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Sofia's Writing > Escape My Ghosts

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message 1: by Sofia (new)

Sofia | 3 comments Part 1
I’ve always felt unsettled in my bedroom, even before what happened to Nat. Now, I never enter the vicinity. I haven’t even slept here in almost two years, not since the night of my 16th birthday.

Standing in my room once again, I remember in vivid detail how these filmy gray curtains always let in my fears during the night. I remember how the tall, spindly Slendermen scurried up the walls; their gaunt faces crumbling into ash, eerily highlighted by shocking scarlet eyes and white spiderlike limbs. Each Slendermen clutched a cane curled like a bloody fishhook in one hand and a secret-filled briefcase in the other. They all carried an aura of regret, as they were forever encompassed by the echoing whispers of corrupted souls-often my own cries joined in. As the night went on, each Slendermen bounded over the bed, cackling in my ear, “ You’ll never be good enough for anybody”, “Especially your so called ‘best friend’ ” and “Just give up on Nat already!” until I clapped my white-knuckled hands over my ears in a vain attempt to drown out the voices. But they always left as the sun came up, shimmying down the gutter and silently dispelling into the light. Yet, even when the Slendermen faded away, my doubts of the night remained.

The whitewash on the walls reflects the sunlight off of every surface, creating an eerie mix of white light and speckled gray dust motes swirling into a vengeful tornado. Despite the open window, the air tastes stale, choking me as I try to resist the urge to bolt. “Remember you’re in here for Nat” I remind myself, taking prolonged shallow breaths. My life revolves around Nat now, tinged with despicable sadness and gloating horror.

Nat and I grew up together, in two squat houses bordering an ordinary street filled with unimaginative individuals content to stay mundane. We became best friends earlier than I can remember, joined by our mutual love of magic encircling our favorite tales and our fear of the monotony cloaking others in our midst. Together, we made each other extraordinary. Her bravery and quick wit forced me to unfurl like a wilted flower, soaring to heights I never thought possible. Though I never quite knew what I did for Nat, I know I helped make her feel safe- from what I still have no idea. Whenever I was with her, Nat’s face became less lined, her eyes became open and trusting as our fingers laced together. After all this time, my fondest memories are from our sleepovers. I can hear the echoes of our childhood laughter stifled under our musty comforters. I can still remember the secrets we only whispered in the darkest hours of the night, our hands cupped to ensure no one else could hear. I remember how the Slendermen always disappeared on those nights.

The familiar choking feeling comes on quickly, spiraling up my body until I collapse on the ground. My stomach is roiling in volatile waves, trying to burst at the seams in a ferocious combustion as I’m shaking, convulsing on the ground, about to take my last breath...

SO I CAN JOIN NAT! She left this world! But it wasn’t her fault! I didn’t go after her!

I’m the reason she never came back.

It was my 16th birthday, and Nat and I decided to have one final sleepover to celebrate. I knew it was my last chance to whisper my only secret under the protection of musty covers in the comfort of darkness-or else I could lose her forever. For years, I had been yearning to tell Nat about the Slendermen, and I always buckled when I tried. Nat was adamant about her self-worth, no matter the consequences. Thus, I never knew how to tell her, for 16 years, how gaunt men danced around my room, taunting my paralyzing phobia of losing her, how I never trusted her to stay. That night, I finally told Nat about my doubts.

“What do you mean the Slendermen always say ‘Nat secretly hates you’?” she asked, quizzically, her light brown hair fanning over the pillow. “I love you like a sister, you’re my best friend, my only friend really, don’t you know that?” I wasn’t sure, but she sounded strangled, as if she was fighting to hold back tears.

“Nat” I responded, a ball of anxiety already starting to blossom in my chest, “You’re my best friend, and I couldn’t survive without you” My own light brown mousy hair was pulled up into a severe bun, straining my face into flat, expressionless lines. “But don’t you ever have doubts?” I felt like I was pleading to her, and I didn’t know why.

“Of course I do! I have doubts about almost everything!” She cried, tears starting to stream down her face.

“Why are you crying?” I was begging now, desperate for us to be in sync again.

“YOU! You’re the only person in my life who I never doubted!” she really was yelling now, as if a piñata had burst inside her, as if she was throwing the vile candy at me, as if she wasn't done swinging the bat.

“All these years, all this time I’ve trusted you! I would have died for you! Now I find out you’ve had nightmares for years about me forgetting about you?” Her shoulders sagged, and I waited with open arms in case her knees buckled. Nat had never acted so torrid towards me before.

“Nat…I…I didn’t”

“Save it Rosie, I know what you meant. I thought I knew you. I thought you trusted me, as I trusted you. Rosie and Nat against the world huh?” She laughed, but it was a hollow full of bitterness and resentment. “You don’t trust me Rosie. You clearly never have, otherwise you would have told me before now.” She swiped at her eyes with a vengeance and hastily snapped up her purse.

“Where are you going?”; my voice was begging for her to stay. In my efforts, I snatched at her arm, leaving a thin scratch as long and as poisonous as a viper.

“Away! Don’t you dare come after me! It’s my turn to not trust you!” She stormed out, slamming the door behind her in a repulsive burst of sound, leaving only the memory of her scathing glare hanging in the growing space between us.

I heard horrible, earth-jarring sobs, coming from a force outside of my body; it took me a moment to realize it was my own grief. With my face buried in my hands, I wailed as my world shattered into a billion cardboard fragments, tasteless and hollow, because Nat had finally dropped the bat.

That was our first fight, and we never got the chance to make up. I never saw Nat again. I don’t know where she went after storming out, but the next morning her parents called to ask when Nat would be coming home. I told them she’d left last night. Nat wasn’t at home, at school, or anywhere else. For the rest of the day we all searched for her: my family, her family, classmates, teachers, pedestrians, anyone we could find! But the search was fruitless. Days, weeks, then months passed. I became eternally harried, nervous, and fragile, my fingernails eternally bitten to the quick. I started sleeping in my parent’s room, and then later the couch, for even the barest glimpse of my room had become excruciating. Now, it was he last memory of Nat’s scathing eyes that threatened to dissolve my sanity.

A hole had been ripped inside me, a large gaping thing with jagged edges that stabbed my soul with each breath. I didn’t know how to survive without Nat. I still don’t know how to survive without Nat. After all, how do you lose your whole world? How do you walk when the world spins in a vapid blur? With the ground threatening to dislodge you with every step, waiting for the other to return? I am a piñata without a string, there is nothing left of me to break.

Exactly a year later, on my 17th birthday, a pale, nearly translucent white arm washed up on the beach. A pale, nearly translucent arm with a just barely discernable scratch. A thin scratch as long and poisonous as a viper.

Nat.

Six months later, I have no idea who murdered my best friend. I can’t put a face to the individual who obliterated my entire world. With each passing day, the agony of Nat’s loss continues to rupture my soul into these tangible, scrappy pieces. I want to take these fancy sleeping pills and cram them down my throat; I don’t know how to escape this inexorable grief anymore. I don’t know how to escape the Slendermen still cackling in my ear. My best friend was murdered, while I sat in my room and cried my eyes out. I don’t want to know the truth about what happened to Nat. Because I already know it’s my fault.

If I had gone after Nat, if I had apologized, if I had trusted the only friend I've ever known, she would have never run off, she would still be alive. She would still be here with me.

Her parents have decided that it’s time to move on. Today is Nat’s funeral. That’s why I’m here in this godforsaken bedroom bawling my eyes out again, forcing myself to hear the ghost of Nat’s last spiteful words and my pathetic pleading, seeing the last scathing look in her eyes as she walked across the threshold for the last time. I have too many haunting memories in this decayed room, with it’s whitewashed walls, the empty picture frames, and the window cloaked by filmy gray curtains that never failed to welcome the Slendermen. I’m stranded without Nat, trapped as a stifled whisper in a Slenderman’s briefcase, unable to save innocent souls- much less myself.


message 2: by Sofia (new)

Sofia | 3 comments Part 2

I finger the empty picture frames on the walls, my parents took out all the memories of Nat and I months ago, until my finger halts at the small silver mirror in the corner of the room. Nat bought me the mirror when I turned 13, and it’s coated in ornate silver spirals with gleaming fragments of light dancing off the edge- the only time my curtains brought beauty into this desolate room. As my finger traces its edge, I somehow spot one priceless piece of Nat: my 16th birthday present. Nat and I always hid each other’s presents, and now I’ve finally spotted her gift, lodged in the crevice of a single silver spiral, with a note wrapped around the delicate box. My fingers shaking, I unfurl the note and gaze hungrily at its contents.

Dear Rosie,

You’re finally 16! Yay for you! I can’t remember a time before I met you, and I don’t want to remember. I know we’ll have our ups and downs throughout the years, but no matter what we’ll always love each other. I will always love you; you’re my sister in all ways but blood. No matter what happens, please promise me you will always be there, because I’ll always be there for you (even if we end up going our separate ways for college). Friends forever, because life will never limit us.

Love, Natalie

Nat always knew the exact right thing to say, and apparently that extends beyond the grave. I kiss the letter, before I realize I’m crying big sloppy tears of relief, happiness, and unimaginable sadness. I will never be whole again, not without Nat. We never had unassailable barriers between us before; I thought she would abandon me first anyway. But I’m the only one left now, and perhaps, all hope is not lost.

With salty tears still rushing down my cheeks, I open the envelope again, and there lays a filigree chain that looks wispy in the light from my curtains. Nat did always have a knack for taking simple things and making them beautiful. The end of the chain just barely holds a radiant gold locket, engraved with a rose spiraling all around the front. She’s filled the locket with pictures, our first day of kindergarten with the sunlight drenching our skin, and our last school dance together, beaming with poise in gorgeous prom dresses. She even engraved the back:

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship” (Louisa May Alcott). Inexplicably, I catch a whisper of Nat’s light laugh in the slight breeze from the sea, and somehow, I know I’ll be all right someday. All at once, I’m filled with a golden glow that encompasses my whole body: from my fighting blue eyes to the hem of my plain black dress. The glow from Nat's love fills up my heart, not mending it exactly, but starting to smooth the jagged edges cutting into my soul. In the end, it is not time, but love that heals all wounds.

“I will remember Nat, I swear."

With tears still tumbling down my cheeks and the locket fastened over my heart, I close the door for good. I'm never returning to this room, it's time to relinquish the regret and begin anew. The world hasn’t stopped spinning, but maybe I have. For, I am not a whisper drowning in a sea of doubt, I am an explosion soaring from the depths. Waiting to see what the world holds.


message 3: by Madge (new)

Madge (goodreadscommadge) | 25 comments This is beautiful especially they way you told the story had such a lyrical "tune" to it. I loved the description- especially the beginning part of Part 1. The story flowed very smoothly, but I feel Part 2 somewhat didn't measure up to Part 1 in a way. Partway, it lost the lyrical sense, but flowed nicely. I really think Part 2 was dragged on but it was a nice read. It could almost be read as a standalone.

Anyways, thanks for the great read. I adored this and I hope no one hates me for the criticism..!


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