Author A. Peek






You know, it is said that our lives are already mapped out before we enter this world. Oh, how I wish my life would have been designed without the color red. You know me as Celeste Lafontaine and some may know me as Alexis Cordel. My real name is Serafina Esposito. Our backgrounds are not so different from each other. I grew up in a small town in New Jersey. We fell in between lower class and middle class. We were not well off but we were not fighting over the same piece of bread either.  I would prefer to keep certain members of my family undisclosed. Enough damage has been done to claim the top spot for the worst sister/daughter award, so no need to cause more pain. I am the eldest of four and you could say that I was the second parent. It is a bit cliché, but life isn’t always perfect. At that time, I would have considered it the best times which is now my death sentence. My mother worked two jobs and never stopped taking care of her family. My father was an honest man and always did honest work. Whether he worked as a janitor or picked up part-time work as a mechanic, he never complained. No matter how hard my folks worked, they were always a step behind. Times got tough and connections changed. My parents got divorced when I was twelve years old. Not a big shocker in society. Eventually, all fairytale stories end and reality begins. It is never an easy decision to choose one parent over the other and the only logical choice was to go where my siblings went. From that point on strength had to come from me in order for all of us to make it. Having the “title” of big sister meant that all the responsibility was laid in my hands.

In the end, through divorce proceedings and more racked up fees, my mother ended up with her children. I remember seeing that strong man I called my father, crumbling into pieces. The life sucked out of his eyes, replaced with pain and heartache. I just couldn’t understand why two people who loved everything about each other could suddenly drift apart. The promise of sticking together through the good and the bad was nothing but auspicious words that hid a lie. 

The first year was a bumpy road. My mother struggled and the child support only covered so much. I did what I could at fourteen years old, picking up bottles, taking up a paper route, and offering my babysitting services to the neighbors on top of already having to watch my siblings. I think this new transition was taking a toll on all of us, especially my mother. The woman who gave me life was becoming worn, ragged, and lonely. It was not a surprise that it took less than a month before the pit of loneliness that evaded my mother’s soul was filled with cheap affection and hopeless lust.  

My mother’s “love life” was like a circus act. It was a different show every time. I admire my mother for never turning to alcohol or drugs, but her sudden pattern of sexual ventures with men became the biggest addiction of all. It was not until he came into the picture that my life took a sudden turn. My mother was a good woman, but she could not see past the line of bullshit even if it was sitting smack dab in front of her face. 

Eric Holliman, the man with two faces, he was attractive and his voice was like an orgasmic trigger. He was a guy who wined and dined my mother. He became a provider, a partner, and a steady release for my mom. However, Eric Holliman was a man playing an act. He played the role of Mr. Perfect during the day and then played the role of the horrid nightmare when my mother was not present. Eric and his buddies were the monsters that haunted our dreams. Every night, while my mother worked the late shift, the monsters would come out with their blood red eyes and satisfy their hunger by claiming us older children. The babies were fast asleep in the safety of their beds, but the fear in the back of my mind was that they would not be untouched for long. Eric would just sit there with this smug look on his face like he was a king on the throne. Ruling and controlling everything around him. I remember the hot breath and the smell of alcohol that invaded my skin, the sweat that dripped over my body, and I remember I couldn’t scream because of the big hand that covered my mouth. Every time they touched me…. another part of me died. My sister, Mariella, possessed such sweetness and now is empty and faded. At the end of every horror session, the monsters that invaded our temples would watch us bathe their filth off with a jubilant flicker in their soulless eyes. 

Every night I prayed and prayed for it to be over. My mother came home early one night in the midst of me being in my personal hell screaming, “What the hell is going on here? Where are my children?” Eric and my mother were going back and forth at each other. The next thing I heard was a door burst open and my mother screaming “Get off of her you bastard.” My dear mother walked into a fight that she was not going to win at that moment. There was so much commotion going on that my heart dropped when silence hit the air.  

Overpowered and beaten was the result of trying to protect her children. Eric and his bastard friends had left, drunk and proud of their triumph. Of course, Eric was not going to leave forever. His power over my mother at that instant gave him the satisfaction of knowing he shut her up, but he overestimated his confidence. After the evil left our house, my mother beaten and bruised was so ashamed that she could not look at us. She blamed herself for being so unaware, stupid, and needy. I do not know if it was the shock of it all or it was the anger building inside my mother that possessed her to call my father over the police. Lord knows the outcome of a parent with rage against those who harmed the spirits of their children.

When my father arrived, my sister and I were sitting with our younger siblings. My mother was sitting at the table with tears in her eyes and an icepack to her face. I could see the fury build in my father’s eyes. We ran to him, no longer fearing the inevitable. My father hugged us as if he would never let us go again. All he could do was hold us and hug us tightly. He couldn’t tell his children that everything would be okay because he knew the words would have no meaning. When he finally made it over to my mother, my father’s heart sank to see my mother in this state. My father never stopped loving my mother and secretly my mother never stopped loving him either. It is said that just love alone cannot keep two people together and this held true for my parents. To see my parents embraced in each other’s arms, consoling one another, made me hope that we will all be together again until my mother said the words that fueled the furious demon that was rising inside my father. “You get those bastards. You do something before it’s too late.” 

Well like most citizens, my parents felt that the justice system was not very just. Any man will tell you that the thought of taking the law into their own hands has crossed their minds once or twice. Hell, you are the law’s servant. You know as well as anyone the system has several loopholes and with loopholes comes a silent cry of vengeance.  My father advised my mother to call the police and report what happened.  Then he hugged his children with a kiss on each of our foreheads and walked out the door.

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