The air is stale, Sam wrote in her notebook. She looked up, took another step, and shook her head. She touched the tip of her pen to the page again and crossed out the sentence.
Fear is more alive in the air than the actual people breathing it. I can’t tell if it is a fear of where they live, of the prison itself, or of what exists outside of the building. Maybe it’s fear of how they will continue life after they leave the stone walls of their own guilt or maybe it’s the fear that they’ll never escape it.
My throat burns and my cheeks are wet. With blood? With sweat? With tears? I close my eyes and push my hands against my face, shaking my head quickly so the strands of dirty hair fly wildly. I want to scream again but I can’t take a breath and without air, there’s not much you can do. I want to run but without space, there’s not very many places you can go.
I want it all to end but with so much love, you can’t justify ending anything at all.
With nowhere else to go, I drove to the base of a mountain and started climbing. My shoes weren’t made for the steep rocks and I slipped more times than I’d like to admit. There were no other people around; after all it’s the middle of a Tuesday on a hot summer’s day. No one in their right mind would be hiking right now.
I give it up to poetic justice when I reach up to grab hold of the rock and feel a sting in the tip of my fingers. I yank my hand back to see blood trickling down the palm and onto the hot stone below. Continue reading →
I take a deep breath and push the air out, watching how my lips curl into a delicate ‘O’. I should have warn deep red lipstick, it’s more intimidating. Dad told me not to though. Apparently I need to ease the board into my leadership.
I shake my head and pull my fingers across my skin, from collar bone to collar bone before rolling my eyes and turning away from the mirror. Staring into my own eyes in the extravagant bathroom mirror doesn’t offer the courage I had been expecting.
I lean against the counter and mutter, “Screw Hollywood,” pushing two of my fingers up my nose and onto my forehead. My eyes close and I rub the bridge of my nose, pulling in deep, burning breaths. My phone dings and I flinch before grabbing it from the countertop and swiping it open. Continue reading →
Lynn turns off the alarm clock and turns to stare out the window. The sky has a blanket of clouds keeping the sun at bay. Her hair fans out behind her, spread across the duvet. The dreams linger in the corner of her mind and she rubs her eyes in an attempt to erase them. She runs the tip of her fingers across her lips, remembering the brush of his against hers. Groaning, she rolls over, pulling a pillow over her head.
“Alright,” Lynn huffs, climbing out of bed. She pulls at the blinds and rests her forehead against the glass. A group of birds take flight from the telephone wires they were perched on. Continue reading →
Most vividly, I remember the rain. My hair had been stuck to my forehead and I was shivering from the cold. Running through the trees had winded me and I was struggling to see through the fog and rain. The house was large, hiding in plain sight.
I was scared, lost, and alone. I was also only six years old.
Now, twenty years later, the memories have become distant at best and fictional at worst. Once, I made the mistake of confiding in my girlfriend at the time, telling her all I remember about that night twenty years ago. I told her how the memory of the night feels physical to me, but the evidence of it was never found. Continue reading →
Hanna smiles, standing with one arm tucked under the other. She sips from her large coffee mug, smacking her lips at the slight bitter taste. The sun climbs up in the sky, beaming down on their small town. The people on the street outside all stay bundled in large jackets, bracing themselves against the cold wind.
A young mom pulls her front door shut behind her, herding two small children to the car. Hanna raises her hand, waiving at the woman through the window. She’s greeted by a wide smile and an enthusiastic wave.
Hanna watches the car drive away, her throat suddenly feeling tight. The house looks relaxed, as if it were yawning after it’s crazy family leaves for the day. Hanna looks down the street to see an older boy riding his bike to school, fighting the morning wind. Hanna sighs and takes another long sip from her coffee mug.
A cat rubs against Hanna’s leg and she bends down to pet the animal’s soft fur. “Good morning, Georgie,” she greets. “Did you sleep last night?”