I'm not too sure about this but I'd welcome any opinions that you have. I just wanted to post a story about two sisters because everyone thinks that it's got to be about the show stopping love of two people that makes up a story. It's not. Life isn't just about soul mates and prince charmings. Things don't work like that. So here you go, thanks for taking the time to read my shitty excuse for writing. I appreciate it.
Every now I'm drifting out
This time it keeps on sinking us
Come on down, we'll take this town
Tonight before it turns to dust
-Overdrive, Foo Fighters
And in this place in the back of the wardrobe amongst the clothes, the clothes that still smelt of her flowery perfume that always made your nostrils sting and lingered in the air for a long time after she'd left the room, things finally started to get put back into place. Silk and wool and cotton rubbed against her skin and the feeling made shivers go down her spine at the contact because it felt like she could almost be sitting in the darkness with her, holding her hand and telling her that she's 'so dumb' while her laugh sounds like the angels from above. Sitting there with the only light being the one that crept through the crack in the door and the only noise being the sound of her breathing, it all sort of felt very sad. She could feel a coat hanger jamming into her back and she was sitting on a discarded shoe but right in that moment she didn't care because she wanted to be back in the time when she wasn't sitting here alone and she didn't have to smell the scent that lingered on the clothes or feel the cotton against her cheek because she could have the real thing, she could have the flesh and bone of her sister right beside her. No matter what we do, nothing can quite live up to the person itself, all our memories and our photos can never live up to the moment itself.
She wanted to go back to the time they sat in there and listened to the sound of the thunder outside the window and the pounding of rain against roof tiles, to the time where they thought that the walls of the closet would save them from the storm wracking their house. The storm inside and out as the echoes of their parents shouts floated up the stairs and plates shattering against walls filled their ears and their hearts. She wanted to go back to the time when her sister would take her into her arms and rock them both until it felt like it was only them in the entire world, to the time when she hummed so loudly it drowned out everything else. To the time she felt safe and at home despite the fact that the world continued to spin around them even when they didn't want it to.
But things wouldn't pause for them. Life continued like they knew it would and then death came along, too, and took her away from the closet in the little attic room.
"Ghosts can't pick up guns, they have ghost hands. Duh! Everyone knows that, stupid," She said, tossing her hair over her shoulder and rolling her eyes. Her skin looked a lot paler in the fading light of the gradually dimming torch light, the whites of her eye looked too white and the black of her pupils looked too black. She looked a lot older than her 12 years in that moment, even though she was poking out her tongue and giggling. Her skin looked gaunt and her eyes looked tired. She looked really, really old right then and like she was carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.
"Just let me finish the story, will you? God, you always have to interrupt don't you?" Her younger sister moaned, pouting and resembling a little child. While her sister looked old, she looked very much young. Her face showed the innocence of a person that hadn't seen the horrors that the world unleashed upon the victims who happened to live there. Her eyes still sparkled. Her smile was still real.
"I'm zipping my lips," She said, miming zipping her lips and then folded her arms across her chest.
She wanted to go back to the times when they told scary stories on Halloween when the rest of the children on the block went trick or treating and their parents had told them that they couldn't go, and it wasn't like anyone wanted to invite the freaky kid anyway. She wanted to go back to when the touch light cast a shadow on their faces and every little bump outside made them in turn jump, squeal and giggle. She wanted to go back to before her sister wanted to go out for parties instead and she had to crawl into the wardrobe on her own and read horror stories from a book instead, to the time when she was her sister's best friend instead of all the guys that only wanted one thing.
To the time when her sister wasn't embarrassed to be seen with her and would proudly tell her friends 'that's my sister', would hold her hand in the mall and take her out with her so she wouldn't be at home alone with their dad when he was in a bad mood. When she'd make her ice cream when she had a sore throat and gave her one of her special chocolates that she didn't let anyone else have. To the time when her sister was happy and the smile reached her eyes. She just wanted her sister back.
"Emma, stop your squealing. I'm not pushing you very hard! You're such a big baby," The older girl said as she gave her sister a push on the back as she sailed through the air on the swing in the park around the corner from their house.
"You are too and you know it! Stop me right now and let me off," She yelled as her legs kicked at the air like a trapped monkey, her face a deep scowl, "You always do this 'cause you know I don't like swinging too high."
"Now you're just being paranoid, you're so dumb," The girl told her as she pushed her harder and set her sister off shouting once more and gripping the chains of the swing even tighter so that her knuckles went white. Her sister just laughed and continued to push her as the younger girl screamed louder and louder. "Fine! Just stop shouting," The older girl snapped as she tugged on the chair hard the next time the girl came flying towards her. She held it so abruptly that it caused the swing to jerk and the little girl went flying, immediately starting to howl.
"Oh, oh Em. I'm so sorry. Em, please stop crying," The older girl rushed to her side within seconds of the event occurring, dropping down to her knees and pulling out a hankie to dab at the blood that was trickling from her sister's knee. "Be brave, Emmy, I know you can."
"It hurts," Emma managed to get out between sniffles and swipes at the tears making their way down her cheeks.
"I know and I'm sorry. I didn't mean it, I love you. I wouldn't ever hurt you on purpose."
Because she never meant it, she never meant to hurt her, but she always did. From the times when she went out with her friends on her Birthday even though they had the tradition of sitting at home and watching all the Disney movies in their house to the time when she told her to 'go away and leave her alone' when she started hanging around with the popular girls at school and wanted to seem cool and her little sister tagging along wouldn't exactly give her that vibe. Right down to the last few months she never meant to hurt anyone, she never thought of anyone but herself so she didn't think enough about anyone else to think about hurting them. She hadn't meant to tear them all apart, to leave the whole family feel like they were walking a tight rope and one wrong move could send them plummeting to their deaths. She hadn't meant to make them feel like they were walking across think ice and that they could crack the whole Eco system apart and break it completely, killing them all in the process.
She hadn't meant to, but she did, and in the end what does it matter? Because they still all ended up hurt and she ended up dead.
In the end it hadn't mattered that she hadn't wanted to hurt them because it all hurt just the same, just like everything not meaning to do something still doesn't stop the fact that you did. Just like sorry doesn't make up for what was broken, and forgiving doesn't stop the deed having been done even if things turned out alright. Because they all forgave her, time and time again, but they never forgot. Can you even forget? When things have changed whether you like it or not, when things are going to be irrevocably different no matter what, can you ever forgot what happened when everything around you shows that things aren't the same? Patching up a broken piece of fabric is never the same as it was before, somethings been altered.
And things changed. The fabric of their family was bursting at the seams and it was all threatening to fall apart in their hands, and she hadn't intended on that but that's what happened anyway. The moment she stopped eating, the moment she slowly withered away until there was nothing left, she'd changed what they all were. She'd changed each and every one of them.
"I ate at Amy's house."
"I'm not hungry."
"I had a big lunch."
"I feel a little ill so I'm just going to bed."
She wanted to go back to a time before the excuses, before the time when her sister was slowly shrinking before her eyes. Before the time when her hip bones were sharp and her ribs showed and her arms looked so thin that they might snap and when 'be careful: fragile item' was branded across her forehead. She wanted to go back to before her sister was fading in front of her eyes, slipping away like light giving way to darkness.
She just wanted her sister to come back. To hold her and to whisper that things would be okay even when they weren't, she wanted someone to care enough to pretend that things weren't fucked up.
Her sister was the light underneath her bedroom door at night, the leaves beneath her feet in Autumn, the cold biting at her cheeks when it snowed, the sunlight falling down on her face, the smoke from a cigarette drifting into the milky sky, hot chocolate by the fire, pearls against pale white skin, velvet dresses, balloons being set free into the world as they run into the wind, aeroplanes full of people's dreams of new beginnings, crinkled wall paper, broken glass windows, teeth biting against tongue, the people that she brushed past on the street that merged with an endless amount of faceless people, the song she listened to on repeat in her room on a Tuesday night, the homework she forgot to do and got a detention for, the feeling of the Earth turning beneath her feet, Eco systems, food chains, reproduction, photosynthesis, birth, death.
Her sister was everything all at once, like blood to the head after hanging upside down. Her sister was everything and yet nothing at all. Nothing but a girl. A teenage girl.
"Mum and dad say that something's wrong with you," Emma said as she hugged her knees as they sat on Audrey's bed as she painted her toe nails electric blue. The bones were poking out of her elbows from where she'd rolled up her sleeves on her green cable knit jumper, her hair was looking lank and greasy, her skin had the shadow of a grey tiny that made her look really sick. Really, really sick.
"When did you hear that?" She had her sister's undivided attention then, she wasn't checking the flashing screen of her mobile phone that showed the incoming text, her gaze was on her and that was something that didn't happen very often these days.
"Mum and dad were talking about it in the kitchen on Saturday... They weren't watch X Factor," She told her, her voice very quiet like she was scared of the effect her words would have on her sister. Scared that they might make her snap, break apart completely right in front of her eyes. "What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing, I'm completely fine Emma. Don't listen to mum and dad, will you?" She asked and while she was trying to keep her voice casual there was an edge of pleading to it. Her sister never pleaded. She nodded and it was very quiet for a moment, thinking the conversation had been dropped after a glance at her sister, Audrey had gone back to painting her nails while simultaneously clicking on her message and reading it through.
"I love you. Why are you doing this?" Her head snapped up from her nails at that, her eyes opening really wide as she shook her head.
"I... I'm not doing anything," She said quickly. Too quickly. Her gaze shifted down to the hand holding the little brush. "Remember that book about the hungry caterpillar? About how it just ate and ate, but became a butterfly anyway. Well that's not how it works, if you just eat then you remain the ugly caterpillar forever and you'll never become the butterfly. I don't want to be a caterpillar. No one likes caterpillars, they only like butterflies. In real life not everyone's going to end up turning into a butterfly, but I want to be one of the ones that do."
She didn't mention at the time the fact that butterflies don't live very long, it didn't seem important because it wasn't like her sister would die on her.
She read that book a few days after her death, it was in the bookshelf of her sister lodged between one of the Harry Potter's and a book of poems she needed for school. She opened it up and couldn't bear to think of her sister doing the opposite of the caterpillar to try and become the butterfly, of the fact that while the caterpillar couldn't stop eating her sister had starved herself, that she snapped the book shut sharply. But she'd sat there on the hard wooden floor of her sister's room with her back against her bed, the book closed as it rested against her knees and then she'd opened the book again and read it. It was the same story that she'd been read by her mum when she was very young and then read again when she was older and a girl at school called her fat. But it was different this time because at the very back was written in her sister's messy, block capitals: I'M GOING TO BE STRONGER THAN THE CATERPILLAR. I'M GOING TO RESIST MY TEMPTATIONS.
And underneath in a different coloured pen on what was presumably a different day, she'd added in smaller handwriting that still took up most of the page: I can smell pancakes downstairs. Mum's feeling guilty for missing Em's parents evening so she's cooking her favourite. My stomach's feeling really empty and it's hurting, it's clenching in on itself and the pains are worse today. My eyes are stinging with tears. I think that I might just give up today. I wish that I could go and sit with them, we would all sit around the round table and we'd smile and tell each other how our day had been. We'd all play happy families and pretend that everything was okay. I wish that I could, but I can't. I can't because I'm sick of pretending that it's all fine. When I was little I used to believe in fairy tales, I used to believe that my parents were happy because I didn't know any better, I used to believe things were going to end happily ever after. But I know know that isn't the case. I'm sick of acting like it is. Because castles are built up to be teared down, hearts are broken and we're all just hopeless souls. This is a world of forgotten dreams and helpless people. Please save me. I've got these battle wounds. Battle wounds from fighting with myself. But I won't win without someone. Hear me screaming. I'm drowning
She knew that by her putting it in that book that it was meant for her to read, the moment she'd told her about the book and the butterflies that comment had been opened up for her. But she'd never thought to read it. She knew deep down inside her in the part of the body that stored the things you didn't want to know yourself, where sick secrets were kept and memories of the people you used to love live, that her sister had hoped she'd read it. She'd hoped to be saved, the moment she wrote that she'd wanted to be helped from herself. But she hadn't been there when her sister needed her. She felt her insides eating away her outsides and monsters under the bed and the devil dancing in her heart and hands around her neck and guilt, guilt, guilt.
There was the sounds of footsteps on stairs, the creak of floor boards, as someone made their way up stairs. The movement was slow, faltering, tired. Everyone was always tired now. She could sleep for a million years and still wake up tired, she walked around tired with lost eyes and clammy palms, she went to bed tired and the whole tiring cycle again. Always again. They were tired of living in a world where she wasn't around, because the feeling of life being sucked out from hearts had started the moment she was pronounced dead on arrival.
She was balling up her hands so hard that her nails dug into the skin of her palm nearly enough to draw blood. She found she wanted to draw blood in that moment, the same want that people sometimes got when they dragged their knuckles across bricks so that the skin scraped and when people picked scabs even though it sent blood gushing and when people poked at bruises that still weren't ready to be touched. She just wanted to be able to show the inside pain on the outside, make her insides and outsides match up like a screwed up little game. Match the cards, blood with blood, pain with pain.
"You said you'd watch Doctor Who with me. You promised," The girl grumbled as she stood in the door way of the kitchen, the room so dark that only her silhouette could be made out against the backdrop. Hand on hip, head tilted to the side and resting against the frame.
"People make promises just to break them, honey, life lesson for you right there," The older girl said as she gathered up her bag and her leather jacket, wrapping a scarf around her neck as she headed for the front door to slip out into the nigh with the bats and the moon.
"But not you, you're not just 'people'," Emma persisted, a clear urgency in her voice.
"Maybe I am. Maybe I'm going to burn this house right down. Maybe I'm going to destroy something beautiful with my very hands. Maybe I'm going to set the world on fire just to watch the flames and the shouts from the helpless. Maybe I'm going to claw eyes out with my fingernails. Maybe I'm going to smoke cigarettes until my lungs explode. Maybe I'm going to start wars and then go about trying to stop them so I can pretend like I stand for something in this fucked up world. Maybe I'm going to push people into the waves swirling at the bottom of the cliff so they drown. Maybe I'm going to lie and cheat and steal. Maybe I'm going to fuck everyone over like the worthless shit I am. Maybe I'm going to kill myself because I'm wild and young and free. Maybe I am just like everyone else."
With that the girl flung herself out the door, it slamming shut behind her in the process to mark her disappearance.
That girl was dialed to self destruct and she was taking them with her. To the land of beyond where on entering people didn't leave. You will go and you will not come back. To infinity and beyond, and infinity they went. In the dark tunnels of London at night. In the underground station with the trains flashing across her face. In the grimey bars that smelled like sweat and desperation.
"I want to go back," the little girl said to the ticket conductor but the man shook his head because they didn't go there. "This train goes to the future and speeds the whole way there. Do you want to get on board? Or would you like to get left behind?
The phone was ringing outside the door and no one was picking it up, but it kept ringing and ringing and it seemed to be getting louder every second that it rang. It pierced through her special place and struck her right in the stomach, sending her reeling. She was brought back to right now. Did she want to get left behind, watching the trains in the underground station as they danced past her vision? Or did she want to hop on the trian to the future and all that was ahead of her? To be or not to be, that is the question. To sink into her own sadness or to try and move on even if the girl who she loved most in the world wasn't there. To go forward or to go backwards. To live or to die. That is a very good question indeed.
But for now she opened up the wardrobe and stepped out into the bright lights of the room. Time to face the music.