Hollowed Fairytale | Teen Ink

Hollowed Fairytale

May 1, 2011
By faerietalesdie SILVER, Riverside, California
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faerietalesdie SILVER, Riverside, California
6 articles 1 photo 2 comments

Author's note: ... I am in a huge rut. I don't think I can write anymore. Anything I spit out is crap... but I really liked idea. I have everything planned out, it just all comes out lame.

Middle of January, unknown, unknown

“Tell me.” No fear or hesitation clang to my voice.

He groans, and lightly shakes his head. “Tell you what?” How odd, he seems perplexed. Perhaps I need to place more emphasis on it.

“Tell me, I need to know.” I look around, my face and voice not meant for such seriousness was tired, and for the first time I wonder why we meet in this place. This park covered in white roses, purple geraniums, and yellow lilacs, always curiously smelling of vanilla instead of the flowers themselves. But, I hold in my minor curiosities and redirect my attention to the matter at hand.

For a moment the same confused expression marks his face. Then, in an instant he understands me. I catch the look in his eye when he comprehends and I quickly wish to look away again, doubting myself, but something within me; hidden strength makes me hold my ground. His face becomes smooth and jaded, but I can see he’s afraid.

“You don’t want to know, just trust me.” I can see his mouth quiver as he speaks. He takes my hands in his, attempting to persuade me to stop. I know I should be less calm about this, he is never scared. To think that I would be the one comforting him pulls at my nerves as my body attempts, once again to tell me that something is wrong. It’s like I’ve gotten used to the idea, so used to it that I can ignore it and place it so neatly aside. That thought in itself is disturbing.

“Don’t tell me what I can’t or can’t handle.” I’m not upset with him, more disappointed. He shouldn’t be keeping things from me and asking me in the same breath to put faith in him.

“Alright I will…”

I wait, but his mouth forms no further words.

“How will it happen?”

Deliberate silence follows directly after my question, and then gradually a few words.

“You’ll start to remember too much, and it will take a toll on you. It will drive—“

He leaves off, not wanting to say the words. I can guess his meaning, but I still want him to say it. I don’t understand his reluctance.

“Continue,” I speak, harshly.

“You insane, it will drive you insane.” He buries his head in our hands, not bothering to disconnect them.

“Some things are better left unknown,” I say, very softly this time.

I see truth in his words, an ugly, but undeniable truth. I think back to one of the first nights, about a month ago. How paranoid I seemed, even then. And that was just the beginning.

“How will it end?”

I see his unwillingness to answer, but I stare at him with such hungering intensity that he doesn’t bother to fight me.

“You have to understand she was dramatic. She befriended you; I always thought there was something off about her, but you never thought so. She waited until our wedding day, when you were dressed, to do it.”

The story took on a life of its own then, he barely pauses between words. It is like he is elated to finally be able to get this off of his chest.

“She stabbed you in the stomach, and then you fall out your window. I think she was trying to make it look like I murdered you.”

My breathing hitches and then stops completely. This I had not been prepared for. I feel the faint urge to hurl on one of those patches of pretty flowers; I know I shouldn’t have pressed him. I was better off with my mind’s own conjuring.

“So that’s how I’ll die.”

I look up at him, he wants to say no. He wants to say something to comfort me, to console me. But, like me, he is at a loss for words.

I do not pull away from him for once. We just stand there, hand and hand, thinking. Him about the past, me about what’s to come in the future, and yet we are thinking the same thing. There’s not much more time left.

Last day of January, 1799

“Do it, I can take it.” His eyes were unfocused and gestures quite a bit off. He looked drunk, but there was not a drop in him. Normally, his ashy, caramel skin had a sort of pink twinge, but he had lost all trace of healthy coloring.

He’s not feeding, because she wouldn’t let him. What have I done? Something terrible and miscalculated—I made him trade one sacrifice for another. She needed to correct this. She had done it before, and it hadn’t hurt too much. But, then again she hadn’t known the horror, she thought—thought.

Yes, she had thought, stupidly and carelessly, allowing her to be manipulated, but it didn’t matter. She had to be able to do this or he would continue to suffer—worse he might lose control. He wouldn’t be any help to her like this, and as much as she detested her situation, she needed him.

“Can you? I mean—the process is demanding you’re not exactly strong, I might take too much…” Doubt seeped the air, but doubt and a different sort of uncertainty.

Susan sighed, he obviously did not know what else could be done, or he would be offering some kind of suggestion. She was angry that he didn’t trust her now, to do this relatively simple thing. He needed this, even wanted it, and he knew it.

The sad thing was that if she were anyone else he might agree. Others didn’t matter to him as much. He cared, or she liked to think that he did, but he lost all reference when he was like this. She couldn’t let him maim, or possibly kill someone she knew, or anyone else for that matter. It was just dangerous; he could be found out, and she would know everything, the guilt would kill her. That, and the fact she was afraid if he killed, she would see a side of him she was hoping didn’t exist. Selfishness, it all screamed, on both of their parts.

“I know, but I’m not a waft, either. Physically, I’m sure my body can stand it. You need the strength more than I do.” You are the one that’s going to help me after all, you’ll safe me, she wanted to say, but couldn’t. It would sound dependent, everything she didn’t want to be any longer. She could stand the pain, and being weak as long as she could live, but she wouldn’t drop as low as to show it. Never.

He looked unsure, but she could tell he was giving in. After all, he didn’t have much of a choice, it was her or nothing. And, without nourishment, he would eventually lose all stability anyway.

“It’s not your physical strength I’m worried about; it’s you mental capability that concerns me. This taxes more on that than it will on your body, this isn’t going to like last time. It’s worse knowing—it complicates.” But, he was saying things she already knew; it was almost like his caution was unnecessary to the point of stalling.

“Shhhhh, it’ll be fine. I promise.”

He’s going to do it, she thought. She was almost looking forward to it. The pain became addicting after awhile, because at first it was nice—so nice. Then it warped into something so unexplainable terrible—that was when it hurt.

“I’m sorry,” he said, at the same time bending down to his knees to match her height, since she was lying down upon her bed. The apology was serene, but almost gleeful to the trained ears. Despite herself, and her determination to understand, that stung.

He’s not like me, not like me at all.

He moved her hair from her neck and undid the many silver necklaces she had on. His touch felt good, slippery like a wax candle, melting against her skin. But, this was only more proof that there was something wrong with him; his touch was usually more solid. Susan could forget everything—but she pushed herself to remember.

When she saw Aidan hesitate, only a few inches from her neck, she attempted to reassure him—and herself. “If it helps, don’t think about me. Just think about being strong again, fully restored. That’s when you can think of me, afterwards.”

Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw him nod. His eyes exuded hunger, the ravenous, pupil-less look of a beast; that was how Susan knew she had won him over, he had almost lost the human part of himself to his hunger. Susan’s body started quivering as he put a hand over her mouth, so couldn’t scream when the time came, and leaned in a bit more.

He bit down on her golden skinned throat, not even bothering to disguise that he was going directly for the pulsating vein, which seemed to already throb from anticipation.

As soon as his teeth connected with her skin, she felt like she was whisked away to another world, a better one. The blood flowing free didn’t matter, because instead it was a scarlet ribbon that flowed beautifully down her white muslin night cloth, making her head spin—fast, faster…as she tried to follow its path.

Colors blurred into each other, to become a brilliant arrangement of rainbows. The clothes on her back became less constricting than previously, and turned silky and oddly soothing. The cold, and mist that had gotten into the room from the open window, she could see in the air. It was swirling with puffs, ranging from transparent silver, opaque smoky greys, and solid but angelic whites.

It was ecstasy that was the only way to describe it. I could fall asleep like this—I feel so peaceful, she thought. But, she didn’t want to lose a second. Never stop, please let it never stop…

The rarity of this kind of pleasure inside her life was enough to entrap her, to transfix her in its world of death that was so appealing to the senses that she wished she never had to live at all. Because, that was what it was: death. It was just hidden under the many coats of paints that made it invisible, even if she knew what you were looking for.

Perhaps the best part was that it was silent, but she could look at the silence, a void that was supposed to be clear and colorless. Words were floating around in every corner of the room; ideas hosted themselves up in the shadows she had always been afraid of.

There was a while other dimension, footsteps outside of mind’s eye.

She longed to feel the textures of the wood on her bed post, to feel the softness of her sheets, or to try to touch his skin again. Just to see if it would be any different than before. The kiss was deep though, she could sense that danger of being pulled in, but she didn’t care. Keeping a clear head in this, and fighting was impossible, she found herself wanting more.

It overrode her as she has she let that desire slip, the colors stabbing at her eyes, much too bright. Her thoughts became too loud for her head. She began to feel disconnected, and all the sights appeared foreign. The magnificence was gone, as was the boldness and the playfulness. Everything was wrong and shaky. This time everything was not coming together like a masterpiece—but out of confusion.

“No,” Susan tried to say, as if it would dissemble and come back together correctly if she told it to. Aidan’s hand muffled her protest. He was lost too, she realized. His being lost was much more frightening because her life depended on his control.

She raised her fists in attempt to move him. Susan shook at his shoulders, clawed as his hands, and pushed his face away. That sent another wave of pain to her head, which sucked away at her energy until when she recovered, she was frozen still. Her body wouldn’t even corporate enough to cry. She closed her eyes, trying to escape.

Tendrils of a spider web crept up and down her spinal column, spreading and burning like concentrated acid rain. The very fabric of her nervous system went up in smoke, while the flow of pain continued to drip. She never thought she would miss her tears; they had been coming too often lately. Much too often…But now it would’ve been a reward cry—childish or not.

He had been right. Not only was she severely unequipped mentally—physically she was pathetic as well. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t dainty or fine boned. No, she was willowy, with sun kissed skin, long dirty golden hair, well defined facial features, and a medium boned frame. She didn’t have much muscle strength, but she would hardly drop or faint on command. It was cruel that she could no longer hold herself up, and was so thoroughly diminished.

Vaguely, she registered that she moving, or rather that she was being moved. She felt her body being pulled up, and straightened out. Susan opened her eyes, and saw that Aidan had a milky film over his eyes, and his hand were angling her body just right so he could have better access to her neck.

At the very least he was looking healthier in his trance like state. The rosy element had come back to his skin. His wonderful black eyes were bright again under the semi-solid cover, not dull and flat. She also noticed that his posture was back. It didn’t matter that it hurt; she was doing this because she loved him. This was the right thing. Or at least, she tried to believe that underneath the pain.

He will stop soon. It might take awhile to recover but…She fought back to her own thoughts by thinking that she might no have that while. Aidan had said he would make things better, that she wouldn’t die today, but she didn’t see what he could do.

She wanted to have faith in him. When he told her she would see the rain that she loved tomorrow, listen to the toneless songs she loathed, tease Peggy a bit more about her romantic personality, and that she’d definitely live. He said it so movingly, so truthfully, that it broke her to not believe him.

He knew exactly what to say, how to word it. Every time he was around was a special moment to her, much more special than any of the moments that had taken place before his coming. She wanted to have more, so much more.

“God, stop. Aidan, you need to stop,’ she spoke, pained. Before she had been too lost, too lost to notice that he had let go of her mouth, perhaps she could use words to her advantage. He needed to listen. He had to.

He kept on drinking her blood, stealing it from her, not even pausing when he heard her voice calling his name.

She saw the blankness in his eyes, the complete loss of soul, and knew it was no use. He wouldn’t stop unless it was of his own accord. Giving it on last try, she put all her strength into pulling away, using every fiber and cord that made up her muscles. Nothing.

It was always a possibility, she thought. He might even be sparing her worse pain from later. She didn’t want to die, damn—she didn’t. No matter how callous and negligent she had acted about past event, dying was the last thing she wanted. Perhaps though, it would be easier if she wanted life as much as he did. But, she wasn’t a fighter—that was Aidan.

Susan was dismayed by how quickly the pain was fading, numbness was not to be desired she realized. Al least pain meant she had a chance. How could she have wanted to feel nothing, even at the height of her suffering?

She let go completely, lying limp. This was too easy for him, but why should she care? The tremulousness of the event had taken all the will power out of her—if there had been any to begin with. This was just fine, and so simple…

Drifting was wonderful, with only a couple of strings left that tied her to her body and these awful emotions.

Someone important would want her to hang on; he had promised she would make it. He had seemed sincere as well. Susan had already forgotten the circumstances—including what was happening to the specifics, and all care.

Maybe he sensed this somehow, because that was when he stopped.

He woke up from his state so fast; he dropped her flat on the ground. Faintly, she heard the thud, but not the sensations she should have felt with it.

“I didn’t mean to, I didn’t want to,” he whispered as a half explanation to her, and half to soothe himself.

“Okay, it’s oka--,” was the last she could get out before she closed her eyes, for good this time. And, she was surprised that it was so nice, just to let go.

The author's comments:
Will seem confusing. Be warned. Everything irons out though.

I have a favorite song.

It’s played on the radio quite a lot. But, it’s not one of those sappy pop songs you hear, or one of those rap songs, where the guy just talks into the mike, and where the beat is always a thump-thump-thump, over and over again. I have to cover my ears when those are played, which is why I never enjoy listening to the radio much.

I first heard the song at the bookstore, looking for the perfect book. That day, I went through almost twenty of the previews on the back, the neat tidy kind that praised the book like it was the best thing in the world, searching for it. Nothing was right. Everything was lacked in that special something. Not writing style, because each of them in their own way was beautifully written. Not plot, or action, because there was plenty of that. There was something though…something missing.

That was when the song played, coming through the not-so-loud speakers tacked somewhere to the left of me. The voice started rather slow and softly, but very rough. When it got to the chorus, the voice was a little louder, but much more quiet in its earnestness. I could tell that the singer really wanted to know the answers to the questions she was asking, just by the tone. She was momentarily empowered by the message.

Then, when it comes to the part where the people are whispering at the funeral, the words, the simple, violent words, turn into what they really are. They uncoil themselves when the musician sings, and her tone rises louder than it ever has in the entire song; it practically soars with undaunted anger and something I never expected to hear—amusement. In a way it makes sense I guess, because when you think about it, while the words people say when the think no one will hear, of care, will always hurt, after awhile you start to deal with it differently than just raw anger or insecurity. The amusement is how that one person makes her load a little lighter.

When it gets to the class part, I can see the over enthusiastic teacher. The person is always young, just out of college, sometimes man, sometimes a woman, staring back at the children, clutching onto the sleeves of their clothing, nose red from the cold. The children themselves all look different, some thoughtful, some mischievous, some bored out of their minds, some unreadable. The singer’s voice at this point is calm, reassuring almost, before it morphs back into the painful mocking tone when the children start to talk. Yet, its different than before, the voice is younger…more lost in depth, but altogether more feeling,.Alive.

Those moments alone don’t make the song particularly memorable. It’s when the two girls—the one in the class—and the one that died are thinking to themselves, the way the words are sung is the closet thing I have ever heard to crying. Seriously, it’s beautiful in its uniqueness and its sorrow. And, the ending, I’ve never heard anything like it. If you look at the lyrics, it appears as if the singing should be peaceful—like when a mother tells a child that everything’s fine when the poor kid catches his/her parents yelling at each other. Well, it’s not. The voice is bitter, singeing at the corner of you mind. At the same time with its anxiety it embodies fear, using it as a weapon against whoever could hurt it. For me, the only way I could think of it, was how when someone feels they can’t take much more of this (life) and they feel like the world should know. The world should know, it should pay attention, and it should care. The voice symbolizes blame, or the need for it.

The message itself is asking how you will be judged, not by whom you were, but by whom people think you were. It seems to ask and answer the question: Are both of those the same things? It also seems to imply that no one can ever see themselves through another person’s eyes. Hell, maybe that doesn’t make any sense to anyone but me, but I can relate to it. Other people must be able to relate to the song too; otherwise it wouldn’t be so popular. Perhaps it means different things to different people, and I’m the only one that thinks it’s my life summarized. Oh well.

As soon as I heard it, I knew what those books were missing. The book with the broken vase on the cover, the on about the girl who lives only in story, and the one by some acclaimed author, among all the others, had that absence of one necessary element in common. The characters weren’t real. They weren’t human. They had emotions and passion, but they did not have the inverse. All people are boring at times. We all are. These fictional characters were flawless, unrealistically so, always doing something important, never wasting time, and always guessing the right answer. What about the days when you don’t have a reason to feel depressed or alone, but you do anyways? Does there always have to be a reason for everything, even when one can not be found, because there simply isn’t one?

Perfect people are annoying. Which is rather funny considering that everyone wants to be flawless, but really can’t stand the thought of being able to do everything without ever being tested, of being bored by their accomplishes. That song, ‘What do they say when you die?’, really made me realize that.

To this day, almost a year later, I can still recall the song with no trouble, like I developed some sort of photographic memory. I can remember everything, right down to the very accents and stresses on the individual words and letters, and the fast moving piano notes, mixed with the eerie guitar made sound and the occasional beat of drums. That arrangement of sounds and tempos means more to me than anything anyone has ever said. I knew that is the reason why I can’t forget it.

Jumped off a cliff last Sunday

Parents are going to be pissed

I’d die of a heart attack

If I hadn’t already

Gone stone cold

Got ran over by a purple car of all things

On my way home from the store

The guy didn’t even stick around

To see who he just killed

Guess I don’t matter too much

So, I want to know

What do they say when you die?

When you’re just another memory

What are they going to say?

And, how do you know

If their lying or not

Or, what they’re thinking

Up in that messed of head of theirs

I’m in the back pew at the church

On the day of the funeral,

Which is messed up,

‘Cause I never believed in that stuff

It’s my opinion that

No one really does

It’s all black roses and lilies

Almost no ones’ crying

I don’t know if that’s

What upsets me more,

Or if it’s all the crappy music

Some people are whispering,

Damned funny stuff like:

“Oh, so young…”

“What about the family?”

“My daughter knew that kid…”

And, I’m sitting here thinking,

It’s like I was never even alive

To begin with.

So, I want to know

What do they say when you die?

When you’re just another memory

What are they going to say?

It’s English class, on a winter day

The teachers up front

Wants to know,

“What’s the question,

You want to know most in the world?”

Some smartass, of course, asks:

What’s the point?

Everyone shushes him up

There’s the oh-so predictable too.

Which are even more freakin’ upsetting

Is there a god?

Am I going to get into college?

Are my dreams going to come true?

And, everyone laughs and says,

No. Are you a moron?

That’s a fairytale

There’s a kid in the corner

She’s practically already gone

Far, far, far away

To where she doesn’t have to focus

The teacher calls on her

At first she’s scared,

‘Cause no ones’ ever

Cared about her thoughts before

And, without even thinking

She blurts out:

What do they say when you die?

For once everyone’s stumped

There’s no answer

And, in a way it’s so basic

They all wish,

They could day with certainty:

I know, I know!

So, I want to know

What do they say when you die?

When you’re just another memory

What are they going to say? 2xs

Whatever it is, it’s never

What you wish it would be

Now is it?

You’re always misrepresented

And it’s always too late.

So, I want to know

What do they say when you die?

When you’re just another memory

What are they going to say?

So Quiet Now,

Quiet Now, Darling

Time’s past and,

No one knows

No one…


Early December (almost winter), present time As primitive as it sounds, all I want to do at this moment is go over there and screw up the culprit’s face. Making it so his renowned handsomeness won’t matter anymore, no one will want him when I am done. However, I am smart enough to know that attempting to cave in the face of an over six foot individual, with huge muscular arms, who also weighs more than twice my weight, is a bad, bad, bad idea. I doubt he’d have problems hitting a woman, he is chauvinistic for sure, but nothing matters to him more than himself, unlike me, where if I couldn’t prevail, I make damn sure my ideals did. I don’t mind that his sympathies wouldn’t extend to me, but I am quite the coward, and I’d probably end up looking worse than he would in the end anyway. I have next to zero arm strength, which is supported by the fact that I cannot even complete one pushup. I count my breaths, waiting for Brandon’s response. “What’s so wrong about her?” I let out a sigh of relief. Brandon didn’t share his opinion of me. I knew he was a good guy, but I wasn’t sure of what he thought of me. Despite that, I had a lot banked on his positive answer. If it had been unfavorable, I was pretty sure that his words would have crushed me, disposing of me with the efficiency of crumbling a paper up into a ball and making the perfect throw into the trash can. This, ironical, is one of the lines on my life check list that I have yet to cross off. I feel Rhonda’s tight grip on my arm loosen a little. Andy, or delinquent moron as I so fondly call him, gives Brandon an eye roll, insinuating that my flaws were all too numerous and apparent. “You can’t see it? She’s odd—I mean the way she looks at people sometimes,” He shivered; I wondered if it was for dramatic affect, or if I truly was this creepy. “The stuff she reads too, I swear she has issues…” That I do not understand. How does what I read on my own time factor into this? He is making up s***. Sure I am a fan of things that weren’t exactly in the norm, but I try very hard to hide it. I try very hard to be likeable damn it. Too hard. “Really? I think she’s cool and smart. She’s serious about school, that’s all.” “Too serious, it’s freaky.” I fight the urge to snort, but it is too risky. Brandon does not say anything in reply. I hope he is ignoring Andy, not giving what he said any thought. In fact, I cross my fingers for luck, just in case, while I wait. I am saved once again when Brandon gives Andy one of those long looks, the sort that makes the other person either become flustered or feel like an idiot. From what I can see from my hiding place, which granted, isn’t much, judging from the sudden puffiness of Andy’s usually gaunt face, I can infer that it is both. “Look, all I’m saying is that she’s weird. Crazy weird.” Sadness almost over takes my raging anger. I know people think I am different, but to call me crazy? If I made such an awful impression to one person, surely something is wrong. I do not know Andy very well, only having said ‘thank you’, ‘please’ and ‘excuse me to him.’ But by the tone of his voice, I know that he really dislikes me. Perhaps it is naïve to think that I never knew someone that doesn’t know me could hate me so much. Regardless, that is what I think. I remind myself that there is not a reason to feel insecure here. He has no idea why I am the way I am, or what makes me, me. He has no idea how sometimes I really want to talk, but never can summon up the right words. He has no idea how much of a pain it is to be this shy around people, and to keep things bottled up inside. He can never know me—never would try. “I’m starting to think that it’s you that has a problem, not her.” Andy’s posture shifts a little at Brandon’s remark. He shuffles his feet and hangs his head, though not appearing to accept defeat quite yet. I don’t know why, but the abashed look on his face made me feel just a little less pissed. From what I know, Brandon and Andy have been friends for most of their lives—not close ones, more of an on and off passing friendship without close ties, but still a long one. Andy is obviously not used to be questioned, especially not over a girl. Not that I am not grateful to be defended, but I am a little surprised. “Brandon, I’m not trying to offend you here. I’m not saying she isn’t good looking or anything,” He pauses. His supposed compliment isn’t really a compliment. I’m sure he thinks his friend can do better in the looks department as well. I can practically hear his thoughts, his face is so transparent. “She’s just a little… twisted. Regardless, I don’t think…” I take a couple of steps back. His words should not hurt this much. It shouldn’t feel as if he had carved them onto my skin when he said them out loud. I shouldn’t be able to taste the blood in my mouth from where I bit my tongue so hard it burned while listening to him. I thought I was better at keeping these types of things from influencing me. So, why can’t I shrug his voice out of my mind? Just like when a song gets stuck in your head, clinging to your thoughts like someone clings to their home. Only this is a mean-spirited song, a song of spite out of the mouth of a stranger. Rhonda pulls roughly at my arm, which I forgot she is still holding. “Come on Sana, you don’t want to hear anymore of this.” She sounds rather angry herself. I know if I let her, she will do what I can’t do. I somehow can’t justify it. I am not above such pettiness either. There are times when I am so angry…anything could happen. No, if I have to give a reason I would say that I can no longer see the good that might come of it, if I never saw any before. That, or perhaps I can’t help but think maybe—maybe he is right. Damn it. No. I let her take me away, down the road, towards my house, because distantly I remember that we made plans to go see a movie before all this happened. We don’t talk the entire way home, but nevertheless I am comforted by her presence. “What in the world are you doing?” “Picking out some clothes to wear?” I hold up the black jeans and the equally dark shirt with a malevolent looking cat on the front, as an offering. Sure, the outfit isn’t Rhonda’s style, but the harsh sound permeating her voice isn’t necessary. It is just an outfit, after all. “No, why are you mopping like that?” “Mopping?” I glance over at her a little confused. She just came out from my bathroom, where she got dressed in a sparkly pink shirt and white pants, her red hair twist up into a high sort of ballerina bun. Faster than usual I suppose—though it still did take a long time for her to change. “Is this about Andy?” I shake my head. She, of course, ignores the gesture. “Forget him, he’s an asshole. The only reason people put up with him is because he’s a half way decent runner. At this school it’s all they care about. Someone should break his legs.” I can tell she was trying to make me laugh, but it doesn’t work. Perhaps under different circumstances, it would. I can’t hold back from realizing that she means it, at least a little, and not as a joke. The way her pupils dilate like she wished they could pierce through skin, tells me so. That reality makes the joke drop all its comical potential. “Rhonda, that’s not it!” The lie was so obvious; you might as well sharpie ‘LIER’ onto my forehead. No one could miss it. Her eyes danced around a bit; there was no question that she didn’t believe me. I knew for fact she passed at least half of what I said as inconsequential garbage. And, who knows, maybe it was. I tend to talk a lot when I’m nervous, and I’m nervous a lot. Something in me gets all stressed the second I step onto school grounds, I know it does. “Whatever.” She mumbles, trying not to sound angry or disappointed that I rejected another window to let her practice her empathy skills. I know she’s sick of me. Sick of my weaknesses, sick of having to reassure me, but I can’t really say that I care. It isn’t my job to make her feel better, just like it isn’t her job to be my mother. I don’t like the feelings crap—the talking emotions and diving into my subconscious, and she knows it. It just tires me and brings her down. The only reason that she bothers is because she thinks she owes it to me, as a friend. All I can do is try to get it through to her that it won’t work. And like all good friends, I know it really isn’t about me. She wants to feel useful, and I’m getting in her way, yet again. “Sorry.” It’s a meaningless apology, an acknowledgement of a flaw, not a forgiveness of one, despite my efforts. I can hear my failure in my tone, in the overly calm deliverance meant to make up for my usual begrudging nature. But it makes her happy. We’ll always be best friends, but our friendship isn’t one of mutual support, nor of similarities and understanding. We simply aren’t alike, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We fill in each other’s holes, even if we can’t correct each other’s faults. She nudges me, making me want to rub my arm, vigor and vibrancy renewed, now that she feels like she can reject the weight of my problems. “We need to go soon, so get dressed!” I stare back at her; it had been her idea to get dressed up to go to the movies, not mine. I only agreed to it because it sounded fun, and I have a habit of getting my school clothes muddy. Now it sounds like a complete waste of time. I really want to cancel, but I can’t. I know if I go, I’ll probably end up having fun, but the idea of having to pay attention to one thing, to deal with random people on the street and at the theater takes all the joy out of it. I want to be alone. Somehow, Rhonda can see this. “Okay, okay, I get it. I’ll be outside when you’re ready to go.” “Thank you,” I mumble. I am truly grateful for her perceptibility, especially when I can’t voice my thoughts, when I don’t know how to word things. It makes me feel like less of a stone hearted bitch. I turn to the bathroom, grabbing my clothes and shutting the door behind me as soon as she is gone. Stripping off my blue jeans which where just as I thought they would be, muddy from sitting on the ground today, and my too warm long sleeved black shirt, I change into my new set of clothes. Before leaving, I cautiously check my appearance in the mirror. I am little afraid of what I might see. My mind, which was not as honest as my reflection, sometimes imagines myself better looking than I actually am. While I don’t like false pretences, I am not in the mood to be let down and released from my cushioned ideals. Still, I meet my own eyes, and bore into the sight of my image as calmly as I could. I don’t look much different than the last time I saw myself—this morning most likely. My body is just the same size three, weight 135 pounds, 5’8 height. The inky color of my outfit reacts well with my flushed skin and my dark, almost navy blue eyes, bringing out the rings of yellow around my irises. They might be prettier or even beautiful if they weren’t so large or so serious, if they were a little more feminine in shape. The rest of my face, like my nose with a an almost invisible patch of light brown freckles directly on its bridge, my lips, and my well defined cheekbones, holds that same note of directness that my eyes do—though to much less of an extent. My solace is that ever since I dyed my hair black, instead of its natural dirty blond, my face had became just a little softer. I don’t know what to think of myself. I am not bad looking, I think, but I can’t find any of the conventional trademarks of beauty hidden in my features. My large eyes and lips didn’t seem girly at all, but sober. When I get older I won’t have laugh lines, since I never smile, but frown lines to showcase my stressed nature. Somehow that makes me feel certain that I can never be truly pleasing to look at. I close my eyes hoping that when I open them again that I will see something different. Unseeing, I reach out on some impulsive whim to touch the mirror. It is cool without a texture, which reminds me of air, water and stone all in one. I focus, imaging what I want to be, what maybe one day I could be. In my mind I am there, reflected in the mirror, my downcast expression looking as if it is permanently etched into my soft skin. I am absolutely still, my eyes are empty of anything, and I look lost. But happy. I’ve been waiting for this. This image isn’t lovely or successful in any way; in fact she looks frighteningly hollow. And though it was very subtle, it looked as if there was something unnatural about her…she isn’t completely together. It seems as if she is only there in body. I remember something from mythology on how mirrors could capture souls. This was sort of like that, only she is on the wrong side of the mirror. Perfect. I feel like I am finally getting things, as if something I’ve forgotten has been made apparent, and taken a weight off of my shoulders. It’s a new puzzle, a new project. Suddenly, I notice something—her hair. It is blond, not platinum blond, but a natural blond that can never be achieved through bottled dye. I almost miss the color, even though it isn’t black, because it is still very familiar to me, but the blood calls it to my attention. Burgundy is dripping from somewhere, tainting the hair and ruining the fragile white dress it falls on. And it clicks. Of course this isn’t me, how could I be so stupid? But, it doesn’t seem right to say that either. “Susan?” I ask, but I am certain, just as I had been while I was dreaming. She isn’t me; she is a part of me, part of me I had grown up with. I saw her face every night when I went to bed, from my childhood. She was sort of just there—looking at me, smiling at something that wasn’t there. I used to be fascinated by her, back when I had no one I could talk to, when my parents were trying to console themselves into believing that I was not the scum of the earth that all my teachers and perspective playmates thought me to be. The curse of the misunderstood. She was my imaginary friend for the longest time, at least until I started forgetting her—her face, her mannerisms, her clothes, and eventually, everything. I was so wrapped up in watching her, and getting her to notice me, that I forgot that I never named her. Things that are never named do not exist. I always felt like I was forgetting something, lying to myself when I told myself it couldn’t be true. I had forgotten about her entirely until now. Susan. Susan. Susan. Susan. Now she has a name. Now she has a face. How could I never noticed it before? The logical side of me wanted to fight this, but it couldn’t because the rest of me was so sure. My instincts aren’t usually this strong. I found her. Last night. I remember now. Susan. It was that first time that I ever came up with a history for her, that first time in years that I thought of her. That I recalled her existence. Did she always look like me? Did she always have my name? She smiles, instead of transforming her face for the better as smiles are supposed to—as my normal ones do, this makes her even more wrong. It is all the more apparent that she isn’t whole. I feel like smacking her until she stopped, but I am too scared. It would be like hurting myself. Her hand reaches out to the wall of the glass prison she is trapped inside of, right to where in reality, my hand is. Cold grips me, freezing every inch of me into place. There is the tiniest bit of change in her smile. Her lips mouthed a word, seeming to not be able to produce sound: Susanna. Susanna. Sana. Sana. Susanna. Sus-Sana. I let go of her before I could scream. I open my eyes, and am immediately greeted by the fluorescent light of my bathroom. I never have been happier to see this room in my life, probably never will be, either. My hand is gone from the mirror, and is shaking uncontrollably, as is the rest of me. I don’t try to make myself stop it, I don’t see the point. My mind is even more shaken than my body was. Hell, it deserves to freak out; especially since it is going to have to mentally hold itself together for the next couple of hours. There is no way I can get out of this outing without arousing Rhonda’s suspicion, without coming up with some explanation for her. I don’t think I am well enough for that. Pretending I might be able to accomplish, but lying is much too hard. Even when I am alright, when I lie, I stutter, giggle, and my insides become all nervous, something I find impossible to hide from my face. I don’t have the energy to attempt it or deal with the consequences when I fail. I take one last look into the mirror, making sure that I am the same. Satisfied that both I and I mirror are ordinary, I turn off the bathroom lights, shut the door, then repeated the process with my bedroom, while pushing thoughts about Susan away. Not now, perhaps never, I told myself. But I desperately want to see her again. To not forget her. **************************************** The movie was a disappoint—but the night looks like it still might have a little promise in it yet, since the house wasn’t empty when I got back. My mother and father take up the opposite ends of the coffee table in the living room, both casting glares, feeding their need for confrontation after busy days at work having to take orders and listening to sycophants recount the bosses’ very little imperative. Judging from the position of their mouths, they had been in mid-sentence when I came through the door. They look at me as if I had purposely barged into their argument, I am an intruder. This might be a little more upsetting if I weren’t so damned tired. I don’t have the energy for pointless bickering right now. Sorry folks. “Hey, how was the movie?” My Mom says, coolly enough that I can tell she’s just saying is. She doesn’t really want to know, and I don’t blame her, I give quite a boring back-story, even at my best. I stare down at my feet. The awkwardness never fades, even when everything else has. I feel stuck in my seven year old body, terribly unsure of myself and ready to piss my pants. Still unbearably out of control, with all of the pent up anger in me just waiting to explode. “It was terrible. We asked for a refund.” Of course we didn’t get one. Rhonda threw a fit too… she was so angry that she didn’t even notice how shaky I was. Didn’t she see how my legs buckled and my world started blurring away as she argued with the prissy cash-miser? It was probably just my imagination then. “Susanna you should go to your room, it’s almost bed time.” My Dad’s voice is softer, but I’m not fooled. The fiery bitterness of resentment flashes through his eyes when he looks back at my Mom. He wants me gone so they could finish this. Maybe he thinks that the sooner I leave, the sooner he can get to bed, hopefully not two hours before he has to go to work. Still—bedtime? I was hoping daddy had more in him than that. Bedtime. Nice concept, but little promise. No one in this house ever goes to sleep easily. Something about our consciences being too riddled. They’re lucky I know they love me. Sometimes hints are known to go straight over my head, but this one has none of that painted shading. I take the pass as it is handed to me, feeling relieved that they don’t want to drag me into this one. I don’t look back, knowing that once I was across the hall, the yelling would start up again right where it left off. Upon entering my room, I muffle the voices by slamming my door and turning the light on. I take in my bookshelves first, with the rows and rows of boards and books taking up the entire south side of the room, each book in alphabetical order, separated by genre. The walls surrounding it are black; the furniture was made of dark cherry wood, with sayings and poetry taped, painted or carved all over them. My bedspread has the same dark blue with silver stars as my curtains. Possibly one of my most prized possessions—my computer, along with an entire printer, scanner and speaker set hooked up to it, on an old fashioner desk my Mom and I had found at Goodwill, which I had spray painted black. Overall, the space is pretty cramped, I loved it. This was the first time in my life that I could actually say I like my room. The reminders of my neon green and blue décor from 5th grade was gone. This was all mine. I look through my draws for one of my black and white pajamas, disrobe and put them on. I am tired, perhaps from staying up late every night, if I feel like lying to myself. I know the real answer. A sudden escalation in sound startled me, until I realize it is just my parents. My fear quickly morphed into something much uglier, but much more controllable. There was nothing I could do, if I told them to quiet down, they would yell louder. Deciding on an action, I walk over to my desk to get my IPod. Hopefully the earphones will drown out all the senseless noise, leaving me in peace. While shuffling over to my bed, I look over at my window. It is a half moon outside tonight. My cat Ellis, her royal guppiness, ginger fur, shark green eyes and all, sits on the sill. She’s been spending a lot of time at this window lately, resting in both the sun and moon light. I been worried she’s been less adventurous because she’s getting older, but she looks healthy enough. Personally, I have been spending a lot of time by this window too. The view is part of it; mostly it’s the surprising easiness through which I can sneak out of, even taking into consideration my gangly legs and penchant for screwing shit up. I love taking walks outside in the dark, especially in the rain. The feeling I get from spinning around in it while the droplets are falling, soaking me, causing my eyelashes to sparkle like crystals and for my hair to become damp, is the only time I have ever truly felt powerful or beautiful. It’s not the type of thing I can ever explain to anyone else, they wouldn’t understand, they could only try. Trying just isn’t good enough nowadays. Lying down in my bed, I wrap myself in the starry coverlet before inserting each ear bud into one of my ears and clicking my light off. I got over my fear of the dark almost two years ago, granted much after the rest of the kids my age. I still get this chilly feeling sitting around in my room sometimes, I don’t think I’ll ever really be able to suppress of anxiety of it. Being outside doesn’t bother me because of the streetlamps and the moon and stars. For some reason this was different—scarier. My finger hovers over the music ‘play’ button. As I’m about to press it, I change my mind. No. Another song would be tarnished by a cold, dark night made worse by my parents fighting in the background. I won’t be able to listen to it in the same way ever again. I already had enough of these songs already. I leave the buds in my ear because they really help block everything out, even my own breathing and heartbeat. Drifting off, I feel something tug at the edges of my mind once more, pulling me deeper into a sleep filled void, to whatever dream that is being conjured up. I am too weary to fight, too worn down by everything else; I let myself be reeled in. I know I am making a choice without much room to choose. Like being told to confess to a sin I didn’t commit, knowing that either way I would die. They would think me a liar if I told the truth and burn me, and burn me if I lied and said I had sinned. Still, a part of me wants to know more, somehow I know there is so much more to know. I choose to go.

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This book has 4 comments.

Meko8195 said...
on May. 10 2011 at 10:54 am
Meko8195, Dover, Pennsylvania
0 articles 4 photos 96 comments

Favorite Quote:
The pressure makes us stronger, the struggle makes us hunger; the hard lessons make the difference...and the difference makes it worth it.

I to saw some small errors like saying "safe" instead of "save". small errors but other than that the stories great :)

on May. 7 2011 at 12:49 am
Garnet77 PLATINUM, Sinagpore, Other
31 articles 6 photos 577 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Everything's a triangle." ~ My mother

"Write what you love, write what you care about, because sometimes, it's the easiest way to be heard."

I think the only errors I saw may have been some past/present tense problems. Other than that, it was really good. I think you’re succeeding in making it a sort of puzzle :)

on May. 5 2011 at 6:30 pm
faerietalesdie SILVER, Riverside, California
6 articles 1 photo 2 comments

Thank you! The second chapter is supposed to be like that. It makes a lot more sense after reading the third chapter. The whole story is supposed to be a puzzle (I just don't know if I suceeded in making it one).

What sort of errors are there? I wouldn't be surprised if I mispelled something.

Ok! I'll defintely check it out. I like the sound of the title all ready.

Thank you again!

on May. 5 2011 at 9:15 am
Garnet77 PLATINUM, Sinagpore, Other
31 articles 6 photos 577 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Everything's a triangle." ~ My mother

"Write what you love, write what you care about, because sometimes, it's the easiest way to be heard."

Hey! I love the sense of mystery in the first chapter. For a second, I had no idea what was going on. I like the style of your writing, even though I caught a few minor errors that can be taken care of easily. I’m interested to see where the story is going. And if you’d like, check out my novel--Wandering Soul. I’m kind of posting it as I write, and I’d appreciate some feedback. Thanks. Anyway, keep writing :)