Who’s in the driver seat?

By: Jennie Fenix

Writing Prompt: No

Date: 1st Apr 2022

February 08, 2022
Hartford, CT

The vehicle pulls up near the front gate of the property. The gravel crunches from the tires rolling over on top of them, but the vehicle pulls over to the grass just to the side of the gate before the engine shuts off; the lights quickly follow. Jinx is sitting inside of the vehicle with both of her hands gripping the steering wheel; they tremble slightly from how hard she is gripping the wheel, and she takes a deep breath.

“What are you doing here?” Jennie asks herself. She opens the driver side door and places her foot against the gravel, but quickly retreats back to the security of the inside of the vehicle. “You should go!” She says louder than intended, and could not even keep her voice from cracking from how nervous she felt for even being here. “No, no, no! You need to do this, girl. You need to confront–” she turns her head toward the passenger side that is closer to the gate, and could see the famous phoenix emblem that was known to represent Tara Docherty, her older sister, “–her. You need to let her know that you are serious about being a fighter! You need to– to make her see.” Jennie says with a nod.

She forces herself from the vehicle and slams the door behind her. 

“Oh, shiii— Be quiet, darn you!” she says aloud. She glances around as if to search for security, but she knew that she would not find any…Tara was not the type of person to hide behind security. 

The gate was not there to keep people out; it was there to keep the animals from her sanctuary inside as they roamed the property freely. At least the ones that knew how to play nice. However, they still did like to stay near the back of the property where most outsiders would not be able to see what they were up to. There is a morning chill, and the sky is completely overcast; Jinx could hear the storm coming with the sound of rolling thunder. 

Jennie glances at her phone to check the time. 4:53, Jennie thinks to herself, “She should be up soon. I need to get in there.” Jennie says aloud after glancing at the time, and then begins to climb up the fence. “No silly gate is going to keep me out!” Jennie says to herself reassuringly, and with how much noise she has been making, it finally does gain the attention of some of the animals on the property…most of them are dogs, but there are a couple sheep and pigs that are coming to join in the mix while the dogs are howling as loud as they can… Jinx tumbles over the top of the gate and lands on her rear end on the other side, then immediately raises her hands as a defense from the animal attack.

“I’m a friend! Friendly!” Jennie insists.

She doesn’t even need to remind them… Most of the animals remember the younger sister, and she is swarmed by the stampede of dogs that are all excited for her to return. “Aww,” Jennie says while taking the time to pet each one individually, “Soxie, I missed you! And Ralph…Gemma…Rover…Dogger…Watch…Gladys…Morgan…Sir Frederick! Kip…Pudgy…Bowser…Arthas…” Jennie continues working her way through each and every name of the dogs. Tara has a lot of dogs. A LOT! Like…a lot a lot! After the dogs came the sheep. “Baa-b! Baa-njamin! Baa-tty!” Yes, she has to make the “baa” sound for every single one of the sheep. Rules are rules. The greeting with all of the animals continues for several minutes. 

Jennie finally stands up and brushes herself off. She looks toward the home to see that the lights on the property are now on. She takes a deep breath before she takes her first step toward the home, and soon goes into a brisk walk…it was going to be difficult for her to stay undetected with the amount of animals that were following her, and follow her they did! She is surrounded by a sea of fur babies that chase her as if she were going to frolic and play with them, and as she nears the house, she finally slows down.

“What are you doing?” Jennie asks.

Rather than going toward the house, Jennie does take a turn and starts walking along a dirt path that surrounds the property. The path would take her to all of the various aspects of the property…there was everything needed to provide for the wide array of animals that Tara took in. Whether they were farm animals, housepets, everything. Jennie found herself at the barn while more and more animals were rushing over to her while she commits to doing the daily tasks that Tara would frequently do on her own, and that she used to help with while she lived with her.

“Are you all hungry?” Jennie asks in conversation.

“I’m famished!” a voice calls out to her, and giggles.

“Me, too,” Jennie says.

“You look like you need a mental break, darlin’. Why don’t you have a seat?” the girl asks her.

Jennie shrugs her shoulders, and then finishes filling the feeders and then finally takes a seat on the wooden fence. She looks toward the east to see the sun starting to rise from over the horizon, and tucks her hands into her pockets.

“You had something that you needed to tell your sister, right? Isn’t that why you came?”

“Yeah, yeah. I just– I need to tell her that I’m not that same little girl she agreed to take in all those years ago…she taught me. She helped raise me, and for that, I’m always going to be appreciative, but she needs to let me stand on my own two feet. She needs to let me. Like she doesn’t see how much fight I give every single time I go out there, but I share that same attitude as her, y’know? I share that attitude…I want to do better. I want to be the best. But I’m not doing it for her, I’m doing it for me, y’know? I’m the baby of the family…I’ve always been the baby of the family. Chris was always overprotective of me, and Tara was the same: overprotective. Neither one of them seemed to realize that I grew up along the way, and I’ve dealt with some of the hardest shit that neither one of them have had to experience, and I hope they never do! But I’m still standing. I’m still breathing. I’m still getting up to do this shit all over again.

I understand more than they all know. I understand that she– doesn’t want me to be hurt… I understand that she wants to protect me. But I don’t need that protection. I don’t need her to fight my battles. I don’t need to hide behind her. I don’t need to hide behind anyone. I can take care of myself. Right? That’s what I’m always trying to prove to them…and prove to me…that I can take care of myself, but no one is letting me. Everyone wants to protect me.” Jennie sighs. “Like I’m weak… Like I’m some damsel in distress, but that’s not me.”

The voice began clicking its tongue, and answers back, “Booooorrrriiiiinnnng! What is it with all of you thinking that talking is the way to go? You know your sister better than that: she is a fucking WARRIOR! She is a BEAST! There is only one language she speaks and it’s called kick-your-ass, which means that you need to speak her language! You need to get into the ring with her, get your hands dirty, and show her how far that anger can take you!”

“No! She’s still my sister– we can still resolve this!” Jennie insists.

“NO! You can’t! You want her to respect you? You want her to leave you alone? You need to make her!”

“No–”

“MAKE HER! But damn it, girl, I just really don’t think you have it in you to fight her as hard as you’re going to need to so I’m going to make you a proposition, alright? Let me fuel you,”

“No–”

“Let me show you what you need. Let me just…hurt her…let me break her. I speak her language, honey, and I’m fucking fluent! P-p-p-p–p-p-please! Let me!” 

“No. Me and Tara can talk about this…like sisters…”

“Well–”

Jennie hears a sound in the distance, and raises her head, even tilting her head to listen closer to the sound.

“It looks like you may lose your chance.”

That wail: she immediately recognizes that specific sound belonging to that of an ambulance, and that she was far enough from the property that if it were coming this way it was for the one property. Jennie comes off the fence, and stumbles momentarily; she does regain her footing and hurries toward the household.


PRESENT DAY

“Wake up. It’s time to wake up.”

The voice stirs Jennie awake as she attempts to open her eyes, but where she was offered little protection from the morning light that brightens the interior of the vehicle. She pries her eyes shut and stretches her arms out before balling her hands up and instinctively rubbing her eyes.

“G’mornin’, sleepyhead…” Jinx says in a playful manner.

“What time is it?” she groggily asks. 

“Hmm. It’s almost seven.”

She sits up in the driver seat of the car and could hear the little whine that she had not heard in a while, but she immediately springs herself to full consciousness; she immediately loses focus on the voice that had stirred her awake, and focuses on the little whine from Pandabear, her Akita puppy that had been staying with Ricky at Thaddeus Duke’s house but because of an incident the previous night, she took them back.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” she says, and zips her hoodie up, and then opens the door and Pandabear scurries to the front and ready to leap out but Jennie stops her to attach a leash to her collar, and then finally picks her up and sets her down on the ground. Purrseus follows, “Stay close, mister!” Jennie says to the cat. She leaves the door open for Purrseus to be able to re-enter the car at his leisure while she walks Pandabear a bit to find a spot to do her business. 

The trio wander aimlessly for a couple seconds and Jennie continues her own conversation with them, “I’m sorry to have sprung the two of you so late and unexpectedly, and I wish that I had a nice place to take you…and we’re going to find a place! We’re going to find a great place, and it’s going to be ours. No one to hold it over our heads. No one to say that we owe them something for something we didn’t ask for…” she says. She could feel her knees weak, so she crouches down while Pandabear uses that extra leash to continue her search, “It’s going to be ours. It’s going to be a big yard, too! Where you can both run and play, and dig holes– I don’t care about holes… I’ll fill them myself. And– and– we’re going to have a pool. And a waterslide! Not one of those wimpy ones, either, it’s going to be one of those big ones you find at the theme parks.” She says and nods.

During her brief pause she could feel a vibration coming from her pocket; she reaches in and pulls the phone out. I don’t recognize this number… “Hello?” she answers the call despite not knowing the caller.

“Umm… Hi. Is this Jennifer?” the girl on the other end asks.

She sneers over the question, but she answers, “Speaking.”

“This is Emmy. I just have some information about your sister…I thought that you should know.”


APRIL 04, 2022
The day of the show.

“There’s no turning back now, sweetie…” Jinx says.

Jennie opens her eyes and just stares blankly upward. Today was the day…today was the day that Tara and Jinx would meet at FIGHT. 

“We tried it your way, honey, and it didn’t work. She wouldn’t give you the time of day! Today…today is my day. But do you think there was any truth in what that Emmy girl told ya?” Jinx asks.

“I really– I don’t know. Like…it would make sense, y’know?” Jennie answers.

Jinx scoffs, “I think she’s just trying to get me to take it easy on her. Probably ‘cause she loooooves her–” Jinx began making smooching sounds before resuming, “We agreed, right? Today is my day. I get to do what I want…”

Jennie’s lips begin to tremble. She plays out how tonight could go in every way imaginable, but she was only going to have one chance to ensure things are right.