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Frankie thought about killing herself a lot. Frankie thought about killing herself in the shower. Frankie thought about killing herself during the seventh question on her Calculus test. Frankie thought about killing herself while petting her dog. But Frankie thought about killing herself mostly when her voices spoke up.
There were Andrew, Jet, and Lilith. Andrew and Jet were the abusive ones. Andrew and Jet liked to f*** with Frankie. Andrew and Jet were the first ones to tell Frankie to kill herself.
Lilith sang mostly. Lilith sang happy songs. Lilith sang the instrumentals to the bagpipe album Frankie heard when she was three. But Lilith didn’t tell Frankie to breathe when she was panicking. Frankie could tell when bad words or games were coming because Lilith’s singing would stop, she would disappear, and Frankie would suddenly hear the low timbre of Andrew’s voice alongside the condescending nasally voice of Jet.
Frankie had had Andrew since she was five. She remembers five being a happy year because she finally had a friend to play with. Lilith came at seven. Lilith made her head crowded but there was music and that made Frankie happy. Then Jet arrived; two weeks after Frankie turned fourteen. Andrew and Jet immediately hit it off. They liked to play games with Frankie. They played who could be the first to make Frankie cry, who could push Frankie over the edge and make her cut herself again, who could make Frankie yell at her parents; their games never ran out.
“Hey Franks, go get the lighter from above the cup cabinet and bring it back,” Jet whispered starting off their evening with a game.
Frankie’s backpack had barely touched the ground.
“No Franks, don’t listen to Jet. He wants to hurt you. Go get the serrated knife instead,” Andrew said hurriedly, making sure to silence Jet’s next direction.
Frankie shook her head. “No, no I don’t think I’m going to be playing right now. I have to do homework,” she spoke the words aloud with confidence. No one was home so she could talk freely. “I’m in my room,” Frankie enunciated, closing her eyes. “I’m sitting in my favorite plush chair in my reading corner and I’m procrastinating doing homework. I don’t want to get up so I don’t have to. I just went pee and I’ve got all my bags, books and my computer right here. I don’t need to get up.” With the final thought Frankie bobbed her head, punctuating her resolve.
Doctor Fitz had taught her to talk herself to relative calmness. Hearing her own voice aloud had grounded her ever since Jet arrived.
Andrew and Jet laughed and then quieted down to a steady chuckle. The worst thing about Andrew, Jet, and Lilith was that they didn’t need to breathe. Lilith could sing for sixteen hours straight and never take a breath. Andrew and Jet would laugh or scream for days at a time, leaving Frankie nights without sleep.
“Andrew, I bet I could make her get off her lazy ass first.”
“Hah. Don’t you remember who the first person was to guide the safety knife into her thigh?”
“Jesus, let that go. That was three years ago. I’ve beaten you too. I got her to ask out that really popular guy. ” They both let out an explosive laugh making Frankie jump in her seat. She had been trying to ignore their side conversation with her low volume stream of, “I don’t want to get up so I don’t have to. I’m comfortable.” But, as usual, they got a reaction out of her. She couldn’t outrun them but she could ignore them as best she could.
Frankie started reaching around for her iPod.
“Hey Franks, are you trying to silence us?” Jet cackled.
“No. Well yes. I’m just-I just want my music,” Frankie mumbled.
“Well my little duck that’s a sweet bummer because your iPod is all the way ove—“ Jet was cut off by the loud bass line of a dubstep song coming from her computer. Frankie liked dubstep the best because there were no words, so technically Andrew and Jet couldn’t sing along.
Frankie always thought that if she were to overdose on pills she would do so while listening to dubstep.
Frankie placed her computer to the side and danced in her chair: side to side, arms flailing, head swinging, hair flying everywhere. Frankie liked listening to music because that usually brought Lilith back out. Frankie let the boom of the music buzz up her fingertips, tickle her elbow, wrap under her armpit, skate along her scapula and run down her spine. She was all consumed in her moment of voiceless purity. Then an anticipated shriek nullified the buzzing of the boom and took Frankie’s attention once again, making her body go rigid: Andrew.
Andrew only used to shriek like that when he thought he wasn’t getting enough play time as Lilith, back when they played house under Frankie’s sheets.
Frankie was about to get up out of her chair to try to walk off the shriek, but then remembered the boys’ bets. Frankie tried to refrain from giving into their stupid games as much as she could. She would try to leave her chair only when they had gone. “I’m still in my chair. I’m in my chair attempting to start my homework I’m sitting criss-cross applesauce. Andrew and Jet have to leave sometime. Lilith you don’t like to be left on the backburner for too long. Come on Lil, sing me a song. How about track #4 from the bagpipe album?” But Lilith didn’t appear and Andrew’s shriek was still piercing the air two minutes after Frankie turned off her music. Andrew’s shriek was thriving as she finally picked up her Physics homework at 5:47. And Andrew was still going when Frankie’s mother opened the front door at 8:12 causing Frankie to spring out of her chair, get her foot stuck in a plush fold, and fall face first on the ground.
“I WIN,” Andrew bellowed.
“NO YOU DON’T. MY MOTHER’S HOME, I GOT STARTLED YOU DIDN’T WIN. YOU DON’T WIN,” Frankie yelled right back. Frankie’s hand clamped over her mouth. She hadn’t meant to be so loud.
“Franks, you alright?” Her mother’s voice sounded from the bottom of the stairs.
Frankie responded as she slowly removed her hands from her mouth, “Yeah mom, no biggie, I just fell.”
Andrew and Jet were snickering.
“Are Jet and Andrew bothering you again?” Her mother immediately asked.
“Don’t worry Mom, I’ve got it all under control. I’m doi-“
“Are you doing the exercises Doctor Fitz told you about?”
“Yes mom.” Frankie barely spoke as she pushed her body up from the ground.
“Smooth move, little duck,” Jet whispered.
“I totally won that, Jet. She fell because I was screaming”.
“No, she fell because her mom came in the house.”
“No, because I was screaming.”
“No. Her mom.”
“No. My screa-“
“I am in my chair, doing my French homework. I only left my chair because my mom startled me. Not because Andrew made me. I left because of my mom. And now I’m back. And I’m comfy. I’m sitting criss-cross applesauce again. I’m starting my French homework with my ballpoint pen. But first I’m going to braid my hair.”