I recently submitted this to my school’s online literary website. I have been waiting for news for a little bit, and the story is special to me. It has been my first official submission anywhere, it touches on some very important issues I have dealt with, and it is a piece of work that I am proud of.
I hope you all enjoy it!
The clouds gave the day an almost ominous tone. They lingered above the city looking as if they could cry themselves at any moment. On the edge of the large park fountain was a girl. The girl looked out of place in the park by herself. Lonely and anxious. Her blue eyes darted back and forth enough to catch just a hint of the green that tinted them. Her lip was a little swollen from what one could only assume was her gnawing at it as she had done the past five minutes sitting there. Her fingers moved around each other almost in knots at times. They would be clenched together so tightly when knotted that the tips would go white from lack of blood flow. Her knee bounced up and down in her torn jeans. She was shaking as if she was cold, but the day was warm enough to have a hint of Summer.
“Stop shaking you look ridiculous.” The girl turned. The words caught her attention. They weren’t just feminine they were sinister as well. The malicious look that she saw startled her into sitting straight as a rod in her spot and looking back out over the park. Her breathing grew more rapid and she let her hands fall to the ledge of the large white fountain she was perched on. She began to clench the ledge and squeeze her eyes shut as if she could just will everything around her away.
“Nobody will come over here and talk to you when you look like that.” The girl turned her head and she looked furious.Her eyes seemed to darken with the ferocity she felt.
“Enough!” Her yell caught the attention of some runners passing by stopping them on the path before her. They were two men in their running gear one older with a little salt and pepper to his hair the other younger and a little more self-assured in his stance. The older man looked back at her and when their eyes connected to one another she looked down at the ground as fast as she could. His steps started again after a few seconds.
“See what you did? You scared them off.” The girl stood up and walked away from the fountain. Her mind was back to being clutter and her peace shattered into the little shards she had left. The water was no longer washing away the demons that were plaguing her thoughts.
Making her way into the heart of the little town she glanced at all the cars driving past her. The noise from the stereos slipping out into the fall air and into her ears. She smiled with some and let out an exasperated sigh at others. The town had an older feel to it. The barbershop still had a pole out front, the signs in the windows had been kept up for decades, and the shop owners were just as friendly as they probably were before the girl was born. The only thing she felt was missing some days were cobblestone roads and sidewalks. She loved it there. The quaintness of it never ceased to amaze her. However, every town had its dark side. She knew hers better than she cared to admit to others.
The clouds started to let go of a few drops here and there causing her to find shelter under the awnings that she passed. The girl’s hands clenched and unclenched as she proceeded through the town. She was clenching so hard her nails were digging into her palms. The stinging was the only feeling that stood out in that moment. She stopped to look through an old shop window where records were lining the aisles. Music could fix everything when she needed it to. It would take her away and let her mind float freely among the lyrics just as the water in the fountain had. She caught a glance at her dark hair up in the sloppiest bun she had ever seen and shrugged at it.
“What? Finally just give up on how you look?” The girl’s eyes went wide, and she began moving quicker down the road.Any normal person could almost see her breathing become shallow and rapid.
“It’s almost shocking that no one else notices you. All alone. Always alone.” The baker was putting a sign out front of McMann’s Bakery when he saw her looking frazzled by his front window.
“Why not just give in?” The doctor’s office at the edge of the alley was the last window she would need to pass if she cut across to the side streets. She just wanted to move quick enough to escape.
Her stomach rolled a little when her anxiety peaked. She dropped down into a doorway in the main alley. She put her head in her hands and tucked her chin against her knees. There was broken glass at her feet mixed in with the discarded food and appliances. The smell didn’t even bother her because everything kept running through her mind. All the words. All the taunting. All the years of trying to run. The old television in front of her caught her attention. It seemed to be mostly in tactwith just a large crack across it.
“You know better than to try to leave me behind. I am always here for you. I will always find you.” The girl shut her eyes trying to yet again escape who had been following her. If she just held her eyes shut tight enough maybe it would work.
“Please. Go away.”
“Nope.” The P popped and the girl looked to the darkeningsky with tears in her eyes.
“I can’t do this today.”
“Why? Does someone else need to see you as badly as I do?” The girl’s hands gripped harder into her hair and she beganscreaming. One long and drawn out scream. The window across from her opened sharply and an old lady peaked out at her. Only a look was given of disapproval mixed with disgust. The girl got up and made her way home on the side streets.
She still knew she was being followed by the voice. Her skin was crawling and the hairs on the back of her neck were on end. She felt it all the way home. Creeping around the corners. Waltzing past the other people. When she got home she found the mailman walking away from her mailbox and finally felt the presence had backed off slightly.
“Hello Alli.” The girl nodded and took her stuff from where it had just been placed. “You okay?” The young mailman stopped looking very worried. She tried to adjust her expressions enough to keep his wonderment at bay. His green eyes searched hers waiting for an answer. She could only wonder how much of a mess she seemed through those grass green orbs.
“Yeah, just tired Nick. I’ll see you tomorrow.” She fidgeted into her pocket for the house key trying to get inside where it should be safe. The lock clicked almost twice as loud as normaland she closed her eyes to walk into her own house. The scent of home hit her and her breathing evened out some.
“Alli, Alli, Alli.” A click of the tongue. “You really thought I wouldn’t find you here? How many times do I have to tell you? I will always find you Alli.” The door slammed, and the lock clicked. Alli fell to the floor still holding the doorknobtightly. She was exhausted and defeated. She didn’t make it home alone. The presence always found a way to get to her.Once it got inside, she wouldn’t know what to do. She walked past the windows and drew the curtains, she checked every lock, and laid on the couch under a thick red blanket.
“Maybe if I stay like this it won’t find me.” That thought always only got her so far. Sleep began caressing her mind when she heard it. The humming had started. It was coming from upstairs. Alli grabbed an umbrella from the old rusted out holder next to the front door. Her heart was racing at this point. She wasn’t sure it had truly stopped. The stairs creaked below her feet with every movement.
Step one, she wondered how anyone or anything could have gotten in.
Step two, she needed to know how to make all of this stop.
Step three, if she couldn’t just say, “Stop,” she would make it stop. All of this needed to stop.
Those three things kept repeating until she got to the top stair. The humming was louder now. It only grew in volume. It didn’t dim. It wouldn’t stop. Once the hum started it never stopped. The hallway seemed longer now than it usually did. The last step into the doorway was the most horrid one she had ever taken. There was a ripple of fear covering the air. It wavered through the whole house. Alli finally took that last step wondering how far she would have to go. She didn’t have to gofar.
“I knew you would come to find me. We are never that far apart. Time for a fix.” The girl shook with a combination of rage and fear.
“What do we need to fix?”
“You.” The girl gripped the umbrella so hard she almost swore she felt it break.
“There is nothing about me that I need to fix.” Laughter. Not a timid cute laugh but a chuckle that could make skin crawl.
“No, not just you. Us. We need to fix everything. The hair, the eyes, the makeup, the clothes, your shape, and those shoes are about as hideous as you could find. Did you even try?” The humming started again.
“I am fine.”
“You are not fine! You look like a mess, you talk to yourself all the time, you don’t sleep, and it’s as if something was haunting you, and…”
“You are haunting me! You are always there.” The ferocity was back in Alli. It began to drive her.
“And I always will be. Gnawing at your mind, telling you the horrid truths that you don’t want to admit to yourself, making you see what needs to be seen so you can pull yourself together!” The girl stumbled back when she felt a pinch on her hand and looked down. The shabby black umbrella was pinching her skin. It was broken. Her skin was caught between two small pieces of metal. She tightened her grip and finally looked up at the voice. The eyes that looked back were all black. There was no white in them. Beautiful woman with no true eyes. There was a true familiarity in this woman. She started laughing at Alli. The laugh was eerie and horrid to hear every time.
“Enough!” Alli swung the umbrella so hard that the mirror shattered into the smallest of pieces. Her reflection finally stopped speaking.
I had finally stopped speaking.
I watched her walk out of the room with the first smile she had shown the world in quite some time. The bravery seemed to creep back in her corners. I had tried to break it for so long yet here she was.
“I will see you soon. Alli.” A pause in her slightly confident stride.
I would find her again. I always find her.