Authors: Gaetano Brown
Vulnerable Broken Mind
Edited by Michelle McMaster
Cover art creative attribution to www.CoverDesignStudio.com and Martina K.
Copyright © 2014 Gaetano Brown
All rights reserved.
A Vulnerable Broken Mind is a dedication to my mother Renee Brown. You taught me that I could be whatever I wanted to be, advice that I still believe in to this day. I wouldn’t be writing today if it wasn’t for you.
Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
“Just when you thought you had reached the deepest depths of horror, it suddenly got worse. How to turn off that small voice inside your head that started to whisper that you should be glad; that now, if not before, your revenge was justifiable on any conceivable moral scale. That small voice proved, beyond any doubt, that I was damned.”
Max Payne, 2001
Written by Sam Lake
What would you do for the one you love? Would you fight for that person? Would you kill for that person? Would you die for that person?
Would you push yourself to unknown mental and physical limits? When you think you can no longer stretch on or continue to fight, the body wants to take on more.
When things are at their darkest, you pray for anybody or anything to turn on the light. Even if the light reveals nothing more than your worst fears. Fears that you feel you can’t fight.
However, in the most difficult situations, you must face your fears and go on.
Chapter 1: A Happy Couple
That point had finally been reached; the point of no return; the point of no reason, no justice, no mercy. When the sea that was life has parted at the center, on one side there is forgiveness and savior. On the other side, there is pitch black. The side of forgiveness and savior tells you where it’s going. The blackness is a seemingly never ending path. No matter how far you walk, you can never truly tell where it’s going to lead you. It could be to safety or eternal damnation.
“Stay with me,” he shouts, trying to keep her alive, his hands drenched in her blood. The warmth of her blood is a contrasting feeling as her body becomes cold.
“I love you.” She replies back, having lost all hope.
What do you do when you realize there is no forgiveness and no savior? The moment when you have been left in the darkness with no one but yourself. The moment when you have nothing but your own voice to guide you. The voice in your head never tells you what you want to hear. The voice leads you down a far worse path than the one that you took to get here.
As you clutch on to the life that means more than your own, you think back to that path. How did you get here? What damning event led you down to this unforgiving hell? What could you have possibly done to deserve any of this?
Have you ever had those moments when you could have sworn that life could not have been any better? Your smile shone like the sun, your happiness was as contagious as a cold and infected those around you. That one time in life when you felt that everything was perfect.
Was it too good to be true? It seems as though the greatest moments in life all seem too good to be true. You don’t believe that moments like that are possible until they happen to you. When it does happen, you want to hold onto it forever.
John and Amber Robinson were experiencing that happiness. A happy young couple with everything to gain and nothing to lose. When life was as sweet as a freshly picked fruit.
John had grown up being called a nerd and a nobody. That nobody was now a successful lawyer in the small village of Clinton, New York. John wouldn’t go down in history as the most handsome man in New York. His average shape, his short haircut with a hairline that was already receding, his plain brown eyes and his nerdy glasses. However, this average looking man was very lucky. Now he was married to his school crush, the girl he thought he had no shot with.
There’s always that one girl in school that every guy wishes to date. A beautiful blond haired girl, with the perfect body and bright blue eyes that caught your attention the moment you looked at her. Normally, those are the girls that go through multiple boyfriends.
Amber was not one of those girls. An elementary school teacher, she waited to find someone. She was raised to wait until she found true love or true love found her. She found that with John and John found that with her. They married only a year after they had started dating.
They moved deep into Clinton, New York. Clinton was a village of just barely nine hundred people, the kind of place where everyone knew everyone else’s business. It was a quiet and innocent place; crime was unheard of in Clinton. John and Amber bought a house near the local creek, which ran around the entire village. It was a beautiful white two story home with a horseshoe shaped driveway. A large backyard, perfectly sized for Amber’s garden. The house of their dreams and proof that dreams truly did come true.
It was a beautiful place to live. The creek, trees and a view of the of the hills that seemed to go on into infinity. It was a true heaven that was wonderful to witness.
John and Amber were preparing to leave that heaven to go to another heaven. Their one year anniversary was approaching and they were preparing to make a trip that they had wanted to make since the day they met; a wonderful trip to Disney World. As cliché as it might have sounded, even to them, it was a dream they had always had and they were finally going to experience it. They left a couple days before their anniversary.
Thursday was a day of true joy. While they had not yet reached their destination, the thought of driving towards that destination seemed just as joyous.
After John had loaded up the car, he walked upstairs to see if Amber was ready. When he had reached their bedroom, she was brushing her hair in front of the mirror. He leaned against the door to the room and stared at her. She was so beautiful.
She saw him in the mirror and smiled back at him. “See anything you like?” She asked, amused.
“Always,” he replied. She smiled brightly at this response.
When she finished, she put the brush into her purse and walked towards him and put her arms around him. “I can’t believe we finally get to go Disney World. I’ve wanted to go there all my life.”
John smiled innocently at this comment. “Well then, let’s not let time go to waste. Are you ready?”
She looked up at him with a smile and said, “I’m ready.” John then leaned down and kissed her on the lips.
You know that you’re in love when every kiss feels like it’s the first. Every fiber of your being floods with joy. You find out during those moments that the fireworks that your friends talked about were real and not just a cliché. Your heart truly belongs to that person and you wish for them to hold onto it forever.
They walked down to the car. When they slid into the car, she leaned over and kissed him again. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” He replied. The words always brought a smile to his face. It didn’t matter what mood he was in; those three words always switched his attitude around. The worst day of his life would suddenly become bright again.
They continued to smile and glance towards one another as they pulled out of the driveway and drove off.
Driving down the highway of upstate New York was always a pleasure. An ocean of trees guided their way.
The first couple of hours remained relatively silent as they both enjoyed the sights. It wasn’t until they passed Syracuse that a conversation finally struck.
“I can’t believe we’re actually doing this.” Amber said. “I can’t believe you actually got the time off for it.”
“I know,” John replied earnestly. John’s job never allowed much time off. He knew that he was going to need at least a couple of weeks off to devote to the vacation but an endless amount of cases made that an almost impossible wish to grant. He had gotten lucky with a large gap in between cases and decided to use that time for vacation.
Amber, on the other hand, decided against teaching summer classes and decided to use the three months off as her own personal vacation. While the extra pay checks were nice, going on their dream trip was far greater than the extra pay.
They had planned on making one major stop in between upstate New York and Disney World and that was Washington D.C. It was another dream of theirs to go to the nation’s capital.
They had made a couple of pit stops in Pennsylvania but, for the most part, drove straight to D.C. They arrived there late in the evening. They decided to enjoy the sights in the morning, due to the late hour.
John had made two hotel reservations, one for Disney World and the other in D.C. He wanted this to be a vacation that Amber would remember for the rest of her life.
The Glamour Inn in D.C. lived up to its name. It was a four-story hotel with a gold-arched entrance way. Marble floors and a beautiful mirror ceiling with thousands of lights giving the hotel a very elegant feel. While they knew the resort at Disney World would be even better, they couldn’t imagine it.
They walked to the counter, which was made of marble and matched perfectly with the floor. They were greeted by the hotel clerk; a thin, bearded man in a green suit welcomed them.
“Good evening folks, welcome to The Glamour Inn, my name is Jeffrey, how may I help?” He said kindly.
“Reservations for Robinson?” John said politely. While he checked them in, Amber was still enjoying the beauty of the lobby. She looked around at the paintings that were surrounding it.
“Yes, your room is actually on the second floor, room 215. Would you like assistance?” The clerk asked.
“No, but thank you. We only have a couple of bags,” he said with a smile and he and Amber then walked towards the elevator.
Once in the elevator, they began to talk. “This place is beautiful.” Amber said with a smile.
“Yes it is.” John responded. “I had read the reviews and I knew it was nice but I didn’t think it was this nice.”
They got off of the elevator and walked down the hallway towards their room. The rooms were just as elegant as the rest of the hotel. A beautiful king sized bed, forty inch television, leather couch and bathroom, complete with a marble sink and flooring with a beautiful whirlpool for the bathtub. It was luxury at its finest.
After they were settled, Amber made it a point to call her mother, Penny, just to let her know that they were safe. John viewed her mother as the queen of all worrying. When he first met her, John felt like he was attending a job interview. She had asked so many questions that he had literally sat with her for nearly an hour.
The conversation went as John had expected it to go. “Mom, we’re fine,” Amber said rather irritably. “We just arrived in Washington. I’ll call you tomorrow to let you know how beautiful the sights are.”
Her mother was so loud that he could actually hear her on the phone. “I just want to make sure that you’re safe. Do you know how dangerous traffic is in Washington and I’ve seen the way John drives.”
Amber rolled her eyes at this. “Mom, we’re safe and John drives fine.”
“He nearly got us in an accident last year!”
She shouted and Amber had to pull the receiver away from her ear because she was so loud.
“That’s because you berated him from the house to the restaurant that day. ‘Watch out for that car! Turn on your signal’. He’s a grown man, Mom, he can drive just fine.”
“Well, I have yet to see that. Just be careful, Amber.”
Her mother replied.
“I will, Mom. Look, I have to go, we’re about to go to bed,” Amber said, looking very anxious to get off of the phone.
John had to suppress his laughter whenever Amber talked to her mother. They always got into the most pointless arguments imaginable. While it had worried him at first, after a year of marriage, he had grown to find it quite entertaining.
“Alright, sleep well. You two enjoy yourselves,”
her mom said with a more enthusiastic tone.
“Thank you mom. Have a good night.” Amber then hung up the phone and sat down on the bed. She always looked like she had ran a mile after she talked with her mom.
“That sounded pleasant,” John laughed.
“Ha ha, very funny,” Amber said sarcastically but with a smile on her face. “Did you call your parents?”
“I tried but there was no answer,” John replied. “They must be really having a good time.” John’s parents were on a vacation of their own in the Bahamas and they had only been available to talk once since being there. John’s parents had been married for nearly thirty years and he wished with all of his heart that he and Amber would go that far and beyond.
“Try again in the morning.” Amber encouraged him.
“I will,” John assured her. “Ready for bed sweetie?”
“I’m ready,” Amber replied as she finished tying her hair back.
They crawled into bed and snuggled with one another as pure exhaustion from the long road trip caught up with them and they both fell asleep.
The night was dreamless for both. Their peaceful sleep seemed to be immediately interrupted as a ringing flooded their ears. John’s eyes opened first as he turned his head to look at where the ring was coming from; it was the phone next to the bed. John looked at the window and daylight was already shining through the center of the curtain.