Hiding. She was hiding again.
Her hands rested rigidly in her lap; cold, knotted fingers strangled each other in a clamp-tight hold. Underneath the thin sheet of skin, she could feel each convulsing pump of her heart as the pulse throbbed steadily.
A loud peal of laughter erupted from the other side of the wall; she heard but did not look up. The familiar sense of longing gripped her insides with a gnarled hand and twisted painfully. The ache was raw and overpowering, but a lifetime of practice had taught her the way to anaesthetise such foolish desires, how to numb those wishful cravings. She remained still.
Outside her safety base, the door opened. The echoing quietness of the air disintegrated as two tittering girls stumbled in. Suddenly trembling, she drew her interlocked hands closer to her body and bit her lips in fear.
"Finish your Maths homework, Gwen?" One girl asked.
"Crap! Don't tell me it was in for today?!" Exclaimed the other.
"Oh man, she's going to kill you!"
Inside her cubicle, the girl let go of the breath she had been holding. Relief flooded into her as panic ebbed away. She disengaged her fingers and wiped away the cold, clammy sheen of sweat onto her skirt. She had escaped this time, it wasn't them.
She stayed where she was nevertheless, glancing at her watch patiently as she waited for the duo to depart.
"C'mon Rach, stop fussing with your hair! For God's sake, it looks fine! Hurry up, the bell's going to ring in a minute."
"Alright, alright. I'm coming."
Their voices faded as the door swung shut behind them. A reverberating stillness overtook the toilet once more.
There was silence.
A lock clicked. Slowly, with tentative hesitations, the turquoise cubicle door finally swayed open and she stepped out at last. To her left, she heard the deafening shrieking of the school bell scream out like a tortured banshee, and noted the hustle and bustle of people cramming around as they desperately rushed to reach class in time. In her mind's eyes, she could see them propel each other backwards and forwards like waves in a sea, a raging sea in which a thunderous storm was brewing steadily.
She leant against the cool, tiled walls and waited.
Slowly, minute by minute, the boisterous hubbub beyond the plain, wooden door quietened down; in the sea, the waves have retreated back to their normal, lethargic rhythm. The only sound she could hear was the inaudibly shrill ringing in her ears. It was time to go.
It was always time to go…
No, she smiled silently to herself, not this time. This time it's for real. This time I'm not going to wait. I'm going to leave this place… for good.
Keeping this thought in mind as a comfort, she pulled open the door and strode into the empty corridor. As the turquoise door swung shut behind her, a deep sense of freedom rushed into her every cell. No longer should she hide in there everyday, with only silence as company; no longer should she cower in fear, even if it was just the mention of their names. No. No more. After today, she would never have to see them again; she would never have to endure torture again.
As she wandered past the numerous classrooms, she determinedly kept her eyes trained on the floor. She didn't quite know what she would feel if she was to peer in; all she knew was that whatever it was, it would only lead to hurt in the end…
She pushed open the door to outside. An icy gust of unforgiving wind bellowed into her fiercely, a thousand merciless needles pierced into her skin.
But, her heart plummeted as she suddenly saw, it seemed that hurt wasn't going to let her go so easily after all.
It was them.
They must have skipped class. Four large, dark figures stood guard by the gate; wispsof silver smoke issued out of their smirking lips, the wind soon dispersed them into oblivion.
Paralysed before the doorway, her body began to tremble uncontrollably. Desperately, she prayed that they wouldn't turn, that they wouldn't see her. But it was a hope too naïve.
One of them noticed her. She felt her heart give a violent lurch as a sneer crawled onto his features. Smirking, he gleefully nudged the others. Soon, she found four identical leers directed her way.
She stood, frozen to the spot, her body completely irresponsive to the frantic yells in her head. Move! Move!!
"Well, well, well… Look what we've got here."
Four menacing pillars enclosed around her, trapping her. She quailed under their mocking gazes; in their eyes, there was nothing but darkness, nothing but evil. She dropped her eyes quickly.
"Cutting classes now, are we?" The largest, evilest one continued, blowing a puff of smoke into her face. "Trying to be a rebel like us eh?"
She coughed as the repulsive odour of cigarettes wafted into her nose, but did not look up. Suddenly, a rough hand grabbed her chin and raised it up forcefully.
"Look at me when I'm speaking to you, freak!" He hissed savagely.
She winced, finding herself once again looking at her struggling reflection in those evil eyes. She squirmed futilely in his grip. Tears started to bubble threatening in her eyes. Let me go… Please…
"Aw look, the little baby is crying." He cooed jeeringly. "Isn't that sad?" The others sniggered in response. A doleful tear escaped her eye; she felt it trickle slowly down her pale cheek in one lonely path. Her tormentor smirked in satisfaction, and let her go.
As she dropped her head, more tears fell to join the first; like a broken chain of glittering beads, it was impossible to restrain them. She bit down on her quivering lip, repressing the silent sobs wreaking her inside.
"Oh look, loser girl is being bullied." The evil one mocked. He grabbed me and put on an expression of pseudo-concern. "Call for help, why don't ya? 'Help! Help! Somebody help me!'"
They laughed loudly.
"Oh wait a second, you can't shout can you? Okay, how about this." He waved his hands maniacally in the air, making silent gestures. The laughter rose higher. She did the only thing she could and clenched her eyes shut.
He peered down at her, "What? You want to be blind as well?! Oh okay, we'll give you a taste of it then." He pushed her.
She fell with a crash, sending her torturers into another laughing frenzy. She felt a searing pain across her palms and knees and knew they were bleeding. Trembling with shame and hatred at herself for not being able to do anything, she stood up shakily and turned her back on them. She didn't want them to see her cry. She didn't want them to control her anymore.
With her heart aching inside, she unlocked her legs and began to run.
"Yeah, that's right, run away." They shouted after her, "Run away, you dumb freak. You don't belong here… no, you don't belong anywhere. And you never will! So do everyone a bloody favour and never show your oh I-can't-speak-so-I-should-be-treated-differently, ugly face to us again! Yo! D'you hear me, dumbo?!"
Their raucous laughter faded away slowly as she ran and ran. Drivers honked their disapproval at her as she fled past and pedestrians simply stared. She gripped the jumper before her chest, clinging onto it so tightly as if that was the only way to hold her heart together. But inside, her scarred heart had already shattered into millions of pieces again. And each piece, like the shards of a mirror, had pierced itself into her inner walls. Tearing, slicing, killing…
She fell; collapsed on the sidewalk in exhaustion.
They were right. There was no place for her to be. There was nowhere for her to belong. The world would never accept a mute girl like her; she would never fit in. She was an outcast, always have been and always will be. It wasn't something she could deny, or change; it was her fate. She knew that, and she'd accepted it already, a long time ago.
Even her mother a stranger she wouldn't recognise, couldn't remember, had abandoned her. When the doctors told the woman that the baby in her arms was never to speak, she took the liberty to dump the sleeping infant into a dustbin, before motherly tucking her in with old newspapers. An alcoholic later stumbled upon the said baby; and thus she lived.
However, it seemed that childhood had died there. Orphanage became her new home, an improvement to the dustbin perhaps, but the loneliness never left. No child wanted to play with her. No parent wanted to adopt her. It wasn't long before she realised, loneliness was her one and only friend. Just like now… Nothing had changed.
Snapping back to reality, she suddenly realised she had stopped crying. And, again all of a sudden, it didn't hurt anymore. The pain was gone, inexplicably, just… gone. Everything was hollow now, empty. She knew that if she now heard someone laughing right in front of her, she wouldn't feel a single pang of envy. She blinked as she realised something else, the longing has gone too.
Wh-what's going on…?
An ear-splitting whistle answered her question. Startled from her thoughts, she lifted her head to the sound and shut her eyes in pain at the two flashing lights. It was then that she suddenly became aware of her surroundings. There was something solid and cool in her hands, she glanced down. Then realisation hit her: she was sitting on a tramline.
Time seemed to freeze.
She stared silently at the metal railings gleaming underneath her, and gazed up at the horrified, panic-striken face of the conductor. And all at once, everything clicked into place. She knew what was happening… and what was going to happen.
The metal track quaked thunderously as the tram approached closer and closer. The terrorized face of the conductor evolved into hysteria. But she just sat there, calm and silent.
There was no hurt, there was no pain… Not anymore. The mute girl only smiled prettily at the blaring lights as she waited for the inevitable.
God, it seemed, had accepted her.
This is actually for my English coursework. I'm really shocked that I actually got full marks for it! :D I wrote this story two years ago but now I've improved it (a lot). If you want to see the old version, it's called Hidden Fears but I'm going to remove it soon.
Hope you enjoyed it. Review please!