Thursday, August 11, 2011

WALKING SHADOW

For contest rules, go here.


First name: Brigid
Genre: YA Fantasy

Everything is a lie––their faces, their words, their clothes, the books on their desks. It's a barrier as fragile as the surface of a bubble.

Underneath it, I see their fears, their secrets, the feelings they hide. I know their loneliness; it emanates from their minds, building from a whisper to a murmur to a scream that ricochets around in my skull.

One of those shrieking souls is my own. I share their pain. On the inside, we're all screaming.

But I've learned that I'm different from them. I accept the scathing mess of words their minds throw at me: freak, girl, freak, witch, goth, freak. I don't care what they think, as long as they never know the truth. They can think I chose to dye my hair blood-red, that my reflective eyes are contacts. They can think I wear long sleeves because I cut myself, even though I'm hiding something very different from the furious red slashes they'd expect.

I don't blame them. It’s human to make judgments. If I had a choice, I would make them, too.

Instead, I have to know every last detail about everyone, all the time––who likes who, who hates who, who's sleeping with who, who's doing drugs, whose parents hit them. Thoughts and dreams and memories and fears all burst inside my head like fireworks … and someday, I won't be able to take it anymore.

I never asked for this. I sure as hell never wanted it. My whole life, I've kept it inside. But it's killing me, crawling through my veins like a disease.

How long before it takes over––before it takes me, like it took my mother?

*

I dig my pen into the desk, drawing black lines that flow like poetry. I draw people the way they should look––same height, same size, same shape. They have X's for eyes, so they can't see. They have no mouths, so they can't tell lies. They hold their hearts in their hands, exposed and bleeding for the world to see.

I try to lose myself in the rise and fall of murmured thoughts around me, but it’s the first period of the day and they’re all the same. Bored, tired, hate this class, bored, bored. I shift my attention to the thoughts of the Pre-calculus teacher, Mr. Sampson. He tends to think in graphs and numbers, which is oddly comforting.

Numbers are safe. They don’t hide their purposes. They put everything in order, in measurements, in boxes. I don't like math, and I'm not good at it. I just like its consistency.

I stop, putting my pen down to observe my finished work. X-eyes, outstretched hands, dripping hearts.

No one can see the world the way I do, I think.

I'm completely alone, and there's no one.

No one, no one, no one, no …

5 comments:

Sara Harricharan said...

Wow. I really like the way you've painted the emotions through this whole snippet. There's a few patches here and there, where I start wondering if the MC is just whining about her predicament, but then it evens out and I find that I have to keep reading.

I liked the repetition of 'freak' in the stream of thoughts, that added to the emphasis of what others thought of her.

The description of her artwork was perfect, it showed exactly what she was feeling because of all that she's dealing with. Really nicely done. My only nitpick is when you use "their" so many times in the first few paragraphs, it had me skipping over them and I had to go back and reread to make sure I was following the story.

Sonja said...

This is a very effective start. I felt as though I was inside her head and it was a creepy place, but still familiar. The tone is excellent and the pacing is good.

In the first sentence, the use of the word "it's" did sit right with me. I also cringed a little at "share their pain," as a cliche. I also would edit out "furious," since red slashes covers it.

That's it! Great job and good luck!

Marie Fostino said...

It is pretty amazing how you painted this person. The thoughts came to life and it is scary to know that their mother went through something like this. It was passed on by birth and not a pleasant way to live at that. My imagine is going wild trying to figure out what this being really is. At the same time I can see the sadness and hurtfulness in this person from others around them. Yet they are smart enough to know it is not our fault just our ignorance. I like it.

Brigid Gorry-Hines said...

Thanks everyone who's commented so far! I really appreciate the feedback! :)

Pk Hrezo said...

Hi Brigid!
I really like the dark tone of this. I'm intrigued to know what her issue is. The first part before the break did feel slightly whiny to me at first, but then after the break was so awesome that I forgot about it. Maybe pare down the first part a bit.
Nice work here! :)