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Zora's Darkness cover image

Zora Walker believed she had a great life. She dreamed of being an artist and had been accepted to a performing arts high school. She celebrated her acceptance with her parents, not realizing that would be one of their last happy memories as a family. Less than three years later, her world has turned upside down. Her father has been dead for years, and now her mother, Winnie, has been murdered by a Philadelphia cop. Read the preview of Mama before it releases in December.

Part One


I really hadn’t moved much since Tone’s parents dropped me off two days ago. I stayed in my same funeral clothes yesterday until it was almost evening. Normally, Gigi would have been all over me for not washing my behind, but I could bet she was in the same predicament as me. I hadn’t heard much movement from her either, except to go to the bathroom. The only reason why I changed was because those stockings were getting uncomfortable. I went into Mama’s room, and I found a pair of her favorite PJ’s. I knew I better take a shower before putting those on. She would have surely gotten me for that. I took a long shower. It was nice, but it wasn’t fulfilling.


I still needed to know what happened the night Mama died. You would think I’d have so many answers by now, but it seemed like for every question I asked, I only had more questions than answers. Do people not want to tell me the truth, or do they really not know? The only thing I knew for sure was that that nasty police officer murdered Mama, but the police department wouldn’t call it murder. The union rep, Brian Wetzler, just said it was a justified shooting.


Yeah…justify this.


And, it seemed like all of Philly PD had his back, the commissioner, the union. So much so, that they wouldn’t even release his name. Philly’s Police Commissioner, Charlie Tucker, would only say that the officer was at the raid, doing the intended job, and following the rules, but they weren’t there. I wasn’t really sure who was who, beyond their titles. I just knew they said they offered us their deepest sympathies and some other BS. Honestly, when I heard that, I just had to check out to keep my sanity.


I couldn’t understand it. The officer admitted to shooting Mama, but through a claim of self-defense. I knew my mother, and I knew she would not just attack a police officer. She had so much respect for the police, especially Philly’s police. She was a champion for community policing, and she was always working with the police department, the government, and community organizations to create better ways to have positive relationships with the police. Before this, I couldn’t think of a time when Philly PD acted like this, and I definitely couldn’t remember Mama ever talking bad about them. This was some new crazy ish happening all around the country. The one thing I knew for sure was that my mother would be the last person to attack a police officer. In fact, she would have probably tried to stop everyone else in that house from trying to do anything to them.


Mama would make me mad sometimes, and Uncle Marc and Uncle Lou all of the time, because she was constantly defending Philly PD. She always said that we had some of the best police officers in the country. Whenever something went down in the nation, she would always say, “Well thank God I don’t have to worry about that happening here”. When there would be protests in other cities, we would see tanks rolling through the streets like it was World War III, and we would see police officers beating protesters or rioters with batons. But, never here in Philly. Here, we had been at our highest high celebrating the Super Bowl win of our Eagles, and we’d been protesting for racial and gender equality, social and economic justice, and whatever else that seemed fit. And our current administration—the police chief, our mayor, and our police officers—had always either supported us in celebration or agreement. Better yet, though, even if they disagreed us with us, they stayed on the sidelines and protected us from the people who didn’t agree with us. Even when we had some craziness roll in at a café that made national news, Mama was one of the people talking with the police and the community to ensure that all the protests were peaceful and that it came to a swift resolution.


So knowing all of this, I could not understand how someone of supposedly such a high-esteemed organization could murder my mother. How could someone murder his greatest cheerleader? I had so many questions, and I was not going to have any type of sanity until I talked to Ms. Ruthie. I knew she was avoiding my house because she probably thought I blamed her. Honestly, I did a little bit. But, I blamed myself too, even more than her. And her children. Actually, there was a whole list of people that I blamed. Shoot…even my daddy was on that list. If he was still alive, then maybe none of this would have ever happened.


I wasn’t sure if anybody had taken dinner to Ms. Ruthie in the past few days. I didn’t even know what the street thought of her anymore. I did know that Mama would have pitched a fit because I had not gone over to check in on her. Even in her death, Mama still could be a thorn in my side. Go figure…


Everybody had been dropping off food to the house, and I knew that Gigi and I would never be able to finish all of it before it went bad. I made a couple of plates while Gigi went back to her house to get some more clothes. If Gigi knew I was going over there, I think she may have lost it for good. I looked up and down the street to make sure nobody saw me. I looked especially hard at Mr. Martin’s house to make sure that he wasn’t outside or by his window. When it seemed like all was clear, I took a deep breath and headed across the street to the killing hole.


Click here to continue to Part Two.

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