Seal my fate please nominate.
It was December 25, 1968. A god lived in our old house, a god who didn’t allow his subjects to come from their room until he emerged from his. Christmas day was no exception and he didn’t emerge until after lunch. Four innocent souls stood in doorways trying to get a peek at the tree or the little bundles of heaven wrapped in colored paper and bows.
The day moved on, the egg shells placed carefully to catch unsuspecting little feet were scattered with loving care. Their crunching sounds were barely audible, but screamed in our universe. Step on a crack, break your mothers back, step on a shell go directly to $%^&.
A mistake was made, by whom, unimportant. The face of our god flushed red, gone was the Christmas god. The remnant of presents were scattered throughout the room, the remnants of breakfast was still on the table, the remnants of a fire smoldered in its place and the remnants of sanity swirled, rose and vanished into the air.
It happened quickly, it always did. I turned to see the fist of god, it has risen and was destined to fall. The first punch took my breath even as I tried to avoid it, a sin in itself. The second busted my lip, the taste of blood its little gift. I knew the taste of blood well. The third to the stomach bent me forward allowing the tooth, already roaming around loose in my mouth to be projected onto the floor at my feet. I concentrated on that unruly tooth as a series of punches came too quick to comprehend and seemingly from all directions at once. The tooth held some importance I could not discern.
My mind raced and screamed into the universe, why, what did I do?
My next gift a broken rib and the sound of a broken nose exploded in my mind. My heart and lungs fought for every moment, but my legs gave up early and I spread across the floor like snow melting in a cozy room. I grasped at consciousness it being all you have.
Now the time of our gods foot had arrived, it kicked, something broke, it kicked, something tore, it kicked and reality shattered then scattered across the floor before my eyes. I could feel death breathing on me as my hair was grasped firmly. My heart pounded in my head or maybe it was my head being pounded on the brick hearth in front of the fireplace. Sickeningly my mind counted the times it rose and fell on the bricks, one, two, ten and twelve, it counted down the seconds of my life. I saw the fire with such clarity, a message from the real God I couldn’t comprehend, perhaps? Somewhere in all this, the words, I’ll you kill you little son of a so and so, the last words I’d ever hear, wormed their way in. The fear, the pain and the sick, slimy, sticky, warm taste of blood were the memories that came with them. In the end death has a warm, welcoming embrace.
I awakened to find I was mistaken. What do you do the day after you die? What do you do the rest of your life? No police were called, no hospital was visited and no one explained how a dead child is supposed to act. Some things must be figured out by an eight year old, by himself. It only took a couple week of being buried in my room, out of sight of the world, for me to walk this earth again.
Sometimes I am told before, during and after I speak, to GET OVER IT. I have.
I speak because dead children cannot. I speak for children who die at the hands of a monster in a nightmare/horror reality. I speak for the ten children in America, each day, average age three, who are cowering in corners as someone they know love and trust beats them into the silence of death.
I speak because I died several times and God allowed me to come back, he DEMANDS I speak. I speak for the ten children who will die each of the twelve days of Christmas. Every day ten more that live will slip into their own Silent Night and no one will know their names.
MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press
A Pennsylvania couple went car shopping, bought pizza and took a nap as the woman’s unresponsive 3-year-old son lay dying after weeks of escalating abuse that ended in three days of systematic torture, officials said Thursday.
Jillian Tait, 31, and Gary Lee Fellenbaum, 23, were charged Thursday with murder in the death of Tait’s son, Scott McMillan, and aggravated assault in the beating of his older brother.
They are accused of laughing as Scott was hung upside down and whipped, striking him repeatedly with a frying pan, and eventually beating him to death.
Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan called the case “an American horror story.”
I always say that there is no best way to tell your story. Write it, paint it or sing it. Look for Keith’s book coming soon.
1. Abuse can be defined in many ways. How would you say that you and your brother were abused growing up?
Answer: Verbally, emotionally, physically. Eventually we were disowned by our parents and left to starve to death by the side of the road which resulted in the complete mental breakdown of my brother and his then very mysterious disappearance.
2. How did you and your brother cope with the treatment you were given at home?
Answer: Not so well, but him much worse than I. Despite a 4.0 gpa he was expelled from school and then went on a crime spree, joined the local chapter of the New Zealand Hells Angels and was eventually arrested on a series of burglary, robbery and car theft charges.
3. You lived away from home many times at a young age. What was this experience like? What did you learn from being out on your own, given the circumstances?
Answer: I basically learned that I had only myself to depend on, and could rely on no one else for support. It also made me basically very suspicious of everyone and anything – this mind set of mine of course lead to others being suspicious of me. It took me years to identify this and to learn to start trusting people again. After being disowned by my parents and left to starve to death on the streets, and then watching my twin brother’s mental breakdown and disappearance it ended up being 10 years before I saw any of my family members again.
4. Despite the tumultuous atmosphere back home, did you still miss it? If so, was that hard for you and your brother to have these conflicting emotions?
Answer: Of course. Though completely abusive and dysfunctional, it was of course the only home and family I had. As for my brother, he had a complete schizophrenic breakdown and surfaced years later in Riker’s Island criminal insane ward. Conflicting emotions about my parents were the least of his problems at that point.
5. You go into detail in your transcript about your brother’s deteriorating mental state. How hard was it to be there every step of the way during his transformation?
Answer: Unbelievably difficult. I was completely helpless and had to just sit back and watch it happen. It was a miracle that I didn’t slip over the abyss into complete mental collapse with hm. I’ve heard some bad, bad stories of child abuse during my life from friends and associates and nothing touches this one. That is what prompted me to write it all down and attempt this book’s completion. A few years ago after a very serious car accident I had to go to a psychiatrist regarding panic attacks I was having. He of course asked me about my childhood, and when I told him this story, he nearly fell out of his chair and told me that it was the worst case of child abuse he’d heard in his 35 year career. It was he who told me that indeed me and my brother were “survivors” of filicide.
6. Has this experience inspired you to take action to help others who are affected by similar situations?
Answer: Yes, I donate time, energy and money to support homeless shelters and the homeless whenever I can. There’s nothing quite like being homeless and I hope it never happens to me again. People take their “homes and families” for granted. It’s quite something when they are taken away from you – especially violently via a PTSD damaged, Vietnam War veteran father.
7. How does this story tie in to the album “Reno Nevada and Other Songs of Gambling, Vice and Betrayal” that you wrote for your band The Great American Robber Barons?
Answer: All of the songs on the album are about Gambling, Vice and Betrayal and all link back to or are in some way related to what went down with all of this – we were of course abandoned by my parents on the border of Reno NV and Lake Tahoe CA on XMAS Eve. There are many references to these events in the lyrics and song titles of the album such as:
I Know You Just Don’t Want Me Anymore
Where Were You When I Needed You
Nowhere Left To Go
It Was All My Fault For Ever Trusting You
Nobody Saw It Coming
I Promise I’ll Never Blow It Again
What Were They Thinking
This last one – What Were They Thinking – is the clincher. It has many verses about these events and their follow up. The song can be found on our virtual press kit (http://cyberpr.biz/clients/3227), and the lyrics can be found here.
This is a gripping, gritty account of truth as fiction. It disproves the theory that truth is stranger than fiction and teaches a new lesson. Fiction tells the truth more truthfully than the truth.
I wrote my own book detailing my abusive childhood as narrative nonfiction and have developed a reputation of being an expert on abuse. I was leery when someone suggested this book, doubting the value a fiction book would bring to this subject. The person who suggested it was right, and I was totally wrong.
The basic premise of The Night Train is abuse, and it most certainly will hurt your heart as you read it, but the child abuse part of the book is remarkably subtle. Understated might be a better word, but with that understatement Carl reveals his genius.
The book covers all the emotions I endured as a severely abused child with absolute clarity. Emotions like the despair of being abused by one parent, who seems to revel in your misery, as the other parent who sees the beatings blames you for the injuries that will not allow you to get up from the floor. Do not forget the deep shame and soul smothering abuse perpetrated by bullies. As you struggle to survive each day those around you recognize the fact that you are defeated, and like other animals they attack relentlessly as if trying to eradicate the weak and wounded. Also, the teachers and other people in positions of authority are equally cruel as they struggle to ignore something they see, but which is a thing they have no control over. For a lack of any other solution the abused shoulders the shame and blame, turning school, church and other venues that are traditionally considered safe havens for children into unimaginable hells that are extensions of the hell waiting at home.
Carl carefully paints all this pain into this extraordinary work of fiction with seamless effort. Suggesting that he too has a deep personal relationship with abuse, I expect he is a fellow survivor and commend him for lending his heart to such a cause.
The book, while threaded with the important facets of child abuse is not actually centered or more aptly a slave to that subject. It is the story of Jayrod Nash, a young boy who although being abused still has the dreams that all children have. The book might be more accurately portrayed as a great train adventure. Once again Carl proves his worth as a writer and covers the hopes, dreams and aspirations of Jayrod as he embarks on a journey meant to not only save himself, but a journey that will allow him to survive his childhood while developing skills that will allow him to survive his manhood.
Every young boy dreams of a life on the rails of America, you will most certainly enjoy reading about Jayrod’s American odyssey. I too decided to take to the rails at the age of ten, but chickened out. I lived that fantasy vicariously through Jayrod and thoroughly enjoyed the trip. This is what writing is about, thank you for allowing me to take such a wonderful journey.
My own abuse ended with the death of my abuser, Jayrod escapes in a much different way. The book does have a happy ending, one that will allow Carl to write a sequel about Jayrod’s struggle as he grows. It will be a story of spending dozens of years or an entire lifetime to overcome what it took less than a decade to create.
I have no idea if Carl plans such a book or is aware of its potential, but I’m here to whisper it into his ear. “Hey Carl you could write a kick butt sequel to this.”
Would I read this book again? In a heartbeat, if not for an unusually busy week I would have read it in one setting. I read three books a week while commuting on trains. I think that qualifies me to give a pretty fair account of books with the exception of my own. After struggling through half of Moby Dick, I removed my book marker to keep it from killing itself, closed the book and immediately turned and gave it to someone on the train, I didn’t dare give it someone I knew. Ten pages into a William Faulkner book, I took it back to the library to keep myself from killing myself. I devoured The Night Train. I can’t wait to read further works by Carl, one of the newest budding Mississippi writers.
In 1873, Etta Wheeler, a nurse was making rounds in a tenement, in New York City. She had heard stories about a girl who was being held hostage and abused by her foster family. After talking her way into the apartment, she caught her first glimpse of nine year old Mary Ellen.
The child was barefoot, half clothed and half starved. A cat of nine tails lay nearby, and her arms and legs showed the effects of its use. Her face bore the look of suppression and misery. Over the next two months, Mrs. Wheeler reported the child’s plight to police and charities trying to save her, nothing was done. As there were no laws to protect children, no laws were being broken.
She contacted Henry Bergh, the president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which had been started nine years earlier. Bergh…
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Sometimes a writer feels as if he is an arrow being shot from such a remote dimension that no one can see where he is coming from. Like a sailor shouting warnings to his comrades against a gale that will not allow a single syllable to be understood amid the violence of the storm. Like a mountain climber after a trail collapse whose only option is to continue to climb toward insanity before being able to descend to safely.
On Monday, April 21, 2013 I will participate in the Million March Against Child Abuse with the Fort Lauderdale, Florida group. The hopes are that millions will participate, in different cities and towns from around the nation. I live in Miami and even though we have over 5.5 million residents I will need to drive an hour north to join the group in Fort Lauderdale. I have learned that one voice is a frail thing barely discernible above the calamities of life, but a group of voices has a fair chance of demanding attention.
I have learned that individuals can pull off atrocities, like bombing a marathon and become media darlings, but that the ten children beaten to death in America each day can never become anyone’s darlings. It has become common practice in America to give attention to the detractors and to ignore the heroes and in most cases the victims. Join us on Monday as we loose our arrows from a dark remote location into the light of a seemingly unconcerned world.
“They thought I had guts, they were wrong, I was only afraid of more important things.”
“Take a writer away from his typewriter and all you have left is the sickness which started him typing in the beginning.” Charles Bukowski
Charles Bukowski was an American writer/poet, born in Germany in 1920. He was a heavy drinking womanizer who has been called one of the most prolific and prophetic producer of prose of the last century. He has been described as a misogynist, a fatalist and his work is said to be saturated with defeatism. His work is infused with the literal and figurative profanity of our world. As with many of us who were abused he spent his entire life as an outsider trying desperately not to look or fit in. His work is unabridged unedited truth, truths which many will always refuse to believe.
He was severely physically abused by his father with a razor strop for most of his young life. He has been known to credit his father and that abuse for his becoming a writer, stating that his father taught him two valuable things about life, those two things, pain and truth and the ability to express and embrace both.
I too must acknowledge my abusers role in my success as a writer, as a father and ultimately as a man. Jack Cooper was a monster, but his monstrous behavior molded me into the caring man I would eventually become. One can never truly embrace heaven if he has never experienced hell. One can never truly embrace life if he has never experienced death. One can never recognize the spark of love in an eye if he has never stared into the maddened eye of hatred.
So, as Charles, known as Hank, continued to sling his arrows into the darkened abyss from some dimension unknown to the average man, those of the Million March Against Child Abuse and I will also continue to sling unacceptable truths from our own little corner of reality. We will shout into the darkened world, our truth, our knowledge and the nightmares of ten children who will today slip away into hell, watching as a loving fist repeatedly descend to end their young innocent lives.
“The truth is not popular, and those who utter it are enemies of us all.”
I suggest you turn away quickly you’re in danger of understanding something that shakes up your perfect little world. This story is rated DMT damned unpopular truth.