Building a Broken Spirit
A scream and a crash. Something wasn’t right. The pitch was higher than normal, filled with more fear than anger, and the silence that followed was a nightmare in and of itself.
She held her eyes tight. If she just kept her eyes closed she couldn’t see. If she couldn’t see then nothing would happen. And naturally, if nothing happened then she couldn’t relive it in her sleep later.
Glass broke. Her delicate fingers curled into small, fretful fists. More screams. And then the crying in her closet. She squeezed her eyes just a bit tighter to hold back the burning salt water before opening them.
Her tiny irises slowly focused on the gentle light pouring from the shelf over her bed. A miniature castle all softly lit, light streaming through the rose window panes. Her whole room blushing in the night as it watched her dream.
Her gaze hung in the sparkling castle windows. If she slept in that castle, it would probably be quiet. Like the world had breathed in and would hold it until the morning. She’d fall to sleep to dream with a rose flush covering her and the walls, and wake to the pale yellow of the sun bathing her in daybreak. And as her eyes opened the world would exhale and she’d take in her first morning breaths.
Volume poured in from the room down the hall and the crying in the closet picked back up. A heavy sigh and dainty footsteps carried her to the small voice.
She held onto the petite hands and smiled. Her finger drug gently across the bridge of the nose and her mouth shushed and hushed. The tears slowed and the breathing calmed. And as the storm slowly seemed to quell and pass, the tiny faces began to rest.
Wood split. Screams echoed through their dreams. Booming, foreign voices tearing into the night. And she woke with a start. And she must see what calamity exploded just past her almost closed door.
And he sat. Tears streaming. Feet planted squarely on the carpet to the side of the bed. Glittering puddles of glass strewn across the floor. Clothes hung from the drawers in front of him, tangled around each other from being dug through in haste. The tv box playing static, and the lighting low.
And all around were the men in black. Bright lights held at their waists. Slow, deep voices dangling in the air where there should be the steady, quiet breathing of sleep.
And the tears pinched at her eyes. And her voice hung up somewhere in her throbbing chest.
No, baby! Go back to your room! Take your sister back, baby! It’s not safe!
And with his eyes vacant and staring, he sat. Feet planted squarely on the carpet to the side of the bed. And his hand rested on cold metal, held as tightly as a lifeline, pushing deep into his temple.
And that’s when the dreams ceased and the nightmares became unending.
Can not resist the power to stare deeply into the windows of your soul. Left wondering if you are on a hunt for something satisfying, that’s to your taste, or liking..
Why can’t I look away? My mind is telling me to run away, & not look into your eyes.
Ah! What in the world? Why are staring at me like I’m your prey!?
Oh no! This must be a nightmare. It’s not real. There’s no way...just my luck. I should have known exactly what you were the second I noticed that you didn’t have a reflection in the ballroom mirrors.
In a quick motion, I am trapped to a corner. My hands pushed closer to my side. I can feel the fangs ready to pierce my neck—
Ug! Down it goes.
You didn’t know you were dealing with a Monster Hunter. Haha!
It’s always good to carry a loaded crossbow at all times. That’s a tip that I learned from the legendary Monster Hunter. He’s truly such a great person! He taught me everything I know. But I’m still in training.
That was a close call. I’m really glad that the compulsion didn’t work on me. Thanks to Van Helsing’s anti-compelling serum!
Things I couldn’t say.
-I am scared that you will realize that I am not perfect. Not even close.
I am messy. Sometimes I don’t shower all day. I leave my clothes on the floor. I wear the same leggins three times before I wash them. I can’t cook.
-I am scared that you will realize that I over think everything. Everything.
I want the remote, but I am nervous you will judge the shows I like. Do I look good enough today? Thin enough? Too quiet? Too loud? Am I being present? I forget too many things. Can I ask that? Can I touch you like that? Is that okay? Am I enough?
I change my outfit ten times before I see you, and I usually give up because in my head you deserve to be with one of those sexy blonde girls who look good in everything and can put their hair in a messy bun and still look really hot.
When we drive somewhere together and there is silence I can’t tell if it is awkward silence or the okay kind of silence. What is he thinking?
-I am scared that you’ll realize how ugly I am.
Especially when I am tired and my eyes are puffy or I have acne or the dark circles under my eyes are extra intense. I picture you with a girl that wears makeup, but doesn’t need to. Big eye lashes, lip gloss that smells like cotton candy, and whose skin is always smooth and soft and tan. Someone that always looks good in pictures. I will never look like that.
-I am scared you’ll realize that sometimes I am lazy.
I don’t do my own laundry. I rarely clean Monkey's litter box. I procrastinate. I nap a lot.
-I am scared you will realize that I complain a lot.
I complain when things or people annoy me. I complain if I am too hot or too cold. I complain when I don’t get my way. I complain when I feel fat or sick or poor or when I have sunburn or too many bug bites.
- I am scared you will realize that I am sooo moody.
I can be manic. I can be depressed. I can be happy. I can feel small. Sometimes I cry for no reason. Sometimes I am not happy for a month. Sometimes I want to be alone. Sometimes I want company.
-I am scared that you will see that I am sad.
Deep down, just sad. Undeserving. Not worthy. Unlovable. Just there.
-I am scared that you’ll leave me when I feel fat.
I like to eat nachos and drink beer. If I am not happy with what I see when I look in the mirror, how could you possibly be happy with me?
-I am scared that you see right through me.
Sometimes you see me when I am trying to be invisible.
-I am scared that my friends won’t like you or you won’t like them.
I don’t have a lot of true friends. But my 'best' friends are really good people. If you didn’t get along with one of them, it would hurt me.
-I am scared that you think you know me.
I am not saying that you don’t, but you don’t know everything yet. And what if you hate the rest of me?
-I am scared that you don’t know me enough.
-I am scared that you will get tired of having sex with me.
If I tell you I don’t want to, is that okay? Will you do it anyway? Take my body, not my mind? Will it make me seem not fun to you? Is it okay?
-I am scared that when I’m bleeding you'll see the crazy.
I can hide for a week from everyone else, but not you. You come looking for me. During that time I can't walk, nothing fits, I feel disgusting and gross. I get cramps and they hurt. I get headaches like a lot. I always have Tylenol on my person or very close by.
-I am scared that i will let you in, and then you will truly see me, and then you will leave.
-I am scared that you will judge me when you find out more about my past.
The things I have done. Things done to me. The scars. The damage. The dangerous.
- I am scared that this summer you will see me in my bathing suit, and be repulsed.
Or if we ever went on a winter trip, I don’t have cute ski bunny clothes. Not like the other girls. I'm scared to travel too far. And if we have to navigate, you will see that I am terrible with direction.
-I am scared that you will see that sometimes I am just like everyone else.
I talk about people behind their backs. Sometimes I tell white lies. Sometimes I just want to fit in, not stand out.
-I am scared that I will black out from drinking. Again.
You will see the alcoholism. You will see that sometimes people take advantage, and sometimes I let them. Maybe I will flirt too much and cheat. And in the morning, I won't even remember.
-I am scared that I will take pills or do blow, and you'll find out, and be so disappointed.
-I am scared that you'll see how anxious I get.
Even about little things. I need a lot of alone time.
-I am scared that you will see that sometimes I can be really stupid. Like really stupid.
I don’t always think before I speak or act. Sometimes I am really smart though. Scary smart. In a crazy way.
-I am scared you will realize how fucked up my family is.
Not just my parents, it goes beyond a little bit. What if I turn out like them?
-I am scared that your family will never think I am good enough for you.
Do they think you are settling? Do they hope it ends quickly? Do they say negative things about me the minute I leave their earshot?
-I am scared that you complain to your friends about me.
If you are out with them and I want to see you, and you always make time, do you huff and puff and roll your eyes and say things like 'Ugh, I gotta go see her.” or “Oh, this bitch is making me go to her house right now,” or “OMG shes so annoying, it doesn’t stop.”. Do you make faces? I don't want to be that person. Be a burden.
- I am scared that I will make you feel unappreciated.
You always make me a priority. Always make time. I don’t reciprocate. Did I thank you? Did I let you know that I notice these things even if I didn’t acknowledge it?
-I am afraid that I might actually love you.
But I will never, ever deserve you. I will never be enough. I'm Dangerous.
An elevator tried to eat me last evening. Don’t believe me? My hands still shake at the mention of that mechanical beast, but I’ll try to weave the tale for you.
I arrived at work, clocked in, and as I was assigned to man a desk on the top floor and the stairs were halfway across this Noah’s Ark-sized building, I headed for the much closer elevator. Like normal, I entered the mobile cube, pressed the button for my destination, and watched the chrome doors distort my reflection as they closed. Like normal, the floor rose.
A buzz like that usually accompanied by the words, “This is a test of the American Broadcast System,” assaulted my ears, and the elevator stopped. Slowly, the ascent resumed. Then a metal POP rang out. The lights flickered off, and the whole box dropped.
As my feet left the tiles and weightlessness spun in my gut, my thoughts raced. Instinct said to brace myself, but I knew that wasn’t right. Should I try to grab the miniscule railing? Should I go limp?
The fall ended, and with no decision made, my knees bent to absorb the impact. New thoughts formed a shoving crowd. How far did I fall? Where am I?
The location indicator beside the door read B. Was I really in the basement? Or was I below that, in the pit where the elevator retreated when not in use? I pressed the buttons. Alarm. Door Open. All the floor numbers. Even Door Close. Nothing happened beyond feebly flickering lights.
Was I really below ground? Or was I dangling at some unspecified height? Was that B the elevator’s declaration of intent to drop me should I move wrong?
I pulled my phone from my sweater pocket. One signal bar. Please work.
I flipped through my contacts and selected the front desk.
As a little circle spun on the screen and I waited for that first ring to confirm connection, memories flooded in of when programmers had set up this elevator. With the doors open and their slim laptops in hand, they had instructed the box to stop just above or below a floor so they could inspect its underside and top. It had reminded me of zoo vets asking animals to perform certain “tricks” so they could be assessed.
That was not an analogy I needed. This was a wild beast we should not have kept in captivity to do our bidding. It had chosen me as its prey, and I had fallen into its trap. It would drag me down into its pit for slow digestion. My co-workers (especially the one waiting for me to relieve her so she could go home) would notice my absence, right? They would see my car in the parking lot and know I had to be somewhere around here.
Finally, the phone rang. Someone answered. She couldn’t understand me; the connection was too poor.
I held the phone directly in front of my mouth and spoke slowly, annunciating each word. “I’m. Trapped. In. The. Staff. Elevator.”
To hear her verify she understood was such a weight off my chest. Someone knew where I was. They would get me out, or if they couldn’t, they’d call someone who could. Even if they had to hack through a wall, the Fire Department would rescue me.
I still tried not to move for fear I hung halfway somewhere. The feeling was like while waiting at the top of one of those thrill rides where you know you’re going to drop but not when, except worse. I didn’t know if the floor would drop. I didn’t know how far it would drop. I was pretty sure that drop would not be safe.
Eventually, I heard a beep as the beast was called to the main level. Its gears churned with a sound like rushing water, but nothing moved. After a handful of heartbeats, the box jumped, and as my heart hammered faster, the elevator journeyed up the shaft with a series of hops.
It chimed to say it had reached a destination.
Please be a viable exit, I silently pled as the doors peeled back and revealed the workroom where I had clocked in only six minutes before.
Six minutes. Such a short timeframe, but it might as well be forever when you’re expecting any second to drop to your death. Maybe it would sound better as three hundred sixty seconds.
Wrapped in bed sheets like a burrito
dancing thoughts keep me awake,
backward existence where problems
of my world are solved and creativity
blossoms into mirrored reflections.
Blankets welcome me as family
morning arrives too soon
wish I could sleep until noon
nighttime ideas are weighing me down
I struggle out of bed and start coffee
prop up eyelids and start to jot
my feelings from the night before
on tiny paper scraps before I forget
this is going to be another crazy day
a turned around day of imagination.
A reason to get up in the morning.
She is hardly a woman now. Her young eyes gaze upon a screen, focused, unmoving. Her skin illuminated by the bright computer monitor in front of her. The room is dark, and the only noise is her hands clicking on the mouse in desperation.
The screen lights up as she clicks on the testing icon. The first question flashes in black lettering before giving her one minute for an answer.
<< What is your name? >>
She types slowly, << Natalia Peters >>
She had spent a long time picking that name, scrolling through the name list for hours. She ended up picking Natalia on a whim, thinking it sounded pretty. She knew no one of the name, though she didn’t know very many people so far. No one with a name anyway.
The second question is up, << What is your Age? >>
She wants to laugh, it must have been a joke. Or simply a test to make sure the test takers knew exactly what they were doing. Everyone takes the test at the same age.
<< 18 >>
Natalia is eighteen years old and is just being given a name, a name chosen by her which makes it more promising. Before the test she was simply Student 099. She was the 99th person born in her year. Before she was classified as a student at the age of four, she was Child 099. That is how all people are raised here. Everyone’s big day is the test. The system has a way of knowing which are worthy to move on the next stage of the life cycle.
The test and the system were created in the year 0, 146 years ago. It was created by the Association, and the reasons behind this society is success and societal happiness. Natalia never questioned it. As she was raised it was implied that no one should ever, under any circumstance, question the Association.
The third question is up. << What is the highest rated skill on your Student graduation document? >>
<< Problem Solving >> She types, only glancing at the other document.
<< Second highest skill? >>
<< Creativity, Exploration thinking. >>
Natalia remembers yesterday, graduation. 200 students received their document, informing them of all they would need for the Test. It was their personality and knowledge levels listed separately. She knows that it is what the Association uses to determine what Work a person will do and where a person should be placed in the society.
Natalia remembers Teacher 003 as he handed her the results. He was an older man, accustomed to the system and its ways. He gave her the page slowly, as if trying to conserve their last interaction. He looked sad, his lip quivered, and his eyes showed a small sense of fear. He tried to hide it and swallow his guilt. He did something, something so strange for a teacher. He hugged her. It was a sensation Natalia had not felt since she left her early parental units. The warmth of a human embrace was something Natalia never thought she would cherish so much. It brought a smile to her face even though she knew Teacher 003 would receive light punishment for the action. She couldn’t understand why he did that, why he looked that way.
<< Lowest level skill? >>
<< Mathematics >>
<< Do you have a preferred work placement? List only one. >>
She had thought about this a long while too. Her interests seemed to be everywhere but nowhere with pride. She never wanted to be a teacher, or a mathematician, scientist, or doctor. She liked to doodle and learn. She especially enjoyed stories and interacting with others. Alas the work Artist died out long ago and there is only ever three Historians in the society at a time. All three of those positions are currently filled.
She typed the only thing she could think of, << Librarian >>
<< Please list a work assignment that would be displeasing. List only one. >>
This was easy, << Scientist >> sure there are other displeasing work assignments such at peace keeper and waste manager. But she was sure she did not have a chance of receiving those jobs. If she did it would not be the worst.
A set of blue letters flashes across the screen, << This is the last question. Are you prepared? >>
She selected the box what read, yes. She thought that this was another silly question.
The last question appears. She sucks in a nervous breath as she reads, << Should the society undergo changes? If so, please list them. >>
She types shakily, thinking quickly, she only has the minute.
<< We should have more ways to be creative, students should have more free time, we should pick names earlier, we should learn more about the association. >>
The screen goes dark for a couple of seconds. The computer analyses her results. Natalia’s palms go sweaty, all she can hear is the sound of her own hear, pounding rapidly in her ears.
The screen is plain white again. Words appear, words that should not have been possible.
<< Student 099, you have failed. Prepare to be terminated. >>
Her eyes widen and she stands quickly. The chair falls behind her and the lock on the plain steel door clicks shut. Natalia stumbles to the door, pounding her fists down on it. Why did the door lock?
A foggy white mists flows out of the vents, the horrid smell fills her nose.
Natalia can feel her mind fogging, she lets out a cry.
The last thing she hears is a voice over the intercom system. “Termination of Student 099 complete. Goodbye Natalia,”
A ghost ship slips
'or The Okavango Delta.
A silhouete from 1,000 feet.
A Cessna shadow. A youthful aviatrix. A nervous fare.
Dirt landings amidst surreal, terrestrial landscapes.
Jeeping lethargy through mud, dust, and dusk.
Sage bouquets heavy on agitated air,
Like unwashed sweat, sickly sweet.
A Jeep made tiny by natives, annoyed with tourists,
Stomping frustrated ground with giant feet.
Swamp boats through reeds. Gnats thick,
Hurtling against dark glasses and white teeth.
A wake, hippo eyes adrift upon thick water,
Baobab sing-songs, ancient songs,
And shimmy with primatic play.
Bangwato dance beat,
African songs thrilling,
Animal songs chilling,
The night cries, whoops, and screams
At a bloody red moon.
To sleep is to miss the drama,
The sleuth, the slink, the chase.
To sleep is to miss it all,
The run, the kill, the escape.
To sleep is to face the lion,
To feel his breath, to smell his Death.
He is always close, in The Okavango.
Free Writing, Essentially
I'm scared. Im scared about what I'll do and what I wont do. I don't want to just post this as is, but I guess- shit I don't think I should have used the comma there. O well. Dang the H. Forgot the H. My foot is jittery. There's nothing here. But prose will know if I change it. I dont know how but they will and I'm thinking faster than i can type. My I isn't even capitalized on the last sentence. My stomach is squeezy. Cause I have to post this and I can't change it. Writing scares me because I want to live it. Love it I do enjoy it. I enjoy stories and all art forms that deal with story. Books. comics, games, movies. Etc. I'm just worried I'm not good at it or I'll have to never do it when I want to so badly. I just blank out and can't even look. I have to stop comparing and focus on me. I just need to write for me. Why am I writing. Why do i love it?
Shhh, there is Quiet.
The Quiet sound of Cold, as snowflakes tap tap lightly, ever lightly on the ground.
Unremitting, there is Fright.
The Fright of the Unmapped, whilst seekers venture bravely - yet their bravery unfound.
Lulling, there is Death.
The Death to those of Ill, then flowers sprout from bodies and enhance a calming balm.
Know also, there is You.
The You reading this book, written by a poet, yes, a poet’s daily sulk.
Written spontaneously during lunch, then made pretty for the contest.
I'm thinking thoughts
About the same things I
Think all the time
Deep water spins
The thoughts are
Swirling down the drain
I think of
The brown of autumn
It's the thought
The thought of the thought
That I think
I'm thinking so many
Thoughts about thoughts
That now I've lost
Down the sink