Week one of my 365 Day Challenge.
As it turned out, in the first week alone, I accidentally missed four days (simple mind slip, thank you very much). Doesn’t bode well, does it? It doesn’t matter. I will improve.
As it also turned out, I ended up focusing entirely on my original characters for my planned novels. Backstories, sketches, plot sketches…
Here are my week’s worth of gleanings.
Dusk. The perfect time of the night to leave.
None of them realise I’m gone. Not one. Not even Belinda. I’ll miss her the most, but I have to go. I cannot stay in this house a minute longer. I can’t stand their abuse. I can’t stand their yelling. I can’t stand their hatred.
Because that’s what it is, I know it. I’m only six, but I can tell they hate me. Dad’s lying when he says women are defenseless. Mom proves she’s not to me every day. In fact, the only one at home who is is Belinda.
Maybe if I follow the track, I can find my way out of here. One track out of nowhere. One way out. Easy. Simple.
Or maybe not. Dark fall now and it’s getting hard to see. I really should have brought a light. I can hardly make out my feet underneath me. I’m getting hungry. This track seems to go forever. Will it ever stop?
I’m scared. Sure, I hate it at home, but is it really worth this? For the first time, it occurs to me that maybe this path leads to nowhere. That I’ll die out here, that I’ll starve.
This is supposed to be my new beginning. So where is it?
Another hour, and I hear something coming. A vehicle, from behind. It can only be one thing, and I jumped off the road, startled and scared. Maybe they won’t see me…
The truck stops. My dad gets out, looking around. Then, unexpectedly, he grabs me before I have time to move.
“Gotcha!” he says, with a cruel twist to his grin.
He throws me in the back, like an object he packs thoughtlessly into the truck.
“You’re gonna be in an awful lot of trouble when we get back to the house,” he tells me, and I believe him. My stomach drops at the prospect. I imagine myself being sick at the churning, even though I probably won’t be. It’d serve him right, though.
It’d make no difference. He’d just beat me harder.
He swept through the streets like a shadow. He was as good as one now, after his untimely demise. His own brother had done this to him. Though still alive, his heart barely beat, and his skin was cold.
What brother does this to someone so close? Or was he a special victim?
His best friend was left untouched, but Orion knew it couldn’t be out of sympathy or sentiment; Alex always enjoyed being dead better than being alive, and he wished it on everyone around him.
Yet he had spared all but his brother. Why?
Like him, Orion moved with hatred and anger. It was overwhelming, and he had to take it out on someone. Almost invisible in the dark, he could sneak up on anyone. And yet he could see clearly, like the shadow of night wasn’t even there.
So it made no difference to his vision when he caught his victim under a streetlight. He needed blood anyway, and that made excuse to take out his anger on anyone he needed.
The moment he was spotted, he was braced against. An old enemy. He had to be fast and brutal.
He admitted, it was reckless. But it gets so tiring having to check surroundings everywhere he goes, and he wished society could just make it easier for him. But society can never make anything easy; it always has to complicate everyone’s life and make it miserable.
Drama is not something Orion values, but it’s ever-present all around him.
“It’s over,” she said.
He missed the sight of the setting sun that night, and he misses her. That’s what kills him the most out of all this. He only wants to hate, and he aims it now against her as with anybody else. But he misses her.
That’s where it all starts.
For a year, it all ran smoothly. Then it all spiralled out: Alex’s hatred spread to him; his hatred drove him into fights; his fights upset her; he pushed her away as he got in deeper; he put the kid in hospital; she broke up with him.
Alex offered him a way out. He took it.
He was the only one desperate enough to choose this. But Alex is such a psycho, who can say why he didn’t just turn any of us against our wills? Because he could.
“You and me now, Ri,” he told me, “we got all the power. We can take it all.”
Peace of Mind
She went to the park every afternoon. It gave her a little piece in a chaotic world. It didn’t seem to matter that it was only across the street from her house, it gave her the escape she needed.
Her father worried about her sometimes. He said it was because of that that made her date “that boy”; he thought she was depressed.
She wasn’t. She just liked the quiet.
She went to the swing, her special seat, and read for hours. She could never read in the house because her sisters were too distracting and nosy. Their favourite hobby is mischief.
There was just one problem… Her ex knew about her safe place, and he was hounding her.
“You can’t keep doing this,” she told him.
“I can do anything I want to,” he said.
“Orion, seriously,” she said. “Someday, all this is gonna catch up with you. You’ll push too far. You’ll push someone so far that they’re gonna fight back.”
“It won’t be you,” he said.
“Shouldn’t you be somewhere tonight?” she sighed.
“Alex hasn’t woken up yet,” he said. “He sleeps in sometimes. But I get up early just for this.”
“Just to make me miserable?”
“I’m not,” he said. “Face it, Brenda. If I didn’t do this, you’d miss me.”
“Why don’t you test that theory,” she said critically. “Face it, Orion. I’m not the one of us that misses the other.”
“Fine. But you’re responsible if I kill anyone tonight,” he snapped sarcastically. He walked away.
Luke and Brenda were childhood friends. They had similar upbringings, and their mothers were friends. They live in the same neighbourhood, have for their whole lives, and their mothers often took them to each others’ houses.
Back then, they were too young to have friends, and even when they started school together, they remained a constant in each others’ lives, and told each other about their separate social lives.
Preschool was kind to Luke, and about average for Brenda. Primary school, though, tortured Luke, and Brenda was his only friend.
In those first few years, Luke and Brenda were each others’ only friend. The kids often teased the two of them about being ‘in love’ with each other. Luke hated it. Brenda ignored it, and tried hard to cheer him up.
By year three, though, Brenda started gaining friends inexplicably. That was, on the condition that she dump Luke. She refused; she felt too sorry for Luke, and she was used to being friends with him more. So they made exception for him, and let her be their friend anyway.
It lasted about a year. Later, they would show up again in high school telling horrible lies about her that everyone believed. But at that point in their lives, they had no idea of that cruel side of them at all.
“Don’t worry about them,” Luke told her. “You don’t need them anyway. I like hanging out with you better. Those girls don’t care about you like I do.”
“Aw,” said Brenda, and she hugged him. That was the sweetest thing he ever said to her, and she never forgot it.
The other kids made fun of them again for it — “That was a five second hug! Don’t you know what that means? Oh my god, she doesn’t know!” — but she didn’t care. At all.
Life at high speeds. Dawn died young, and now she lived fast. It’s not often that you get to do that in reverse order, a unique advantage to being a vampire.
She was no superhero, but she was at her physical peak. She had never run so fast, she had never been so strong; like an Olympic athlete. She had never seen so clearly; like a lion. And she was a woman on a mission.
“I’m not going to be your little bitch,” said Alex, as she cornered him after months. “I made you; you can’t kill me.”
“You really think I’m going to take sympathy after months, when you did what you did to me — and my sister?”
“No. I think you’re not going to be able to kill me at all. I’m stronger than you, and I’m older than you, and I made you. No matter how strong you get, I will always be stronger.”
“Sounds like I have something to prove,” she said. “If you don’t believe I am capable, take another look. I have you pinned.”
He grabbed her shoulders and easily spun them around. “I have you pinned,” he repeated mockingly. The spark in his eyes was too much for her dignity to bear, soul-crushing.
She bared her fangs, slashing them down his cheek when he got too close.
He plunged his fangs into her neck. She struggled hard against him. He pulled out, breathing down her neck. “Give in to me,” he purred.
“No,” she hissed back.
She flew uncontrolled to the other side of the room. He stalked toward her slowly, repeating the demand.
“NO!” said Dawn, bolting to her feet and automatically tackling him. She crunched through his neck, and he let out a cry of pain. “Give in to me,” she mocked him.
He pushed her off.
Scrambling to her feet, she grabbed the closest thing to her and braced herself for the coming attack. He sliced through the pillow and she threw it at him desperately, sending up a puff of white powder in his face.
Taking her chance, she leaped across to the other side of the bed, and saw fully now Alex’s struggle as the powdered air invaded his eyes, his face, his mouth… He snorted out a stream of powder, but it didn’t seem to make much difference.
As the dust settled, his eyes reddened, and it seemed safe now to attack…
His head snapped to her as soon as she moved; he leapt forward, catching her by the throat. He squeezed; her windpipe began crushing inwards, and her head and throat burned in white-hot pain.
Die young, live fast. Leave a good-looking corpse…
“It was speed.”
“Are you sure?” Brenda’s eyes widened for a moment, staring.
Dawn nodded. “It figures,” Brenda decided then. “He already smokes and drinks, and he does seem pretty screwed up…”
“So, mayhem,” Dawn continued. “He starts freaking out on me. My throat was cracking, my air cutting off. I tried breathing through my nose, but it was pretty uncomfortable.”
“So what happened then?” asked Brenda.
“Well,” said Dawn, “I’m a vampire, so breathing is a little easier for us, since our vital signs don’t need to move as fast as living beings, so I was just kneeling there, furious pain in my neck, staring up at him. And he was staring back at me. I could see the fury mount in his eyes, because I wasn’t strangling, and I could tell he was trying to break my neck. He squeezed tighter.
“It didn’t do anything. I started recovering. And I flipped him over, releasing the grip on my throat.”
Brenda released her breath. “What then?”
“I wanted to pay him back for that move –”
“–like everything –”
“–So I decided to tear through his throat with my fangs.”
“Like tearing out his throat? Cause, you know, that’s a bit much…”
“No. But what would be wrong with that? This guy killed my sister; he’s obviously done worse…”
“Well, yeah…” she said, “but still…”
“Well, anyway,” Dawn kept going, “all of a sudden, I started feeling stronger. I was drinking some of the blood that poured out… maybe that was it? Yeah, so, after that…” Dawn smirked, then smiled. “Well,” she said, “the rest was history.”
“So now he’s all tied up with no place to go,” Brenda answered.
Dawn smiled wider. “Yes,” she replied. “Now all we need to do is find a way to get rid of him for good.”
There was a moment of silence, then Brenda said. “You mean kill him?”
Dawn looked back at her for a minute. “If need be,” she grinned. “An eye for an eye,” she said.
Gilding a Lily
Belinda is dead. In her memory, she was perfect. The image of her, her innocence, her loving heart, everything that had no place in an ugly world like Dawn’s.
No one else that surrounded her ever knew how pure she was, could never comprehend what the world, but most importantly Dawn, lost that night. They all called her a “Mary Sue”. Whatever that was.
Her name wasn’t Mary Sue, it was Belinda, just Belinda. And she didn’t deserve this. Pain and death and brutal indignity. If she could’ve given herself up for the chance for Belinda’s life, she would have. Belinda was the only reason Dawn even survived past infancy; the way she figured, she owed it to her sister.
But Belinda had instead given her life for Dawn one last time. And now she had a whole new reason to keep it.
So who was going to blame her for gilding the lily? In her memory, Belinda truly was perfect. Why not truly let her be?