Memories of Tomorrow

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Late Night Ponderings

My first coherent thought is why? Why am I still up? I might’ve fallen asleep, but I can feel that it wasn’t for nearly long enough. I resist the urge to sigh, knowing Mia may still be awake beside me, and relent to my wakefulness. Maybe it’s because I almost always slept with a fan on for the longest time. I don’t really know why, just something about the absolute silence in the room would always unnerve me and I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I slowly force my eyes open, and take in the familiar room around me. Cardboard boxes almost literally cover the ground, only a few precious spaces of floor peek out from under them.

“Maybe Mia’s right, this place could use some cleaning,” I think to myself as I let my eyes continue to wander. Almost by instinct my eyes fall onto my desk in the corner, and despite myself I smile. That desk is almost as old as I am, there was never a time in my life where we didn’t have that old desk. I remember that time I didn’t use a coaster and some of the wood on the left of the desk puckered because it absorbed the water.

My eyes naturally scan the desk as I think back to simpler times. Times when I only had to worry about Mom finding out about the new scratches I managed to make into the desk, or hiding my report card. It may be dark, but the thin form of my journal stops my wandering orbs.

“Maybe a bit of writing will clear my head and let me sleep,” I think hopefully as I start devising a plan. A plan where I don’t wake Mia up and manage to get myself to that desk. The headache from earlier has decided to stay for the night, but it thankfully isn’t a vengeful one. With the utmost care I peel the comforter back from my form, and the cool bunker air eagerly attacks the heat. I shiver, unable to help it as I adjust to the new air around me.

“The bed isn’t too far from the floor, I mean this bed doesn’t even have a frame.” I thank myself for at least keeping the cardboard boxes away from the bed, and eye the space below with concern. There’s a pretty good chance of Mia waking up to the shift in weight on the bed, but there’s also a good chance of her waking up if I go to get up from this bed anyway. I lay in bed, locked into a stalemate of my own design, before deciding to take my chances.

If I slowly roll my weight off the bed there is a better chance of me actually being able to make it over to my desk. With my resolve hardened, I take the next five minutes maybe, slowly shifting my weight further onto the floor. Safely on the ground I take a minute to relax, my next big obstacle is of my own making, literally.

“I suppose this is what I get for leaving all those cardboard boxes...well everywhere,” I muse to myself, before getting to my feet. As I straighten up my head starts to pound, much worse than it has been previously and I stop. My hands pressing into my temples as I try to alleviate some of the throbbing. After maybe a minute the throbbing subsides and I’m able to focus on my goal.

“Desk here I come.” I whisper as softly as I can manage. Picking my way through the field of boxes is harder than it looks when you’re exhausted; every movement is heavier every step takes longer to calculate, that is if you have the patience for it. This was a terrible idea, I should have just stayed in bed. Even if I tire myself out writing I’ll still have to make it back to the bed without waking Mia up. I should really start thinking these things through more. The closer I get to the desk the fewer boxes lining my path, and after only a few more steps a clear path to the chair awaits me.

“I definitely need to clean these boxes up, but I’m not going to tell her she was right… not if I want to hear the end of it at least,” I whisper to no one, the lack of sound in the room finally getting the better of me. Quickly taking my seat in the chair, I skim my journal until I find a bit of usable blank space. It’s not very much but it’s enough for what I need.

Dear whoever’s reading this,

These last few days have been tough. Tougher than anything I’ve faced before the apocalypse. I met this girl Mia, she was really rude at first but even in that first meeting she was helping me. If you ever meet her, don’t let her fool you. She’s a good person… well as far as I can tell. I don’t really think we have a plan going forward, but I know we’re going to be fine I can feel it.

I have to skim through my journal a bit more until I find another small bit of blank space.

Dear Mia,

If you read the other journal entry don’t you dare change it! This is my journal and I can write what I want. You asked me today if I was staring at something, and I told you no. I lied, you are the most mesmerizing person I have ever laid eyes on. I could get lost in your eyes for hours. And I also know there is no way I’m going to ever tell you this, so if you’re reading this I better be dead and buried.

I sit there for a minute staring at the words I’ve just written on the page, my face flushed red. What did I just write?! Where did that even come from? Okay so I know where that came from, but why did I write it this early? Late? At night? There is no way I’m going to ever let her see this, not if I want to be able to be in the same room as her. Oh god, if this is how embarrassing relationships are going to be I don’t know if I want one. Something is nagging at the back of my mind, I flex my fingers itching to write my last thought. With one thing left on my mind I put my pencil back down to the paper, a very small blank space the only one left near this last entry.

P.s I really love the way you call me Miss Mystery.

With my face flushed even more than before I quickly close my journal and gently set my pencil down next to it. Almost immediately after the pencil leaves my hand I have to stifle a yawn.

“I really hope that means I can fall asleep now,” I whisper softly as I turn around to look at the bed longingly. Why must you forsake me so bed! Focusing back where I’m looking I see that my eyes have rested on Mia’s sleeping form. I stifle another yawn before my mind registers what I’m looking at and I quickly look anywhere but at Mia.

“Stop staring at people when they sleep, that is definitely too creepy,” I whisper to myselff, smacking my cheeks softly to keep my head in the game. I close my eyes for a minute, just to take in the sounds of the room. There’s really only the sound of Mia’s even breathing and my somewhat irregular breathing. There’s no cars passing by or even the light sound of insects or crickets in the yard. I quickly open my eyes as I feel myself falling forward slightly. I stumble a few steps forward, luckily catching myself before I completely crushed a box.

“God I need to sleep,” I think to myself as my head starts pounding again. I push my hand into my left temple messaging the worst point of the throbbing and the headache quickly backs off. Not waiting to start nodding off again I slowly pick my way through the many boxes that litter the ground. Soon enough I’m standing above the bed again and I pause. How do I get in without waking her up? I have to stifle another yawn and I rub my eyes tiredly.

“You know what? She’s probably fast asleep by now I doubt my sitting down would wake up a heavy sleeper like that.” And with that I gently lower myself down onto the bed. Once laying back down on my mattress I quickly recover myself with the comforter, welcoming the heat that comes with it. I sigh contentedly as the heat envelops me and settle in for the night. It doesn’t take long for me to fall asleep, for hopefully the third and final time tonight.

Hands roaming where they shouldn’t, rope pulling my wrists together, John yelling. Everything is muddled and mixed together, swirling when it shouldn’t be. Clothes are pulled off and I struggle. Rough hands push me and hold me down, I kick and yell before my face is forced down. I panic and kick harder trying to break free, He punches me in the face and I see stars. John yells louder before I hear him cry out in pain, I crane my head over and see blood. He’s stalking back towards me, wiping blood off his hands and I pull against the ropes harder. He scowls, stomps over to me and his boot rushes towards my face.

My eyes fly open and I almost sigh in relief. I lie there in bed, just focusing on my breathing and keeping it level. There’s a shift next to me and I almost jump out of my skin before I remember why. I hate that I can’t get away from it, that every night I’m dragged back to that day back to… what he did. I massage my forehead, trying to clear my thoughts. It works to a degree, but not enough. It’s never enough. It’s always there in the back of my mind, no matter how hard I try to keep it out.

“Freaking Mystery Girl,” I mumble to myself, turning my head to look at her. She’s sound asleep, her hand is resting curled up next to her face. When she’s asleep like this there’s no pain lining her features, she seems...content. Unlike the last time I saw her asleep without a mask on. There I go again, I silently scold myself. She’s making me all mushy and shit. I can’t afford to be mushy, I need to be sharp and focused. I need to leave the past in the past and focus on the what lies ahead. Being distracted leads to mistakes, and in this world mistakes lead to a body count. Mystery girls sighs and shifts next to me, her hand reaches for me before falling back onto the bed. I feel my cheeks go red before I realize why.

“Damn it,” I mutter to myself, forcefully bringing my attention to the ceiling. I haven’t gotten nearly enough rest and I know if I don’t at least try to sleep I’ll be regretting it in the morning. I close my eyes and try to clear my mind, hoping that I’ll be able to at least drift off for another few hours.

Five minutes pass….then ten, maybe even twenty before I sigh and open my eyes again. I roll over towards Mystery Girl in an attempt to...change something, anything to let my mind rest. I take in her face, the way that she twitches, ever so slightly while she sleeps. How I can see her eyes darting back and forth, underneath her eyelids. I stay like this for awhile, looking at her, taking her in while she sleeps. I find my eyelids drooping and smile to myself. Of course I can fall asleep now, I think as I drift off.

“Mia! Mia are you okay?!” John yells, I can hear him struggling against his ropes, but I just can’t bring myself to answer him. Everything seems surreal, like nothing is happening and everything is happening at the same time.

“Mia please! Answer me!” John is all but begging me to say something anything, but I can’t. It’s like there’s a haze, I open my mouth to say something, but no sound comes out. I flex my hands hoping that they’ve come free, but the ropes are still achingly tight around my wrists. I can hear John struggling, and I can hear his boots scuffing against the floor.

“Mia, just give me something!” John is pleading, his voice full of desperation. I ball my hand into a fist and knock it against the floor. Only a small thump sounds, but John stops struggling.

“Mia?” John questions with trepidation. I knock again, trusting my actions but not my words. “Thank god,” John sighs, and I can hear the tension leaving his voice. My eyes are closed and I make sure to keep them that way, I don’t want to see what he’s done to my home. If I don’t open my eyes everything is how I remember it, everything’s still fine and nothing will have happened.

“Finally,” I hear John sigh as the soft thump of something falling to the floor makes its way to my ears. “I’m gonna get you out of there I promise Mia. Just give me a second and I’ll get you.” His words register, but little else does. Everything is still how it was, everything is fine nothing happened. Everything is fine nothing happened. Everything is-

“Mia!” John calls my name, and suddenly I realize he’s by my side. “Oh god, Mia.” John’s voice breaks and I can hear sadness and anger in it.

“Please,” My voice breaks on the single word. I swallow and take a second to lick my lips before I try again.

“Please, get these ropes off me.” My voice is uneven and horse, but John doesn’t hesitate. I feel his warm hands on my wrists and I flinch, unable to help myself.

“God Mia, I’m- I’m sorry,” John whispers as he frees my hands. My arms are free and it’s like a damn bursts. My eyes fly open, and the light blinds me a bit, but I can still make out John’s form. I practically lunge forward, and cling to him around the middle. He makes a soft sound, before his arms wrap around me as fiercely as mine are around him. It takes me some time before I realize that John’s shirt is wet and more time for me to realize why.

“It’s okay Mia, I’ll keep you safe,” I can barely hear John, his voice is muffled coming from behind my back. One of his hands move, and he strokes my hair like he used to when I was little and it makes me cry harder.

“I got you Mia,” John soothes, “I won’t let anything happen to you.”

“Promise?” I whisper pulling my face away from his chest only slightly.

“I promise Mia.” John answers hardly missing a beat, and there’s a sort of tone to his voice that I’ve never heard before. “As long as I’m here I won’t let anything happen to you.” And suddenly I feel safe again, I know as long as he’s here I’ll be safe.

My eyes open and I find myself back in the bunker, tears slowly making their way down my cheeks. It’s been awhile since I’ve woken up crying and it’s still as unsettling as it was last time it happened. I wipe my face, and resign myself to the fact that I won’t be able to get back to sleep. If I can’t sleep I might as well clean up this pigsty of a bunker.

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