I find myself in the middle of the woods while the sun is just bidding goodbye to the horizon. How the hell did I get here? I'm wearing a dark blue dress while my feet are bare. Then I remember; I was getting ready for my friend's party—but I can't quite remember leaving the house.
I try to think and breathe deeply and my breath comes out in a white puff. It's getting dark and hearing the dried leaves crunching under my feet gives my body a shiver. I can hear the rustle of the wind through the trees and the running water from a nearby river.
Then suddenly, out of nowhere, my back begins to throb. I kneel involuntarily on the ground from the excruciating pain. I can't take it; it hurts too much. It's like the hammering of a thousand needles on my scapula. I cry out in pain, tears running down my cheeks. Please, make it stop, I cry—and miraculously, it does.
I get up from the ground ever so slowly. The wind begins to whistle; I can feel it whipping my face. And that's when I hear the scream, a high-pitched scream that can only be caused by pure agony, an endless pain or deep suffering. It blends with the wind. It's so hard to hear. I cover up my ears to block it out but it just grows louder and louder. Then I see a dark figure, like a man under a black cloak, coming in my direction. As it draws closer, I can see its withering fingers, long and black. The cloak's not touching the ground but I couldn't see its feet either. It must be floating—but how? I couldn't see the face, it's too dark—or was it just that there'snothing to see?
The figure is coming, just a few feet away. Then it shrieks, the same sound I heard earlier, the piercing sound. It's trying to embrace and envelope me into its darkness. My instinct tells me to run, so I do. I run, as fast as I can, like I've never run before. Tears stream down my cheeks, still, I don't stop. As I look back, I trip on a fallen log. I fall on the hard ground as I am still sobbing in pain and in fear.
I remain on the ground, head down, waiting for it to come after me. I give up—just let me die quickly.
A second passes, a minute, but still nothing. Then I hear a flapping sound; it's near, but it's soft, like a lullaby. I raise my head, and sure enough there are wings like an angel's, hugging me from the darkness, from harm.
I get up to my feet and they're still there, a shade of white and a speckle of blue. I must be dreaming. For how do I say this? The wings are mine.
Golden sunlight danced in the treetops, and children's laughter filled the park. The smell of popcorn played on the breeze, and life seemed good. It was one of the happiest Saturda
In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket. Their father was gone. The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their siste