Emmaline’s Story 14

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Emmaline’s Story – On the Inside

Chapter 14

You Can’t Get There From Here

You Can't Get There

I postponed our meeting until after I’d met with Helen. It seemed an eternity until goon and B left for break and I was edgy. They suspected me of everything. I knew that. I also knew I was entirely guilty but they had it coming.

B and goon headed for the elevator just outside the front door. I presumed it went to a lunch room or eatery of some sort among other floors and places.

Helen must have been anxious too. When I entered the bathroom, she was already there. I pulled myself up on the ledge by the sink and she sat next to me.

“Ready,” I asked extending my finger.

Helen looked ecstatic and admitted, “I’m happy to finally feel like I’m a part of things. I’m officially one of you.”

My heart ached, “Oh, Helen,” I said, “You have always been one of us. Honest, I never meant to make you feel otherwise. We can’t do anything significant without you. If I asked to move you to our room, goon would see to it that you were moved further away.”

“No,” she confided, “You didn’t make me feel alienated, I just don’t get to share with you guys much since I’m not in your room. I’ve just been an insecure goof.”

“Hold on a sec,” I said, “You’re no goof and that’s my friend you’re putting down. It’s perfectly fine to feel insecure. No one here is exactly on solid ground,” I said, rolling my eyes at the absurdity, “Hell, that’s why we’re all here. I’m sorry, Helen.”

“It’s okay. It’s not your fault and besides,” she said, “tonight we rock the place!”

“Absolutely,” I laughed, and reached to hug her.

I extracted the makeshift tools from my hospital sock, explaining, “I collected utensils from meals and found a nice-sized rock to sharpen some and flatten others, “and these,” I said, holding out some pieces that were sturdier, “I melted together with a lighter I found buried by the fence.”

Helen took them from me turning them over to inspect them. “What, exactly, do you want me to do,” she inquired.

“If you can, I want you to rewire the elevator,” I smirked, “and I want it floating from floor to floor and bouncing around, stopping randomly but not on ground or at the break room. Can you do that?”

Helen didn’t answer right away and I could almost see the gears turning.

“Will these work,” I asked, eyeing the utensils.

“I think,” She said uncertainly, “I hope so. Let me try,” she replied more brightly.

“That’s all I ask,” I giggled wickedly.

“Oh, you are evil! Can you imagine how pissed goon will be?”

“Exactly,” I said, grinning mischievously, “but this also has to do with frustration and helplessness,” I explained.

I pulled the list from my elastic waistband and my other list; the list of what to say to Danica fell out. “Whoops!”

I fumbled grabbing the folded paper to stuff it back in my waistband, and then pulled a pencil from my sock.

“What’s that,” Helen asked.

“Later,” I said hurriedly, “No time right now.”

I made a mental note to shred the useless list into confetti and flush it, or eat it if I had to. Then I looked over my shoulder to check the door, “Meet ya back here at four,” I said hurriedly.

“Okay,” she agreed, sliding silently from our perch.

I took the utensils from her and stuffed them into her sock. We made the usual bathroom noises and, having arrived ahead of me, she left first. Returning to my room, I heard B and goon enter just as I clicked the door closed.

The girls were already forming a circle when I motioned frantically, jumped into bed and hauled the covers up. They followed suit and we waited in silence. Return rounds came and went.

Later I took a chance, tiptoed to Danica and touched her finger. She turned to face me and I leaned down explaining, “Tonight could take a while. If you want to talk later, get some rest now if you can.”

“Sounds good to me, sis,” she replied, stretching.

“You sure,” I asked, “There’s always tomorrow night.”

“Let’s try for tonight,” she said, “If I fall asleep, we will make tomorrow a given,” She smiled up at me.

“Great. That’ll work,” I told her.

“What are you and Helen going to do,” she inquired with a grin.

“Oh no,” I said in a hushed tone, “You’ll have to wait and see this time,” I chuckled, tiptoeing back to bed.

The front door clicked shut and B’s voice became a drone and then silence ensued. I cracked our door and checked the front desk. They were gone.

I looked back down the hall as Helen cracked her door and I motioned for her to come. She got a running start and skidded in her socks across the slick floor.  I smiled happily, knowing we were both terribly pleased she would finally be included.

“Before we do this,” I cautioned, “I cannot tell you how important it is that if you get as much as a feeling that someone might be coming; that we could get caught, or any uneasy feeling, I want you to drop what you’re doing and haul ass for the nearest hiding place, even if it’s an uncomfortable night sharing my cement slab.”

Helen’s face was absolute seriousness until she descended into a fit of the giggles. “I know,” she chortled, “The beds are conducive to doing penance or something, anything but sleep!”

I laughed with her until we reached the front doors. We both stopped and held our collective breath. I pushed and she pulled. We turned to each other and switched sides doing it again.

“Damn it all,” I hissed.

“Wait a sec,” Helen said, moving to reach toward the top on tiptoe.

“What are you looking for,” I asked.

“There should be,” she stopped mid-sentence and felt around higher than she could see. A moment later, I heard a loud click and spring. Then she finished, beaming proudly, “an emergency fire button!”

“Way to go, elevator gal!”

I pushed the door open with one hand and patted her on the back with the other. We scrambled for the elevator knowing time was getting short.

Helen hopped in and I followed. She pushed a button and the doors closed. She managed to remove the faceplate without too much trouble and, while watching her replace one wire with another, I was fascinated by how much she seemed to know innately.

No doubt about it, the girl is spectacularly smart, I thought while watching intently.

Helen pushed the faceplate back on explaining that she had rigged the elevator to stop at the break room once and never again. To me, that was code for, ‘The elevator will pick up B and goon to take them on a ridiculous ride until they get frustrated, and feel helpless enough, to exit on some other floor and walk.’ It was precisely what I wanted.

Helen had bought us precious minutes. Just as I was wondering if we should hide under the stairs for the night, she gave us just enough time to run for it. I made it to my room and watched as Helen shut her door just in time. Heaving a relieved sigh, I leapt into bed and listened.

B was voicing her frustration, “Wasn’t that weird,” she asked goon.

“No more weird than the other things the mice have been up to lately,” was Na’s disgruntled reply.

When the cats are away, the mice will play! I laughed to myself.

“Maybe it was just a fluke,” B said.

“Yea and I’m a monkey’s uncle,” goon returned.

Yep! I thought so!

Again, goon rounded on us immediately but found nothing she could pin on us. She left with an infuriated warning to me, “I’m watching you, missy! One step out of line, just one!”

Goon closed the door and I smirked silently, I don’t know Missy but I reckon she’d best watch her step!

We waited until B and goon’s voices were a soft buzz at the front desk before we moved into our circle. Danica was nearly ready to burst, “What the heck did you guys do,” she asked, peering at me with astonished eyes.

“Not me,” I said, “Helen! She’s a genius!”

Marie and Danica looked at each other and then Marie said, “I thought she fixed elevators?”

“Yeesss,” I drew the word out in a smug, self-satisfied voice.

“You didn’t! You couldn’t have possibly,” Danica began.

I cut her off, “No. I can’t, but Helen can!”

I wanted to make a big deal for Helen. I hadn’t realized just how left out she had been feeling, and tonight was an amazing coup d’état. I was so proud of her and wanted the girls to fuss over her.

Again, they looked at each other and Danica turned to me hissing, “Spill!”

It was my turn to combat a fit of hilarity, “Okay! Okay, here it is,” I took a moment to collect myself and explained what I’d asked Helen to attempt. All of us, even I, was stupefied that she pulled it off. “If this were the working world, Helen is Executive Management, and I was one step away from flipping burgers and asking ‘Would you like fries with that?’”

I explained how she had found the emergency lock and gave Danica and Marie enough of the story, omitting details, to know they would pry Helen for details.

“Holy cow,” Marie whispered her amazement, “If I ever have to be in a fight, I want you two on my side!”

“Likewise,” Danica laughed.

“Deal,” I said with a smile.

The following morning, breakfast was perfect for once.

“For how long,” Marie asked Helen, “The elevator is just bouncing around all over the place?”

“Kind of,” she smirked, “I rigged it to pick them up at the break room and then bounce around, stopping on any floor except the break room or ground.”

“So they bounced around until they had to exit on another floor and take the stairs,” Danica asked, her eyes filled with exuberance.

“Yep,” I chimed in with the intent of war games, “and it will continue to until they feel aggravated, frustrated, and helpless enough to call the repairman, or woman,” I smiled at Helen, and then turned away from the desk overlooking the long table, laughing and holding my stomach.

Helen seemed to walk taller after that. She was also more talkative and I was pleased that circumstances conspired to bring us closer. It was a happy day for us.

Under cover of night, I took out my list and crossed off frustration, aggravation,  and helplessness. The girls leaned in to see what I was doing.

“The big picture is,” I whispered holding up the list, “war games have a point.”

“Damn,” Marie giggled, “We’re good!”

“Damn straight,” I laughed softly.

“What’s next,” Danica inquired.

“Bed,” I said, stifling a yawn.

“No, I mean for goon and B!”

“Ummm, rest,” I dodged, avoiding the question for now, “Okay, off to bed. Even warring women need sleep.”

With that, we repaired to our beds. Danica and I moved our pillows back to the lower end and looped pinkies. We lay there in silence until I could hear Marie’s breathing deepen, and then I asked Danica, “Where did I leave off?”

“No good deed went unpunished and your unavailable brother,” she sighed.

I smiled to myself.

We both just want to be each other’s family and be happy, I thought, why can’t anything ever just be easy?

I decided to take her advice and just start anywhere, “I think, besides marrying at a young age, the folks couldn’t deal with losing their sacrificial lamb. I mean let’s face it; I was the one they could count on beating down on a constant basis. I don’t know, maybe that helped them feel better about their miserable lives. Then they had the audacity to ask me why I had such low self-esteem.”

“Good grief, Em’, when the mailman delivers, does your address just say ‘Hell,’” she asked, sympathizing with me.

“Pretty much, yea,” I said, with absolutely sincerity.

“It’s been pretty repetitive for most of my life. It’s like an avalanche; nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and impossible to stop.”

“This happened every day,” she asked.

“Yes. It was more heaped on top of more, and more, and more. I couldn’t take one more word. I swear to God, Danica, I’d rather die, so I did the math and that was the best answer for everybody in my world.”

“Wow, so they finally broke you,” she said, pondering my circumstances, “Ever since you can remember?”

“For as long as I’ve been alive,” I admitted. This is not to imply that I actually lived. I died steadily, little by little, every day. I just wanted, no needed, to put myself out of their misery and mine.”

“Holy hell, Em’! You can’t go back there! You’re not insane but they sure are.”

“I know,” I said, breaking down for the first time, “I don’t know what to do,” I admitted with tears stinging my eyes.

Danica held my hand tightly and offered, “I don’t know how yet, but we’re going to be fine. We’ll figure it out together.”

She sat for a moment, gripping my pinky tightly, each of us lost in our own thoughts, until she murmured, “We’re a real pair. You’re the sacrificial lamb tied to the whipping post and I’m the invisible daughter.”

“Exactly,” I agreed, sobbing and trying to haul myself together again. We should think about getting an apartment together,” she said, glancing toward the door.

We both moved our pillows back and Danica tucked me in like a child. I wiped my tears and whispered my thanks as she left me with words to ponder. We had almost opposite lives. How the hell did we wind up in the same place?

 

 

By Wildfire8470

 

Wildfire8470

 

 

 

 

 

 

© June 14, 2015 – 04:09 AM
Copyrighted.com Registered & Protected  JBPJ-G2PL-1FZR-4EGU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted with special thanks to a cousin who did this in college, due to water balloon wars, and paid harshly for it. You rock, cuz!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emmaline’s Story 13

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Emmaline’s Story – On the Inside

Chapter 13

Small Disasters

 

 

From psych guy’s office I wandered to the porch and, took a seat. I turned to the girls, talking boisterously, and I touched Danica’s finger, saying, “Tonight. Right?”

 

She nodded and I strolled out to the fence. No longer feeling apprehension and terror, I wondered if things really can change. God knows I’ve had ample evidence to the contrary.

 

Immediately, I dismissed the thought as I contemplated the change in Maya. She seemed so clean, so clear-headed, as though her twisted mind had been unknotted. She even walked differently, with assurance of self and shoulders squared.

 

Then I realized what I was thinking. No shit! I’m envious? I envy her? Holy cow pies!

 

I felt startled and shaken to the depths of me, when I saw Danica cresting the hill searching. This time I got up to close the gap. Meeting her half way down, I asked her about my prior conclusion, suggesting, “Sis, I know I said we should only talk at night, but, if it’s okay with you, I’d like us to talk whenever the coast is clear.

 

“Yes! Yay,” she smiled.

 

I locked our fingers and we headed back. Upon reaching the porch we all sat talking about the crappy food, and lousy mattresses atop makeshift, metal bedframes, and I made it a point to pay special attention to Helen.

 

We had staggered our meetings and I was sure there were times when she must have felt left out. She didn’t get to share a room with us and she had to eat the crappiest, sugarless foods while watching us receive the semi-normal foods, but I had a surprise up my sleeve. I touched her finger and asked, “Bathroom at two a.m. break?”

 

Having listened in, Danica and Marie broke into huge smiles. Marie asked, “Is it time? You have,” and quickly lowered her voice, “the tools?”

 

I nodded, saying, “I think so. I’ll show them to Helen tonight. You’ll know if they will work. Right?”

 

“Yea! You bet ya,” she exclaimed.

 

We were filled with glee and hiding it in silence when I turned to find goon standing against the door, holding it slightly ajar. It was too obvious she was spying. At this point, silence was the kiss of death, so I hid my arm in front of me and pointed back at goon, making an ugly frown.

 

Marie took the cue, “Helen, your hair is so silky. How do you keep it like that?”

 

Helen glanced quickly at goon and replied, “Well I don’t have the usual tools here, but I tend to stick with shampoo that has,” she stopped short not knowing the scientific words for the products and finished, “softening agents in them and I use a detangler. Oh and never brush wet hair,” she cautioned.

 

With my back to the door I grinned at them, knowing they had just saved us some unneeded grief.

 

“I’ll look up the softening agents for you,” Helen continued, “as soon as possible.”

 

I saw Marie and Helen relax and looked back to see that goon had gone on her way. I dragged the back of my hand over my forehead, saying, “Whew! That was close!”

 

All the girls mumbled that goon was onto us. I didn’t want to scare them, but it was an inescapable fact.

 

“Yes, I know,” I warned, “We have to be more cautious from now on.”

 

“Are you sure this is wise,” Helen asked.

 

I smiled snickering, “Of course not, but what other fun do we have here, unless you really enjoy broken crayons and ancient crossword puzzles?”

 

All three grimaced and grumbled about how little was made available to do.

 

“That reminds me, I haven’t written any lousy prose for big B lately,” I said, lost in thought.

 

Everyone leaned in to touch my finger and Helen laughed,”Let’s all remember to bow and give thanks to the television gods for access to a TV!”

 

“I guess you guys are as bored as I am,” I said.

 

“Well yea, that,” Marie hinted, “and you haven’t breathed a word about psych guy.”

 

I turned to my opposite side knowing Danica hadn’t even told the girls and gave her a thankful wink.

 

“Okay. I’ll say what I’m able to tonight but use extra caution. Okay?”

 

They nodded affirmatively and we filed inside for dinner.

 

I stared at the slab of turkey breast on my plate, recently frozen and thawed to eat, with think globs of gravy on top of sliced bread. Trying not to wretch, I considered Helen. I was certain the meal must look like heaven to her, so I dug in vigorously, cut off a huge helping and shoveled it into my mouth.

 

Before I could bite down, I tasted a dreadful and unmistakable tang. My effort became an immediate small disaster. Fisting a napkin, I spit out the mouthful and turned my meal over to expose large, moldy spots on the bread and I turned at least five shades of green.

 

“What is it,” Marie asked, chewing hungrily.

 

“I’m allergic to mold,” I whispered, cupping my hand around my mouth to hide my dismay from Helen.

 

Marie leaned over to inspect my overturned meal, sputtering, “Oh! Ewww!”

 

Without hesitation, she flipped her own to check and with that, all attempts to hide disgust were lost.

 

“Mine’s fine,” she said, slicing it to give me half.

 

I thanked her kindly and asked her to take it back explaining that I’d lost my appetite.

 

“Okay, but I’ll sneak the cookies back to our room for you. If you’re hungry, you can munch then,” she whispered.

 

“Thanks,” I offered, as goon made her way behind me.

 

Hmmm, she’s getting sneaky. She’s definitely onto us or, at least, me.

 

“You hardly touched your meal,” she said cunningly.

 

I tried to think of something she couldn’t argue with but drew a blank. Instead, I bit my tongue.

 

Goon heaved a sigh and rounded the table finishing dinner rounds. Helen shot a worried look at me and whispered, “She knows something’s up.”

 

“Agreed,” I conspired, “Like I said, extra caution from now on.”

 

I reached beneath the table in a way that was only perceptible to us. Three fingers touched mine and I looked around before saying, “Meeting tonight after two a.m. rounds. Helen, meet me in the bathroom a few minutes after you hear me open my door. Okay?”

 

“Sure thing,” she answered, tossing me a relieved smile.

 

Sometimes I wonder if the girls trust me a little too much, I worried.

 

“If goon and B come back early, it’s off tonight,” I added for safe measure.

 

“Got it,” Helen whispered, under her breath.

 

Afterwards, I reached next to me and coiled my finger through Danica’s to let her know we would talk privately after our meeting. She sent me a knowing glance and got up to empty her tray.

 

When goon called lights out for the night I tiptoed to Danica to explain that I would be slightly late for our talk.

 

“How come,” she asked with a worried frown.

 

I’d finally remembered a website I loved and fudged, “I just have something to do.”

 

“Want some help,” she queried.

 

“Nah, I’ll tell you about it later. Get some rest.”

 

At two a.m. rounds, I waited until the coast was clear and went straight to the computer to look up netdisaster.com.

 

I downloaded an application which would attack a computer in a variety of ways and wondered which one to choose. Cows pooping on the screen?

 

I tried it but it didn’t send the right message. Nuke the monitor!

 

I downloaded Desktop NetDisaster and installed the software to make missiles nuke the computer screen, giving the appearance that all records had been infected or hacked as bombs exploded on the monitor, complete with sound effects.

 

I set up the effect on all the office computers smiling wickedly at my handiwork, and then scooted back to the room, extracted my list, and crossed off ‘helplessness.’

 

 

 

By Wildfire8470

Wildfire8470

 

 

 

 

 

 

© June 14, 2015 – 04:09 AM – All Rights reserved

Copyrighted.com Registered & Protected JBPJ-G2PL-1FZR-4EGU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emmaline’s Story 12

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 Emmaline’s Story – On the Inside

Chapter 12

Inner Sanctum Actress

Pasithea by http://yungvermeer.tumblr.com/tagged/mypainting/

Pasithea  © http://yungvermeer.tumblr.com/tagged/mypainting/

Breakfast was fairly uneventful, for a change. I didn’t have a meltdown. I was refreshed yet exhausted. I recognized the irony of the paradox, but didn’t fully understand it.

Last night was the only time I’d ever confided in anyone and I slept better than I could recall in recent memory, yet I was profoundly tired.

I suppose, carrying everyone’s world up a mountain can have that effect after my first night of rest.

Conversely, psych guy was wide awake and ready for me, with his hair combed in place, wearing a suit without a single wrinkle, and eyes bright and alert. He greeted me with a beaming smile, “Good morning, Nyx.”

“’Morning,” I mumbled and plopped into my usual seat wondering,

Why do I always feel like I’ve been sent to the principal’s office?

“Well, it looks like sleep was not a friend to you last night,” he jabbed, tossing my own words back at me.

“On the contrary,” I quipped resuming yesterday’s calm demeanor, “Aergia dropped by for a visit and I’m still recovering from the night’s effects.

“Aergia,” he repeated, obviously rifling through his repertoire of Greek mythology.

“Yes, I said, “We enjoyed a long, lazy, girls night of chit chat. It’s so rare when our attentions are not pulled in other directions by obligations and commitments,” I prattled on, emphasizing ‘commitments.’ She is an ever present fixture, if not exactly vigilant,” I explained.

“Oh, lazy, sloth, Aergia. Got it.”

“Perhaps not entirely,” I countered, “She’s a spirit, one of several who guard my son’s domain. Aeriga is spirit and a goddess. Do you know what that means?”

Psych guy shook his head, speculating about what I would come up with next.

“Spirits, by definition, affect other souls with like qualities,” I explained, “Aergia is the spirit of laziness. She is infectious in that way. I’m just recuperating from a night of supremely indulgent laziness.”

“What sort of home does your son have? He must be very rich,” he stated petulantly, “to require that much security.”

“It’s a deep, dark, rocky, cave,” I said, with a mother’s tolerance.

“A cave,” he replied, “A cave that Aergia guards. What exactly does she guard, pray tell? Does he expect looters to steal his stash of rocks?”

“I would imagine, much the same things you do,” I shot back at him.

“I see,” he said thoughtfully, scratching his chin, “How so?”

“She, among others, guards his home and his well-being. He resides in a dark cave next to his twin brother, Thánatos, in the underworld.”

“He does,” his voice was a mixture of appreciation and incredulity.

I didn’t even slow down. Trying out my imitation of a purely maternal voice, I continued, “He does not see the changing of days, the rising or setting sun, or even the moon,” I frowned slightly for effect, “His peace lies in tranquility, the quiet; his own and that which surrounds him. His home has not as much as gates that may awaken him with creaking.”

“Really, a deep, dark cave in the underworld, where he brought his wife to live, next door to his brother,” He challenged me, “Who is Thánatos?”

“He is god of death.”

“You must be very proud,” he smiled derisively as he shot his dig at me.

“Well, admittedly, it’s not every mother’s dream but,”

“Hypnos lives with his wife, Pasithea,” he repeated, testing my knowledge and trying to figure out how to best me, “in the underworld with his twin brother, death,” he interrupted.

“Do you expect that I am uneducated about my own family? Do you think me unfit?”

Our eyes locked in a battle of wits and wills as tense silence filled the room.

Just to annoy him further, I continued, “As I was saying, it’s actually quite lovely. The River Lethe runs through it, and Pasithea has such a sweet countenance. She’s the deity of hallucination and relaxation. She’s so good to Hypnos and good for him,” I sighed clasping my hands over my bosom and smiling like an oblivious mother, brimming with ignorant joy, then caught myself thinking,

Cripes, I just made myself want to hurl!

“And what does all this mean to you, Emmaline?”

His question startled me back to reality and I stumbled, “You asked!”

“Good! Very good, Emmaline! I did ask, Emmaline. What did I ask?”

“You asked me who I am,” I shot at him, suddenly realizing I’d let him get away with addressing me by my real name, “But I still don’t know this Emmaline you speak of,” I added, attempting to put things to rights, “Perhaps you will tell me about her one day?”

“I believe you will discover her,” he explained kindly, “and you will be a better mother to her than she has known in the past.”

I turned a confused face to him while attempting to hide startled eyes, but he imparted nothing more.

Instead, he finished with his usual, “Come again tomorrow at noon. Good day, Emmaline.”

I opened the door to leave, took a step, and found myself face-to-face with the lost girl I had noticed yesterday. Again, she looked much healthier than I had witnessed while being admitted. I couldn’t help myself. I touched her shoulder gently, smiled, and said, “Way to go, girl.”

She smiled back, quietly saying, “Thanks,” and stood waiting.

“Emmaline,” I introduced myself, extending my hand.

“Maya,” she said taking it.

We shook once and I turned away as she opened psych guy’s door.

By Wildfire8470

Wildfire8470

© June 14, 2015 – 04:09 AM – All Rights reserved

Copyrighted.com Registered & Protected BIUR-KDQV-KAFT-XXVG

Emmaline’s Story 11

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Emmaline’s Story – On the Inside

Chapter 11

Confessions in the Night

Danica-Confessions in the Dark

 

Marie, Danica, and I sat in our circle after goon made rounds. The three of us added to our list of B and goons’ schedules and deviances from them. As it happened, goon was fairly regimented about sticking to her routine. Big B wasn’t quite that methodical. I expected that.

 

What woman in love does the expected things all the time? Probably not many. 

 

I asked and answered my own question in my head, not even realizing I had slipped into my own thoughts; thoughts about the staff, the girls’ respective wellness, and what I would say to Danica tonight.

 

Eventually I heard Marie and then saw her waving her hand in front of my face, “Emmaline, come baaack.”

 

“Oh. Oops. Sorry,” I said, chagrined.

 

“Where did you go,” she queried.

 

Even in the darkness, I looked away and lied, “I was visiting my happy place.”

 

“Wow,” she countered, “If that’s your happy place, I’d hate to know where your hell is.”

 

I forced a smile and replied, “We’re in it. At least my sisters are with me.”

 

Danica touched my hand and slipped her finger through mine. It was small, yet a really huge, gesture that no one but us noticed. I knew then, that she was not just my sister on the inside. She was my family for life.

 

Later, we arranged our beds backwards so we could whisper to each other after Marie fell asleep. With pillows at the foot of our beds, we reached to circle our fingers and Danica asked haltingly,

 

“You-told me to ask. Remember?”

 

“Yea, I know,” I said, “I mean, its okay, I remember.”

 

“So what happened to you, Em?”

 

I thought for a long minute and replied, “Whew, ummm, where do I start?’

 

“Anywhere, I think,” Danica replied, “I mean, for me, it’s not really about the order of when things happened. It’s that they did happen.”

 

Danica fell silent and I found myself thinking that my first summarization of her had been exact:  Astute, fearless, and sharply pointed.

 

“Okay,” I said, “But after I tell you, then you have tell me.”

 

“I will,” she assured me, loosely shaking our looped fingers, “I promise.”

 

“Well let’s see,” I began, “I used to be the white sheep. I did everything that was asked and expected of me, to the best of my ability, for all my life,” then paused, realizing I couldn’t hear Danica breathing.

 

“You still awake, sis?”

 

“Of course,” she whispered, “I’m just concentrating. Go on,” she pressed.

 

“Around my fifteenth year, I broke.”

 

Danica sighed heavy-heartedly, “That’s horrible. You were a worn out work horse at fifteen.”

 

“Yeah, no shit,” I responded, continuing, “I was a good daughter and the daughter who could never be good enough. You know?”

 

“Yes, I think so,” she said.

 

“I tried every way I knew to gain my parents approval but even when they tossed me a compliment, it was delivered with a backhanded slap.”

 

“Wow,” Danica whispered.

 

“You know,” I said, imitating my parents, “This was great, but you missed this, this, and that, and you should have done it the way I would have.”

 

Danica squeezed my finger and I continued, “There was never just ‘Wow, this was great’ or ‘What a good job.’ It was always accompanied by a list of demerits,” I huffed, in deferred pain.

 

“You okay,” Danica asked, “Do you want to take a break?”

 

I tore myself from my stream of consciousness and said, “Nah. I’m okay for now. You?”

 

“I’m good but my heart hurts for you,” she lamented.

 

“You know, for the first time, mine kind of doesn’t,” I admitted, feeling slightly confused.

 

“It sounds like you’ve been carrying everyone’s world up a mountain for a very long time,” Danica surmised, “It must be a relief to finally stop, sit down, and talk to someone about it.”

 

Again, I thought, Astute, sharply pointed, and fearless. For a girl I would have mistaken for ten or twelve, she has bewildering maturity that surprises me at every turn. I wondered at the burdens on her tiny shoulders.

 

“I think so, sis. Do you want to take turns? I could stop and you can tell me some now.”

 

I followed the trail of her eyes to the window in the door.

 

She explained, “It’s getting near to second rounds. Quick, tell me one more thing before we remake our beds right side up!”

 

“Okay,” I laughed, “I had a brother.”

 

“Is he good looking,” she snickered.

 

“Ewww, and um, ewww!  He’s married with children now.”

 

Danica clutched her heart pretending I’d just fatally wounded her. It was all I could do not to collapse into peals of laughter. She looked toward the window and I knew we had cut it close. We tucked our pillows back at the head of our beds and feigned sleep until I actually did fall asleep.

 

Unaccompanied by any ugly thoughts or troubling memories, I fell into a deep and dreamless sleep for the first time I could recall. I woke at five a.m. rounds to B’s voice saying the same thing she said every morning, “Arms up.”

 

I lay there not budging with my limbs feeling weighted, as if they were too heavy to move.

 

Residual effects of carrying worlds and holding my breath forever, I decided.

 

B lifted my wrist and I fell directly back to sleep. I could only hope they thought I was being intentionally uncooperative.

 

An hour later, I woke with a start, and psych guys words ringing in my ears, “I want answers to those questions tomorrow at eleven a.m. sharp.”

 

There wasn’t enough time after breakfast. I needed to pick Danica’s brain now.

 

Why didn’t I remember to ask her last night? I kicked myself as I tiptoed to her bed and laid a gentle hand on her shoulder. Slowly, she turned weary eyes to me and I touched my finger to hers, mouthing “I’m sorry!”

 

She rolled toward me and scooted back, giving me the edge of the bed to sit on.

 

“I forgot about psych guy and our early meeting,” I whispered, “I need to ask you about Nyx.”

 

“Oh yea,” her whisper was barely perceptible; “You didn’t tell me what happened.”

 

“I’ll tell you everything later today. I need to know what the significance of Nyx is. What made you choose her?”

 

“Well, I was never any good at history, but I liked Nyx. She’s a Greek primordial goddess of the night. She’s only seen in glimpses. Nyx lives in shadows, which reminds me of me, and she’s really powerful and exquisitely beautiful, like I wish I was,” she confided, yawning.

 

“Okay. Why did glimpses and living in shadows remind you of you?”

 

Danica hesitated, opening her mouth as if to answer and then closing it.

 

“It’s okay, sis,” I whispered, cupping my hands around her ear, “I told you things last night and will tell you more, I promise.”

 

“Okay,” she conceded, sitting up in bed, “In my family, I am one of five children. I’m number three. I’m kind of opposite of you, Em’. Whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent, I’m unnoticed. I identify with existing in shadows, possibly powerful, but altogether powerless. Some say Nyx watched creation happen. She watched, standing on the edge. That’s me. I’m in the shadows or on the edge, but never really in the picture.”

 

My heart ached and I swallowed my tears, “Danica, you are so much more beautiful and powerful than you’ve received credit for, even from yourself, but how would you know that? You have existed in the shadows. No one ever bothered to show or tell you.”

 

I stood and she gently pulled me back down, “They say she was a shrew but I don’t buy it. Besides, if she was I think she was justified.”

 

I hugged her quickly and tucked her back into bed as Marie began to stir. I crawled back into my own bed and slept until breakfast time.

By Wildfire8470

Wildfire8470

 

 

 

 

 

 

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