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Rivers Diary

By Ruth Dempsey


Dear Diary.....

Some days are clear and I feel in control but others I feel like I'm losing myself. There's no escape from the voices but occasionally they're quiet enough to handle. It's like I'm stuck in a room in a constant battle to stop them from entering. I can push the door closed but they fight back. There's no lock and no key. There's no weapons I can use to defend myself. I'm at a disadvantage and outnumbered. 
I'm scared.

The light shines down like a spotlight. I hear music. I feel my body move and without telling it what to do my body starts to dance. My muscles remember the steps from my past and I don't miss a beat. Its as natural to me as breathing. I hear a distant laugh but I can't see who made the noise. The lights too bright. I'm spinning too fast. I feel dizzy and slump on the floor. 
The laughter came from me.

I can't think or breathe as the voices fill my head. My shaking hands pull at my hair and claw at my ears.
Make it stop.
Make it stop.
But even if I cut off my ears I'll still hear them. I can't escape my own brain. I choke on a scream. I hear the voices of the others. The people like me who are still imprisoned. They're begging for help.
They're hurting us.

My heart races as I dart around furniture and people. I turn my head to see my pursuer catching up to me but I refuse to be defeated. I launch myself around the corner and run into my brother, knocking both us off our feet. As we try to untangle ourselves Kaylee trips and lands on top of us. We lay in a heap laughing.
I feel truly happy.

My stomach growls and I wander into the kitchen on a hunt for something sweet. I open a drawer and find a flower, a beautiful red rose. I bring it to my brother to present it proudly as a gift. 
Why does he look scared? 
He begs me to put it down because its dangerous. I try to explain that its safe, there are no thorns. In the corner of my eye Jayne reaches for his gun. My grip tightens on the stem. The petals start to fall. My hands are red. I drop the flower and my brother puts a bandage on my hand. 
Why was there a rose in the kitchen?
Why am I bleeding?

My body feels worn and my mind screams with every movement. I lay very still and listen. I hear Kaylee tinkering with something and my brothers heavy breathing as he sleeps in the chair beside me. I'm in the infirmary again. I don't remember why I'm here. Kaylee notices that I'm awake and smiles but her eyes are sad and tired. She puts down her screwdriver and gently pulls a blanket over me. She wakes my brother and he tells me everything is okay. I hate when he puts me to sleep but he saved me and brought me here. 
My big brother will keep me safe.

Mal sits at the table and carefully cleans his gun. His face is focused and his movements are almost hypnotic. I take a step closer as he obsessively cleans the gun that has been cleaned every day at the same time despite not being used in weeks. I ask him why does he clean it so often when there's no need. He says that if you don't treat a gun right it might jam on you and he doesn't want to die just yet. I point out the contradiction of how he doesn't want to die but always risks his life for others. He simply states that he would be sad if anyone on this ship died. 
But death is inevitable. That means that his sadness is inescapable. I tell him this and he smiles and says he would be sad if I died too. I am surprised and after a moment I tell him that when he dies I will get revenge.
I want to protect everyone.
Let me be your weapon.

I wander around the ship absent mindedly and as I get closer to the kitchen I start to hear humming. I sneak a peek and see Shepard working on today's dinner. He spots me and gestures for me to join him. I sit and watch him work. I ask him what is the tune he is humming and he tells me its a hymn about the birth of his savior. I question once again why he believes something so illogical. He simply smiles and shakes his head. He asks me if anything gives me hope. I consider it and then nod, thinking about how I held on to the hope that my brother would figure out my message while I fought to cling to my sanity.
Faith is a beautiful thing, he tells me.

There's so much noise and so many voices yelling for my attention I can't decipher what they're saying. There's screams and cries and whispers and murmurs and manic laughter. Occasionally words are loud enough to be heard over the mob.
No escape.
Save us.
I run and hide. I curl up in a ball and hold my head in my hands. My scream joins the others.

This time Wash is the one who finds me. He approaches slowly and sits a few feet away from me. I can feel myself regaining control again. For a few minutes I sit watching his lips move but I can't hear what he's saying. I think he realizes this but he keeps going and it gives me something to focus on. Once my breathing returns to normal he asks if I like dinosaurs. I nod and he helps me stand. I follow him to the cockpit and he hands me a triceratops toy. We begin to play games with the plastic dinosaurs and I tell him all the facts I remember reading about in books when I was a kid. 
I named the triceratops Felicity. 

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