dement by m. jai jenkins


“Father! Father!”, the familiar, angelic, voice pierced through his slumbering state and awakened him in a panic. Being jolted from a comatose state to fully cognizant, requires a slight re-calibration at his age but that was his baby girl; he’d been at her disposal since day one. Pivoting to the sound of his daughter’s voice, his eyes were barely able to fixate on his path before his right foot was caught and he tripped over an something and crashed to the floor.  

                “thu-thump”. The sound of his large, six-foot three frame hitting the floor, reverberated on the other side of the custom designed, opulent doors.

                “Father are you OK?”, yelled Irene. His daughter’s voice, shaky, with concern as she listened intently for a reassuring response.

                “I-I-I’m, I’m”. Pausing as he tried looking back to see what he stumbled over. “What the- “. Sticking out from the other side of the bed were a pair of small feet, with cherry red painted toenails.

                 “…Fuck”. He finally said when he realized that he had tripped over another person. “I’m-I’m OK.” He yelled in a troubling manner. It wasn’t his usual tone or disposition. He was always the first one up in the house.

She could since something was wrong. It was in his voice. He always spoke with a calm and charming cadence, that captivated anyone within an earshot of one of his enthralling soliloquy’s. This wasn’t that.

She knocked again. This time faster than the last and she placed her hand on the large Gold, Lion’s head doorknobs. The 10 foot, 3 inch oak doors covered in the Red Italian leather from Ferrari and trimmed in gold plates; were never opened without his approval and she knew that even now, in a time of concern; she still needed his permission to enter. Leaning closer, she yelled out once more before she decided to thrust open the door.

                “Father, you don’t sound good. I’m coming in, OK”? Her voice quivered with hesitation as she tried to balance asserting her authority, with insecure mobility; both having unsure repercussions.   

                “NO!” … He tried to stop her with the power in his voice, but the door begin to open anyway. Time crept to a nanosecond above frozen, as it took what felt like minutes to swing fully open. He maneuvered as best as he could, trying to conceal the exposed feet; but it was too late. As he turned to see how much Irene saw, hear her reaction confirmed his worst fear.

“Ahhhhhhh!” Her blood curdling screech woke the entire household and maybe the local wildlife too. The middle-aged man head sunk into his chest, as his eyes closed. He didn’t want to turn and see everything she saw. Plus, the only person he’s ever seen in the house with cherry red painted toenails, was a barely legal, young lady named Marianne. Marianne was the eldest daughter of his maid.

 He knew he had no company the night before and that something nefarious was at play.

Part 2

“Marianne! Marianne! Please wake up!” Irene raced past her father to administer first-aid on the young, unresponsive lady. Her arms and legs were bruised.

“she has a pulse! Please, somebody call an ambulance! Hurry!” Irene cradled the young woman’s limp body, as more spectators came to see what caused all the commotion. Realizing she was exposed, Irene took the cover from the bed and concealed her naked body, while she talking to the unconscious teen and reassuring her it’s going to be OK.

“Marianna, baby; it’s gonna be OK. I promise.” Her voice was gentle and maternal in manner, as if she were trying to soothe a toddler who had been hurt. She rarely looked at the girl after initially reaching her and assessing her injuries. Her deep set, dark auburn eyes rarely left her father.

Barely 4 feet away, the wealthy Businessman, still sat on the floor in the same spot where he fell. His face: concerned for Marianna, concerned for himself and confused as to how this predicament came to be. He wanted to rush to her aide, but he couldn’t. His legs were heavy.

Nothing made sense. Marianne has never been in his room with him alone. He couldn’t remember anything nor could he even stand to walk. None of those things were more important than Marianna right now. He was aware. Even deep in thought, he never lost sight of her and refocused on her well-being.

                “Is she OK? Will she… be, Irene?” He was concerned for her, regardless of what happened. When his eyes rose to look at his daughter; he finally seen what death would look like, if looks could kill. Her eyes were glazed with disdain and disappointment. Almost hate. He could see that in her eyes, he was already guilty. From somewhere inside the normally always confident man, revealed the face of a broken young boy; just chastised, after getting caught red-handed trying to peek in the neighbors’ window as she showered.

                “Irene…” He couldn’t find the words and his head dropped before he quickly raised it again, in attempt to speak. He always had the answer, but not momentarily. Not when his maid’s daughter was found in his room unconscious. Two things even the most proactive man couldn’t have planned for.

“I would never hurt her; you know this right? I didn’t do this. We’ll get Marianna help, and we’ll find out who did this, I prom- “ 

                  “My baby. Oh my god, my baby” Maria’s voice was the coup de gras. He had never heard her yell, or scream. She did both as she ran towards her daughter. She wrapped her arms around Irene’s and they both held Her together.

“What did you do? What did you do to my baby Mr. Ebbly, Huh…?” that was all she could muster before breaking down crying again.

Part 3

This was the most amount of people ever in his room at one time. They all were crying. He realized that he was too.

When first-responders arrived, so did Law enforcement. Marianne was quickly taken away. Irene and Maria were trailing behind them and as soon as they left the room; it filled again quickly with law enforcement. As they burrowed in, one by one; they took turns displaying looks of disgust as they circled around him like vulture’s over newfound roadkill. All though, were impressed with his estate.

“Damn, I’m coming to the auction on this house” A young cop said as her entered the room. The room filled with laughter. They immediately spoke to him as if he were guilty. The lead detective, “Milton”, as they called him, spoke to him first.

                “Let me guess… Some Rich pervert, who’s been drugging and raping young girls for years; finally makes a mistake and now… now his ass is going to prison?” As he spoke, he leaned over to look eye to eye with the embarrassed Mogul. He finished his sentence with a short and barely audible laugh but a confident one as if he solved the case already.

He was short and stubby: with large, droopy eyes that had bags underneath them big enough for a small person to climb in. His skin was aged at least ten years his senior, due to stress, bad choices, and alcohol.  

                “Somebody please get me a coffee, thanks in advance.” No one was there but still he was yelling toward the door. He turned back to the despondent entrepreneur. He was still seated on the floor, with hands inside his lap and obviously frustrated.   

                “What happened rich guy…Why’d you wanna throw this all away? You Dement- I mean, no, um…what’s the word-”

The shit-eating grin on his face lasted only moments before it instantly dropped into a state of confusion. Before his eyes, the culprit; shift energy and disposition from worried and full of guilt, to relaxed and fully reassured. An epiphany vividly transitioned throughout his body.

He was the man that he hadn’t been since he woke. Every tense muscle in his body subsided and he quickly commanded the room.

                “Stop! No one else touch another thing! Exit my personal space immediately before you ruin something you can’t afford to replace.” Scanning the room, he made sure everyone, not only hear his voice but understand that he was adamantly dictating orders. His legs were slowly gaining feeling again and he wanted to get up. “Milton, is it? You can apologize now, while very few will hear it! Now, if you’ll help me stand please, then we’ll clear this up in minutes. 

Detective Milton stood frozen for a moment. He tried to read the new man that his suspect had become.

The expensive, Tiffany light fixture, dangling 2 feet above his head, perfectly highlighted the cul de sac he retained after starting to lose hair in his twenties. He stepped forward and assisted the man to a chair near the bed.

                “Thank you, Detective”. Now, have you ever heard of a science program called Lucitrax?

Irene and Maria sat in the hospital lobby. Impatiently, awaiting news from the doctors at Mid-Town Heights Regional. Matching expressions of anxiety tattooed their faces, as they held hands and alternated prayers and crying.

“Mrs. Torrez, I’m Dr. Belmont”. The rich baritone startled the women. Standing to greet the Doctor, they were both dwarfed in comparison.  “Your daughter’s ok”. She said, attempting to soften her voice: noting their reaction to her stature. “I’m Doctor Belmont. She is conscious. Unfortunately, your daughter was either poisoned or attempted suicide; Preliminary test- “

“Irene Ebbly, Maria Torrez!” From down the hall, came an authority driven voice strong enough to interrupt the Doctor. He looked driven and he had company. His distance away; over 30 feet but due to his assiduous stride, it only took seconds.

“We have your father in custody but before we press any charges, we need your statements. Can you come with us, please?” His stoic left little room for rebuttal and everyone left the doctor standing alone in the hall.

The Finale

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