Ironic Sacrifice

By: Brooklyn Ann


Chapter One

Spokane, Washington

“Oh God please, make them stop!” Jayden dug her fingertips into her temples as if she could tear the horrid visions out of her skull.

Long after the police officer left, the imprint of him invading his daughter’s room every night and the sound of her terrified whimpers was irrevocably burned in her memory. For the rest of her life, along with her worst visions, it would flash behind her eyes like a bad commercial, leaving behind a chill in her soul and a bitter taste in her mouth.

Again temptation beckoned to end it all, to climb over the Division Street barrier to the dam churning the waters of the Spokane River and jump, drowning the visions permanently.

Oblivious to curious onlookers, Jayden sank to her knees on the cracked sidewalk.

The visions were getting stronger. The cop’s hand barely grazed hers when she handed him her driver’s license after he checked her ID. Immediately she’d been pelted with vile images. It had been agony for her to keep a straight face as he interrogated her. She wanted to hit him— no. She wanted to tear his balls off and make him suffer a thousand-fold for what he did to that innocent child.

But there was nothing she could do. He was a man of the law while she was just a crazy homeless twenty-three year old woman. Once he confirmed her age and finished harassing her, the policeman left, free to rape and molest again while Jayden Leigh was trapped with terrible revelations of suffering that she could do nothing to prevent or free herself from.

“Are you all right, dear?” A gentle hand touched her shoulder and for once Jayden didn’t get a vision. Although for a moment it seemed she could smell fresh baked bread.

Jayden looked up into the compassionate blue eyes of an elderly woman.

“Yeah,” she croaked, licking dry lips. “It’s just a …migraine.” She fell back on the usual excuse for these situations though she was tempted to shriek the horrible transgressions she witnessed.

The woman nodded, brushing a snowy lock from her forehead. “Don’t you fret, dearie. I’ve just the thing for that!” she declared, reaching into her gargantuan red leather purse.

Jayden began to protest but the matron cackled, “Ah-ha! Here you are, dear. Keep the bottle. My doctor gives me plenty of pills as it is.”

Jayden smiled at the Excedrin. If only a little pill would cure her problem. Or perhaps it could, if she took the whole bottle.

“And take this too. It looks like you’ve fallen on hard times.” The kindness in the woman’s voice was enough to make Jayden’s throat tighten with humble gratitude and the barely suppressed desire to cry on the stranger’s shoulders and pour out her sorrow.

“Oh no, Ma’am, I couldn’t.” She tried to return the twenty-dollar bill but the woman had already walked off and was getting into her Buick.

Her eyes brimmed with tears at the generosity. She pocketed the pills and money, picked up her bottle of cheap Chardonnay and resumed walking to her car, where she lived. She could always jump into the dam tomorrow. After all, it wouldn’t do to waste the wine.


Sleep came hard that night. It wasn’t the wailing of police sirens, or the rumble of semi-trucks on the freeway, or even the sounds of a couple screaming at each other a block away. Something else drowned those incessant city noises. A voice in her head sobbed despairingly, “Why? Why? Why!”

That voice had grown so loud that she could barely hear anything else. And still the keening cry rose higher… “Why? Why? Why!”

A real headache was dangerously close.

“Why indeed?” she murmured as she uncapped the wine bottle and took a deep drink. She knew perfectly well what the voice was asking.

Why have I been reduced to this pathetic state?

Jayden still did not have an answer.

Only three months ago things had been normal. Or had they? She’d had a decent job that fit with her college schedule, taking care of people with developmental disabilities. It fulfilled her hungered spirit and was a step closer to becoming a counselor, a secret dream she’d nursed since childhood. Jayden had been working in the group homes for almost a year when she began having the visions. They were quick and faint at first, making her blame her imagination even though her instinct argued furiously. Just too much work, she would tell herself. All I need is a break. Things will get better when the semester ends.

But the next day the visions would come back stronger and soon the breaks did little to hold them off. Jayden became convinced that she was losing her mind. It was beginning to look as if she was going to end up like her mother after all. Stark raving mad in a psychiatric ward, heavily medicated in a padded room until, unable to take it any longer, she died a slow painful death of a broken heart and shattered mind.