Chapter 11: Bye, Felicia!
Comforting voices filled my ears as a hand stroked my cheek and forehead. My head hurt so much. The dizziness made me unsure if I should respond to the talking voices or not. I was afraid the outside world was spinning too quickly for me to keep up. Vomiting wasn't something I usually found soothing.
"Macca," a gentle voice urged. "Open your eyes, sweetheart." The same hand stroked my forehead again.
"She's stable," an unfamiliar female voice said. "Just give her time to recuperate."
I finally slid my eyelids open.
Trent's mother gasped. "Oh, Macca! You're okay!" she said with relief, lightly patting my cheek to wake me up more.
I saw another woman standing off to the side, a kasa rice hat on her head. Her short black hair barely touched the strap to a brown leather bag that dangled from her shoulder. She knelt down next to my head and felt my forehead for a hot temperature. "You're going to be fine," she assured me. She looked up at Charlotte. "She needs sleep, but she'll be back on her feet in the morning."
Charlotte nodded. "Thank you." As the woman walked away, Charlotte tucked her hands underneath my shoulders. "Come on, sweetie. Up you go."
I hesitantly sat up and nearly screamed.
Dead bodies scattered the ground with grieving families around them. Blood stained the tiles. The woman who examined me we went to another injured man who had a bloody shirt. A little girl cried next to him, clenching his hand.
What madness happened here? The last thing I remembered was looking into that serpentine's eyes…
"Oh no," I hoarsely breathed.
"It's okay," Charlotte said. "Nobody's being held responsible. The Serpentine have been defeated and they're not coming back."
"Shh…it's okay." She tried lifting me to my feet. I went ahead and shakily did it myself. "You need rest." With a hand around my back and the other holding my hand, I was led towards the house.
Before I got inside, I frantically looked around the damaged courtyard. There was so much blood…so many injured people…
The only other thing I noticed that was peculiar was a wheelbarrow that was tipped over. Candy was dispersed on the ground around it.
"Please, sweetie, come inside," Charlotte insisted, pulling me through the door.
I looked over my shoulder one last time before the door closed behind us. I felt as if I were being watched. It was probably to seek revenge for the murders I didn't remember committing.
Those horrible images kept me from functioning for the rest of the day. My stomach churned at the smell of Charlotte's meals. I felt so sick from food. Linus and Trent felt the same once they were brought back, their clothes stained in their victim's blood. They were found inside someone's home, in the process of devouring someone's son…Their vomiting went on for hours. I had to lock myself in a room all by myself to keep my breakfast inside. I peered out a window to see the cleanup of carcasses.
Oh god…I had whimpered, seeing a pregnant woman stand there as her husband's body was taken away.
I took innocent lives…I've ripped families apart…I've created parentless children…
I pressed my back to the wall and cried in silence until nightfall. By then, the courtyard was cleaned up, but the memories would always be stained and contaminated on that cold ground.
The box enclosed me within the darkness of the room once again. My tired body lay beneath the wool comforter. The ceiling remained blank as I continued to see the images in my head. As the curtains gently swayed from the window I left open, I saw murder. When the light breeze tickled my nose, I felt a trickle of blood instead. And with all these horrible illusions clouding reality from my soul, I somehow drifted asleep.
A porcelain ballerina rested in my careful grip. I concentrated on carrying it to the particular hospital room. Something flickered inside of my heart as I got closer and closer. It was loving and contained the promise of protection to a little soul.
What I carried was a gift. My fingers caressed the ballerina's petite waist and slim legs. Her delicate hands posed over her blonde bun and her pink tutu. The most striking feature of this little figurine was the thin, ribbon shoes. Her toes were pointed, as if they would rest on a stage and support her as she majestically posed for the awestruck audience.
This gift was for a precious little girl. She could one day be just like this figurine: beautiful and endowed. Right now, she was nothing more than a beloved newborn baby. As I stood outside the room in the maternity ward, I could already imagine the mother snuggling her baby daughter into the warmth of her chest.
I quietly opened the door to greet the mother when the earsplitting screeching impaled my hearing. My eyes shot open as I jolted awake in the bed. The screech wasn't real, but the burning pain in my neck was.
"Gah!" I recoiled, pulling away from the pain.
A force followed my pull, not relaxing the grip or trying to fight me. From the corner of my eye, I could see a dim figure latched onto me. Her eyes were blank and they preserved an emotion I'd never seen before.
Jen! I mentally panicked.
Her eyes were squinted as she tried to destroy me. Her teeth gripped my neck, ruining my dream and sending me images of what was out in that courtyard. Blood…bodies…screaming…crying…She was actually a parasite right now. Glistening tears streamed down onto my pillow with each agonizing flashback. I couldn't move or find a way out. This was a lesson to learn, that I was unable to be free of my sad and angry and unhappy shackles. I was Jen's slave. I was her feeding tube. She ruled my life.
I wasn't prepared for her to attack me. This was to the extreme, especially for her. She was being ferocious right now, stealing all my emotions in a frenzy. The images changed every second, each more vulgar than the last. Eventually, I saw a little girl on her knees, her face buried in her hands as she sobbed. Her mother's and father's dead bodies lay on the ground. A deep and bloody cavity gaped in both their chests where people devoured their insides. What struck me most about the scene was the fact that the girl had curly brown hair and tan skin…
You monster!I screamed in my head.
Blistering fury boiled inside of me. Her feeding increased, but it was too much for her to take in all at once. It was awful to see the pain of other families being destroyed and ripped apart, but seeing a representation of a fake image, one that mocked me because I was an orphan, had gone too far.
I unthinkingly reached up and yanked her hair. The force caused her to release me. I used all my strength to propel her over me. She tumbled to the floor when I let go. I panted from the sudden halt of my emotions. My hands hovered over my face as I contemplated what just happened. I couldn't…touch her. I couldn't figure out how–
She crashed into me, her teeth bared. I defended myself and hit her repeatedly. She bit my finger. I cringed and used my knees to throw her forward. I heard her head collide with the back of the bed frame. Knowing she was disoriented, I scrambled underneath the blankets and began crawling. I could feel her regain steadiness and tried biting me through the comforter. I continued to shimmy through the buildup of my own body heat. Once I found the end of the bed, I popped the comforter out from being tucked in between the frame and mattress.
Blank eyes caught me as I tried to slide out. Her weightless hands gripped my hair and pulled me the rest of the way out. She scratched my cheek and punched me, sending the emotions straight out of me. Suddenly she couldn't resist. She let go of me and took in those discarded and floating emotions. I took the opportunity to throw a kick directly to her face. When the shot of pain came after the collision, I rolled onto my knees and ran for the door.
I was too slow. Before I could open the door, Jen shoved me up against it. Her fist pounded my back. Fighting the pain, I reverted around and wrapped my hands around her neck.
See how you like it,I taunted her, throwing her against the wall and choking her.
I wanted her to feel the agonizing pain she gave me with the heart wrenching scene of the little girl. I wanted her to suffer.
She struggled against my strength, silently choking and digging her nails into my skin as hard as she could. After finally enduring too many inflictions, I quickly punched her in the gut to distract her. She winced without making a sound. I used the opportunity to tear the door open and shove her out.
I had to hold the door closed as she beat against it. My overload of emotions kept her from materializing through the wood. I locked the door and pressed my whole body against it. When her harsh pounding stopped, I realized what just happened.
I ran towards the glass wall, the one that separated my sad and happy side. My body was bruised and scratched and hurting as I ran. My parasite savagely chased me.
The abundant paradise on the other side of the wall lay untouched and plentiful. I didn't care how I got there, whether I had to break through it or not, but once I got there, I would be free of Jen. She could not disturb me nor could she torture me. The freedom was so close that I could already smell the flowers it contained.
I never forced myself to get rid of Jen like this before. The result of this was unknown to me. What if this wasn't the solution to get away from Jen?
She was right at my heels, not slowing down one bit. Where the lush grass on my happy side began was where the transparent wall was. I could see a portion of it reflect the light slightly.
I covered my head with my arms to brace myself. All I knew was that there was going to be either a crash or a dangerous bounce. The risk I was taking was worth it, though. I kept the image of the little girl in my mind. It gave me reason to do this. I refused to continue to live my life like this.
I couldn't see when I collided into it. The glass shattered in all directions. The noise kept me from feeling any pieces embedding into my body. I tumbled forward, my hair flying. Lush grass cushioned my fall.
"Oof!" I grunted. The impact sent the air straight out of my lungs. I rolled over and coughed, trying to suck in air and regain normal breathing, but it hurt. Once the sun filled my eyes and I finally found a steady rhythm in my lungs again, I sat up.
The glass wall was completely smooth and undisturbed. The hole I supposedly created was no longer there.
A little gray figure sat on the other side. Her head and shoulders were slumped over, but as soon as we made eye contact, she bolted up and smacked her palms against the glass. Her mouth flew open to scream, but I couldn't hear her. We were now in different realms in my mind. She didn't have the ability to cross over.
The little girl returned to my thinking. Sadness filled me again, which was weird. If I was in my happy side realm now, I should be happy, but that image kept me from finding that feeling.
Rustling sounded from behind me. I turned around and saw someone peering over a big rock. As soon as she noticed me looking, she ducked to hide. The sadness morphed. It became stronger. That was when I knew I still couldn't be happy, because Jen inflicted me with a wound that hurt more than the breakup.
I used an episode of Spongebob Squarepants as a reference. I picked up a nearby twig and traced a circle in the fertile soil around me. The circle wasn't so I would be protected by a seabear attack, but so my happy side would know I wasn't ready for her presence as I sat there with my knees tucked into my chest.