RedemptionBy: Edwina Fort
Gabriel and Yasmin’s Tale
Like everyone else who had come up in the age of the horror film, I believed that Ghost and Goblins that went bump in the night were to be feared. Like any child, I checked under my bed for the Boogie Man and said my prayers each night so that God would keep me safe from the Devil. After all, it was the Devil that was big, bad, and oh so horrible, right?
I could not have been more wrong! You see, in the last few months my eyes had been open to some mind-boggling truths.
Ghost and Goblins were all smoke and mirrors—fluff, basket fillers, entertaining stories to tell around the campfire. Sure, they go bump in the night, but outside of making a lot of noise they had no true power.
The Boogie Man was only as strong as you believed him to be. His power resides in your mind and its ability to imagine the possibilities.
The Devil can only cause damage if invited in. And even so, the amount of destruction he can cause depends on the condition of the environment in which he inhabits. But still, those beings I mentioned were not the most terrible. They don’t have the power to do the things my mind accused my eyes of lying—for seeing. I have learned a frightening and unimaginable truth.
It wasn’t the Devil that caused men to fall to their knees because their mind could no longer send the signal to their legs to stand due to complete and utter dread. It was not the evil ones who had power to crush this world and everything in it in a matter of seconds. I have seen the most vicious and it wasn’t demons. It was the ones who came in the name of The Ancient of Days to carry out his will. They are the most ruthless.
I had to learn that terrible lesson the hard way, taught to me by a man name Gabriel Calhoun, whom everybody called, The Beast of New York; a name in which he had earned. He was not who he appeared to be at first sight, which was ironic because neither was I.
I had been taught since I was a little girl to disguise myself. My granddaddy says my kind of beauty is dangerous. He knew this because I looked just like his mama, and her beauty drove his father insane with jealousy. Until one day, he shot her before turning the gun on himself.
Granddaddy say looks like mine attract beasts. I never would have imagined how true his words would prove to be. I don’t know if Gabe’s and I path were destined to collide, but collide they did—and proved that the age old tale of Beauty and the Beast was not just for white folks.
Only, there was no dancing dishes or pixie dust. There were no talking candlesticks and singing bureaus. It was just me, standing in a high-class strip club that I shouldn’t have been in; dressed in red patent leather boy shorts, a crop-top that barely covered my nipples and a pair of patent leather suspenders that had been taped to the underside of my breast. More scared than I had ever been. That night, I learned the most important lesson of my life.
It was never wise to tempt a beast.
* * * * *
“Yasmin, you’ve got to calm down. You look like you’re about to have a stroke!” Shanice said looking at me through the vanity mirror as she applied her makeup.
I twisted my mama’s ring around my middle finger, as for the hundredth time my eyes landed on the clock that was on the far wall of the dressing room. The second hand had ticked sixty times bringing the hour hand that much closer to landing on ten, and I felt like I was going to be sick. At ten o’clock I had been ordered to go out into a room full of men and show them my body.
“Yasmin!” Slamming her eyeliner down on the table, Shanice turned to look at me.
“I’m sorry, I just… I’ve never done anything like this. I never dress like this!”
“Girl it’s just a little mixing and mingling, it’s not brain surgery.”
She turned back around picking up her makeup brush and began applying concealer to her face.
“Just go out there, dance around a little, have a little chat with a few of the men, and maybe take off your top, easy-peezy.”
I looked at her as if she had gone mad. Easy-peezy? Up until two weeks ago, I had never even been in a room alone with a man, let alone dance topless in front of one.
“I’m sorry… I can’t do it.” I pleaded for her to understand.