When inspiration hits, it's with a baseball bat. Made of metal.
"Wait, so he hit you?"
"Well, yeah, but--"
"Why are you still with him? What is wrong with you?"
"I'm not still with him, per se. I'm on a break with him."
"That break should be permanent."
"You don't understand!"
"The moment a guy hits you, you should be out the door, no questions asked. You never know if he's going to do it again."
"It's not his fault!"
"No, right. His hand detached from his body and smacked you right across the cheek. Look at that! That bruise looks horrible. And you're defending him?"
"Wait, so she hit...
My feet ached, but it was well worth it. I stood in front of the house, my chest heaving with the effort of my panting. Oxygen could not come to me quickly enough, and yet, I kept sighing, wanting to prepare myself for this moment. I slowly walked up to the door, biting my lip. Should I knock? Should I wait for someone to show up? I looked around-- there was a car nearby. I hurriedly brushed the tears from my face and peeked inside the window. I couldn't see anyone inside. Perhaps now would be the best time. Right...
Daring to be noticed for the first time in her life, she pushed her chair back and stood up.
"Malcolm, what are you doing?" The teacher frowned slightly.
"They're not freaks," she said, quiet but emphatic. "And they're not faking for attention. It's not a disorder, and it's not an illness. It's just a way of being."
The words had been running through her head for the past twenty minutes as the teacher had started talking about gender identity disorder, in which people didn't identify with the biological sex that they were born into.
"I'm sorry, Malcolm, but it's in...
For some reason, I couldn't stop staring at the picture. It was... gorgeous, sure. The colors were somewhat exaggerated, leaving me with the sick feeling you get when you eat something that's got so much sugar in it, it might as well be syrup. The writing at the top is what really got my attention. I never really understood the whole point of Christ.
I mean, here we are, a bunch of people living on this planet that God created, and we're all pieces of crap destined to go to hell because we're just that bad. And along comes Christ...
"You can count me out."
"What? Why? Come on, it's only one little job. The last one we'll ever need."
I looked at him warily. "I don't even want to know. Just let me go back home. I'd really rather not get involved in this."
"You're the best hacker we know."
"EX-hacker," I growled through gritted teeth. "I'm done with all of this."
"You're not done. Your heart is racing. You remember the thrill of a job."
I couldn't very well say no to that point, at least. My heart was pounding in my chest. I could feel the blood...
I'm dead. Really dead. Not in the "there'll be a twist at the end and I'll be saved" kind of way. Just dead.
Surprisingly, I don't mind all that much. It's much calmer out here in the abyss. There's a strange peace that comes with being nothing. Or, rather, not being. There is a difference, you see.
Because I am not, I am able to not be wherever I like. And I am not in the middle of everything.
While I was alive, I loved stories. Stories were incredible things. I would look for them everywhere-- music, movies, books, newspapers,...
It was the fall that surprised me the most.
I knew how it was supposed to feel. I'd been through it before. Gravity would pull me into the clutches of the wind as I silently watched you ascend the sky of my esteem, shining bright. I let everything rush by me. I knew that, though I was drawing warmth from you, you would be just as the sun, emitting light without focusing on me.
I'd been through it before. I thought I was supposed to cross my arms and let my head hang back as it consumed me.
In the morning, he'd wake up, stretch a bit and roll up his things into a small bundle and be on his merry way. There was a gym nearby with public access to the showers, where he'd wash his clothes and hang them to dry on a curtain bar somewhere as he brushed, shaved, showered and took care of his other personal grooming.
After that, he hopped on the back of a trolley and got his exercise for the day walking from the trolley stop on the edge of town to the orchard just a mile down the road. He'd...
Until now, she'd never thought of herself as pretty.
She'd never thought of herself as anything close to it. Too tall, too dark, too weird-looking in general, too much stomach fat and too small a face and too much that was just plain wrong.
Too little personality at first and then too weird a personality later. Too much for other people to deal with.
Too timid to speak up, too hinged on other people's expectations of her.
Too affected by what others said, too stupid to bring up her own ideas or her own thoughts.
And how that's changed.
Travel light, but take everything with you. Pack your life into a suitcase. Compress a room of memories, dreams, nightmares, hopes, pain and happiness, take the few essentials and clear out.
That's what this feels like. I have to choose which of my memories are the most important to me. Pack them away into a suitcase and walk right out that door, never again to see the ones I left behind.
Clothes. A necessity. As many as possible-- I might not have the money to get more for a while.
Toiletries. Also a given.
Books? Well, with three shelves filled,...