Life is troublesome, there's twists and turns, and bumps and detours. And yet everyone pretends to be happy, and continue to act like they know what they're destined for. Some give up and commit suicide. Some pretend and wear a mask over their true faces, so agonized, so scared. But my face is empty; I can't feel, psychically and emotionally. I can't express any smiles or frowns. My grandfather told me I'm just anti social and will soon grow out of it. My uncle told me that it's natural. But the rest of my family say's I'm empty. And I believe them, I'm so hollow . . . so unfeeling . . . that's its scary, but . . . it's too much effort to care. I just want to be left alone.
Read onwards! This is the rewrite!
December, 31 1996
Two high school sweet hearts are in the hospital. The female on the bed with her stomach large and uprooted a several amount of inches toward the ceiling. The male was holding her hand, sitting by her right side, stoking her large belly, excited at the prospect of being a father. Both were only twenty two and married, so all they needed to have a picture perfect family was a sweet and loving child.
So when the doctor came in and told the wife that she needed to begin to push, she did, biting her lip through the pain, and squeezing her husband's hand in a vice grip. After a few hours, approximately 5, the head began to crown.
Sweat was rushing down the wife's flushed face, her dark brown hair sticking to her forehead. The Husband was sweating too, but from nervousness, there had been a lot of bleeding. Running a hand over his thick mass of blond hair, he watched as his beloved pushed despite the pain. Watched as the tears slowly ran down her face.
Another hour later the child was born, and it was a girl. At 11:59 on New Year's Eve, Astrid Clymene Graves, a female baby, weighting in at 2.3 pounds, was born.
The doctor lightly tapped her behind, but she didn't make a noise. They began to worry and checked to see if she was breathing.
Astrid was, her dark blue eyes open, her baby pink lips apart slightly, taking in the new world she was born into, in stride.
As the mother held her child in her arm's she could see the similarities in the child. She had her father's blond hair, and her blue eyes, thought they were darker than hers. But something about Astrid threw her off.
Shaking the rest of that feeling away and cursing herself for thinking like that, she instead told her husband to call the rest of the family in.
From cousins, to aunts and uncles, and siblings to parents, they all rushed in wanting to see the first child of the newest generation in the Graves and Delphi family.
And as they all cooed and jeered and tried to get a response, any response from her, little Astrid just stared at them.
It was then she started to whimper and wiggle in her mother's arms.
"She must be hungry".
Some left the room, and others stayed to congratulate the new father.
As Astrid sucked on her mother's breast, she grew sleepy, and soon her body was slack with the fatigue of just being born.
Soon asleep, everyone quieted down and soon, Astrid was taken away to the nursing room where she would be for a few days.
April, 4 2001
As a toddler, Astrid never did what toddler's do. She never cried or demanded things. She always wore simple things, unlike the pink blouses and dresses that girls usually wore. And she never begged for food, she just always went to the table in their apartment at exactly 1:30 P.M. and waited to be fed.
One time her parents waited 10 exact minutes deliberately to see if Astrid would come to them. But when she never came, they went to look for her, and saw that she had never left the table.
It was then that Charlie and Dana finally decided to take her to a daycare, maybe interacting with other children would maybe make her more. . .normal?
At the age of four, Astrid saw more than what she saw in her large apartment.
She saw people who were the same size as her. Laughing, playing, screaming and clinging to their parents.
So when her parent's decided to take her to Sunni's happy daycare on an early Tuesday morning they expected her to show some sort of emotion and beg them to stay.
She had already walked into the building after saying goodbye.
Ms. Sunni had inherited her daycare ten years ago. She had seen all types of children.
The spoiled types that were still going through the "me" stage. The shy and under spoken ones that were so timid they'd wet themselves. The ones that want to grow up so fast and be an adult. The polite ones that helped the best way they could by staying out of the way. The unintelligent ones that ate paste and couldn't seem to draw in the lines. And of course the crybabies, who did nothing but cry at the loss of their parents for hours on end, and required her immediate attention.
But she had never seen a child like Astrid Graves.
She was so stoic, so cold, that it scared her. Sunni had met the Graves couple; they were like any average couple.
It didn't look like they abused their kid, she would have bruises.
And if they did it mentally, Astrid would fall into the category of crybabies.
When Astrid first came in, she was quiet and poised. She walked to a seat quietly, and stared at the nearest window near her. Children were fascinated by with her sliver blond wisps of hair that fell beneath her neck, and her blue eyes, some came over to see if they could make a new friend.
"Hi, I lily, and want to play with –"
"You're pretty, like my mommy, but she says –"
"I like your hair, it's shiny like –"
"Let's play –"
Sunni was astounded by the large amount of popularity that this child had gained after the first five minutes of even entering the building. But what was said next had astounded her.
"Leave me alone, I don't want to talk any of you, when you can speak correct English, I'll socialize with you, but for now leave."
She sounded so older than her age. So cold and frosty. And Sunni watched as Astrid got up from her seat and sat alone in one of the tables in the back staring at a picture of the moon she had drawn for the kid's entertainment.
Astrid was the only one she'd ever seen stare at it so intently.
Maybe she should talk with the girl's parents after watching her for a week if not less.
"Mr. and Ms. Graves, I have some concerns about your daughter.
Both of their faces sagged in fatigue as if they had deluded themselves in think they had come to talk about something good.
"After the first day of daycare, all the children avoided Astrid, and on the second day until now a week later, she continues to sit down by herself at an empty table. She's turned down every friendship offer given to her, and continues to be an outcast at a very tender age."
Charlie attempted to chuckle like he knew something and began to speak.
"Astrid is a shy child, and always acts like that when she's confused about how to act. Before we brought her here, we gave her books to read, and she buried herself in books starting when she turned three. She reads at the age of a fourth grader. She's just feeling awkward about being with people the same age as her, but not as . . . smart as she is."
Sunni wanted to scream, "You're in denial, your daughter isn't normal and you know it"! But she would probably lose her job. Looking at the mother she noticed that she was cradling her stomach. Dana looked at least 7 months pregnant.
Dana noticed Sunni's gaze and smiled. "It's a girl, she's a little Misa, or Mira."
"Congratulations Mrs. Graves, but I suggest you help your daughter become more . . . socially fitting, maybe a new sibling will help."
Charlie scowled "Thank you, Ms. Sunni, but my child is fine, she will come to you're daycare till school starts in August, maybe you should take some of your own advice and help our little Astrid become a more socially fitting child."
Sunni flushed, "Thank You, for your time, have a good day."
Charlie and Dana both stood and left the room. Thinking about the girl herself in her mind, Sunni chanted 'four more months', 'four more months'.
During the summer before school, Astrid often wondered what was happening to her mother or in particular, her mother's stomach.
Had she eaten too many apples, since they were powerful supplements, or drunken too much water. Or maybe her mother was just physically unfit. Was she ill, or just wearing too many clothes?
All her questions were answered on the third of July, when her father had forced her into a dress "You're a girl, not a bloody boy for Pete sake." And put a bow in her hair. Then putting her in his car, he drove to the county hospital, and took her to a room where she saw mother on a white bed, exhausted, and something in her arms.
It looked like a smaller version of her, but with brown hair sticking out of its scalp, and its eyes squinted shut.
"Astrid, say hello to your new baby sister, Misa Alice Graves."
It let out a shrieking wail that hurt her ears, but watched with a confused look at her parents as they dotted and admired the baby.
"She's a keeper." Her father chuckled
"Yes, she's beautiful, like her older sister." Her mother crooned
It was then Astrid understood a feeling inside her that she felt about the new addition in the family. This Misa.
At the age of eight, Astrid knew two things about herself.
One was that she hated the color brown, the same color of Misa's eyes.
And two, school.
She knew she was more intelligent than any of her classmates, that she could often find mistakes in her teacher's words. That adult's movement and certain ticks gave away something's about if you watched their hands.
But the reason she hated school the most, was because of today.
Alfred Percival Elementary school had this every year. They would invite each student's parents to come to school and watch their child learn.
So she felt the intent stares of parents all around her, their children had probably told them about her and what they thought she was, so she was being picked and prodded by stares, looking at her blue sweater and green jeans, and running shoes. Her mid length silver blond hair was what they were staring at the most, and she knew that some were trying to get a good look at her eyes, so she kept them hidden by using her bangs.
Her parent's stare was probably the most intense of them all. Finally seeing how their daughter acts in a learning environment, since they could not come the first two year due to Misa's birth and her not being old enough to leave the house.
But now they had brought her with them, and the first thing she had heard from her family was a gurgled "Hi Assy."
Their teacher, Mr. Ray, was teaching them about fear and how to overcome them. It was an exercise after a story the class had read.
A girl named Susie was two seats next to her, she stood as she was called on.
"Susanne, what scares you?" Mr. Ray asked
"Um, Ghosts and mummies."
Then he asked a boy named Robert.
"Not getting a high enough score on 'Invaders Must Die'."
That earned a chuckle from everyone including the parents in class.
", how about you, and what do you fear the most?"
She had everyone's attention, her families', her classmates and their parents, and the teacher's.
Some sighed in relief, she noticed. Mr. Ray indulged farther.
"Like vampires and werewolves?"
Everyone was on the edge of their seat once more. And from the back of her right eye Astrid could see that her parents were scared of what she might say.
"There are many types of monsters in this world, they pose as everyday people. They're the people you least suspect. They can be killers or rapists, or drug dealers, or even the person right next to you. They're faces are nothing but masks that they take off each night, and apply each morning. They can't understand the human heart, which makes them heartless. They steal and are considered greedy, though when they eat, they don't really hunger. They can't even love, yet they make friends to uses as blood filled puppets. It's sad really, because each person in this room is a monster. A monster that is jealous. A monster that devourers dreams. A monster that sucks blood. A monster that lies, even myself. I often fear that I will consume myself, my very being till there is nothing left. So I fear monsters who lie."
Everyone was quiet, the adults shocked, classmates scared of the girl, and teacher blown away.
But it was her parents who were the most affected by what she said, her mother was crying, her father looked a type of reddish purple, and her sister looked mad at whoever unsettled mommy and daddy, just not knowing it was Astrid's words that had done the crime.
Parents suddenly looked smug that their children were not like the Grave's, and her classmates didn't even comment, they thought she was a freak; it was obvious by the way they were whispering in each other's ears.
Mr. Ray decided to avoid the confrontation he wanted to have with his student and go on to the next student.
"Uh, um Alex, what do you fear?"
It was a few minutes before anyone had even returned from the shock, and a few more until what Astrid had said was in the back of their minds.
Astrid's parents had already taken her out of class in the confusion.
The drive home was what Astrid would say, very informative. She could see that her parents were upset with her for different reason. Her mother was upset because she could not be the daughter she has always wanted her to be. Her father was upset because she was not normal, and Astrid could see that he felt jealousy towards other parents.
Misa, oblivious to everything around her, fell asleep in the car, so innocent and childlike, Astrid almost felt jealously towards her.
They had reached their house that they had moved into two years ago. It was an old fashioned two story complex, with colored windows, and a black chain fences, the exterior of the house white and black and the roof brown.
Her mother avoided her gaze and reached into the back to hold the sleeping Misa. Then left the car. Her father had gotten out of the car, and slammed his door shut. Then opened Astrid's door and gripped her arm dragging her out while almost shutting the door on her hand.
Inside the house, Misa was on the couch sleeping and Dana was weeping into her hands. Charlie had finally let go, and turned to face her.
"WHY DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO DO THIS ASTRID, WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM US, ATTENTTION, TOYS, WHAT DO YOU WANT?"
Astrid opened her mouth to respond but was cut her off.
"I KNOW WHAT YOU WANT, YOU WANT EVERYTHING YOU'RE WAY, EVER SINCE YOU WERE A CHILD, YOU'RE A SELFFISH LITTLE GIRL, AND YOU THINK ITS NORMAL TO HAVE PEOPLE AVOID YOU, AT THE AGE OF BLOODY EIGHT!"
Dana touched his shoulder gently "Charlie, please."
"No Dana, she always makes you cry, she's always been like this, and Astrid's a sad child who I frequently wish we never had!"
It was then that Astrid felt something in her chest, it felt constricting and hot. It was pain.
It was then that she finally spoke.
"If you wished you never had me, they why did the both of you conceive me?"
Suddenly she felt a sharp pain on her left cheek. Her mother had slapped her.
"You're an empty little child, we've given you everything and yet you can't even feel compelled to gratitude, or even love."
Dana watched as Astrid's expression as it went from surprised, from the slap, to her normal bored expression.
Dana ran up the stairs and slammed the door to her and Charlie's room so hard, the house shook.
Charlie was enraged by what his daughter had just said, it was the first time he wanted to hit a child. He expected her to cower, maybe even be a little apologetic.
But she just stared at him, with those dark blue eyes not even flinching when a bruise began to form on her pale skin.
Astrid somehow, didn't really care what happened from this point on, she actually wanted to be hit, and it would give her a reason not to go to that retched school.
But Charlie just picked Misa up who was still sleeping, and walked up the stairs repeating the words his wife had just said.
"You are empty, I pray to Goodness that this child doesn't end up like you."
And then he was gone too.
Walking to her room, she opened the door and was greeted by the large amount a books on her desk, wall and bed.
Closing the door, she looked in the mirror and saw that a dark red, light purple bruise had formed.
Astrid had made a resolve that day to never speak within 5 feet of her parents again, and pondered lying about what she thought around people, but vetoed against it. She didn't want to become the monster that lied.
Phew, alright people, rewrite of Emptiness chapter one is officially over and done.
I hope that you like it. If you don't, you can suck - , I mean, review your comments.
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