The rules: Pick up the story where it was left off and write where you think it would go. Thursdays are the day I'll post the chapters. Email me your chapter by Wednesday. You only get one week as we want to keep the story flowing and keep "our readers" interested! I will play editor in this, here, game. Don't get your feeling hurt if I edit something. I'll only do it for flow, not content. I'll try to approve any edits if there's time enough before posting, but I will say that as this is my blog, I'll reserve the right to have the final say. Additionally, you agree to grant me copyrights if you agree to play the game.
To be brought up to speed on the first chapter of the story, click here.
My vision was blurred and I brushed my arm across my face. The coarseness of my jacket scratched at my raw cheeks. My tears were flowing freely and were physically causing pain because it was so cold outside. I did not know where I was going, I thought in the direction of the apartments. I was just running, running away from him. I stumbled onto a road, managed to cross it quickly, and felt my feet bog down in gravel. I looked around briefly at the playground I had found and then crumbled onto the rocks. My body shook with the sobs I had stifled in my hasty escape. How could this be? Was this real? It was truth so painful, so awful, I could not bear it.
My world crashed around me as I listened again in my mind to his confession. The pain in my jaw flared as I gritted my teeth at the sting of my most recent memory. The physical pain was nothing compared to my internal suffering. I wanted to run to the apartments now just thirty yards away. I willed myself to run, but my body would not go. I could not pick myself up. My desperation, or perhaps something even stronger, held me there. As I tried to breathe deeply to calm myself, I turned back toward the car and saw him emerge, looking at me. I was hit with a wave of nausea and I tried to turned away. I felt like my center of balance was shifting under my very body. It was vertigo with an intensity I had never experienced before. I was spinning out of control. I collapsed with sheer emotional exhaustion onto the gravel and laid my head on the cold stones. The coolness was comforting now and I closed my eyes. A memory flickered.
What was her name? Why did I want to remember her name? There was a little white mouse in my fifth grade classroom. When she first arrived, she would cower in the corner of her cage, afraid of the noise and the greedy fingers pressing through the bars of her sanctuary trying frantically just to touch the soft white fur. She would pile up her bedding into a sort of hill and try to bury herself from sight, only her bright pink nose periodically poking through, giving her away. As she adjusted to the sounds and smells of the classroom, she gradually eased her way back out. She warily tolerated our interest, but usually just ignored us. I used to chuckle with some melancholy pleasure at her running wheel. I found it sadly humorous that she would spend so much energy, running in a circle, going nowhere. She would hop off the wheel, clearly pleased with her activity and I used to pity her, because she was not going anywhere. She was still stuck, she was still caged. Looking back, perhaps it was myself I pitied because here was an animal every bit as caged, as frightened, and as stuck spinning as I was. And still, her name would not come to me.
I was pulled back to the present and the vertigo eased. I sat up slowly, glancing again to the car. I was on the playground and he was still watching me. His shoulders were drooped in despair and his expression was pure agony. Had I caused that? Was I now causing him pain? How could I bear to cause him pain? What about him held me here? I had wanted to run away and now I knew that I could not. Is that why I was drawn to him? Is that why I was pulled with some deeply rooted magnetic reaction to others with confidence, with direction… because I was devoid of that trait and I was searching for some way to glean it from others? I should have been aware of the pattern I was creating for my life. I had always gravitated towards confidence that was as fragile as my own skittish nature. Friends and boyfriends had often betrayed me and left my life in shambles. Somehow I managed to extricate myself from the wreckage of those relationships, only to find another new and equally damaging one. But he seemed different. He seemed to pull me further from my own center and further into his with ease. And now, how could I possibly pull away from him. This wreckage was different. I had not cowered in the corner enough. I had allowed his fingers to close around my meager consciousness, my delicate self-awareness. I had allowed his scent to become too familiar. I had enjoyed the warmth of his body and the intensity of his gaze. I had reveled in the knowledge that he talked with me, not to me. He was mysterious and I was boring, and yet he still wanted to be with me. And now, I was inextricably linked to him. I knew a secret so dark, so intriguing and yet equally revolting, and instead of being repulsed, I actually felt I was a part of it. But how could that be?
I did not know how it could be, it simply was. As soon as I accepted that I was as bound to him as he was to me, I stood up, not with confidence yet, but with resignation. I turned back toward the car and took the first step in his direction. His face lit in a way I had never yet seen.
Come back next Thursday to see where Ginny will take us!