Saul’s voice said.

“Tom, can we talk?”

Tom nodded, and Saul stepped out to the living room.

Beatrice whispered, “Tom, why doesn’t he kill the thing himself, instead of having you do it, you know?”

“He admits he’s not trained like I am for this kind of thing, that’s why I’m useful.”

“Trained? We’re not talking about freeing a house of haunted spirits, here. When have you killed someone? I mean really killed them? Or have you? You know what -- I’m going to call Dray to pick me up.” She reached for her phone. “Shit, I left it in the car.”

When she walked in the living room and Tom followed, Saul stood transfixed at the glass doors. "It’s starting,” he said. In their vests, the woman with the bun and the man with the hunchback, two towering figures, advanced up the parking lot toward them.

“Shit!” Beatrice said. “I’m freaking out.”

Rain disturbed the sunny sky, and the blue darkened to a contusion, while the hunchback man rapped on the door. Quiet lightning flashed; the rain drenched the man, but his rapping escalated.

“Do we let them in?” Beatrice said. Tom turned and Saul was already exiting through the window over the jacuzzi. “That way,” Beatrice said. Tom followed her away from the hunchback man’s pleas through the glass. “We want to speak with you about your timeshare.”

When they reached the open window, arms with six fingers came through, groping at them. Beatrice shrieked and fell back into Tom. The woman with the bun and the man with the hunchback were now on their other side, leading an entire army of red vests through the living room. The woman spoke with a man’s voice. “We want to speak with you about your timeshare.”

“Tom! What the fuck?” Beatrice yelled, grabbing his arm.

Swaggering to the front of the group, Sid emerged in his tie. “You already used my timeshare, sport. Now I’m going to use yours.” He laughed and six knives emerged from his hand and slashed Tom, knocking him back into the wine shelf. Everything went black.

Eyes blinked. Candle light surrounded a bed with Beatrice tied to it. She had rope around her body and inside her mouth. Anakim in its true form— all the red vests conjoined into one body with Sid at the center, bunch of heads, legs, arms, and six fingered hands—closed in on her. As Tom tasted blood fresh in his mouth, Beatrice turned to him with eyes that would scream if they could.

Anakim lifted the bed with her tied to it. Over its heads, it carried her into the dining room. “Each of my mouths will have a piece of you,” it’s chorus of husky voices said.

Tom eyed the sword across from him, it’d gone under the bed that’d been removed, and now lay exposed and beckoning his soul. He crawled for it, screaming inside with every ache he had. As he reached for it, blood dripped by his hand. He looked up and saw his mother. “Go to sleep, Tom.”

Rock-a-bye baby in the tree top
When the wind blows the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks the baby will fall
Down will go Tom through his own sword and all


“You’re entire life,” she said, “all you’ve ever done is try to prove yourself to this monster. Now you’re no better than it, just fall on your sword, Tom. What will swinging it do, now? You’ll just be more of a monster.”

“No! I’m not doing this for Saul, the hundred thousand dollars, or myself, not even for you. I’m doing this for her.” He groped the sword, jumped to his feet, and charged into the kitchen. In a leap, he plunged through the heart of the giant. As it tumbled, Beatrice made eye contact with him, tears running down her face.

***

It’s a man’s world

But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl


Three months later, Tom sat next to her at the bar, slashes down both sides of his face. She wore a green summer dress and appeared to be glowing. “You know,” Tom said, “I couldn’t have done it without you putting yourself on the line, being there for me.”

“Tom, please, don’t bring that up--”

“I know you hate talking about it, but you can’t keep things hidden. That’s how they get out of control. Beatrice, lies of omission destroy us from within. I’ve lived a fucked up life, but you’ve always been the best part of it.”

“Tom, you’re just saying this cause you're drunk.”

“Drinking only makes you do what you wanted to do anyway, and hey, I promised you, no more keeping things inside. I gotta do this.”

A dark and spiky haired man sat behind Beatrice, “baby, what’s going on?”

“Dray! You got here for the best part, Tom’s about to tell me how awesome I am.”

Tom glared ahead. After an awkward silence, he said, "Beatrice, where did you get the name Anakim? Turned out to be the thing's real name. How would you know?"

***​


Up on the balcony, staring down at the ocean, Glover said, “what's our profit on King David's sword?”

Saul’s cold voice said, “millions, and it's Tom's sword now. This internet crowd is the perfect market, always looking for a conspiracy, while my government affiliates are muddying the waters to give the mainstream media reasons to doubt.”

Glover stroked his goatee for a couple seconds and said, “Thomas cleaned up my mess and brought me my Ariel back. I groomed him right, but I don’t think it was the sword or even you, Saul. He needed a soul for this, because no matter how much you egged him on, there’s something about a man when he’s in the fight of his life, he needs more than his ego. It’s his love for Beatrice that gave us everything we needed.

***​

Tom rested on his bed, cash beneath him. He didn't know where it'd been but it smelled cleaner than the sheets he was use to, and he knew he'd spend every dollar of it eventually, that he needed to get out and make more, but for that moment he exhaled and closed his eyes.
 
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