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A Boy Named Ray
by Marissa Marchan
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Price: $ 11.95
ISBN: 978-1-4327-9544-3
Dimensions: 6 x 9
Type: Paperback, Ebook
Pages: 120
Estimated Delivery: 1-3 weeks

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CHAPTER ONE

It was nearly midnight and the streets were empty but something was lurking in the dark. They walked silently down a long street, and as they drew near to the town gate just when they thought no one was around, suddenly to their great surprise, Aaahh! Its the Hunchback of the Dump and his look-alike bride! Run for your lives!

The townspeople erupted into a pandemonium of cheers and were having a roaring good time taunting these pitiful human beings. The children pelted them with rocks, eggs, and produce of all kinds as they continued their long walk home. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. She looked at her husband for comfort, but he turned his face away and hid his tears. Then they continued to walk in silence.

These two sadly creatures were Theo and Mary who were born with disfigured faces and deformities that made them the subject of daily mockery in their small town and quiet farming community. Theo, the husband, was hunchbacked and limped when he walked. He had big eyes, crooked teeth, and a very large nose that looked like a giant tomato. Mary, his wife, had big teeth and a hump. Her cheeks were very round and she had a mass of scars including one that ran from her forehead down to her left chin.

They lived in a dilapidated tiny shack next to the landfill. Cardboards covered the holes on the wall. They slept on an old stain-covered mattress they found in the dump. They used an old and rusty portable gas stove to cook their meals, and gas lamps for light at night. To make enough money to survive, they rummaged through the landfill or peoples trash cans. They took aluminum cans, glass and plastic containers, cardboard boxes, and cartons then sold these things at the recycling center and bought what little food they could buy with their money, and almost every day they went to bed half hungry.

One night, while Mary was standing in front of a hot stove preparing their meal, she closed her eyes for a moment and wished that there were baked bread and hot food on the table. Imaged of roasted chicken kept intruding as her thought about food became intense and she could almost taste the hot, buttered bread. Then she opened her eyes slowly, feeling that maybe, just maybe, if shed close them long enough and opened her eyes, her wish would come true. Realizing that she was being ridiculous, she quickly snapped back to reality then she smiled quietly to herself as an idea came to her mind.

I wish one day we could have a decent meal like those chicken thighs, wings, and legs that we see on the window display at the restaurant next to the recycling center instead of this steamed cabbage we eat every day, she said loudly enough for her husband to hear while rubbing her tummy. Even those juicy hamburgers and French fries would do. And a nice cold drink, too&hmm, just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

Theo chuckled then rolled his eyes playfully and said, you never know, Mary. I may surprise you one day and give you not just the chicken thighs, wings, or legs but the whole chicken. And then Ill add a nice roast beef with it. For you, sky is the limit!

Mary pretended to be disgusted at what she heard.

What are you going to do? Steal a chicken and kill it? I dont like chicken with feathers. I like plucked chicken; juicy, seasoned, and roasted.

Theo laughed at his wifes great sense of humor.

If you have to wish, Mary, wish for something big like the whole chicken; not just the wings!

Mary smiled. Her eyes gleaming with hope.

I was just kidding, Theo. Dont get me wrong; I am not complaining. I am happy that even though we dont have much, we still eat. Some people are wealthy and they could eat anything they want, but theyre not happy; theyre alone. There are some people who are homeless but at least we have a roof over our heads. I dont care what people are saying about us. For me, we are the luckiest people in the whole world because we have each other.

Thats why I love you so much, Mary. You always know what to say to make me feel better. You always find the positive in everything, said Theo while putting his arm around his wifes shoulder. Then they sat down to eat, and even though there was not much food on the table, they happily ate their dinner and the steamed cabbage never tasted so good. They lived a simple life and yet they were very happy living together.

One night as Mary and Theo were coming home from selling their goods at the recycling center, they saw the townspeople gathered around their tiny shack. Theos heart was pounding in his chest and knew something was terribly wrong. They quietly hid in the bushes and listened to what the townspeople were saying.

They saw a young man stood in front of everyone and asked, How long do we let these kinds of people to remain here and be a disgrace to the whole town? Lets get rid of them. Theyre freaks! They dont belong here with us. We need to start cleaning our neighborhood. We should start with those hideous creatures.

Mary heard the townspeople cheered and applauded, and she could not help but weep silently behind her hands. They didnt mean the townspeople any harm. They were very quiet people, working hard, and not bothering anyone. Why would they be angry at them?

What are we going to do, Theo? Mary whispered as tears fell from her eyes.

Theo sighed deeply before he answered.

We are not safe here anymore. I dont know what theyre going to do if they find us hiding here. We have no choice but to leave.

Where do you think we should go? asked Mary again.

We would go as far away from here and away from people as we can go. We need to find a place where we dont have to worry about anyone hurting us again. Dont worry, Mary. In time, we will find a safe place for us and we will build a world of our own. God will protect and guide us, Theo choked as he was trying to hide the true pain and sadness he was feeling as best as he could.

Meanwhile, the townspeople made a campfire in front of Theo and Marys tiny shack, and they even brought food and drinks as if it was some kind of a celebration. They sat around the campfire, roasted some marshmallows, and told spooky stories while the children held hands to sing and they even danced in circle around them. Then the townspeople anxiously waited for Theo and Marys return. But as the night progressed, many soon grew bored and went home. A few people stayed behind and decided to wait. And they waited. But after waiting for seemed like forever, they got tired and finally decided to get a good nights rest. They all agreed to return first thing in the morning to demolish Theo and Marys tiny house, and they would do it even without any consent or permission from anyone. Everyone laughed and they all left leaving garbage everywhere.

Theo and Mary, who were still hiding in the bushes, heard everything the people had said. They sat patiently in the dark and waited for everyone to leave and as soon as they were gone, they quickly went to their house and packed a few of their things. They quietly pushed the wooden cart and they didnt stop walking until they disappeared in the darkness. No words were spoken until Mary took one final look at the town and the life they were leaving behind. She let out a frustrated sigh then she asked her husband if he knew where they were going.

Theo paused and sadness crept across his face. He shook his head in desperation not knowing what lies ahead.

For the first time in his life, he was frightened!

-END OF CHAPTER-

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