The Race

The Race

by Daphne Xu

"I'm very sorry," said Officer Jones to a furious Dad and a despairing, tearful Mom. "There is nothing legal we can do. Your daughter was fourteen when she gave herself to Russell, and Russell is less than three years older than her, even if only by a few days. No legal offense was committed."

Mom buried her head into Dad's side. Her only daughter, fourteen-year-old Candy, was now defiled forever, pregnant by a black high-school boy. Candy was no longer the pure, innocent, chaste young lady appropriately unaware of life's dirtiness.

Whatever would she do?

"Mr. Curley," said Officer Jones. "Let's talk alone for a moment."

"Just a minute, Leigh," said Dad as he gently extracted herself from Mom, and followed Officer Jones into the other room. She just barely heard Officer Jones's hushed statement to Dad, "There is a way..." as it vanished into inaudibility.

******************************

It was two days later, when Mom met with her friend Ellen and a stranger, a tall, domineering bulky woman in a gray dress down to her feet, with her pitch-black hair done up in a huge bun over her head.

"Leigh," said Ellen, "Permit me to present Madame Madison." Ellen spoke formally and deferentially.

Mom nodded her head toward Madame Madison. "I am pleased to meet you."

"Charmed, indeed. Young Ellen has told me of your predicament." It took about fifteen minutes to discuss the situation and the proposed solution.

"Do my daughter and the young man have to be present for the ritual?" asked Mom.

"That would make things easier, but neither one's presence is necessary. The best case scenerio is both present and freely participating. However, the only really essential thing is that the young man be alive somewhere. But be aware. It will cost you. Are you prepared to pay the price?" Mom felt chills down her back, as if she were about to commit herself irrevocably to some form of damnation.

******************************

The ritual was held that very night, deep in the darkest forest. Bright in the sky, shone a waxing gibeous moon that lit up the clearing. Mom sat on a blanket at the edge of the clearing, and watched the preparations.

Ellen warned Mom, "It's important that you maintain silence, and not distract any of us from the ritual. Remain seated here until the ritual is completed, and I come to tell you."

Mom watched, in trepidation and shock, as the coven, including her friend Ellen, all undressed and got completely nude. Most of the coven were women, but a few men were there as well. Mom couldn't believe that her friend Ellen was involved in such a group. Mom wasn't sure now whether she was watching an elaborate setup of a hoax or a seriously damning, almost satanic, ritual.

******************************

Candy was snug in the embrace of her boyfriend, Russell, her hands up around his shoulders and the side of her head pressed against his chest.

"We'll make it through, love," Russell consoled her. "Everything will work out."

"There they are!" came a sharp adult male voice. Before she knew it, they were yanked apart. Candy screamed in surprise, and heard Russell's muffled oath. Daddy and a strange man held her tight, and carried her back to their car. The strange man shoved her into the back seat, and Daddy tied her hands behind her and her legs together.

"This is for your own good," said Daddy. "You'll thank me one of these days."

Candy could only watch as Daddy and the stranger rejoined the rest of the mob, who had subdued Russell and were carrying him toward a large oak tree in the distance.

******************************

Mom could only watch as the coven danced around in two concentric circles, moving in opposite directions reversing at the same time. She watched the naked form of her friend Ellen, swaying, writhing, and moving in synch with the rest. And off to the right, was that her daughter's chemistry teacher? She couldn't tell.

Their chanting made absolutely no sense to Mom. "Jokka prefta noka nüfthla! Heft-the smofe-ta Meep-sna Ruth-ko! Blorgta, tut-fik, chump-cho-chimp-cha!"

******************************

Russell had struggled when the men surrounded him, pulled Candy away, and grabbed him. He had punched and kicked a few, but found himself tied up immobile, and carried off toward a large oak tree in the distance.

One of the men slipped a noose around his neck, and the men tossed the other end over a thick branch. The men pulled on the rope. The noose tightened around his neck as the rope pulled him up into a standing position. He could barely breath.

He stood on the tips of his toes and managed to relieve some of the pressure around his neck. But he knew that wouldn't last long.

******************************

The coven continued dancing and chanting. "Zotza fnoozla k'bitzig mlokso! Hlwagm'no jlwatso latlithuwo bromska! Fzorksna glwotxi twotrlet krokwatt!"

******************************

Dad and the men around him held hard to the rope, setting themselves ready to yank at the right moment. Russell, dangling from the noose, was on his toes.

One of the men yelled, "Yank on three!"

******************************

"Koiya memba nasuka!"

******************************

Dad held his section of the rope, steeling himself, preparing. The man was counting. "... TWO... THREE!"

******************************

"MACK'm!" The coven collapsed.

******************************

Momma sternly faced her pregnant, visibly intimidated, seventeen-year-old daughter, Rosa. "Girl, you know better than to get involved with no white boy."

The END


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