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Gabby Nicholls

Australia

I am a 16 year old Australian girl. I live in Victoria. I am in my final year of school, and I plan to study criminology in Canberra next year - but writing is my main passion. I'm about as socially adept as a clam shell. That's because I'm a writer.

Message from Writer

I have a published book called Powerless, and it is the story of the very human Jessica LaTista who has been inserted into a world of magic. Her best friend has become magical, and she must learn how to cope with being the sidekick, with playing second fiddle to her best friend. It's a book about friendship, and how to stay human and sane in a world that seems to be anything but. It's the story of the sidekick, and it represents all of the bypassed, unpowerful best friends in any classic hero tale. Jessica LaTista is human, and she is powerless, and she is us. The regular people who only wish we could be part of the story.

Mumps, Measles, Weasels ad lies

February 4, 2016

PROMPT: Open Prompt

0
It was a sunny autumn day, not too hot and not too cold, the weather about as perfect as it could be.
Martha Angelas was picking her daughter, Nita, up from school. The little girl took Martha’s hand and skipped along happily, blond ponytail bobbing up and down with not a care in the world. “Come on Mummy! Hurry up!” she said, stopping mid-skip and pulling Martha towards the gate. Martha laughed and let herself be dragged by the young girl.
Once out of the gate, Nita turned left, towards where her mum usually parked the car when picking her up. Martha stood at the gate, hands on hips, one eyebrow raised. “And where would you be going, young lady?”
Nita turned around, confused. “The car?”
Martha shook her head. “Walking today, remember?”
Immediately Nita’s shoulders and bottom lip dropped. “But Muuuuuum! I’m too tired!”
Martha rolled her eyes. “Fine. You wait here, I’ll walk back home, get the car, pick you up, and we’ll go straight home instead of walking to Tom’s like we were going to.”
That changed Nita’s mind.
She ran up to Martha. “Okay Mum, let’s go!”
Martha laughed and spun on her heel, only to stop in her tracks as she found herself staring at the surprised face of Kyal Pasley. Her eyes and mouth wide open in shock, she found herself silently wishing that this was some long-lost twin of his or something. No such luck. “Martha, I… uh…” he stuttered. That’s it, she thought, I’m going crazy. My dead ex-boyfriend is here at my daughter’s school, talking to me. Or trying to, at least.
She tried to ignore him, thinking, hoping he was an illusion, and just pushed past him, but he spoke to her again, and she never could ignore that man.   
“Martha? Why are you ignoring me? I’m right here.”
“You’re dead.” she muttered bitterly. She grabbed Nita’s hand and tried to walk past him again, but he grabbed her arm. “I’m not. I know it’s hard to believe-”
“And I wonder why it's hard to believe? You died, I was there. Your funeral - an open casket - I was there. I watched as you jumped off a seven storey building and I watched as you were buried six feet in the ground. You’re not really here. You can’t be.”
People were starting to stare at her. They probably thought she was crazy, talking to herself. But her delusion was shattered when a teacher – Mr Jackson, she thought – walked up and asked if ‘this man’ was bothering her. That ended it. No more delusions. He was here and he was real and he was talking to her. “Uh, no, thank you though.” She said, and hurried away before anyone else could speak another word.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When they got to her friend Lilli’s house (also the house of Tom, Nita’s best friend), Martha slumped on the couch. Lilli, on the other side of the room, raised an eyebrow. “So I heard some guy started pestering you after school. Jeneane called and told me, she was worried. She said you looked spooked.”
Martha sighed heavily. “Do we have to talk about this?” she asked. Lilli nodded. Martha sighed again and sunk further into the couch. “It was Kyal,” she whispered. Lilli’s eyes widened.
“Kyal? Kyal Pasley? As in your dead ex Kyal Pasley?”
“The one and only.” She sighed.
“You’re sure it wasn’t just some old nutjob from down the road and you were hallucinating?”
“Pretty sure.  Other people saw him, ask them.” She sighed again. She suddenly realised she was doing a lot of that. “Lil, I don’t know what to do.”
Lilli threw her a sympathetic look. “Nothing. For now, there is nothing you can do. Just wait and see if he comes back. And if he does, maybe talk to him instead of running away.” The last part sounded a little condescending. Martha looked uncertain. “I’m not sure if I can talk to him, though. I mean, he is meant to be dead. I watched them bury him. And I will not believe that he is alive.”
“Fine, but now he knows you're here he’ll probably start looking for you.”
“Um, hello? He was clearly already looking for me. He turned up at school at pickup time. Why else would he be there?”
Lilli frowned. “Martha. He died nine years ago. Nita was born six years ago and started school this year. Even if he knew about her, how would he know what school to go to? There are five primary schools in this town!”
Martha rolled her eyes. “Then what was he doing there? ‘Just passing through’?”
“YES!” Lilli nodded vigorously. “Some people actually do that, you know!”
Nita chose that moment to walk in, Tom in tow. “Mummy, can I stay at Tom’s house tonight?” Martha smiled wryly at Lilli, momentarily forgetting about Kyal, and held up an overnight bag that she had dropped there that morning. “Does this answer your question?” Nita’s face was lit up by a huge smile. “Yay!” she grabbed Tom’s hands and danced around the room with him.
When Martha got home, she took a painkiller for the huge headache she’d had ever since she’d seen Kyal. She cooked herself a meagre and boring dinner of spaghetti on toast, then she flicked on the TV.
“Damn,” she muttered as she saw Kyal’s face on-screen. “Can’t escape him.” She watched the news report showing a car accident on the main street. Kyal, naturally, was a witness, raving on about how loud it was and how scared he got. She turned off the TV and went upstairs to lay in bed, anticipating what a sleepless night it would be.  
She was wondering how Kyal was alive. Did he ever really die, or was he resurrected? Or maybe he was a ghost.
Or maybe she was completely crazy.
Martha sighed and rolled over, falling asleep faster than she expected to.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When she got up the next morning, she saw her husband James just getting in from work. He worked the night shift at a service station, so most days he didn’t get home until morning, at which time he usually went straight to bed. 
He said a slurred ‘good morning’ before stumbling up the stairs.
“Well,” Martha muttered, “I guess today’s really no different to any other Saturday.” She had been expecting more strange things to happen, to have more hallucinations. 
“Except the fact that I’m here.” Said a deep voice from the doorway. She turned and saw Kyal. She backed up to the kitchen bench, staring at him, wide-eyed. “How are you alive? Wait, no. How the hell did you get into my house?”
“James left the door unlocked.”
“How do you know his name?”
“He’s a good friend of mine.”
“Liar.”
Kyal looked wounded. “Have I ever given you any reason to think that I’m lying to you?”
“Yes.” Martha said darkly.
Kyal nodded sadly and sighed. “Okay, I guess I have. But I’m not lying. I am good friends with him; I work the night shift with him.”
“It does'nt take two people to run the night shift, and he’s never mentioned you.”
“So what? I bet you never mentioned me to him.” Kyal said, looking angry. “I was your boyfriend, you thought I was dead – I wasn’t, by the way – and you never mentioned me to the guy you married. But anyway, I’m not here to talk about that. I'm here to apologise.”
She scoffed. “Of course I talked about you! I met James in group therapy! But it’s too late to apologise. You lied to me. For nine years, I thought you were dead, and then you turn up at my daughter’s school! How could you do that to me, Kyal? How could you do that at all? I mean really, how are you alive?”
Kyal smirked. “Well you see-” but he was cut off by the ringing of Martha's phone. It was Lilli. “Hey, Lil. What’s up?”
“It’s Nita,” came Lilli's frantic voice from the other side. “She’s got mumps or measles or something and she’s coughing lots and crying and I’ve taken her to emergency but there’s a really long wait and I really really really just think you need to get here soon because-”
“Lilli I will be there soon, okay? Don’t fret, she’ll be fine.” She hung up and left a note for James, she didn't need to wake him up, they didn't both need to go. She grabbed her car keys and left for the emergency department, not giving Kyal another thought. 
When she got to the ED, Martha saw what Lilli meant by mumps and measles. Nita was covered in red spots and bumps and all sorts of strange rashes. Martha sat down and hugged her daughter, who sobbed in her arms. “Mummy… it hurts…”
“What hurts, sweetie?”
“Everything!” the girl wailed. Martha hugged her tighter.
Next thing she knew, Kyal was in the room, soothing Nita as well.
“What are you doing here? Get away from my daughter.” Martha pulled the weeping girl away from Kyal.
“Martha, I-”
“No, Kyal, I actually don’t care. I want you to go, and I want you to go NOW.” She glared at him. “You know, I'm still not certain that I’m not crazy. So please leave.”
Kyal rolled his eyes and shook his head. “You have no idea, do you?” He whispered, before reaching out and touching Nita’s leg. Remarkably, the girl stopped whimpering and simply leaned back on her mother, tired. “It doesn’t hurt anymore, Mummy.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Martha swerved suddenly when she saw the other cars. The road was wet, it was dark, and she was on a busy road. Not a good time for flashbacks. She caught a glimpse of herself in her rearview mirror. In three years, she certainly had changed. Her hair had grayed a lot from stress, she was only thirty-two. The divorce from James was probably a large part of it, although not as much as Nita…
No!
No more flashbacks. She couldn’t change the past, no matter how much she might wish she could. All she could do was carry on with her life, or maybe try to start over.
That’s why she was leaving. She had too much of a past in that town, it was time to leave it all behind and start again. The bad memories in that place, first Kyal’s first death, then Nita, then Kyal again…
Argh! Again with the flashbacks! She really needed to stop that, they would consume her otherwise.

When she finally found the muddy, bumpy driveway she was looking for, she sighed in relief. It had taken so long to get here. She met her cousin at the door, but only for long enough for him to hand her the keys and leave. He was moving overseas, to England, so he had given her the run of his house. She didn’t even look around the house long enough to get past the bedroom, she didn’t change out of her clothes, she just curled up and went to sleep, in the creaky single bed on the second floor of a dingy wooden farmhouse.
She never knew what was coming in her life, the only thing she could ever predict were her dreams.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
She saw Kyal, touching Nita’s leg, she felt Nita exhale in relief and lean back on her. “It doesn’t hurt anymore, Mummy.”
“That’s good, sweetie.” She heard herself say. She gave Kyal a wary glance. Whatever he had done to her daughter, it was not natural. And she had no doubt he’d done something. Kyal looked at her sadly. “I’m sorry Martha, I really am, but…” she blocked out his voice. She knew what he was going to say, it was the same every night. And it always ended with ‘she will die.’
She went through the motions of her dream, but not by choice. They were the same every night, the same routine every night. “No. It can’t be like this.” She said. “Whatever happened to you, it was a one-off. My daughter is nothing like you. She will not die and she will not be resurrected nine years later-”
“I didn’t die. This is something different. I didn’t die because I was never alive. I was sent as a guide for the girl, to help her when it became her time to leave.”
“Leave? Leave to where? She isn’t going to die…”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Martha woke with a start. Daylight was flashing through the curtains, and it was time she got up.
Then she realised she had nothing to get up for. No life to speak of. Still, she got up, got dressed, and ate some cereal. She sat on the couch, and turned on the grainy TV.
Her eyes filled with tears when she saw the screen.
“… and three years on, the investigation still continues as to how Anita, or ‘Nita’ Angelas disappeared. Forensic investigators believe that after so long, evidence would be hard to find, but the girl’s father, James Angelas, refuses to allow the case to close. Anita’s mother has nothing more to say on the matter, and has left the town from which her daughter disappeared…”
Martha switched off the TV. Seeing the picture of Nita on the screen killed her inside. It was a picture from the last summer she had been alive, whenthey had visited the beach, when Nita had been wearing her new pink sunhat and a cheesy grin.
Martha knew what had happened to her daughter, but she could tell no one. If only someone else had been there that night...
No, no more flashbacks!
She took a painkiller for her headache - the constant headache - and went about her day. Her first day of a new life.
All she did was curl up on the couch and watch the time pass by on the dirty clock in the corner. She only moved to use the toilet and to have a drink of stale coffee.

She dreamed again that night. The same as every night.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“No, Kyal, please don’t! You have to let her stay, I need her! I need her to keep me sane…”
Kyal shook his head sadly. “I am really sorry Martha. But it’s her time to leave. Every Angel has to leave earth early.”
“You didn’t.” Martha felt herself say.
She heard Nita whimper from behind Kyal. She was crying and scared and hurt. Martha mentally braced herself for what she knew was coming, as she did every night. They were standing on a cliff, it was raining, and the wind was whipping her hair in her face.  

“I’m not an Angel. I’m a demon, and it is my responsibility to deliver her.”
“Deliver her? To who?”
“You mean to whom.”
“Kyal…”
“A higher power.”
“What?” Martha stuttered. “Are you talking about God?”
“No. Not capital-G God. A different power. A demon god. Maybe I should have said a lower power.” he snarled, and with that, he pushed her daughter off the cliff, Nita’s desperate screams echoing through the night.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Martha woke with a start. Light was seeping through the tattered curtains again.
She went downstairs and turned on the TV. The news was on – again.
“And in other news, the body of Anita Angelas has been found at the bottom of a cliff, and the killer has been found. The killer was a man named Kyal Pasley, who faked his own suicide twelve years ago. The police caught up with the killer, but he was shot and killed on the scene after attempting to attack police. The murderer was known to have schizophrenia, and hallucinated that he was a demon…”
Martha switched off the TV. Kyal was a liar, he wasn’t a demon and her daughter wasn’t an Angel. Kyal was a murderer, a lying weasel.
She curled up on the couch and cried.
Then she fell asleep.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Upon waking, Martha realised that for the first time in three years, she had not dreamed.
Then she saw Kyal standing over her, knife in hand, evil in his eyes and blood in his teeth.
“Time to be delivered, Angel.”
 

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