The arrival

I walk into a room overwhelmed in pink and orange ribbons. She tells me to put my things down on the bench in the hallway on the way to the kitchen. There's a paper sign at the hallways end hanging down, it reads WELCOME HOME. It looks as though it was done by a little kid, five or six maybe.

I walk into the kitchen and find myself surrounded by friends and family. I barely recognize a soul.

My mother is the first the people greet, welcoming her home from her long six months without them. I miss you, I hear. And, I'm so glad your home, another one says.

They look at me in a different way than they do her. Half pity, half surprise, as though I am not what they expected me to be.

I inwardly cringe, but on the outside I take it all in. If there was ever a time to run, this would be it. But I didn't move back, instead I was walking slowly forward, into the crowd of strangers.

"So this is the long lost daughter?" I hear someone say from my right.

And then there hugging me, telling me how much they've always wanted to meet me, how nice it is that I'm there. I can't do anything but stand there and take the abuse. If only this were different, if only he wasn't gone…

I stop myself from going in this direction again. I knew what happened when I went there. I'd spent that couple of months on antidepressants. I was not going back to being monitored twenty-four hours a day. Every other moment she would walk in, every other moment she acted as though I would be the next to die any second. If she weren't there I wouldn't be either. If she was, well then I guess I still was. She hadn't made things better. Having her constantly around had made me want to scream, and I had considered running away even before a minute ago quite a bit actually.

But I didn't because I didn't know how.

I couldn't breathe most of the time, or move. Sometimes I'd wake up and lay there not wanting to relive knowing he wasn't there. Sometimes I would get up and pretend he was and she wasn't. That always upset her the most, knowing that I still wasn't any better than before. That it seemed there was no end to my relapses. That the moment I made any recovery I stubbornly fought to stay closed off. Far away from her and as close as I could get to him, back in the darkness. I don't know why. But something in me changed, all those days without her had come back to me, and I couldn't forgive her, I just couldn't.

I don't know how I came out, I think with all the forgetting to breathe parts of my self-destruct. I forgot to fight to stay closed. I let myself go, and be real. It's like pushing on a glass window. You can only push so far, after that it shatters. There's no way to put it back together. There's no way to get what you had again. I couldn't help but feel guilty for it. I gave in. I let him down. I would never forgive myself.

Now I've created a different window. One I don't even try to break. I don't need too; it's not something I want to fight against. It's not something that can be destroyed. It's apart of me, glass running through my veins. I broke it on impact, won't let anyone build it back up. I let a part of me die. So I'd never forget him. That was my sacrifice. That was my gift to him.

How could I have not have been there? How could he have gone so quickly? I tried to stay closed, to only trust in myself and myself alone. But I needed to forget him, and so that was the next step to my recovery. The step no one knows about. I forgot his name, I forgot his scent, I even forgot how he smiled, and laughed, and yelled. I forgot how it felt to wake up in the morning dreading what I had in store for me. But mostly I simply forgot him.

This was my life. I was reborn. Into a whorl wind of things I did not understand. Into a life that consisted of bake sales and smiling faces. I had to admit, I had one thing similar to these people. We both knew what denial was.

There denial was their false perfection. Mine was my false normalcy. I knew the hurt and pain was still there, I just wouldn't give myself a reason for it. Pain that had no meaning; walking though without thinking, I didn't care anymore. As long as I breathed, as long as I got through the next second, and the one after that, I was fine. No one noticed, I was better, everyone was happy. Or at least that's the way it seemed.

The woman stopped hugging me long enough for another person to take her space, walking up and acting very shy.

I look up to see who it is. And when I do the face is eerily familiar. And then I remember the one friend I met of my mothers. The one who had come with her to pick up her things, the ones dad hadn't thrown out our apartment window.

I remember the day he…

The day flashes back into my mind and I see the clothes falling to the ground. The way they looked just like paper when the air catches it; slow and amazing.

I stopped breathing, began to panic, and then made myself start again before anyone noticed.

I noticed though.

My heart was beating faster than it had in quite a while. I didn't allow myself to finish the memory.

I doubted I ever would let myself again.

The girl in front of me now was not the friend though. She was younger with light brown hair. Her hair was falling all around her face. I could tell she was not going to be the kind of girl that talked to me at school. She would be far superior in the food chain as I put it. She was one of the IT crowd. I miss Abigail a lot all of a sudden.

When was the last time we talked? Really talked; it was before the funeral, before his death.

That day at school; we were waiting for her brother to pick us up but he was late.

So we walked to the freeway and got a ride with a total stranger. We had never done that before, but we had always wanted too.

Now I don't see why though. It hadn't been that fun. Some creep staring at you through his mirror; eying you every time you looked up. Or at least that's what I saw him doing from the passenger seat next to him.

Abigail was in the back.

It was fine until he reached over and put his hand on my knee. When I looked up he had a friendly enough smile on. But that had been the first moment I noticed the eyes behind the smile.

They were cold. He could change his demeanor so well, but those eyes. That was the moment I felt something wasn't right. I had made up my mind that we were getting out of this car as soon as we hit the next red light. The, who knows how many mile, walk home or not, I was out of here. Walking home or getting brutally murdered? Living to see the next day, maybe with the side effect of my feet killing me tomorrow, I'll take the latter.

But we weren't getting anymore red lights. We were heading out of town. I, for the first time in my life started to become scared. I knew what was going to happen next.

I looked back at Abigail and saw she was becoming uneasy too. Her eyes darted back and forth across the window. I could see the questions starting to form in her mind. She also noticed the man's hand.

I stared straight ahead. I couldn't move, couldn't breathe almost. My mind was moving a mile a minute.

We would stop. I'd get out and run as fast as I could, no. How? We'd stop, but then what. What would happen after that? Would he get out? Would he grab me and let Abby go? Would he find a way to keep us in? Then and there I decided he couldn't let one of us go. I wouldn't leave Abigail no matter what.

And we did stop. It wasn't a red light but it was a stop sign. As soon as we did Abigail was out of the door. She was heading the opposite way of the car.

I didn't expect her to wait; after all I was the one in track. I grabbed for the handle and pulled the door open. But he took hold of my bag as I was climbing out of the car.

That sent me falling back.

I grabbed the door as tight as I could; let the bag slide off my shoulder; then slammed it hard. It hit him in the arm. As I ran, I heard the cry tear from his lips. But I did something stupid as well. Before I was out of site, I turned and looked back into his eyes. They weren't cold anymore, they were spilling hate.

That was the stupidest thing I have ever done.

When we were far enough away it hit me. The fact that my ID was in my bag, the fact that he now knew where I lived.

Two days later my fath… he was dead.

I force myself then to not think about it.

No more.

I bite the inside of my lip, let it hurt till it bleeds, and then release it again.

She finally looks up; my green eyes flashing to her amber ones for a second, and then I could see that she wasn't shy. She was just not interested in talking to me.

This is just what I need, some girl already dreading my first day of school just as much as I would. I hated this new life I had. It consisted of being someone I wasn't. Someone who would take the look this girl was giving me and look away from it. Would internally kick myself for it; why had I changed so much? Where did all the fight go?

I mean before that hospital night I had been one of the toughest girls you'd know. My world consisted of my father, my best friend Abigail, and me. No one else had mattered. No one else tried to get close enough to me to try to matter much. I wasn't approachable then. And I wasn't of interest now.

I looked away first, my head sinking to the carpet level. That's what I called looking down. There were three levels. One looking straight ahead and acting like you don't notice the stares, two looking around and never allowing yourself to react to the stares, and three looking down at the floor so I don't have to notice anything. It's like mixing colors; you get black, gray, and white. They all have something in common but they have different levels of effects to them.

It just matters what I can take that day, if I can take the looks strait on, or if it might make me burst into tears from the sight of them.

There; that's how I live, never spending too much time looking straight into anyone's face. The sympathy makes me sick to my stomach. It tells me there's something wrong.

So mother home schooled me the last couple of semesters. I couldn't handle school at all. I couldn't handle crowds. Today was my first crowd in months. Tomorrow would be my first day of school in a while as well.

Life as I had known it was now diminishing rapidly. There was no way to avoid the cold looks, or the ones that hurt because they showed what had happened in my past. The looks were there. I had to notice. I had no choice.

He was dead.

I wished for just a second that I were home again. It was a silent whisper I repeated many times these days. I closed my eyes and could almost see him. I could almost touch his face again; could almost hold it in my hands. And then he was lost. And all that was left was this girl who didn't want to be here with me, and the person who was the most gone.

I look up to see the new stranger. I smile because that's the opposite of how I feel. And I let them talk to me too.

I'm looking down again in no time. If only I had any guts. Why had I lost everything? Why had all of these people taken everything away from me? I would trade all of them for just him. I would trade them all anyway.

I guess hell hadn't frozen over.

But I had.

"Um hi, I'm Sam." I hear.

I look up. It's a middle-aged man more on the younger side than old. He has a welcoming smile and a grayish tint to his eyes, like he's seen more in his life than he lets on. I like him, the look of clouded eyes I've realized from the funeral shows that people are missing something.

This man has something from his past that has left a part of him empty. Just like me.

He just looks at me uncomfortably. As though a stranger that I should know. He doesn't seem to know what he is either, and just keeps fumbling for the right pose, and the right words.

Then he looks around for something, but doesn't seem to have found it.

"Do you know who I am?" He asks uncertainly.

"Um, should I?" I say in response.

I try the smile on him. The fake one I'm so good at. Everyone buys it or at least pretends too. So I smile at him reassuringly and wait for whatever weight he has to lift off his shoulders and on to mine.

But I'm amazed when I see he hasn't bought it. Not that he comments on it at all. He doesn't; he just sees the look and his smile fades a little. Like it hurts him to know that I hurt.

I have to get away from this place, from these people, from everyone, I have too.

"I'm married to your mother, she didn't tell you?"

Now he seems to have realized she hasn't, and I see the look in his eyes shows he's nervous about bringing it up.

He looks around for someone again; I realize it's probably her he's looking for. I can't like this man. Not if he's married to her. The one who left me alone, who left us both; dad and me. She didn't even tell me she was married. How can you forgive someone that does that to you; that makes you lose that much trust with them? She was my mother, but those feelings are gone now, my mother, the one that I loved and trusted and went to for help is gone, and this stranger is left in her place. He is a part of that world, the world she lives in and left me out of. There's no way I can get along with someone in her world, they live in her terms and agreements and lies.

I can't!

Even though I try, I really do, to deny any feeling towards her at all. Something in me clings to a single strand of thought, one that I can't get away from. Why did she leave me? What kind of mother never returns to see her child?

What did I do that was so wrong to her that made her leave?

"Um I shouldn't have brought it up, but," He hesitates one last time, "Didn't you know your mother was remarried?"

"I didn't even know they were divorced." I say slowly.

I try to keep the remorse out of my voice. But I think a little escapes. I know he hasn't bought it; which makes me want to run even more.

I close my eyes and see the road, winding and swinging at every angle. And I'm on it, no stopping me, no barriers; I don't hesitate for anything, no matter what. Please let this school have a track course, oh please.

I don't want to hear this, I don't want to hear this, is all I can think.

I give in, and head for the door.

I'm out it and running in seconds. As fast as I can, my legs feel the familiar rhythm, my calves the familiar pain. And as the ache forms I run faster, push the pulse into my throat. Let the hurt flow with a vengeance.

Suddenly something from the bible pops into my head. Forgive us lord for our daily trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. This is a complete lie, if people are good at one thing, its grudges. But I realize if I could have anything in the world right now that would be it. For someone to know what has happened and tell me it's not my fault; to find someone safe enough to let down this charade and tell my secrets too.

I try not to think, feeling my body ease out my mind; slowly I don't have to think anymore, don't have to hurt anymore, just road winding under my feet, the feel of the peace over power all thoughts, and my legs are the only things working. My mind only has the mechanical volume; it only comes to the surface like some computer, telling you your turns up ahead or suggesting that the tree will snag at your clothes, nothing more. I stay like this, never wanting to leave. Why would I when it feels like I could do it for hours, never stopping, never breathing or feeling again?

And forget everything; I only remember how to run.

And then I'm on the ground in the middle of the sidewalk, my hands cradling my body tight. It all comes back, like a force trying to knock me unconscious. I can feel the tears coming on so much that I'm practically shaking from the effort to force them to stay controlled. But its dark and I've tried to fight it so many times already, I can't anymore, I'm so tired of crying, of falling, of dying inside.

Five minutes after I fell to the ground I'm crying so much I have to suck in air in between the sobs just to breathe. When will this stop, when will I smile again?

After a while they start to run out, slowly I am still in pain but have nothing that's showing to prove it, except the red blotches all over my face. I pull myself up, the pain is incredible. It's amazing how much something that no one can see can hurt you. How something you have no proof of could bring you to your knees.

I pull myself together and look around; god I think I'm lost.

Okay, I tell myself, I can figure something out I just have to think.

I drop back down, you know what I think, I sigh and lay back, I think I'm freaking lost, damn it.

I can't believe I fell asleep.

I wake up to the sound of rustling behind me; leaves caught by the wind. I turn around to see this.

I freeze. Because what I find is something I can't describe. I didn't see its body; I couldn't get past the eyes. It wasn't the fact that they were colder than even that hitchhiker guy, it wasn't the fact that I think what I saw was human, it was the fact that I turn to be face to face with something that wasn't human anymore, it couldn't have been. No human could look that much like…a creature. Like something you dream up in nightmares and wake up to turn your light on from. It was hungry, inches away, and ready to attack. The scariest part was the proof that it wasn't animal or human, the fact that it had red eyes.

I was frozen in place. I couldn't even flinch away from it as it crawled on its hands and feet towards me, its teeth bearing. I didn't hear a sound under it as it drew closer. As I watched I could see it didn't even move right; too graceful, too much like it was slithering. The girl in The Ring doesn't even come close. Even if I had been able to run I don't think I would have, it's almost hypnotic. Every muscle constricting with every step closer, it was eerie, and it was remotely beautiful. It's amazing how something this grotesque could be, I know. But if you saw it, you'd understand. Its face, its stance, its very presence demanded your eyes. It wasn't the type of creature you died running from; it was the type you were sacrificed to; an outlawed god now crawled towards me, and I knew he was to be bowed before. He was the thing you kissed in your dreams because you knew it's what you wanted but could never do in waking; the devils right hand man; always with a gentleman's charm and but never quite with his innocence.

Even the most malicious gods were created in perfection. There is no other way to describe it. It was a fallen angel, breathtaking and deadly all at the same time.

I couldn't take my eyes off it even as it reached for me. Turning its head side to side it almost seemed like it wanted to understand something that it didn't.

Then it ran its long nails across my cheek, that's when it dug into my skin and I could feel the blood start to leak out. The hunger was more important now, I couldn't see any thoughts other than killing; the interest was beginning to seep out of its eyes once again.

"What are you doing?" I heard someone behind it almost growl.

His voice was like chocolate, rich and intense; a voice that you'd succumb too. When I looked up I saw there was another beautiful demon standing there, but only for a second, and then they were both gone. I didn't even see them leave; only the fact that whatever breeze he created as he ran told me they had went left. I had no clue where I was or how to get back. But at least I had enough common sense to start walking…right that is.

The sun has finally shown itself, bringing with it the feel of a security I don't know if I should be feeling. I don't really know if I should be happy about this or still on guard. Are those kinds of things aloud in the sun? What was it anyway, and where am I? I think I'm at least going the right way. If I ever do make it back I'm not running like this again until I know the place better. Until I know I'm safe.

My stomach starts to growl and the image the nights events flash through my mind and are gone as quickly as they came. His eyes hadn't been red like the other ones had. They had been plain and normal, except they still glowed like a dogs when they catch the light; all bright and translucent. He had been beautiful. Whatever creature of the night he was.

What was I thinking acting like some prepubescent child falling in love with the star player on the high school basketball team? It was some stupid fantasy that could never realistically be played out. But I couldn't help but wonder would I ever see him again? I doubt it but wouldn't it be great if I could. To look into those eyes again, to melt, to fall into them. They were the kind of eyes you drowned in, you disappear in; the kind of eyes that could make you forget your every problem and fade away. I wanted those eyes to do just that for me. I wanted it more than I have ever wanted anything in my life.

I stopped the feeling of remorse washing over me before I was consumed in it like usual. I had to be home soon and my mother would be cradling me far more than I wanted already. My thoughts turned back to the only thing in my life that had nothing to do with my reality. It was almost as though my insanity had merged into something alive, as though my pain had turned into a real life horror film.

I'm still thinking about the overwhelming amount of questions building up when I hear a car go by and stop. I look up at the fancy houses I'm passing and feel a wave of claustrophobia wash over me. How can I survive another three years in this suburban hell?

As I walk I continue to pay attention to the car behind me. I hear it circle back and come my way. By reflex I quickly turn to face it and for a moment I see that almost new Jaguar coming towards and me I bite back a scream.

When I finally calm down like I knew it, it wasn't the car; instead my view was filled with the sight of what looked to be a cop car slowly coming to a crawl next to me.

"Yeah?" I ask in an almost mumble under my breath.

Please if there is any way that I could not be embarrassed any more than a cop car pulling over to search for me, name it. I'm waiting. Yeah I didn't think so either, no wait. If a cop car pulled over for me in broad daylight but also you were stark naked and running around screaming the aliens are coming, the aliens are coming! Then again you'd be too insane to care.

My hand reaches up to shield my face from the harsh light of the sun peeking over the nicely painted rows of houses as I turn to the man. He's in his late forties and has that arrogant smug expression on his face it seems that all small town cops do. I can hear the thoughts running through his head right now, I see this all the time what are kids coming to these days, back in my day…

This is embarrassing, no this is humiliating. My thought to disappear comes back again and I flinch at the fact that it's going to always probably be true. On second thought, no I wish once again that I could fall into that boy's eyes. Get lost there forever and never return. I wish it so much I could grab it, taste it, lock myself up in the thought and never return. But I stop myself; I don't want to be there again, it was so empty there. Trying to be with him, glimpses of him surfaced and then disappeared. I would hear his voice call my name and then echo through my mind, clinging to the walls that I couldn't seem to reach. They'd tell me to come deeper and I would, only to find no one there and his voice that much farther away…daddy.

"Are you Nina?" He casually remarks in my direction, as though some other kid is going to be walking alone in this perfect people town.

Hello, they all probably have expensive cars to drive or friends with expensive cars, whatever.

"Uh yes" I answer, trying not to make it seem like I would rather swallow a razor than talk to him.

Then to make things even better he gives me this strange look, like he can't believe it. As though he expected to find me dead and rotting in some ditch somewhere. What kind of cop is he?

"Did you find somewhere to stay last night?" He nonchalantly questions.

Why? Where? With who? What is with this guy? It's as though he finds it inconceivable that I had just spent the night outdoors and am still alive. And then it hits me…does he know? About those things walking through the woods? Does he know they're there and not what to make it seem oblivious? What is wrong with this town?

"Ohm no, why?" I shoot back; pretending to play in his inconspicuous game of charades.

I have it. They created a new form of human from a toxic spill that leaked into the drinking water and now they're trying to protect their loved ones who have now turned on the human race and become mutated by the population that touched their bodies.

I smirk and the look and he gives me that, I know what you're thinking about. You where probably doing god knows what with some boy weren't you! I knew it! I can practically see him shaking his head with displeasure; practically see the words forming on his lips as he mumbles something to himself that I don't quite hear.

"Oh, no reason," he says, "We should get you home now, come on get in."

"Yeah sure" I finish.

I take a deep breath and force myself to calm down. It's just a cop car, that's all, I tell myself before pushing my legs to move and my body to climb into the back seat of the vehicle.

"You can sit up here." He practically orders me and he leans over and opens the passenger door.

Maybe it was the situation. Maybe it was the fact that cops made me nervous ever since they've made such a common appearance at my dad's home, I don't know. But I still can't act exactly right around them for some reason.

I climbed in; sitting down and as far to the door as I could make my body go and didn't say a word.

He looked over at me and then back at the road.

Obliviously we didn't have this little insight in common because the moment we were driving he began to talk about everything from the weather to sports to the history of the freaking town. I wanted to throw my head out the window and let an oncoming semi cut it off, not that there was an oncoming semi but if there was…

"So we prefer that people didn't leave their houses after nine o'clock and we think that if you must it should be in the company of at least two other people at all times."


"Uh what?" I ask as innocently as I can muster up.

"I said when people go out at night they tend to disappear and when I say this I mean it. We went through a period of time when a couple of the local students back in eighty nine began too. So we finally, after a lot of consideration and because we can't find what it is that's doing it, that people are under no circumstances aloud out of their house, alone," He put a large emphasis on alone, indicating he was only telling me this because of what I had done, "under no terms are you to do that again, next time you might not be as lucky you were tonight."

With that being the end of his lecture he finally grew silent and didn't say another word except to call my mother and tell her I was found and as we pulled into the drive to tell me to get out, which I did.

My mother is standing outside like her whole life is depending on seeing me here. She has her hands clutched, clasped together to her heart. She looks like she's in prayer. God gave up on me a while ago I presume, because I hadn't seen him care in quite a long time. I think he's forgotten about me, or maybe, he was never there in the first place. I just imagined someone would could protect me, and save me, and comfort me. That must have been me lying to myself.

"Honey," She says as I open my door and she wraps her arms around me, "I'm so glad your okay."

She stays wrapped around me until we're in the house. Then let's go long enough to sit me down on the couch and go into the kitchen. She comes out with breakfast. It looks so good and hot I might actually swallow it whole. My mouth begins to water and I'm about to take the food when someone else walks through the door from the kitchen.

Mother pauses.

"Uh Nina sweetheart this is Mathew, he's your little brother."

"I have a brother?"

"Yes, he's turning five tomorrow," she says smiling down at him, "Actually," she looks up again, "You have two, Devin's Sam's though. I think his mother left him with Sam after they divorced, I don't know."

"Bubby is cool, he's at college, he's going to be a, a?" He looks up at mother while she hands me my food.

"He's going to be a photographer."She says with pride.

I can't believe this is my family. These people are the opposite of how my life used to be. I mean when you look at it from afar. Dissecting it with no emotion involved, my father loved me. He was a great father, taught me how to stand my ground, and taught me what was important in life. But he wasn't TV dad; taking his kids to practice before going to work. Living his life always smiling and acting shocked every time something went wrong. As though they thought things like that didn't happen to people when it did. So there was a difference in them. But I couldn't believe I was living this way. All perfect and hush hush when it came to the flaws. Nobody was perfect and yet these people pulled it off to seem like that all the time. They were professional liars. I haven't figured out why; why lie to each other and to themselves? I just don't get it.

Mathew turns his full attention to the TV and is in the floor in front of it in seconds. He turns it to Tom and Jerry and is entranced in moments, like it's the greatest creation in the entire world.

"Honey, don't sit so close to the TV." Our mother says.

Mathew gets up; never takes his eyes off the TV; walks backwards and sits down on the couch next to me.

I look at her again, wanting to continue our conversation because it hit me now that she had still been married to dad when Mathew was, when she had been… pregnant. Had she cheated on him? I have enough anger towards her now, can I handle anymore? My hands start to shake and I tuck them behind me to hide it.

"Uh so is he Sam's?" I ask.

I was even trying to hide the tremor in my voice. I was starting to get angry.

My mother looks at me now. For a moment she doesn't realize what I meant; then she knows exactly. Her body language turns into a shadow of her normal self, almost as if it took everything in her power to not reject what she's going to say.

She almost had it out when she looked at Mathew. He had his full attention on her, waiting for her answer as much as I was.

"We should talk in the hall," she motioned for me to follow, "Mathew don't eaves drop, I always know."

He smiles.

When she was in the hall and I almost was he looked up at me, his smile turning mischievous.

He shook his head.

"No she doesn't." He said.

"I bet your right." I agree.

Mathew's smile grows wider and he turns back to the TV; sliding off the couch and into the floor in front of it. He doesn't have any of mom in him that's for sure.

Her entire expression shows her discomfort as I walk out into the hall, I could tell that she hates admitting this to me.

She runs her fingers through her hair for the fifth time, trying to decipher how to put it before she finally says it slowly.

"Sweetheart, Mathew is your fathers. I wish I could take it back; how badly I regret that but he is. I'm happy to have gotten such an amazing surprise out of such a terrible circumstance. It was just after the first time I realized I wasn't in love with Matt anymore and had left; I didn't know I was pregnant until a month later. By then I had just started seeing Sam.

I wouldn't have even worried about it but one day Devin pulled me aside and told me that there could be something wrong with me. I knew instantly what he was talking about but I didn't know how he could know. Afterwards I stopped thinking about how strange that was and started worrying, 'what if he was right, there was something wrong' so I went and I found out.

I called Sam balling my eyes out and after he finally deciphered what I was saying he picked me up at my house. I made it that far, and we went to his and sat on his couch and I cried on his shoulder I'm pretty sure all night," She smiles and looks down, trying to hide her blush, "I couldn't tell him for weeks, I just kept saying to him that I would one day and that it was nothing dangerous. He was so patient, so happy to be there for me, to talk to me. I mean I hadn't felt that way in years.

Matt and I had lost that, that passion between us; there wasn't a way to get it back you have to understand that. All we did was fight, and pretend it was perfect, and then fight again. When I finally did we agreed on something," She looks up now, I can see the determination in her eyes, "When I told Matt he was outraged, he told me to come back, but I couldn't do that. I was in love, we were in love. I tried to talk him into understanding but he wouldn't. He told me that I could come home or he didn't want anything to do with him. I couldn't Nina I'm sorry.

So we decided that we would raise him as Sam's, we all agreed even Devin. Mathew is named after his father, but that's all he has of him and all he will, do you understand honey? Mathew believes Sam's his father and I don't want, we don't want him to know any different."

She looked at me for reassurance. She wanted me to forsake my father for her; the one who left me, who never came back, who never even sent a birthday card or letter.

I clenched my teeth together until I could hear them grinding. The tears were not going to come when people could see them.

She was lying, daddy would never do that; he wouldn't. He wouldn't, would he? Please no, not even his memory.

I start to back away.

"Um sure," I agree, "Can you show me my room now, I've been out all night and I really want to take a shower and get some sleep. I should put my things away too."

"Oh, absolutely, come on," she smiles and goes to wrap her hand around my arm to steer me in the right direction. I can't help but flinch away. Her smile fades, but she never lets onto her true feelings, "Well come along then, this way."

One thing you realize when you walk into my stepfather's house, the guy has money. He owns some casino, called The Lamia Gamble. A don't know, it's supposed to be Latin or something.

When we get to my room it has a STAY OUT sign on the door. Mother stops in front of it and turns to me.

"Sam and Devin have been fixing up your room, but it needs to air out for a couple of days. You should be able to move in by tomorrow; at the latest Wednesday. So you'll be staying in Devin's room, okay? He's not expected home till the weekend when he usually does his laundry. He says there's no point to driving home every day so he just stays in a hotel during the week. Anyway, that's the bathroom over there, and there's the closet, so good night."

"Yeah, bye"

She hesitates at the door for a moment and then turns around.

"Nina we're glad you're here, really. I just wish it was under better circumstances." She says with a sadness that for the first time shows me she has some kind of compassion left for him.

Her eyes lower as though if she looks at someone she'll start to cry or remembering a time when she loved the man she had me with.

She takes it all back with a vengeance though, almost as if she refuses him remorse. I see that she feels guilty for feeling pain over his loss. How am I supposed to love this person; this person who has turned my life upside down and twisted every belief that I had?

She didn't take my father away from me but she is making it seem like my belief in him is false. I feel bad about questioning his motives but what can I do? He wasn't perfect like Sam probably was with Devin and Mathew. He wasn't even responsible like he most likely should have been. But he's the only thing I know and I can't return that, I won't let myself. And if I can't let myself how am I allowing this traitor to slander his name. He yelled, he hated, he made you listen up and do what you were told. You knew not to cross him and you sure as hell knew not to refuse him.

He could be a very sad drunk, or he could be an angry one. But he stayed with me when I needed him and he protected me like a pit bull dying for a cause. And… he made me who I am, who I was. He had made his daughter sure of herself and independent and strong willed. She would stick up for herself in times of need as well as for her friends. She wouldn't allow anyone to take away her opinion, and most of all she had passion. She had passion in love and life and friendship. She stuck with the things that she cared for, did everything to an extreme that most people would be shocked over.

My father was wild after a drink or two. I had just been wild, never reckless rebellion, never drugs or sex. But I would walk down the street in the rain just to paint the feel. Or in fourth grade play piano all night until my fingers bled and I got the part I wanted.

I ran till my legs gave out.

That was who I was, parts of it remain; most is lost.

I clutch both of my hands together as tight as I can behind my back. I know there probably turning white.

"Thanks a lot but I'm really tired."

"Okay, goodnight then."

"Uh huh"

"Oh and Nina," She looks at me one more time before closing the door, "Um about the incident yesterday, we will need to discuss this later."

My first day here and I run away. The second school; I'm really afraid to see my third.

I drop my bags by the bed and sit down.

So much is going on around me, so much is out of my control, and I keep thinking of him in everything. Even though I said I wouldn't, I do. He's in everything I do and say and think.

Please don't make me remember, I can't.

I can't.


I open my first bag and start to take everything out. Before I left I wrapped the pictures up so I wouldn't have to look at them. And that's the way I left them as I set them aside to return to the bag after I'm done removing things. I put my shirts and pants on top of the dresser, avoiding alimenting privacy. And I left a small bag next to them for shower and bath supplies.

Then I put my night clothes (old torn shirts and pants with holes in them) beside the other two layers of clothes; socks and undergarments also went into a bag which I put on the floor, and I transferred anything that I would be setting up in my room into one or two bags, then slid them under the bed. When the last bag needed to be pushed under I stopped, and picked up the pictures which was safely wrapped. But when I looked at the newspaper I realized something. The paper was old, and the picture on the front.

It was the front page, shards of glass everywhere, our living room, him sprawled out across the floor; his body so motionless, so not full of life.

I didn't even hear the picture hit the ground, couldn't feel my body recoil away from it on the bed, until I was curled in a ball at the far side against the wall, where I stayed for hours, with five words repeating over and over again. Like an annoying CD that wakes you up in the middle of the night skipping, it almost scares you when you wake, about to yell but catching yourself; the words rushing to my head and out of my mouth.

"Daddy, daddy wake up, daddy…"

I freeze in the doorway, his body is twisted, you can tell when someone's dead. If it's not the eyes, then it's the body. All tangled and wrong.

My books drop. The first word escapes my mouth; slowly, calmly, disbelieving.

I find myself over his body now. I'm holding him in my arms, I feel as though I'm holding an angel with broken wings, thinking my light will heal them and he'll fly again. But he doesn't.

I don't even see the blood now caking me too. I pull his face to mine; the second, third and fourth words leave my mouth now; not so calmly, surely not as disbelieving.

I relive it as though it was a play, not my life.

The tears start to run down my face and onto him. The wet blood mixing with the tears leaves clear curved lines down his face, I focus on them. More tears, more lines. I think by the time that anyone comes all the blood will be wasted away. I try to smell his familiar sent, but it's tainted by iron.

That's when the fifth word comes almost as if my voice is trying to reach his spirit, give him direction to return to me. And I just keep screaming it over and over again trying to reach him, trying to release all the pain that was there. It was everywhere, on everything. It was in my lungs, in my head, in my heart.

I don't know how long I sat there like that, my voice growing hoarse and finally giving out, when that happened I just sobbed. Even when his body started to grow cold, when I knew all the life had been drained, I held him.

Even after it was cold enough to give me that sickening feeling, the kind you get when you feel yourself run over an animal.

I stayed there.

I didn't hear my neighbor show up and run to their phone, didn't hear the sirens or the ambulance's pull up. Didn't have enough of a voice to scream when they tore me away, my body as lifeless as his own; my eyes as cold.

They put me in the ambulance to examine me for injuries and to see if I'm okay. Voices, people, nothing, that's what I remember. Over and over I replayed it in my head; each time feeling I had lost him more and more. I couldn't stand it, couldn't breathe. The people were everywhere, touching everything, taking what little parts of him I had left away from me.

I could still smell the strong aura of his blood. A tear slid down my cheek and touched my lip. Gently, peacefully, as though an angel had caressed my face. And I closed my eyes, succumbing to him, feeling the bitter taste of blood on my tongue…his.

Forgive me…

And there…away from him…I threw up…

I look around me and see where I am. In Sam's house, in Devin's room, I tell myself. I wipe the tears off my face and sit up, still disoriented and sad. My body cast a shadow across the room from the window behind me.

I grab my shower bag, undergarments bag, and night clothes and head for the bath.

I turn the shower nozzle on cold water and step in; so cold I'm gasping for breath and couldn't possibly think of anything. It works, I forget.

It wasn't until later that a found out about Leala; she was our dog.

She had been there when the intruder had come in and had been taken down almost instantly. I remember how I flinched at the disturbing pictures of her death. Her blood splattered across the wall, as though she was just an obstacle they needed to get through.

Her body had been far more…twisted, than my fathers. As though the killer took pleasure in her pain. She hadn't stood a chance to begin with. But from what I had seen in the pictures it had ripped at her far after she was down, pulling and cutting and slashing to bits. The person had to of been insane. And it seemed after it had taken care of her most of its anger had gone with the death. My father had just been taken care of swiftly, moving on to their destination.

It was almost unbelievable, the way the canine had been torn apart as though it had been some savage beast, which is actually what the police had chalked it up to be.

I take my shower this way and when I step out I'm still too cold to feel. When you hurt all the time, some of the greatest moments are the ones when you feel numb. I savor these moments when you can't feel a thing. When it seems someone could wreck right in front of you and you could drive right by with not one bit of remorse. It was a relief to be this way; all that mattered was when it would wear off.

I lie back down and see my shadow again, then follow it slowly down my wall, over the floor and across my body. When I look up at the window I see red eyes; this hand resting against the window pane.

I stumble back from the bed and hit the floor.

I look at the wall, no shadow. When I look back at the window he's still there. His fingers screech down the window, I bury my head between my hands as tight as I can.

I realize now that it is a he.

He turns his head curiously again as I back away to the door. My hand robotically runs over the scratch on my cheek.

He smiles, his mouth opens, and the two sharp canine teeth show. He licks his lips then closes his mouth completely, a half smirk that would leave the cocky jocks at my old school in the dust.

I quickly look at the wall behind my back, when I look up again he's gone.

Tell me, how does someone get to your window when you sleep on the second story and when they do how do they get up and down without making a sound?

Everything I thought had fallen apart. I guess there's always worse to come. Nothing can ever be the most terrible. There always has to be something more horrid.

But he was here.

I got up and ran to the window searching.

At first I couldn't see anything but then, in the corner of the woods, there they were; arguing of course.

Then he looked up. His now silver eyes' meeting mine, and for a split second all my pain was irrelevant. Nothing hurt and all was healed. For a second, and then they both slunk into the forest, the red eyed one lingering just a little longer before he disappeared.

I lay down.

I should be shaking with fear not hope; my heart should be pounding from terror not pleasure.

Everything in my life is being ripped apart. Should I really doubt that these things could be real? What is wrong with me? If anything I should have been seeing things while on the meds right? But no, they had to be.

I have never felt so much passion for anything in my life. I wanted to know him; I wanted to be near him. He was like a drug just seeing his face took the pain away and brought a feeling of safety and peace. I hadn't felt that way forever, I thought I never would again.

For once in a very long time; I accept the fact that the numbness has faded away; I allow myself to be selfish and think of something I want to enjoy.

I fall asleep to dreams of pools of liquid silver, and eyes that capture all.

I only have this chapter and most of the second done... again, like I said, don't expect much. I just want to see what people think. And REVIEW before I go insane, I don't care if it's just to say hi, just do it! I command you... did it work?