Child of Three

Through my life I have avoided swimming in the lake, enjoying waves on the beach, or even taking a dip into the neighbor’s pool. I would rather use an ancient cracked razor blade on my wrists, going down and across before taking a dip into any swimming pool. The ocean is an abyss that I’d rather not venture into. A pedicure on my feet, dipped into several gallons of water, would be drowning with an anchor jumping from a ship’s plank to any other fool. There are more than several ways to torture my disheartened soul. Submerging any connected limp of mine into the state of matter called liquid is a frightful thing that must be most certainly avoided.  You may be asking yourself why such avoidance to a routine act of swimming in the nearby pond with the other kids, taking a perfectly relaxing hot bubble bath, a relaxing spa, going skinny dipping in the lake, or wrestling against the waves of the pacific, but I assure you that there is sufficient reason to avoid faux routines of pleasure.Let me take you through the wormhole passage of time and let’s take a dip, just you and I, shall we?

“Okay honey, time to get in the bathtub.” 

The mother would sweetly, softly say to her child of three. Smiling yet fighting with the child of three she would fill the tub gently above halfway full, enough to submerge and wash her child of three.  Nothing was too peculiar about this bathroom tub, just an ordinary faded white oval shaped tub fitted towards the left in the bathroom across from the small eggshell white sink and old brown cabinets. The cabinets were terribly placed a couple feet above the toilet, sticking far enough to where one would hit their head every time they sat down.  

It was such an annoyance, the mother of that child of three thought. 

The cabinets had two doors that were an old brown, faded and chipped away kind of wood. One book lay on the bottom open faced shelf, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, an old copy with the jacket missing from the book and the steam loosely connecting the pages to the book.  It has perfected the old book smell, which filled the atmosphere in the room. Wallpaper lined the room with an obnoxious butterfly pattern.  

Who would have chosen that, she thought?  

Appalling white four by four linoleum tiles lined the bathroom floor, with their faded color and chipped pieces they seemed to have been placed in the bathroom in the seventies. Such an old style makes one think what were they thinking when they placed those titles in that bathroom. Many drunken heads have hit that bathroom linoleum floor. 

The mirror had no surrounding frame and lazily placed onto the wall above the sink across from that faded white tub. It appeared to be slanted to the right. The screws of the mirror still visible to all to see and with passage of time the screws would loosen just a bit. Or was it the beast? Toothpaste was smeared onto the mirror, superstitiously placed to avoid the fog that would appear only after running the hot water for just a bit. Above the tub was a ceiling vent with dust covering each blade of it. The vent was now blowing specs of dust into the nostrils of anyone who dared to enter that faded white oval shaped bathroom tub. The father of the child of three died just after the child was born, leaving these housekeeping tasks to be forlorn. 

Getting the temperature precise was part of the bathtime routine. The mother would gently twist the nozzle on the tub, grasping and gently turning it clockwise to turn on the heat, the child would cover her ears from the squealing, creasing noise of the nozzle twisting and turning to release the water from the pipe. Not all the way right, just a little bit to get the water started and then she’d begin her process of testing the water. Waving her finger in, out, in, out through the pouring stream of water as it lands down into the tub until the ideal temperature finally met her skin then she knew it was it was just nearly ideal.  

The child of three stood outside the tub with no movement capable in her legs and stuck there as she may, she could not escape her fate from that faded white oval shaped tub.  So standing there, standing still, she stared at the tub, with it’s water pouring slowly down from the faucet, slowly falling down with no gravity to control it, as that water has its own will, and onto the top of the cover that covered that bathtub drain. Always staring at that water most suspiciously, with doubt and without trust, no trust could be put into that faded white oval shaped tub.

The mother was prepared and looked down at her child of three, “now don’t splash the water around or get it on the floor darling” the mother would say, but all mothers knew all children would and would enjoy that time of play. That’s some children. Most children enjoyed splashing, feeling the steady stream of hot water falls down into the tub, sliding back and forth in that slippery tub, and of course playing with their toys.

This child of three preferred to scream, kick, and fight until forced into the tub as a prisoner thrown recklessly into their cell on the first night. Typically there’d be screaming and crying in their cell, ripping the sheets off the mattress and throwing it around until fists were crimson and blue from hitting walls and pounding bars. Although this prisoner knew she’d be on the green mile, waiting patiently for her time to eventually come, and that time would come on it’s own agenda, to again, walk down that mile and feel the electric power of the chair with faces floating above chairs staring at her with hate and pain. What she hoped, and maybe wished, was that they wouldn’t forget to soak the sponge before placing it on her head. She didn’t want to fry fry, but to only fry. No child of three would, of course, know what that is like.

The mother would grab her child from underneath her arms and pull her up fighting against gravity, struggles, and screams and place her child of three into the faded white oval shaped bathroom tub. Once inside the tub the child of three would continue the struggle for life but that battle of a whimsy little thing could not be won against a powerful one such as the mother of the child of three. Pushed down on the shoulders and forced into the tub the child of three began to sit straight up, back in perfect ninety degree angle finally coming into a trance and meditation sort of praying that only one would think of an adult to do. Humming and softly singing and whispering a tune; “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” works well with of course the mixture of “It’s a Wonderful World”, to calm the nerves of the child of three. Resistance would soon cease and the mother of the child of three would claim victory for a battle well won, but unbeknownst to her the child of three gave in and prepared for the worst, to be submerged in that bathtub and driven away in an old and darkened hearse.

The water still poured down from the faucet at near perfect temperature for a child of three, and that child would sit in the back of the tub staring most distrustful at that pouring water, but eyeing with most suspicion to the blocked drain before her small little three year old legs.  That drain grew most suspiciously in size but the mother of the child of three did not notice this increase and when she rubbed and bathed her child she would glance in the drain direction, but the drain would always remain blocking the coming infection. For the drain below, blocked as it may be now, is the real enemy of the child of three. Though she watched that pouring rain into the faded white oval shaped tub, her arms were on the edges and eyes on the faucet and drain, while her mother would bathe her and wonder why she was so paralyzed in trembling terror.

Her mother continued humming that tune, “Somewhere over the rainbow, the sky is blue.  And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true” humming most smoothly and sweetly to the child of three. The song came naturally to the mother, for it was certainly one of her favorite movies. She always sang it to her child whenever she cried, no matter the reason why she cried, for she never knew why her child would shed such sad tears.

Bathing and relaxing her child of three, she continued to not understand and wonder why her child did not enjoy this bath time as most children of her age so did. The child of three continued to rock back and forth, back and forth, with her eyes held shut waiting for the moment she would be freed from her sentenced and released back from that faded grey oval shaped tub. 

The child was most unusually relaxed, thought, the mother of the child of three.  For this is a most unusual occurrence. More stranger things have happened during the bathtime in the faded white oval shaped tub in the past, but this time the mother was curious for her child of three sat relaxed in that tub. The mother sang her tune and continued to sweetly softly sing “Someday I’ll wish upon a star and wake up where the clouds are far behind me…”

Bathtime took twenty or so minutes and even though the introduction to the bathtub for the child was only the sort of misery that prisoners in camps may feel, the time in the tub was preparation for the release of the water swirling down the drain. For only the child of three knows what lies below that drain, that the mother of that child of three cannot comprehend. When that drain cover is unplugged making that whooshing sound and soon begins the counterclockwise swirl, that child of three knows what lurks below that counterclockwise water swirl. Fear during anticipation knowing what will come when that water goes below is what shakes and grows goosebump hair on that child of three. The mother knowing not what lurks below and lacking the unfortunate knowledge of what could happen if she drains that tub does just that and twists that knob, creaking and squeaking, pulls the plug, and swoosh goes the water counterclockwise turning swirling into the drain while softly sweetly humming that faithful tune, 

“I hear babies cry and I watch them grow, they’ll learn much more than we’ll know, and I think to myself….what a wonderful world”.  

Slowly releasing but exploding as an exploding balloon, a rush of a foul odor fills the air that her mother’s nostrils did not attempt to smell. For no mature nostrils of this world would ever dare to smell odors from underworld.

The child of three usually shakes and twists until released from her prison of the faded grey oval shaped bathroom tub, but meditation, anxiety, and horror-filled fear blackened her eyes and the child of three calmly slept away while her mother released the plug from the tub.  While sleeping away the mother of that child of three took a step out of that room to answer a call she thought was important to her at that time and did not want to wake what she thought, was a calm sleeping relaxed child of three. But in a matter of seconds the poor child of three woke up to the swirl of the water pouring down the drain and no screams could escape her throat for the air too went down that drain, swirling twisting and turning down away into that drain. The child of three could continue to breathe, but could not scream or do anything to escape her fate that awaited her.

Pushing herself to the back of the tub far away from that scary drain, the child of three could not escape out of that faded white oval shape bathroom tub. Creaking while turning right the faucet turned on, water increased in heat and turning shades of color from pink to crimson crawling up the tub until it reached the child of three. Scraping and gripping to escape that tub, the child of three could not free herself from the pouring crimson liquid known as blood.  

Reaching her toes and the child of three splashed at the oncoming slaughter of water touching as little as possible and praying it too would fall back into the drain to stop what is considered worse from escaping out into the faded charcoal oval shaped bathroom tub. The crimson liquid creeped up and up around the tub until it surrounded the poor child of three.  Burning and itchy came onto the child, breathless yet able to breathe and unable to speak were a few consequences upon the child of three. Scratching her arms while attempting to grip the edges scraping with her little nails did nothing but hurt her hands and her nostrils bled from the foul stench of burnt rubber that blanketed the air in that bathroom of the child of three.  

Noises came from the quiet moist air, but no noises one would ever volunteer to hear.  A whisper came through the drain and sweetly softly directing to the Child of Three sang the tune, “I see trees of green, red roses too, I see them bloom, for me and you.” Although it didn’t continue so sweetly softly sound.  It finished with a crisp withered snarl and gasping, followed by a foul odor reminiscent of rotten lemons, come through words, me and you. 

Then what worst came and it came quick. Through the drain came a fingernail scraping a chalkboard to free itself from below and into the faded charcoal oval shaped bathroom tub.  How it spread the drain to fit through it’s round hole, the child of three did not know. Physics of this world did not apply to this tune-snarling fingernail. Crimson blood came between its nail and skin as it spread its way into the bathroom tub holding hostage the child of three. Finally filling formation, the full animalistic hand came through painted white with black fingers and crimson dripping from it’s nails to grab the child of three. It reached with all it’s might and fearful grasp to grab at anything it could, namely its goal, the child of three. It went on continuing to sing it’s horrible tune in that crisp withered snarl, “And I think to myself, what a not so wonderful world.” The child of three did agree with this tune, it was not a wonderful world.

Shaking, twisting, turning, and grasping with all her might the child of three tensed to remove herself from this tub before grabbed by the newly greeted crimson dosed hand. It lunged at her left but the child of three moved to the right and over and over she swished around the crimson filled tub to avoid being grabbed by this animalistic hand. The hand lunged back and forth scraping the tub and splashing water as it were waves against a rocky cliff and over the tub and onto the floor, filling the cracks between the tiles with it’s crimson dark water staining the cupboard and ruining the paint. The crimson water funneled the cracks and followed their path, going north, and south, then east, and west, filling the cracks in between those old white tiles in that old bathroom. Finally it leaked into the hallway staining the carpet with its crimson color that will never be washed away. The animalistic hand did not cease and could not be swept away for it continued its goal of grabbing that child of three and taking her to the unknown depths below the charcoal over-shaped bathroom tub.  

The animalistic hand with his white nails, black tips, and crimson dripping so unusually slowly from in between the nail and skin reached and scraped the tub, scraping and scratching the tub with its claws for nails making that abominable chalkboard sound. The sound would clinch the ears of any person in that tub, but in that tub was the child of three and her young ears could not withstand the nail screeching sound of the claws on the tub. She winced and pushed herself as far up the back of the tub as she could as the animalistic hand stretched and pounded down between her legs. Nothing this poor child of three could do she could not escape that tub and could not escape that those claws of that white, black nailed crimson dripping animalistic hand, and definitely could not escape listening to it’s crisp withered snarl while it flowed in it’s otherworldly tone the words “Where trouble melts like lemon drops high above the chimney top that’s where you’ll find me.”

Around the corner the mother continued to hum and sing her bathroom tune as she put down her phone and walked back into the bathroom where the act of evil was happening now.  

Well I see skies of blue and I see clouds of white. And the brightness of day, I like the dark.  And I think to myself, what a wonderful world,” hummed the mother of the child of three.

The mother gracefully, unknowingly, walked into the bathroom and screamed. “Oh my god baby what happened!?”

Crimson liquid covered the walls, but did not seem to have been splashed or poured down but as if it crawled up and made it halfway up those bathroom walls, giving up it’s journey just before reaching the peak, the ceiling of that bathroom. It filled the cracks of tiles and stained the paint, anywhere it could. The tub was empty but crimson color lined the walls noticeably and nothing else could be the truth except this child of three had injured herself! The mother screamed and the mother frantically rushed to her child of three and pulled her breathless mute child from the tub and nothing could be more frightful than a still child of three in between your resting arms, breathless and eyes glazed white staring to the dust covered ceiling vent. Oh how or why could she have done this to herself?

The ambulance paramedic felt the heartbeat of that child of three. But that paramedic afraid and astounded that it calmly pounded a soft mellow beat that marched along at a snail’s pace too slow for such a thing had just occurred. The mother of the child of three accompanied her daughter in that ambulance trip to the hospital and could not comprehend what her child had done, for that hand underneath the bathroom tub would not be seen by naive aged eyes.  Wonder and fear would fill the air of that mother and forever would she think that the damage done to her child of three would be what her child had ultimately done, to herself. Wonder and shock filled her mind, for no scars or scratches were on that child of three. But where did the blood come from and how was the tub scratched and scarred as it had been?

For months afterwards those scars mysteriously disappeared from the faded white oval shaped bathroom tub. The drain cover now seemed to fit in the hole in the bathroom tub, no, it seemed to have widened just a bit and, that, the mother could not explain. The mirror was straight and the screws were tight. The cabinet doors fell down months later, apparently the screws in them loosened and fell apart. The four by four white tiles never healed of their crimson pink stained color, nor did the hallway carpet where the crimson followed the cracks between the tiles following a river’s path into the hallway carpet floor. Wash and wash, scrub and scrub, she could not get the carpet outside the bathroom to ever clean, or rather to heal. The bathroom would never be the same. But, maybe, the mother of the child of three thought to herself, this is a reminder never to let her eyes off of her child, and maybe it really wasn’t such a wonderful world, afterall.  At least, that’s how the child of three had felt.

What that child of three had not foreseen until the age of thirteen was that animalistic hand would be waiting so patiently everywhere she went. Running against the waves in the ocean or fishing in the lake, rowing a boat in the pond or swimming in the pool, wherever she swam or wherever she went that her little foot could be dipped and damped, that the animalistic hand with it’s white on top, long black laced claws and crimson dripping from its nails, would be there to wave a greeting, and splash some crimson onto her face, of that child of three.

“If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why, oh, why can’t I?”

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