Archive for the 'Crystal the Wicked Witch' Category

31
Aug
07

Chapter 1

Chapter 1
“She is half-crazy!” he was yelling. “Some sort of little she-witch! Brujita!”
As always, Crystal snickered at his accent. She lay on her bed with her crinkly brown hair strewn out like a fan across her pillow, listening to the argument down the apartment hall.
“Julio,” her mother begged. “You’re not going to let an 8 year old girl ruin our relationship, are you? Things were going so well.”
“Ya, except for that little punta!” he shouted, “There’s no way I’m living with no loco-crazy daughter! She tried to kill me!”
“She’s just a little girl,” Mami protested.
“No man is ever going to love you with a daughter like that,” Julio said, and slammed the door.
From her bed Crystal heard Mami sigh and smiled. Little she-witch. Brujita. She liked the sound of that. She rubbed her fingers together and gave an experimental cackle. Crystal the wicked witch.
She lay quiet as Mami clumped tiredly around the tiny apartment, hands behind her head wondering which of her tricks had finally sent Julio over the edge. He had been harder to get rid of than the other boyfriends. It was early early, before Mami had to leave for work. Soon she would wake Thomas in the room next door and help him get ready for his paper route. Through the curtain on the window the yellow glow of the street lamp bloomed like a dandelion head.
Crystal snuggled deeper into the covers and closed her eyes, flicking her too-thick hair away from her neck. In the other room she could hear Thomas waking noisily and slumping down the hall. She sprung from her bed and flung the door open, launching herself at Thomas just as he passed.
“Can I go with you today?” she begged loudly, wrapping her arms securely about his waist. “Please Thomas please?”
Her older brother dragged her into the living room. “Crystal, get off,” he said. “Mami, make Crystal get off.”
“Crystal, leave your brother alone!” Mami scolded. “I’ve had enough of your behavior.”
“I didn’t do anything!” Crystal protested.
“Oh, like I haven’t heard that one before. Tell me then, who switched Julio’s shaving cream for Nair?”
“I don’t know,” Crystal replied innocently, quickly switching topics. “Why can’t I go with Thomas?”
“Because Thomas has work to do. He’s a contributing member of this family, unlike you,” Mami shot back at her.
“I could have a paper route too,” Crystal said poutily. “If you hadn’t made me leave my bike at Daddy’s.”
“We don’t have room for another bicycle,” Mami said. “I’ve already explained this to you over, and over, and over.”
“I don’t care. It’s not fair. Why can’t I go with you, Thomas?” Crystal asked, turning to her older brother.
“I’m really tired right now, Crystal. I need to get this done. But I promise to let you take a ride after school today, okay? If you get all your homework done.”
“Okay,” Crystal unhappily agreed.
“There’s a pop-tart in the toaster for you,” Mami said, giving Crystal a kiss on the cheek. She paused in the kiss and hissed, “And you had better behave yourself today, God help me if I get another letter from Ms. Chessen…” she left the sentence hanging. She grabbed her coat and purse off the rack. Crystal stuck out her tongue at her turned back.
“Where’s Sean?”
“In the corner,” Crystal said, jerking her thumb at the couch. “Where he always is.”
Mami ran to the corner, her black high heeled shoes squishing down into the carpet. “Bye Sean,” she said over the couch back, “Mami will see you tonight.”
“I want the kitchen to be clean when I get home,” she said over her shoulder, and closed the door.
Crystal sneered and repeated the words to the closed door.
She went into the kitchen and pulled the pop tart out of the toaster. She gave it a contemptous lick and dropped it onto the counter.
“Hey Seanie,” she called, clambering onto the counter and pulling down a plate. “Breakfast!”
There was no movement from behind the couch. Crystal wandered into living room and peered over the couch at her half-brother. His downy mouse brown hair was ruffled like a baby bird. He sat criss-cross apple sauce, coloring the brown-grey carpet with red, blue and yellow legos.
“Seanie, I brought your breakfast,” Crystal said, waving the pop-tart in front of his face.
Sean glanced up, his grey eyes carefully watchful. Tentatively he reached up for the tart, but Crystal whisked it up out of reach, giggling.
“Not fast enough,” she cackled. “Try again.” Sean watched her for a few seconds, then gave a dismissive shrug and looked back down at his legos.
“Oh all right, you can have it.” Crystal dropped the pop-tart on Sean’s head. She turned around and sat with arms folded looking at the yellowing wall. She drummed one finger on her arm. A pale greyish light from the rising morning snuck in through the closed curtains. Crystal threw open the curtains and looked out onto the shadowy rain washed street. Thomas should be back soon. He would be all wet from riding through puddles. Crystal thought of her bike, carefully parked on the porch of her old house, the house where Daddy was.
She thought back to the days before the divorce. On rainy days Daddy would make his special hot chocolate, made with real chocolate bars and milk. Only Crystal was allowed to help make it. It was one of her special recipes, hot chocolate and chocolate cookies and anything with chocolate, just like cinammon bars and pies were Thomas’ recipes. Sean didn’t have any recipes, she realized smugly. He wasn’t Daddy’s kid.
Maybe she would make some hot chocolate for Thomas. Then maybe Thomas would let her go with him on the paper route. She got up off the couch and went to her room, where she kept the special dark chocolate her Daddy gave her for birthdays and holidays and Behaving-good days.
Crystal glanced at the clock. It was only seven o’clock. Plenty of time before school. She poured two mugs of milk, struggling a little with the milk gallon because it was mostly full. Then she broke off 2 squares of the chocolate, and hacked them into little pieces with the knife. It made sort of a mess, but Thomas would help her clean it up. She stood on a stool to put the mugs in the microwave.
Then she ran to the window to look for Thomas. The rain slid across the glass panes, streaking the street with varying shades of grey and black and yellow from the dying streetlamp. After awhile she saw him zip around the corner, throwing up a sheet of water. He parked the bike neatly against the wall and ran inside.
“Thomas!” Crystal met him at the door. “Guess what I made! I made Daddy’s hot chocolate!”
“Oh that sounds good,” Thomas said. “Thanks, Crystal.”
He hung his coat on the rack and went to change into drier clothing. Crystal set his steaming mug onto the table next to a poptart Mami had left. On second thought, she threw the pop-tart away and put a piece of plain bread into the toaster.
Thomas re-entered the kitchen, Sean clinging to his jeans. “Thanks,” he said again, shoving the toast into his mouth. Crystal sat across from him at the table, enjoying the warmth of her mug. It was just like before, but without Daddy.
“What’s that?” Sean asked, pointing to the mug.
“It’s hot chocolate,” Thomas asked. “Crystal, didn’t you make him any?”
“No,” Crystal admitted.
“Why not?” Thomas asked, handing the mug to Sean. Sean raised it to his lips with both hands, the jar-like shape obscuring most of his face.
“I made that for you!” Crystal howled. “Why did you give it to him?”
“Why didn’t you make him his own?” Thomas asked.
“Because it’s Daddy’s and mine secret recipe.”
“He’s our brother, Crystal,” Thomas said tiredly, eating the rest of his toast. His dark face had darker rings around his eyes. His curly hair was black with rain.
“He is not,” Crystal said beligerantly.
“Same mom, different dad. He’s our half-brother.”
“That doesn’t count,” Crystal insisted. “He’s not my brother.”
“He is our brother. And you should treat him like it,” Thomas said, taking Sean by the hand and leading him into the other room. “C’mon Sean, Let’s get you ready for school.”
Crystal put the dishes into the sink. She looked down into her half-full mug and dumped the remaining contents into the sink too. She was immediately sorry as the thick brown liquid flowed away down the drain.