She parked her car at the very end of the street. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t hers, it was her foster parents’. Her seventh. The ones that she ran away from eight days ago. The ones that probably worried more about their car’s whereabouts than their foster daughter’s safety. Fuck that.
She was still feeling sorry for the rose petals she left behind when her footsteps slowed down. The sea of students behind didn’t. She missed a step. Before she knew it, her arms were flailing in the air, and she lurched down towards the staircase. Face first.
the monster is awake.
it is a bad day.
it reaches inside my cage,
it starts clawing me,
I tell it to stop.
it replies back, you deserve it.
you are nothing,
you are pathetic,
you are despicable.
I open my mouth to scream,
but all that comes out is, I agree.
She glanced at her mom’s unfinished work still standing on the kitchen counter. Her creations were often so intricate, so delicate that they took Cassandra’s breath away, and this one was no different. Eleanor King was quite the mechanic. A witch, as she called herself. “I can make anything for you and your dad,” she used to say.
And she, trembling, pulled a black plastic bag from under the robot vacuum’s wheels—it lifted itself, ever so slightly, almost as if thrusting its imaginary arms in the air.
She turned around to face the silenced crowd with tears in her eyes, tears that Harlow spilled less than ten minutes ago. She wordlessly pointed at the speaker, which played ominously in the background, breaking through the atmosphere, which finally got the audience its owner yearned for.
None of them say another word for a few seconds. Both of them stand in the rain, one much more orange than the other, one in search of the other. He opens his mouth, but his arm, raised in the direction of the janitor, did not know whether to chase the umbrella or his sister. His mouth closes on its own.
It was the name the mother shrieked out when she discovered her son lying on the cold asphalt. It was the name that her public defender mentioned more times than she liked. It also happened to be the result of her actions. A victim. A label.
We get to look at each other. It’s an unspoken rule, a schedule, a habit: almost a friendship. But not quite. We don’t even know each other’s names. A quick exchange of recognition and she’s no longer in my sight.