At World’s End: Chapter 3

Prologue 

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

“Fucking bitch,” Zed muttered under his breath as he pulled his tattered shirt from the dirt and putting it over his head.

Eli ignored the insult. “She wants you to chase her.” He dropped the firewood on the ground and proceeded to start a fire.

“What?”

“She’s,” Eli paused, scrambling for the right words, “playing.”

“You’re kidding me.”

“She had a complicated childhood. It is nice that she can retain some childlike wonder.”

“But she is not a child.”

“Does that matter? She has been through a lot and now she is happy.” Eli looked in the distance as smiled. 

It was clear that Zed wanted the conversation to end but Eli persevered. “So what has a young boy like yourself seen?”

“None of your business.”

Eli chuckled once again, “you know you remind me of someone.”

“Lovely tidbit but I’d prefer that you don’t compare to a pathetic friend of yours in a past life.”

A small snigger came from Eli’s mouth. “Ouch. You’re mean. An old man is just trying to warn you. That pathetic friend did alright. In fact, look for yourself,” he said as he gestured to himself.

Zed observed him, and as much as he did not want to admit it, he was doing alright. His build was thin and slender upon first impressions but the way he had pinned him, Zed realised that he was a lot stronger than he had seemed. He did not look old. But above all, he was alive, alive and happy. A mix that is seldom seen.

“Is this the future I should look forward to?”

“Alright, Zed — if that’s still the name you want to be referred to as — ”

“It’s my name.”

“Sure, ‘Zed’ , if you learn anything from me let it be this: nothing is as simple as it may seem. Remember that when you’re judging people.”

“You and your sister travelling together seems simple enough. What is it? The cliché ‘parents died in front of your very eyes and you devote yourself to avenge them’ but before you can, you realise how royally fucked you are; so you just move, valuing your own life more than anything.”

“If you want me to start from the top then I will.”

“Anything is better than you making me guess.” Zed stretched out his arms before sinking closer to the ground. He looked as if he was waiting for a bedtime story.

Eli cleared his throat. “My parents were killed before my very eyes.”

Zed groaned loudly to a story he expected.

“They were killed years before the war and as a child I lashed out. Became a ‘victim’ of the system. I hated that term but I guess it was true. I had no one in the world. I had nothing. I lived and did anything to feel alive. Drugs, crime, who knows what else. Even when I turned eighteen and was forced out, I continued that life, slept rough and squatted when I was lucky. 

“Then the war started and chaos spread. Dead bodies littered the street, the ringing of an explosion. I became intoxicated with havoc, I felt happy. People were suffering the pain I had been suffering for years. I saw this as an opportunity. I could do whatever I really wanted and with absolutely no consequences.”

Zed had no snarky comeback for Eli, the person he was describing did not sound like the person who had been so forgiving of him.“So what did you do? Kill people. Did you shoot a man as he begged for his life, seeing the fear in his eyes but using it as ammo when you pulled the trigger. Watching yourself becoming a killer and not hate it.”

Eli was not shaken by the oddly specific description that Zed had painted for him. “I’m thankful I was never that far gone. I did the same shit I always did. I tripped on acid, got high with the same people but just in a bigger playground. Met some people who only fueled my self-destructive tendencies. I thought I was so hard, I thought I was living how I wanted. I thought that what I did was a big ‘fuck’ you to everyone who did me wrong. These things that were taboo, but I had been doing it so easily. It’s because there was no one left to tell us, no punishment, no crime, no boredom. In reality, we were just teenagers squatting in someone’s house that didn’t care while other people were dying. I didn’t care because in that moment, I was immortal. The feeling of immortality is only heightened when you see more people die. I felt superior.”

“There was an abrupt end to that feeling. One day when we were all tripping, a group of kids our age had bigger plans of saying fuck you. They were the killers you described. They came into our home, our barrier to the shit that was happening outside. They lit it on fire and tried shooting at us from the windows. My best friend Sawyer got shot right in the eye and burst out laughing, all the drugs dulled him out and the hallucinations must have been hilarious. He was enjoying the pain and didn’t even feel his life slip away, not from the first, second or even third bullet. Some people got an idea of what happened and ran. They tried at least, however the fire spread and their alcohol soaked shirts determined their fate. I didn’t flee I just sat there completely unable to move. One friend pulled me out and threw me out the window, he saved my life. We were on the second floor and my landing was not graceful, in fact my leg never recovered properly from that. I urged my friend to jump with me but he smiled and exploded with the house.”

“What was your friend’s name?”

“I wish I could tell you. I must have called him something but my memory of that time is a little bit shaky. The man saved my life and I can’t remember his name. Even if the name he told me was fake, many of us did that. There was a Snake and Blaze in the group but for the life of me I can’t put a name on him.” Guilt was eating away at Eli. 

“So you were the only survivor?”

“Me and Sarah. We both survived. She was so fucking crazy. She would occasionally trip out and do some crazy shit but most of the time she was clean. She did these insane things like jumping from bridges, completely in her right mind. She was fearless.” His eyes lit up talking about her, which urged Zed to ask, “you loved her?”

“Completely. I thought if I lived by jumping out of a house on fire then I could survive if she rejected me. I was more taken aback when she actually said she liked me too. We already travelled and lived together for a year and a half. But now it was different. Now we were together.”

“So where does Kanna come into this story?”

“I completely forgot that’s why story time began. You’re awfully interested in her.”Eli probed.

“You haven’t explained why she’s such a bitch.”

“If you want to know, maybe you should ask her directly.”

“I’d rather not endure any more pain from her.”

“She is a feisty one but she isn’t a bad person.” Eli’s carefree attitude had dissipated, he wore a stoic look which did not suit him. “Zed, this is an odd request but if something were to happen, I would like you to take care of Kanna.”

“I can’t promise that. I don’t even expect to see you again after tomorrow.”

“You’re welcome to stay. It is easier to be in groups and I know you’re not a bad kid either.”

“Why don’t we finish the story before I start making lifelong promises?”

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Nightfall

Image result for black and white forestThe sound feet hitting the pavement in perfect rhythm was the only sound which resonated through the quiet street. They belonged to a young woman taking the same route she takes everyday, with her knowing that she would arrive to work late and that no one would realise. She continues at her relaxed pace, with footsteps growing slightly heavier as the same unease shot through her. This unease was the reminder that this was her life until the end of her days. The town was too predictable, thus for her, too boring. Nothing ever changed, not the people, and never their routine.

This was proved when she turned into the busy street, greeted by the eyes of the barber peering out of his glass shop front. There was the same awful aroma coming from the real estate agents sucking their morning fag. Then the barking of the dog with his owners resting on the bench. All sounds and senses dulled ever so slightly with the familiar bustle of cars in traffic. This isn’t where I’m meant to be, she had always thought. It just doesn’t feel right.

A singular raindrop fell, leading her to sigh and pull an umbrella from her bag anticipating this change of weather. Not much time passed before the downpour increased, leading to the streets to clear. She watched a bus crammed with people stuck in traffic and decided to continued by foot — extending her beloved solitude. Another turn led her to enter an empty park, her usual shortcut which truly was not shorter. She stopped the blaring music in her ears to listen to the sounds of the rain hit the surface. 

The clouds above merged into a grey storm, showing no sign of stopping. The pitter patter of the water hit her umbrella forming a gentle beat which calmed her. The rhythmic sound was disrupted with the emergence of footsteps running through mud, accompanied by a heavy panting. It was sudden but the footsteps were closely approaching. 

Her pace began to quicken and it was not long before she achieved a full out sprint. She did not dare turn around, instead she glued her eyes to the setting directly in front of her, praying never to hear that gnarly panting again. A time soon came where she could no longer run, her ears ringing and vision blurred. She hunched over, squatting close to the wet grass, still with the umbrella in hand but not positioned above her. Her throat was aching due to a combination of the weather and the most exercise she had done in years, breathing hurt, yet she was hyperventilating. Her chest felt like it was on fire, and a twinge of fear remained instilled into her. When she was able to hear again and the need to throw up finally subsided, she had realised she could not hear the rain, nor any footsteps and bad things which followed it. It was replaced by an undisturbed tranquility. 

The feeling of was cut short when cold bony hand touched the woman’s shoulder. “Finally,” a deep voice said, belonging to a man towering over her. He stood upright making his six foot demeanour seem even taller, he was composed, no sense of uneven breathing, just serenity, in contrast to the woman near him. She turned around, examining the stranger’s face. Due to his paleness, his skin seemed to illuminate, his dark attire did not help his complexion — he wore a long black jacket with a hood over his head while strands of long damp black hair peeking out. His most prominent — and unsettling — feature were his black eyes staring down at her.

“Why were you running?” he asked, monotonously.

She racked her mind, wondering how she could explain to a stranger that she was running from something she never even saw. She stood upright mimicking his posture whilst dusting off her trousers. “Just late to work, so I should make a move.”

“I don’t think you’re going to make it there.”

“Excuse me,” she pushed past him and walked with urgency.

Her apprehension had returned, not able to stay near the strange man but her mind fixated on the initial creature she was trying to escape. She roamed further away, expecting to see the same red bricks from the wall she encounters every day, but instead was greeted by an unfamiliar terrain. The path that would lead her to work was no longer there, replaced by trees vaguely concealing a railroad. Though the heavy downpour stopped, the grey sky remained, however darker than before. 

She stood frozen at her new surroundings when the stranger approached her again. She didn’t know where to go, but wanted to run. “Stay away from me. I bet you were the one chasing me before as well.” The minimal composure she hoped to maintain had disappeared. 

“What are you talking about?”

“Something was running behind me, which is how I ended up — well I don’t even know where.”

“Please, honey, I don’t run. The real question is how you got here. What are you, like a witch or something?”

“What did you call me?”

“So not a witch.” He held his hands up. “You can’t be a reaper too. Sure, you’re pale enough but your eyes are brown.”

“Excuse me. I’m not going to stand here and be insulted, especially after you have already threatened me.” She turned around, grabbing her phone hoping to see where she was, but instead came to face a black screen.

The strange man was before her again, he had no audible footsteps, nor presence. “I guess you’re small enough to be a fairy.” He slyly smiled at his quip, while she just glared at him. “That can’t be it. There is hate in those eyes, you are nowhere near ‘sparkly’ enough to be a fairy. With those eyes, you must be a siren.”

“Hey, weirdo! What the fuck are you on about?”

There was silence. 

“Actually, you know what I don’t have time for this. Just tell me where I am so I can go work.”

“Nightfall.”

“Where am I?” she repeated.

“That is where you are.”

“Nightfall is not a real place.”

“Look around, darling. That is where you are.”

“I am lost in a strange place with strange man.”

“I am no mere mortal, miss. I am a reaper.” 

She fell to the ground and uttered the most pathetic words: “I’m gonna be late for work”.

A silence swept over them once again. He didn’t leave – a kind gesture that she did not want, nevertheless she quickly became consumed with her own thoughts. “I’m going to die here,” she muttered.

“Hate to break it to you but if you’re here then you’re probably already dead,” he said.

“You severely lack any sensitivity.” God, why could he not leave? “Earlier when you said you were a reaper. Did you mean like grim?”

“Is there any other kind?” a proud smile spread across his face as he bowed dramatically.

As he hunched over she grabbed his collar. “You bastard did you bring me here. I’ll fucking kill you.”

“What a gross misconception.” He sounded hurt and easily escaped her weak grasp. “Reapers don’t take lives, they only guide them to the afterlife.”

“Genius, are you meant to guide anyone today?”

“I usually get a name, one second.” He gestured with his index finger as he turned his pockets inside out like a schoolboy. “Nothin’”.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The warmth of the mug radiated to her fingertips. She stared down at the hot beverage, firmly believing that comfort can always be found in a cup of tea. The steam raised up warming face as she slowly took a sip. Familiarity, is all she thought.

Due to pity and curiosity, the “reaper” could not help but invite the lost woman into his home. She never went into a stranger’s home, but considering the circumstance, an exception was made. It was homelier than she had presumed. From the outside, his house looked like a small bungalow, however inside it was strangely spacious. The minimalist composition further added to this sparse look. There were no dividing walls, the bedroom overlooked the living room and past this was the kitchen. The kitchen particularly stood out, differing from the rest of the house, as it was contemporary and bright. She also could not help be comforted slightly by the thought of a reaper wearing an apron and preparing meals like a normal person.

The rest of the house was dark, which suited him more. The sofa she sat on was black, similarly with the rug that rested below her feet. Behind her was his bedroom, with a black brick wall complemented by an array of  grey decor.

Her trance was cut short from the harsh steps of the so-called reaper. Before she even looked up, she  could see him pacing back and forth in her peripheral vision. “I don’t understand,” he said.

“You and me both, dude.” Finally relaxed and embracing the new warmth, she gulped down the hot tea. She stretched on his couch and began to lay down.

“No, no,” he rushed toward her before her back could rest against the leather of the sofa, placing his hands on her back and pushing her up. “No,” he repeated. “Don’t make yourself comfortable. You’re going to heaven or hell or whatever the afterlife is. But you don’t belong here.”

“Well, apparently you’re the expert, so you tell me what to do.” I was clearly a novice at this whole dying thing, she thought. 

He wanted to retaliate, but quickly deflated, knowing he had no rebuttal.  “Why are you relaxed now? Ten minutes ago, you were frantic, cursing me out.”

She shrugged. “Ten minutes ago, you were level-headed and carefree. You’re looking pretty flustered now.” She knew she was irritating her only hope to get answers but in this moment she finally did not have a care in the world. “What usually happens when someone dies?”

“I get a name and when I read the name I see the person’s face. I wander out to the forest and in the middle of the plains, someone’s lying there. They’re unconscious, laying in the same exact place, every time. When they come to, they can’t recall their life but when I look into their eyes, I see it all — guiding them through these wastelands, where they gradually remember as well. When they know their truth, then they have reached the end. For each person, it’s different but it’s usually a gate — a gate to the next life. The final one.”

“Interesting. But it proves I’m not dead. I remember everything, my whole life. My house for example, it’s nice. Not too big but not too small. There’s the porch door which is white and leads to the black tiles where I throw my shoes when I get home. Then there’s another door, a cream colour. This leads to our hallway. There’s two doors, the one with a glass pane leads to our living room. It’s all open, so we have a long room and the kitchen at the end. Above the kitchen is a skylight, which you can see from my room. The kitchen has a lot of light which I always hated a bit because it blinds me first thing in the morning. The-”

“Okay!” He cut her off, clearly agitated, “I get it! Was there anything weird about the events leading up to before I saw you?”

“It started off as a pretty normal day. It was raining before I got here, real heavy rain, it even had the same rain smell mixed with petrol and mud. And of course, the weird rabid dog panting which I thought came from you.”

His eyes widened. “Hellhounds,” was all he muttered. “Did it bite you? Tear you limb from limb?”

“No, I ran.”

“No one could ever outrun a hellhound, especially considering how unfit you are. Coughing your lungs out from the slightest bit of exercise. It is just so strange.”

She walked up to him extending her hand out as a sign of friendship. “We spent a bit of time together and I find it odd that we haven’t introduced ourselves yet. My name is Noor.” There was brief silence therefore Noor took it upon herself to continue speaking. “It means divine light in Arabic, fitting right?”

He was wary but graciously accepted the act of kindness. “Right.”

“This is the portion of the conversation where you say your name.”

“I’m reaper, I guess.”

“That’s not a name, you must have had a name once. A life aside from reaping.”

“This is all I know. All I have ever done. I am but a reaper.”

“So how long you been doing this gig?”

“What is with the interrogation?”

“I’m trying to be friendly.”

“I think I preferred when you were threatening me.” He sighed, “as far back as I can remember. The beginning of time, I guess. I don’t know. I don’t know when it started or when it will end.”

“De-pressing,” she said in a sing-song tone.

“I am sorry I don’t get the same luxury as you deplorable humans.” Noor was shocked, wondering what she had said to hit a nerve, and also hurt by his harsh words.

It wasn’t long before he spoke again. “I apologise for my outburst. I’m never like this, reapers don’t have a lot of emotion —  it helps maintain a judgement free zone. But I have met a lot of people. I have seen their deepest darkest secrets and all their desires, the flaws. I am not the one to pass judgement — but I see it and I can’t pretend like I haven’t.”

“So, you don’t like humans, how about the witches and sirens and fairies you mentioned? Maybe I’ve met one.”

“Doubtful. There are things not in your world which can enter mine. It’s like walking through a neighbourhood for them. Any being with free will have the same issues. And for the record I don’t hate humans.” He smiled, slyly referring to Noor. This was the first time he really smiled at her and she couldn’t help but grin back.

“I don’t want to make this about myself again but can you see anything about me, even a glimpse?”

“That’s exactly it. When I look at you, it’s a complete blank. Usually, I see everything when I look in their eyes. I see their souls. The eyes are a window to the soul, never underestimate how true that is. I see what they don’t know about themselves. Just to summarise, paper, vision, memory lane which then leads to the gate. I’m a glorified delivery boy. With you, there’s nothing, I didn’t even realise you came here, I didn’t know your face, I know nothing about you. It irks me.”

“Maybe it’s just a delayed reaction. What if you look in my eyes, like really look in them?”

“It couldn’t hurt to try,” he said. They sat opposite each other, legs folded like school kids. As they stared into each others eyes, his face betrayed him to show that he once again reached a disappointing blank. “You have black eyes,” he noted.

Noor knew that he was unable to see her years unfold before his very eyes, instead she saw his. The entirety of the reaper’s existence flashed before her. However, he was no reaper, not anymore and he wasn’t from the start as he believed. There is more to his story, that he had yet to learn. A sad story of a boy destined to live a normal life, but died before he became a man. As her vision became clouded, she felt a dampness on her face, but she saw his face change. Something he hadn’t felt in years despite the thousands of people who previously broke down in front of him — empathy.

“Micah,” was all that left her lips.

He looked at her in disarray, completely unaware of all that she had seen. He instinctively wiped Noor’s tears with his thumb, which she knew that he had never been compelled to do for any other soul. That only made her tears flow more. She abruptly stood up, startling him slightly. With her back turned to him, she quickly wiped the tears with her pulled sleeves.

Micah stared at her, restraining himself from comforting her. Before she was ready to face him again, she dug her hands deeps into her pocket and felt a roughness at the bottom, brushing over it with her thumb. Removing the foreign object — a scrunched-up piece of paper — and unfolding it, which revealed the new name Noor had just learnt.

“Micah, would you like to go for a walk?” Noor asked.

Beyond the Window

Going back to my routes on this one, creative writing from words from a random word generator. 

The words were: Hostage, Talkative, Deal, Infection

Image result for window  photography

I lay on the soft mattress, sinking in as the covers surround me. I made it a habit to lay in the dark, I was not concerned about my surroundings. It was nice to not think, not dream just be. I had to savour this feeling. As I relax further into my nest, my safe space quickly became intruded. 

The lights turned on and a young man strolled in. Leon came here everyday, wearing a smug grin on his face accompanied with a chirpy attitude. “It has been a lovely day.”

“I wouldn’t know,” I said while sitting up, leaning on the headboard.

“You’re not a hostage, Mika. You can leave whenever you want.”

I felt my lips tightening, I had nothing to say nor any desire to leave, feeling too comfortable within these four walls. I was sick for a long time and once I got better rather than returning to my life it was just easier to stay here. 

No one came to visit me besides Leon. Not that I could recall many of my memories from before that time but I thought if they came then it would trigger some memory. Instead I was left alone with Leon, it made me bitter and Leon was the only one I could take out my frustrations on. 

On some level, I should be thankful but I’m not, he just reminds me how weak I am. Besides I never asked him to see me, he just does. I realised that he wouldn’t stop no matter what I said. 

I glared at him as he sat on the foot of my bed. It was no longer a quizzical stare, wondering why he came to visit or why he seemed so happy to see me I gave up on that a long time ago. Instead I glared at him to make it clear I didn’t want him here, make him not feel welcome enough to stroll in as he likes and make himself at home. 

“You’re very talkative,” he joked. 

“I don’t have much to say. Nothing has changed since yesterday or the day before. I haven’t done anything.”

“Are you still having those dreams?”

I did have dreams good dreams. In those dreams I can relive the feeling of happiness, of being uncomplicated. A blue sky, watching the clouds with a pair of eyes staring at me. The eyes were full of warmth. Even though I could not remember the face, I know I was happy. They were mundane activities, dreams of cooking and dancing, walking outside, going to the store. They were normal,  yet I craved them. However, I could not will myself to leave.

I looked at him for the first time. He wore a light blue jumper with white trousers. I have only seen him in some rendition of blue. 

“You really like blue?”

“It was my wife’s favourite colour.” He played with the silver band on his finger, smiling. He must really love her. In some way it made me jealous. Not because he was taken, but he was happy I did not have that luxury. 

“Was?” I repeated.

He ignored me, instead he observed the curtains, pushing up his glasses. “You haven’t opened the curtains again,” he stated. 

“No need. There is nothing out there for me.”

“There is nothing in here for you.”

“This is my home.”

“It was.”

“I remember how I used to be here. I remember laughing so easily. Smiling. Why does it not feel like me?”

“You remember?”

“Only a little.” After that sudden confession, I became defensive. “ I don’t know why you care, I don’t even know you.”

In that moment I thought I saw his eyes become glassy but focussed more on the hurt expression he now wore.  I had pushed him away before but this is the first time it had affected him. That is what I wanted but a knot still formed in my stomach. “Please, just indulge me,” he pleaded.

“I loved watching the clouds. The blue sky.”

“You did.”

“Can you tell me more?” I asked, this was the first time I had wanted to know more about my life, no longer content with the fragments.

“It’s not fair to ask me that.”

“How about a hint?”

“Here is a deal. I will look outside if you give me a hint.”

He leaned in closer to me. Initially, I thought it was to deny my request, instead he pulled me closer to him and kissed my forehead. “I love you.”

For the first time, I felt hope. The face in my dreams, the kiss on the forehead confirms it. It was all Leon. 

“You would humour me before.” 

“You had a strange outlook on the clouds but you loved looking at them, coming up with the most absurd stories.” I recalled him giggling when I would say the wildest observations about the clouds, the face were no longer eyes but Leon’s face. If I could remember him even a little then I was sure he would remind me of the rest. Finally the world was bright and I thought that I could live that we could live. 

He slipped a matched band to his on my finger and smiled weakly. 

Fulfilling my promise and with a new sense of confidence, I drew open the curtains, expecting to see my blue sky. But that is not what stared back at me. 

The sky was a blood red. The streets weren’t the ones I grew up in, the buildings were falling and resembled rubble more than structures. There was no form of life beneath us. 

“It hasn’t got any better, I’m afraid. Everyone left.”

“We will follow them.”

“Mik, the infection spread. I don’t have much time left.”

“I got better.”

“And you’re the only one.”

“Why did you stay with me ?”

“I was sick too, ” he lied. 

“You liar, you should have left me.”

“I could never do that.”

“I will stay with you.”

“It is more dangerous. You don’t know this world, Mik. It gets worse every day, the air is toxic for most animals, they’re going wild. The longer you stay, the further everyone else gets. You won’t find them if you wait around for me. “

“No.”

He rested his head on my shoulder and I felt a dampness on my t-shirt. “You have to,” he sobbed. 

I already decided that I would not leave him. Just like he refused me.

Nameless

I have always hated my name. I can’t remember the last time it was said without spite or malice. It held no meaning, nor had a definition that could be found. At most it was a mess of letters. My father seldom said my name but on those rare occasions where he did indeed utter it, it would only be to scold me or worse. I haven’t heard my name in for a significant period of time either, not from my mouth or anybody else’s. The prominent memories, or only remaining memories, being me laying face down on the bloody ground with sharp pains shooting across my entire body while chocking back tears, a scene which became all too familiar. Over time I learnt the tricks that would not annoy my father, therefore he had no reason to mention my name, whilst everyone else in my presence is too hung up on pleasantries, resulting in them calling me sir or prince.

But now I sit here, in front of a woman I admire and quite possibly love, as I hear as my name rolled of her tongue so beautifully. She said it so nonchalantly in the middle of a conversation, such an innocent setting. Yet I am rendered speechless. As I pause not knowing how to reply, she repeated my name again. Not knowing the effect it had on me. Completely unknowing that I could have cried from the mere sound of it. I haven’t heard it in years and I had completely disassociated from that name.

Then I remembered, the person gave me my name, not my contemptuous father. No, the first lady who loved me and who I had lost too young, had gifted that name with love. I once felt that love from that name. She had picked it out, so carefully, especially for me. “Your name means bravery, bravery to love and to fight. You’re so brave and so strong, my son.”

As my name was repeated in the present day with such care, said with love and it will again from this moment onward. My new beginning had started from that minuscule moment.

I love how she says my name. I love my name.

The 30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 14

Day 14: Your character meets somebody new on the bus. His or her opinion about the person is changed by the end of the bus trip. How did this change occur?

Personally not a huge fan of this piece but oh well its posted. 

Jeering echoed the bus. I initially enjoyed the peace when on the bus, especially when I had nothing to preoccupy myself with. I was not accustomed to long journeys, consequently would usually come prepared with a book or maybe something to watch. However, my phone didn’t have long left, with the battery being on 5%. In addition to my oversleeping and lack of planning which made me forget to pack a book, thus it was simply me and my thoughts.

That was until the herd of rowdy boys entered the bus. They must have been in their early to mid-twenties yet are screaming like kids.  I looked down at my watch, not even thirty minutes had passed with me on this bus. I still had over an hour left of my journey. All I could hope was that it quietened down soon.

I sat somewhere in the middle to avoid any attention, not close to the front where kids want to sit with their parents and not at the back where groups of teens and young adults crowd to. I was certain that no one would sit around me, there was plenty of space but just my luck that these loud boys would come sit near me.

This would have been the time to put my headphones in, despite me not playing any music due to the critically low battery, I did so anyway. It was a great way to block out sound and just give me the ambience of being of a world of my own. It was not long before one of the boys in the group who was sat immediately next to me waved to get my attention.

It was all a lot of small talk I didn’t pay attention to. Some mean statements. Comments made at the expense of others while he made what he thought were compliments to me. Then the badgering for my name and number. Decline. Decline. The amount of times I had to say no before he stopped. This man was rude and did not take no for an answer. Being with his friends gave him a false sense of security. I hope he felt as awkward as I did.

I just inserted my silent headphones in before he could talk again and looked out the window. My eyes were firmly set on the outside for the remainder of the time he was next to me. By the time he left I could see many of his groupies also did. I exhaled with a relief.

I didn’t like being put into a position like that by a pushy man who cannot take no for an answer. My anxiety disintegrated. Again, I was left to relish the silence once again until a voice behind me said-

“I apologise for my friends.”

“Excuse me,” I said as I removed an earbud. I turned to face him, he was one of the boys in the group.

“The guy who was sitting next to you. He’s a-,” there was a pause, “an acquaintance. He acts like that but he isn’t too bad. When you overlook some things.”

“Overlook a lot, I’m assuming.”

“I saw that you were uncomfortable and I want to apologise.”

“Okay bud. Listen up. I can see that you’re not as pushy or annoying as your previous friend. But in the future if a girl feels uncomfortable then tell your friend to stop. Don’t think that you are nice because you apologise after.”

“Wow sorry I tried.”

“That was a little rude on my part. But I just felt weird then.”

“Don’t worry about it. I will make sure he’s not that pushy. Even though I’m not doing it, I stand to the side when he pesters others.”

I smiled. “I accept your previous apology.”

“So you don’t think I’m so bad anymore?”

“Meh.” I turned back around.

He said under his breath, “by the way, I know you aren’t listening to anything.”

I didn’t even bother playing around. I simply looked at him and asked “how could you possibly know that?”

“You were too stiff. Like not moving, you were trying too hard. It’s a knack, I am just good at reading people, most of the time at least.”

“I am accustomed to wearing them. I always listen to music but my battery is dying so I’m left to my own devices.”

“Would you like some company for the rest of the time? You can say no. I saw previously that you had no problem saying that.”

I laughed, “okay.”

He sat next to me and for the rest of the bus journey we spoke. Spoke about trivial things. I found out about his job, his likes and dislikes. Despite my initial opinions he was a good person. It was a lovely conversation.

Until I got to my destination. We said goodbye and that was all. I left with something else though. Perspective.

My Love

I waited for him. For so many years, I had dreamed about the perfect man and in a matter of seconds I knew that it was him. The second I saw him it was perfect. His jokes. His smile. Everything. Perfect. Completely compatible. Completely happy. My dear, when our eyes met my life changed and I can’t thank you enough for the love you fill me with.
We met in university and his perfect image never shattered through those years because he truly was perfect. I never thought I could love anyone more. I didn’t expect it to be reciprocated. Perfect.
We officially were bounded together in the summer under the sun, the perfect temperature on the best day. I wore ivory and looked beautiful. He had such a careful expression when he saw me and everyone’s eyes were on me. We said our vows and he even let out tear. Our names were put on the bottom of the paper and it was done.
And for many years I did believe everything was perfect. I loved him. He loved me, I was sure. Everyday since I met him there was never a bad day. Everything was perfect, just as I let myself believe. I couldn’t think otherwise. I never argued with him or fell out, I did everything to please him and achieve my perfection. But somehow on any other day it didn’t feel perfect. It felt gloomy. I refused to believe this omen and was determined that when I got him I would continue to be the perfect wife. That’s what we both wanted.
I went home and couldn’t believe my eyes. I saw him there laying in bed naked with another girl on top of him. They were still making noise and she kept screaming his name. They didn’t notice I was there. It was the most humiliating thing ever. They were so loud. So I let out the biggest bloodcurling scream which would be sure to leave him limp. Or even notice me. Both of them looked at me. There heads snapped back and there I stood in my tracks still screaming. The moisture going down my face I believed to be tears when I touched them they were crimson red. It was blood. My blood. He and the unidentified woman tried to make themselves as decent as possible. He put on his boxers and gave her his shirt. She stood there with fear in her eyes wearing his shirt. He tried talking to me but I couldn’t hear. My ears were ringing. Was I still screaming? My throat hurt. His lips were moving. Did he mention divorce or love. He tried moving me but I can’t let him touch me with hands that touched her. I grabbed the vase with flowers he bought and smashed it over his head. He fell to the floor. Now my hands had his blood too. I could see our crimson red mixing together. The girl ran over to his body. “Don’t touch him bitch,” I said while licking my finger tips. I felt a bit better while she screamed. “Please if you love him then call for help, just let him live.” I laughed as if I was watching a comedy movie. I laughed as she begged and then picked up a shard from the vase to cut that disgusting face of hers. She didn’t scream anymore and her eyes were still. More steadily she said, “do what you want but make sure he lives.” After that, it become boring. She was too composed. And with that it was all a blur.
When I came to. There were flashing lights. Blank. A man in a suit shouting. At me. Blank. A woman in a white coat. Blank. Red pills. White pills. Blank. I still saw his smiling face. Did he visit? These were dreams. I’m sure he saw me when I was blank. I wasn’t me. I didn’t know who I was anymore. Too many blanks too much darkness. I’m confused. I curled in a ball. Seeing the pictures of his face. Then her. The woman. I looked up and saw an old lady staring back at me. She had silver hair which looks like it hadn’t been washed or brushed in years. It was long and covering her face. She wore simple white clothes. Her pale wrinkly face, with her puffed up eyes and sour face. She looked like a horrible lady. I threw something at her and she shattered. She was gone. I lay on the floor.

The next day a newspaper article was published. It was entitled “The Long Life of a Strange Lady”. It told the story of a deranged woman. She started off as a normal young lady. Attended school, very educated, very capable. Until she met a man. Let’s call him Val. Val had never seen this woman before but he caught her looking at him and just seeing her in more places. At first he thought nothing of it but she told everyone that they were dating and she would leave notes and gifts for him. She described herself as being very much in love. Val never spoke to this woman and was already very much in love with his current girlfriend. This put a rather large strain on their relationship. He would avoid this woman even going as far as moving when he believed she was following him. But when he moved into a quiet neighbourhood with his girlfriend who was now his wife, the other woman followed him. He filed a restraining order and began to be a little scared of her. One evening while he and his wife were performing their “marital duties”. She intruded into their house and began to scream and started to hit herself, making herself draw blood. She then proceeded to hit Val over the head where he experienced blunt drama to head. The woman cut his wife and stabbed her in the stomach. The wife was 2 months pregnant. With Val on the floor and the wife bleeding, the woman laid next to Val with her arms entwined in his and that’s how the police found her. Unconscious. Val suffered from a severe concussion and his brain also had psychological problems. He dealt with unbearable headaches until his death. He forgot about that night but would often remember parts of that night in flashes which further strained his mind. Even though he may not have completely remembered about the events that transpired on that night, his wife did not. She was close to dying. Beaten bloody to the point of death. She spent 4 months in a coma and not only lost her child but also lost all feeling on the left side of her body. The pain she felt was unbearable, facing it to be almost alone. This is when she convinced her husband who was already in an unstable state to aid her in the taking her life.
Exactly one year after his wifes death, val he fell to his demise when he jumped of a bridge. Which can only be assumed to be suicide.

The lady who started of this chain of tragedies has died 40 years after his death. She was been put in a psychiatric ward. Not had one visitor or even made any friends. Her funeral, set up by the ward itself out of formality, had the nurses who looked over her attend. They pitied her and felt sorry for her, they knew what she did was wrong. But when everyone they see have done terrible things not even by their own will and still have visitors. She had no family and was by herself until she met him and all they could do was pity her because she was alone. and as the casket closed on her pale lifeless face there were no tears shed. Where everyone saw a lady that drove two people to death by a voice that was not her own. She was a woman to be so desperately lonely still craving her first love.