Together Forever by Michelle Gonzalez

Still Hungry for More Thrills & Chills?

We will continue to run a new story each day this week. These stories were written at an Inlandia workshop for those wanting to write for Ghost Walk.

***

My name is Beatrice. I don’t remember much about when I was born, but I remember when my life changed. It was not the day that my sister Emily was born, although I always cared for her. She always had the sweetest smile as a baby. Even when she followed me everywhere, I did not mind. It also was not the day my father left us. My mother and I were used to taking care of the household. You can say my life changed when my mother moved us here to Riverside. I remember the city was growing and the Mission Inn was fairly new.

Not long after we arrived, I met Jack. We were both twenty-one and the eldest child of our respective families. Most of the time, we enjoyed this, but it came with responsibilities like working to help support the family. Neither one of us went to college, but for the most part we did not mind. We both enjoyed being outdoors.

We spent most of our time together. My sister and mother constantly complained, saying Jack was a bad influence, but this was not the case. They did not know that I was often the bad influence on him. I do believe, however, that my sister just wanted a bit more of my time.

One evening, we decided to walk by the Mission Inn. It was right here, where the Chinese Pagoda stands (points to pagoda) that the event happened. Jack and I were holding hands and then I saw someone in the distance. He appeared to be ill and my first instinct was to ask if he needed help, but Jack warned me not to. Against his judgment, I decided to approach the stranger. As I got closer, I noticed something was not right. Before I could turn and run away, he grabbed a hold of my arm. He then bit down with what felt like all his force. Before I knew it, Jack was by my side. He hit the stranger and with one blow knocked him down to the ground.

I began to feel strange. I knew that something wasn’t right and that I was somehow changing. I was beginning to feel an uncontrollable hunger for meat. I could see the look in Jack’s eyes. There was complete fear in them, but there was also still undying love.

I tried to tell him to run, but he would not. Instead, he took me to his home. He promised me that he would take care of me. Every day he would bring me something to eat, so I would no longer feel the hunger. As long as it was fresh, I did not mind what it was.

The people in the city began to talk. Since I had disappeared, they began to suspect the worst. They accused Jack, but since there was never any proof, he was eventually cleared of any suspicion of a hideous crime. We were the only ones that knew the truth. Years passed and they began to wonder why Jack never married or even went on a date. Most of his time was spent with me behind closed doors that kept us safe. This went on for many years until one day he just vanished. No one will ever know what happened to his body.

Michelle Gonzalez

Workshop Feature: Inlandia Creative Writing Workshop – Riverside

Workshop Leader: Ruth Nolan

__

215/60/91   

Getting on the 215 to San Bernardino meant
we were going to grandma’s house.
Passing the 5th street exit,
then getting off at Baseline
meant I would be
making fresh flour tortillas on Saturday
and walking to St. Anthony’s on Sunday.

Going on the 60 meant
a trip to the drive-in movies
right by Rubidoux mountain
where you can see the truckers pass
on the freeway as they honk their horns.
I climb into bed at 1 am after
trying to stay up for two movies.

The 91 freeway to Riverside meant
possibly going to the mall,
getting new shoes for school
or maybe even a long trip
to the sandy beach.

But at the end of the day,
I was always glad to be home
where I have my new daybed
and flower bed set
that matches my sister’s.

Midnight Drives   

On the third of our many dates,
we drove down the 60 freeway
around the midnight hour
to see the glimmering meteors.
We talked about how
beautiful the sky would look
once we got to the badlands,
small, but still beautiful.
I imagined it would look like
a brighter version of the moon,
glowing in the darkness
all alone.

We passed the exits with the stores
and other signs of life,
until we reached our destination.
The headlights lead the way
to the dark hidden spot.

We got out of the car and
sat on his dusty hood.
Looking up, all we saw were
the shadows of clouds
covering the dark sky.
There were no meteors to be seen,
but somehow, that was fine with us.
We decided to stay and talk awhile.
He asked, “Have you ever made a wish,
on a shooting star?”
I lie and say, “No.”
It’s too early to tell
all my secrets.


Michelle Gonzalez is a longtime member of Inlandia’s Creative Writing Workshop in Riverside. She earned her BA in English from the University of California, Riverside. She also received her teaching credential from University of Phoenix and MFA in Creative Writing from National University. For the past 29 years she has lived in Riverside and has no plans on leaving the Inland Empire. Her poems have been published in National University’s literary magazine and other local magazines such as Slouching Towards Mt. Rubidoux  Manor and 2011 Writing from Inlandia: Work of the Inlandia Creative Writing Workshops. Recently she has published her book of poems, Morning in the House by the Field.