So- Allie

So, do you love me? Check yes or no

Life was so simple, years ago.

When the birds and the bees

Were just noisy things

And hating a boy

Meant you loved him

Published in: on September 29, 2010 at 2:18 am  Leave a Comment  

The Truth – Allie

I remember every moment of that day; every beat of my heart, every breath that filled my lungs with sweet air.  I do not remember the time of year, or even the time of day, because all at once, past, present, and future became one and my life one eternal instant.  I do, however, remember the sound; the buzz of laughter and chatter in the background muffled by my own youthful ignorance.  It was as if all the lives of everyone in the world crossed in one small room, in one station, one junction-the epitome of relationships.  The clinking of drinks on the table and the melodious note of celebratory glass on glass as toasts were made and smiles exchanged.  I could almost hear music in place of words, the universal sound of merrymaking, the ladies voices sung a song of glee with hearty laughter balancing as the bass.  Tongues clicked an acoustic rhythm that echoed off the walls and the happiest of all people slapped the beat of a drum on a table when their own lungs could not make a sound.

I entered the cultural jumble accompanied by a few good friends with promises of a wonderful evening.  Already beginning to feel buzzed by the excitement around me, the lines at the corners of my eyes cracked and a smile broke across my face.  This was going to be a good night.  As we seated ourselves at a red round booth I glanced out over the rest of the excitement and soaked in the good spirits of those around me.  As my eyes jumped from face to face and smile to smile, I saw nothing of the person behind the makeup and slick hair.  I sensed no connection with any of the other young people; only felt their joys reverberated off myself.  I felt nothing until I saw him.

With a flutter of my heart and the dizzying feeling of forgetting to breathe, my eyes fixed on his; two misty clouds hypnotically swirling, drawing me deeper.  I felt the magnetic pull tugging my heart from my chest as his gravity caught my eyes. But I knew these gentle pools of crystal were merely a gateway to the raging vortex of passions in a sea of blue beyond. And oh, what a deep, soft blue, and how they contrasted the blacks and whites of clothing around the room.  And then they changed, with an instant of recognition, and returned of my gaze. They softened into beautiful round gems set into his perfectly shaped face.  Oh, how I could have looked forever, lost in a sea of blue, but the call of my name and the touch of my shoulder brought me back to the bubble of my world.

Hardly interested in the facts of the day or even the jokes of my friends I sought out his face once more.  “That blue, that blue, that blue…” I told myself again in my mind.  My heart longed for the eyes of my stranger.  And when my heart found its treasure he was turned sidelong to another; those beautiful eyes, hidden from my view, were shielded by long lashes. With my mind I begged him to turn; just to see him once more, to feel weightlessness inside. To know if he was the cause of my faintness was all I desired.  But ah, then the folds of his lips turned back, and his face seemed to open like a curtain call as he lit up with joy.  His smile, his smile, sent my heart to my throat and I choked on my emotions.

Quickly turning away, I knew I must stop.  To fall in love with a stranger is a dangerous deed, poor Juliet lost her life for her love of Romeo.  Must I lose my head over the face of another?  Have I yet to know his mind; to hear the workings of his soul?  To love another for their costume of skin and flesh is sin enough, but to fall for the body of a stranger will damn me for sure.  The thoughts of my mind raced faster than words, for I was woken from my stupor by the elbow of a friend yet again.

Losing sight of his face brought me to reality for an instant, until my eyes craved the soft tones of his face once more.  But deep inside I knew how poor Juliet had felt; falling for a stranger when sitting next to another.  Here in this house of drink and of sin, imagine the faults my soul could commit, if left on to act on its own whim.

Glancing at the faces of friends who surrounded me, nothing pleased my soul like the countenance of my stranger.  My heart grew sick and my soul suffered deeply, for the drug of this man’s visage was addictive at best.  Now my eyes found him quicker, the lonely search for love was hastened by my need.  This time I found his eyes waiting, and bidding me hello.  We exchanged a lifetime of speech with two blinks of an eye.  I knew who he was; the stranger, my love.  I knew how he smiled, the red blush of his cheeks and the stretch of his chin.  I knew more of this man that I had never met, than the seven people around me at the table where I sat.

With my eyes, I found his ears, and whispered the secrets of my soul that could never pass from my lips.  Then, I found his hair, and counted every strand, and knew every shinning color from his blonde to his bronze.  My eyes walked down to his neck, and then I knew his scent.  I could feel his soul as if we were one, one being alone in this immense room.  When I knew his whole self and fell back to his eyes, I found them as busy as mine, examining the shape of my face.

There I sat; I felt alone in my booth, falling in love with the stranger as he fell in love with me.  In this moment everything I knew was lost but my distant companion alike in my heart.  The walls fell away and the ceiling disappeared.  The tables evaporated and everyone else was gone.  All that remained was the sound of their chatter, the tango to our optic dance as we looked deep into each other’s souls.   When all else had vanished but the pounding of my heart, I felt peace deep inside and knew everything was right.

Without a word of remorse or an attempted excuse, we both rose from our tables and pushed our way out.  No words had been spoken, and no rendezvous point made, but somehow we ended up in the same exact place.  He reached out his arms and there he held my hands.  I should have felt rushed, but I felt safe in his grip.  Then the stranger looked at me deeply and spoke from his soul.  And this was all that I could have asked for, from a man I hardly knew.

Oh thy stranger I seek

Thou hast left my knees weak.

You have my heart skipping beats

And speaking tongues they don’t teach.

It hath been but a moment

But a moment so long-

I hath known you a lifetime

Where a second has gone.

Here I place my good faith

In our one Lord above-

There is a truth you must know

I preach truth in my love.

How I love thee so simply

I wish you to know-

How my love for you is so eager,

hopeful and wanting to grow.

But before your love is proclaimed

One fact must be made clear,

My love can never be more

Than what I give to you here.

What is already infinite

Has no room to abound;

Even given a lifetime together

With each other around.

Though I have not known you for long

I offer you one truth.

I love thee more today,

In this moment we shared-

Than is possible in a lifetime

When traditional love is compared

My dear stranger, my love,

The pair to my soul-

Hold on to my hands

And make yourself whole.

Affirm with my plea,

The beg of my heart.

Let us run off together,

A new life we will start.

Published in: on September 29, 2010 at 2:11 am  Leave a Comment  

I Love a Man – Ally

I love a man.

The longing for his touch makes my skin ache

and my ears throb,

for I long for the melody of his voice.

I love a man.

I just want to hold his hand, to feel the soft, complicated swirls of his palm,

the playful squeeze to my fingers.

I love a man.

His eyes penetrate my soul and eliminate all my doubtful and negative views.

His eyes are so pure

and yet, they hold so much of a reflection to my pain and suffering.

Its as though the blue,

which was once a vast sky,

Has become a rough and inconsistent tide,

Pulling me under and spitting me out.

Pulling me under and spitting me out.

I love a man.

He was once existent, however now,

I look back and it recurs as a dream.

One that I did not want to wake from.

I have awoken.

And I still love a man.

Published in: on August 20, 2010 at 6:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Love as it is. – Ryan Thompson

Love as it is.

 

Love is a powerful emotion that should not be taken lightly. Sure we say “I love you” to someone but may not mean it as a strong emotion. When you really love someone the words “I love you” have more of an importance.

            Demi was a senior in high school, she was average, had nice grades, and had a lot of great friends. The one thing Demi was truly looking for was to have a steady relationship, she’s had a few over the past four years but they really haven’t meant a thing…until one day last December. Mikey, also a senior, was really popular in school and his grades were outstanding! He too was looking for a meaningful relationship. One cold December morning in Demi’s Bio II class she and Mikey were paired up for a project. Over the next couple of weeks they began to talk a lot, not just because of the project but because each knew that they were slowly falling in love with the other. The two began to officially date a couple of days before Christmas. No one ever thought that their relationship would have begun as fast as it did. The two were happy and that’s all that really mattered.

            Soon however the end of the year steadily approached. Mikey was planning on moving to Florida to attend college and pursue a career as a Marine Biologist. Demi on the other hand planned on moving to New York City to attend college and become a fashion designer. Neither of them could stand the fact that they’d be at different ends of the coast. It really took a toll on their relationship. Fall semester was two weeks from beginning and both teens knew that a long distance relationship was for them. Before they parted ways Mikey told Demi that he loved her more than she knew and that maybe someday they’ll meet up again and who knows maybe even get married. Demi said she loved him too, the two loved each other so much neither wanted to hurt the others future dreams about college.

            The day came and the two were at the airport ready to board their flights. They shared a kiss and embrace and Mikey said to Demi “You’ll always be a part of me, its like Robert frost said, and when to the heart of man was it ever less than treason. To yield with reason and bow and accept the end of a love or a season.”  They said their goodbyes and that was it. The two spoke on and off over the next year or so but didn’t really meet up. However neither forgot the love they shared for each other, it was a love so strong it stayed with them always. Love is powerful, meaningful and full of surprises.

Published in: on May 25, 2010 at 2:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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Jenine’s Story: Ryan Thompson

Jenine’s Story

By Ryan Thompson

 

The following story was inspired by me one day when I was listening to this song “Sunshine” by Phyllisia on my iPod. Enjoy!

 

It was a brightly sunny April in Astoria New York. Jenine Warren was walking down Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard singing to her iPod. Jenine was a seventeen year old girl who lived in Queens New York. She came from a middle class black family who didn’t have too much but they had enough to be happy. Jenine was well known for her talented gift to sing. Her voice was like the sun, it made things seem bright and cheerful and always seemed to brighten the lives of those around her. She participated in everything from church chorus to Astoria’s Women Choral Association. Ever since she was little she would practice and improve on her vocals, people always told her she had great talent. A native of Queens, Jenine wanted more than anything to be discovered and leave the borough. She longed to try out in front of talent scouts but her mother forbade her and said that school and getting an education is what she should focus on. However, that sunny day in April changed Jenine’s life forever…

            That day, without knowing it, a talent scout on her way to the local office was walking down the street when she heard Jenine’s heavenly voice and instantly fell in love! Soon after Mrs. Peterson (the talent scout) held a meeting with Jenine to talk about plans for the future. Jenine’s mother however, was not won over by Mrs. Peterson. It took about two months for Jenine to convince her mother that she was good and could make it. Well after some heavy decision making with her husband they allowed Jenine to sign Mrs. Peterson as Jenine’s agent. She started at small, clubs, events, parties, but then after she had graduated high school she got her big break! Jenine was signed on with the world renowned record company New York Records. She then went on to become a multi-platinum singer. Her mother, doubtful and hesitant at first, was prouder of her daughter than ever! The girl from Astoria finally got what she always wanted, not to leave the borough but to be discovered for doing the thing that made her most happy…singing.

Published in: on May 3, 2010 at 6:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

His World – Daniel Thomposon

 This was his world. The waves crashed gently at his ankles, tall oaks loomed overhead. They would always be home. Black gulls flocked in a cloud to the East. They swooped and dove into the water. It was a terrible omen, very bad luck. But he didn’t believe in luck. It didn’t exist. Nothing existed outside his world. Nillix’s world.

The small village of Have was barely known by the rest of the world. The village was naturally hidden on three sides by the Vapor Mountains, which spewed thick clouds of gas and steam into the air. On the fourth side, a rocky reef prevented access from the sea. There were few ways to reach the village, and the villagers liked it that way. They made sure they knew who came in and left. A watchtower was stationed at the mountain pass, and the reef was only navigable by the local villagers who knew the way through. There were a few brave merchants that the villagers entrusted with the secret.

“Nilly! Nilly!” Nillix turned his gaze away from the black gulls. A little girl of about 10 years was rushing through the surf, towards him. “Nilly! Nilly! Daddy wants you home, he found another tree!” Her wide, innocent eyes were gleaming with happiness and were only outshined by her smile.

Nillix smiled back at her. He placed a hand on her head, tussling her long hair slightly. “Of course Anna, I’ll be there soon.”

Anna shook her head, a giggle of excitement in her voice.

“Noooo! Nilly, come home with me now! I want to see you and Daddy work!”

Nillix smiled and nodded. “Alright Anna, lets go!” He laughed happily, lifting the girl up onto his shoulders. Anna giggled in delight, her hands gripping his messy auburn hair.

Everything was right with the world. Nillix’s world.

The two of them walked home, but didn’t stop there to look for their father. They knew he wasn’t there. He was in the forest. The two of them followed the worn path behind their house, leading deeper into the woods. 

Cellis was the village’s listener. Every day, he would go out into the wooded mountains, and he would listen. As he walked, he would hear silence, and he knew that the tree was ready.

Nillix was baffled by the idea of listening to trees. He couldn’t hear them talk or sing. They didn’t have mouths, they didn’t have voices. It wasn’t possible. It didn’t make sense.

Anna, however, was always in awe of her father’s ability. She even claimed to hear the songs of trees occasionally. Cellis was very proud of this fact, and it calmed him greatly since Nillix continually denied opening his mind to the trees.

There Cellis stood, his hand pressed against a tree, his eyes closed. Nillix set Anna down and approached his father as quietly as he could.

Cellis smiled, his soft smile shining through his solid features. He turned, his eyes snapping open. “There you are Nillix. I was hoping you’d get here soon. Maybe we can get this tree cut down before sundown.” His voice was soft, and his words precise.

Nillix silently nodded. He hefted a large, two-man saw that lay waiting next to the tree. He waited for his father to take up the other end. “No, Nillix, I think that it’s time you cut one down yourself. Perhaps it will help you learn to listen closely to everything around you.” He took the saw from his son, and handed him an axe instead.

“Don’t worry Nilly!! I’ll stay here with you!” Anna exclaimed. Cellis nodded, turning to leave.

“That’s fine Anna, but I need to go.”

“This silence is deafening.”

Thwack!

Thwack!

The work was not very tiring, the axe quickly cut through the strong, voiceless wood. Nillix actually preferred the rough work of the axe to the clean-cutting two-man saw. It meant that he could be alone to think…. Well, sort of.

Anna would not stop talking. Her chatter was far from boring or annoying, but he just wanted to think, wanted to lose himself in a smaller world, his personal world.

“SSHHH!” Anna interrupted his thoughts again “Listen! The trees Nilly! The trees!” Nillix stopped his chopping, laying down his axe. The leaves rustled slightly above him from a weak breeze.

“Do you hear it Nilly? It’s so sad…”

Nillix strained his ears, hearing nothing….

‘Trees can’t sing, they can’t talk, they only rustle…’

Another stir in the breeze filled the air with the whisper of leaves. Anna began to hum a strange, unfamiliar tune. She smiled, and giggled a bit. “Hey Nilly, have you ever thought about what it would be like outside of Have? Outside of the Valley?”

Nillix was shocked. “Outside the-? What? No, never!” He said quickly. “Why would you ever need too, things are perfect here in the valley, everything’s perfect the way it is.”

“Awww, Nilly!” Anna says with a pout. “Daddy was right about you, that must be why you can’t hear them, you don’t want to!”

Nillix was taken aback by her accusation. His arms stopped mid-swing, sending the axe skipping across the ground. “Wha-… what?”

Anna merely giggled and returned to her humming as a response.

Nillix retrieved the axe, and set back to work.

Thwack!

Thwack!

A percussion beat rose through the rustling leaves. The soft murmurs of music unheard adjusted to Nillix’s slow tempo. A sad, mourning ambience filled Nillix’s ears as his mind drifted.

 ‘Outside the Valley? What could be worth leaving the safety of home? Why would it be worth leaving?’

 The creak and groan of the trunks of the trees added a slow brass to the sad music.

‘What if something happened to the village? Where would I go? I couldn’t leave the valley!’

The wind’s whistling voice rushed down from the mountains, assaulting his ears with its lingering tones.

‘No, I couldn’t bear to lose home, to never see my family again. It would be just like losing them, or them dying.

 Tears filled Nillix’s eyes. He was only now aware of what he was really hearing. It was a song so beautiful, that nothing else like it could be written.

He picked up the tempo of his swinging, unable to avoid crying much longer, and he couldn’t cry in front of Anna, he was her brother, he needed to be strong.

 The song rose in protest, a solemn crescendo rose until a loud CRACK! silenced the music. All was calm.

The tree had fallen…

The song was over…

“Daddy! Daddy!”  Anna was ecstatic. “Nilly heard them! I did too!” Nillix said nothing. He went straight through the house and out back. He threw down his pack and sat on a pile of chopped logs. He was thankful that the wood was forever silenced. He wanted peace, time to think. But that’s not what he got.

“Nillix.” His father proudly burst out the back door. “Nillix, is it true? You finally heard the trees? Their singing?” But his smile dropped when he received no answer from Nillix.

“Son… I recognize that look; I should have known that you’d hear the loudest song, and the clearest one. The Song of Loss…”

Nillix fought back the tears, giving a slow nod.

“I know exactly how you feel. Long after a tree has lost it’s song, the other trees still mourn their loss…. It’s why I don’t like to stay long after cutting a tree.”

“But… Why… How can we do that to the trees?”

“Son, we still need wood. We simply respect the trees by using listeners… We can’t help our need for heat and shelter, and they can’t help that the trees will lose their song…” Nillix sighed. His father was repeating the same thing that he had told Nillix thousands of times before. “Our family has always been listeners. My father, his father, and their fathers’ fathers. The trees lose themselves from nature, drift into lifelessness, and yet they still live. It is the highest respect to the trees and nature to only cut down those that have lost their song. I know it is sad, even the other trees feel it, but in return for our respect, we get the perfect wood, twice as strong and twice as easy to cut. Both the forest and the village benefit from the listeners. The village needs us. Have needs you.” And with a choked back sob, he added, “I need you.”

This was something he had never seen from his father. He never saw his strong father so much as shed a tear, not even at the death of his mother. He was overwhelmed, and refused to see, refused to believe that his father was having this moment of weakness.

Anna ran around the house, giggling happily and interrupting the moment. “Nilly! Nilly! You heard them, didn’t you?”

Nillix just stared at her for a moment. He wiped away a tear and walked past her. “No, I didn’t hear anything.”

Cellis sighed sadly, but did not pursue his son.

It didn’t matter to Nillix….

Trees couldn’t sing in his world…

Nillix sat on his roof watching more of the black gulls swarming among the black, thundering clouds to the east.

Anna poked her head out the window. “There you are Nilly!” she giggled, ignoring his clear sadness. “I was looking for you, I know you heard the trees, silly.” She giggled some more, but Nillix turned away.

“Aw… C’mon Nilly, the trees aren’t all sad”

He sighed. Trees can’t be sad. Not in his world…

Anna leaned in close to his ear, giggling. “C’mon Nilly, I want to show you a secret place.”

Nillix sighed again, but followed her, not wanting to upset her. She led him through the woods, deeper and deeper. He became wary of the beginning slope… They were headed into the Vapor Mountains, to the end of his world. But as more light filtered through the trees, Nillix noticed a clearing up ahead.

Anna ran ahead, giggling. “Come on Nilly! Come on!” Nillix quickened his pace. He watched Anna run up onto a large rock, upon which a mangled tree grew. The roots clenched around the rock, a fist of wood gripping the stone, its roots overwhelming the immovable rock. Nillix followed her up onto the rock and was amazed by what he saw….

His world….

Only his world…

The entire village of Have was lain out before him. He saw only the village. Large white clouds rose from the Vapor Mountains, rising to meet the overcast skies that were moving in overhead. His world was cradled gently in a sea of clouds.

Nillix looked down on the village, where thatch, cobblestone and steel all blended together. The thin wisps of smoke that drifted from the chimneys of the houses seemed to radiate the warmth and joy that were put into them each day. At the beach, the motley group of fishing ships came in for the day. Many of the fishermen were happily laughing as they headed to the pub for a drink among their friends before heading home to greet their families. But no, this village was their family. Nillix’s family. Nillix’s world…

Everything was quiet…

But a giggle snapped him out of his daze. Anna had climbed the tree, gently whispering to herself… or perhaps to the tree…

‘No! They’re just trees!’

But as she whispered, another rustling breeze swept down from the Vapor Mountains.

‘No!’

Two branches swayed from side to side, silently conducting the rising sounds. The trees seemed much more flexible up on the mountainside, swaying and swinging their branches like the flow of the music. A brassy creak of shifting trunks joined the whisper of rustling leaves.

Anna giggled from her perch in the swaying tree, swinging freely as she led the glade in their song. Nillix sat stern and stubborn on the rock, denying the sound of it all. He emptied his ears, but a loud whistle pierced the air, and through his guard.

Nillix whirled his head around. Anna began to join the music. Her whistle fell into a pattern that Nillix never thought possible.

He slowly rose to his feet, shakily attempting to climb up into the swaying tree. He had difficulty finding a foothold. His hands grabbed for safety, his legs shook, and for a moment, he thought that he would fall. Anna, never missing a note, reached down and gently offered a reassuring hand as he started to slip. Nillix tapped into a newfound strength that he felt when his hand grabbed hers, and pulled himself up into the tree. Together, the two siblings conducted the orchestra of trees, with their tree as the baton, waving to the rhythm of the music.

With a final gust, sweeping down the mountainside, the tree gave a creaky bow.

The symphony was at its end…

The world was filled with music…

Nillix’s world.

Published in: on May 3, 2010 at 6:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Far Better Thing- Elisha

 

A Far Better Thing

BOOK ONE

Prologue

 

It starts when you don’t expect it. Always. Your tear ducts feel like they are swelling to the point that tear will just waterfall down your face making your mascara the murky, slimy rock underneath the water that is the blackness that is your life. It sounds a bit extreme, but it’s true. In my case, it’s usually when I’m in public, or when it’s the rare chance that I am alone, someone always interrupts and asked the same damned question.

“Are you okay?”

No, I’m not. My heart is either pounding or it feels like its not there. I’m cold…so cold. I feel like I could simply sit and stare at the television for the rest of eternity, quite comfortable sitting on my couch that had become the center of my social life. I have to think about breathing because it seems like there’s absolutely no point in the action anymore. In and out, in and out.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m like that to others; simply moving in and out of their lives like the air they don’t think about moving in and out of their nostrils every second of every day that everyone even thought about living. I feel worthless, undeserving, failing. So I answer; am I okay?

“Yeah, I’m fine. Don’t worry about it.”  

Chapter 1: My Diary

Heartbreak is a tough subject. Personally, but then again this is from my own limited experience, that it’s harder to talk about than death or tragedy. I mean, at least with death you don’t have to worry about those awkward run-ins. Or tragedy. With tragedy you can put back together the house a hurricane tore down, you can put your rapist in prison, etc. But, who can mend your heart?

Let’s be honest here, who really thinks that if you truly love someone, and I don’t mean just offering to jump in front of a bus and trade your life for theirs (most people lie about that sort of thing anyways), but, I mean that you look forward to dying with them and seeing both of your afterlives together. It’s so much more than that though. You can see your whole life in a fantastic panorama that’s motion-picturesque. Everything is pure and beautiful perfection, and it becomes one of the defining moments in your life when you realize that this is the most you can ever possibly have. So when all that is gone, you lose everything. Hell, you lose it. That is where I am now, and quite unfortunately, where I am go to stay.

 

Chapter 2: Newport Academy

The Newport Academy is a large, imposing building, seeming almost out of place next to the bustling streets of Newport, Rhode Island mainly because it was so close to the street. Even the tourists in their Bermuda shorts and Adidas sandals with their families of five all the way from Utah could feel the claustrophobic vibrations the Academy gave off, almost like a pulse or a heartbeat. It felt like at any minute the ivy-covered, red bricked Victorian example of wealth could simply steal them off the street, keeping such common people in its imposing and controlling clutches for all eternity. On a nice summer day, it would be quite possible to catch some gossip loving residents relating a story to the tourist about how this happened to a heartbroken girl shortly after World War I, when she received news that her fiancée had died in Normandy. People say she did it to be with him, to love him in the afterlife. Others say that she had been planning on it for much longer than that, but resisted due to her love. Either way, she could no longer bear living in such a cruel, horrible world without her love, and so she hung herself. Right there in the front lobby. But that’s not what the locals tell their visitors to scare them, if they were not scared enough, that is. What they tell them is that she still haunts the school to this very day, calling his name, and wishing for an end to the pain that followed her even in death.

            It is to the Newport Academy that many of the old and wealthy families send their offspring. They seem so beautiful; wearing designer clothes bought from France and driving fast cars made in Italy. Too bad it’s all a lie. Underneath the soft skin and the perfect bodies molded by personal trainers are people who have hearts not of stone, but of brick, deepening their connection to the school. Their eyes constantly shift up and down across the bodies of anyone new to enter their “perfect” society, looking for more gossip to whisper in the ear of a friend as they get facials at the local spa. Of course they never let the tourists know they hate them; they need the money, the one thing they enjoy more than gossip. Every year they sit back and watch the tourists admire them, wanting to be taken by the hand and into the illusion of glamour that has fooled even the residents of Newport. If any of the admiring tourists got a true look at the residents of Newport, they would feel the same way they felt when standing in front of the Academy; afraid, controlled, and imposed.

            There is a minority in Newport that tries to be different from their imposingly rich classmates. Instead of wearing designer clothes, they shop and thrift stores. Instead of getting highlight touched and retouched twice a month, they dye their hair a multitude of colors; black, brown, red, pink, blue, green. Instead of wearing skin tight skinny jeans, they opt for baggy Tripp pants with as many chains as possible. Their goal is to be different, even though it’s always for the reputation or the attention, because nobody in Newport does anything for completely pure means. Their efforts at individuality are fruitless though, because like all the other members of the Newport society, they stick together in their own little clique, not letting anyone else in and easily pushing away those who want out. 

            Danielle du Myth is the one person within the Newport hierarchy to truly be different, though at first glance she seems to be a member of the minority. This doesn’t make her very popular, but to be frank, she doesn’t care. She never had, and could never understand why people would go through all that fuss just to become what she viewed as a bad person. She didn’t like the rumors or the social gatherings where everyone really just dressed up to see how it would look on someone else’s floor later on in the evening. Danielle was a person of morals trapped in a forest of seduction and pain, the trees being the people who she had been forced to be around all of her seventeen years.

            . Danielle has a beauty that is plain to see even to the painfully oblivious or the merciless residents of Newport, but by taking an even closer look at her one can truly grasp her mythological beauty, making her seem like she was meant to be different. She is almost as pale as the clouds overhead in the light blue spring sky, making her look fresh and clean like undisturbed snow on a cold winter morning. Her medium height and weight give the perfect palette for the picture of her body. Her legs are long and muscular from her years as a runner, and her long, thin fingers are from her thirteen years of mastering the piano. Her deep cerulean eyes perfectly match her pale skin and dark brown curls that trace her body all the way down to her waist, giving her the appearance of a storybook princess. It is at this moment that our twenty-first century Aphrodite is walking to what she knows as her place of torture.

            As she walks, her fingers touch the tulips whose petals are as soft as her own skin. She contemplates picking one, but decides against it; she does not want to ruin the natural beauty that is so rare for Newport. She treks onward to the Academy. It is upon arriving at the wrought iron gates of her school that she hears them. “Great,” she thinks as she steps through, not bothering to hold the gate open.

            “I still can’t believe you guys actually hooked up!”

            “Why not? I’m hot, he’s hot. It was going to happen eventually.”

            “Still, like, I don’t know. He’s lacrosse captain and the son of one of the richest men in the country and is going to Harvard and is supposed to be the best lay in the school. He’s basically perfect, and so are you. I don’t see how that happens.”

            “Perfect people attract other perfect people. Get over it.”

            “Yeah,” thought Danielle, “as if perfection is based on how much saline and silicone they can fit into your breasts at one time.”

            She continued her journey to her locker as the girls passed her, giving her their own self-righteous condescension through their faces, laughed, and walked on, if she had not existed.

            “I hate people like that,” both parties thought.

Chapter 3: My Diary

            I hate this school. Seriously. If it collapsed and went underground and took everyone in it to the fiery pits of hell, my life would be so much easier. You want to know why? Because I wouldn’t have to deal with drama like who slept with who this weekend and who got caught doing drugs or something. The N.A. is one screwed up place, I swear.

            For example, let me tell you about my encounter with Miss Shelby Dickson and one of her goons whose name I don’t even remember. She’s discussing, quite loudly in fact, her rather X-rated weekend with Jeremy Van Clout. I don’t know what’s more disgusting, the fact that she wants people to hear, or that they’re not even dating (again), or the fact that basically everyone here regards sex as a right of passage, or some type of “getting to know you” exercise. I mean…I’ve only ever had sex with one person and not only does nobody know about it, I loved him. And at the time he loved me…

            People have no standards anymore. Seriously.

 

Chapter 4: A Regular Day?

            Shelby Dickson walked into her classes that day with a sense of overwhelming pride; she finally had her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Jeremy Van Clout back where she wanted him…almost. Their little tryst this weekend was sure to bring him back and this time, she’d make him stay. After all, marrying into the Van Clout family could mean big rewards for her and her own family. Besides, they were already the perfect power couple, weren’t they? While both of them would stray from time to time, finding lovers who could better fulfill their needs at the moment, once they were married everything would be official. It was what was expected of both of them, and she would perform her duty. “I’m the closest thing to perfect this school has anyways. I don’t know how he can resist me,” she thought as she made her way into her philosophy class, where many of her friends were.

            “Shell, did you see Danielle this morning?”

            “Yeah, I saw the weirdo…why?”

            “She looks fucked up! I mean, I know that thing with her boyfriend happened a long time ago, but I haven’t really looked at her since. She looks…I don’t know. Creepy, almost like a zombie.”

            “Idiot, she’s probably just smoking pot or something. It wouldn’t surprise me; she’s always been different, so why does it matter now?”

            “It matters because she’s heartbroken,” said a deeper voice within the crowd. Jeremy had just walked into his class, and into the discussion.

            “Well, well, isn’t it Jeremy, the hopeless romantic?”

            “Yes,” said Shelby, “isn’t he just?” Jeremy, why would you say that? It’s been six months since he left her and she should be over it by now. All this ‘poor me, I’m alone with nobody to love me’ crap is a bunch of bull. She wants attention like the rest of her little goth and emo and weirdo groupies. That’s what they’re all like.”

            Jeremy took a deep breath as he sat down a pulled out his textbook. He then began to speak.

            “You know Shelby? Maybe everything isn’t what it seems around here. Was that chick that killed herself in 1916 on drugs? Because I’m pretty sure the autopsy declared her clean. Who says that Danielle has to be on drugs, or even wants attention for that matter? People should just leave her alone because that’s what she wants. I don’t know how any of you can’t see that. She might be different, but she’s a person too.”

            After a minute or two of complete silence, Shelby gathered up everything she had and replied with:

            “Why are you standing up for her all of a sudden? It’s not like we’re going to have a witch hunt after her.  Just cool it.”

            It was at that moment that their teacher began their lesson on the philosophies used within early American documents, and how “all men are created equal.”

Chapter 5: My Diary

            When I was walking home today, I could feel it… the emptiness. I thought that I was just going to burst open from the inside. I avoided all thoughts until I got back to my house, which is a lot harder than you may think. When I reached our driveway, I almost ran to be able to break within the confines of my home. I opened the door and almost didn’t make it to my room so that I could shatter appropriately. My bed and pillows were the biggest comfort I could ask for. I held my pillow tight against my body and closed my eyes even tighter as I tried to stop the shaking and pressured myself into sleep. Only when I finally manage to get to that state of unconsciousness would I really be content. I know I sleep way too much, but I don’t really care. When I sleep, I dream, and I can be with him all I like.

            I woke up to the sound of my mother beating on my door, telling me to come downstairs and see what my father did in the backyard. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and I highly doubt it will be the last. My father is a man who loves his women, you see, and unfortunately that’s not limited to my mother. Every once in a while she’ll either find out, or his emotions get to him and make him feel guilty, and he’ll take the family on vacation, or buy her a gift, or (like he decided to do most recently) hire someone to do some sort of renovation to the house. Sometimes I wonder why she just doesn’t divorce him already, but then I think about what some of the people here would say. I guess its worth not having rumors circulating about you and your family. Divorce among us “old families” really isn’t practiced…only in such extreme situations would a couple go through such a scandalous thing as divorce. Unfortunately for my parents, affairs are not considered an extreme offense.

            Slowly but surely, I made my way off my bed, down the hall, down the spiral staircase, down another hall and staircase, through the kitchen and into the solarium, where my parents were waiting. We all exchanged glances and proceeded into the backyard. That’s when my mother and I saw it. Tall and beautiful rose bushes at least six feet tall arranged in a complex pattern of twists, turns, dead ends, and the like. At the center was a fountain, surrounded by little benches where one could have a small backyard lunch. As I admired the maze, I was almost drawn to it, as if it became my new mission to solve it. Maybe it can be a new distraction? I like puzzles anyways…hopefully it can be a challenge to keep my occupied for a while.

            “Oh yes,” I said “this should be fun.”

 

Chapter 6: Remembrance

            As Jeremy Van Clout drove home that day, he thought of his philosophy class that morning. “Honestly,” he thought, “why can’t they just leave Danielle alone? She’s not the only one with issues…”

            A painful twinge of a memory took his thoughts for its own. He sped up his car, wishing to be alone himself. The sight of that face, that figure haunted him even to this day. He didn’t want Danielle to end up like her…he could let that happen. He’d have to intervene sometime soon, but how? And when? And with Shelby on his tail, it would be almost impossible. She would think the worst and then do the worst; she could be malicious when she wanted. But, his fear of Danielle’s situation overpowered his fear of Shelby. “Danielle probably can’t handle shit for much longer,” he though solemnly. He thought again of the thing that drove him mad…   

            “I can’t let things continue the way they are…if she does it, it’ll prove this catch 22 we’re all in…I just can’t.”

            Jeremy then slammed on his brakes, as to not drive through the garage door again.

 

            END OF BOOK ONE

 

BOOK TWO

Chapter 1: My Diary

            I spent most of today in the maze again; thank God for Saturdays. I do way too much thinking in there, it’s crazy. I haven’t made it to the middle yet though, its probably going to bug me in a week, but I’m fine with it for now. I’m enjoying the challenge of it thus far…it’s giving me an outlet for thoughts of him. And since I’m concentrating on walking, I won’t cry, which is a good thing. But, when I don’t spend my time thinking of him in there, I usually bring food and actually admire the roses. They’re the most beautiful things, those roses. They’re so red, redder than any rose I’ve ever seen. They’re the sort of red that you think you can really only get digitally, when you’re using a computer or something like that. You know, when you use the customized color feature and you get the perfect shade that you need for whatever you’re making? They’re the perfect shade of red that you find in that; not too dark, not too light. Perfect. The thing I like best about them though is that they each have a sort of black twinge to them, like if they’re depressed but can’t show it because of what they have to do…just like me.

            When I wasn’t in the maze, I actually played my piano for about the first time in a month. I haven’t been playing a lot lately; I even skipped my recital a few months back. You have no idea what it’s like; losing all of your motivation for something you love. I actually missed being at the piano, I could just never get myself to get up and start playing it. What made me go back and play was that happened yesterday that I can’t really explain. I was at school and I was trying to ignore all the stupidity going on around me, especially from Shelby. God she annoys the crap out of me; I really don’t think that there is anyone more self-centered than she is. I was starting to feel the pain coming again, so I quickened my pace and went into the nearest room, which happened to be an empty music room. There was obviously a piano in there, so I sat on the bench and clutched my chest and closed my eyes, trying my best not to cry. After a couple of deep breaths, I was able to open my eyes and look up to see a piece of very interesting-looking music on the piano. I could have sworn that the piano didn’t have any music on it when I sat down, but I really wasn’t paying any attention, plus I was really disoriented from trying to calm myself a little bit that I don’t think I noticed it. Anyways, the music really intrigued me, and that hasn’t happened once since he left me. I looked over the two pages and the next thing I knew, I was playing. God, it was a beautiful song. I loved playing it, and I remembered how much I loved the piano. When I play, I get lost in the music and almost forget where my fingers are and where I’m sitting and just listen. I mean, of course I look at the page but it sometimes it doesn’t really click that I’m playing, it just sort of happens. Its like I don’t play the music like I used to when I was little, I feel the music. When you get to that point in your playing you officially become a master of that instrument, I think. I remember the first time I ever played like that; he asked me to play…and I said yes. I don’t even remember the song I played…I just remember feeling my love for him through the music. I felt that again yesterday when I was playing…I forgot how wonderful it felt. When I was done, I took a deep breath, mainly because I was shocked because I hadn’t felt so good in a long time. Then I remembered I had class, damning myself for putting personal needs over my education, but not forgetting to look at the name of the song and the composer. It was simply titled “My Love” by someone named A. Cooper, copyright 1915.

Chapter 2: Fear

            He turned right, then left, then went up a flight of stairs. “Where’s Mommy,” he thought as he scrambled around the huge Newport Academy. The fair-haired, blue-eyed angel of a six-year-old thought that he might get lost in the school forever, or that it might eat him because of all the noises it made; he thought it sounded hungry.

            “MOOOOMMMMYYYY!! WHERE ARE YOU!? I’M SCARED AND WANNNA GO HOME!!” screamed the tiny version of a Jeremy Van Clout, who was on the verge of tears. He hated coming to the Academy, it was big and scary. He wanted his mommy to quit being in her stupid club…what was it called? Uloomy board? No… Alnooni? No…The Alumni Board! “That’s it,” he thought as he continued traipsing the halls for his mother. Daddy was away on business again, and Mommy couldn’t find a babysitter, so here he was. His sister was ten, but she was staying at a friend’s house for the weekend. He’d only been to the school a couple of times, for events and parties and things like that, but he’d never gotten lost. Then again, at all the other things he’d spent the whole time hiding behind Mommy’s leg so that Shelby would leave him alone. She always wanted to play Barbie or doctor on some stupid stuffed animal she had. Last time she wanted to play, she wanted them to get “married” and play house. He stuck his tongue out and ran away, an answer he though perfectly acceptable until the cootie-infested nose picker started crying and told her mommy, so Mommy made him apologize and he had to play with her. Mommy always told him that he and Shelby were going to get married, but he wasn’t ever getting married, especially not to Shelby. At least not until they make a cootie shot. He screamed for his mommy again as he made his way towards the music wing. He entered one of the rooms with instruments and stuff in it and sat down at the piano. He didn’t know how to play so he began just hitting the keys and making noises, thinking about a girl in his class named Danielle who had been playing since they were four. He stopped and let the final, low note ring out from the piano. There was complete and utter silence, and it began to creep upon him so much so that his ears began to hurt from the pressure of it. His fear reached its peak and he began crying very loudly; one might even be able to say that he could wake the dead with all of his screaming.

“MO-OOMM-YYY I W-W-WAN-NNA GO-O-O HOOOOME!!!!”  

“It’s okay, follow me!” said a girly voice. Jeremy opened his eyes, rubbed away his tears, and very timidly asked “W-w-what?”

“It’s okay little one! Follow me! I can get you out of here!” Jeremy didn’t know what else to do, so he followed the girl’s voice out of the room. He didn’t see her, so he thought that they might be playing a game of some sort. He began to run after her coaxing phrases like “Come on, this way!” and “Down these stairs, we’re getting close!” He began laughing in his chase, and so did the girl. “I really hope she doesn’t have cooties!” he thought as he finally reached the big stairs coming from the lobby. He saw the girl’s back because she was facing the doors; she was wearing a very pretty white dress and a pair of white shoes. Her copper hair was up in a bun tied with a matching white bow. He went up behind her and grabbed her hand. “Oh thank you so much lady, you’re so nice. I normally wouldn’t touch a girl because of cooties but you were facing the other way and–” she turned around to show him her face, which was half rotted away. He automatically let go of her hand and started backing away, not being able to keep his eyes off his face, and opening his mouth for a scream that wouldn’t come. “Come stay with me and we can play all you like little boy. Won’t you stay with me?” she said as she held out her hand and eased closer to him. “Come on!” she said, “all you have to do is die!” A noose fell down from the ceiling, and he closed his eyes and finally screamed until he heard a door open and slam shut, and his mommy running down the stairs, begging him to tell her what was wrong. “Mommy there’s a zombie, or a ghost, or something!! LOOK!” He pointed out in front of him, only for there to be an empty space where the thing was. “It’s ok Jemmy baby, there’s no such thing as ghosts, nothing’s going to hurt you, Mommy’s here now,” she said over and over again as she pulled her son into her arms and walked out the doors of the school. He buried his face into Mommy’s shoulder as she walked away from the Academy, only to hear a distinct laugh coming from the lobby that made him cling to her even more.

Jeremy Van Clout woke up crying again. His first instinct was to look at the clock; it read four AM. It’s been eleven years since that happened and he still couldn’t get her face out of his head. Of course now he knew who she was, Adele Cooper, the girl who committed suicide in the lobby back during World War I. He laid back on his bed and took a deep breath, trying to calm himself after reliving the experience yet again. That was at least the tenth time that he had had that dream in the past couple of weeks. He knew he had to help Danielle, and fast, before Adele got to her.

After the incident happened originally, he wouldn’t go anywhere for two weeks, especially not school since the Academy had elementary, middle, and high schools within it. He was scared of everything save his mother’s arms and his bedroom. His parents got him counseling after it, and that seemed to help a little, enough so that he would go back to school, which was the main thing that they wanted. After being back at school for a little bit he began to become less and less afraid and was finally able to live normally again. He would have the dream every couple of years after that, and he would still wake up with tears in his eyes. When he was in eighth grade, the dreams started happening again, but more frequently. He would go to school exhausted and frightened of what he might see, even with people around. He began to make sure that when he would go somewhere, he wouldn’t be alone so that she wouldn’t come for him. Eighth grade was also the year he finally took the initiative to find something out about the girl. In history class, they were to do a project on Rhode Island history, and he asked the teacher whether or not there were any scandalous deaths or murders that had happened in Newport, so that he could think of a topic. The teacher and many of the students went pale, while some were whispering amongst themselves. Finally, and not surprisingly, it was Shelby who spoke up, “You haven’t heard the story of Adele Cooper?”

“Who’s Adele Cooper?” he asked innocently, though he had a vague idea as to where this was heading.

Their teacher took the conversation from there. “Adele Cooper was a young woman who lived here in Newport, born at the local hospital that many of you were born at in 1895. She grew up here and went to school right here, in the Newport Academy. Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if she was taught history in this very room at some time or another; the wings have been fixed by subject for each school since the place was built. She was one of the best students in her class and graduated as salutatorian; beat out only by the young man that she had been with for quite some time, Benjamin Anderson. When they graduated WWI was just breaking out, so America hadn’t joined yet. But when they did, Benjamin did his duty and signed up immediately, leaving his family and Adele behind, who was by that point his fiancée. Benjamin survived in the war until 1916, when he was killed in battle in Normandy. Adele, who has been slowly going insane without her love for so long, couldn’t take it. A week after they got the letter that he had died, she hung herself in the lobby of the school. Nobody really knows why she picked the lobby, all they knew was that their lives had been terribly shaken up. After the funeral, people took great care not to talk about it, because it was too great a black mark on the reputation of Newport. After WWII, people needed something to talk about other than Hitler and Germany, and so they began to gossip about the suicide. Soon it became something to freak out the tourists who come every summer.  People still like to say that she haunts the school, but nobody has really ever reported a sighting, only noises when they’re alone and such. Personally, I think that she’s changed this school forever, even if she’s not in it. Jeremy, why don’t you do your project on her? I’m sure everyone would like to know some of the truth surrounding her.”

And that’s what he did. Only, Jeremy went much more in depth than his project let on. By some miracle, he was able to get into contact with who would have been Adele’s niece, Meryl-Anne Rogers. Adele had kept a diary all her life and Meryl-Anne had it, in case something like this was to ever happen. She easily gave up the diary to him, telling him to use it well. He read it cover to cover, and he realized exactly why she did it. She wasn’t on drugs, she didn’t drink, but she hated almost everyone in Newport. She hated how they were, and she hated what they stood for. She hated how they would sing and dance and get drunk and wallow in their riches while there were starving people all around the world. One of the only people she didn’t despise was Benjamin, who she loved with everything she had. She couldn’t wait to be his wife when he returned from the war. But, waiting was making her truly see how messed up and wrong Newport society was. She was slowly becoming obsessed with her garden; it gave her something to wait out the time that Benjamin was gone. The only thing that kept her going was her garden the fact that Benjamin was coming home…or so she thought. When she read that letter, she went postal. In fact, her daily diary entries stopped for five days. On the sixth day, she simply wrote about how she couldn’t take it anymore, and even though she’d be gone, she’d be with him; it was her unread suicide note. The next day she found rope and a chair, and walked to the school, even stopping to tell some people hello on the way there. She hung herself half an hour later, dying immediately from a broken neck.

Jeremy was the only person who knew exactly what the stages of Adele’s death were, and he could see it in Danielle. He had to confront her, he had to give her the diary, something, anything to keep her alive. Danielle was just like Adele, and he could see what was coming all too clearly.

Chapter 3: My Diary

I’m getting closer and closer to the middle of the maze, I can feel it. I was out there until almost nine o’clock last night, until my mom called me and made me eat dinner while my dad was “at work,” which means he was most likely screwing his secretary. After dinner I did my homework, but seriously contemplated going back out there in my PJ’s with a flashlight and getting to the middle. The song from last week is still ringing in my head. I actually went back to the music room and got the piece and brought it home to practice. A. Cooper was an amazing composer, but I highly doubt that they’re still alive. I’m beginning to think that the piece was a dedication from the way it feels when played…simply amazing. Whoever this dedication was to was a lucky person, a lucky person indeed. I should look into the school records for an A. Cooper so that I at least know who this person was, because whoever they were they were simply a musical genius. I wonder if they were in love…that’s a stupid question of course they were! Maybe if I had done something like this for him he would have stayed. I bet their lover was amazed at this, because I know I am.

School has been relatively easier lately, mainly because I feel like something is going to happen. I also feel like someone is watching over me, like a guardian angel of sorts. When I sleep I can hear the voice of a young woman telling me to join her…saying that she understands. Am I going to meet someone like me soon? Maybe I’m just being too optimistic. Last time that happened I got dropped on my ass and my heart broken. Right now I’m letting things flow…and strangely enough feeling better thanks to A. Cooper. Maybe A. Cooper is the one that I feel watching me all the time? Was I meant to find that piece of music?

What the hell am I saying? Meant to find a piece of music…I’m going crazy. I need some sleep…

Chapter 4: Morning

A couple mornings after his dream, Jeremy went to school with the diary and intended to get Danielle alone. He really didn’t care what Shelby or his friends would say, nor did he care what Danielle would think of him. He could sense the danger coming, he could feel the darkness surrounding Danielle every time that they were in class together. She seemed happier on the outside, but every time she smiled there was something…wrong. Her smile was creepy now…she looked evil every time it crossed her face. Some people were saying that at least she was showing emotion now, but they didn’t know what he knew. They didn’t know that history was being repeated before their very eyes, and they didn’t know that it was very possible that Adele could be seeking the friend that she didn’t get in Jeremy eleven years ago. He went to his locker and went to find Danielle. They had their first period class together, and by the time he arrived, she was already there. He asked her to go into the hallway with him for a minute; he had to tell her something.

“Look,” he said, “class is about to start, but I have to talk to you some time during the day about something really, really important. Promise me you’ll meet me in front of my locker this afternoon, I’ll give you a ride home. Just, promise me, ok? This isn’t about sex, I swear. I know you don’t like me…but please, please, you have to do this.”

“Oh, okay…yeah sure I guess. If it’s that important why can’t you tell me now?”

“We need to be completely alone; my car is the best place. We have to get back in the classroom now, so just meet me at my locker today. It’s in the science wing, number 246.”

“Yeah…sure.”

Chapter 5: My Diary

            What the hell does he want with me!? “Not about sex” my ass… he’s probably just trying to get me alone so that I’ll agree to doing it. He knows what happened all those months ago…he should know better. Some people in this school really are sick. But even if he is telling the truth, what could it be about? Jeremy and I have never had a cohesive, non-classroom-like conversation, what could he want? He seemed almost distressed, like he had to hurry or something…I don’t know. This is stupid. I’ll go and humor him, but I highly doubt its all that important. People like him never have their priorities straight, especially when it comes to dealing with people like me.

Chapter 6: A Misunderstanding

            That afternoon, Shelby was walking to her car, thinking about how to get Jeremy to pay more attention to her; he had been very distant lately. He would talk to her…but he seemed like he was always thinking of something else. Every time they were together he seemed cold and inattentive, as if he would rather be somewhere else…with someone else. She shook her head, trying to rid her mind of the thoughts that she prayed were wrong. They were supposed to be together; it was their societal duty to get married and provide all those weird tourists and middle-class people something to talk about. She was not about to turn away from what she had to do…but was he? A few nights ago she had spent the night with him, but afterwards they didn’t talk like they used to. In fact, he just rolled over and went to sleep the minute that they were finished. It seemed like he was having some sort of nightmare when he slept, but when he woke up and she asked about it, he denied any sort of thing and quickly left. Didn’t he understand that they had to be together? Didn’t he understand that she loved him? Why was he having all these crazy notions of helping Danielle all of a sudden? She never did anything for him, she could never match what Shelby was. She again shuddered thinking about a couple like that in a society like theirs; nobody would want it, and they would be divorced within the first year. When she got to her car, she reached to unlock the door, and then saw it. She saw them, together, getting into his car. Shelby had been right all along…they were together. There’s no other explanation for her getting into his car like that. He never opened the door for Shelby, but for her, anything. They drove away. Shelby got into her car and pressed the gas pedal as hard as she could.

They were heading for Jeremy’s house, she could see that much. She knew the way perfectly well. Each turn in the road that brought them closer to the mansion gave her a new idea as to what they could be doing, or what they could have done. Would he have told her everything that Shelby had ever told him; would they laugh at her for even thinking about a marrying Jeremy? Did Jeremy love Danielle like Shelby loved Jeremy? Did Danielle love him back? Is that why she had been acting eerily happy all of a sudden? Her eyes filled will tears and spilled over, like a glass filled with too much water. She felt a sudden hatred and rage against Danielle. This was all her fault. She wanted Shelby to suffer. She wanted her to know what it felt like to be heartbroken like she was. Danielle was cruel and was getting pleasure out of the fact that Shelby was so torn into pieces that she was a piece of notebook paper flying in the breeze with no control over what she did. She slowed her car when they pulled into his driveway and went inside. Shelby creeped her car along the side of the road and parked it as close to his house as she could get it. She got out and quickly tiptoed to the nearest window, where she witnessed but could not hear the following scene.

Jeremy took off Danielle’s jacket and hung it on the stand next to the door. Danielle turned around and gave him a look of contempt, asking him something and seeming quite annoyed about it. Jeremy took a deep breath before speaking. He was obviously explaining something, but Shelby couldn’t tell what. He led Danielle to the nearest couch and held her hands, looking her right in the eyes while her expressions changed from disbelief, to anger, to horror, to curiosity, all to end up at disbelief again. He shoved a book into her hands, what seemed like it resembled a diary, and pointed at it obviously wanting her to look. Danielle got up and handed the book back, obviously refusing and wanting to go home, but Jeremy wasn’t having it. He got up and took her by the arms, pleading with her, almost in tears. His fingertips touched her face as he uttered one more word before Shelby couldn’t take it anymore. She made her way through her tears to his door and opened it.

“What in the HELL is going on here!?” she demanded.

“Shell, it’s not what you think, I…” stuttered Jeremy before Shelby had a chance to interrupt.

“You lying, cheating,  emo-loving scumbag! How dare you? HOW DARE YOU? Trying to pull me for a fast one, aren’t you Jeremy? You know, if it was someone from our circle, from someone who was at least worthy of you, I wouldn’t care as much. But HER? Look at her Jeremy! She doesn’t belong with people like us, or even here in Newport for that matter. She’s a bipolar depression monster who just eats away at everyone else’s happiness. She doesn’t deserve you. She doesn’t even deserve to live.” Shelby turned to Danielle. “You man stealing whore. Nobody likes you here, did you know that? You’re a little emo, depressed bitch who only wants attention and to make the normal ones like me hurt. I bet you’ve been planning this for a long time, ever since that loser you fell in love with broke it off with you. Just because you’re not happy means that nobody can be happy, right? What was Jeremy telling you right now? Was he about to kiss you? Does he love you? You don’t deserve his love, or him, or even the money you were born into. Everyone here hates you, so why don’t you be like that girl from 1916 and just hang yourself, because the only way you’re going to be of any use is with a rope around your neck!”

Shelby stopped, gasping for breath in her anger. She was very proud of herself and believed she got her point across quite well. After a silence a very pale-faced Danielle spoke up.

“Did you plan this? Do you all really hate me that much? I don’t ever recall doing anything to either of you, or any of your friends,” she turned to Jeremy. “You and your girlfriend have made me feel much better, thank you so very much. This just furthers my disbelief, and I hope that you two are very, very happy with one another. Newport’s social hierarchy will be pleased when you two get married and I am not here like you all seem to want me to be. Thank you for letting me know, I’ll fix the problem immediately.” Danielle left and broke into a sprint as soon as she got out the door. Jeremy tried to chase after her, but Shelby stopped him. “Where are you going?” she asked. “She’s leaving us forever, and you and I can finally be together. Its for the best.”

“Is another dead girl really for the best Shelby?” Jeremy tried to chase after Danielle, but she was already too far out in front.

Chapter 7: My Diary

I HATE THEM I HATE THEM I HATE THEM I HATE THEM. I never did anything to them. EVER. I hate Newport. I hate the Academy. I hate my cheating father and my weak mother. I hate Jeremy, and Shelby, and all of the little goons that they have the nerve to call friends. I hate him. I HATE HIM. He left me, so I should leave everyone else. I’ll finally conform, and they’ll finally have what they want. Finally they’ll see me how they want…finally.

 

 

Chapter 8: Together

Jeremy raced to the school where he knew Danielle would be; if these correlations kept happening, he knew what was coming. He raced across the west lawn and into a side door, where he found a shortcut leading him directly to the lobby, but he was too late. Those beautiful brown curls fell down her back, surrounding the rope around her neck as if it was a mere necklace. A necklace of death, that is. Her long fingers stretched out, lifelessly looking for the love that she died for. Her body that was just a few hours ago so filled with life was now creepily still, moving only from the slight breeze causing the rope to sway back and forth. Jeremy felt like he was six again. He balled up onto the floor and cried harder than any other time in his life; harder than when he saw Adele. He thought of that face, of Danielle’s face. Would Danielle rot like Adele? Would they find one another in this hellhole that they had cursed themselves to for all eternity?

Jeremy looked up and saw Adele and Danielle, holding hands and not noticing him. He was not scared this time; he was too familiar with the sight of ghosts to be affected other than by shock. He looked at them carefully. Adele was not rotting this time, in fact she was quite beautiful, especially with her smiling at Danielle like that. Danielle looked truly happy for the first time ever since he left, and was smiling just as brightly as Adele.

“Even in death, it feels good to find someone like you.” Said Adele.

“Even in death, it’s better to be together.” Said Danielle.

“Even in death, you can find happiness.” They both said before walking down the hall, disappearing forever into the depths of the Academy. Jeremy got up and walked out of the door, out of Newport, and out of his own life. He wanted something real like Danielle and Adele. Even if it means leaving everything you know behind.

“Nevada,” he whispered to himself, “I’ve always wanted to go to Nevada.”

Chapter 9: Redemption

It starts when you don’t expect it. Always. Your tear ducts feel like they are swelling to the point that tear will just waterfall down your face making your mascara the murky, slimy rock underneath the water that is the blackness that is your life. It sounds a bit extreme, but it’s true. In my case, it’s usually when I’m in public, or when it’s the rare chance that I am alone, someone always interrupts and asked the same damned question.

“Are you okay?”

No, I’m not. My heart is either pounding or it feels like its not there. I’m cold…so cold. I feel like I could simply sit and stare at the television for the rest of eternity, quite comfortable sitting on my couch that had become the center of my social life. I have to think about breathing because it seems like there’s absolutely no point in the action anymore. In and out, in and out.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m like that to others; simply moving in and out of their lives like the air they don’t think about moving in and out of their nostrils every second of every day that everyone even thought about living. I feel worthless, undeserving, failing. So I answer; am I okay?

“Yeah, I’m fine. Don’t worry about it.”  

This has been my life for many months now, and I’m tired of it. While I have lived a very privileged life, filled with beautiful clothes, cars, and people, its simply not enough anymore. Losing someone like that has shown me what it really feels like to live life they way it should be led. Happily. So, this is my step into happiness. While some might think its crazy, I don’t really know any other solution. I would be lying if I didn’t do it, and I’ve been doing that for far too long. I’ve been putting on an act to get through school and my home life, but I can’t do it anymore. This is my step into my own weird version of happiness, whether there’s another dead girl or not. Who knows? We might end up friends. I would say “screw you guys, I hate you all,” but there’s really no point in it because once this is over, it won’t matter who I hated or who I loved, just how much press you can get out of my body before and after its buried. So, I consider this a far better thing for myself and for everyone else. It is a far better than I have ever done, and far better than I could ever do. I hope that when you read this you forgive me and realize that this was for the best. It is a far better thing…a far better thing.

–         Danielle Du Myth, Born January 6, 1992

 Died May 19, 2010

 

END

Published in: on April 26, 2010 at 6:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

changed by you – Jamie Bouchard

 

Changed By You

 

“And no, I’m not afraid, at least not to die. I’m afraid to live and not remember why. I’m just here to remind you, remind you not to forget to remember me.” I was humming along to the lyrics as Envy on the Coast played in my mail truck. It was a cool August afternoon in 2009. Back then, I was doing nothing in my life. I was all alone in my apartment. I didn’t have many friends. I was just living it day by day, never looking ahead for my future. The next day, it would all change. And it was all because of her.

I drove up to Jane Williamson’s house located on 120 Willow Lane. She is an old lady, on my notice, and every day she asks how I am doing and if I would like to come inside for cookies. Every day I politely decline in order to finish up my days work at my favorite house.

As I drove up to this house, I had a smile on my face. As a mailman, you meet many people but they rarely become your friends. This woman’s name was Valerie, who was just shy of 28. She had green eyes and dark brown wavy hair. I had only known her for a few months then but I envied her. She had a personality that could blow you away. She was the sweetest girl you could ever meet and beautiful, on the inside and out. She was brave and strong and she understood the meaning of life. She was always alone and even though she always smiled, deep in her eyes, there was sadness there that I wish one day, could disappear.

She meant a lot to me. She was the person that was there for me every day. Because she was my last house, some days we would talk, mostly about the movies she ordered from Netflix or the recent news in the papers. She would make me coffee and we would talk for an hour or two until I realized I had to go, or she had to run some errands. She was one of my only friends. And we kept it casual, nothing personal.

I walked happily to her house with her stack of bills and Catch and Release from Netflix on the top of the pile. She disappointed me with that movie choice, and I was ready to tease her when she opened the door. She lived all alone in her small home. It was odd, because just like a pet takes on a personality of its master, Valerie’s house took on her personality. It was beautiful, but mysterious. The color of her house was a dark shade of grey and had light pink shudders and a matching door. She had over grown gardens covering her yard, filled with wild flowers and tall grass. There was a tall fence leading to the back that looks like it was meant to keep people out from whatever was in the back yard. It’s ironic that Valerie had her own personal wall to protect her, just as her house did. I knocked on the door. The next track was playing in my truck and I could hear it from the door. It was silent. So I knocked again.

“Valerie, you there?”

I tried the door knob to see if it was unlocked. I thought that maybe she was at the doctors or running some errands. I decided to walk in and put her mail on her counter. I knew she wouldn’t mind. When I walked in, it was cool and dark. It seemed like the house had been deserted for days. She had a simple home with simple furniture. She isn’t a fancy person so this house was perfect for her.  

As I walked past the living room, I noticed some papers lying on the table and orange daisies in a vase, but what caught my attention the most was that the TV was on and her cell phone was laying on the couch. Maybe she was home after all.

“Hey Valerie, its Sean,” I yelled, “I have your mail here for you!” There was still no answer so I turned the TV off. Next to the remote was some sort of journal that was open. I know that I should have respected her privacy, but I remember her once saying something along the lines of, “If anyone was kind enough to listen, I would let them in my head.” I always wanted to be that person to her. I knew that if I could just know a little bit more about her, maybe I could cure that sadness in her beautiful eyes.

I opened the diary to the first page. There were scribbles all over it from when she was trying to get her pen to work. The first entry was marked as May 8, 2009. I paused for a minute, thinking about what I was doing. I felt really bad, but it doesn’t matter now, because I picked it back up and read it anyways.

 

June 18th, 2009

I’ve never written in a journal before but as of right now, I have nothing and no one. If anyone will listen to me, it will be this piece of paper. I have people in my life, but they don’t matter to me. My mother and I have had a rocky relationship ever since she got remarried and this whole ordeal began. She has nothing but mean and critical things to say, and I just don’t want to hear it. My brother moved way out west to get married to this blonde bimbo who wants nothing to do with me, so because of her, neither does my brother. I’m not even sure if he knows… The people who I call my family and are the closest ones to me, I don’t trust with an ounce of my being, and there really is no one else. I wish they weren’t so selfish and realize that I need them. But I know that will never happen, so that is why I’m writing here. Maybe it will let me feel better… Who knows?

Yesterday I went to the doctor. His name is Dr. Sebastian. I’ve been going to him for almost a year now. I like him a lot. He is tall and handsome and not scary at all, which is almost hard to believe, but he is really a nice guy. When you are in hospitals, doctors can be a little intimidating or creepy… or both. But not him. He is a good doctor, but I almost wish he could be a good friend too. He seems to be the only person who remotely knows what is going on. He is the only one who understands. So yesterday he told me that the treatment isn’t working anymore so he will have to switch me to a different kind. I felt numb. I feel like the harder I fight, the harder it fights back. I hope one day that this disease will give up before I do.

 I agreed to the next best option and he stuck the IV in me. It’s hard to stay strong in a treatment room with death and misery surrounding you. I feel no hope and no strength here. I hate it. It seemed like forever but at four, it was finally over. I walked out alone to my car and turned on the radio. The piano was playing as he sang, “I found God, on the corner of first and Amistad… Where were you when everything was falling apart?” I sat there in my car just listening to the lyrics. I got this awful pang of sadness and anger. Where was God when this battle for life began? Why couldn’t he do something to stop it? I heard the expression that everything happens for a reason, but that’s too hard to believe. Over this past year, I lost all faith in God and whether he even exists. If he is out there, how could he let me suffer like this? I just don’t understand. Why me?

Last night I had a nightmare. It didn’t have ghosts or murderers or anything that you would consider a nightmare, but to me, it was torturous. In my dream, I was happy. Happiness is such a foreign emotion to me. I never wanted to wake up.

I was walking down a windy street with endless trees bordering both sides. My fingers were intertwined with someone else’s’. I looked up into his eyes and smiled. I don’t know who the boy was exactly. He looked like someone that I used to know, but I can’t be sure. Anyways, we were walking down the street on a cool summer day. I let go of his hand and ran to the side of the road. There was a patch of wild daisies growing through the pine needles and green grass. I picked the perfect one. It was white with a bright yellow center. It had an ant crawling on it, so I picked it off. I looked back at the boy and he had the biggest grin on his face. “I knew you would do that,” he said as he ran to me. He scooped me up into his arms as I laughed. He kissed me on the forehead and placed me on the ground.

“Sooo…” He said as he swung our hands in the air. He stopped me and looked me in the eyes.”I’ve been wanting to tell you something. It has been on my mind for a while now and I really can’t wait any longer.”

My heart was beating so fast. I was nervous.

“You are a beautiful person, Valerie. Inside and out. And I don’t want to go another day without being able to call you mine.” I smiled like I never had before. I dropped my daisy on the wet ground and pressed my lips onto his. I had butterflies in my stomach and I remember I was so happy. This was one of those perfect moments.

 I quickly stopped when I thought I saw a car coming toward us. The jerk had his high beams on and it was so bright. A few seconds later I noticed it wasn’t getting any closer. The boy turned around to see what I was looking at. He looked at me confused and started walking down my driveway leaving me alone in the street. The light was so bright and so beautiful. I turned to the boy and yelled his name. He didn’t hear me and continued walking. I couldn’t resist the light. But it was pulling me away from everything I ever wanted. The light was taking me away from my happiness. And I watched it all fade away.

That’s when I woke up in tears. That dream was terrifying. It was like I finally felt happiness for the first time in forever and something took it away from me. I’ve been lying in bed now for hour’s just thinking back to when I was happy. I wonder if I will ever feel that emotion again. I really hope so, because I seem to waste a lot of money on tissues to wipe away these tears. But now I have to get up and go face reality. Wish me luck.

                 Val.

 

May 14th, 2009

I quit my job two days ago, which now I’m starting to regret a little because who else would hire me? The manager was screaming at me because I was sitting down. The sore was empty and I was working the cash register. He knows I am sick but still has to be a complete ass. I told him, “Fine, I quit then,” and walked out. I’m proud of myself that I did that, I just don’t know how I am going to pay off my massive debt.

Yesterday I got a call from Dr. Sebastian. He told me that things were slowly improving and that we have a long ways to go, but he has faith that I can get through this. I don’t know how to take news like that anymore. It gets my hopes up because I promise you, the next time I have blood work, it will be the opposite. I received another chemo treatment yesterday and I decided to switch things up a little bit. Before I went, I downloaded all the songs I used to listen to when I was younger, and listened to them instead of my usual sad and meaningful music. I can’t tell you how less miserable treatment when you have 80’s and early 90’s music is rockin’ in your ear.

I got a phone call from my mother. It was the first one in months and I was in complete shock when I saw the caller ID. I didn’t want to answer, but she is my mother. She proved to me a long time ago that I wasn’t worth her time so I figured that she wasn’t worth mine either. She just talked about how she got a divorce from that scumbag and he took the house and her beloved cat. She was crying because her cat was gone. I never thought that one day I would be jealous of a feline, but honestly I was. I wish my mom cared for me that much. If I died, I’m not even sure that she would go to my funeral. I just sat there on the phone, not even saying a word. Finally, when she asked why I wasn’t saying anything, I told her to screw and I hung up. I sat there in silence for hours until I finally decided to go to bed.

     The dream took place when I was young, probably around 12 years old. It was the fourth of July and my mother, my father, and I were down by the harbor eating ice cream and waiting for the fireworks to go off. My mother put her arm around me and kissed my forehead. She told me that she loved me and proceeded to take a huge bite out of my ice cream. Me and my dad laughed as the fireworks began. I rested my head on my mom’s shoulder as she said “ooh” and “aah” to the fluorescent lights exploding in the sky. They were simply beautiful. Then, all of a sudden there was a huge bright light. It seemed that I was the only one who could see it. I got off of the bench next to my parents and started walking to it. When I got closer I realized it was trying to take me away from my parents and away from my happiness. The light was pulling me in as I watched my parents smiling, watching the fireworks as if I didn’t even leave.

Right then I woke up. I don’t understand what this light is, but it is haunting me. I just want to be happy again and my dreams are teasing me. I hate this. Why me?                                         Val.

 

             I sat there staring blankly at the pages. My heart was beating so fast. I felt like I was going to cry. Because of reading this journal, I finally understood why she seemed so sad. Honestly, I never expected anything this horrible to be happening in her life. She hid it so well with her sarcasm and he warm smile. I gained a while new respect for her. She was so strong and brave. She was such an amazing individual and out of everyone that I knew, she is the one who deserves to be happy. I flipped through to a later date marked July 3rd.

           

            July 3rd, 2009

I realized today that maybe I’m not alone. And it took me a while to figure this out too. There is one person in my life that I see every day. And I not only see him, but I enjoy his company, and he actually gives up his time for me. You know who that is? The mail man. His name is Sean. He is tall and kinda cute and about my age. He has short brown hair and blue eyes. His smile could light up the room. His smile makes me smile. He is so nice and, honestly, I am thankful to have him in my life. Even though I may be just another house to him, he makes my day brighter every day I open the door. He doesn’t realize it but he is the only constant in my life. I rely on seeing his smile everyday and talking to him. I wish I could vent to him instead of this diary. I would tell him everything if I could. I would never put that sort of burden on him, though. I don’t want to ruin our casual relationship. It may be the last one I will have.

I went in for more treatment yesterday too. I’d like to say that the cancer is going away, but that would just be a lie. This past year has been a long journey for me physically and mentally. While the cancer was eating away at my body, my mind was going crazy. But all in all, I learned who I really was… but how useful is that if you don’t have anyone to share that with? I don’t know what my future is going to hold for me. I was always told to stay positive in this situation but it’s hard. Either I can fool myself with some lies and tell myself that one day I will get better, or I can face reality and realize that there is a good chance that I’m not going to make it through this. I really don’t think I will. And I try to tell myself I will but my body has given up on me and emotionally, I don’t have the strength anymore. And it’s scary… I don’t want to die but I just don’t see a brighter future for me.

            Last night I had another dream and this time was beautiful. I was crushed between hundreds of people while the rain poured over all of our heads. I stood there alone and smiling. There wasn’t a single person I knew around me, but I felt connected to everyone in the crowd. The thunder struck and the lightning lit up the sky. Then it began. The rhythmic guitar started playing its out-of-this world sound. Everyone screamed and cheered as we waited for him to come on stage. The drums started, and as the seconds went on, it built and built. My heart was beating fast, and I couldn’t stop smiling. The lead singer of Angels and Airwaves walked on stage and began to sing. Masses of people were crowd surfing as the steam from our bodies filled the air. I felt so alive. It is almost impossible to describe. As the rain poured down, he sang of love and war, friendship and life. The lightning struck. I looked up and took a deep breath. I soaked that moment in like it was the last second I was going to live. It was perfection.

Then there was this bright light above me. At first I thought it was lightning, though it wasn’t. I wish it was because it made the mood of the show so much more electrifying. The bright light didn’t seem to go away, and then I realized I was the only one who could see it. The light was pulling me away from the crowd as they were singing along, “When you are gone, I’ll be fine without you.” I was sinking into a sea of sadness while everyone around me was having the time of their lives. It was pulling me away from my happiness, and I watched it all fade away.

I woke up in tears.  It was still dark outside and there was rain dripping down my window. I got up and made myself a cup of coffee and wrapped myself in a few blankets. I put in Angels and Airwaves’ ‘We Don’t Need to Whisper’ CD and closed my eyes. It’s unbelievable how much my life has changed in ten years. I used to enjoy the simple things. A smile could come to my face just thinking about music, never mind actually listening to it. I don’t even remember the last time I smiled… I tried falling asleep again. If dreaming is the only way I will feel happiness, then so be it. I’ll just have to go to sleep more often.

                                    Val.

 

            August 16, 2009

     Earlier this week I went to the doctors for some more blood work. Soon enough, my veins are going to run dry. I’m sick of needles. Dr. Sebastian called me later on to tell me the results. Instead of telling me, he told me to come into his office if possible. I told him I’d be right over. My heart was racing but my eyes have run out of tears months ago. When I arrived, I sat in my car in the parking lot playing with my keychain. I’ve never been so afraid in my life. I hate being weak, and I hate being afraid, but I am so scared. I’m terrified of being alone. I’m terrified of dying. I can’t help it. I wish I could be stronger. I finally took a deep breath and left my car.

“It has been a long journey for the two of us.” Dr. Sebastian sat me down in his office. It was cozy. He tried to smile. I took out my keychain and started playing with it.

“I’m sorry, Valerie.” He whispered. I looked down at my hands. They were shaking. I felt numb.

I walked out of the doctor’s office and to my car. I stopped before opening the door. I feel like a child looking back at it. I threw my keys at my car and fell to the ground. Tears didn’t stop running down my face for a good half hour. I got looks from people walking by. But what else could I do? I feel helpless. I’m not in control at all. And I just lost it.

My dream was interesting last night. They always are. Well at least all of the ones I remember. I miss being able to tell someone about my dreams. This sucks… Anyways I was a part of this functioning family and we were all on vacation together on this beautiful island in what had to be their summer because it was so hot. We were all walking down the boardwalk laughing and having a good time. Me and my brother looked at each other and ran towards the crashing waves in the ocean. My family all followed us knowing that we had the best idea for how to spend the day.

 I took off my shoes and ran into the waves fully clothed. It was crystal clear and beautiful. My mom yelled from the beach telling me not to get eaten by the sharks. I of course ignored her and continued to swim around. I felt like if there was any life to live, this was it. We were in absolute paradise without a care in the world. I was so happy. After a few minutes in the water. I started getting out when the sun seemed to shine extra bright. I stopped and stared into it wondering what it could be. My brother had already gotten out of the water and started walking away with my family down the boardwalk.

“But wait guys look at this… It’s so bright!” I yelled it as loud as I could, and even though they weren’t that far away they couldn’t hear me. I looked back at the light. It seemed like it was pulling me closer and closer, taking me away from my bliss. And I watched my happiness all fade away.

I woke up in a cold sweat. I was sad that I woke up because I was so carefree, and now I spend all my time worrying. I think I’m actually going to get out of my house today and go to the liquor store.

Val.

 

 

            “Sean, is that you?”

            My heart dropped. I turned around to see her standing there with her arms crossed. She looked very ill and tired. I tried to form words but my tongue was tied. There was no excuse for this. So I just said, “I’m sorry, Valerie. I know what I did was wrong…”

            She stopped me right there. “It’s a little strange that I find you in my house looking at my things… but please don’t apologize, Sean. If anyone were to read my diary, I would want it to be you.”

            “Look, Valerie. For all the time that I’ve known you, I found out that you are an amazing person but looks don’t fool me. I could see that there has been something bothering you for a long time now. I just thought that if I knew you a little better, maybe I could be that someone you could turn to if you ever needed anyone to speak to. You deserve to smile and you deserve to be happy. You are so beautiful Valerie. I just wanted to help. I didn’t mean to just look through your things. I know I should have respected your privacy, and even your home but my intentions are good I promise.”

            “I know.  I can tell that you care. You are so kind and genuine. Just don’t feel bad, it’s really okay.”

            She stood there with sad eyes. I got up from the couch and hugged her. It was the only thing I could do at that moment. ”When I read what you wrote about me, I was shocked. I would have never known that you feel the same way. Valerie, you are the one thing I look forward to everyday. You make me believe that there is something good in this world. You are MY constant.”

            She started to cry but she managed to smile a little. I told her to come and sit down.

            “I have all the time in the world, you know… Do you want to talk?” She looked a little nervous but she nodded her head. We sat there, just the two of us, until one in the morning. We talked about everything that could come to that girls mind and I loved every second of it. I had to leave though and get ready for the next day’s work.

            “I’ll see you tomorrow, and we can do this again, I promise.” I kissed her on the forehead and started walking for the door.

            “Thank you, Sean. You are everything that I needed… Oh! And tomorrow, you are welcome to just walk in. I’ll have coffee waiting for you.”

            I smiled at her and waved. I didn’t sleep much that night. I had too much on my mind. I felt like I really helped her though. She looked brighter when I left, maybe even a little happy. I’m glad I did that for her, even if that meant going into her house and reading her diary. She deserves a smile, and I’m glad that I was the one to do it.

            The next morning, I can honestly say that I have never in my life had been that excited to go to work. I just wanted to see Valerie smile and know that it was all because of me. I wanted to have another cup of coffee with her, and talk to her about everything until there was nothing left to talk about. When I arrived at her house, I did the same thing as the day before. I walked right in with her mail and called her name. There was no answer yet again. I remember thinking “how does this girl sleep so late?” I found her room down the hall and quietly opened the door.

            “Valerie, its Sean. Are you up?” I walked over to the bed and sat on it. I shook her hand. It was cold and limp. “Valerie?”. My stomach dropped, and I just started to cry. I sat on the floor for a while just to regain my composure and her diary was right beside me. I picked it up and felt the rough edges on the corner. I opened it to the last page, and there was a new entry, marked last night.

 

August 29th 2009

It is a little different now knowing that someone is going to read this, and I know this someone is you, Sean. I don’t have a doctor’s update and I couldn’t fall asleep last night so here this goes. What you gave to me last night was all that I wanted. I wanted a shoulder to lean on and just someone to listen to what I had to say. It was good to talk about the cancer finally because honestly, I haven’t told anyone about it. Tonight, I want to dream about us Sean, just me and you because I know that will make me happy. All my other dreams, they were memories from my past, from when I used to be happy. There was one time where I fell in love with a boy, and I once sat on a pier with my mother and father watching the fireworks. Once I was in a functionally family. And it killed me every single night to dream about how things used to be. And when I would wake up, I was never really happy. I just wanted to fall back asleep. But now I know that reliving the past will not make me happy. I can never have it back and I have to live in the present. And I think there is a chance of me finding happiness, and I want you to know that it is all because of you. You have given me my hope back and my will to live. I cannot thank you enough Sean. You are probably sleeping while I am writing this but I hope you are laying awake thinking about me, just like I was thinking about you.

With all of my love, Val.

 

            There are no words to describe my level of how sad I was.  I couldn’t stop thinking, “How could this happen now? She just began to have a glance of hope and happiness and now it is all gone.” She was such an amazing girl and she did not deserve to die like that. I sat there holding her cold hand until I could stand. I got her phone and called her doctor to tell him what had happened. After that, everything was almost like a blur. There were tears, from her brother and her mother, though I didn’t think they were sincere. Her father never showed for the wake or the funeral. I sat in back at the funeral. It didn’t feel right. I felt like I was one of the few that genuinely cared. I heard fighting and bickering about who was going to pay for the funeral. I saw people get wasted and making out in the corner. I didn’t get these people. And obviously they didn’t get her.

            Valerie taught me a lot about the meaning of life and never taking anything for granted. I thought a lot about that song that was playing in my mail truck that one morning with the lyrics, “And no, I’m not afraid, at least not to die. I’m afraid to live and not remember why. I’m just here to remind you, remind you not to forget to remember me.” She taught me to live for a purpose and she didn’t even know it. I’ve changed a lot since then. I talk to my mother more often and I visit her at least once a week. I’m going back to school and I quit my day to day job as a mail man. I met a girl and I learned to open my heart to her because I know that there are people out there who wish they could have that chance.

            One week ago was the one year anniversary of Valerie’s death. I told my professor at school that there was something important that I had to do and couldn’t make it to school. Valerie I think would be proud of me for going to med school. I wish she could know that I’m doing it all for her. One week ago I sat next to Valerie’s grave for hours just thinking and talking to her as if she could hear me and today I am writing this in memory of the woman who changed my life.

 

 

Published in: on April 26, 2010 at 6:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Once in every 200 years- joe mcClanaghan

tat-tat-tat goes the rain

dancing happily in the streets

turning the streets into a black river of water

turning our world upside down

 

tat-tat-tat

it goes on

and on and on

tat-tat-tat

never ending

slowly the calm, tamed river rises

tat-tat-tat

 

no more says the river

it’s had enough

mocking the arrogance of human engineering and effort

tat-tat-tat

there’s no where to go

the mighty river of concrete surrenders and becomes a river of polluted water

a tired soldier looks on next to a mountain of sandbags, realizing his efforts are in vain

 

our proud shining beacon of prosperity and wealth a surreal island of disbelief

its doors of human greed and endless digits of credit cards

Falling to the serenity of water perverted wih the surpluses of huma diet

above, machines of war monotonously drone

politicians and decision makers stunned

disbelieving wonder in eyes

 

everywhere order is collapsing, along with with bridges and roads

politicians and generals running

 

This can’t be happening

there is no way this is reality

this must be a surreal dream

or some messed up prank by the news

this has t o be dream

but no, the cool water slaps us to reality

tat-tat-tat

Published in: on April 26, 2010 at 6:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Haylo Part IV: Allie

IV

Whenever you are in battle, it is always a good idea to claim the higher ground. So if you ever find yourself facing a crazy candle making witch and an army of wax puppets, remember; higher ground.

Haylo lay on her stomach atop a grassy hilltop with Essie pacing back and forth beside her. The snow still coated the ground and the lines of wax puppets toiled in down below with their awkward robotic movements carrying them forth. She spotted the boy that she had seen before, but he was shorter today, and there was a new puppet that was even taller than he. Upon further investigation, Haylo realized that the shortest had been replaced by new taller puppets. To Yolanda, these creatures were entirely disposable. She wondered if she would be just as meaningless to her if she were a puppet, just an insignificant slave; or if she would hold more meaning in her shrinking frame that disappeared like a burning candle. But that’s exactly what these puppets were, human candles. Although they had no visible wick, they could be doused by water, and given enough time, they would burn themselves out.

Haylo threw her hood up over her head as a cold chill blew out of nowhere. Yolanda must be angry, she thought. And sure enough, the hunched woman with stringy red hair and the crooked nose was flailing one of the puppets with a long stick, leaving depressions in his body where the flank met flesh. Haylo felt pity for the puppet that had been ripped from its human life so mercilessly and stood up to announce her determination to Esmeralda, but fate had other plans.

Another gust of wind blew even more fiercely this time throwing Haylo’s hood off and leaving her flailing at the edge of the hill. When Esmeralda howled and jumped trying to bring her back she instead pushed her farther off of the hill and gave the two a good lesson in gravity.

They tumbled and rolled down the hill creating such noise and commotion that the puppets stopped working, causing Yolanda to shriek and thunder to clap. But soon her eyes met the same gaze as her puppets and her fury turned to excited revenge.

Yolanda raised her hand and staff above her head and clapped them with decision causing night to fall instantly in the dense New England wood. Only the ghostly pale skin of her minions reflected the light from the bright full moon above. Yolanda thrust her staff before her and pointed it at her two targets and her eyes glistened a deep crimson the color of fresh blood. The battle had begun.

Puppets dashed forward to Haylo and Essie, answering their maker’s silent command. Their actions were slowed by choppy movements but fear made the world appear faster in the two girls’ eyes. With arms held out before them and their legs taking heavy labored steps, the puppets marched on with unnatural speed that was counterintuitive to their sluggish movements.

Haylo ran into the woods cracking fallen branches and stumbling over rocks as she went along. Essie sped right next to her as she bounded off of tree stumps with feline agility. Haylo’s long blonde hair flew loosely behind her and seemed to glow with the moon’s reflection and light their way through the dark woods. With every pounding footstep they ventured deeper and deeper into the woods, but the puppets followed them still.

Haylo could hear Yolanda’s shrill cry and the trees bent away from the escaping girls revealing their location out of fear. They ran faster, pumping their minds as fast as they could, needing to find a way to kill the puppets and quick.

Haylo ran terrified, blinded by fear feeling the puppets gaining on her at every second, she turned back expecting to see one breathing down her neck, but instead tripped over an exposed root and tumbled landing on her hands and knees. Tears burned in her eyes as dirt and rocks scratched her burned hand. She blinked away the pain, stumbling up before realizing what she had to do.

All at once it came rushing back to her, the answer that had been lost in her fear. She saw the candle crash on the floor, the demons fly at her face, burn her hands and then- and then burn out when hit with water. She stopped for just a minute more while Esmeralda came sprinting back wondering why the girl had stopped and anxious to get away from the puppets.

“Water,” Haylo said as if it was obvious, and set off to the left knowing, though she didn’t know how, that there was water in this direction. She felt it sloshing in her heart as the moon must when it pulls the ocean. She could feel the droplets and the mist in her mind as she ran guided by intuition to a fast running stream.

“Hurry, Essie, get on my back, we need to stay close to the water.” The cat obeyed and reclaimed her place around her neck. Haylo splashed through the stream as if it were just a shallow puddle. The water seemed to part before her as her mind filled with images of her parents and determination gripped her heart.

Soon the splashing of her feet met with another sound, the groans of the puppets close behind. Haylo bargained that Yolanda had done something to make them catch up, because they were much too sluggish to make it on their own. Either way, they were there now and it was Haylo’s job to rid the world of these creatures. She bent over and splashed at them but they were too far away and she was afraid that if they got any closer they might hurt her.

Haylo turned around again and did the only other thing she knew how to do; she ran. Haylo bounded through the stream against the current hoping the puppets would follow her example and kill themselves. Essie watched the larger puppets tumble to their death from atop her shoulder and hissed as they melted into the stream.

Out of the shadows the pale faces appeared looking more and more menacing. Their slowness added to their creepiness as they marched after the girls looking more and more like zombies. The puppets didn’t seem to learn not to step into the water but continued to do so and then fall face first into the stream.

Haylo ran on, driven by self preservation and fear, but the stream soon ran out as a tall rock face rose before her. A tiny trickle fell from the top filling the pool that wet her shoes. That tiny drop had created this whole stream, but now it wouldn’t be enough to save her life.

Haylo’s breathing quickened as she came to realize that there was no way out. There were puppets on the left and puppets on the right. The tall rocks blocked her from behind and Yolanda’s cackling laughter echoed through the trees so she seemed to be everywhere all at once but nowhere at all.

Standing in fear, Haylo saw one of the smaller puppets take a step into the stream to try and get to her but his leg hardened like a stone and he fell into the stream and water washed over his hard body. Yolanda yelped in pain and clapped lightning in the distance. Another puppet met its death and Yolanda screamed again, but this time her thunder was less audible and her laugh less menacing. It was almost as if she was growing tired or weak.

“Her power is measured by the lives she has stolen. When they die they are free and she is left weak.” Esmeralda whispered as if she were a conscience.

“Then I must destroy all of the puppets to destroy her.” The puppets drew closer and time grew less plenty.

“Precisely; remember how you wet the demons in my piano room?”

“But I didn’t-“

“Yes you did. It was always you. Just pull all your strength together and do it again now. You have to. It’s our only-“

“But I don’t know ho-

“Just do it!” the cat hissed and then gripped Haylo’s shoulders with biting ferocity.

Haylo watched as the wax figures grew closer and closer, their blank eyes staring ahead. She felt her heart pump faster in her chest, threatening to break out. Then, remembering the people she had watched in the other houses and the lives these zombies had led she knew what she must do.

Arms shaking and forehead creased Haylo stood strong on her two feet glaring down the line of oncoming pale bodies. Her knees knocked together but a picture of her two parents flashed across her mind and the thought of them marching like these zombies was all the strength she needed.

With a howling war cry Haylo balled up her hands and stomped her foot exerting so much passion and will that the water around her erupted into a volcano of mist that plumed in the sky for a second before raining down on the puppets with such frightening force that it knocked some down sending their hard bodies back down the stream. The stream had now become a river and rushed from her feet as it multiplied before her fierce eyes.

Haylo stomped again, this time stepping forward with outstretched arms. She felt the wall behind her crack. Once more, she groaned and stepped with the opposite foot and shoved her arms forward, willing the stone to give under the pressure. One final time she sprinted forward with arms outstretched as if she was tugging the wall on invisible ropes. Her feet splashed the water six feet in the air with every step and the flood of water behind her rushed forth parting around her small body. Haylo’s moon necklace burned brighter than ever as the mountains of water rushed at the puppets. Yolanda’s screams could be heard all through the forest and blackbirds flew from their nests in fear.

Essie purred quietly into Haylo’s ear while her heart settled down and the last of the water ran though her shoes. But while she enjoyed a half-moment’s rest, Yolanda let out a bone chilling shrill that rang painfully in Haylo’s ears. With anger, fear, and on her last stand Yolanda’s passions rose out of control as she felt her last ounces of power sliding away through her finger tips. In blind rage her fingertips burned red hot and burned like ten little candles, then every hair on her head sizzled and they too erupted with tiny fires.

Mad laughter broke from her lips and Yolanda leaned back staring at the black night sky and cackled to the wind. Her rage and greed for this newfound power consumed her heart, and just as the other elements mimicked her passions, the fire turned and consumed its maker. The witch stood in agony and fear, burning in her own demise. Her frame was outlined in licking tongues of fire that craved her flesh just as she had done to her sister and all the other puppets.

With a final cry the fire burst from her body leaving nothing for remains but a temporary spectacle of a circle of fire silhouetting the vile creature that once was.

Haylo did not witness this horrific scene, for she was at the top of the stream sitting on a rock stroking Essie, intoxicated with exhaustion. It was all the better that her young eyes were not scarred with such a horrid display of justice, and she was left to wonder what happened to the wicked sister, only feeling the void of her evil presence.

The night sky over their heads was the deepest shade of black and every night thereafter, its inky color stretched over little Bludgeton trying to consume the world in its dark clutches and claim it all for her very own. But the stars pierced through the thick black veil shedding light on all things dim and unclear. And every night, new neighbors watched from their front lawns, the most beautiful moon that could ever be seen on earth. Here on this street it was almost as if the moon was so close it was one of us, another friend that visited every evening. And on the full moons, it was always an even more beautiful sight to behold.

Years later, after everyone had forgotten the puppets and the ghosts, a little girl sat on her grassy front lawn leaning on a house that seemed to breathe with the wind and snore at night. And she tugged at her father’s shirt tail and asked, “Daddy is someone around here an angel? Because the moon looks just like a pretty halo for a special angel.” And if you looked up the street the right way, she is right; because the silhouette of Essie’s house always falls right under the brightest full moon; the perfect halo for the perfect angel.

….the end 🙂

Published in: on March 31, 2010 at 7:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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