rainandsonder

United States

"the audience is only safe when the story isn't about them."

they/them - probably listening to sufjan stevens

Message from Writer

an important piece by outoftheblue- https://bit.ly/3dBxv5r

black lives matter & pride is over but the fight for lgbt+ rights is year round.

bio quote is from the magnus archives

the book i'll never write- two

April 12, 2019

FREE WRITING

5
    i decided this a long time ago, before i read our deaths in the television static at grandma's house, before the realities that i've built around myself like a tent came crashing down around me--- even then, i knew. it was like the trolley question that my parents had told us about one sleepover, a route with three people on the track but a way to switch to a route with one person; which would you choose? you answered instantly that you would take the latter, and my brother nodded, and i realized that i was outnumbered. my father nodded, seeing that we had the right moral code, and went along his day. i must've gotten lost in his peripheral vision.
    that was me all over. too easy to give up, surrendering before the fight began. a white flag draped around my body like the opposite of a superhero cape. for me, it was murder. i thought of the one person on the other track, how they would have to witness the trolley turn, the decision hanging in the driver's eyes, the wheels barreling toward them like charging oxen, like a stampede. their last moments in the world would seep into their skin. maybe they would close their eyes, or scream, but i was sure it would all be drowned out by the whistling wheels and sickening thud and crunch. the worst part was that they would die alone, knowing that a stranger had chosen to kill them, had disrupted nature's course to divert the path of trolley. had weighed lives that should be out of their reach but were handed to them on a platter, like giving a four-year-old an open bottle of advil and telling them to take as many as they wanted. 
    no matter how hard i tried, i couldn't understand how that was better than three people dying of something that was set to happen.
    it was in this way that i chose not to tell anyone the world was going to end. i didn't want to see the dread in their eyes, like standing in the path of a trolley.
    there were things i needed to do, though, before it happened. i had made a list and hid it in the crack between my cot and the wall. twelve things.
    by two in the afternoon, i had been sewing for just over four hours. maybe it was that, or maybe it was the sun, dancing relentlessly across my arms and legs and face, but i was starting to feel giddy, like my brain was cotton candy and someone had pulled out a piece. i giggled and sang to the needle and thread.
    "on the twelfth day of the apocalypse, my true love gave to me," and it was as if the world had heard its name and whipped around to see who had said it, and i collapsed into laughter. i was quiet enough that no one would hear me, except for the stack of mistakes and the weeds twisting through the soil under my feet. they glared, silent.
    i was never the artsy one; that was always you. in second grade, our teacher made us correct each other's papers, and when i looked over yours there were drawings of cartoon animals and shaded squares and most of all, eyes, eyes everywhere. my eyes. i didn't say it aloud, but i think you heard me when i said that we were going to be friends. there i was, though, tying up the lyrics of your favorite song into a scrap of cloth for you. because that's what friendship was to us.
    and like a magic trick, lynn was across from me, popping wild strawberries into her mouth. her hands and the skin above her cupid's bow were stained red. her eyes reached over and gauged my own out.
    "i killed someone," she said flatly.
    "yeah, clearly," i said. "better wash the blood off or they'll find you."
    her face cracked and broke into a smile. she leaned back, her ponytail flopping over the side of the picnic bench and grazing the grass beneath. her feet hung over the opposite side, and she closed her eyes like a sunbathing lioness. a few of the strawberries tumbled from her cupped hands.
    "is that for your friend?" lynn asked.
    "xylia?" i flushed. how could she tell? "yeah. um. it's a going-away gift."
    she kept her eyes closed, but her face wrinkled in confusion. the sky above was like summer wine. "don't you guys go to the same school?"
    a deeper flush. i thanked the heavens that she wasn't looking. "well. yeah. i just thought it'd be nice."
    "it is. it is nice. wish i had a friend that liked me that much."
    something in my chest squeezed, hard. i looked down at the needle, and this time i wasn't trying. no surprise when my finger came down and the cold metal pierced my skin (twenty-two times now). the words peeked out from my lips, and i tasted them for a moment before going for it.
    "i bet you do. and if you really don't, i wouldn't wait to make one if i were you."
    lynn's eyes flew open. she glanced at me, too surprised for the words to soak in. "you--- what?"
    "i just mean," i said, biting and chewing and tearing off a bit of skin on my lip, "that life is short. i know it's a cliche, but it's true. the end of the world could be a week from now."
    "i doubt it," lynn said vaguely, her gaze somewhere else. "i'd say we have at least five years."
    "wishful thinking."
    i think it surprises people, how pessimistic i can be. if they knew that i could see the end of the world, that it followed me around like a dog on a trail, i don't think they would expect much more, but it's not just that. even when i was a kindergartner, crayon tearing mottled marks onto naive coloring books where all was right on earth, i lacked faith in the world. that's why i like lynn so much, in a way, not that she doesn't have redeeming qualities of her own: she sees that and returns it with equally cynical remarks. the way we talk to each other is like a game of ping-pong. no one else quite gets it like her.
    "well," she said. "you going to join us for lunch?"
    "i never eat lunch."
    "come on, just this once?" a lazy smile dragged across her face. "you said it yourself; the end of the world could be a week from now. or we could all die in a car crash, at the very least."
    "and?"
    "and you should get to have a last lunch. besides, you need to give xylia that." she pointed at the fabric in my hands. "it's the last day of camp; it can be a farewell gift."
    sometimes i wondered if lynn, too, had some power she hadn't realized yet. in her case, i thought it would be the power to see through my skin as though it were plastic wrapping for my muscle and blood and veins and bones. i wondered if she could see through my skull and into my sludgy, heavy mess of a brain that resides within. because the words hit with startling accuracy: a farewell gift. 
    it's like hearing that your mother has cancer, or that a life-long friend died yesterday. it's a progression, a movement from point a to point b, something devastating that leaves two distinct realities: before and after. but the transition is jarring, like being shaken from a stupor, before the grief settles in and the after becomes normal. it's the kind of thing that makes you watch the curve of moon and shadow on rumpled sheets, with cavities under your eyes and a buzzing in your veins, and ask: is this real? has this ever been real?
    The End isn't cancer, or a car crash. it's something unthinkably worse, and that makes it comforting, because something that bad could not happen. not in real life.
    but then it does. and even though you can't, you shouldn't, you shy away from it.
    the smile i gave her was dried, empty. "yeah," i said, and my voice felt the same. "a farewell gift."
    
    
i don't know why this chapter took forever to write or how i feel about it, but here it is. constructive criticism always (eagerly) accepted; please comment if you took the time to read this! likes don't tell the writer anything.

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  • April 12, 2019 - 7:55pm (Now Viewing)

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4 Comments
  • rainandsonder

    @rain i think so. i got caught up in school and stuff and rn i’m doing mostly shorter pieces or poems to get back into the writing rhythm, but pretty soon i’m going to start working on it again.


    over 1 year ago
  • r|A|i|N

    hey, is this ever going to get more sequels? i love this series


    over 1 year ago
  • r|A|i|N

    HOW DOES THIS HAVE NO COMMENTS
    i love your dialogue on the end of the world & i agree with the main character about the trolley problem. intrigued by lynn’s character as well; i think she and the main character will make a good pairing. this is so well-written and i can’t wait for the next part.


    over 1 year ago
  • Dmoral

    I made a part 2 of my story (Soulmate Marks) I created A LONG time ago :)
    https://writetheworld.com/groups/1/shared/111659/version/212488


    over 1 year ago