Blinded Wars This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

The walls pulsated with a sludgy misery that closed her in a tight space of agony. The house was dark and unyielding, filled with the tears, screams, and hateful words of the past. Every room hosted the echoes of pain. Her hand touched the walls and she imagined she felt the shudders of hopelessness course through her nerve-endings.

It wasn’t her home anymore. Three years had numbed her to the feeling of belonging that she had once experienced here. Now, the house was simply a series of walls that held the memories of everything that had made her leave. But though she had run, she had not truly escaped. Wasn’t she here, standing in the mosquito infested night, staring at a door that hid the sobs and hate that had drove her away? Was she not going to wrap her fingers around that doorknob and let all that misery seep into her skin, her blood, her soul?

Of course she was. No matter what had transpired in the past, she knew she would always come back. There was a draw that she could not deny, no matter how much she knew that denial would be the better path. It seemed that every time she stepped a foot over the threshold, another part of her heart broke away and crumbled to dust. She often wondered how long it would take until her visits left her an empty, hollow shell. How long before she destroyed herself for a family that had self-destructed years ago?

There was love in them, she knew. It was deep and hidden beneath the unbearable weight of past wrongs, long-held grudges, and misunderstandings. Yes, there was love in each of them, but she feared its upheaval by a more powerful force that battled within this family: the need to hold the anger close. It was a compulsion that took over their minds until they forgot every good memory they had of each other. Instead, they were filled with a need for vengeance over wrongs that were not really wrongs at all; they were simply mistaken words, swelled with hurtful experiences of the past that never had any relevance at all.

They were all crumbling before her eyes, and she felt helpless to stop the rubble from overtaking her too. Her stomach churned; her head pounded; her breathing constricted. It was too much, too much for any one soul to bear. How could she stand there and watch them all simmer with hatred for each other when she knew the eventual outcome? How could she let the ones she love turn against one another over things that didn’t matter--shouldn’t matter? What kind of daughter, granddaughter, or niece was she to let such a terrible, irreparable thing happen to her own family?

But what could she do? They were all warriors armed with the worst of weapons. They shot each other with well-aimed words, sliced one another’s skin with sharp knives of knowing actions. And there was never a winner. No one ever came out on top. They simply continued to don their guns and their knives, shooting and slicing, shooting and slicing, shooting and slicing, watching each other fall, forming hasty alliances, breaking those same alliances when the time suited them. The fought, they failed, they fought again. They were all wounded, all battered, all exhausted. But no one would admit defeat. Not one person had the balls to stand and say, “Enough. This is more than we can bear. We are a family.”

All she could do was watch the war continue on and on, holding her breath, trying to stem the tears that flowed freely down her cheeks, hoping with all of her heart that they kept their hands off of the nuclear weapons. But the time was coming for the end. She could feel it in her heart, though she fought its truth with every fiber of her being.

Her voice was small. They did not hear her. They did not want to hear her. There was no tolerance for her peace, her truce, her treaties. There was only bloodthirsty mothers, daughters, sons, brothers, and sisters, all armed, all dangerous, and all fighting to the death. Oh, how she wished she could step in and be the one to say, “Enough.” How she wished that would stop them. But they had never heard her, and had never wanted to. And they would never stop for her sake, or, it seemed, their own.

So she stood outside the door, steeling her spine to enter that dark house that held her darkest days, and the darkest moments of many others. There was nothing else for her to do. She could not stay away, and she could not stop this war. She could only stand rooted to this place and watch the destruction, knowing that she had not stopped it.

And she would take that guilt with her to the grave.





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gymbabe This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 27, 2010 at 3:59 pm
This was incredible, very well worded, excellent imagery, and interesting plotline.  Great job!
 
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