Helter Skelter

[Originally Published in Silverthought (Spring 2009)]

“These children that come at you with knives, they are your children. You taught them. I didn’t teach them. I just tried to help them stand up.”
Charles Manson

Oh God, I miss Roman now, miss him more than ever, miss him more than anybody could ever imagine, I wish he were here, wish he could help, I miss the studio, my job, my career, my life, the life I’ve had, the life these people want to take, both lives, the one in my heart and the one in my belly, the life of this baby is so precious and sweet, so full of promise, I just wish he didn’t have to hear this and I wish I didn’t have to hear it, didn’t have to hear the sounds of their guns and their knives, God, when they hit Fry with the pistol it was so loud, like a bat against his skull and then the gunshots were so deafening, waking the baby and making him kick against my pelvis so hard, so upset

I’m sorry, honey, I wish you didn’t have to hear this, didn’t have to hear Abigail outside screaming as they catch her, she shouldn’t have ran, they might have let her go if she hadn’t ran, I feel so sorry for her and I wish I could get out of these ropes and get help

God Abigail’s screams are so unnerving, they make my face crinkle at the corners like burning paper, tears streaming down my cheeks like the blood flowing down my arm, it’s not my blood, thank God it’s not my blood or the baby’s blood but I don’t know if I can thank God because this doesn’t seem a good time to be thankful, there’s nothing Godly going on right now and things are so horrible that I can’t breathe, though it might be the rope, the rope that they tied around my neck and then Jay’s, who doesn’t sound good, doesn’t sound good at all leaning his back against my back and wheezing, and he’s getting worse and they’re getting worse out there because Abigail’s screams are so much louder, so loud they’re in my ear as if she is next to me and they are stabbing her in front of me, and I’m so glad I don’t have to see it but I have to hear it and I can’t control my tears or my moans because they left me here for only a moment to go get the others, then they’re coming back for me after they get the others, get Abigail and Fry because they tried to run, run like the blood that runs down my arm, Jay’s blood, not mine, and I love Jay, he’s a great man, almost as great as Roman, but Roman’s not here and a husband should be here for his wife when their house is invaded by violent strangers, strangers that stabbed Jay so bad his throat is gurgling, stabbed Jay for trying to help me, trying to help my baby, so how can I be thankful that it’s his blood running down my arm, though at least it’s not the baby’s, thank God it’s not the baby’s

I try to turn and get my bearings but Jay’s body is as heavy as bricks, his breath raspy, like a clogged car engine, which I think is a good thing because, after the amount of times they stabbed him, it’s a miracle he’s still alive, and it makes me feel claustrophobic with my hands tied like this, my neck pulled back at this unnatural angle, I can’t stop crying, can’t see clearly enough to find a way out of this, and the baby is kicking, oh God, the baby is kicking, so strong, he’s going to be an athlete, I can see it, so strong yet so polite, not rough, as if tapping on a bedroom door to ask what all the ruckus is on the other side

I want to free my hand, want to rub the kicking foot and coax it back to sleep, I don’t want my child to hear these things, hear Abigail’s dying screams, nothing more than bubbling moans now, low against the steady thwack of the knife going into Fry as they catch him in the front lawn and finish him off like he’s an escaped cow at a slaughterhouse and I can hear the knife sliding into him, so malicious, so angry, and a fresh set of tears spring up in my eyes because Abigail and Fry were good together and good to me and Roman and our baby while they were together and now they are both almost surely dead together, and the concept doesn’t add up to me just as the concept of me being tied to Jay right now as he is dying doesn’t add up, the state of this living room doesn’t add up, the blood on the walls and the blood near the front door that spell out letters, P-I-G, spells pig, I don’t know what that means or whose blood they wrote it in and below that, barely visible in the doorway is Fry’s LEG, HIS FUCKING LEG, GOD, I CAN SEE HIS FOOT TWITCHING AND TWITCHING AND THE KNIFE GOING INTO HIS THIGH AND HIS FOOT IS TWITCHING SO MUCH UNTIL it goes still and there is no more movement and now Abigail’s screams that descended into moans have faded into the wind which picks up suddenly as they come back inside and—Oh GOD—THEY’RE COMING BACK OVER HERE TO FINISH WITH ME AND THEY’RE LAUGHING AND SAYING A NAME, MANSON, I DON’T KNOW A MANSON, PLEASE DON’T HURT ME, PLEASE DON’T HURT MY BABY AND I wish I could see my mother right now, I wish she were here and could help me because she always knew what to do, always knew how to handle things and I wonder how she felt when I was just a baby in her stomach, when I kicked a question into the groove of her belly button, a wondering kick that seemed to ask “What is it? What’s waiting for me out there?” and I wish that inquisitiveness in my own child could be met with the love and affection that I received when I arrived in this world but there is only this hatred, this scowling man bending down closer to my face and I can smell his breath and it smells LIKE COPPER, LIKE BLOOD, LIKE HE’S BEEN DRINKING BLO—

“What’s your name, cunt?” he asks.

I can’t speak and I wish Jay were still pushing out his raspy bubbles of air behind me but now he isn’t and his body has grown heavier and is pulling on my neck more and I can feel the muscles in my shoulder’s strain and the blood running down my arm has reached down to my hand and begun to pool on the carpet and it isn’t my blood, it’s Jay’s blood but I feel like it’s mine, feel like it should be mine, feel another kick from the baby as if he can see the man that is bent over me with the foul smelling brea—

“I said what’s your name, you stupid cunt?”

“Sh-Sharon,” I say and the tears are so heavy, so very heavy.

“Sharon what?” he asks.

“T-Tate,” I say and he glances at the people behind him, three other people that are blurry in the darkness so I can’t make out anything except this man, his eyebrows heavy and slanted downward, pointing towards my belly and he puts HIS HAND ON IT AND I FEEL ANOTHER KICK AND I CAN’T TAKE THIS, HIS HAND ON MY BELLY, ON MY BABY, I CAN’T TAKE THIS SHI—

“Sharon Tate,” he says, turning back to me and I want to throw his hand off of me but my hands are still tied so I just nod. “Do you know who I am Sharon?”

I shake my head and the tears hurt now, burn my cheeks as if the salt crystals in them are miniature daggers that pierce even my quivering, dry lips as they touch them

“P-please,” I whisper and he leans in closer and the copper smell, the blood smell, gets stronger and there is blood all over him

“I’m the devil,” he says, so close to my ear that I begin to shake and the baby kicks, a concerned kick. “And I’m here to do the devil’s business.”

His knife gleams in a light source I can’t identify and don’t care to identify because I’m screaming now, loud, though I can’t hear myself above the roaring sound in my head and the baby crying in my stomach, though I didn’t think babies could cry in the womb but I can hear him, yes, I can hear him crying and I try to tell him to stop, that everything will be fine and I wonder if everything really will be fine because this devil-man hasn’t touched my belly with that knife yet, only with his hand, but I don’t know if he will—

“P-please,” I whimper as he raises his knife and one of the blurry people behind him comes forward, a woman. “Please, just take me, take me and the baby, just two weeks and I can have him then do what you want to me, but two more weeks please I don’t care, just let me have him and you can do whatever you want to me but just please let me have my bab—”

And the blurry woman’s hand lashes out, catching me right above the chin and stars burst in my eyes and they are beautiful and painful all at once and fade quickly so I can see the woman duck down close and she looks familiar but I cannot think clearly because now I see the glint of light against her knife as she speaks

“Look, bitch,” she says and I whimper at her words, so violent, spit flying out of her mouth onto my face, spit I see but cannot feel through the tear scars on my cheek. “I have no mercy for you. You’re going to die and you’d better get used to it.”

And I scream again and wish somebody would hear me but there is no way anybody would hear me except for maybe Will, yes, maybe Will is at the guest house and I can scream louder and he can hear and get help for the baby at least, the baby the most, because everybody else is dead and the devil-man’s knife is rising higher and so is the woman’s and they are going to kill me and I don’t care because I only care about the baby and my husband, Roman I love you and I’m glad you’re not here and wish you were here because everything would be fine if you were you would be able to save our child and get him away from these devil-people that can just take me but leave my baby, take me as long as the baby is alive and Roman knows I love him forever and IT’S GOING INTO ME, IN HIM, NO PLEASE MY CHEST MY STOMACH I CAN HEAR HIM SCREAMING SO LOUD I’M SORRY BABY I’M SO SORRY OH MY GOD PLEASE MOTHER MOTHER I NEED YOU PLEASE TAKE MY BABY AWAY FROM HERE TAKE HIM PLEASE MOTHER I LOVE YOU I LOVE YO—

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