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I have a growing paranoia. Ever since the incident, I’m terrified of losing anyone. My trick is to avoid getting attached and avoid the pain.
My day at work just seemed to grow worse, as heavy memories flooded my brain. That’s been happening a lot lately. I mindlessly scrubbed the table wiping away the evidence of spilled milk and crumbs. I crushed the napkin between my fingers and tossed it on top of the past day’s remains. I turned my head to the windows tinted with permanent dirt. You had to squint to see out of them, and the best view you got was the run down apartments with ancient bricks and boarded windows across the street. Big Bertha stumbled out wiping her hands on her old fashioned waitress costume which was busting at the seams. Her permed red hair flowed wildly down her back. The fluorescent lights gleamed in my eyes as they blinked on and off. They were most likely older than me. The diner’s constant smell of grease was extra noticeable today; it was starting to make my stomach churn. Big Bertha’s thick raspy voice boomed through the silence as she pulled away from the counter.
“Well that’s it for today.” She clapped her plump hands together, and smiled meekly. She handed me my tips, a thin wad of dollar bills, and shooed me out. She probably needed a smoke.
I didn’t mind leaving out into the overhang of darkness. I enjoyed the dark. I enjoyed being alone. The company of me, myself and I. You could almost smell the winter in the air with every breath as it bit at my nose. I slid my money in my pocket. The air danced against my skin, sending chills down my spine. I wrapped my arms up to my chest. The bus stop tempted me and my walk slowed. But the last thing I really wanted was to be cramped with a bunch of fat strangers, and have to pay for it.
Goose bumps sprouted across my skin and I clutched my sweatshirt closer. The air seemed to be growing more frigid and the walk seemed to be taking an eternity. The thin pathway appeared in my vision. You couldn’t see much further than a few feet, which would just lead to a continuous stretch of darkness. Liam showed me that path, it was a shortcut to our neighborhood – well is. My steps seemed to pound against the ground in the bleak silence. The small houses now emptying out. Just me and the pavement painted in potholes. A wired fence closed me in. Gusts of my breath spiraled in a wispy smoke standing out in the black. I patted down my messy brunette curls that I could feel verging out of control.
Without Liam – my brother’s company, this path seemed endless. Everything seemed endless without Liam’s company lately. But I didn’t need anyone’s help. My parent’s recommended therapy due to my “behavior changes”. I was never the perkiest kid on the block. I was never a girly girl, and I never really went out of my way to meet people. It was me. I liked me. Sometimes. They said I had been getting worst. Avoiding people, and being more of a smartass than ever. What’s wrong with that?
The dark lightened, emptying out to my neighborhood. My heart fluttered pleased to know I was finally approaching home. Warmth and not that I’d admit it, safety.
Man, did I speak too soon.
Heavy footsteps seemed to echo out of nowhere. Turning to just see a blank path, and then BAM! Nails dug into my arm and I was pushed into the fence. The man towered over me, and I struggled limply in his grasp. It wasn’t worth the effort – I was merely 5’2.
“Don’t make a sound.” The man threatened, his face was pale. His breath was stale against my frozen face. His contrasting chocolate brown eyes pierced through me. I was pinned. “Your life is about to change.” His voice cracked, his wide peach lips tuckered into a twisted smile. With that he was shoving me, my body slamming to the ground. I wheezed out hot air into the cold night, as my lungs seemed to compress.
Clammy hands gripped my wrists. They were thick, and the finger tips were layered with rigid nails that punctured my skin. My body was being jostled around like a rag doll. The pain flared, spreading like a wild fire. I felt warm liquid pool across my back. I limply moved my legs as I put most of my effort to keeping my eyes open and my head from bashing against the pavement. I looked up to see the man’s back, tall and muscular with broad shoulders. His hair was deep brown, and remained perfect throughout the attack.
I could have screamed. But the way his eyes glinted when he talked to me. Like something flashed in them to make my heart stop and chill my whole body over and send me tingling in fear. My arms felt sore as they were yanked in the air. My back was going numb, a sensation of pure pain crippling it over. I pulled my head up, it seeming to be a horrifically hard task just to keep myself from passing out. I bit my chapped lips masked with lip balm and opened them leaving them hanging with no trace of sound. I couldn’t get my voice out as I kept picturing the man staring me down. The only sound was my thudding heart so loud and quick that it seemed as if it was trying to fling out of my body.
My eyesight was leaving me. The edges of my vision blurring, refocusing, and then blurring as my head smashed against the pavement. I couldn’t think. I struggled again only causing more pain to erupt, sending me spiraling into a daze of black. I could hear the man’s heavy footsteps – and then nothing. I was in an unconscious downfall.
I never liked the thought of being alone, even though that was something I felt often even in a crowd of people. Always an outcast.
Opening my eyes in a daze, only to be stricken with a pounding headache as a good morning and metal bearing my wrists and ankles to a metal bed as a wakeup call was not what I was expecting.
My brain still felt like mush, as I tried to recollect as much as possible – the pain constantly prodding at my thoughts. Wiggling my toes, I narrowed my eyes my vision remaining shaky. But there were my toes, bouncing along to the sound of my body shifting against the metal.
I expected to see my room, beige walls, a flat screen monitor to match the flat screen TV, a wide bay window with a view of endless ocean and the welcoming calls of the variety of singing birds. But much to my dismay, the walls where a mental hospital white, and they held no windows. There were no sounds except a robotic hum of a heart monitor, reminding me I was definitely alive.
Blinking a few times, just to triple check this wasn’t all a mirage I realized I was not the only one to hold a beating heart in the room, which for some reason comforted me, as strange as that sounds. Doing my best to push off the metal bed, I managed to sit up slightly, feeling my gangly skinny abdomen whine in pain. There lay a girl, completely out to the world with a messy halo of brunette curls sprawled out on the metal.
I’m sure I resembled something like a deer in headlights, knowing I had to get out of the way but frozen in place. Well, I was trapped in place. My brain was shouting for freedom, but my muscles wouldn’t cooperate, feeling rigid and almost paralyzed. Each muscle in my body sprouted in pain at a different time, especially my right arm. A sore circle almost circulated out from my forearm and refused to fade away.
The girl let out a quiet moan, followed by a sharp exhale of breath. The sound bouncing off the ceaseless white walls. I didn’t take my eyes off her, as creepy as that may sound and suddenly had the urge to tussle my dirty blonde hair, feeling the fine ends run over my forehead as I turned my head.
The girl, flickered her eyes to me – a bright panicked green, and then she narrowed them tightly as soon as she met up with my pale blue ones.
“Who are you?” She snapped, her voice hoarse and quick as she fidgeted only to result her falling back in the same position I was in, flat on the metal.
I bit my lip, never being one for interacting with people close to my age. I always got timorous, used to the mature behavior of my parents and their flock of high class friends. The interests of riding bikes and burping contests never had time to reach me.
“Landon.” I replied plainly, seeing her expression switch moods like a whirlwind, from apprehensive to distinctly pissed off and then back to apprehensive. She didn’t trust me, which at first I thought would be reasonable, but I was strapped to a table, what could I possibly do?
“I’m going to just guess, you are not like the man who kidnapped me earlier?” She said, her eyebrows rising so far her flustered skin wrinkled.
“Nope.” I replied, studying the attitude in her voice when the memories of my own flooded back, leaving the house quickly angry with my parent’s for once again planning to leave me alone. My mother in her red gown frowned in my dismissal but my father, in a tux just let out an aggravated sigh. The darkness left me jumpy and nervous, but I figured it’d be my best way to let my parent’s see my anger.
But I never got the chance to go back, when I walked into a tall guy, with heavy muscles, a sturdy punch, and an aim for my face. Then pain washed me over and left me seeing stars.
She just heaved out another sigh, bringing my eyesight back to the present and away from blurry memories.
“Did you get attacked too?” She asked, her eyes telling me that she already knew the answer as she skimmed my bruises.
“Yeah.” I said, noticing she hadn’t bothered to introduce herself. “Who are you?” I said my voice quiet, as if replying with more than one word was daunting.
“Desirae .” She said, her voice regaining a steady flow still parched. I looked up at the ceiling – just as white as the walls. I was surprised she wasn’t exploding in questions like what I was doing in my head; but not ready to blurt out loud. She just lay there studying the ceiling like I was. Finding nothing except the fact we were trapped.
“Does your arm hurt?” She said lightly, her green eyes more subtle as they flickered towards me.
“Everything hurts.” I said, realizing only too late what a wuss my words made me out to be. “My arm does hurt, though.” I continued, blinking away any more of my own critiques. Never happy with how my voice came out. Too squeaky to the one I compared in my head.
Before Desirae could answer, an aggravated voice rung down the hall,
“Let me go!” A gravelly voice spat, followed with an angry screech, the words un-audible.
I nearly peed my pants when the door flung open, only a large muscular arm seen holding the gruff of a muscular boy, his black hair hanging over his face as he fell on his hands and knees. A deep voice continued out in the hall, familiar to the one that I heard before getting my lights punched out.
“He bit me!” The deep voice spoke, unseen. The boy on the ground let out a dry laugh, sounding more of a cackle. The boy’s clothes were bloodstained, and the way he dressed, well sort of scared me. His black bootleg pants, covered in chains. A white band tee-shirt, well that wasn’t so white anymore, only a few thick black letters I could make out as he shifted, sitting awkwardly on his side.
I guess always I judged people by their looks, but mostly by their eyes. My dad being a lawyer always taught me that’s how you can figure a person out.
When the boy did look up, his eyes were a dark murky green, his pupils drowning like someone lost in a swamp. He wiped his palm over his face, staying on the cement ground – studying Desirae and I, the same way I studied him.
“Do I mind if I stare at you up close, rather then across the room?” He motioned towards Desirae, a heavy sideways smirk set across his bloodstained face.
Desirae replied by narrowing her eyes, a scowl creasing her eyebrows tight together. His smirk just got bigger.
“Griffin,” He said patting his chest, “Griffin Valas.” He said quavering his eyes between the both of us.
Desirae spoke up, not fazed by the commotion we heard earlier, or atleast not showing it. “Desirae Crane.” She said her lighter more peaceful eyes, yet still unreadable didn’t leave the cement ground, studying each and every speck of dirt. He nodded, taking it in his eyes shooting up to me, expecting the words to flow out. Just my name, I had to remind myself.
“Landon Cribshire.” My voice sounding out of key, too airy and frantic. Neither of them were like any one from the private school, Tiber Lane, I attended. Both of them dressed anything from a school uniform, or even Abercrombie. Neither of them even acting frightened of the fact we were randomly kidnapped by a bunch of tall strong guys. Or maybe they were just better actors then me. Hopefully.
“Did you guys get a shot too?” He asked, standing up from the ground – lucky he had free reign.
“I think, but I was out of it.” Desirae said, stretching out her arm.
The door opened, a gust of cold air followed the tall muscular man, resembling the man who had attacked me, but he was a bit shorter and stouter, more wrinkles lining his face, his hair graying. He shot a look at Griffin, and if looks could kill, he’d be dead on the ground. But Griffin simply stared back, his murky eyes screaming anger.
His footsteps clanked against the ground, too loud as they hit the cement and his sandpaper hands freed me from the metal bed. He did the same for Desirae, but a permanent scowl never left his face as I scurried to my feet, Desirae hopping onto hers.
“You three.” He said, studying us, his dark eyebrows heavyset into his face, as if in disbelief. “Will be shaking up this world.” He said with a dark chuckle.