The question screamed inside my brain.
Bouncing around in pinball fashion, rebounding and echoing, ever since the phone call.
I flopped down on the couch, vexed by self-inquisition.
Neither the brightly painted walls nor the peeling mural on the ceiling responded to my query.
I didn't want to be here. It was too eccentric, too loud, too…everything. Sensory overload inundated me.
As my eyes drifted aimlessly around the room, a wave of revulsion crashed over me.
Why to everything. Why was I here? Why had my father left me this God-awful place? Why were he and my mother dead?
An intense urge to escape overpowered me. I felt confined, imprisoned by this noisy, malodorous space. If I stayed another minute my head would explode. Grabbing my purse, I flew down the stairs and out the door. I'd run about twenty steps when a heavily accented man's voice warned, "Better lock your door! Thieves."
Startled, I stopped and turned so quickly I tripped over my own feet.
Oh God, why am I such a klutz?
Embarrassed by my awkward behavior and ignorance, I fumbled in my bag for keys, forgetting that the electronic door lock requires using the keypad, then glanced up to see who was issuing the admonition.
A short Italian man, who looked just like Mario from the video game, stood on the stoop of the adjacent building, smoking a cigarette. He scowled at me, hands on protruding hips.
Great, the Unwelcome Wagon. The strong smell of garlic drifted out his open door, assaulting me.
I hate garlic.
I blushed and attempted a weak smile while heading back towards my door. "Umm, yeah…. Thanks."
Focusing on my own doorway, I took a few clumsy steps, feeling foolish about my neophyte urban conduct. Liz, you're in the big city now, I chided myself. Kansas City's River Market area is not your idyllic little Ozark horse ranch, where you never needed to lock the doors. Feeling guilty for not acknowledging my neighbor any further, I glanced back up to see his door slamming shut.
I felt drained; all my emotions spent.
Typing the code into the keypad, I was now protected from "thieves" (and with all that damned garlic, werewolves) . I got in my car and turned on the ignition. For a moment, I wanted to lay my head on my arms and sob. Instead, I breathed in, wrinkling my nose at the intruding pungency, and drove slowly away. The large wrought-iron gates of Mt. Washington Forever Cemetery flanked me as I passed through them. I didn't even remember driving here, but somehow I had arrived.
A calming sense of familiarity came over me, and I traveled up the steep, winding lane, releasing a deep sigh.
God it's beautiful here.
I got out of the car, and noticed a black SUV driving slowly along on the avenue below.
A chill ran down my spine, then I felt foolish for letting everything get to me. I didn't recognize it, or know the make and model, but I'm not good at identifying automobiles, despite having recently test-driven dozens of them.
"Did you read all the consumer reports baby girl?" Daddy had questioned over dinner.
"Of course, Daddy. The Nissan tested the highest."
A new automobile - my parents' college graduation gift to me.
"Pick a model?"
I nodded admission, lest Mama reprimand me for talking with food in my mouth.
Daddy said we were going to Kansas City, grinned at Mama, and, as he always did, started singing the old song:
"Goin' to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come," he crooned, using his fork as a faux microphone.
We all laughed, because Daddy couldn't sing worth a damn.
"But Daddy, there's a Nissan dealer in town," I said.
"Yes sweetie, but Dan Albright is a prick, and we're not buying a car from him."
I snickered, my brother Tom snorted and Mama rolled her eyes. "Jim, don't talk that way at the dinner table," she said, but she was trying to refrain from chuckling too.
"Alice, there are a lot worse things I could have called him, and you know it. Like…"
Mama swatted at him with her napkin. "Don't you dare! Not at the dinner table!" She smiled though, with a tender look in her eyes.
Memories flooded over me as I approached the gravesite. Two fresh mounds. The sense of melancholy many graveyard visitors experience did not engulf me though.
ok, this one is a flop.
It's over written starting from the first three sentences: The question screamed inside my brain. Bouncing around in pinball fashion,
and then there's this clinker: vexed by self-inquisition.
followed by this: Neither the brightly painted walls nor the peeling mural on the ceiling responded to my query.
I've stopped reading at this point.
Over writing-using too many words, using complete sentences in thoughts, and saying things twice is one of the biggest faults I see in writing I'm getting in the slush pile.
You don't need Sensory overload inundated me to say "sensory overload". We infer inundated from sensory overload. Short sharp sentences communicate the feeling more than actual words.