Chapter OneCatch a Co-Conspirator by Her Toe
Yvonna and Gabriella stand quietly backstage as they watch the middle-school children act out a scene from a play the students wrote called A Midwinter Night Scream. Colorful costumes dress the floor, empty chairs, and equipment as they run from the stage to the back to prepare for each scene.
Like snakes waiting to attack, they remain still. Their eyes are fixated on two children—and nothing or nobody would stand in their way. They have to get them.
"Hi, I'm Mrs. Princely. Can I help you?" asks a beautiful black woman with soft, curly, shoulder-length hair. Her face is stern when she approaches Yvonna from behind.
"No, I'm just watching my niece. Isn't she beautiful?" Yvonna looks at the stage, at no child in particular.
The woman's face softens immediately. After all, Yvonna looks nothing like the average abductor. In fact, she looks stylish in her dark blue custom-made jeans and red leather jacket. Her hair is styled in her trademark short, spiky cut. Just the way she likes it.
"Oh ... which one is yours?" The teacher smiles, looking upon the stage with Yvonna as the children sing a wretched ballad.
Yvonna doesn't have an answer for the nosy bitch and she wishes she would just leave her the fuck alone. She doesn't, though.
"Tell the bitch her name is Lil Reecy or some shit!" Gabriella yells from the sidelines. She is wearing an all-red leather jumper by Baby Phat. "Make somethin' up! Think on your feet! Haven't I taught you anything?"
"Be quiet! You makin' a scene, and shit!" Yvonna tells her.
"Are you okay?" the woman asks.
"Oh ... uh ... yeah."
She scrutinizes her. "Well ... who are you talking to?"
"No one. Just had an outburst. That's it."
Yvonna has worked so hard to control Gabriella, but nothing succeeds. She is still convinced that Gabriella is real; it's just that other people can't see her.
"If you say so. Well, which one is your niece?"
Yvonna scans the crowd of brats and picks the homeliest-looking one she can find. If truth be told, not a one of them looks like she's seen any parts of a tub, soap, or water—ever.
"That one right there." She points at a girl with pink barrettes in her hair and a bright yellow sunshine costume. "She's my niece."
Yvonna can tell by the woman's expression that she could not imagine a child so afflicted being related to her in any form or fashion.
"You just had to pick `Snot-Nosed-Nancy,' didn't you?" Gabriella laughs. "Don't be surprised if she don't believe you now."
Yvonna ignores her and says, "Yes. She's my niece. I just got back in town and wanted to surprise her. So when I found out at the last minute about the play, I ran over here. I wanted to be the first person she hugs when she steps off the stage."
"Wow! Oh ... uh ... I can't wait to see the look on her face!" The woman beams. "No one ever supports her in school. Not to say anything bad about your family."
"No worries," Yvonna reassures her, touching the teacher lightly on the arm. "My sister's a hot-ass mess, I know it."
The woman gasps. Yvonna ignores her reaction.
"But you should get on out of my face." Yvonna stops and clears her throat and says, "I mean, you should go back out there. The kids need you."
"They're fine. I want to be here to see Tabitha's face when she sees you."
This woman is causing Yvonna's blood to boil. If this bitch knows what's good for her, she'll get lost before she shows up missing ... permanently. Because nothing or nobody would stop Yvonna from snatching Treyana's kids; and she would not mind covering her tracks and witnesses if they got in her way. She never thought deceiving Treyana's sons into leaving out the back door with her would be so difficult.
"Hurry up and get rid of her! They almost done!" Gabriella yells.
Gabriella is growing agitated, so Yvonna has to think quickly. Her mind wanders and she grapples with choking the fuck out of the old-ass crow or smacking her down. She decides upon smacking her, until she sees a little girl holding her hands between her legs, running toward the restroom. The glittery purple shoes she wears causes a devilish idea to enter her mind.
"Excuse me," Yvonna says to the woman. "I have to go to the restroom before my niece comes out."
"No problem! I'll be waiting right here when you get back. I can't wait to see the look on her face!"
Man, this whore is about to make me unleash! Why she gotta be all in my fuckin' business?
Yvonna makes her way past the children who are roaming around backstage. She sees a small bucket on the floor filled with costume jewelry for the performance. She takes one look behind her to see if the woman is watching—she isn't. A little girl who needs help changing a costume has taken her attention.
So Yvonna dips inside the restroom and looks under the stalls until she sees the purple shoes the little girl is wearing. When she spots them, she goes into the stall next to her and dumps the jewelry on the floor. Afterward, she uses the bucket to scoop out some water from the commode. There is shit and piss inside, but Yvonna doesn't care. She stands up on the commode and dumps the foul feces all over the little girl, who screams in terror.
Yvonna's laughter prohibits her from running as fast as she wants to while exiting the bathroom. She manages to calm herself down moments before approaching the woman.
"I think something's wrong with one of the children in the restroom. I saw another little girl playing an awful joke on her. Hurry!" Yvonna appears frantic. "Go help her! Please!"
The woman drops the clipboard she's holding and runs toward the bathroom. When she leaves, Yvonna regains her focus as she watches Treyana's kids come backstage after their roles. She's amazed at how cute they are—with their fluffy, curly hair and wide-eyed smiles—despite the costumes they are wearing that make them look like two fruity bitches. In her opinion they didn't look like Treyana or her husband.
"You boys were wonderful!" Yvonna cheers. "I'm so proud of you."
"Who are you?" one of the twins asks. "You look familiar."
Yvonna has been around them, but not often, and she is surprised they remember. One of them is slightly taller than the other, but they are otherwise identical.
"I'm your aunt Paris! You don't remember me?" Yvonna touches her heart and appears hurt.
"No," the other one responds. "I never heard of you."
"That's awful! You really haven't heard of your aunt Paris from Texas?"
The twins look at each other again and shake their heads no.
"Don't worry about that right now. We'll have plenty of time for catch up." She smiles. "But right now, I need you to come with me. Your mom wants me to take you home. We'll talk about everything on the way there."
"But Momma said never to leave with a stranger," one of them says.
"A stranger?" Yvonna folds her arms and stands on her back foot. "I doubt very seriously that a stranger would be dressed as good as I am. Now, are you coming or not? It don't make me no never mind." Yvonna lies.
Whether the boys know it or not, they are leaving that school with her—even if she has to snatch them by their undeveloped balls.
They look at each other and then at her. She knows they're examining her stylish shoes and her pretty face. She smiles. She doesn't look harmful, and she does everything she can to conceal her pleasure. Men always become her victims.
Little do you know, but the Devil has many faces, she silently says.
The taller one shrugs his shoulders, looks at the shorter one, and replies, "Okay. Let's go."
"Great! And I brought some candy for you too. I figured you'd like it."
Like all kids experience, when they come into contact with sweet poison ... it is lust at first sight.
What Goes Around Has Come Around Faster
Treyana paces the living-room floor in their large four-bedroom home in Largo, Maryland. Her husband, Avante, stands by her side, consoling her. Her black hair is combed back and it falls gently on the middle of her back; her long legs glisten under the cute black cotton dress she purchased from Nordstrom earlier in the week.
"What do you mean? Why wouldn't you know where the fuck my boys are?" she yells on the phone at the play director from the middle school. "It's been over two hours! How do you lose two boys ... twins at that!" She and Avante have just gotten back and their kids are not home.
Her entire body is wet from sweat and worrying. Avante opens the window, allowing the cool mid-evening air to seep inside. Dust from the windowsill finds its way onto his brown slacks and black cashmere sweater. He wipes it off with his hands. Although normally, the blue chiffon curtains dancing in the breeze would've cooled anyone down, it does nothing for a woman who is missing her children.
"Sit down, honey," he whispers, and places his hand on the small of her back.
"I'm okay!" She shoots him an evil glare and steps away from him. He backs up, but he looks sternly at her and she softens her stare.
"You betta slow your roll," he warns. "I'm not the enemy."
In her mind it is his fault. Had he not pressed her to go to a nonrefundable real estate seminar, she would've been at the play with her children.
"Ma'am, we really have looked everywhere."
"Stop saying that shit like it's acceptable! You don't just lose kids!"
"I'm not intending it to be acceptable. Alls I'm saying is that Mrs. Princely, the arts teacher, will find out what happened. We're trying to reach her. She was the last person who saw them. But we know they're here, so don't worry."
"Bitch, if you don't find my kids, I'ma come up to that school and smoke your white ass out!" She points her finger into the air. "Now you betta find my boys, or kill yourself before I do!" She slams the phone to the receiver.
"They're probably over Jones's house or somethin'. You know how they are with that video game. They probably just lost track of time."
She ignores him and focuses on her children's faces on the picture on the wall. They are her life; she can't imagine life without them. Five minutes later her home phone rings. She rushes toward it and answers.
"Hello! Did you find 'em?"
"Treyana," Yvonna says coldly, "how's the life I made for you? Is it better than the piece of shit you had before?"
Treyana drops the phone and covers her mouth. Fear surges from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet.
"What is it, baby?" Avante asks after picking up the phone. Treyana doesn't respond. "Who is this?" he yells into the handset. "Who is this?"
Treyana, already knowing the drill, musters up enough courage to take the handset from Avante.
"Baby, what's going on?" he asks after releasing the phone to her possession.
"I—I ... got it," she stutters. "H-hello?"
"Bitch, don't do that again. Do I make myself clear?"
"Great!" Yvonna says as if she'd just heard great news. "Now that we have an understanding, let me begin. I have your boys."
Treyana sobs heavily and doubles over.
"What's wrong, baby? Who the fuck is that? Talk to me!" he demands, seeing his wife's condition.
"Don't say a word to that fag. Just listen to me."
"O-okay." She stands up straight and leans against a wall.
"As you can see, you're touchable, and that means I can get to you everywhere you are. I'll go through hell to fuck you. Always remember that."
Heavy breaths cause Treyana's chest to rise and fall hard. "What do you want?"
"What have I always wanted? Revenge."
"But I didn't do anything to you."
"You didn't do anything for me either, bitch! We had an agreement and you left me high and dry."
"You need help," Treyana whimpers.
"Treyana ... I'm beyond help."
"Now ... I'm going to return your kids to you on one condition."
"I want you to help me finish what we started."
"We're going to get back at all those who fucked with me. That's all you need to know for now. Anyway, I don't have all the details. I'm better when I work things out as I go along." Yvonna giggles.
"Why aren't you happy? You're married now."
"Bitch, fuck that shit! I'm not playin' with you! You talking about marriage when that life you have is courtesy of me. Cleaning that fishy pussy ain't all I showed you how to do. Your entire swagger belongs to me. And as easily as I gave you back your life, I can take it away."
Although she already knows the answer, she says, "And if I don't?"
"What do you think, Treyana? Look at how you feel right now. Imagine if the feeling of losing your children was permanent."
"I'll kill you if you hurt them!"
Yvonna laughs and says, "Bitch, you sound like a fool! I got nine lives, so the question you should be asking yourself is, how many sons you got? I got away with murder ... remember? They think I'm certified. If I get the right doctor, I can kill your entire family and be out in two years. So, do you really want it with me? You think you up for it? If you are, let's get it on."
"What do I have to do?" Treyana whines.
"That's my baby!" Yvonna cheers. "Get some rest now, suga. Besides, you've been through a lot tonight. I'll call you later with the details."
"And what about my boys?"
"Listen to you sounding like a concerned mother. Don't worry—the two little drunk bastards are lying on your front porch. I dropped them off right before I called you. And check out what I put on their backs. You'll love it!"
"What did you do? Why did you give my children alcohol?"
"Girl, please! The way they tossed that vodka back, it was not their first time. I just left a little something to remind you about our arrangement. I trust you won't forget this time."
Treyana rushes to the door and sees her two boys passed out. Avante walks around her. "What the fuck is going on? What happened to my sons?" He picks up one of the twins and she picks up the other. They are groggy and reek of liquor. "Let's get them inside." He leaves her alone.
Treyana remains outside for a moment. She scans the street from her porch, looking for Yvonna. She sees her sitting in a blue Chrysler 300. A black man, with a bald head, is in the driver's seat. Yvonna winks at her and they pull off.
She lifts her son's shirt and examines his back. Afterward, she bawls uncontrollably. There on his skin is a tattoo that reads: Don't Get On My Shyt List Again.
Yvonna has paid a drug-addicted tattooist to ink the children. And believe it or not, he was easy to find.
Secretly, Treyana always has known that Yvonna would resurface, but she always hoped her fury would pass her by.
The wind moves the leaves on the large oak trees in front of Yvonna's house. Dave's silver Suburban is parked in the driveway and the banner JUST MARRIED is still hanging from the bumper.
Yvonna looks out the window of the black Honda Accord rental car she purchased using Dave's credit card. Her eyes droop and a wave of nausea overcomes her. What if he was the one? What if I killed the one for me?
Had it not been for the desire to wear her high-fashion clothes, and the cash he had stashed in the house, she wouldn't be anywhere near her house.
Before she gets out, she checks her surroundings. Although she killed him in Jamaica—and no one knows they were there—she is still worried that the murder will catch up with her soon.
She wiped her fingerprints clean from the villa and left the torn piece of paper with the telephone number of the weed connect, in Dave's handwriting, next to his body, along with the weed. She wanted it to look like a setup; and because Americans were killed all the time there, anyway, she hoped it would be believable.
Wanting to get everything over with, Yvonna rushes up the driveway, snatches the banner down, and jogs up the stairs and into the house. Once inside, she ransacks the house, looking for money and grabbing her favorite clothes along the way. She is on her way back out when she hears his phone ring and the voice mail answers.
"Dave, it's Penny. I—I know you's not there. I—I hope things are okay with you. Please call me. I'm worried. And tell Yvonna I asked 'bout her. Bye, honey."
Yvonna is shocked that Penny cares enough to ask about her. But just like Penny has called now, she knows it won't be long before people report him as missing. Dave didn't have a lot of family, but he was active at the nonprofit organization he had started: Each One Teach One.
She grabs the fifty thousand dollars in cash Dave has under the bed. Although he made honest money, he still didn't trust putting all of it in a bank. Once a hustler, always a hustler. She is on her way out the door when someone knocks. Her heart pounds in her chest and her blood pressure rises.
"Fuck! I knew it!" she says, pacing the floor. "They found out I killed him and they gonna try and take me away. I'm not going away."
"Calm down." Gabriella appears in red shorts and a white tank top. "It might not be that serious."