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Interconnected - Where is my mind? [Closed - Helix/Mikatao]

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[ this is describing "he/him" and was thinking of not naming him.. It seems more suitable in a way. Tell me what you think about that :]

He stood there, his fingers gripping lightly onto the cart handle bar. The skin on his sweaty palms burned. It seemed he was constantly holding onto some object, whether it would be in a form of comfort or protection or a mere habit, there was never any hesitation while doing so. The leather covering on the steering wheel of his rusty pick up truck, the stair railing in his place of residence and of course, the construction work he was forced to entwine in daily were all possible necessities to hold onto.

Along with this obsession, he found himself trailing off often as well. Staring at the sky as it changed colors, watching a happy couple kissing in the corner of the grocery store, even watching the children leaving school with smiles across their lips kept him entwined, not only in his work, but his thoughts about life.

At a young age, his father had divorced his mother. He was forced to live alone, without a man to lead him and raise him. His mother wasn't any different. She was constantly complaining about life without her husband, but who doesn't complain? These were not one of his concerns. All he wanted was a family of his own, but just as any other young man with a job lacking free time, he was forced to suffice to his lonesome life style. At least the liveliness of his neighborhood grocery store was keeping him occupied. At least this way he'd be able to dwell in the life he had always wished for.

Continuing on, hands still stinging with sweat, moving a cart toward his rusty pick up, the young man started toward loading his shopping bags. The usual consisted of these bags; milk, bread, eggs, honey, and a tub of pecan ice cream.

Afterward, he slowly sauntered toward the drivers seat and buckled up. His lips parted to sigh, a hand running through his hair as he checked his reflection in the rear view mirror. The hot summer days attracted all types of tiny creatures. Most seemed to enjoy leaving their excretions on his vehicle. It seemed he wasn't even allowed to look at himself without seeing blurred images. As if his life had always been missing so much yet at the same time he had so much. If only they were tangible; physically tangible.

[] Later []

"No sir. I have to change my schedule. Something important came up. I can't explain though.. sorry sir. I'll be a few hours late for my shift on the weekdays. I'll work extra hours during the weekend. Please sir...!"

It seemed he had this issue so many times. Ultimately, his boss was a hard headed old geezer. His expression tamed anyone that laid eyes on him. His employees wondered how his wife had managed to survive for so long. Others wondered if she was even human. No one had seen her. He had never seen her. Who would marry his boss?Who would want to spend the rest of their precious lives with someone so demeaning and so hideous? He probably took her hostage. She could be locked up for all anyone knew. Shouldn't someone report him?

Driving his pick up toward work, after the certain phone call, he stopped near a cliff. Not far from his work place far enough to enjoy the evening sunset. The sun was teasing his eyes with a dim yellow fading behind the ocean just before it with a subtle hint of orange gradually morphing into a crimson red, yet not as bright, and finally dispersing over the rest of the sky into a light blue and in the end, navy. Colors seemed to relieve him of his stressful life. Despite his short schedule his vicious thoughts intervened. The judgment he shot at himself, telling himself he was never good enough stressed him out. If only the sun set was around often. If only it didn't disappear during the winter. If only he could feel relieved for eternity.

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“We can’t fit 7 people in a car…â€

“Yeah, we could squeeze a bit with 6 total, but 5 people at the back seat is really pushing it.â€

They looked awkwardly at each other, then shot a nervous glance at the Royce sisters. Tabitha and Eileen Royce looked back at them, unnervingly identical green eyes staring balefully out from behind thick blue glasses. They were going to an art exhibition of Da Vinci’s works, and today was the last day before the exhibits would move back to their proper place in a museum in Europe. It seemed 1 too many people were interested in viewing them before they left.

No one spoke. Everyone tried valiantly to think of how 7 people could fit into a Nissan. Maybe one of the Royce sisters could sit on the other…? Nobody wanted to volunteer to be the one left behind.

Finally, Tabitha (or was it Eileen?) spoke.

“It’s okay. You guys go ahead and have fun,†she smiled. “Bee and I aren’t so interested in art after all. Come on, Bee.â€

Ah, so that was Eileen after all. The group looked helplessly at the two of them. Were all identical twins this scary? Someone had once tried to play a game of “spot the differenceâ€, trying to find all the differences between them. He was rudely rebuffed, but not before pointing out that if they didn’t insist on wearing the same outfits and doing everything the same way, they could actually be easily distinguished. This discovery was taboo to the twins, who dressed and acted even more similarly (nobody had known it was possible) since then.

“Bee?†Eileen had stepped away, but Tabitha remained on the spot, her face seemingly contorted by indecision. Eileen came back and wrapped herself around her sister’s arm, resting her chin on her shoulder – everyone coughed awkwardly and turned to look somewhere else. “What’s wrong? Aren’t you going home with me?â€

At last, Tabitha turned too. Their hands tightly linked, they trudged home, the cool spring breeze seeing them on their way.

Once the group saw that the two sisters were safely gone, they heaved a sigh of relief.

“Gosh, can’t stand those incestuous sisters,†Jeremiah exclaimed. “I was shocked they wanted to come along, you know, because they never bother to socialise. You should’ve heard them once – ‘we’re not allowed to make friends’. How creepy is that?â€

“No one likes them, full stop,†declared Zina decisively. “Especially some of our classmates. Remember that incident?â€

Jeremiah sobered at the mention of the incident. “Well, sometimes they do go a little too far. I mean, physical abuse is pretty unwarranted.â€

“Oh come now, goody-two-shoes,†Zina rebutted. “It’s just some pinching, splashing of water, pulling of hair. There’s no harm done. Besides, incest is even more criminal, and you can’t deny those two are practically in love with each other, it’s disgusting! Anyway let’s not talk about this anymore; it spoils our mood. Everyone else has gotten on.â€

And so Jeremiah got into the driver’s seat, being the only person in school of legal age to drive, and started the engine, and with its gentle whirring and humming he forgot all about the matter. They were on their way!

Though now the car did have space for 1 more person. It was a bit of a pity.

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The sun had already set yet a nice navy blue sky layered over the world like a blanket on a chilly evening. There was no doubt people were at this time safe and sound, others possibly asleep if nothing else, but him. First off his job never provided him of any considerably good necessary health insurance benefits let alone space to breath. Second, he was constantly forced to suffice to any circumstance and consequence that seemed to slap him back in the face for doing, what he believed, absolutely nothing wrong. Finally, he was once again gripping onto objects as if his life depended on it. Calloused hands, rough due to excessive construction work and the likes, this man was clearly appeared someone full of strength and skill.

While driving, many people along the road found it handy when he drove by at late hours. Especially when a young couple was stranded in the middle of a lightless high way with little to no cell phone reception and a boyfriend who was lacking in the mechanics ability. He was almost always there and willing to help. His neighbors considered him a modest man with no real needs yet some pitied him after finding out such a "handy man" had no real family to work for.

That specific night, there had been no one calling his name or needing his assistance while he rode off of work. A deep breath, encased in overall bodily relief, spilled past his thin lips. Teeth, brushed occasionally and flossed almost never, bit at his lower lip in hopes karma wouldn't react with the appearance of an annoying couple, yet still hoping some one else would be around to keep him company. Though, this time nothing special had happened. The night consisted of endless amounts of lifting objects, operating large machinery and of course break time to play with his constriction tools and toys. None of his fellow employees could blame him. A man needed to have fun sometimes too. Especially a man with no one to play with.

[] The next day[]

Looking out past his living room window a hand pressed onto the pane, the man blinked in silence. He was about ready to call his boss again, in hopes he could have extra time before entering work. This was excruciatingly difficult knowing well how his boss would react, but luckily this time, after much ado, he accepted.

After reaching his daily sun set watching, a bit earlier this time, he pulled out a large sandwich he'd constructed for energy. If he was lucky, work would go well for the night and eventually it'd light up a whole new path. The man had been bored, constantly having to deal with routine and no way out of it. It was possible, keeping in mind his boss was actually lenient this time, that he would attain what he was constantly in search for. Even he himself knew nothing of what it might've been, but he had a deep feeling he would find it tonight.

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The road was lonely at this time of the afternoon. The sun was fast setting and there was not a passing car in sight. Their hands were still linked. Two sisters, walking in identical pace, with a vast expanse of road reaching out beside them. But they couldn’t go out to it, because their hands were joined, and so they could only occupy this small square around them.

How wonderful it must be, to have nothing but space around one.

Tabitha sneezed. Eileen sneezed too, as if on cue, her warm fingers gripping Tabitha’s tightly for that short moment. People sometimes wondered if they faked sneezes, just to be in sync with each other at all times.

5 more minutes passed, before Eileen broke the silence.

“Well, it’s really a good thing we didn’t go with them,†she said musingly. “We don’t really like art very much, and we hardly know those people too. I’m quite sure they were whispering behind our backs, just now when we were leaving. They probably didn’t want us around. But really, da Vinci’s long dead, and he was the one who drew that naked man in a mathematical circle, wasn’t he? Something stupid like that. We won’t be able to understand why he’s so famous.â€

“Hush,†was Tabitha’s reply. Eileen turned curiously towards her, then stiffened. A group of girls were at the other side of the road, leaning against brightly spray-painted motorcycles and smoking. Tabitha could feel the tingling of those scars on her thighs again, a lasting memory of the last time they had done the folly of walking past them.

“They aren’t looking in our direction,†hissed Eileen. “We can make a run for it.â€

“No, listen to me, I got a plan,†Tabitha whispered. “Those girls only recognise us because we’re together. I say we proceed one at a time. That way they’re less likely to take notice.â€

She went first. She tied her hair up into a ponytail and tried to walk as calmly as possible, looking straight ahead but casting sidelong glances at the girls. Her chest was constricted – partly to do with the cigarette smoke, which smelled particularly potent – but after what felt like years, they started appearing smaller and smaller, and soon they had disappeared out of sight. She heaved a sigh of relief. She was free, at least for today!

Minutes later, her sister came too, barely concealing her trembling legs. The girls turned to look at her, but seemed preoccupied with something else and turned away again. Eileen ran up to her with a beam on her face. Then she laughed.

“Golly, Bee, you’re that glad to have succeeded? Look at that foolish beam of yours. We’ve only steered clear today, but there’s no guarantee this plan will work tomorrow or in the future, you know.â€

Of course Tabitha knew that. In fact, Tabitha wasn’t even laughing about her scheme, which she knew only worked because she was lucky. No, she was laughing because a cool breeze was blowing against her palm. The breeze tickled her skin. It was a fantastic feeling.

“You know, Ee,†she said. “Why don’t we continue with this plan and just take different routes home today?â€

She saw the look on Eileen’s face and realised that she must indeed have been glad like Eileen said. She must have been drunk from ecstasy.

“What?†Eileen asked.

Tabitha was about to correct herself, say she was just kidding, but then the wind blew by again. She felt her sides enveloped by the rushing air, and knew she must give it a try, no matter the consequences.

“Ee, I think I ought to tell you,†she said, “that I like da Vinci, even if you don’t.â€

Eileen knew immediately what she meant. She was her twin, after all.

“Very well,†she said, keeping her gaze fixed on Tabitha, who on the contrary was looking at the ground. “You can take the route that we usually take, and I’ll take that route back.†She pointed at a lane beside them. Tabitha had a hunch it was a random lane. She nodded mutely.

Her second plan of the day went into action.

It was strange, not having a warm human body by one’s side. What one had in return was a cold, regular breeze. This was what it meant by giving somebody the “cold shoulderâ€, she supposed.

But to her now, the wind symbolised freedom. Coldness was just a negligible side effect. She could get used to it.

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Lazily, he took the last bite from the average tasting sub in between his dry finger tips. He pressed his middle and pointer finger onto his tongue and gave it a quick swipe to remove the crumbs. That was his dinner. Later he'd devour a large midnight smack considering how bored he often became right after the last of his co workers left for home. Everyone did tell him not to eat so much, but he couldn't help himself. The empty feeling had to be filled up somehow. Eating was temporary relief from the vacant feeling in his soul and it was definitely the easiest. His friends did call him out on being female like, eating away his feelings and loneliness, though he couldn't think of anything better to do. Often times, he feared he'd do something upon reflex and regret it. He could never tell his friends that.

Driving down the road at 25 miles per hour, taking the sweet time he so responsibly begged for, the man closed his eyes and tried to enjoy the wind pressurizing itself over his face. Each inch of the skin on his face and neck and the stubble that spread about his jaw moved and was affected by the pressure. Too bad he had no window to keep his eyes from fluttering. It seemed how hard the wind pressed against his eyelids was too much.

The man slowed down to 10 mph and gradually came to a stop at the side of the road. He rubbed his eyes with both hands, tugging and twisting them to warm them up and dropped his hands back onto his lap. Last time he let himself fall asleep at the wheel while driving, he'd hit a deer while it's child scampered away into the bushes. Oddly enough, he worried for the deer; Wondering if it'd be able to sleep safely at night without its mother or be capable of any self care. It was almost ironic that he'd kept his rifle in his back seat. His conscious so deliberately told him that the child was better off dead. It would live a dreadful life alone and would die alone in the end. It's parents were gone, it was too young to understand the cruelty of life and none would be there to inform it. Moments later, the man found the deer calf, legs trembling with fear, wondering where to go and put a bullet in its head. The blood was red and became darker as it spilt over it's hide and the dirt on the ground. And a sense of satisfaction overcame him.

He looked down at his watch. "30 minutes until work.." He grumbled, the tone in his voice almost resembling that of an annoyed or frustrated child. Subtle darkness had now invaded the rest of the sky, once again covering the world like a blanket with everyone else fast asleep and him as an exception.

While setting his gear to accelerate and turning on the head lights, he looked into his rear view mirror. Immediately, he pulled himself up and pressed his back onto his seat refusing to allow his eyes to blink let alone tear away from the faint figure appearing from behind. The blood rushed to his veins as his heart accelerated before his car could. A foot pressed lightly onto the brake, he sat in silence and unconsciously allowed his car to slowly tow forward. With gear on accelerate, he continued analyzing he figure though he cousins understand why it wasn't looking any different no matter how close it came.

"This ghost will not take me for a fool... No human walks this lane at night." He hissed, again letting his wandering conscious lose itself to its ridiculous and unreasonable thoughts. Never did he believe in the paranormal world, but something was forcing him to think over wise. It might've been the mix of curiosity, fear and accidental actions striking him all at once in a way that he'd never experienced before. It had always been a broken down car, a few people on bikes or some sort of vehicle on his rode, but he'd never seen a person wandering around these areas, alone and without security of any kind.

Just as he pressed his foot sharply onto the brake, shoved his gear onto P and opened up his his door. He slid his left leg out, long baggy overalls tucked into muddied rubber boots too big for his already large feet. With a few steps he gradually approached the figure, knowing all too well it was becoming dark quicker due to the lack of street lighting. Even with a few feet away, he could barely make out the gender of said being. Though the way the figure walked, he could only assume it was a female. And hopefully it was not a ghost.

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The light in their living-room was on, which meant their parents were home. Tabitha slowed her pace, watching her mother’s silhouette walk across the room. It seemed Eileen probably wasn’t back yet. If she were, she would have waited outside the house, like Tabitha was doing now. Neither of the sisters was brave enough to set foot anywhere within visible range of their parents without the other. And so Tabitha waited behind a tree, looking anxiously at the road waiting for Eileen to come back. She didn’t know which road Eileen would take, so it was a matter of squinting into the darkness in every direction, trying valiantly to discern the thin frame of a teenage girl.

An hour had passed and Tabitha’s neck and eyes were getting sore. Eileen couldn’t be this late, even if she took an alternative path. She must still be angry over Tabitha’s perceived betrayal, and was probably trying to spite her by purposely taking her time. But which way would lead up to her? Tabitha was no genius at directions, plus Eileen had taken the route that was unknown to her. Tabitha chose a side alley that seemed correct, and walked down calling her name.

After a while it occurred to her that maybe Eileen was genuinely lost. It was getting very dark, and even Tabitha was not completely sure she could find her way back on her own. She stumbled down more corners into deeper side alleys, her voice ringing in the darkness with no reply. There was not even a passing soul.

She found herself back at the start somehow, and ran up to behind the tree, hoping that she was waiting there impatiently now, perhaps wondering why she was so late. What greeted her was empty darkness.

She decided at last that maybe Eileen had gone home after all, and that everyone at home had been waiting for her for ages. With that last hope in mind, she knocked eagerly on the living-room. Her mother opened, and all hope was dashed at her words.

“Why’re you back so late? And where’s Eileen?â€

Tabitha’s heart sank.

“I told her just now, that we should split up and take different routes to walk back home. And… I haven’t seen her since.â€

She let out a gasp as she felt a slap on her left cheek.

“What did you suggest?†her mother shouted. “How much have I emphasised, the two of you have to stay together and take care of each other? She may well be lost, or something worse happened to her! Whatever gave you that horrid idea?â€

Tabitha didn’t know. Her mother’s face was misty now, her face wet, and she could only feel regret. Why had she ever wanted freedom, if it would take her away from her sister forever?

They scoured the area for her that night and the next day as well, but found no one. It dawned on Tabitha that something untoward must have happened to Eileen then. She wouldn’t intentionally go away and worry everyone for an entire night.

Or would she?

She had been pretty furious when Tabitha had suggested parting ways.

No. Tabitha shook her head, trying to shake the thought out of herself as well. She couldn’t think that of Eileen, not after she had done something so hurtful to her. It was up to her to right the wrong she committed, and find Eileen back.

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[ just realized how many errors I made in that post.. B/ ]

She started to turn around and threatened him before he could explain himself. She screamed and struggled as he took a hold of her body and held it close. Her voice muffled as he pressed his dirtied and calloused palm against trembling lips. He knew nothing of his actions being as wrong as they were. All he could process was how easily she had judged him without any thought. The man knew he wasn't someone who would hurt another human being for pleasure. Every action he took had a reason behind it and if someone believed otherwise, they'd have to feel a power unknown even to himself. She was vulnerable, but she acted like she could accuse him of such a thing. He'd never hurt her. All he wanted to do was help.


"I won't hurt you. I won't. I won't. Won't. I won't hurt ... You. You! I won't!" He stuttered, walking back and fourth in a large room, filled with nothing but wooden crates and a single wrecking machine. He looked down at her face, tears steaming down her cheeks and groaned. He wanted her to be happy. She'd have died out there, with the other maniacs and wild animals on the trail. She'd have died, she'd have been eaten. Why was she still so afraid?

After ten minutes of ongoing pacing, he stopped and dropped to the floor. His palm sat flat against the concrete floor and his fingernails scratched at it in pure frustration. After he'd grasped her wrist, pulled her into his arms and gripped onto her and tossed her into the back of his truck. He lost his will to struggle any longer with her thin arms and managed to snap the dominant one. Once she'd started to scream, his fist did not tally as it had driven into the side of her skull before she'd passed out.

She lay semi-unconscious in a crate, pulled to the center of the room. He'd already broken open a few holes in the thick wood to allow her the mercy of air. He couldn't see her. He couldn't watch her before she would awaken, but he would surely be able to hear her. With a broken forearm and a pounding in her skull, she wouldn't be able to leave. She would have to be a super human and no one was a super human.

"What should I do? You left me no choice.. I hurt you? I hurt ... You? How?" He hissed, kicking the crate in anger as he started to pace back and fourth again.

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She heard – or to be precise felt – something snap. It was her arm. Her head hurt. She was being trapped somewhere in the dark, low thumps resounding from outside as she felt herself shifting, sliding. She let out a moan from the pain, but that was the most she could muster before she woke up.

Tabitha sat up on the bed, perspiration dripping down her face, panting. It was such a vivid dream, but it was just a dream. Eileen might be fine and safe out there still, maybe lodging with some kind hitchhikers, having so much fun she had forgotten to call home. She washed her face and listened out for the footsteps of her parents. There were none. Her parents were probably still asleep, having stayed up all night worrying. She tiptoed out of the toilet and slunk into her bedroom, changing into casual clothes as quickly as possible.

She caught a glance at Eileen’s half of the closet, which hung identical sets of clothes. The room had felt unusually silent last night, with nobody talking to her like before. She closed her eyes and massaged her temples. That dream had been felt so real that the pain had somehow carried over.

She opened her bedroom door by a crack and peered out. The coast was clear. She padded down the hallway and took her shoes off the rack, setting them gently on the floor.

“Where do you think you’re going?â€

Her blood ran cold. She turned to see her mother glaring at her, hands on her hips. She swallowed.

“I’m going to school,†she said, trying to sound natural.

“Didn’t I tell you yesterday that you’re not to leave the house on your own anymore? What if you get caught like your sister did?†Mother launched into a tirade at this point. “You already made me lose one daughter; please, take it that I’m begging you, don’t misbehave again. Just be a good girl like before. Take it as penance for what you did.â€

Warm tears ran down Tabitha’s cheeks. What had she done? All she had suggested was to split ways. Was this a crime? Was she never supposed to part from Eileen at all, not even once?

“We’ll arrange for you to be homeschooled,†her mother continued. “If you need anything, tell me or Dad and we’ll get it for you.â€

“Eileen will be fine!†Tabitha burst out. “We don’t know that she’s run into trouble. I want to help to find her too! I want to continue leading my life! I don’t want to lose my freedom-â€

“You lost your freedom ever since you left Eileen on her own,†was the cold reply.

Tabitha glared at her mother.

“If you think,†said her mother, “that what you did was right and justified, then feel free to step out the door, but don’t ever come back home again. I will take it that I never had any children.â€

Tabitha stood silently for a moment, then dropped her backpack on the floor and returned to her bedroom, shutting the door with a slam.

She lay on the bed, staring blankly at the ceiling.

She couldn’t do it, after all. She couldn’t absolve herself of blame and lead a completely guilt-free life. Her mother’s words weighed on her. This was the punishment she must levy on herself.

She looked out the window and saw a familiar group of people walking past. Her eyes widened and looked once again at the bedroom door.

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He coughed a few times, shoving his fist angrily into the wooden door of his boss's office. Blood spilled across the wooden floor, yet they seemed to dissolve into it's tiny crevices. The brown color darkened though and it caused him to panic just a little bit. Lighting had never been a top priority of his boss and if he could, he'd shoot the cheap swinging lamp light atop his head until it burst into a million tiny pieces. He wished one would strike him in his skull and onto the back of his neck or an open wire, disturbed and dangerous, catch the salt in the beads of sweat along his face and body just to fry him from inside out. She didn't deserve to die and he was sure she didn't want to lose so much blood. Though all the dragging of dead bodies, the frantic muffling of screams and the thousands of methods to silence those screams had caused too much blood to spill. And it seemed his sanity drowned in it as well.

It wasn't the blood over her body and it wasn't the fact that she appeared so beautiful under the flickering florescent lights. Her arm had broken and her body seemed weak, but it wasn't her vulnerability he found so alluring. It was the fact that she'd in the most challenging of ways. She fought and she kept her good fist and both legs swinging as though she wanted to escape; as though she she really could. She was struggling and she had confidence. This was the most excitement he'd had in so long.

[ Several years ago ]

"Help! Someone help!" He coughed, leaving his home as quick as he could as it smoked up from inside out. In the next moment, his mother arrived, wearing her fake jewelry and her dirty clothes. She hadn't returned home for several weeks, but the day he decided to burn the trailer house down coincidently she received a phone call from his high school that he hadn't been attending school.

He glared at her as police sirens screamed and firebricks roared. They blasted water onto the house which had a blazing fire rapidly catching onto the rest of the homes. Though, throughout the mess, he glared daggers into her skull as she frantically screamed and cried. He noticed her hand, still holding a bottle of cheep beer she usually bought from nearby gas stations. It was his chance.

The police had been occupied and the fire trucks as well. He took a hold of his mothers hand and dragged her aside as she cursed at him, spat at him and left a bruise across his bare shoulder. He'd been a strong man and had never lacked strength. It was never a part of himself he'd ever find or would find any concern in. Thus, it took him little to no time to grasp the bottle from her fingers only to end her horrendous screeches for life. No one had found her body until later and neither had he found it difficult to kill her off and escape. She didn't struggle. She was too stupid to struggle to stupid to realize how much he hated her.

Despite his actions, the man grew old to crave family love. Though whenever he found someone. Someone who refused to listen and refused to stay. They wouldn't need to live. They couldn't understand, but they would never need to live.


"You made me do this.. You. You should've just followed me. You shouldn't have--" he started a cry deeper than he'd expect and louder than his thick voice could carry. The lump in his throat covered in an inch of stubble remained lodged in his throat. His hands frantically searched his drawers of his Boss, wishing to find a scrubbing brush or a sponge. He wasn't an idiot. He knew the law. This never happened.

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Tabitha’s parents only allowed her to go to school one week later, when the school called and said that under no circumstances were they allowed to keep her home.

Her mother quarrelled with the person on the other side of the phone for a few hours. She was crying and yelling. Those were the only two things she did anymore. Tabitha kept to her bedroom almost all day, refusing to eat, unable to sleep.

She was starting to develop strange aches and pains around her body. She would wake up to an excruciating headache, or her leg would feel limp and weak. Red marks were also appearing all over her body. She didn’t know what was happening, but was certain that this was not something her parents wanted to see, and so she would hide under her quilt all day, partly to conceal the strange happenings.

It became harder to do so once she needed to go to school, though, which was something she would have been happy with. Clad in a long-sleeved full body black dress, she would limp to school, massaging her temples. People took it as a sign of grief. Nobody came up to talk to her, and she liked it that way.

The first lesson was History. Tabitha stared at the textbook on her table, not sure which page to turn to, or which lessons they had covered in that week of absence. All her things were cluttered on her side of the table, with a gaping space beside her that was Eileen’s seat, forming a stark contrast.

The teacher came into the classroom with a sedate stride, looking a lot more melancholic than Tabitha remembered. Everyone seemed so unfamiliar after the week-long absence. Was it that her memory had deteriorated so much, or did everyone just change? People seemed nicer to her, and yet more distant than before (if that was even possible). They seemed to be treading carefully around her, their voices softening to whispers when she came. Maybe it was just her imagination. It was hard to tell, her head was aching so much.

“Before we start the lesson,†said the teacher, sounding careful even in his speech, “I’d like to spend a few minutes in memory of Eileen Royce. We’ve all been in the same class for the past year and a half, and I’d like everyone to say a few words of what they remember of her.â€

Saying it like as if she was already dead.

Tabitha was shocked at herself for thinking it. She drowned out the customary words that each pupil said, in turn. People who didn’t understand Eileen, talking about what a nice girl she was, and how smart she was. Then again, it wasn’t as if she understood Eileen much either, herself.

“It’s very queer to say this now, under these circumstances, but I guess this is my last chance. I… I don’t know how to put this properly, but I’ve always had a crush on Eileen. I never told this to anyone though. I was going to tell her after graduation, but I guess things happen that we don’t expect…â€

Tabitha whirled around to look at him. He stood at the back, behind his desk. She couldn’t quite place him, or remember his name. Had he been in their class this year and a half? The idea that somebody could have had a crush on her sister was unbelievable. Nobody liked the both of them. They were taught at home not to socialise. And yet someone was standing here, professing that he liked one of them.

The first thought that crossed her mind was, could he really tell them apart?

The class went silent, nobody knowing how to reply.

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