Sally woke up to the noise of a car horn. Her head pounded and her throat burned. She couldn’t pry her eyes open, crusty caked on mascara sealed them shut. Groaning pitifully, Sally rolls over reaching for her drink. She doesn’t need to open her eyes, she knows exactly where she left her glass.
Sally might not remember anything about last night, but she remembers where she left her drink. She puts her glass in the same spot night after night, bottle after bottle.
Sally is drunk 24/7. Hasn’t drawn a sober breath in over 3 years. Before Herald Sally had 7 years free from alcohol. Seven years of freedom. Before that AA men’s group pushed her to her breaking point. Before her nightmare re-ignited. There is always a before and an after. Herald is Sally’s last before and after. She’s done fighting everyone and everything. Sally surrenders today.
This is Sally’s last chance for a happily ever after. She doesn’t know what day today is, she just knows she’s done trying to fit in. Society has rejected her love again and again.
Sally had it all once. A loving husband, the career, house, 2 kids and a car. She even managed to be happy and free. Until Herald happened.
Herald was not just some stranger who assaulted Sally, although in essence he is. Herald was Sally’s final straw. The epitome of misogyny, Herald is the poisonous seed that caused Sally to leave society.
Sally, you would never know, is a strong person of faith. She has an undeniable belief and trust in a loving, all powerful Creator. At one point she served the community fearlessly. Maybe that’s why her life was so difficult. It seems some people of faith are destined to struggle in this life, and Sally is one of them.
Suffering in one form or another is all Sally has known. From her first memory, Sally’s love was both neglected and rejected. Her earliest memory is that of rejection. Sally recalls standing in the front entrance, waiting for Mom to arrive home. Not tall enough to look out the window, eyes peeking over the sill, kneeling on books she had stacked. All of two and a half years old. Mom came home, yelled about the books. When Sally asked to be picked up, mom said , “after you clean this mess.”
Sally learned early, don’t ask for help, don’t get caught and stick to together. This was the code of honor growing up in Sally’s childhood home. Sally is the baby of eight, but she was never babied. Survival of the fittest they say. Sally says it’s a miracle she made it to three. She lived, but the suffering never ceased.
At three Sally was introduced to her babysitter Johnny. Mom would visit Johnny’s mom while Johnny babysat. Sally didn’t like Johnny. Johnny liked to touch himself. It made Sally scared.
One day Sally told her mom she didn’t want to go to Johnny’s anymore. But mom said, nonsense! And off to Johnny’s they went.
Sally told her mom she didn’t like Johnny, but when Mom asked why, Sally couldn’t say. She didn’t know why. Sally only knew Johnny scared her and always wanted to do things she didn’t want to.
Sally’s mom was in a bridge club with Johnny’s mom. Once a week, Sally went. All the other kids were in school.
One day, Sally ran away. Got lost up the street from Johnny’s house. Everyone was so glad when Fanny the family dog found Sally. Sally was sad. She didn’t want to be found. She wanted to run into the sun and never be found again.
Johnny got in trouble for not keeping an eye on Sally. So next time, Johnny punished her. Told Sally if she said a word, he would hurt her sister. That was the first time Johnny hit her. Before, he only touched her. He made Sally feel dirty, but Sally didn’t know why.
Later, Johnny would rape Sally. In the woods, after telling others horror stories around the campfire. Only Sally knew the truth. Johnny himself was evil. Ghosts aren’t evil, people are.
Later, Johnny went away. Disappeared, never to be found again. Sally never knew what really happened to him.
Johnny disappeared after Sally told Rose all about Johnny. Rose went straight to Johnny and said: touch her again and I’ll kill you myself.
Years later, both Sally and Rose would tell their mom, when Sally was 10. It gave her mom a nervous breakdown.
Mom couldn’t handle the truth. Not then, not ever. It was too heartbreaking to claim responsibility for all the brokenness. She didn’t need to. Sally forgave her mom.
Sally saw her mom struggle everyday of her life. Sally saw how brutal her father was. She thought her mother was the bravest person in the world. She would fight tooth and nail to protect her children. Little did she know, her faithfulness to an archaic religion was destroying her family.
Johnny was Sally’s introduction to sin as they say. Sex, lying, manipulation and fear is what Johnny the altar boy gave Sally. Every Sunday Sally would shut her eyes begging for relief. Eventually, little Sally sunshine would fall asleep in the pew. Isn’t she cute?
Not really Sally thought. Keeping her eyes shut, hoping no one will notice she is awake.
Suddenly Sally is 50 again. Still plastered from the night before and talking to herself. Her flashbacks are almost constant now. No amount of alcohol will drown out the memories.
Alleluia, Sally moans again, peeling her one eye open with her other hand. Oh sweet Jesus, my head hurts. Slowly she prompts herself up and takes a swill.
The vodka burns the entire way down, but calms her shakes nicely. That’s better, Sally grins.
Sally is stuck. She can’t forget and she can’t remember. Sally is a sick and suffering alcoholic who can’t stop drinking, or thinking. She is barely going through the motions. Sally is living just to drink these days. Being denied visitation with her kids isn’t enough to keep Sally sober. She picked up a drink a little over a year ago, and lost everything in that instant.
One sip is all it took, Sally tells herself. In reality her relapse was years in the making. Herald happened one afternoon and Sally never recovered.
Who is Herald?
Sally doesn’t know Herald, never did. Only Herald knew Sally. Herald stalked her. Sally repeatedly found notes in her pockets and car. When she started receiving crank phone calls, Sally started worrying. Then one day her car tire was punctured with a razor knife.
Finally, one day a slimy old man exposed himself to her. Sally dubbed him Herald because he screamed “Alleluia” flashing his package for Sally’s sorry eyes. Nothing happened physically, he was an old dried-up man who felt pleasure in scaring a vulnerable woman. Problem was, after Herald’s attack Sally had a nervous breakdown. All her trauma, a lifetime’s worth, came flooding back like a tsunami.
Rushing in from every direction, Sally’s past came back with a vengeance. Seeing some stranger get off on scaring her while exposing himself brought Sally’s trauma to the surface.
Sally felt helpless, childish, and violated. Some stranger exposes himself and gets away with it. Sally’s friends tell her “that’s terrible Sally, now, get over it.”
The police stated they will make a report, but other than that they can’t help. Her husband watched helplessly as Sally lost all control, became fearful, confused and eventually drunk.
As the vodka settles in Sally’s throbbing head calms down. Crawling out of bed, she shuffles her way to the bathroom.
She’s been living in an efficiency apartment for 6 months. It’s a dump, but it was all she could afford. Sally doesn’t care. It’s fairly safe and clean. She’s close to the kids if need be and no one really bothers her.
As Sally takes her morning pee, she slowly notices the blood on her bathroom stink. Shit she thinks, did I get a black eye? Looking in the mirror, Sally is relieved to see no lacerations. That’s when Sally notices her shirt in the mirror. Her uniform has blood splatters everywhere. Staring at her hands Sally notes they are clean, except under her nails. Dried blood.
What the fuck did I do? Sally shakes, trying to recall. Quickly finishing she wipes and washes her hands. Sally starts searching frantically for some clues to last night.
She finished her shift at 7, just enough time to text the kids before bed. Only Sally didn’t text the kids. No outgoing text messages, and Sally never received any anymore.
I’ll take another drink and think, what happened last night?
That’s when Sally sees the ear. Bloody and discarded, dried on the floor, a human ear. Sally leans over the trash can and vomits. She remembers the ear.
Like a cold rush of air, the ghost of last night comes running in. Dread pure and simple. As concrete as the ear.
What did I do? Ringing in her head. Sally falls back on the bed.
I went to the packie after my shift, got my usual and saw some guy watching me. Not a big deal, but then as I left the store, he watched where I parked. So I circled back around to wait to see who it was. To my surprise Herald was standing there.
I screamed, and he started to run. I threw my bottle at him. Knocked him out cold. I wasn’t exactly prepared for that. I dragged him to my car and somehow managed to get him in the back. Then I got another bottle and headed for home. I was starting to get sick, I needed a drink fast. I had no idea what to do next about my newest mess.
On the drive home Herald came to. Sally heard him moaning and suddenly Herald was grabbing the back of Sally’s head trying to force her off the road. It almost worked. Sally slammed into the guard rail, knocking Herald forward then backwards. She quickly swerved left then right, flinging Herald around the car like a rag doll. As Herald tries to grab Sally again, Sally manages to reach in her purse, find her mace, and unleash it’s wrath on Herald’s face. Screaming, all fight leaves Herald, he is unconscious again.
Sally drove carefully the rest of the way home. How could no one have seen that? Sally wondered. The noise alone should have drawn attention. Sally kept expecting to see blue lights in the rearview mirror, but they never appeared.
Arriving home, Sally congratulates herself with some ice in her vodka. I need to think, what am I doing? I need to dump Herald off where I found him. After this drink.
Before Sally can drain her glass, a car horn goes off. Sally knows it’s Herald. She jumps up and runs to her car. There Herald sits, bloody and bruised but laughing.
“Take me home crazy lady,” Herald demands.
“Do you know who I am?”, Sally asks.
“I don’t give a shit who you are” Herald says, “take me home you crazy bitch.”
Sally takes her drink, drains it slowly and carefully. Throwing the ice on the ground she breaks the glass on her shoe and cuts Herald’s cheek all in one swift motion. Herald gushes blood. Sally stands shocked at first, then she starts laughing.
She has him now. Herald. The Herald. The Herald that made her drink. There he is bruised and bloody. Alive. In Sally’s car, laughing at her, calling her a bitch.
Sally screams, laughs, cries and shouts. What’s next? Just then, Herald moans. “You better call the police you crazy bitch. I’m gonna bleed out all over your car and it’ll be on your head.”
When Sally heard that she just laughed and laughed. “Wouldn’t you rather we were both dead?” Was Sally’s reply. She turned and walked back to her apartment.
Let him come for me. I’m not going anywhere. Let him call the police. Self defense it was. Sally tells herself as she pours another drink.
That’s when Sally noticed the scissors. In the kitchen sink. She picked them up, along with her trusty duct tape, walked purposefully out the door directly to her car.
“oh Herald”, Sally calls.
Herald answers “who is Herald?”
“You, you pervert”, Sally yells “Alleluia!”
“Wait, I don’t do that anymore,” Herald claims.
“Do what Herald?”, Sally asks, snipping the scissors.
“You know…touch myself in public”, Herald pleads, “some crazy lady cut my balls off. Almost died. Haven’t done it since.”
“Well shit Herald, what shall we do?” Sally said. “Your little trick left me feeling violated and powerless. What you did was wrong. I had a nervous breakdown. It brought back every trauma I have endured. Your exposing yourself broke me.”
“Your issues are yours lady. I only exposed myself, I didn’t harm you.”
“You’re no hearing me Herald. Your actions gravely affected me and my family. You didn’t touch me, but you harmed me deeply. To my very soul.”
“Get over it” Herald says bluntly.
Sally reaches across the car door, grabs Herald’s ear and snips.
“Maybe now you can hear me”, Sally grins.
Herald screams. Sally is expecting to hear sirens any second. But nothing, so she continues. Revenge will free me at last from this life of misery. Securing the duct tape on Herald’s mouth was no problem, he didn’t have much fight left. Blood gushed from Herald’s ear. Sally took the duct tape and taped the wound closed. That’ll work long enough to watch you bleed out Herald. Sally thought.
Sally turned on her heal and went to get her drink. When she reappeared, she climbed into the passenger’s seat and began to talk.
“Do you remember me now Herald?”, Sally asks
“Fuck you, you crazy bitch,” is Herald’s reply.
“Don’t worry Herald, my work here is done, I just wanted to make sure you remembered me. Because no one violates me and gets away with it.”
“Feel free to use my car to get home. I’m calling the police and reporting it as stolen. That should get you to the hospital in enough time, before you bleed out.” Sally throws the keys in the front cup holder and climbs out. “Good luck Herald, you slimy pervert.”
She walks back into her apartment to get good and drunk.
Now Sally sat staring at Herald’s ear. She burst out laughing. An ear for every story, I guess.
“Somebody shut that car horn off,” Sally screams. That’s when Sally realizes, it is her car horn. Running to the window, Sally sees Herald waving behind the steering wheel.
Did I call the police last night? Is all Sally can think.
Did I ask for this?
So Sally takes another drink.
Nothing really matters,
This world is cruel…
She writes on a note
Finishes her vodka
And blows her head off.
Sally is no more.
Herald, however, lives on
Honking Sally’s horn~
And that was
The end of poor little Sally Sunshine.
So remember my friends, don’t judge another person’s trauma. It will come back to haunt you. I want the world to know Herald is real. He exists. He is an earless clueless coward and a pervert. He also thinks men are holier than women. Hello? Can you say ego-maniac?
Sally, however, is my nightmare. She is a possibility. She terrifies me. Why? My twin and I, how we long for that ear. Just a snip would be grand. A tiny piece. You creep. The tip of your ear, exactly where you touched me. Or was it your nose? Do you call Herald friend?
Christian? For this Sally weeps. Herald is such a creep. Protected by Church and those Sally once called friends.
Who is Herald? I still don’t know. I walk around never knowing who is or why he accosted me. All from men I considered friends.
The end ~
A woman’s world…
I saw you that day
Dried up and dead
Then you send Herald
And called him
You self protecting prick
That’s what this
Sally says ~
I wish she
But she is as real
As a bottle of vodka
Such a seductive foe ~
A true siren
One who will
I have no fear of Sally
She died long ago
Her ghost greets me
My simple reminder
Each and everyday
Sally never goes away
She is my defeat and
Still She reminds me