Category Archives: Short stories
I heard his muffled cry from the bedroom. It was just a quick shriek at first. I listened and waited for it to escalate or to disappear entirely. When I didn’t hear another harsher cry I went back to the dishes. I was drying a plate when I heard the pained whimper.
I put the towel on the side of the sink and my hands flat on the edge. Again I waited. I knew I should go to him, see what was causing that terrible whine that was starting to pierce my heart but another side of me was terrified to go to him. I had heard that devastated moan before, I knew exactly what was causing it.
“Kelly,” he called. I turned toward the hallways, my decision being made for me. I walked through the short hallway to the bedroom. He was sitting on the ground, legs outstretched in front of him, head hung low. He looked like a child who just had his favorite toy taken away from him.
“Hon?” I whispered.
He looked up. I saw complete devastation on his face. I knelt beside him and wrapped my arms around his shoulders. I patted his side.
Finally he spoke, “I thought I was doing well. I thought I was trying. Why me? Why?” he kept asking the last question over and over again. I couldn’t look him in the eyes, couldn’t give him an answer because I had no answer to give him. No answer at least that would make all this go away and would make him feel less like he was dying.
“You know they have ways of making the decision They say they don’t make them simply. It hurts them too,” I told him. Such empty and rehearsed words. I knew exactly how they made their decisions and it was nothing short of throwing darts at a board.
I didn’t say anything more as he cried himself into silence. I just stared at my reflection in the mirror that hung on the back of our closet door. I looked, at least to me, calm and put together. I was being the rock he needed right now. I was holding my boyfriend as he grieved the loss of his dreams. I was keeping my face straight and devoid of emotions to keep him calm.
My mouth quirked up at the edges. I should have registered as wanting to be an actress instead of company assistant. I had learned quite skillfully how to hold back all the emotions that chased themselves around my mind. Right now I was breaking and I couldn’t show it. My love was watching his own world crumble around him and it was all because of me. I had caused all this pain and the worst part was that he didn’t even know. He blamed some featureless company, New Day, a name that made people shake when anyone even mentioned that place.
He sat up and wiped his eyes on the back of his hand. “I’m going to go make the arrangements. Get this whole hell over with,” he gave me a peck on my cheek and went to find his phone in the kitchen.
I watched him go, leaning my head back against the bed and took deep breath. I let it out slowly, feeling my chest deflate. My heart calmed and I managed to hold in the tears that were stinging the back of my eyes.
I hadn’t known what was I was doing when I had begun the project. They had only asked me to make a census type list at first. The wanted everyone’s name and registered dreams. I had done the task never thinking twice about what I was doing. They did this occasionally, made a quick list to see what the trend would be like and how the world could be changing soon. Usually it was just information to pass on to tech companies and medical personnel. Stuff like, a number of people have registered as wanting to rework the tablet computer to make life even more convenient, better alert the big technology companies and big wigs. Give them a heads up on who to follow and who could end up being a competitor sooner or later. Many people are now determined to scale the tallest mountains, better staff the hospitals nearby.
The dream registry concept was kind of a passing joke throughout the country. No one knew why it had really started. Something about wanting to show the world the number of different and innovated dreams that Americans were working towards each and every day. It wasn’t mandatory to register but almost everyone did because when you did you got resources to help you. Usually it was spam papers from companies wanting your business but sometime it was useful stuff like conference notifications and new classes teaching what you needed to know. You did it without really thinking twice about it
So I had never thought too hard about them taking a greater interest in the list. That was until they start making me track select groups of people. They all of sudden had a vast amount of information about what certain people bought and where they shopped. They knew who was taking classes, who was going to retreats to help them better themselves. They knew who was making new contacts and who was just sitting around not doing much.
“Why do you care?” I had asked one day as I had handed over a folder full of papers on the latest group.
“We did not become the greatest by being lazy and waiting for the world to change around us. People here work towards what they want. We will ensure that, that practice continues.”
It was just last year that I saw what I was helping them do. They took over every channel on TV and the radio and made the announcement. The president and CEO of New Day stood before his microphone and told the country about a new way of life. From that day onwards everyone would be watched though that wasn’t real new information since everyone knew they were being watched already. Spending would be tracked, visits to stores would be monitored. In every place you visited some of the people would be plants, sent to keep an eye on you. Not every single citizen would be watched but you couldn’t know if or if not you were being selected. Best to work and not to worry. If you worked and didn’t waste your time and the countries resources you would be perfectly fine.
If it was determined you were not working towards your goal and you are not seen to ever begin the work properly you would be notified. There were no warnings. You would receive a call saying you were done and you could no longer achieve what you desired. You could not register for necessary classes, buy certain items or watch shows with the themes of what you had once hoped to achieve. You would be cut off from that portion of the world.
Of course chaos had ensued throughout the country. Once the first calls came and it was seen that it wasn’t all a game it was too late they had completely closed their hands around our necks. We couldn’t do anything, we couldn’t get away. Who knew who was following you or how far their influence reached. Some rebelled but many began to work with vigor determined to never get that call. The land of the free became the land of the controlled and I had helped start it all.
“Tomorrow at 10,” he was leaning on the door, eyes on the ground. “You’ll come right?” he sounded as if he was doubting me.
“Of course,” I told him. He nodded and went into the living room. I heard the muffled sounds of some sitcom. I waited for the renewed sobs when he flipped the channels and realized that he could no longer access the history channel, his favorite channel.
Mike had registered as wanting to become a world renowned historian. He didn’t give any more details then that when he had done his paper work. That had made him an easy target. New Day loved people like Mike. They registered this huge and broad dreams with so many different parts to them that it was simple to say, “Nope, they aren’t working on this piece, lets end this.” People like Mike became examples for everyone else. Those who had very specific dreams with real details had a much better chance of never getting that call.
Why I stood up and made my way to the living room I had no idea. Mike was watching a home shopping channel. “I’m so sorry,” I said, surprised my voice was still strong. “I did all this.” I should stop talking right now. I was not allowed to say these words out loud. Why was I doing this to him? I was all he had left and now I was taking even that from him. Did I want him to be completely destroyed? What was I doing?
“What?” he hit mute and looked up at me, confused.
“I started this whole thing. That call you got? I drafted it. I helped track everyone, made all the lists they use. I didn’t know what they were doing. I swear,” I didn’t move. He was watching me like I was an alien life form, speaking a completely different language.
“You?” was all he asked. I nodded, my long held in tears spilling from my eyes.
He stood up. I flinched. He had never attempted to hurt me before but I had just told him all his pain was my fault.
He gave me the most disappointed look before turning and walking out the door. I watched him go and finally broke down.
I wasn’t welcome here. I knew that. I knew I was being insensitive and I should leave right now. He was already having to be reminded with each hug that his life was now pointless. To have me looking back at him was going to be like being slapped across the face. But I still loved him and I needed to be here. If not for him then for myself.
I was next in line. He looked up at me. I held out my arms and when he didn’t move I walk to him and wrapped him in a hug. A hug he did not return. I turned and went to the side room where his casket stood.
This part was not New Day’s idea. It was all created by those who had gotten the call and it was their way of dealing. It was a way of putting an end to the whole ordeal. This was a way to bury the pain in some manner. Mike’s casket was pretty bare. His registration form and a few of his favorite articles about new discoveries were all that laid on the white cushions.
My hands brushed the page and I sighed. How could I let this happen to our lives?
A hand squeezed my shoulder. I turned to find Mike watching me, “You caused this. You can fix it.” he looked down at me.
“I can’t,” I told him, my voice and heart breaking. “I have no access to any of this.”
“You can give me yours,” he said. There was the opportunity for one person to trade their dreams for another. You signed over your potential so someone else could succeed.
I felt something snap in me and before I knew it was I was on the ground laughing so hard I could barely breathe. I couldn’t put a real thought together. Tears rolled down my cheeks and a sharp pains started in my sides.
Mike just watched me with anger and a bit of fear on his face.
I finally gained control of myself and said from my place on the ground. “ I can’t. I already achieved mine. I registered as wanting to help a company change the world. Exactly one year ago today I did just that,” I breathed out. He walked away without a word and I let the laughter and sobs fight each other for dominance as I laid on the ground completely broken
I rubbed the ache in my chest again. My friends barely noticed, they were too busy ordering another round of drinks. They handed me a bright blue shot. I didn’t ask what was in it. It didn’t matter, I wasn’t driving and the goal was to stop thinking and not remember this evening. The plan was to black out the world for a little while and I was well on my way to accomplishing that goal.
Rachel had told me, “I’ll make sure you survive the night, so have fun.” I trusted her. I wouldn’t wake up in an alley or on someone else’s lawn. I would wake up in her bed or on her couch and that was all that mattered right now.
She knew I needed this night out. I needed to forget where I was and what had been happening over the last week. I had tried everything from binge watching mindless television to excessively working to keep myself occupied. Anything to ignore the bruises and the aches that kept appearing all over my body. If I drank until I couldn’t see straight then I could wipe this craziness from me. At least for one night.
“You still here?” I heard Rachel whisper in my ear. She was the only one I had told about what had started happening exactly a week ago.
“Half,” I told her. I reached out a hand for the bright pink drink in her hand. “Need to go over the edge.”
“Any new ones?” she asked.
“No idea, that is the point of this.” I told her. I sucked down the pink concoction. It was sickly sweet but left a burn that I would be feeling for a while. I wondered as I rubbed my chest again if he/she was feeling the same effect. I laughed to myself. After what I had endured this was nothing for them. Hell, they might even be enjoying it.
The world was starting to spin. I I had to hold onto the edges of my seat to keep myself from tipping over and landing on the ground. That is all I would need, a few extra bruises and bumps. I straightened myself and reached out for another drink.
The sun was so bright, like it had been set to blazing. The birds weren’t singing this morning, they were legit screeching at me. And whoever was stomping around the apartment needed to quit before I jumped up and chopped off their feet.
“Glad to see you are still with us,” It was Rachel. Did she have to scream? Couldn’t she just whisper? I waved at her and slid my head under my pillow, trying to muffle some of the chaos around me. The world muted but it was still too loud, I needed everyone to just go silent for a day.
I felt a tug at my pillow. I tried to hold on but she was much stronger then me and at a better angle. She pulled it off and the world came back at me full volume. I tried not to cry.
“Go away,” I whined.
“No,” Rachel was tapping my arm. I pulled up my head, my tangled hair falling into my face and gave her a glare. She was grinning one hand held out with a two pills on her palm. There was a glass of water on the nightstand. “Take these and come into the kitchen with me.”
“Don’t wanna,” I told her.
“Don’t care. I let you have you fun last night. I let you drink yourself into literal darkness. I understood that you needed it for one night. I put you to bed. Now you have to deal with the after affects and I get my turn to help you,” she was still tapping me. “Take them. Now.”
I groaned and sat up. I knew if I didn’t listen she would just get louder and more annoying. The woman wasn’t good with the word no, and either was I. We were probably the two most stubborn people on the planet and if we decided to battle it out we would be here for a while. I really just wanted to sleep and not to argue so I gave in.
I took the pills with the water. It was lukewarm. They went down pretty roughly making me cough.
“Come on,” she threw the covers off my legs. I saw I was still in my clothes from last night.
“What, couldn’t put any pajamas on me?” I teased her.
“You were lucky I got you into that bed. I can only perform so many miracles in a day,” she told me.
“Fair enough,” I stood up and was glad to see the world didn’t sway.
I followed her into the kitchen. On the dining room table there was McDonald’s fries and toast. I laughed to myself. She might be a stubborn bitch sometimes but she did know me well. This was why we were still friends.
I sat down and ate a handful of the fires. My stomach was already feeling calmer.
“So are we going to talk about what is going on? Or am I going to talk while you glare and groan?” she asked.
I held up two fingers. I didn’t feel like talking at the moment. All I wanted right now was food and sleep.
“Fine,” she snapped. She wasn’t even trying to hide her annoyance anymore. “Have you told anyone but me about the bruises? Does anyone else know you’ve been connected?”
I shook my head no, as I licked the salt from my fingers.
“Surprise, surprise. So what are we going to do about it?” she asked.
I shrugged. My head was still pounding and my stomach was just stopping it swaying. I had no plan for any of this and I didn’t want to try to come up with one right now. My body was in revolt and I didn’t need my brain to be freaking out as well. One problem at a time. Once the physical side of me was calm again then maybe I could jump into the emotional hurricane, but not right now.
“No shrugging at me and no more ignoring this. You have been avoiding this for a week. It is killing you. Last night you tried to literally drink it away and that worked so well. You need to go down and register, find him and work from there. You know you only get one connection and if you don’t find him you could lose him. Do you want that?” she asked me.
“What I want right now is a shower and then a nap,” I told her. “Thanks for the breakfast,” I picked up my keys and shoes. I gave her a one armed hug and headed toward the door. I was not going to argue with her when I felt like my head was going to split open.
I heard a muffled, “Dammit,” follow me out the door as I left to go home.
Did I really need a headache and nausea on top of everything else I had to deal with? Did she not understand the concept of being connected? What she did I felt, and vice versa. Then again I couldn’t really blame her; if this was my pay back I could deal with it.
I hissed as I laid a washcloth to my newest cut on my upper arm. It was angry red with dried blood around the edges. After a moment I pulled back the cloth and saw that much of the blood was gone. I laid a bandage over it and wrung out the cloth. I laid it over the edge of the sink and looked at myself in the mirror.
My face looked perfect. There wasn’t a cut or bruise to be seen. From just my face you would think I was happy and safe. When I met people I gave them a big and genuine smile. My voice was alway happy and pleasing. You would have no idea that from the neck down my body was a disaster.
If you saw my chest and upper legs, my shoulders and arms you would see how I really was. I kept that smile on my face to hide what was under my clothes. I had to hide it all. I couldn’t let anyone know. If they knew they would take her away and put her somewhere I couldn’t get to. They would treat me like a victim, reassuring me over and over again that it wasn’t my fault. I would get hugs and tears, pats on the backs and offers for condolences. None of which would heal the bruises, broken ribs or cuts. None of which could turn back time and keep her from losing control that one night that set flipped the switch. None of those words were going to help me fix her.
They wouldn’t understand. I didn’t stay out of fear of her. Could she kill me if she wanted to? Most likely. I have about fifty pounds on her, as well as much more muscle, but she was smart and cunning. She knew how to use what was closest, she knew how to keep me down and she knew that the last thing I would do was hurt her. She could get out of control but she was always able to pull back before she did any major damage. For her to survive, I needed to survive and she knew that.
No one else would understand and I couldn’t have her branded as evil or cruel. She was just sick and I was the only who could help her. I had a price to pay for being beside her but I knew what I was doing. I had everything under control until this damn connection came into play.
Now, not only did I have Susan and her breakdowns to deal with, but I had my supposed “soulmate’s” poor choices kicking me when I was down. I am getting pummeled from both sides and I clutched onto the sink and wondered how long I could keep this mask plastered on my face.
I expected the knock to come hours earlier. It was almost six when I heard the soft knock on the door. I didn’t act surprised when I opened it to find Rachel on the other side.
“You’re late,” I told her as way of greeting.
“Excuse me?” she looked confused.
“I expected you to come bug me about this hours ago,” I told her.
“I had to get something,” she came inside without invitation. I noticed the papers in her hands now.
“Oh, come on,” I whined. “Did you really go and get them? Can’t you just leave this all alone?”
“You wake up each morning with a new bruise or cut. You are my best friend, and not only do I not want to see you being hurt but someone else is obviously being destroyed as well. Do you want to lose your soulmate and end up being lonely forever? Do you want to have their possible death on your hands?” She turned and headed to the living room when I didn’t say anything.
“What are we supposed to do exactly?” Again I wasn’t in the mood to go into a stubbornness battle with her. Being used as a punching bag was getting old I did have to admit. I never actually felt the impacts, just the after effects. They came in slowly but it was definitely getting old. I was out of ideas of how to deal with this. So I guess I could listen to whatever mad idea Rachel had come up with.
“You know the basics. Every new child is injected with this serum at birth and after 23 you can become connected. One day you wake up physically feeling whatever your intended soulmate feels. They stub a toe and a few minutes later you toe is killing you. First it is just physical but it evolves to an emotional connection after a while,” She was sitting with her back against my arm chair.
I nodded. You learned about the whole process in middle school. It was all complete bullshit but I knew how the idea worked.
“Now you can go to City Hall to have them help you find your soulmate if you want. You register, they use their database and some magic I don’t understand, to find whoever it is. You find them, you both seal the connection and then you run off and live happily ever after,” she was fanning out the papers in her hands.
I sighed and waved her on. “Get on with it. I know this and I am bored.”
“Now what they never told us in school was two things. Number one, is you can actually disconnect from someone if you so desire. If you want to be alone or hate people or whatever you can disconnect and then you are free. But you can’t ever be connected again,” she looked up at me.
“Knew that. I was told that a while ago, don’t remember by who. But yeah I knew all that,” She looked a bit shocked but nodded and continued on.
“Number two, is that if you suspect abuse of your soulmate, whether from someone else or themselves, you have a legal obligation to report it,” She informed me.
“Okay but what if you aren’t sure there is abuse?” I asked her.
“You look like an abstract painting. I saw your back last night. It is a patch work of blue and purple. I think that qualifies.”
“No, it actually doesn’t,” I didn’t look down at her paper, which I was sure had a plan to fight me with. “We do not know the source of this. We could bring down cops and state officials onto someone who just can’t walk over a flat surface. Now is that fair?”
“Someone is abusing your connection!” Rachel snapped. “How can you not care? Even if you take out the connection part, do you not care about someone getting hurt!?”
“A. Do not try to label me some cold hearted bitch you doesn’t care. You know better then that. B. We don’t know anything. Maybe they are a cage fighter and lose a lot? Or maybe they are a thrill seeker and fall down hills all the time? We do not know anything for sure,” I told her.
She took a deep breath trying to calm herself. “Fine,” she pointed down at the papers. “Here are all the papers you need to have them find the person. Fill them out and find them. See for yourself what is going on. I knew you wouldn’t do this the easy way. So here,” she stood up. “I just hope you aren’t too late and I hope it doesn’t end up kill you in the process.” She turned and headed out, the door slamming behind her.
Susan was just finishing up putting the lid on her coffee when I came into the kitchen. She gave my a sad smile.
“How are you?” she asked quietly. I could hear the guilt in her voice. It was almost a permanent part of her personality these days.
“I’ve been better and I have been worse,” I told her. It was my usual response to the daily question.
“I’m so sorry,” she came over and wrapped her arms around my waist and kissed my cheek. I let her sink into my chest, “I’m trying,”
I winced at the pain in my head. She pulled back her eyes swimming with tears, fear evident on her face. Worried that even something this simple was hurting me.
“No, it wasn’t you,” I reassured her. “It’s my head.”
“You have a headache?” she asked gently. She walked to the counter and got me two aspirin and filled a glass of water. I took the pills with a grateful smile and swallowed them down.
“I have to get to work,” she squeezed my hand, her eyes begging me to understand and to not give up on her for just a little big longer. I nodded and watched her leave the house.
Once I was positive the car was long gone I got my own keys. I needed to get City Hall. I needed to break this connection. I knew what the decision meant. I knew that this was the end of my possible soulmate, the end of the possibility of having a perfect life handed to me on a platter. I didn’t have the time or energy to think about all I was giving up by breaking this connection. Did I believe in this concept? I didn’t know and I didn’t have the luxury to research or think it through. Susan needed me and right now that was all that mattered.
City Hall was packed today. I glanced down at my watch, it was one. Of course it was packed, it was lunch hour. Everyone here had a finite amount of time to iron out whatever drama they were dealing with and get back to the office in time to have a bite or two of their sandwich. This was going to be even more of a headache then I previously thought.
I almost left and headed back to my apartment but I remembered the anger on Rachel’s face and her accusation. It only took me about ten minutes after Rachel left to realize how much of a point she had. Yeah, whoever was my supposed soulmate was not someone I knew personally and I didn’t know what his problem was but I did know that whatever was happening was seriously starting to hurt me. After she left I got up, gathered together the papers and filled them out. They were pretty basic and were not asking me for too many details but as I was filling them out I hit my side on the counter and nearly broke down into tears. I didn’t do pain well and I needed to end this horrible ordeal and quickly.
So here I was off to see if I could find this person and figure out what was going on. I could sever the connection fully and be completely done with this forever but there was this little voice that was whispering to me. It wanted to know what was going on. So more out of curiosity than anything else I was here.
My goal was to turn the papers in, get the address and name and go find this person. I would figure out if they were just some clumsy idiot who couldn’t walk straight or if they actually needed some type of help. What I would end up doing from there I have no idea. I would pass that threshold when I got to it, right now I needed to find the main office first.
I found the elevators and hit the button. A second later the elevator arrived.
“Hold the doors, please,” I heard a man’s voice call just as the doors started to close .I held the button even though I couldn’t see who the owner of the voice was. A few seconds later a tall, brown haired stranger entered, glanced at the buttons and waited to ride the car up to the right floor.
I was only a few inches shorter then the man but the way he held himself made him seem feet not inches taller then me. I stopped leaning back on the wall and stood up straighter. He didn’t look at me or say a word. His eyes stayed trained on the numbers as the floors slid by.
We got to the fifteenth floor, the doors opened and he exited first. I followed. We both walked straight down the hall. He was quick, knew where he was going. He turned right at the last door on the end, he reached out and grabbed the door knob; as he did his arm swung out and his sleeve slid up just a few inches. I saw for half a second a bruise ring on his wrist.
He went into the room. I stopped and pulled out my own right sleeve and looked down at the bruise there. I shook my head, it was nothing. I pushed it from my mind and headed into the office.
The office was half filled. On the counter there was a ticket dispenser. I took a number, 37. They were on 31.
I glanced around and saw two seats. One in the far corner and one beside the mystery man from the elevator. I took the seat beside him.
I didn’t say anything. Just sat and crossed my legs. I made sure to act like I had no idea who he was. I watched the people around me. Two individuals stood at the counter, having a muffled conversation. While others were sitting bent over clipboards filling out some sheets, that were probably similar to the ones clutched in my hands.
Some people looked excited. They were here to get that coveted name and address. Maybe within the next hour they would be face to face with their soulmate. A soulmate supposedly found by some highly scientific process that one could even begin to explain to me. They would meet and would assume they were in love. From that very moment on they would start forcing all their actions to work with this person because they were their soulmate, so of course whatever they were doing was right. That annoying laugh you could barely tolerate was suddenly cute because they were the “one.” Need to change your style to make them happy? Sure that was fine because they are the love of your life so it was right. All those things you normally would run from screaming were suddenly bearable and perfect because they had to be. It was all ridiculous.
Others looked more sane. They were here to disconnect and get control back for themselves. They would choose who they loved, not some process that no one actually understood. Like me they didn’t automatically assume that this soulmate was their chosen one and that they would be perfectly happy after they met. They decided to think with their own brains and not their hearts. Smart people.
“Ouch,” I screeched, hand going instantly to my side where the ache came from, just as the man beside me hissed and clutched his side in the exact same spot.
I looked over and caught his eyes, they were wide in shock and fear. He quickly turned away trying to pretend nothing happened. He folded his arms across his chest causing the side of his shirt to rise a few inches. I saw the finger shaped bruise on his hip.
I pulled up my shirt and saw the exact same bruise.
“You,” I hissed at him. He rose to his feet and began to rush away, not saying a word.
“Oh no,” I said to myself. He was my man and he wasn’t getting away from me that easily. I followed behind him, keeping to his heels until he was out of the office. Once we were both clear of the door I grabbed his wrist and felt an ache go up my arm.
“Where the fuck do you think you are going?” I snapped.
He finally stopped to look at me.
“You talk?” I asked.
“My name is Zack. I’m sorry,” he said.
“Not what I was looking for but name is Samantha. Now what is going on with you?” I asked. I was not in the mood to have a long conversation full of introductions and small talk.
“Nothing. I’m sorry you are affected but it’s personal,” he said. “Let me go back in and break the connection and it will all stop.” He turned to walk around me.
I should have just let him go but something stopped me. I grabbed his arm again. Again the bruise there throbbed.
“Not until I get an answer. What is with the new coloring?” I asked. I pulled back my sleeves to show my black and blue arms. “I look like a modern art paining. Explain.”
“I can’t. I am sorry. Just let me go fix this,” he told me.
“Are you being abused?” I asked plainly. This man wasn’t going to spill his secrets to me at the moment. The only way I was going to get any type of answer was if I somehow guessed it.
“It is not that simple. She is sick. She needs me. I just have to deal,” is all he said. “Can I go in now? Please?” I let him walk in the door.
They were on number 35. I was next. I didn’t retake my seat. I just stood on the wall, anxiously waiting for the woman ahead of me to finish. Samantha didn’t follow me inside. I don’t know what to make of her. She was pretty but blunt. She didn’t have stars in her eye unlike so many did when they were connected. She seemed closer to Earth. If I didn’t have Susan would we get along? Could she possibly be the one?
I hit my head back against the wall. None of that mattered anymore. Maybe in another timeline we would be connected and fall into each others arms. We would be perfect but that wasn’t here and now. Now I had to break this so my decision stopped hurting her.
“36?” they called. I walked up to the window.
“How can we help you today?” “I need to be disconnected,” I told the lady. Her eyes instantly lost their sparkle.
“Would you like to speak to someone first? Would you like a pamphlet on the process? How long have you been connected? Have you considered every single possibility?” she asked one question after another. I was prepared for this. They wanted to make sure you completely understood what you were doing.
“I know it all. Just please let me disconnect,” in the end it was my choice and my choice only.
“Sure,” she held out a clipboard with two sheets on it. “Fill out both and bring them back here.” she sounded as if she was helping me bury someone.
“Thanks,” I turned and found the first open seat.
I was half way down the first page when someone sat down beside me.
“How sick?” the familiar voice asked. It was softer then her accusing one from the hallway.
“It is complicated,” I told her not taking my eyes off the paper.
“Well, in my experience things that are complicated are easier to deal with, with two people. Alone it can look like a mountain to tackle but with a friend maybe it is only a hill.” she said. She put her hand on my paper and I had to stop and listen to her. “This concept is all bullshit, I know that. I don’t know you and I don’t understand your problem but I know the effects of it; at least physically. I can only imagine the emotional trauma. You can’t do this alone. Now I am not saying I want to end up being carted off into the sunset with you but you are going to need some help, a friend. So put down the pen and come get a cup of coffee with me. You can explain some of it and I can make my decision from there . If it is too much for me to even think about I will walk away and you can finish filling these out. But maybe, just maybe I can help you in some fashion. Maybe I can be a friend,” she save me a small grin.
I should have politely told her no and finished my task. This was my problem and pulling in a complete stranger was cruel and potentially dangerous. Then again I was so tired. This process was starting to get exhausting. It might be nice to have a shoulder to lean on and an ear to talk to.
“One cup,” I told her. I put the board and pen on the chair. She led the way out the door. As I left I could have sworn I saw a smile thrown my way by the receptionist.
A/N: Todays prompt was free write for at least 400 words and the twist was to write something you think is too silly or have been hesitant to write about. I choose to do actually just type up the story without handwriting it first, something I never do and I kinda see why. Stuff comes out too disjointed I think.
I leaned up against the window and looked at the dark shelves. Jackson said the book was on the back shelf near the top. He said, that it was hidden in a secret compartment that you had to pull out the right combination of other books to find. But it was there.
I jiggled the handle of the door. Of course it was locked. It was midnight, no book store was open at midnight. I looked around me, trying to see if anyone was watching. The streets were empty. Then again if I was seen breaking in, no one would question me. The bad guys were the good guys here. They would give me respect, think I might be able to pull some strings and get them out of trouble. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to be a villain.
So I made sure no one saw as I broke the little glass window above the knob. I carefully slid my hand inside, avoiding the shards of glass and twisted the lock. Once it was open, I pulled out my hand and opened the door. I slinked inside and ducked down. Praying no one saw me.
Once I was sure that I was safe I straightend up and ran into the shelves space. I carefully picked my way through the rows, making sure not to knock anything over or trip on the carpet. Once I was in the very back of the store, I looked around until I found the shelf that Jackson had mentioned. Right at the back in the corner.
I went over and began to pull the books off the shelf in the order he told me, I was just about to pull the last one when I felt a small hand on my back. I dropped the books and froze. Who was it? Was it the owner? Were they going to start questioning me now? Were they going to try to make me a friend of theirs to be used later? I didn’t say anything, I just waited anxiously for the person who was touching me to speak.
“I see we have found our way here finally,” the voice was soft and slow. It was female and I felt like something was inching up and down my spine. I knew what I was going to see when I turned around.
I spun and there before me stood HER. She was dressed in a long black dress, with a dark green outline. Her black hair laid over her back, straight and out of the way. She had on red lipstick and a cruel smile that I could just make out through the shadows. She gestured to a chair beside me. I sat down, knowing that if I didn’t do it voluntarily she was going to make me do it anyway.
I still didn’t speak. I waited for her to curse me, hurt me or try to make me one of her.
“So what took you so long?” she asked. She was trying to sound sweet and kind but the words just weren’t work. There was too much poison in her veins for any kindness to be able to live.
“I don’t understand,” I said. The words were truthful, I had no idea what she wanted from me.
“I have been at this for many years my dear boy. And you are the first to come looking for the book. Many speak of it, many say they have read it and many make up descriptions and stories to prove that they have read it But you are the first to actually come looking for it. Why? She was sitting in her own chair. Arms crossed, studying me.
“Because they all say that in it the hero wins. I have to see if it is true,” I told her. I knew lying was pointless she would see right through each and every word.
“So? What if the hero does win? What does that matter?” she asked me.
“It matters to me. The heroes don’t win anymore. Every story end with the ‘villian’ wining, the one who causes all the pain and hurt. It sucks and I am tired of that world. I wanted to see if another world was possible,” I felt my voice getting smaller and smaller. I felt like a toddler, waiting for my parents to tell me to stop being silly and grow up.
She smiled, a smile that crinkled her eyes and made me squirm. It was one of pride. “Good.” she stood. “Finally we have found you.”
“What now?” I felt like I had whiplash. I was scared and now I was confused and a bit intrigued.
“I have been waiting for you.”
“Because the stories are dying. They need to be saved. They can’t continue to live as they are. The villains can not always win while also the heroes can not alway lose. These stories,” she waved at the shelves. “Are old and worn out. It is the same tale over and over again. I am dying because of them. I need you to set things right again,” She moved to the shadows.
I waited, still trying to figure out what exactly was going on. Set things right? What things? Her world that she ruled? Why? Or was it more she needed me to save her. Should I do that?Should I run? Or will she just catch me.
“Here,” she handed me a pen and paper.
“Okay…,” I took them, no idea what I am supposed to do with them.
“Write the new stories. Make this world live again. Show the people that villains can be good and evil, same goes for heroes. Make the sidekicks rule the world while the main character fade into the background. Make a story that no one can understand, but is still intriquing. Write life for me,” she came over and kissed my head. “Thank you for my dear for being the only one to come looking for a new ending.”
A/N: Todays prompt was to take the scenario of Mrs. Pauley and old woman who has lost her husband and her six sons are no longer living at home. She has fallen on hard times and people come to evict her. The idea is to tell the story from the 12 year old child across the streets perspective. The twist was to write in first person perspective
It was a rare day. I was allowed outside today. I’m not allowed out normally. My parents say it is too dangerous outside, people disappear too often. Usually I just stay inside and read my books playing inside the story world on my virtual reality device. I like it in there, so many different places to go to.
But sometimes it is a safe day and today is one of those days. There is no danger of me being taken my mom says. I don’t know why today is any different then yesterday or the day before but my parents say it is okay and they are my parents so they know what they are talking about.
The sun is warm on my face. I giggle as the wind lifts my hair and throws it in my face. I pull the strands away only to have them come crawling back. I feel like I am playing with a wind spirit, like in my fantasy stories. I imagine a little sprite playing a trick on me.
The birds sing from the trees. It is nice to hear them, to hear actual chirping instead of the fake tracks that play in my games and sometimes in our house. We can watch the TV and hear the bird sounds and feel the “wind,” but it isn’t real. I like being out here where the world is real.
I sit down on the stone steps and prop my head on my hand. I don’t know what to do now that I was outside. I wasn’t allowed to go for a walk by myself. I was never allowed to do that even before people started disappearing. A few people walk pass our house on the sidewalk but they don’t pay any attention to me. Today is a safe day so no one really looks at anyone else.
I was so eager to be released from my house, to finally get out into the sunshine and the cool breeze but now that I was out here I was bored. I had freedom but I didn’t know what to do with it.
I lifted my head and scratched at a scar on the back of my hand. It was just a line that I had had since I was a baby. My parents said all kids nowadays had them. I wished I had friends like I used to have. But no one had friends anymore. At least not like in the stories that I read. I liked those stories that have two best friends taking on the evil world around them. They would laugh and tease each other but then jump in front of fireballs and off bridges to save each other. I wanted that. But it wasn’t safe to get close to anyone you weren’t related to anymore my parents told me. You didn’t know who was working for “them,” and if you talked to the wrong person you could end up gone.
My excitement for being let outside had evaporated. I didn’t know what to do and now I felt more trapped then before. I was sitting here but I couldn’t really do anything. Everything beyond my doorstep was dangerous, and I didn’t know why! I was on feet and about to go back inside when something across the street caught my eye.
Three men were walking up Mrs. Pauley’s driveway. I liked the old woman. She would wave at me sometimes from her window. She always looked sad though. My dad said it was because she lost her husband, I don’t know if he was taken or just died, and that her six sons were all on their own now and she had no one left. I never talked to her, because my parents wouldn’t let me but I alway assumed she would be really nice. Maybe talk like the grandma’s from TV, all sweet and always offering you a cookie.
The three men were all much taller then me, maybe even taller then my dad. Two of them wore blue uniforms and the last one wore a white shirt like my dad used to wear to work sometimes.
They knocked on her door. I sat back down, scratching at the scar on the back of my hand. They waited but the door never opened. They knocked again, louder this time. She still didn’t answer.
Maybe she wasn’t home. It was a safe day, maybe she went out for groceries or a walk down the street. Couldn’t they just come back later? I guess not, because now they were yelling while they knocked on the door.
“Open the door!!” they yelled at the door. They were as loud and as angry as my dad was when I would lock myself in my room.
The door opened and old Mrs. Pauley stepped out of the door. Her hair was sticking up in all different directions and she wore a pink night dress. She was really shaky looking as she closed the door, stumbling as she walked forward. The men didn’t help her at all.
“NO!” I screamed as I saw them reach out to take her. I threw my hand over my mouth. That was a very bad idea. They all looked over at me, the men giving me a glare like my mom did when I said a bad word. Uh oh, would they take me now?
Mrs. Pauley waved at me, the same way my teacher had waved at me when I was taken out of school that last day. I felt a hard tug on my shoulder. I stood up.
I turned to find my dad watching across the street. He waved at the men as he steered me inside and shut the door. I couldn’t see where they were taking Mrs. Pauley.
“Where is she going?” I asked. I tried to go to the window on the side of the door but my Dad held me tightly not letting me move.
“Away. It is her turn. It is why today is a safe day. They knew it was her time. We can’t be taken today. Their quote has been filled,” I didn’t understand most of what he said but I nodded as if I did. “Go up to your room,” he told me. He didn’t sound angry, more like he did when he was watching a sports game and I asked a question. He was only half paying attention to me.
“Okay,” I said. As I walked upstairs I rubbed my scar over and over again. Why was it her turn? I didn’t understand.
I went to my window to look down at the street. A black car was pulling away. No one followed or tried to stop them. I swiped at the tear on my cheek. It wasn’t fair.
A/N: Day 17 prompt was to write about a fear or something you are scared of. The twist was to write in a different style then what you are used to. I tried to write in a stream of consciousness type way as well as keeping it personal.
I parked the car and glanced at the clock on my dashboard. There was fifteen minutes left until the meeting was supposed to begin. I stared at the little white glowing numbers trying to get my brain to stop racing.
What would they think when I walked in that door? If I went in too early then I would have to interact with someone, maybe? Or I could end up sitting alone, waiting desperately for the meeting to start so I could stop feeling like a three-eyed alien. I bet I am the youngest one there tonight. They are all going to wonder what I am doing there. I am too young to know anything about this. Why is she even here? Does she even know what to do? What has she written that is worthwhile? She isn’t old enough to have anything worthwhile. She has nothing published, why even bother listening to her?
“Dammit, that is enough,” I snapped at myself. I had to stop this incessant sound track that was trying to take over my mind. That damn little voice is always trying to make itself the only thing I hear. I need to stop it in its tracks or else I will never get out of this seat. If I was going to go through with this and meet my goal tonight, I had to not let my habits take over. I needed to completely ease my mind and go in there and see what happens.
It was eight minutes to seven. It was time to leave my car. I opened the door, stopping the song mid sentence. I gathered myself together. I had to stop trying to think of what could happen in this meeting. Right now even trying to think positively was dangerous, my mind would run away from me and that was not acceptable. I just need to go in there with a blank slate.
I knew that I was also battling the side of me that wanted to get into my car and turn around and go home. I could easily open that door back up and drive until I was in my parking lot. Go up to my apartment, curl up on my couch with my purring cat and just be safe. Home was safe, here was potentially dangerous. But here was also an opportunity I could not pass up. I had to show myself and what I could do other people. I can’t be successful hiding behind a closed door, it just wasn’t possible.
I walked up the street, continuously telling myself to remain calm and stop obsessing. I need to put a smile on my face and straighten my back. I have to be open to what is going to happen next; not on guard. I need try to show every who I am. Not show them that scared child that hides in the corner that keeps trying to come out. Yes, I am quiet but I do have a voice and when I use it, it echoes loud and proud.
The meeting starts quickly. I barely have time to take in everyone that surrounds me. I am asked to read first. I read with my eyes never leaving the small black letters before me. All my energy is concentrated on not stumbling over my words and making myself sound like an idiot. I want them to hear the story with the emotion that I intended for it. They need to hear the story without my nervous voice coming through. All my energy goes into reading what I wrote so they can get escape just like I did while writing it.
The critiques are few but good. They are not harsh or angry. They are helpful and are given as opinions not commands or demands. I accept them without saying much in return. I don’t know what to say, still afraid that the wrong words may leave my mouth. I don’t want to sound arrogant or upset or too nonchalant. So I don’t say much but a few “thank you’s” and “I understands.”
The spotlight leaves me and I feel myself relax. My shoulders are no longer taut and my hand has gone down to only slightly trembling. Now it is time for me to listen and add my voice in when necessary.
But as is my habit my voice remains inside me. Look we are talking about blogging, I should open my mouth. I should tell them what I know, how I blog and why I like where I post my pieces. The woman wants the advice, why can’t I give it? Why can’t I just tell them what I know? Why is my opinion not worth as much? At least in my eyes. Because they may ask too many questions and I may run out of answers. Maybe they will think I am being too haughty, or maybe I’ll say something that they will all stare at me for. Am I even blogging the right way?
“Enough!” I silently chide myself. I can’t do that. I can’t let the obsessing over what may happen keep me from finding out what will happen. I have always hid away in this tiny comfort zone, always keeping myself scrunched up in here. This spot is safe and warm and nothing can hurt me here. But also nothing can help me here either. There is nothing left inside this little circle of mine, but old words and dried up thoughts and dreams. It isn’t pleasant in here. But I live here.
I live in this zone because I am terrified. Terrified that when I venture out, putting my toe over the line, that the world will come crashing down on me. Like everyone is a dragon waiting for me to cross that boundary and they will swoop down and consume me. They will throw negative thought after negative thought at me. Or I will make a bad impression and they will never forget it. Or I won’t make an impression and I will cease to exist to them. I will remain invisible as always. That is what is outside that comfort zone, at least in my head.
I tried for years to deal on my own. I would jump over the line and then slink back in because it was all too much. My imagination would take off creating all these horrendous scenarios and I would just curl up into a ball and refuse to move. If I didn’t move then those scenarios were dead in the water. It wasn’t working.
So I made a decision, I needed to find someone to help me. My family is great but they don’t understand. I needed someone who could try to give me tips and advice and ways to work with the fear. I found a therapist to talk to and quickly realized that I knew what I was doing was absurd.
No, people weren’t going to attack me as soon as I opened my mouth. And if they did, I didn’t need them. Yes, this introduction or that interaction might go wrong but I can walk away. I can walk away and my life is not over. The chances of that one person having a hugely detrimental effect on my life from this point onwards because of one dumb thing I said is very very small. I know all this, I know I am being too hard on myself. I know I am obsessing and I need to stop. Now I am learning how to do just that.
This was a big step for me. Not only did I actually walk into this meeting but I shared apart of myself with them. Did they get the best impression of me? No, they saw the quiet woman who is still living mostly in shadows but the important thing is they saw me. I let them see me and next time I will let them see a bit more.
I will never be the one who can go around a room and chat with everyone that is there. I will never be the one to jump at the chance to talk to a stranger. But I am slowly learning to not fear those unknowns. Yes, it can go bad and Yes, it can go well. But I will never know until I actually try.
Next time I will offer my opinion on a subject, even just a few words. It will be one more step forward. And for now on, forward is the only direction I am going to bother trying to go in
A/N: Day 16 ( I did day 15 but again it wasn’t publishable) prompt was the write about a place of lost and found, and the twist was the complete the 3 part series. The idea here was to reflect on the concept of lost and found and see where it takes you. (the other two parts in this are Indestructible, and Indestructible team). I wanted to take this last part and reflect from the daughters POV.
I threw my bag onto the ground beside the closet door. I collapsed onto my butt onto the ground and yanked off my work shoes, letting my feet breathe. My cat came over and curled up into my lap, purring contently. I scratched him behind his ears and closed my eyes, only intending to rest them.
I had no intention of drifting off to sleep, but the day had been a long one. Full of complaints and running in circles. My body needed a few minutes to rejuvenate itself, so I drifted off.
I found myself with my feet dangling from a cloud watching the world below me. I liked it up here, it was comforting. I felt safe up here. Up here I could watch events unfold without being apart of them, without having to make the tough decisions and suffer the consequences. Up here what happened down on the ground couldn’t hurt me, at least not at the moment. I couldn’t lose anyone or anything up here.
I felt the cloud sink down a few inches as someone joined me. I grinned over at the tall lanky man who had sat down beside me. He just smiled back at me, watching the cars zoom through the streets and the people run to make appointments. We watched life move forward for a few moments.
“I like it up here,” I said, swinging my feet. “No worries, no stress, just pure bliss.”
“Yeah, it is nice,” his hand squeezed my shoulder. “But not your place, at least not right now.”
I sighed. I knew he was right. I wasn’t done following my life path. There was still miles upon miles of unexplored territory waiting for me to discover. Dark holes, corners and dirt paths that had never seen a living soul. They were all waiting for me to come crashing through them, smile on my face as I opened their ways up to the world.
“Kinda sucks down there,” I told him, letting my carefree smile sink away. “I mean my life start out pretty shitty and ever since then every time I take a leap forward, life punches me back until I’m only inches away from where I started. I’m tired of being on the end of that fist,” I told him.
“I know and I’m so sorry for that. But unfortunately this was the hand you were dealt. Look at your mother, she lost everything yet found a way to push herself up from her knees and knock that fist away from her. She raised her own hands and began to fight back. She matched the world blow for blow. Now it is your turn,” He pointed at the ground. “Each person down there will most likely lose what they wanted most. They will then find something new, the choice becomes about what you do with that find. Do you push it aside because it isn’t what you initially wanted? Or do you pick it up, look at it from all angles and see the beauty that stands before you?” I could feel his eyes staring into the side of my face.
“What if what I find requires too much work? What I lost was whole and complete and now I have only pieces surrounding me. What do I do with them?” I asked him, my voice almost a whisper. For some reason I felt ashamed admitting this out loud.
“Then you begin to put the puzzle together. You could just leave the pieces in a tangled mess and mourn what you have lost but what do you end up getting from that? Nothing, but a faint and painful memory. Take those pieces and start building the outline. Trust me when I say the picture you are creating is going to be stunning,” he shoulder bumped me, making me laugh.
“Good to hear. It is just going to be so tough,” I said, looking over at him.
“Yep, it will be. But use your mother as your example. Lean on the shoulders you need to lean on. Rage and break things when necessary. Break down into life crushing sobs when you feel like there is no way out of where you are at the moment. But when you get to the end, and you will reach that point eventually, stand up proud of what you’ve done. One of your first lessons in life was how to find inner strength to keep yourself moving. It lives like a fire inside of you, always burning. Sometimes it is only an ember but it is always alive. Use it and take on that world down there,” He leaned forward and kissed my forehead. “And as always I’ll be right beside you.”
“Thanks,” I said. He stood up and waved good bye as the cloud began to sink closer and closer to the Earth. A moment later my eyes opened and I was on the floor of my apartment, my cat curled into my side.
I sat up and stretched out the knots in my shoulders and back. Just like my mother I had a fight on my hands, one that was going to try to break me with everything that it had. But she was able to rise above her loss and in turn found an indestructible strength inside of her. A strength she passed onto to her family. It was an essence that we all had that could never be dampened. Now it was my turn to find my own indestructible strength and take on this rough yet beautiful world.
Julius stood, head craned over his shoulder staring at his back. The slits for his wings were red and inflamed, painful to any type of touch. Even a small breeze made him wince and bite his lip. He hunched his shoulders forward and then straightened out his back trying to force the tiny shreds of feathers to poke out more. They remained immobile, just barely sticking out torturing him.
It had been two day since the incident with Scarlett. Two days since he had taken off his bright white T-shirt and traded it for a grey one that had hung in the very back of his closet. He had accepted his fate, knowing that he was doomed as soon as the words had refused to pass his lips. As she had wrapped her cold arms around his stomach and laid her head on his back, he knew he had nowhere to turn. He had lost everything in order to save her.
After fighting his battle with every ounce of energy his possessed he had stumbled and fell losing everything in the process. Scarlett had looked into his eyes and had wiped his mind of everything but her and only her. Those so important words that he had promised himself he would never ever forget had completely disappeared in his moment of need.
For the first day of his transformation he had been incapacitated not only from the pain that was radiating up and down the muscles in his back but from the pain of his defeat as well. What had she done to him? How had she taken control of his mind like that, making him lose everything he had fought so hard for?
Scarlett was a tricky woman to care about. She had come to him when he had needed her the most, being his companion in his hour of need. But over time the world became more about her and only her. Every time he tried to walk away she had whispered a plea or looked at him with those lost eyes and he had walked right back into her arms.
The questions and reminiscing stopped running through his head quickly though once the pain of the emerging feathers took complete control of his mind. For an entire day he had laid in a collapsed heap as the pricks and stings came and went. They would stall and he would move pushing on one of the tips and wave after wave of agony would ripple up and down his back. He lost the ability to see as well as the ability to interact with the world around him; let alone ponder how he had ended up in this place.
Today he woke up, the pain still there but bearable. Scarlett was nowhere to be seen. She had left him. She had walked away when he had needed her the most, as she was known to do. His back still ached this morning, but the pain was numbing now. Maybe the initial shock was over or he was just getting used to the stings. Either way he had been terrified to turn his back and look in the mirror but he knew he had no choice. He had to see what was now apart of him.
He had made it until the sun started set until he had given into curiosity. He had to see the beginning of the wings. The beginning of his life shifting from his complete control to a life where he barely played apart. He had to see the evidence that life was no longer his own.
He now stood in front of the mirror confused, as well as slightly scared. He went to touch the pieces of feathers he could see when a knock sounded at the door. He stopped, completely still. Who was that? Scarlett? She wouldn’t knock. He was not in the mood for visitors at the moment, or really ever again if he was being honest with himself. The second knock was harder and more persistent. Again he stood completely still, the angry red marks on his back shining brightly in the dim room. He heard the door knob rattle but no one entered the house. Why not?
He checked his watch, it read 8:45pm. They still had fifteen minutes to come inside. But after a few seconds he realized no one was coming inside. Maybe they got bored, or were too polite or too scared or just crazy. He really didn’t care. As long as he didn’t have to deal with them right now.
He returned his attention to his ruined back. He just stared at it, at a loss for words. Why were they so small? Where were the full feathers, and the appendages to hold them? Why was there no evidence that they were going to get any bigger? It just looked like someone had ripped open his back and had gotten debris inside the cuts. As if he could pour water down his back and wash out the pieces. He knew that wasn’t true though. After two days he should have something beginning to take shape, maybe even full wings. What was wrong?
He heard a door close and soft footsteps make their way into the living room. Scarlett was home, or else the visitor from earlier had come back through the back door. Honestly he didn’t think he wanted either case to be true.
Scarlett entered the room her black boots criss-crossed tied up to her knees and her brick red hair thrown over her shoulder, only a few strands clinging to the front of her neck. She gave him an almost relieved smile when she saw him standing in the living room.
“What is wrong with me?” he asked, spinning to face her. He didn’t have the energy for pleasantries. He needed an answer. Why he thought she would have them he had no idea? But there was no one else to ask, to bark questions at or rage at. This was all her fault after all.
“What do you mean?” she asked gently, coming quickly towards him hands outstretched. He took two steps back, he needed distance between the two of them.
“I don’t have any real feathers. It is like they are stuck, or something,” he turned his back to her so she could see properly how much of a mess it was. He couldn’t watch her face distort in horror, but he had hoped to hear her whimper or scream at the sight. Maybe she would even run from the house and leave him alone. He hoped she would maybe even whimper in pity, knowing that she had done this to him.
“Oh honey,” she cooed, like she was seeing a small inconsequential scratch. He felt her hovering near his back, a cold nail touching the very top of one of the openings. The rational part of him knew he should back away and run from her. He should put his shirt back on and get the hell out of the house, find someone who could give him answers, who wouldn’t betray him sooner or later.
He didn’t move, just let her slide the nail down his back right next to the marks.
“I don’t know,” she whispered, sounding confused but also a bit scared. Scared for him or for what might end up happening to her.
“What do I do?” he asked her. Again why was he asking her, like she had any real information? Yes, she ran around the cities getting into trouble and hanging with the wrong people but he doubted she knew the secrets of the Winged One world. If she did and had never told him, he didn’t think he could ever look at her again.
This wasn’t her fight. Yes, she had caused this to happen to him but she wasn’t part of this now. She shouldn’t be forced to suffer with him. He had to find answers, in the hopes he could help himself so in turn he could help her when her own transformation began.
“I have to find Jack,” he said turning around and breaking their contact. He pulled his T-shirt back over his head, wincing slightly at the tug at his skin. He made his way towards the door.
Scarlett reached out and grabbed the tips of his fingers. “Don’t,” she pleaded. He looked her in the eyes, saw the tears glistening there. He felt his heart ache. She was just as lost as he was, but it was even worse for her. She had been running around her whole life looking for a safe place to live out her life. Now she stood in his house, watching him breaking down and knowing that soon it would happen to her as well. He had saved her only to destroy her.
“It is going to be alright,” he pulled her into his chest and wrapped his arms around her back. He placed a gentle kiss on the top of her head. He knew soon she would begin suffering as well. He didn’t want her to hurt, but right now she was whole. Right now he was the one falling apart and he needed to find his own answers in order of having a hope of helping her at all.
A part of him wanted to stay here and protect her, to not let the world destroy her like it was destroying him. Another part of him wanted to shake and scream at her, begging her to tell him how she had made him forget what he promised himself he would never forget. Another part of him just wanted to collapse into tears and beg for this all to stop. He felt his head spinning as the emotions swirled around and around. He didn’t know what he was going to feel next, let alone what he was going to do.
“I gotta go,” he pushed her away from him, making her stumble back on her heels. Jack would have answer for him. At least that is what he silently prayed to himself as he slammed the door. Because if Jack didn’t have anything; Julius wasn’t sure what he would end up doing to himself and let alone Scarlett.
A/N: Today’s prompt was to open the page of the nearest book to page 29 and use the first word to jump out at you as inspiration. I used the book “To Say Nothing of the Dog,” by Connie Willis and the word was crypt. The twist was to write in letter form.
I really liked this and want to continue it. Tell the stories back and forth.
“To all those dead and gone,
I sit here in the corner of this almost pitch black hole in the ground. My only light is from my phone. There are no windows, only one single door at the top of a handful of stairs that lets in sunlight and life. I closed the door after I walked in today, secluding myself from the living and breathing world. I want to spend the afternoon in your home, just you all and me.
In this crypt there are a number of you, departed souls. All of you have your stories,most of which I will never know. Some of you I will only know how your lives began or how they ended. Some of you I will make up your stories based off my own wild imagination, using only your name and birth and death dates.
Maybe you at the very top corner were a shoe salesman but in my head you have the story of a great war hero. You saved countless number of lives and came home with more medals then you ever could find a place for. Are you smiling at my ramblings? Amused by my take on your life? Are you shaking your head in disappointment as I rattle off the life you wished you had but were too scared to go after? Or are you angry that I under cut your honest and hardworking life? A life that made you proud and let your family live in comfort.
I didn’t plan on coming in here today. I was just on my way home from work when I saw this place. There is just a small little stone building that holds the door, then a few steps and the entrance to this place. There was nothing here that would scream at you to come exploring. I knew what was behind the door, ashes, bones and memories.
I came inside because I need something. I don’t know what I need though. Maybe I’m looking at the wrong place, searching in the wrong dark corners. Something is missing from me. Can you give it back to me?
Are any of you actually listening? Am I just talking to the dust and the wind? Do you care? Can you see me? See my crumpled form, hunched in this corner, a pen in my hand skating across the surface of this paper? Can you see what I am missing? Is it obvious to your eyes that are no longer crowded by the problems of this world? Do I have a hole in me?
Or would helping me be cheating? Can you cheat at life? I’m not one for taking the easy path in life. I was taught that hard work and risks yield the most precious results, though I haven’t actually seen those results yet.
Am I whining too much for you? Do you want me to just shut up and let you return to your slumber? Do you get this a lot? Should I just crumple up this piece of paper, set a match to it and watch it become part of the Earth like you? Should I? Or should I stay put and wait you out? Let you make your final decision, let you see that I really am at my last option here. Are you just waiting for me to fall silent for a minute so you can jump in and rescue me?
I guess I can’t wait though, my pen is just about out of ink. I guess I’ll leave this here and return in a few days time. I will probably find this paper long gone, trampled by visitors footprints; covered in so much dust and dirt that I couldn’t even begin to guess the words that I had once written on it.
I will make one last plea. If you can hear me, if any of you can hear me, I would appreciate the help. All I need is one word. I just want to know someone is listening.
Dear lost soul,
We are here. We are always here. We can hear you and we are listening. We only ask one thing. We will listen to your story if you are willing to listen to ours in exchange. We all have stories that need to be told as well, stories that some have never heard before. Open your ears to our hurt, pain, joy and triumphs and we will open our ears to yours.
-The departed souls