The Girl in the Window

The Girl in the Window

Postby TonyTwoFingers » Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:55 am

They say that at any moment in the ocean, a shark could be mere inches away from you, and it would be impossible to know. Swimming circles around you and thinking about how tasty your calf looks, while you're trying not to look like an idiot on your boogie board – blissfully ignorant of the fact that the only thing separating you from a watery grave is the appetite of your predator.

The point is, danger is constantly around us, and most of the time we are unaware of that fact. Tarantulas in boots, faulty wiring, poorly prepared seafood – all of them are killers. Each one a chamber in an ongoing game of Russian roulette against the universe.

Some people realize the futility of constantly trying to dodge death. They assume that in order to enjoy the game, they have to pull the trigger a few times. Most “normal” people fall into this camp. Some people, although fewer, like to pull the trigger a lot. In fact, they think Russian roulette is overall quite dull, and bring a few extra bullets of their own just to liven things up. These people are what we call daredevils. They take narcotics, skydive, or break the speed limit.

And then there's people like me.

For the sake of continuing the metaphor, people like me don't like Russian roulette. In fact, we're pretty sure that every chamber in the cylinder is loaded.

Someone once said that “The meek shall inherit the earth.” He must've been one of us, because that's what I'm doing. I'm waiting to inherit the earth.
And I've been waiting a long time.

***

I've been going to St. Dymphna's for a few months, now. I have yet to attend a single class. That's the old saying – you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. And I'm one very stubborn horse. About once every week a staff member tries to coerce me out of my room – but I never do. The voice is usually a gruff and masculine one – a voice that seems to rattle the door on its frame as he speaks. It's not surprising that my imagination tends to run wild when I hear a voice like that but no face to assign it to.

Why would Darth Vader want me to come out of my room, anyway?

By this point, the faceless man had tried everything. Asking nicely, trying to coerce me out with rewards, and then the assurances.

I would flunk out. Is it even possible to flunk out of a place like this?

I wouldn't get into university. Do people who come here graduate to universities, or mental institutions?

My parents would be disappointed in me. Oh, he had saved the best for last. My parents. The same loving, caring individuals who sent their only daughter overseas to Vienna to stew in her own juices at a loony-bin-with-a-library rather than talk to her on a personal level. But I'm not bitter or anything.

I guess their first concerns were piqued when I started skipping class back in middle school. But whenever they found me, I wasn't hanging out with friends or smoking in the bathroom – I was tucked in bed, reading. Skipping class evolved into skipping school entirely – first once every few weeks, then a few times every week, then skipping the majority of the school-week every week.

My parents are both psychologists, which meant they were both eager to pick my brain as soon as trouble started cropping up. They spent weeks trying to diagnose me. Long nights poring over DSMs past and present, doctoral theses, and even college textbooks when they got desperate. Never once did they try to talk to me like their daughter – I was always their patient.

Naturally they didn't come up with anything. Anxiety, depression, schizoid personality disorder, the list was endless. But no matter what label they stuck on it, nothing came of it. So they shipped me out here, where I wouldn't be their problem any more.

Am I afraid of being outside? Am I afraid of people? It's questions like these that one would expect to find on some self-diagnoses website. “Are you afraid of people?”

“Yes!”

“Well, clearly you're afraid of people!”

And ultimately, that's all those websites ever will be – regurgitation of input, which helps nobody. Because to the afflicted, the technical terms don't matter. A starving man doesn't care that he's suffering from marasmus – he cares that he feels hungry.

Simply put, I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't know what I'm afraid of, but I'm afraid of it. I get queasy if I go outside my room. I don't trust organizations. I don't trust animals. I don't trust the cars on the road or the people that drive them. I just want to be left alone. But that's too much to ask from some people – like the asshole knocking at my door right now.

“Anne? Anne are you awake?”

It's the faceless, gruff-sounding, Darth Vader man. I hold my breath – maybe he'll go away if he thinks I'm sleeping. “Anne, I know you're awake. Your alarm practically woke up the whole dorm, from what I gather.” I affect my voice to make it sound groggy and just roused from sleep.

“Mmm... hello?” I ask, almost like a normal person from one of my books.

“Good morning Anne. Have you looked outside your window today?” the voice asks. I roll to my left, peering out the thick black curtain I've draped over the only window in the room. It's a beautiful day, and late-morning sunlight glares off the city highrises into my room and stings my eyes. I don't answer Darth Vader's question. “Well, it's a beautiful day,” the voice explains, “and we were all hoping you'd feel like coming outside today.” Who the hell is we? His is the only voice that has come to visit me since my arrival. There is no we. Hell, there's barely a him. I breathe deeply, praying for the voice to leave. “Anne?” Nothing. After ten minutes, the faceless man stops trying and walks away to try again next week.

I open my laptop, resuming my place in a digital copy of a new book. In just a few minutes, there would be a different knock at the door. But this one wouldn't have a voice – this one would have a smell. And this knock came three times every day – at morning, midday, and dusk. And no matter how cold the food is, I always eat it.

Say what you will about shut-ins, but we're not picky eaters.

Apart from the increasingly meaningless numbers blinking on my laptop screen and the endless day-night cycle outside my window, the arrival of food is the only thing that indicates the passing of time – and the only thing that keeps me on a semi-regular sleep cycle. If it weren't for the food deliveries, I could wake up and midnight and be back in bed by noon.

The hours between deliveries are tough to fill. I used to spend a few hours a day self-examining. I suppose the difference between self-searching and masturbation is research – and I'd done my fair share of that. I may be a recluse, but I'm a knowledgeable recluse. If you want anything done right, you've got to do it yourself.

But there's just not much to know. I exhausted everything even remotely useful inside two weeks of arriving. In that time, my life had been one continuous case study. I actually logged my sleeping patterns, dietary intake, book progress... anything that could be quantitatively evaluated, I kept track of. And there was no pattern.

So I gave up.

***

There's a knock at my door, followed by the familiar sound of a tray being set down gently on the hallway carpet. I listen attentively for the sound of receding footsteps, then wait five minutes before opening my door for the first of three times today. Even from my doorway, the world seems huge and empty. Plotting. I quickly snatch the tray left at the base of the door before checking my surroundings.

There. Just down the hallway. There's a girl staring at me with an inquisitive edge in her eyes. My heart freezes, and blood rushes to my face. She's just standing there – watching me. She scribbles something in a notebook before waving and stepping toward my door. I don't see what she does next – I slam the door like the hallway was on fire.

This is no good. That girl was watching for me. She had a notebook – it was no coincidence. She had taken a note about me. Maybe she's collecting data. How long had she been waiting?

I don't even know how she knew to look for me. I don't broadcast my presence. I stay curled-up, under-the-radar, incognito, just to avoid this kind of thing. Just to avoid being stared at like some sort of carnie freak.

And now my cover's been blown by some stupid girl with a notebook. Before now, I'm sure I had just been a campus spook story Boo Radley would've had a hard time outdoing. But now, there's an eyewitness.

Maybe nobody would believe her. It is a school for those kinds of people – maybe they'd just ignore her. “Silly girl,” they'd say. “Nobody lives in that room.”

They'd definitely ignore her. What could she have scrawled in her notebook so quickly that would be incriminating, anyway? The world's fastest profile sketch?

But still, it's no good. If there's anything reading countless detective novels has taught me, it's that people like this girl aren't quitters. She'll be out there again. Maybe she'll bring her friends and they'll all laugh at me. She'll definitely do that.

Now I'm stuck in a predicament. Do I starve to death, or risk seeing this girl again? The starving to death isn't really appealing, but then again, neither is being spied on. Maybe I could get my food delivered through the window?

No, no, no. That's stupid. I'll fight this girl my own way. She wants something to look at, so I'll giver her something to look at.

She wants a battle? I'll give her a war.
Image
~Courtesy of Ravenous~

what's your favorite hentai genre, everyone? - Hagon
User avatar
TonyTwoFingers
Writer
 
Posts: 127
Age: 23
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:06 am
Location: United States

Re: The Girl in the Window

Postby Likhos » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:58 pm

oh my, I so wanna know how that war will turn.
User avatar
Likhos
 
Posts: 272
Age: 26
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:00 am
Location: Brittany, France.

Re: The Girl in the Window

Postby TonyTwoFingers » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:31 pm

Sun Tzu once said that the combatant that lies in wait will defeat the enemy who does not. An ambush – it's genius. I'll stay here in my room, and wait for her to come to me. It'll catch her totally off guard – a quick and clean victory. News crews will play black-and-white highlights of my victory before films. I'll get movie offers, which I will respectfully decline out of respect for my enemy. I would be a proud, but honorable victor.

But there's no time for fantasizing about future victories. Like any great military commander, I need to focus – to assess my tactical situation. Gather materials and supplies for the brewing storm – no war has ever been won by courage alone.

Glancing around, I can't help but admit that the situation is bleak. She has my only escape route blocked – siege warfare. She'll starve me out before she attempts a frontal assault. That cowardly bitch. My supply lines are totally cut off. And Sun Tzu was inconveniently poorly-versed in indoors agriculture. Maybe I can contact the administration and have them bring food to my window...

But I have no idea how well-connected my enemy is. She could have spies, informants. There's no telling how far her influence reaches. Maybe she's in league with the stranger who brings the food. Maybe she is the stranger who brings the food. A knot ties itself in my stomach, and I am immediately seized by a sense of impending doom as the possibility sinks in. What if she's been poisoning the food? My stomach backflips at the thought. I'm sure she's been poisoning my food. It's cunning, it's clever, and what's worse is that it's exactly what I would do. I luckily manage to stumble into the bathroom, desperately throwing open the medicine cabinet before the poison can enter my bloodstream.

The student who had occupied the room before me had apparently struggled with bulimia – she'd left half a bottle of syrup of ipecac hidden inconspicuously from the staff in the first aid kit issued to each student. I'd first found it when looking for bandages after a particularly bad paper cut. I quickly unscrew the lid and swallow what's left of the solution. It tastes like cheap maple syrup with two extra teaspoons of sugar swirled in. It actually goes down surprisingly easy – I'd expected some sort of witch's brew.

I crawl back to the base of my bed, trying to not disturb the growing discomfort in my gut. Normally I would stay in the bathroom, but I can't afford to take my eyes off the door for too long. I need to watch the front. I can feel my lips curl into a smile. That's right – me, the big war hero. Suffering valiantly to achieve a greater victory. Cowardice would never prevail. I am strong. I am resolute. I am... feeling very sick. But the lock may not be enough to keep my opponent at bay. I can wait just a little longer. I'll make it, I just have to minimize my time away from my post. There's no knowing when she could force her way through the barrier, exposing me and my shame to waves of jeering classmates and teachers. The very thought makes me sick. Very sick. So sick, in fact, that I throw up on the floor in front of me.


The tears of shame and pain sting my eyes as I work the hardwood floor with a sponge and bucket. This wasn't how war was supposed to be. It wasn't supposed to be glorious and honorable – not embarrassing. I try to cheer myself up. This is what I wanted – the poison is flushed from my system. I'm safe, for now. But panic soon replaces the happy thoughts – my situation has become evidently dire.

She hasn't attempted contact since I first saw her in the hallway an hour ago. Even if I did avoid her poison, I am now merely delaying the inevitable. I need food. She just needs patience. A cunning enemy, using my weakness against me. I need a new strategy – not being able to see my enemy and track her movements has proven too much of a security risk. I finish cleaning up before grabbing a dusty hand mirror from the nightstand. I accidentally catch a glimpse of my reflection on my way to the door. I've looked better.

Slipping the mirror under the crack between the door and the floor proves easier than expected. Normally this would be an inconvenience, seeing as my room is often a bit drafty, but now it plays to my advantage – I can clearly make out the hallway without leaving my room. A crystal ball.

She's not out there. I rotate the mirror left and right as far as it will turn, allowing me to just make out the very extremes of the somewhat short hallway. Not a soul in sight. I retract the mirror and toss it on the ground next to me. What had that girl wanted from me? What had she wanted with her stupid notebook and her stupid judgmental face?

But nobody will leave me alone. Not the food person, Darth Vader, or the girl. I don't even understand why they want to talk to me so badly. Statistically, 90% of people are considered boring by their peers. I don't have anything to contribute to society. Not only would staying in here be my preference, it would probably be better for everyone else, too. Hey, it's one less person crowding the hallway, right? One less person in line at the coffee shop. One less person there. Nobody understands – that doesn't make me sad, it makes me happy. Being in here, alone, is the freest I can ever be. I don't have to pretend to care about other people, and they don't have to pretend to care about me.


***


The next week went by quickly, and the girl didn't bother coming back to try again. I made a habit of surveying the hallway with the mirror every time there's a food delivery. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice?

Darth Vader wakes me up again. One of these days, he'll have to give up. “Anne? Are you awake?” I respond with silence. I don't feel like talking to him today. “I hear you had a visitor last week. Would you like to talk about it?” No, I don't want to talk about it. How did you ever hear about that anyway? “Well, believe it or not, Clara is actually here with me right now. Why don't you say hello, you two?” A weaker and more feminine voice is muffled by the thick wooden door.

“Sorry if I scared you last week,” the new voice states meekly. No way. She'd come back? And with reinforcements? I snatch the mirror from its resting place on the floor and do my best to silently crawl my way to the door.

“Anne, it's rude to ignore visitors,” Darth Vader reminds me. I hesitate before tilting the mirror beneath the door. There's no doubt – that's the girl from last week. Clara. But beside her stands someone I've never seen before – a tall, lanky man with a white beard. His voice doesn't match his stature. Again, the outside world disappoints me. Clara's reflection glaces down and makes out the edge of the mirror, jumping slightly. I reflexively retract it, but I was too slow. “Oh good,” Darth Vader spouts. “You are awake!” Damn it.

“Go away,” I mumble, upset that I'd been found out. I hear the sound of shuffling feet and exchanged glances.

“Uh... hello Anne. My name is Clara. The administration has asked for me to speak to you as part of my graduation project.” So she's in her last year, huh? Good – she won't be around very long. What month is it? She can't have long. “So... do you want to come outside?”

If this is her graduation project, she'd better hope it doesn't weigh into her final grade too much. “No,” I dismiss plainly. Honesty is the best policy.
“Oh,” Clara responds simply. I can picture her sharing a look with Darth Vader. “Why not?”

I don't answer.

“Anne?”

They just won't leave me alone. What the hell is their problem? I'm not hurting anyone by staying here!

“Anne? Are you okay?”

“Just leave me alone.”

“Now Anne, there's no reason to be rude,” Darth Vader interjects on Clara's behalf. Not strong enough to fight her own battles, huh?

“No, it's okay Dr. Fischer. If Anne isn't willing to talk today, that's her decision.” Ah, so Darth Vader is Doctor Fischer. Each piece of information I can pick up about these two is invaluable for future conflicts. “Goodbye Anne,” Clara says in a well-rehearsed and collected manner. It's almost merciful of her. Almost.

The remaining hours in the day pass by slowly. As I download lecture notes from the classes I haven't been taking, I can't help but think about that stupid girl Clara – in cahoots with the dark side. Graduation project? I hadn't heard of one before, not even during my crash-course of an orientation. It must just be a project for some silly journalism class or something. Just another girl trying to get the “scoop.”

But there is no scoop here. It's just me. She'll keep coming, and she'll keep getting nothing – like a begging dog that has to be taught not to beg.


***


In the week that followed, Clara's delicate knock on the door became a daily ritual. Almost every morning being greeted by the same familiar mantra: “Anne? I thought I'd come talk to you today,” with the same silly-sounding upward inflection in her voice that made every word she said sound like a question. There are few people more unbearable to speak to than those who ask questions without asking questions.

Usually I'd just let her drone on and on about all the different classes she's taking. English, Calculus, Journalism, Psychology... it seems like she'd enrolled in all of St. Dymphna's available courses. Every now and then she'd try to pry into my mind with the usual psychologist tricks. Nothing my own mother and father hadn't tried on me a million times.

The day begins with her predictable knock at eight in the morning. It's an irritating disruption – just loud enough to wake me up, but not disturb anyone else. Misery loves company. “Anne? I thought I'd come talk to you today.” I can't help but think of her stupidly tenacious face parked just a few inches outside my door. Maybe I could throw it open and break her nose.

“What do you want?”

“I'd just like to talk, that's all.” Ever-so-innocent. Whenever somebody wants something from you, they always say they just want to talk. Nobody ever wants to just talk.

“Yeah, you do like to talk, don't you?” I jab, looking for chinks in her armor.

“I'm sorry if I'm annoying you. Should I come back later?” Frankly, you shouldn't come back at all. Things were just fine until you started showing up, inventing problems for you to solve. It's almost fraudulent behavior – I never bothered anyone, so why is she acting like I need to be fixed? Jesus, let sleeping dogs lie.

I let her keep talking without responding. Maybe she'll tire herself out. “Is that a yes? Anne? Well, okay then. I'm glad to know that I'm welcome.” I never said that. From through the door, I hear the ruffling of papers being pulled out of a bag, followed by the distinctive click of a ballpoint pen. “So how do you feel today, Anne?”

Nothing.

“Any trouble sleeping?”

Nothing.

“Okay. Any dreams?”

Nothing.

“Well Anne, seems like you're in a bit of a mood this morning, so I'll come back later when you've had a bit of time to wake up. Sound good?”

Nothing. It's kind of fun, pushing her buttons. This is the first time I've ever hear her really flustered. She's getting frustrated with me. That's good – let her get mad. Let her get mad at the big wooden door that wouldn't answer her questions, not me. For all I care, and probably for all she cares, she could actually be talking to a wall.


True to her word, Clara the indefatigable returned later that day, this time in the afternoon. Again, her knock woke me up, but I'd never let her know that. “Anne? Are you there?”

“Of course I'm here,” I respond bitterly. Normally I wouldn't give in to her silly games, but stupid questions deserved equally stupid answers.

“Oh, good!” she chirps with the same upward inflection in her voice. “Listen Anne, I managed to get you a bit of a gift for being so cooperative lately...” If she had intended any sarcasm with the statement, it had dissipated somewhere between her diaphragm and trachea.

“A gift?”

“Mm-hm!” she confirmed cheerfully. “I'll just slide it under your door, okay?”

I don't bother responding. Instead, I sit and wait, pretending to not be excited about the gift. A leather-bound, unlined, and gold-leafed notebook crawled from the hallway under my door. “Do you see it?” Clara asks, the anticipation clearly weighing on her.

It really is a nice notebook with its crisp white pages, cool-to-the-touch leather covers, and regal golden patterns. She had certainly spared no expense. “What's it for?” I ask suspiciously, as if expecting it to explode in my hands any second.

“Well, if you feel like it, use it to write. About anything. You can share your writing with me, or you can keep it to yourself. Whatever you want to do with it, you can do with it. It's my gift to you.” I run my finger down the spine of the notebook, tugging gently at the tasseled bookmark. “Any time you feel like sharing some of your writing, just let me know when I come by. I'll read it that day, and we can talk about it together!” Sounds more like a silly gimmick than anything – like a teddy bear child psychologists give kids to confide secrets in. Here it is – my teddy bear that requires considerable more effort on my part with considerably less reward. Children are simply more psychologically malleable at younger ages than later in life. Journals for teddy bears hardly feels like a fair trade, but I guess a teddy bear wouldn't really be of much help to me. Then again, a notebook might not really be much of a help to me, either. “So? Do you like it?” Clara asks.

“It's... very generous of you,” I respond, not wanting to hurt her feelings. I don't admit it, but the odds of me using this in the way that she's hoping are about the same as the odds of me leaving this room before she graduates. Or ever.
Image
~Courtesy of Ravenous~

what's your favorite hentai genre, everyone? - Hagon
User avatar
TonyTwoFingers
Writer
 
Posts: 127
Age: 23
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:06 am
Location: United States

Re: The Girl in the Window

Postby Carolinae » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:52 am

Im a new member so please be nice....
Im just wondering, is this a fanfiction for the game or just the Devs exchanging ideas?

WARNING: do not threadjack. Please read the forum rules first before posting - IMPERIAL
Last edited by imperial.standard on Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Verbal warning delivered
User avatar
Carolinae
 
Posts: 16
Age:
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:11 pm

Re: The Girl in the Window

Postby TonyTwoFingers » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:59 pm

Carolinae wrote:Im a new member so please be nice....
Im just wondering, is this a fanfiction for the game or just the Devs exchanging ideas?


Just fanfiction - the Devs would never be so public about idea exchanges :)
Image
~Courtesy of Ravenous~

what's your favorite hentai genre, everyone? - Hagon
User avatar
TonyTwoFingers
Writer
 
Posts: 127
Age: 23
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:06 am
Location: United States

Re: The Girl in the Window

Postby TonyTwoFingers » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:12 am

I stare at the notebook for almost four straight hours, barely moving or breathing. I'd read about letter-bombings in all sorts of espionage books, but never dared to think that I may one day be the victim of one. Thoughts about how many ways to booby-trap a book run through my mind. Anthrax sprinkled through the pages. Pressure-activated explosives tucked behind the front cover. Edges treated with poison for lethal paper-cuts. It is quite possibly the single most dangerous object to ever enter my room.

Since Gutenberg's printing press first made books accessible to the common man, nations have been waging war against them through the devilishly clever yet tired strategy of declaring them to be dangerous weapons. Usually, these claims are unfounded or total propaganda in nature. Books are, after all, quite poor weapons unless they are of considerable heft or malicious angle. But this book is different – it truly is a weapon. This book could be the thing to finally kill me.

Naturally, for a few days I let it sit, collecting dust in a fashion not unlike a particularly unappreciated birthday present. If I leave it alone for long enough, maybe both Clara and I will forget it.


***


And for about a week, Clara did forget about it, or at least pretended to. But today, she knocks on my door in her now irritatingly familiar fashion. “Anne, are you awake?”

“Mmm, what do you want?” I respond casually, not feeling like going through the otherwise daily rigamarole of pretending to wake up.

“I was just swinging by to ask how you've been doing.”

The ritual of asking someone how they've been doing is a tradition held by cultures from all over the world. Most of the time, the gesture is appreciated as an honest inquiry into someone's current state of affairs. However, asking someone how they've been doing when it is well known that the person is a shut-in with little hope of emergence ought to be considered poor form, just as asking someone being crushed by a boulder if they're in spot of pain ought to be considered poor form.

“Terrific,” I answer. “Seriously, I may come out and join you today.”

“Really?” Clara asks, audibly tensing up like a dog that catches its own reflection in a mirror.

“No, not really.”

“Oh...” she trails off dejectedly like a scolded child before lifting her voice. “Have you made any use of the notebook I got you?”

“Yes, I've actually been making entries in it once every few days or so,” I lie, sneaking a glace at the decidedly unused notebook. I want Clara to leave me alone, not badger me further. As long as she thinks I'm making use of it, I'm golden.

“Really?”

“Really.”

“Oh, well that's just terrific to hear! I'm so happy! I'll have to take note of this... do you have a pen?” she gushes wildly. “Oh, never mind, I brought my pen with me. So, what have you been writing about?”

“Nothing too interesting, honestly. Just some very private, personal things that I wouldn't really feel comfortable sharing. You understand, don't you Clara?”

“Of course, and I respect that. I'm just so glad you're finding use of it! This is so great! We're going to make so much progress!”

She sounds uncomfortably similar to my mother.

“Yeah, it's really... great. Honestly, I'm holding it in my hands right now,” I dribble out, looking at the dust-blanketed notebook resting lazily on the desktop. “I was actually thinking about writing something before you came by.”

“I'm so sorry Anne! I didn't mean to disrupt you!” her muffled voice responds from behind the door separating us. “I can come back later, if that would be better?”

“Would that be possible?”

“Of course, I'll come back tomorrow. You just keep writing, okay? It'll be so good for you! I have to tell Dr. Fischer...”


***


I have turned my enemy's own weapon against her. The notebook is now firmly under my control. I have taken the witch's flying monkey and plucked its wings. A lie of convenience has transformed into my way of life. Every day, Clara comes by, asking if I've been writing more in the notebook. And every day, the fictional volumes of writing pile up atop each other, while the notebook remains totally sealed.

Darth Vader stopped by a few days ago, his gruff and stuffy knock surprising me, as I had grown accustomed to Clara's dainty and limp-wristed knock. “Anne, I want to talk to you about Clara,” he'd begun accusingly, like a police detective that was a little too confident in his gut hunches. He didn't even wait for my token groggy reply before launching into an ear-blistering chastizing. “I just wanted to remind you that she is a student as well, with her own unique situation and personal needs.”

“Look, Dr...” Fisker? Fischer? Bueller? “Fischer... I really appreciate everything that Clara is doing for me...”

“No, I'm not sure that you do, Anne,” Fischer interrupted. “You know that I'm here to support you, and I will do my best to do just that. But I will not abide you taking advantage of another student. I draw the line there.”

“I don't know what you mean. I'm not taking advantage of anybody – I'm just trying to help her by helping me.”

“You know Anne, you may think that you're a closed book, that you're some mysterious enigma that nobody could ever possibly hope to understand, but you're wrong. We understand you better than you could ever possibly hope to understand yourself. I could hand you a menu from a restaurant and tell you what you'd like the most before you'd finished reading the soup specials. I know your favorite movies, books, television shows... we track your internet history, Anne. There's nothing about you that we don't know or can't learn. Go ahead, pick a number one through ten.”

“Ten,” we both spouted at the exact same moment. I was at first taken aback, like a stupefied observer of a particularly absorbing magic show. But shock and surprise quickly turned, as they often do, into stubbornness. Nobody can know me better than I know me.

“Just... don't play games with her Anne. There's a reason why she's doing all of this.”

Yes, that much was obvious. Clara is simple-minded enough to do something like this out of her own kindness, but also isn't dim enough to do something for a stranger that wouldn't somehow benefit her.

Nevertheless, it dawned on me, aside from basic gauges of her intelligence, just how little I know about Clara. Consider for a moment, the public address system at your office, school, or dead-end job of your choosing. The voice on the opposite side of all that circuitry is a person, though it may not seem like so. Like the voice at the opposite end of a P.A., Clara is more an abstract concept than a human being. She's a non-real answer. A division by zero. That little space between the car seat and the belt buckle. Above all else, she is an information black hole.

That frightening void of knowledge on top of Darth Vader's startling claims puts me at a disadvantage. War is about intelligence, and I'm fighting a losing battle. Assuming the worst, the two have been colluding and know every lie I've told, every lie I will tell, and how they could learn more about me by analyzing those lies. They could be three steps ahead of me and I'd never know it.

“What's wrong with you?” I ask Clara through the door, biting into a somewhat stale muffin delivered just a few hours ago.

“What do you mean?” she volleys back, her notepad crinkling as she dutifully takes notes. “I don't really think that there's much of anything wrong with me. Of course I don't mean that I'm perfect, I just mean that...” her voice trails off. “What do you mean, again?”

“I mean why are you here? At St. Dymphna's?”

“I'm here because I want to be.”

“...Come on. Seriously, I want to know. It's not fair that you know so much about me, but I know almost nothing about you.”

“Saint Dymphna is the patron saint of neurological disorders,” Clara explains, halting her scribbling from behind the door. “But that much I suspect you already know. She's also the patron saint of runaways. Did you know that, Anne?”

“So... you're a runaway?”

“I didn't say that.”

“You implied that.”

“Just forget I said anything,” she grudges, resuming her incessant scratching. “Have you been writing recently?”

“You can't just change the subject like that, that's not fair.”

“Anne, we're not talking about that any more...”

“Come on, I don't think it's fair that...”

“Anne!” Clara suddenly interrupts with an explosive burst of anger that startles me half out of my own skin. “I think we're done for today. I don't know what's gotten into you, but you're being very rude and uncooperative.”

“Rude and uncooperative? That's what I'm being? I'm just looking for some answers!” I yell back through the wooden door over Clara's distressed footsteps retreating down the hallway. “You're the one who's being uncooperative!”


***


It is common household advice to never go to bed angry. This is, like most common household advice, a great deal of malarkey and is to be actively disregarded. Going to bed angry encourages aggressive thinking and excitement. As I lie in bed, I am angry, and therefore productive. “Who does she think she is?” I ask the shadows crawling slowly on the wall. “She's been hiding everything from me.” Quickly, with a sudden burst of motivation, I yank myself from bed, glancing at the clock before reaching out to the laptop stowed carelessly on the floor. It's mid-afternoon.

Fischer's warnings shoot emptily through my preoccupied mind. “We track your internet history, Anne.” I open the web browser and pull up a search engine. I awkwardly type out “Dymphna” and read through the search results. Surely enough, Clara had been telling the truth. “Why would she say something like that?” I ask to no one in particular. “Why would she reveal something so personal just to shut me down like that?”

My mind wanders back to the warm crystal pools of rural back-country in the summertime. My father, the sweat matting his dark hair beneath a ridiculous boonie hat, takes a deep swig of something from a can he'd produced from the cooler tucked beneath the bench seat nearest the stern. “Daddy?” I asked, tugging at his sleeve and disturbing the stillness of the fishing rod cradled in his arms, sending vibrations through the several meters of line he'd cast several minutes before. “Will you teach me how to fish?” A broad smile forms on his face, sending small droplets of sweat tracing down the contours of his jawline before dropping to the hull of the rowboat.

“Of course. Here, take the pole...”

“It's heavy.”

“I know it is. It'll feel heavier when a fish pulls on it, so you've got to let me know if your arms get tired, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Okay. Now when you feel the poll get heavier, turn this little wheel toward you fast for two seconds. Then slowly turn it away from you for one second. Then turn it toward you fast for two more seconds. And keep doing that until you pull the fish into the boat.”

“Why do I have to turn the wheel away from me sometimes?”

“Good question,” my father enthuses, taking one more swig from his can before setting it down on the hull, empty. “Sometimes Annie, the best way to bring something in is to let it loose a little.”

“Huh?”

“You remember that one time you pulled a loose tooth you had?”

“Yeah...”

“You didn't just pull it in one direction, did you? You also pushed it in the opposite direction, right?"

“I guess. You and Mommy were mad about that.”

“The tooth wasn't ready to come out yet. And we weren't mad, just worried.” We sit in silence for what feels like an eternity, the occasional dragonfly skimming the surface of the water and buzzing lazily around our boat. Rows of typha vibrate with each ripple sent forth by toads and other pond life that stirs the water.

“My arms are tired.”

“Do you want me to take the pole back?”

“Yeah. I don't think I really like fishing,” I mope. My father smiles, taking the pole from my childishly thin arms.

“It takes some time getting used to, doesn't it?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh, good timing, we've got a bite!” my father exclaims, the pole dancing and bending with effort as my father struggles to secure his feet anywhere on the comically unstable boat.

“Get it Daddy, get it!”

“I think I've got it,” he struggles, adeptly reeling in the line, slackening it, then reeling in again.

I drum my fingers on the cold surface of my laptop's keyboard, thinking back to that day on the pond. I don't quite remember if my father successfully reeled in the fish or not – probably because the story changed every time my father recounted it to someone new.

It's one of my few happy memories.
Image
~Courtesy of Ravenous~

what's your favorite hentai genre, everyone? - Hagon
User avatar
TonyTwoFingers
Writer
 
Posts: 127
Age: 23
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:06 am
Location: United States

Re: The Girl in the Window

Postby TonyTwoFingers » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:49 am

“Today I thought we'd begin with a simple exercise,” Clara says confidently from the opposite side of the door. It's been a few weeks since our fight, and I still haven't figured out anything about her. It's frustrating. To make things worse, after the argument, she decided that it would be best if our chats were more “constructive,” in her own words. So she's resorted to planning out a wonderfully dull assortment of activities we can complete together. It's supposed to be therapeutic, but it's really only mind-numbing. “We're going to plan a vacation together!”

“Plan a vacation?” I ask. “As in, together?”

“Well, why not?” Clara chirps back. “It's not a real vacation, just an exercise.” The sound of crinkling papers resonates from the hallway. “Now, when people plan vacations, the first thing they do is decide where they'd like to visit. So Anne, where are we going to visit?”

The idea of an actual traveling vacation is a fuzzy concept to me, like a strange practice of an obscure religion. I haven't been on a real vacation in years. “I don't know.”

“Well, is there anywhere you've wanted to visit since you were younger? Maybe somewhere warm?”

“Malta, I suppose.” Malta, though a mere blip on the wide expanses of the Mediterranean, has more World Heritage Sites than Egypt, no official international disputes, and the forth largest merchant marine fleet in the world. It's never somewhere I've desperately wanted to visit, but I remember it after being assigned to me as a middle school international studies project.

“Okay, Malta...” I hear her writing something down. “Now, I'll write down something I would want to do on our trip to Malta, then I'll pass you the paper, and you'll write down something you'd want to do. We'll take turns, okay?” She slides a thin legal pad beneath the door. Beneath the loudly capitalized “MALTA” at the head of the paper, she has written “spend a day at the beach.”

“A day at the beach? What would we do at the beach?”

“We wouldn't have to do anything.”

“Doesn't seem like there's much of a point...”

“It's a vacation, Anne. There doesn't have to be a point.”

“Okay,” I draw out with a sigh. I write down the only idea that comes to mind before slipping the pad beneath the door. Clara is silent for a few moments before speaking.

“Anne, we'd really only be in the hotel to sleep.”

“What?”

“You wrote 'Read in hotel room.'”

“I'm sorry, I thought this was a vacation we'd be taking together.”

“Well, yes, but...”

“I thought this was a give-and-take kind of thing, Clara.”

“You know what? Let's move on to the next activity,” she huffs.

The next hour or so is spent painstakingly running over the same tired ground we've trodden over the past weeks. Even Clara's voice is tinted by a hint of bitter frustration, the first indication of her growing dissatisfaction with the way things have turned out. I'm sure that according to her plans, I was supposed to be a fully-integrated member of society, attending classes, watching advertisements, and pretending to understand art. She would never admit it, of course, but the fact that she's two months invested in my recovery and still having conversations with a door must be getting to her.

Before long, Clara decides that we've worked enough for the day, and leaves for some destination unknown to me. I can't help but wonder if she has friends that she talks to. Friends that she talks to about me. Unlike Fischer, she isn't bound by the school to respect my privacy or my condition. I fixate on a particularly unremarkable section of wall as I daydream about Malta. Vast, open expanses of unoccupied beach. I take a deep breath of sweetly salty air, which doesn't suffocate me like the air does when I'm around other people.

Vacations would be so much nicer if nobody took them but me.


***


That night, I am ripped from my sleep in a damp sweat. In the first moments of confusion, I realize that I've been woken by an ear-bendingly loud siren, whose scream ricochets around my sleep-numbed skull like a bullet in a steel-lined room. “W-what the hell?!” I yell in protest, struggling to hear myself over the sickeningly loud wails of the siren. “Goddamn it!” I continue to froth, feeling my eyes struggling to hold back tears of surprise and realization of my unfortunate situation.

Inside the average household smoke detector, there are two components: an ionization chamber, and a siren. In the ionization chamber, a voltage is suspended across two metal plates, through which a current is driven by a small amount of a radioactive material. When smoke enters the detector, it disrupts the current between the two metal plates. The smoke detector senses this disruption, and sets off its second component – an ear-bendingly loud siren that is designed to wake people up with a sense of urgency, and send shut-ins to the verge of tears.

“Goddamn Clara, goddamn Fischer, goddamn Dymphna, goddamn notebooks!” I croak, feeling my face heating up and my vision blur. “Goddamn everything!” I slip into my shoes, my sweaty nightgown clinging and tangling around me. I stand opposite the wooden door that I haven't taken so much as a step through since I first arrived here.

My knees knock together, and my stomach quakes with anger at the world. My eyes can no longer hold back my slew of emotions, and dampen the sides of my face. I can either go outside, or die in here. Neither is exactly ideal, but if there's anything I fear more than going outside, it's dying. With the animal sounds squeaking out of my nose, I twist the door's handle and step into the hallway with a deep breath.

I almost collide with Clara, who is looking almost as disheveled as I am. Her long, well-kept hair that I remember from our first encounter in the hallway is slicked down by sweat. She's wearing bunny pajamas – appropriately saccharin for someone like her. “Anne, are you okay?” she blurts out worriedly, grabbing me by the wrist and pulling me down the hallway.

“I – I'm okay,” I stutter, struggling to grasp the situation as with two oily hands. The hallway is filled with an acrid black smoke that hides the ceiling from view. Open doorways to other rooms line the hallway, showing that Clara and I are two of the last students to exit the dorm.

“The other students are already out of the building,” Clara explains over her shallow breathing. “So let's just worry about getting out of here, okay?” She pulls me down a maze of hallways that I'm amazed she can remember, especially with the progressively thickening smoke. Eventually we reach the front entrance, just as the smoke was making it difficult to breathe, let alone see. “Go, Anne, go!” Clara coaches, practically shoving me out the front door. Normally I would protest, but the human body is capable of amazing feats when prompted by things that are on fire.

The air outside is remarkably cool, and the starry sky is remarkably high. Upon leaving the building, I am eclipsed by a total sense of insignificance. The population of the dorm is huddled on a patch of grass several hundred yards away, as school security officers desperately count and recount the students. Clara drags me to the scene, before speaking to two sternly dressed security officers. My dorm-mates are too entranced by the flames licking up from the third-floor rooms to notice me. I'm almost comfortable being around them. I sit down, a few feet removed from the outskirts of the crowd, and we watch the building burn. The wailing of approaching sirens draws near, and before they arrive, we are escorted as a group to St. Dymphna's main building.


***


“Our top priority at the moment is ensuring that our students feel safe and secure,” the headmaster speaks cleanly into his megaphone. “Stress counselors will be specially available at all hours for the next few days in the nurse's office...” he announced, sending a flurry of already misty-eyed students scurrying to the nurse's office. “Displaced students will be housed in the gymnasium for the night, where cots have already been prepared for your use. You will now be escorted there by the security staff for lights-out. We appreciate your cooperation in this time of stress, and hope to quickly resolve the situation on a more permanent basis.” The identically dressed security officers that normally patrol the school's grounds usher us as a group into the gymnasium, where, true to the word, rows of dozens of cots have been set up. Clara follows me to an uncrowded corner of the room, sitting on a cot next to the one I've chosen as my own – a cleanly starched, thin thing of a mattress whose best feature is the distance away it is from everyone else.

“Hey Anne, are you okay?” she asks, taking a sip of water from a bottle left on the floor at the foot of her assembly.

“I'm fine.”

“Are you feeling nervous?”

“A little.”

“Not too nervous though, right? You don't need to see a nurse or a stress therapist, right?”

“Not yet.”

“Good,” she states definitively. An odd choice of words, given the fact that our collective home just burned down. A security guard's voice cuts through the din of chattering and crying students.

“Attention everyone, lights-out in ten minutes. Please make arrangements now regarding which cot you'll be occupying for the night. These will not be permanent configurations!” he stresses. “We'll do everything in our power to implement something more long-term over the next few days. Thank you.”

Communal residencies are, as a rule, very loud and very unpleasant places. Add an array of mental instabilities and emotional issues to the mix, and circumstances generally don't improve. As I lie down, exhausted yet unable to sleep, many others cry and moan their way to slumber.

The next morning, Fischer stands above me at the foot of my bed. His thin face looks particularly gaunt this morning, his fully white beard incapable of hiding the shallowness of his cheeks. “Good morning Anne,” he smiles toothily. “You picked an awfully strange way to join us.”

“It wasn't my idea,” I protest, still not feeling comfortable around so many people. It had been a restless night for the very same reason.

“I have no doubt,” he answers, periodically clutching a stress ball in his hand. “Just happy to see that everything in your noggin was working well enough to not put you in immediate danger.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“So Clara came for you, didn't she?”

“How did you know?” I ask, to which Fischer toothily grins.

“Anne, the faculty here is so interwoven it's hard to tell where teachers, security officers, and therapists start and stop. You know that much by now, I'm sure. If someone on the staff knows something, everyone knows it.”

“Like a hive-mind.”

“More so than you'd probably think,” he admits, squeezing the ball with a blank look in his eyes. We sit in silence for a moment as other students begin waking up. Clara remains soundly asleep. “How's she doing?” he asks.

“Why don't you ask her yourself, when she wakes up?”

“Oh, I plan on it. I figured I'd at least ask you, though.” Again, we lapse into a momentary silence, both of us weary from a restless and busy night.

“Do we know anything about the fire yet?” I ask, steering the conversation, pulling my scratchy wool blanket around my neck as other students begin to look around and realize that my face is an unfamiliar one to them.

“It'll be a while before we know anything concrete. Things like this take time.”

“Mm.”

“Probably just faulty wiring or something.”

“Mm.”

“We know nobody got physically hurt,” he states in an unsettlingly optimistic tone. It's a strange life situation to be in when it's necessary to discern physical and mental harm.

“That's good,” I yawn.

“It is.”

“So... now that you finally got me out here, what do you want?”

“Thank you for reminding me, Anne. Would you follow me to my office?”

“But what about Clara?”

“She's a big girl, I'm sure she'll be fine.” he responds, encouraging me to stand. “It's just a short walk from here. And the exercise will do you some good,” he smiles.

“I guess I gave you an inch.”

“I'll take the mile, then,” he says. “Come this way, please.”
Image
~Courtesy of Ravenous~

what's your favorite hentai genre, everyone? - Hagon
User avatar
TonyTwoFingers
Writer
 
Posts: 127
Age: 23
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:06 am
Location: United States

Re: The Girl in the Window

Postby Likhos » Wed May 01, 2013 11:46 pm

God dammit! Who gave a lighter to pyro-tan?
User avatar
Likhos
 
Posts: 272
Age: 26
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:00 am
Location: Brittany, France.

Re: The Girl in the Window

Postby TonyTwoFingers » Sun May 12, 2013 7:11 pm

Thank you for your patience, everyone. I've been quite busy as of late, so my apologies for the slight delay in this release.

Please enjoy the penultimate chapter of The Girl in the Window. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion in the next few days!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

“I figured you may be slightly more comfortable in a private setting,” Fischer says, gesturing to the various corners of his office. The room itself looks jagged and lived-in, and stacks of intimately pored-over books, their pages dog-eared and frayed, cover every flat surface. It stinks of tobacco. Fischer opens the large oriel window behind his desk and inhales deeply.

“Thank you,” I manage to work out, not used to being confined in such a small space with someone else. “I definitely feel a bit more...”

“Secure?” Fischer interjects, turning to face me.

“Something like that.”

He produces a pack of cigarettes from his coat pocket and gropes around momentarily for a box of matches lost somewhere beneath his paperwork. “There is a matter of some importance I planned on speaking with you about.” His face slackens slightly. It's somewhat off-putting – reading facial expressions is not at all like riding a bike. I hear his voice, but I anticipate the backside of a wooden door, not his beard bobbing up and down. I can't remember where I'm supposed to look when speaking to someone.

“You'd mentioned.”

“Well, now that you've left the confines of your room, we were hoping you'd start taking some more rigorous steps towards treating your condition.”

“... What?”

“We're also planning on scheduling courses for you to attend. This is a school, after all,” he grins. It's a dizzying concept – I haven't even been “out” for a full day yet, and I'm being groomed for a traditional education. It feels like trying to learn calculus before multiplication tables. “But what do you think?”

“What do... I think?”

“I understand this is a very trying time for you,” Fischer says, lighting a cigarette with a match he'd found while digging around. “But I think it'd be a mistake to stop encouraging your progress now.”

“I think you've mistaken progress with unfortunate circumstances. I don't think running from a burning building means that I was looking for a bit of fresh air.”

“Call it what you will,” he shrugs, taking a drag of his cigarette. “I think we should make the best out of a bad situation.”

“... and if I refuse?”

This earns me another shrug. Fischer gently taps his cigarette on the lip of his ashtray. “Anne, it's not exactly like you have a lot of other options. We won't have individualized housing for you and your dorm-mates for some time. Every day you're not in seclusion is progress.”

“So I have no say whatsoever?”

“Don't be like that. It's like you said... unfortunate circumstances. We have just as little say over how things have turned out as you do.”

We stare at each other without saying a word, the antique wooden clock hung on the wall punctuating the silence rhythmically.

“I don't want to take any classes yet,” I mumble. “I don't think... I just can't yet.”

“Anne, I understand,” Fischer solemnly nods. “But now that you're out, the administration has been pushing me to sign you up for classes.” I say nothing. “I'll take things as slowly as I can... but I'm going to have to do it.”

“Are you?”

“I am. And not only because I'm being asked to – because I also believe it'd be best for you.” His telephone suddenly rings with the same ancient tinniness everything else in the room has. He motions to it apologetically before picking up. “Dr. Fischer's office...”

I step out of the cramped study and take in my unfamiliar surroundings. Following him here was easy, but alone, it all seems so foreign. Security officers wander past me, many of them sporting heavy black rings beneath their eyes after the long night. I'm too afraid to ask any of them how to get back to the gymnasium, so I aimlessly wander the school's extensive hallways before stumbling upon an unoccupied broom closet. I check over my shoulders, ensuring that I'm alone, before stepping inside.

Despite the damp, moldy air, leaky pipes, and practically nonexistent leg room, I can't recall feeling more at home in the world in the few hours since the fire. I am finally alone. Passerby in the hallway clatter past, unaware that I sit in a puddle of mopwater not a few feet away from them. It's not fair. None of it is. The fire. Fischer. Clara. I sit feet against the rickety wooden door, and tell myself how utterly unfair it all is. Nobody understands that this is why I never leave my room.

When I leave my room, things like this happen. Things that are outside of my control. I am coerced into caring about things I don't care about, into talking to people I don't want to talk to, into thinking things I don't want to think. I am not myself, I am who people want me to be. Who is John Galt? Who cares? I ask myself. Who is Anne Gagnon?

A burly janitor with an old-school boxing moustache throws open the broom closet door just as a fat splash of something lands on my shoulder. He jumps as the image before him registers. “Jeezuz darling, you scared the daylights outta me.”

“Sorry,” I say, standing from my puddle, my face burning red with embarrassment. “I didn't mean to. I was just going now anyway.” I awkwardly shuffle past the man, who must see the large wet stain on the back of my pants.

“Darling,” he calls after me. “Looks like you went in sat in something a bit wet. Take this and clean yourself up.” He tosses me a washcloth embroidered with the school's initials.

“Thank you,” I murmur, softened by my sorry state. Nobody used to be able to open my bedroom door, which now is little more than scattered ashes at the site of the fire, in the nooks of a tree on the opposite side of campus, and in a storm drain near a diner some three miles outside the school proper. The janitor shakes his head confusedly before entering my cozy broom closet.

“One of these days I'm gonna get a real job...” he mutters as I walk away.


***


Animals, when removed from their territory, become volatile. They're afraid of unfamiliarity because they understand they are not in control. They are not masters of their own destiny. They are guests of an unpredictable and possibly hostile host. Their defense instincts kick in, and they become more dangerous than they ever could in their home territory.

Take the most docile domesticated dog, and leave him alone in the sweltering heat of the African savannah for two hours. He will no longer be Fido. He will become a dangerous, wily animal of instinct and fear and teeth. He will not heel. He will not play fetch. He will attack anything that poses a threat, even if that threat hand-fed him biscuits just a day ago.

The most dangerous being in the animal kingdom is whatever animal is not at home.


***


“So what, he's going to sign you up for classes?” Clara asks, handing me a tray of grey food substitute.

“I don't know, he said he'd start slowly.”

“Jeez. I mean, I expected him to use this to your advantage,” she says as I shoot her a look. “But I never thought he'd rush into things this quickly.”

“I don't know what I'm going to do,” I say, biting into a spoonful of mush. “I'm not ready. I'm scared.”

“Oh, don't worry so much. You'll be fine. You just need to get taken a deep breath and...”

“Please Clara, just don't tell me what I need to do. I have enough people doing that right now as is.”

“All I'm saying is that you needed a little time out of your comfort zone. Really, this fire could be the best thing to ever happen to you...”

“Clara, I am out of my comfort zone. Me looking you in the face as I say this is me out of my comfort zone. Me being here at all is me out of my comfort zone. Am I not uncomfortable enough yet?”

“Come on, I didn't mean it like that Anne...”

“No, you know what? You did mean it like that,” I accuse, standing up from my cot with a jolt. “You know I don't know the first thing about you?” I ask louder than I realize. Clara shrinks. “I'm sick of not knowing anything about you! I don't know why you bother talking to me, I don't know why you take those endless notes you take...”

“Anne, I don't take any notes on you...”

“Bullshit!” I yell. Others milling about the gymnasium slow, some to a stop, and stare at the spectacle. I'm too nervous and angry to care. “You think I didn't hear you scribbling things down whenever I talked to you through that door? So what, do you think I'm stupid or do you think I'm deaf?” Clara says nothing. “Let's pretend for a moment that you were doing any of this to actually help me. Let's pretend for a moment that I'm not some project of yours like a goddamn broken bird to be nursed back to health and gently tossed back into society! When was it going to stop? Were you going to stop talking to me once I 'recovered?' Were you going to take credit for it at parties? 'See that girl in the corner? She was a total shut-in before I got through to her!' Well Clara? What was your big plan?”

Others in the gymnasium stare at us. Security officers begin shifting uncomfortably, some of them beginning to step toward us. My face is flushed rouge with embarrassment and anger. I'm lashing out like a cornered animal, but I can't bring myself to care. Clara's cheeks are wet and flushed pink. Her breaths are shallow. “It was never like that...” she whispers over short, stabbing wheezes. Her voice is startlingly meek. “It was never like that...” she repeats before standing from her seat and sprinting out of the gymnasium. Just behind where she'd been sitting, a small black book with an elastic clasp rests tucked half-beneath the bedsheets. Still somewhat angry at nobody in particular, I pick up the book, intent on taking some answers by force. Before I can open it, Fischer bursts in through a door on the opposite end of the gym with a security officer in tow. He angrily waves for me to come over while waving for two other officers to follow Clara.

I walk over, trying desperately to avoid the gaze of the dozens of people whispering to one another about me. Their eyes track me like hungry dogs. “What the hell was that?” Fischer spews.

“I-I don't know,” I say. “I lost my temper...”

“You lost your temper?” he asks, trying to stay collected and in control of the situation. “Anne, you didn't just lose your temper. I could practically hear you from my office. What was that all about?”

“... I don't know anything about Clara, and she knows everything about me.”

“Did you ever ask anything about her?”

“I tried. Once.”

“You tried once?”

“Yeah... she didn't tell me much.”

“Damn it...” he says under his breath, biting his knuckle. “And she was so close to a breakthrough. We're going to look all over for her.”

“I should help,” I say, already feeling remorseful for how I'd made her run out of the room in tears. She'd only ever tried to help me. Fischer gives me a disappointed face.

“I think you've helped enough. Why don't you go get some sleep, you look like a wreck,” he says, walking toward a group of security officers, who begin jotting notes and nodding their heads.


***


Several hours pass. There is no official mention of Clara, but she doesn't return to the gymnasium before lights-out. Security officers have been moving around busily, though if it's related to the fire or Clara, I am unsure. The small black book from Clara's bed sits on my chest, silently accosting me for my callousness and how horribly I'd treated the closest thing I've ever had to a friend. I am sure that this is what she'd been using to take notes on me. After all, it appeared to be the only thing from her room worth saving from the fire. I can't decide if I should open it or not. On one hand, it could perhaps contain something to help me make up with Clara. On the other hand, it would be perhaps the final nail in the coffin of our friendship. Though that chapter may already be over.

The only open bunk in the mostly-darkened gymnasium is Clara's. And I feel horrible for that. I feel horrible for the fact that I have always been responsible for my own loneliness. Whenever someone has done me a kindness, or tried to help me, I've interpreted it as an attempt to manipulate me. I've mistaken love and kindness for deceit and malice. The only person I have to blame is myself.

I've pushed away everyone. Here I am, several thousand miles from my family's quiet home, because I couldn't stand the fact that the problem wasn't others. I couldn't stand the fact that the problem was me. It was always easy to shift the blame – to make it someone else's fault. It was convenient – simple. But wrong. I was wrong.

I open Clara's black book, and begin to read by the moonlight seeping down from the clerestory windows.
Image
~Courtesy of Ravenous~

what's your favorite hentai genre, everyone? - Hagon
User avatar
TonyTwoFingers
Writer
 
Posts: 127
Age: 23
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:06 am
Location: United States

Re: The Girl in the Window

Postby Mr Immortal » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:20 pm

This is probably the first time the universe of Missing Stars has seemed real to me. From a reading perspective, at least. I mean, the devs do great work and I've lapped up the reveals, but spare for little glimpses into the world it's hard to get a good grip on what it's like to be at St. Dymphnas.

This is really well written, and the characters are interesting and I really wanna find out how this all ends. If this has ended prematurely, it would be a great shame.
"Kindeys. I've got new kidneys! I don't like the colour."
- The 12th Doctor

"We have 80 Million ancestors; one of them has got to be Winnie the Pooh."
- David Mitchell
User avatar
Mr Immortal
 
Posts: 151
Age: 24
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:00 am
Location: El Marrow

Re: The Girl in the Window

Postby TonyTwoFingers » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:06 pm

Thank you for the kind words, it really means a lot to me. No it hasn't ended prematurely, for the past few months I've just been caught up with other responsibilities that are more important than fan fiction. I'll finish it pretty soon, there's not a whole lot left to write.
Image
~Courtesy of Ravenous~

what's your favorite hentai genre, everyone? - Hagon
User avatar
TonyTwoFingers
Writer
 
Posts: 127
Age: 23
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:06 am
Location: United States

Re: The Girl in the Window

Postby Mr Immortal » Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:14 pm

I understand completely :) I'm in the same boat myself, and life does always seem to get in the way of writing, one way or another. Good luck with life in the meantime :P
"Kindeys. I've got new kidneys! I don't like the colour."
- The 12th Doctor

"We have 80 Million ancestors; one of them has got to be Winnie the Pooh."
- David Mitchell
User avatar
Mr Immortal
 
Posts: 151
Age: 24
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:00 am
Location: El Marrow

Re: The Girl in the Window

Postby sky » Thu Dec 26, 2013 3:02 am

Finish this already... :cry:
"I'm twice the man Erik is." - Lena Forst
User avatar
sky
 
Posts: 175
Age: 25
Joined: Tue May 28, 2013 5:58 pm
Location: Audio Nirvana


Return to Fan Fiction

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest