Debate and decision

He held the knife in his hand. It twitched, and as a result he trembled. Why was he doing this?


Simple. He had to, or else he would never be free. His hope would decline, then die. Left with no choice, here was the result. He didn’t like it, even rebelled against it, but even now the situation seemed utterly hopeless.


The rooms were certainly large enough, the building big enough, so that there was a surplus of rooms. Keeping his head down so that he would be untraceable, he briskly walked in the direction where he had been told.


Now he painfully remembered what the man’s last walk felt like. It couldn’t be long enough. It wasn’t long enough until he reached…


He catapulted into a memory.
---

Rain pelted him as he scurried through the summer night. She had killed their parents, the two that were left. His father and her mother had been murdered before. Her elimination of his shelter left him without hope.


Yet, he was devout in his ambition to begin again, start his life over. He couldn’t let this be the end. He kept running. All he had was literally the clothes on his back and the case. The case was his life. Without it, he was nothing.


Head down, eyes averted, he continued to run, not exactly sure what he was running from. Yet, somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew.


Why did she have to do this to him? He had never done anything to hurt her. In fact, he watched over her like an overprotective brother would. Even if they were stepsiblings, he had always cared for her.


Where was she now? Probably out of town so that the police wouldn’t catch her. If he didn’t get out of there, he would be framed. Who knew if he would have been put to death for a murder that he didn’t commit?


He breathed heavily. A flash of lightning almost blinded him, and then he saw the welcoming sign that told him that he had entered the neighboring town, Fillmore. He halted, out of breath.


There was no way he could stay in the other town. He had buried his memories, but not very deeply, and knew they would resurface if he wasn’t cautious. In a few short years, he would have been on his own anyway. Why not get a head start?


Taking a tentative step, he willed himself to do what he thought he wouldn’t dare- he crossed, then rammed into something… someone.


“What have we here?” The words chilled him, and this time the shudder was from his words alone, not the cold. He forced himself not to answer and stepped to the right.


The man smiled and blocked his way, lazily shifting to his left. Shaggy black hair and malicious brown eyes flashed at him when a bolt of lightning struck again.


“You’re mine,” he whispered, grabbing his arm. “Tonight, in place of your sister.”


He tried squirming out of his grasp, but in vain. Cruel laughter erupted from the figure. He resigned himself to the fact that he had just been taken prisoner.

---


The memory pained his heart, even months later. He wiped away an escaping tear. Why had this happened to him, of all people? His heart ached with raw emotion like no other with an unbelievable force he had never felt before. He tried to clear his head of the memory and refocus on the present unsuccessfully. His mind was obviously lost in another world.


Did he have to do this? No. Did he want to do this? Absolutely not. Then why was he standing here, poised for attack?


No choice, no choice. He had no choice. Just because he didn’t have to do it didn’t mean he was left with no choice. He couldn’t get away with this. Either way, his captor would win. He would lose.


Heart pounding, heart throbbing, he met his fate as he stepped forward. It was the right door. He had double-checked to make sure of accuracy. Somehow, he had walked there while relieving the painful memory.


His heart lurched in his throat, and he felt almost as if he were choking. Hot tears pressed into his eyes and burned as his blood surged, pulsated. Why was he being such a baby while in an act of maturity? Was it right to do this?


For some reason, his heart told him no. He was still stuck. That realization didn’t change a thing.


He didn’t like the person he was turning into. It was too late anyway. The deed would have been done sooner or later, whether involving his assistance or not.


When he opened the door and entered, he hovered over the bed and drew the knife. The sharp clink of metal startled him. Never before had he felt so foolish than that very moment.


Quietly, he placed the knife at the unconscious girl’s throat. As he prepared to take her life, something stopped him. Was this the feeling they called love?


He had certainly never felt it before.


All his life, he had heard of the word, yet he didn’t believe in it. How could he, when the emotion was never displayed directly to him? It just wasn’t done. As far as he knew, it was a complicated emotion he didn’t understand and never would.


It wasn’t as if he even deserved love in the first place. He had never felt so alone.


As he grew up and made friends, they hurt him, no matter how many times he forced himself to start over. The result was his very complicated personality.


Everyone else was already taken, wanted. His own parents argued over him. They separated, but neither wanted custody of him.


His mother had grudgingly taken him in, as her new husband had a daughter. Yet, he knew it was out of obligation and not love.


Considering what had happened to him, it didn’t take much to figure out his causes of becoming a hard shell, refusing to yield to the world. It was a miracle he hadn’t already committed suicide.


To a normal person, one would say that he had a surplus of self-confidence. Hardly, he would wryly tell them. He suffered from a complete lack of it. His outer image was portrayed as strong and sure, but inside he was weak and vulnerable.


Then again, why would he continue to have self-confidence after all he had been through? He was almost numb now.


Unfeeling wasn’t as simple as it was implied. On the contrary, it was more of a concept forced upon him, forced repeatedly until he gave in.


Somehow, he didn’t want to be numb to the pain. He wanted to feel human. That was all he wanted. With the inhumane treatment he had received, how was he supposed to pull that off? He truly had no will to live. There was nothing left for him to live for. He was already too corrupted.


He had no sense of how long he stood there, in the stillness of the night, when he felt the most at unease. After all, it had been at this time that he was captured…


And yet he was still not free.


Why?


He considered himself a strong person, but how much could he take, would he take?


It wasn’t as if he liked his younger stepsister. After all, it was just a painful reminder of how upside-down his life was. He had forced himself to come across as gentle and caring, like an older brother would.


At first, her façade convinced him. She politely played along, and he felt as if he were finally freeing himself.


Yet, he should have known. Should have seen the warning. Should have remembered that the last time he had felt this way had resulted in a cruel loss that left him completely broken and never fully healed, even after all that time.


The cliché “time heals all wounds” certainly didn’t apply to him, apparently. But that was fine. He didn’t feel human. He felt as if he were something less, inferior, a disgrace to the others he loved, as close as he had ever gotten to that emotion he had never felt.


She had both physically and verbally pushed him away from her. He could remember the hatred she managed to accumulate and portray through her body as she rejected him in every human way possible.


What did it feel like to reject? He certainly knew the feeling of being rejected, but not how to do so. What gave others the right to do such things to other fellow human beings?


Was something wrong with him? Nobody had ever truly wanted him, even though they appeared genuine. They always got rid of him sooner or later without a second thought.


Somehow, this girl seemed to really care, no matter what the cost, no matter how people thought about her. She was a true friend. Then again, the others before had appeared to be the same way, yet she knew the expression in his eyes symbolized hurt. He knew she could tell, yet she didn’t pry or look down on him, treating him the same as always.


Angrily, he tried to pull himself back to where he was, what he was doing. She was at his mercy now. The thrum of blood surging through his veins was very energizing. He hadn’t felt that energy in years.


Was it right to do this to her, after all she had done for him?


In a way, she was different than the others that had preceded her. Without grudging, even jokingly, she always helped him. Those others had complained, didn’t really want him around. She did. Every action showed the truth.


Unlike the others.


He couldn’t do this. Not to the first person who had ever shown him compassion in his whole lifetime. Not to the girl who appeared so innocent, yet knew so much. Not to her who he knew would sacrifice herself for those she loved.


Was it because she was just a little like him?


No, she wasn’t like him. She was loved, and did the same. He wasn’t and never would be, and never would.


As he took the knife away hesitantly, her big, emerald eyes opened. He quickly stuffed the knife up the leg of his jeans and fled, the blade slicing a tiny portion of his flesh.


His motive may have come across incorrectly, and now he may be forced to pay the price.


He realized that he didn’t care.





Join the Discussion

This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

tor10jax said...
Sept. 21, 2009 at 3:48 pm
The ideas are really good and keep the reader going but it seems like certain things are being repeated over and over again in different forms. Overall, it was really good.
Keep writing!
 
camille_1441 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 17, 2009 at 5:00 pm
this really made me keep reading, you really made sure to back uop your points and it's really good, keep writing <3
 
bluejay31 said...
Apr. 12, 2009 at 8:34 pm
This was a very interesting story. I liked the suspense, and it was farily well written. My favorite part was the beginning. Keep writing. Check out mine too:
TeenInk.com/raw/Fiction/article/95929/Death-Is-Blinding/
 
Jennifer B. said...
Feb. 11, 2009 at 1:04 am
Lack of helpful con-crit down here from Jennifer. Anyway, this story was... very well-written. Something better then what I could cook up. (Has a problem with dialogue.) But I shall not give up! You have a future, and one day, one day, I shall be better than you! Eh. Okay, well, I've got a lot to learn to even hold a candle to you. Keep on writing, my friend, and I shall keep reading!
 
Natalie K. said...
Jan. 24, 2009 at 3:58 pm
Hey, Natalie here! I just wanted to add a few links that you can go to if you want to read the series from the beginning. ("Debate and Decision" is actually two chapters combined from my fourth book.)
Currently, the two links that are up are the first two chapters of the first book of the series, where you can read more about the girl.
TeenInk.com/raw/Fiction/article/75864/The-Rebel/
TeenInk.com/raw/Fiction/article/75865/Stranger/
There wil... (more »)
 
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