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Dec 20, 10 at 6:11am ^re: Schizophreak [COMPLETED!]
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What you'll be reading here is mostly my thought process while I was reading. It's all nicely organized as well, in case you want to go back and double check something
I took notes while reading
You'll probably just skim over this post and be all "HOLY LONG COMMENT, BATMAN" but whatever, there's some critique in there, hidden amongst my endless ramblings.
Wow, I like that pic of you there. Looks kinda like me when I wake up in the morning and realize I forgot to wash my makeup off the night before, what with the mascara everywhere and whatnot.
Wow. That was just...intense.
OH I JUST LOVE COLLIN.
quote harvesthunnyActually, it's not that dumb, it's ~science~.
When someone hyperventilates, their blood is overflowed with oxygen. When someone is breathing in and out of a paper bag, all they're breathing in is carbon dioxide, which helps balance out the oxygen overflow, thus keeping the person from passing out.
quote harvesthunnyI think Voice One is my favorite. She's Alyx's only voice of reason, that I can see. :3
This picture doesn't work anymore, btw.
NO I LIKED VOICE ONE </3
Ok nvm Voice One was being mean, my bad.
This picture is also not working, btw.
quote harvesthunnyYeah, for real. This school must have an amazing art program, or really generous sponsors, or something.
quote harvesthunnyIt actually takes 5 now, but...yeah.
quote harvesthunnyThat's a nice mental image. (:
Oh I loved that one. The handwritten journal entry is a great touch.
I wonder why Mr. Lenhart wants to see Alyx? Is it because she wrote "*bleep*ing whore"?
Creepy dog is creepy. ;-;
quote harvesthunnyA bit redundant, I think. Also, this is some rare criticism in this post! XD
quote harvesthunnyAccording to here, there are five types, but it looks like Undifferentiated is a collection of symptoms from the other types, so this might just be new information.
quote harvesthunnyCollin! *wibble*
And tbh, I probably would've needed a smoke after that conversation, and I'm allergic to cigarette smoke. XD
quote harvesthunnyThere are no more Blockbusters in the US, btw. I don't know when this story is supposed to be set, but Blockbuster has been gone for a loooong time.
I was also going to add that I think that if a student has a mental disorder, especially one that needs medication, I'm pretty sure it's a requirement that the student's teachers know about it. Also, there's no way the school would allow Alyx to carry around her medication with her. The nurse would have to keep it in her office, and Alyx would have to go to her if she needed to take it.
Um, yeah. So I really
so yeah um there's my say in this take what you will from it
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Dec 20, 10 at 6:28am ^re: Schizophreak [COMPLETED!]
quoteshut up i was trying to look creepy not cute
quoteYeah, i wrote that before i realized there are five types.
quotenot all the time
quotetruesay, dog. never really thought about that lol.
quoteoh i always write in first person. i find it much much easier, don't know how i can explain that lol. i just hate writing in 3rd person because i'd have to get into other characters' heads and i'm bad at doing that. ._.
quotemild schizophrenia ftw YEAAAAH
jeez holy shit that was like the best comment ever, thank you LLB. i never really thought about the whole nurse in school medication thingamabob, i always carry my inhaler around with me (I have asthma, it's so much easier to keep meds with me ). i'll keep that in mind...for draft two. yeah so have fun finishing this i guess LOL
edit: oh shit, there aren't blockbusters in the US anymore? O__O i never knew that omfg omfg omfg
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Dec 23, 10 at 6:25am ^re: Schizophreak [COMPLETED!]
Actually, here in Virginia, there are a bunch of Blockbusters.
They actually, leik...line the eastern seaboard in some places... ._.
*copies chapters she missed to her iPod*
Homestuck | Tumblr | deviantART | Okami
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Dec 24, 10 at 10:53pm ^re: Schizophreak [COMPLETED!]
Dude, I haven't seen a Blockbuster store open in at least 5 years, probably more. You lucky duck.
But I know for a FACT that there are no more Movie Gallerys or Hollywoods in the US, but their stores are still open in Canada. I just assumed Blockbuster had the same deal, I guess.
quote harvesthunnyInhalers are okay, it's just like pills that you can't have with you. Not even Tylenol or anything. Something to do with kids giving them to other kids and then they'd have an allergic reaction or something, or they were selling them, idk.
FOUR MORE PAGES NOW, BECAUSE...I CAN ONLY DO THIS FOUR PAGES AT A TIME, FOR SOME REASON
quote harvesthunnyNever heard it put that way. I'm totally gonna use that.
quote harvesthunnyI'm guessing you spelled "snickered" in a different way? Pretty hilarious, tbh. XD
quote harvesthunnyI was serious about that "adopting Collin" thing.
I can kinda see where Autumn is coming from on this. I mean, it's not right to leave your friends, but when you have a friend that just...changes like Alyx did, that's gotta be hard to deal with.
I really liked this chapter, it kinda stuck out for me, you know? I guess because it's a bit different from the other chapters.
Seriously, I like this as a monologue. If I were to like, record myself reading it, would you get mad?
quote harvesthunnyI think it's spelled "cleats".
quote harvesthunnyJust wanted to point out that this sentence is kinda worded funny.
quote harvesthunnyI giggled. Yeah, I'm immature.
quote harvesthunnyI thought she didn't open her locker...?
The pic's kinda big, and it stretches the page. I like the picture itself, but the fact that it widens the page is a bit sloppy, or something. :/
quote harvesthunnyI think that if I was only going to be in a job for the money, I believe I'd choose prostitute over psychotherapist.
quote harvesthunnyPlease don't tell me this is foreshadowing. D:
Also, I liked the thing Alyx wrote, and you reading it in Alyx's voice.
Mmm, Seven sounds kinda hot.
quote harvesthunnyNOOOOOOOOO NONONONONONO NOOOOOOOOO I TAKE IT BACK BAD SEVEN D;
Twenty-Two Part One:
*insert Canadian/Hockey joke here*
Twenty-Two Part Two:
quote harvesthunnyMario Kart is always fun to play when you're hammered.
Oh, um, wow. I think I'd be hearing voices too if all that shit happened to me in one night, tbh.
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Dec 26, 10 at 3:06pm ^re: Schizophreak [COMPLETED!]
I Reread the whole book because I actually forgot about it when I did my NaNoWriMo ( which I finished =.=') And I still love it ;D
♡ C A N D Y I S D A N D Y B U T L I Q U O R I S Q U I C K E R ♡
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Dec 31, 10 at 8:01am ^re: Schizophreak [COMPLETED!]
Good *bleep*ing god, I did such a good job on the picture of the first post
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Jan 01, 11 at 12:55am ^re: Schizophreak [COMPLETED!]
~I AM NOW OFFICIALLY CAUGHT UP ON SCHIZOPHREAK~
Now for my comments:
quote harvesthunnySHUT THE HELL UP, SEVEN. YOU ARE ON MY SHIT LIST.
quote harvesthunnyPointing out weirdly worded sentence.
I'm glad that Ashley didn't run away screaming when Alyx started telling her basically everything. I hope she'll be a good friend.
quote harvesthunnyAlyx never mentioned a video...
Again, pic stretches the page. It's a cool pic though. (Y)
My stomach cringes whenever Alyx cuts herself there. That's a sign of good writing. (Y)
quote harvesthunnyThat's what I'm doing with my hair. :3
quote harvesthunnyI've never been in a school where they sang (or listened to) the national anthem; we've always done the Pledge of Allegiance here.
quote harvesthunnyWho's Jamie?
quote harvesthunnyJAMIE YOU ARE IN THE WRONG NOVEL. GET OUT NOW WHILE THERE'S STILL TIME. D:
quote harvesthunnyIt's pronounced differently than freak?
quote harvesthunnyALYX YOU BITCH!
Music is Art That We're Afraid to Enjoy:
Congrats on 100,000k words! I did the same thing when I hit 9001 words, because I'm a dork. :3
*bleep*, this chapter's long.
quote harvesthunnyBEING FROM ALABAMA, I AM OFFENDED
(okay i actually lold)
The book's not really "about rape", it's more about social inequality, and stuff. But the first few chapters are kinda boring. It takes like, halfway through the book to get to the plot, then you go through all that stuff with the court trial and whatnot, and then at the end Scout's like "And that's how my brother broke his arm. " *facepalm* But other than that, it's actually one of my favorite books. (Y)
quote harvesthunnyIn America, we would say a 20 oz (ounce) bottle.
quote harvesthunnyHer ego?
*end of chapter*
my fave chapter tbh (Y)
quote harvesthunnyI really really like "skullbed".
quote harvesthunnyWould probably be written as 04/01/1994 in an American hospital.
quote VenaI lol'd.
quote VenaYou mean, hallways are usually supposed to go up in the air?
I know what you mean, that was just my first thought when I read that sentence.
I liked that one, it was different. I'm guessing it was supposed to be from the POV of The Voices?
quote VenaIs this really important to the story?
The way you described Eddy sounds like an old friend of mine, who was Bipolar/Schizophrenic.
Awesome, just awesome. I'm assuming you did your research about what would happen if you overdosed on sleeping pills, because it sounded spot-on to me.
Also, lol @ you can tell what I read today from your name magically changing from harvesthunny to Vena. XD
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Jan 01, 11 at 3:26am ^re: Schizophreak [COMPLETED!]
EVERYONE IT'S HARVESTHUNNY BUT I GOT A NAME CHANGE so don't worry :3
quoteSure! ...Meaning, go ahead and do it! That actually sounds like a good idea, maybe I'll do it, myself, considering I did the thing in the "crazy" chapter.
quoteOh...my laptop is pretty big, and I know laptops are smaller than mine, but I didn't know how to make the picture smaller without re-sizing it myself, which I'm too lazy to do. OH WELL
Johnathan Morris thank you
Anime Gurl YES! Everyone, check out the first post of this thread! She was kind enough to make me a picture on deviantart for Schizophreak.
quoteAHHH. I originally named him (Cameron) Jamie, but then I realized that one of The Voice's names is Jamie, so I replaced it with Cameron. I must have not noticed the Jamies when I replaced them with Camerons. XD
quoteMore of an "edge" to it I suppose...
quoteMine too omg. Best thing I've ever written in my life.
Thank you for the criticisms, LLB it means a lot etc etc
YAY A CHAPTER.
thirty ~ confrontations and explanations
Credit to turkeza from deviantART
It’s too cold for me to be out here all by myself. Seagulls are flying over my head, screeching for a reason I don’t know of. There are clouds above the seagulls, but it’s always cloudy in Washington, so I don’t think it’s going to rain. Even though it’s a Friday afternoon, and this road leads into another part of Coldgrove, nobody is driving by. I’m out here all alone, shaking like a leaf wanting to fall from a tree. I’m wearing my jacket, but it’s not good enough to block out the wind from blowing against my back, and the back of my neck. I knew that haircut was a stupid idea.
“Help!” I yell, as loud as I can. There has to be someone out here, anywhere. I know Cameron is at the bottom of these cliffs, a hundred meters below me, but he’s dead. Broken bones, bleeding head, dead. “HELP!” I scream out. I start walking faster, up the road where we came to the cliffs, when Cameron was still alive. The whole time that we were sitting there, right beside the fence to keep people from jumping over it, not a single car passed us by. We passed by a few when he started driving into the town area, but no one seems to like these cliffs.
A flock of Canadian Geese flies over my head. They honk loudly; I’m not sure if they’re trying to communicate with me or not. I stare up at the V of birds flapping their wings, heading back up to British Columbia from a winter in Mexico. Mom used to tell me all the time, when I was little, that the geese we’d see every fall were from Canada, and they were flying south for the winter because it was warm there. At the end of winter and the beginning of spring, we’d see them again, but flying north to go back home.
I decide to follow the geese, as they are flying in the direction I’m walking, anyways. I walk slowly, hugging myself in a pathetic attempt to keep warm, as this damn wind is getting stronger. I keep walking, my eyes watering from the wind and Cameron’s death. I should have talked to him—told him all the reasons why he should have lived. I should have helped him, I should have stayed in the car, tried to hold on to something when he pulled me out. Maybe I should have been in the car with him. Maybe, just maybe, he’s alive. When I find help, he’s going to wake up in the hospital from all the operations and surgeries, and tell me I’m right. He was an idiot. Now he’s going to live life to the fullest, just like Eddy wanted him to. You never realize how precious life is until you come close to death. That’s one of the things I’ve realized after I came out of my coma.
I stop walking. Everything is silent now; the geese are long-gone. All I can hear is the pounding of my heart. I look around me, but no one is coming, by car or by foot. I want to scream for help again, but my throat is closing up. All I want to do is just fall to my knees, kneel on this road and cry like a baby. But I can’t—I have to find help. Even though I hate running, I have to run out of here and find somebody, anybody. I’ll have to grow the balls to knock on a random person’s door and tell them what happened. Not all the details, of course, just that my friend drove himself off a cliff, I don’t have a cell phone, and he might be dead.
“My friend.” Cameron said he doesn’t have any friends. I should have convinced him otherwise. I am his friend, and he’s mine. I think. He could have hung out with me and Collin during lunch—after all, he sits with us in Psychology class. Even though Collin doesn’t go for hanging out with people like Cameron, who smoke and aren’t exactly friendly, they could have just been neutral or something. Or, they could have ended up friends. I don’t know.
I shut off my brain. This is no time to play “I should have, I could have, he should have, he could have.” This is time to get some help. I stare up ahead, but then I shake my head. I uncross my arms, clear my throat, and let out the loudest scream I can muster. I’ve always wanted to do this, but if I did it in my backyard at home, Lynda would drag me back to the hospital where I’d have to sit in that tiny room. Since there’s no one out here, I scream and scream and scream. I scream three times, and the last scream is the loudest, longest, and strongest.
When I’m done, I stand there, breathing heavily for a minute, trying to soothe my throat by breathing in the heavy, damp air that always means rain. At least the air in a small town is clean. My breath is shaky again, like I’m about to cry, but I can’t. I have to run for help.
I start running, not very fast, but not jogging. I run for about a hundred yards before I see two lights way up ahead—headlights from a car. I stop, and wave my arms in the air, like I’m yelling for SOS after a ship wreck. The car comes closer, so I stand there, waiting for it to come, hoping that it won’t hit me. “Hey!” I yell. “Hey! Stop!”
The car stops about ten feet in front of me. The windows are tinted, so I can’t see who’s inside, but I have to get help from anybody. This could be my only chance to get help for hours. I run to the driver’s side of the car, and knock on the window with my knuckles. “Hey,” I say, my voice cracking, “I’m sorry I’m stopping you, but I really, really need some help—”
The window rolls down and a woman peers at me. I look at her, and I see it’s Ms. Carmona in the driver’s seat. “Alyx?” she says. “Alyx, what are you doing out here all by yourself? Are you lost?”
“Yes, but that’s not the point,” I say, stepping back in case she wants to open up her car door. “See, the thing is, um, I’m sorry for barging in on your drive, but I really need help.” Ms. Carmona steps out of her car and looks around as I talk. “Something terrible happened, and I don’t have my own cell phone so I can’t call for help. I’ve been walking around for a few minutes but no one else came, so thank goodness you’re here.”
“Alyx, what are you talking about?” She looks at me, concerned.
“Something really horrible happened,” I say, my voice shaking. I look down at my hands and they’re shaking, too, even harder than my voice. “You have to help me, Ms. Carmona, please.”
“Alyx, tell me what happened,” she urges, placing her hands on my shoulders. “No, wait—tell me why you’re out here all by yourself!”
“I wasn’t by myself at first,” I tell her. “I was with Cameron, he wanted to chill after school with me, just drive around like we’ve done a couple times. He drives like a maniac—no, that’s not the point. But..but...we were just chilling and he started—” Should I tell her about Eddy? No, I don’t think I should. “He started going kind of, you know, kind of hysterical about something I’m not going to say. We kind of had a fight, and he pulled me out of the car and he...and he…” My eyes fill up again, and my lips quiver.
“He what, Alyx?”
“I can’t!” I cover my face with my hands.
“Alyx, calm down, honey.” Ms. Carmona pulls me close and pats me on the back. “Did he leave you here out by yourself because of your fight?”
“S-somewhat,” I manage to say. “B-but I do-don’t n-need a lift home, I just—I just need help.”
“Alyx. I can’t read minds. You have to tell me what happened.”
The tears pooling in my eyes spill down my cheeks and sobs escape my mouth. My throat is as tight as the cover pulled over a drum—I can’t speak at all. I point at the metal fence separating the road and gesture wildly.
Ms. Carmona stares at me. She looks over my shoulder, and her eyes almost pop out of her head. “Oh, God,” she says. “You can’t be serious—oh, God!”
“I’m sorry,” I squeak.
“Get in my car,” she says. She steers me to the passenger’s side of her Toyota, opened the door, and stuffs me in. She closes the door, runs to the driver’s side, hops in, and turns the key in the ignition, all of this practically in one motion. She steps on the Gas and drives like Cameron used to—like a total maniac. We get to the scene of the accident in about five seconds.
“You stay here,” she says. She hops out before I can reply. She walks over to the fence, which has a huge gap. Now there are two halves of fence instead of a whole fence.
Ms. Carmona leans over and peers at the real scene of the accident. I watch as her face turns ashy white, her hand flying up towards her mouth. She gets back in the car and starts backing up so we’re on the road. “I know how to get down there,” she says, hysteria in her voice. “It’ll only take a minute, don’t worry, Alyx.”
“Please tell me you have a phone,” I whisper.
“Of course I do,” she replies. “Don’t worry; this will only take a minute…” She starts driving again, faster than a NASCAR competitor. We drive for ten seconds, and then the road becomes a Y. She turns right, and the road becomes a circle until she makes another sharp turn, then drives straight for a few seconds before stopping. I look up, and through the glass dashboard I see the accident. My eyes widen so much that the tears stop.
“Stay here,” Ms. Carmona says. “I’m going to call 911.”
She takes her phone from the cop holder below the radio buttons, then hops out of the car. I watch as she runs towards the scene—Cameron’s car is there, a bit of smoke coming out of the hood. The car itself is laying sideways, driver’s side up in the air. From here, I can see the smashes in the door, the flat tire, the broken windows and glass everywhere, all the damage.
Oh, God. I know Cameron’s there, in his car, dead. His bones must all be broken, his head maybe split in half because he didn’t wear his seatbelt when I last saw him. He’s dead and it’s all my fault.
I should have helped him. I should have threatened him to tell me everything that was going on in his life, other than the Eddy factor. I could have given him advice—or just listened to what he had to say, because maybe that’s all he needed, someone to listen. I could have taken over the driver’s seat, drove us out of there and to Jessica Varner PhD’s office, because maybe she could have helped. I could have driven us to the hospital if she wasn’t available. I should have, I could have, I didn’t. It is all my fault.
He shouldn’t have pulled me out of the car. He should have poured everything out to me, because learning about Eddy wasn’t enough. Sure, he was traumatized by the death of his brother, but he should have gone to a grief counselor. Isn’t that what most people do when a family member or friend dies? He could have gone to a counselor, a therapist—anybody! He could have told me everything and he could have cried or felt better, whatever, and he wouldn’t have drove himself off the cliff. He should have, he couldn’t, he didn’t. It is all his fault.
Ninety: None of it is his fault, idiot. It’s all yours. You could have stopped him. Or, if you weren’t able to, he should have drove off the cliff with you in the car. See how the car landed passenger-side down? You should have been there. You should be dead, too.
Eighty-four: You don’t deserve to live. You killed him, Alyx. You killed him.
Nineteen: Tsk, tsk, tsk.
My eyes fill up with tears once again, and they spill over. I hold my backpack to my stomach, like it’s going to help me. But it won’t—it’s an inanimate object. I sit there, crying like a baby, because everything is all my fault. Eddy dying, even though I don’t know him, just that he killed himself. It’s my fault he died. It’s my fault Cameron didn’t get help, even though it was his responsibility. It’s my fault Cameron drove himself off a cliff and killed himself.
Everything is my fault.
After a few minutes of feeling sorry for myself, Ms. Carmona knocks on my window and motions for me to get out. I dry my eyes with the sleeve of my jacket and get out of the car. Ms. C is still holding her Blackberry to her ear, but isn’t saying anything. I can faintly hear someone talking on the other line—the 911 operator, I’m assuming. They’re still on the phone together because you’re supposed to wait for help to come before you can hang up with the operator.
“Yes, I can hear them now,” Ms. Carmona says into the phone. “Thank you for all your help.” She presses a button, and I can faintly hear a siren wailing in the background, somewhere above. “An ambulance, a tow truck, an ambulance and the police are coming,” she tells me. “Even if Cameron’s dead, it’s not your fault, Alyx.” She steps over to me and puts her arm around my shoulders. “You did the right thing by waiting for someone to show up. It was very brave of you; I would have had the living daylights scared out of me.”
I don’t say anything; I stare at the ground. I can feel her looking at me, like she wants to say something else, but she doesn’t because the ambulance speeds into the territory of the accident. A truck that looks like my Dad’s follows in behind, with a bunch of equipment attached to the back, including the Jaws of Life. A police car casually arrives behind the truck.
The truck guys hop out. The older one fetches a ladder from the back, and the younger guy fetches the Jaws. Together, they run towards Cameron’s car, but a firefighter runs past them with a hose. I look, and I see another person attaching the other end of the hose to a fire hydrant. Water shoots out from the hose, and the firefighter holding the 100-foot long snake sprays water everywhere, even though the smoke has almost cleared. I watch as more smoke rises into the naked tree branches, choking the bark with carbon monoxide.
The firefighter takes a few steps back, admires his work, and gives thumbs up to the older tow truck guy, who runs over to the car with his ladder, which is just a few feet tall. He quickly sets it up, and peers into the broken window. “We don’t need the Jaws!” he yells over his shoulder. “We need to flip this thing over if we want to get the kid out.”
“Gently,” I whisper to myself.
The guy jumps to the ground, and runs to the tow truck with the ladder. He throws it in the back. His buddy hops into the passenger seat. The older guy hops into the driver’s seat, and they drive to the scene of the accident. The truck spins around so the back end is facing Cameron’s destroyed car. The two guys hop out, and at record speed, attach what looks like a hook to something at the bottom of Cameron’s car. The other end is already attached to the tow truck.
I turn my head to see what’s up with the paramedics and police officers. A police officer is standing against a tree, making notes, a camera around his neck. His partner is talking into her walkie-talkie, or whatever the professional name for that thing is.
Two paramedics are working together to push the stretcher out of the back of the ambulance, and onto the ground. I don’t know if there are only two, or a third that is in the ambulance getting out supplies like a breathing mask or something.
I turn to the scene of the accident, and I watch as the tow truck rolls slowly ahead. Cameron’s car is tipping over, ever so slowly. I can hear piece of glass falling to the ground. The car tips, tips, tips, and then—thumps to the ground. The thump is so loud the ground vibrates like an earthquake is going on. The driver’s window is shattered so badly there are only shards at the top. The dashboard window is cracked in several places. The door has many bumps, like Cameron had been in a bunch of car accidents while his car was falling down the cliffs.
I can’t see a body.
The younger tow truck guy runs out, detaches the hook from Cameron’s car, and carries it back to the truck. The police officer with the camera runs over and starts taking pictures of the car from a bunch of different angles. The paramedics run over, now, the woman pushing the stretcher, her two buddies running alongside her. One is holding a breathing mask and something I can’t identify, and the other is holding a body bag. My heart skips a beat.
The paramedic who was pushing the stretcher leaves it a few feet from the car, and opens up the driver’s door with a bit of struggle. “We’ve got a body!” she yells.
The cop runs over again, and starts taking pictures of the inside of the car, and Cameron’s dead body. He steps back, and the two male paramedics fish out the body. I try to get a better look, but they’re in the way. I take a few steps to the left, and I see a body covered in blood. The legs look bent funny, an arm is broken, and the head is bleeding. I cover my mouth, willing myself not to scream. Ms. Carmona grabs me and puts her arm around my shoulders again, keeping me from running over to the scene and doing something bad.
The paramedics place Cameron on the stretcher. My heart is racing even faster now, like a NASCAR race. The cop with the camera takes more pictures, then steps away. The female paramedic examines Cameron, looks up at her partners, the cops, the tow truck guys, the firefighters. “We’ve got a pulse!” she yells.
“Thank God!” Ms. Carmona whispers, her voice quivering. I can hear her whispering a prayer under her breath, though I can’t make it out.
“Broken arms, broken legs, head trauma,” the paramedic continues. “He’s unconscious, but I’ve got an irregular pulse. Excuse us, Officer.” She pushes the stretcher over to the ambulance, her partners following. I watch as the female jumps into the back, and the two guys lift the stretcher and push it in. One guy hops into the driver’s side, the other closes the door and runs to the passenger’s side.
The cop with the camera takes a few more pictures of the damage. His partner observes and takes notes of the type of car, and the license plate. The firefighters wave and yell goodbye, then they drive off to the fire station. Their work is done for the day. The tow truck guys hang around, the younger one casually smoking a cigarette.
Once she is done taking notes, the female police officer walks up to me and Ms. Carmona. She holds up a shiny badge attached to a thing that looks like a wallet. The thing opens up and I see an ID. “Constable Lauren Woods,” she introduces. “May I ask what you ladies are doing here?”
“This is a student of mine,” Ms. Carmona says, pointing at me with her free hand. “Alyx Sawhill. She, er, witnessed the accident. The victim is Cameron Hill—he’s also a student of mine at Coldgrove High.”
“And what’s your name?” Constable Woods asks.
“Xiomaara Carmona,” she says, pulling out her wallet and handing it to the cop. “Alyx also goes to Coldgrove High. She and Cameron are both in my eleventh-grade Psychology class.”
“And how did you get here?”
“I take the route up there home,” Ms. Carmona says, pointing upwards where the road is. “I was just driving, and I saw Alyx on the road. I stopped, and she told me what happened. I come here to hike with my boyfriend on weekends, so I knew how to get down here. I drove to the fence, where Cameron drove through, and then I drove down here with Alyx. I called 911 with my phone.”
Constable Woods nods, and hands Ms. Carmona her wallet back. “Is that all you know about the vic?” Ms. Carmona nods. “Does the school administration have his files, like health card number and all that? You’re going to have to get it somehow, in order for him to get a room.”
“I’ll head back to the school and get it,” Ms. Carmona says, nodding. “Do you and your partner need to talk to A—oh, of course you do. Could you take her to the hospital? I’ll get hold of Cameron’s family and tell them what happened. We could meet there, if that’s possible.”
“I can talk to Alyx here,” Constable Woods says, looking at me. “When Dave—my partner—is all finished, I’ll drive her to the hospital and she can wait in the waiting room, after I get hold of the doctors to tell them what Alyx knows.”
Ms. Carmona nods, and shakes hands with Constable Woods. “I’ll see you soon, Alyx,” she says. “Thank you, Constable.” She hurries into her car, and drives off a few seconds later.
Constable Woods looks at me. “Alyx Sawhill, right?” I nod. “Do you have any ID on you? Sorry, it’s policy.”
I open up my backpack and find my wallet. Without looking at the picture, even though I can’t see it anyway, I hand Constable Woods my student ID. She looks at it, looks at me, and raises an eyebrow. “Was this taken before you got a haircut?”
“Yes, ma’am,” I reply. She nods, and hands the card to me. I slide it back into my wallet and toss it in my backpack.
“All righty, then. Tell me everything you know about the victim.” She fishes out a notebook from her pocket, flips a few pages, then slides the pencil from the plastic spiral at the side of the notebook.
“Well,” I say. I clear my throat. “His name is Cameron Hill, he’s eighteen, he lives with his Mom—not sure where—and his dad is in jail. His family’s from Tacoma—I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Tacoma’s, uh, police department. I don’t know much about his family, except they adopted a friend of Cameron’s a few years ago, and about a year and a half or so ago, the friend killed himself by jumping in front of a train.”
Constable Woods nods as she scribbles into the notebook. She finished a few seconds later, then looks up at me. “That’s all you know about his background?” I nod. “How long have you known him?”
“Uh, about a week or two,” I reply. “He came to Coldgrove High a day or two after Valentine’s Day. “We became friends that day, if you can call it that. He told me that day, that he had schizophrenia. Disorganized, I think it was. He’s a pretty weird kid. But he’s still fun to hang around. We drove together a few times, and he drives like a maniac, but we haven’t been in an accident together.”
Constable Woods nods as she jots down what I’m saying. “Were you with him today?”
“Yeah.” I take a deep breath, then let it out. “It was a pretty normal day today, at school, I mean. I was in the hospital since Wednesday last week, and I came back to school the Wednesday that just passed. Cameron seemed to want to talk to me, but I had a bunch of tests to make up. Today, though, I was free, so we went in his car and just drove around for a bit. We stopped at those cliffs up there” I point “and we just talked for a bit, just chilling and having a smoke together like he usually do when we hang out together.
“He started telling me about what kind of, uh, influenced his schizophrenia,” I continue. “I told you about his family adopting a friend of his a few years ago, right?” Constable Woods nods. “Cameron had a friend, a best friend, named Eddy. He came out as gay when he was in middle school, I think, and his parents disowned him. Cameron’s family took him in and adopted him shortly after.
“Eddy wasn’t really himself, as Cameron said. He was depressed for a long time, but didn’t show it to many people. He stopped hanging out with friends, going to school clubs, didn’t talk to anyone unless he had to. He was himself a few months later, and that lasted six weeks. After that, he shut down again.
“One day, Eddy took Cameron out after school, to chill and have some burritos. After they ate, Eddy took Cameron out to a park, which leads into some woods, which then leads to train tracks. Eddy was talking about a bunch of stuff at the same time, like a word salad. He talked about contemplating a Columbine massacre, but then decided against it. He talked about his parents hating him for being gay, how he wouldn’t get a boyfriend, how messed up he was, how sad he was. Before Cameron could do anything, Eddy stood on the train tracks and an oncoming train hit him. Cameron ran back to the park after a few minutes, and got help.
“When Cameron finished telling me all that, we drove around in a circle, then stopped at the cliffs again. He started talking about how horrible of a person he is, that he has no friends, even though I’m his friend. He started thinking out loud—how Eddy must have felt when the train hit him, how much pain he must have felt. That was when I realized Cameron was suicidal. I didn’t know he was until a few minutes before he drove off the cliff. I looked at him and told him to stop; I could let him talk to me. He got out of the car, pulled me out of it, then hopped in again.
“I started banging on his windows, screaming at him to stop, that he was being an idiot, how Eddy would have wanted him to keep living. Cameron started the engine, which scared me and made me jump back. Before I could do anything, he drove off the cliff and destroyed that fence up there.
“I stood there in total shock, and leaned over the fence. Smoke was everywhere. I started running, screaming for help. It took about five minutes until Ms. Carmona’s car showed up.”
I take a breath, not having done this much talking in a long time. I also realize that my legs are shaking like poked Jell-o. Constable Woods is scribbling at top speed. Half a minute later, she closes her notebook. “I’m sorry, Alyx,” she says. “That must have been really horrible for you. It’s a good thing he’s alive, though, hmm?”
“Yes,” I say, nodding. “I was so worried that he was really dead and it would all be my fault.”
“It wouldn’t have been,” she assures me. “Did you know if he was receiving any help? Going to a therapist or grief counselor?”
“I don’t know,” I tell her.
She nods and puts the notebook in her pants pocket. I look at her belt and see her equipment: a gun, a tazer, and other things I can’t identify. “Okay. I’ll do see if Dave is done with taking pictures. Hold on; let me get you in the car. We’ll drive you to the hospital and meet your teacher.”
Constable Woods leads me to the police car. She opens up the back door and I sit down. The seats aren’t very comfy, but criminals shouldn’t deserve to be comfortable, should they? The doors don’t have handles from the inside. There is a glass wall between me and the front passenger seat. Where a radio should be in a normal car, is a screen with a bunch of things on it I would never understand. There is also a laptop computer sitting where cup holders would normally be. A police radio is sitting on top of the keyboard.
The driver’s door opens up, and the male officer sits down. Constable Woods sits down in the front passenger seat. The driver hands the camera to Constable Woods, then looks at me. “Hey there,” he says, smiling. “I’m Inspector Dave Sullivan.”
“Hi,” I reply.
“To the hospital?” Inspector Sullivan asks Constable Woods. She nods.
I peer through the glass wall, and through the dashboard I can see the tow truck guys attaching Cameron’s car to the hook again, but this time they hook it up from the back.
Dave backs up, makes a turn, and drives off, back to society. The walkie-talkies buzz with static and voices, some saying police codes with numbers and words, other times just buzzing for no apparent reason. Neither police officer says anything to me, they talk amongst themselves. About what, I don’t know.
I stare out the window as we drive towards Coldgrove General Hospital, where I came out of just a few days ago, and where Cameron is going in. We arrive in ten minutes. Constable Woods opens up my door for me, and walks through the front entrance, me trailing behind her. I don’t know where Inspector Sullivan is.
The front entrance to the hospital is wide, with a lot of occupied chairs that have people waiting to sign in. There is a young mother with her baby, an old couple, and other people. There are three desks up at the front, signs hanging above the glass walls separating the hospital from the nurses and secretaries. To my left is a metal door with a sign that says Paramedics Only. There is another door on the upper-left, and a nurse goes inside whatever is in there.
To my right, I can see a large doorway with a sign that says Waiting Area A. There is another hanging sign near the floor-to-ceiling windows that says Waiting Area B. There are about a hundred chairs, only a few of them occupied. There is a hallway beside the last desk, probably leading into all the rooms filled with dying, injured or healing patients.
Constable Woods walks up to a nurse that has just entered the Waiting Area B area. I stay a few feet behind her, looking around. I hear snips of the conversation—Cameron Hill; Xiomaara Carmona; teacher; health records; car accident; this is Alyx, she’s a witness and Cameron’s friend. I can’t understand what the nurse replies, because she has a low and mumble-y voice. She walks off and calls out a name. A woman and a little boy follow her down the hall.
“The nurse said you’re going to have to wait in Waiting Area A,” Constable Woods says to me. “Your teacher hasn’t come by yet, but I’m sure she’ll be here soon. I’ll hang around here to wait for her—you go ahead and sit.” She gestures over to the waiting area, and I head in there. I take a seat and watch through the doorway as Constable Woods heads over to the entrance doors.
Inside Waiting Area A, there are about two dozen chairs lined up against the walls. Behind me, the wall is a fish tank with a bunch of exotic fish. The wall in front of me is plain. There is a doorway to the bathroom on my left, and on the wall beside it is a shelf filled with toys—a plastic xylophone, a teddy bear, a couple of dolls. There are also some magazines. Several meters away is another doorway, probably where nurses come in and ask patients to come in.
In front of me is a coffee table, covered with magazines. None of them look appealing. I glance upwards and see a small TV with a sign beside the buttons—Please do not change the channel! The screen plays the local news channel.
There are only about ten or so other patients in here with me. An old lady is sobbing into her handkerchief. A man is tapping his foot against the floor at top speed, his young daughter sitting beside him and coughing up a storm. I don’t look at the other patients, but I can feel all eyes on me. I’m not sick or anything, but I must look stressed out, from all the crying and whatnot.
After a few minutes at staring at my nails, which are bitten down as far as they can go, a light goes off in my head and reminds me I need to call home. Mom and Daddy are probably wondering where I am. I zip my backpack open and dig out my wallet. I zip open another zipper and fish out a quarter. With my backpack, I head out of the waiting room and to an area with vending machines and payphones. One of the five is occupied.
I insert my quarter into the slot of the cleanest-looking phone, and dial my home number. I put the phone to my ear and wait as it rings. It rings three times before someone picks up. “Alyx? Alyx?!” It’s Mom.
“Hi, Mom, it’s me,” I say into the phone. My voice is strained from the screaming I did earlier for five straight minutes. I guess the death-growling career I had in mind won’t really work out too well.
“Alyx, oh my god, where the hell are you? You really need a cellphone!” Mom sounds worried and angry at the same time.
“I’m at the hospital,” I say. “But don’t worry—I’m totally fine. My friend just got into, well, he got into a really bad car accident and I’ll probably be here a while. You don’t need to pick me up—I think I’ll be able to get a ride. I don’t know how long I’ll be here, but I’ll call you every hour or so, okay?”
“Wait, wait,” Mom says. “Your friend got into a car accident but you’re just fine? What?”
“It’s kind of a long story. I’ll tell you when I get home."
“Okay, then. You’ll tell me everything when you get home?”
“Yes, Mom.” I roll my eyes. “I have to go now. I’ll call you later, I promise.” I set the phone back in its cradle before Mom can respond. I look around, but no one is looking at me with suspicious eyes like I was expecting. I don’t see Constable Woods anywhere, so she still must be waiting for Ms. Carmona. I head back into the waiting room, and sit down in my seat.
I try to watch the TV, but the volume is muted, which is pretty pointless if you’re going to have a TV on. Twin boys make animal noises at each other while their mother blathers on her cell phone. I turn around in my chair and study the aquarium for a bit. The fish swim about, through the plants and castles. I spot a clown fish, a few angel fish, a couple of goldfish with huge cheeks, and other fish I can’t identify. They have fish tanks at the dentists’ office, too. When I was little and had to go there for check-ups, I asked the secretary why they had a fish tank. She said aquariums have a calming effect for scared patients. I guess it’s true for hospitals, too, because the other patients in here seem quite anxious.
I almost fall backwards, as I’ve been sitting the wrong way in my chair. I manage not to, and turn around to see Ms. Carmona. She gives me a hug and sits down beside me. “Sorry I took so long,” she says, breathless. “I had to explain everything to the secretaries at school, then I had to call Cameron’s mom, who’s on her way, and there was all the Friday-afternoon traffic…” She trails off, sinking down in her chair. “The cop met me at the front entrance and said she’d take care of everything to do with Cameron’s files. Hey, did you call your parents to tell them where you are?”
“Yeah, I called my mom,” I say. “I promised to call her every hour.”
“That’s good,” Ms. Carmona says. “Do you have enough quarters?”
“I won’t be here all night,” I say.
“True. Well, all we can do now is wait.” She sits up, and reaches for a magazine from the table in front of us. I take out some homework from my backpack, look at it, and decide not to do it. I stare up at the TV, trying to read the captions sliding at top speed across the bottom of the screen. I then attempt to read the reporter’s lips, but the screen is too small for that, so I give up and stare at the wall.
After five names have been called by the same nurse, a woman runs into the waiting room. I look up and stare at her. She has dark, messy hair, bright eyes which are streaming with tears. “My baby,” she mutters. Ms. Carmona looks up, and seems to recognize her.
“Lisa!” she says.
They seem to know each other, but I have a feeling Lisa is Cameron’s mom. Lisa sits down in the chair beside Ms. Carmona, and starts bawling her eyes out. Ms. C starts talking to Lisa, telling her everything is just fine and it’s all under control. Lisa continues crying, wailing that everything is all her fault and she should have known better and this was happening to her again her only living son and and and—
Ms. Carmona pats Lisa on the back, trying to calm her down. After a few minutes, Lisa’s wails turn into sniffles and hiccups. I am looking away this whole time, because I hate seeing people upset. I suddenly hear Ms. Carmona saying my name, which forces me to look over. Lisa stands up, sits on my other side, and hugs me tightly, saying Thank you over and over again, and that I can tell her everything later, because there are too many people here. Ms. Carmona tells us she doesn’t really have anything more to do, so she hugs Lisa and says goodbye to us.
I sit there with a sobbing Lisa for another hour. She just sits there and cries like nobody else is in this room. A few more people enter the room during the next hour, and more names are being called. When Lisa calms down, she goes and checks with a nurse near the desks. She comes back a minute later and informs me Cameron has just finished having his bones put in the casts, and we should be called in soon.
I call my mom again, and tell her that I’ll be going into Cameron’s room soon, and everything is still fine, and I’ll find something to eat, and yes, I have money. I head back into the waiting area after the phone call, and sit beside Lisa. She hasn’t really talked to me, which is fine. We sit there together in silence for a long time—I stare at the coffee table. I keep hearing whispers, which makes me look around several times, but no one looks away when I look up. I can’t understand the whispers, but they sound mean and mocking.
The door opens and the nurse walks out, holding the door open with her foot. “Cameron Hill?” she calls out. Lisa grabs my hand and drags me along, out of the waiting room. A teenage girl with a broken and bloody nose looks at me with envy.
We follow the nurse down a short hallway, which then opens up to two separate hallways, like a T. The nurse turns right, and we continue walking. I look at the rooms with open curtains, exposing patients. I see old ladies with breathing masks, a young guy with his leg propped up on what resembles a pulley, a girl who is sleeping. We keep walking until we reach the middle of the hallway, and the rooms from here to the end are actual rooms with doors instead of curtains.
The nurse stops in front of the second door in the long line of doors until the end of the hallway. She opens up the door, steps inside and holds it open for Lisa and me. The room is small, but has room for a heart monitor, a stand with morphine in a plastic bag, two chairs, and another machine that I can’t identify.
The nurse gestures for us to sit down in the chairs. Lisa sits down and I sit down beside her.
“It’s a bit ugly,” the nurse warns us, standing next to the curtain. “He’s got three broken ribs, a broken arm, a dislocated patella, and a broken leg.”
“Oh, God,” Lisa whispers, putting her head in her hands.
“He also managed to get a piece of glass in his head, and he has stitches on the back of his scalp,” the nurse continues. “He hit his forehead, just causing minor trauma. I’m sorry, but the doctors had to shave his head so the bandages could be placed.”
“That’s-that’s okay,” Lisa stammers.
The nurse pulls the curtain back, and walks around the bed until all of it is exposed. Lisa gasps, and I stare in awe. There are two pulleys hanging from above: one connecting to the cast and sling on Cameron’s left arm, the other connected to Cameron’s right leg to keep it elevated. Under the thin, white hospital blanket there is a lump where his other leg should be; probably the brace his leg is in from dislocating his knee.
He has two black eyes, which are closed. There’s a breathing mask over his mouth. Wrapped around his head is white gauze, totally clean. His other arm has a few bruises, and a needle is poked into his hand. There is a clear tube that leads to the stand with the bag of morphine, which drips silently into the tube, delivering medicine to his veins. The heart monitor beeps at a steady pace, beeping once every second.
The nurse looks at me, then at Lisa. Lisa is gasping for air like she’s on the brink of a panic attack. I don’t know what to do, but the nurse runs over to the other side of the room where the counter and sink are. She opens up a drawer and fishes out a breathing mask, runs over to Lisa and hands it to her. Lisa puts it to her mouth and breathes heavily. I stare at her. After a few seconds, she puts the breathing mask in her lap and sighs. “Thank you,” she says to the nurse. I look at her nametag and see her name is Marissa Newton, RN.
“I wouldn’t expect him to wake up,” Marissa says. “Oh, don’t take that the wrong way—I meant that he’s unconscious—in a mini-coma. I don’t know when he’ll wake up, but I’m pretty sure he’ll wake up this weekend.”
Lisa is shaking everywhere—her shoulders, her hands, and her both of her feet are tapping the floor. “Oh, sweet Jesus,” she murmurs.
“We can work out the matter of the bills later,” Marissa says to Lisa. “I have to go now, because I have other patients to check up on. If you need anything, just press that red button, or find me in this hallway. A doctor should be in shortly. His name is Frank Marino.”
“Th-thanks,” Lisa stammers.
Marissa leaves and the door closes with a light thud. Lisa continues shaking for about five more minutes, not saying anything. I stare at Cameron’s heart monitor, at the (neon green) lines going up and down at a steady pace. Once I realized what I’m doing, I blink and look at Lisa. She’s calming down, bit by bit. After a minute, she sighs and puts her head in her hands.
“Are you okay?” I ask, attempting to start a conversation.
She looks at me, frowns, then starts laughing. “Just great!” she says. “One of my sons killed himself in a freak accident, and now my other son tries to kill himself, resulting in a freak accident!” She laughs again. “Couldn’t be any better!”
I give her a weak, fake laugh, because I don’t know what else to do. Then I stop. “He told me about Eddy.”
She closes her eyes and sighs through her nose. “Of course he did,” she mutters. “Alyx…can you tell me everything that happened today?”
|posts in thread|
Jan 01, 11 at 5:40am ^re: Schizophreak [COMPLETED!]
My face when I saw you had posted a new chapter:
But yeah anyway~
quote VenaLol you Canadian
quote VenaAnd ambulance and an ambulance? :A
Also, I'm glad Cameron's okay. :3
|posts in thread|
Jan 01, 11 at 11:38am ^re: Schizophreak [COMPLETED!]
That was awesome I'm glad Cameron's okay.
quote Name Undisclosed
|posts in thread|
Jan 01, 11 at 9:02pm ^re: Schizophreak [COMPLETED!]
I absolutely love the journal entry to Mr. Lenhart! I think its awesome that you give us (the readers) a prop to make the story seem more real and how Alyx has such a paradoxical life shown by just what happens over one weekend. I can't imagine what was going through her teacher's head as he read what happened on Saturday and then what happened on Sunday. ROTFL! Love it, keep up the great work.
|posts in thread|
Jan 02, 11 at 3:43pm ^re: Schizophreak [COMPLETED!]
I've been following this story for a while, so like, hi and stuff.
And if I may add? This story is so freaking awesome. I actually used schizophrenia for an Englsih speech topic, because your story persuaded me too. And I used to have a mate who had it. He moved to Australia now,
Anyway, I really like the story, and nearly died from shock when Cameron drove his car off the cliff. Very suspenseful.
And you're sealed onto my hearts, Amelia Pond. You always will be. I'm running to you and Rory before you fade from me.
|posts in thread|
Jan 19, 11 at 2:29am ^re: Schizophreak [COMPLETED!]
Oh shit sorry guys @_@ I didn't forget about Schizophreak--I was just really lazy. ;-; sorrysorrysorry
My face when I saw you commented:
And you know what, I prefer saying meters over yards. Yards jsut sounds so...American. x_o
Neon Rainbow thank you!
ShadowSpectre21 thank you, and welcome aboard! Yeah I like writing things out for Schizophreak and scanning it into the computer, it just gives more realness to it, if you know what I mean. I see it in books, too, but I never know if it's a fancy font or someone writing it and scanning it into the book. x_o
LillieBeeXD: Hi! Wow, Schizophreak inspired you to write a paper for school? Oh my god wow <3 Thank you! That's just so...flattering! And yes, the idea for driving Cameron off the cliff was totally random--it was suspenseful to write, too!
Oh and...I just wanted to thank every single person who has posted in this thread, is reading Schizophreak, or just lurking, whatever you may be doing. Because guess what? Today, January 18th 2011, marks the one-year anniversary of Schizophreak's birth! (Well actually I started writing it on January 19th, but the idea came to me on the 18th last year) Thank you, to everyone, I can't thank you enough! <3 I love you all so much, all of your support is just amazing and it keeps me going! Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you! And now...a chapter.
thirty-one ~ you are an idiot
Credit to Cl3tuS from deviantART
On Saturday, I hang out with Collin at his house because I have nothing better to do. I could go and visit Cameron in the hospital, but Lisa called before I woke up and told me nothing was happening yet. Collin invited me over later, after noon hit because he knows I usually wake up around then on the weekends. I said okay, and Lynda drove me to his house because it was raining really hard, such shitty conditions for walking, she said.
The day before, when Lisa drove me home from the hospital, Lynda freaked out and checked me all over for bruises or something. I told her I was fine, just fine. She made me a cup of hot chocolate and gave me a cookie the size of my head while I recited, for the third time, the events of what happened that day, every detail, like I had told Lisa. I managed not to break down or anything, which was good. Lynda gave me a tight hug and told me how proud she was of me for waiting around for help to come. I did the right thing, she said. I was very brave, blah blah blah.
When she drops me off at Collin’s house, I walk up to the door by myself, and I hear her car driving back home when I step inside. Collin is the one who lets me in because his mom isn’t home, and neither is his brother. We have the house to ourselves.
I take off my shoes and put them on the mat where three other pairs of shoes rest. Collin takes my coat and hangs it in the closet. I stand there looking everywhere until he comes back. “What should we do?” he asks. I shrug. He leads me into the kitchen and points at a chair that is around the table. I sit down and watch as he opens up the fridge door. He looks inside for a minute, then carries a big jug out and sets it on the table. Then, he gets two plates from the cupboard, setting one in front of me and the other in front of the seat across from me.
He goes back to the fridge and gets out a covered platter. He puts the platter in the middle of our table, grabs a big knife and two forks, and sits down across from me.
“You forgot the cups,” I say, smiling a little. “Unless we’re going to share that jug and drink right from it.”
“Oh,” Collin says, blushing. “Right. Oops.” He gets up, goes to the cupboard beside the one where he got the plates from, and grabs two glasses. He sets one on his side of the table, then pours apple juice from the jug into the glass that he gives to me. I thank him and watch as he pours his own glass of juice, then takes the top off the platter so I can see what it holds. I see a big chocolate cake, decorated with brownies at the top and caramel on top, kind of like a pool. “It was my mom’s birthday yesterday, so Michael and I bought her this cake,” he explains. “We ate some of it yesterday, though.”
“Oh,” I say. “It looks good.”
“It tastes pretty good,” he tells me, grinning. “Are you allergic to anything?”
“Okay.” He takes the knife and cuts a fat slice for me and plops it onto my plate. I wait until he has his own fat slice before I start eating. We sit there in silence, just eating our cake until Collin finished first and watches me. I finish my slice a few seconds after he does, and he takes my plate over to the sink. I help him with the jug of juice and the cups. He says we can wash them later, or someone else can do it because he hates dishes.
“Now what should we do?” he asks me, once the sink is full of dirty dishes. I shrug and we stand there for a minute, facing each other, in the kitchen. “Want to go up to my room?” he asks. I nod, and he leads the way up the stairs, past the doorway to the living room. The house is clean, as it was the last time I was here.
Collin’s room hasn’t really changed too much, except he’s put up a giant poster of the solar system on the wall beside his bed. It takes up most of the wall—at least a quarter of it. He stands beside me as I stare at the planets and stars and moons, everything labeled, including constellations. “It’s pretty neat, isn’t it?” Collin says, nudging me. “My Dad sent it to me for Christmas.”
“Where is your dad?” I ask, peeling my eyes away from the poster. “I’ve never seen him before.”
“He left when I was little,” Collin says, looking up at the ceiling with glow-in-the-dark stars around the light. “I haven’t seen him in ten years. He has to pay child support money for me, though, because I’m not eighteen yet. He stopped paying for Michael, but he still mails us stuff on our birthdays and Christmas.”
“Oh.” I look up at the ceiling, too. “I’m sorry about that.”
Collin shrugs. “It’s okay. I mean, the money and gifts he sends us are nice, but it’s not like having a real dad. He took me to my first baseball game when I was five. I remember it like it was just a few seconds ago.” He closes his eyes, then shakes his head. “God, damn it! I hate him!” He walks over to his bed and lies down on it, staring up at the ceiling. I watch as he grabs the pillow from the other side of the bed and throws it against the wall, hitting the poster of Derek Jeter.
I walk over to where the pillow lands, I pick it up, and I put it back on the bed. I lie down beside Collin, take out my iPod from the pocket of my sweater, and offer him an earphone. He shakes his head. “I have a better idea,” he says. “Move, please.”
I roll off the bed and Collin rolls off, too. He leaves the room, and a few seconds later he returns with a cylinder-shaped stereo that is used for plugging in iPods. He sets it on his desk, plugs it into the nearest outlet and holds out his hand for my iPod. I turn it on, first, then spend a few seconds looking for a song that we can just chill and listen to, since I set it to repeat. I pick a song with a lot of bass and cellos with soft vocals, then give my iPod to Collin, who puts it into the rectangle. The music blares louder than a concert. He holds the Down button until the music won’t deafen us.
I lay down on the bed, close to the wall. Collin lays down beside me and we lay there together for several quiet minutes, just listening and not saying anything. Once the song plays three times, Collin takes one of my hands in his. I look at him, but his eyes are closed and his face is not in my direction. I close my eyes and lay there until the song plays three more times. Finally, when it starts for the seventh time, Collin speaks.
“Are you okay?” He lets go of my hand and then rolls over so he’s on his side, facing me. “You seem sad today.”
I shrug. “I’m just really worried for someone right now,” I say. “Yesterday there was a car accident. Cameron was involved.”
“Cameron, from our Psychology class?” Collin asks.
I nod. “Don’t tell anybody what I’m going to tell you, okay? You have to promise me you won’t tell anyone—even your mom or Michael.” He nods.
* * *
Nothing really happens on Sunday. I get a ride to the hospital from Lynda, who is headed to the mall with Robyn. Lisa isn’t there when I manage to find Cameron’s room, with some help from a nurse. He mostly lays there in his bed, eyes still closed. The only things that seem to be improving are the bruises around his eyes. Now they’re kind of (blue).
* * *
On Monday, I have English first. Apparently, the whole accident was on the news, except the reporters worded it differently: Freak Accident Causes Car to Drive off Cliff on Harbourne Road—18-year-old in Critical Condition. The woman talking about it said the victim’s name is Cameron Hill and he goes to Coldgrove High. Now everybody at school is talking about it—well, the juniors and seniors. Nobody knows I was there, nobody knows I witnessed it. I don’t know if that’s a good thing.
They all say it was an attempted suicide. They’re all saying he was that weird new kid no one really knew about, so let’s assume it was a suicide, okay, girls? They’re all saying he’s an idiot for driving himself off a cliff.
When English ends, I head out of the classroom to go to Math, which I am not excited about. It’s quite a journey from English to Math—lots of people in the halls. I hear snippets of conversations: That new guy; Suicide; failed; Car drove off the cliff; What an idiot.
Those words make me want to cringe. The only people who can call Cameron an idiot are Lisa and me. Yes, it was the dumbest thing to do, try to kill yourself in front of somebody, but they don’t know what he was going through. He could have been teased in his earlier years of school. He didn’t tell me everything possible; maybe he left out a lot of stuff. Surely Eddy’s death couldn’t have been the only thing that drove him to driving his car off a cliff. It could have been people like you, I think to myself as people start passing me. I stop in the middle of the hallway and clear my throat.
“You’re all idiots!” I scream. Several people turn to look at me. “You’re all motherf-cking idiots! Stop talking about him! You don’t know what he went through!”
Before anybody can say anything to me, I push past confused scholars and make my way to Math class. Cameron is supposed to be in this class, but he isn’t. This means more gossip until Ms. Carter yells at us to shut up so she can rant about her weekend. Nobody really listens to her anymore—did anyone even listen to her rants in the first place?
After she finishes, she hands out a review package for the test we’ll be having tomorrow. Collin and I work on it together, because I wouldn’t be able to do it myself. We finish the whole package, which is a first for me, because I never do my work in this class. Time actually goes by quickly when you get your work done, because by the time I’ve written the last number, the bell rings for lunch time.
We stop at Collin’s locker first, then we go to mine so I can get out some money to buy lunch. We head down to the cafeteria together, and Collin waits with me in the lineup so I can fuel myself with a sloppy Joe, a cup of apple sauce and some fruit punch, a full meal for only four dollars. When I pay up, Collin leads the way to our usual table. He has a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cut in half diagonally, some juice and a fat apple. We eat in silence for a few minutes, not looking at each other.
Collin throws out his garbage, then looks at me as I wipe my mouth with a napkin. I push my tray in front of me, since I have nothing better to do with it. Collin rolls his eyes, smiling, and takes my tray to the front of the cafeteria, where the trays are collected when lunch ends. He comes back and sits down across from me, where he was before.
“Oh,” he says. “Did you hear about that girl who started screaming at random people this morning? Before second period?”
“Nope,” I say, staring at the table. I look up again after a few seconds.
Collin raises an eyebrow. “I heard that was you.”
I shake my head, trying to look as innocent as possible. “Nope. Where’d you get that idea?”
* * *
I don’t take the school bus after school, because I want to find the city bus so I can visit Cameron in the hospital. It’s only sprinkling outside, so I don’t mind walking over to the nearest Sonic to get myself a burger, because hospital food sucks. I buy another burger and some fries for Cameron, just in case he wakes up today. I hide the paper bag in my backpack so I can sneak it into the hospital.
I leave Sonic, then walk down the street for a few minutes until I find a pathway that leads into a creek. I take my time walking, not caring that I need to somehow call Lynda and tell her what I’ll be doing this evening so she won’t freak out and have an Amber Alert be spread out across the country.
I pass a few joggers, all jogging together, but they don’t acknowledge me. I keep going, heading towards the river. I have to hop over roots of the oldest trees in the state, make sure not to get caught in any twigs from weird plants that grow burs on the ends. After a few seconds of journeying through rotting flora, I make it to the river. I sit down on a large rock, and put my backpack in my lap so I can take out my iPod and the earbuds that I bring to school. I put them in my ears, turn on the iPod, and listen to music for a few minutes. I close my eyes and lean my head back, trying to forget everything.
I lay down on the rock—it’s so wide that I can stretch myself out like I’m in my own bed. I open my eyes and stare up the clouds that have stopped sprinkling rain, and watch as they split apart and the sun comes out. The sun isn’t directly in my face, but a ray of light hits me, and I find myself smiling for the first time in a long time. The other rays of sunlight pass through the naked tree branches around me, and it looks beautiful instead of ugly.
For some reason, this gives me a glimmer of hope. I stand up, grab my backpack, and walk quickly out of the weeds and onto the path. A young woman with a professional-looking camera is standing on the path, staring up at the sky in awe. She holds up her camera, points it up at the sky and takes a picture. I keep walking, trying to remember how I got here in the first place. It takes five minutes, but I make it out of the creek and into society. I have to walk a bit to find the nearest bus stop, but I don’t mind, because this sun makes me feel fantastic.
I find the bus stop, and sit down. I pull out my wallet from my backpack and take out two dollars for bus fare. A girl with a shaved head and lots of piercings comes along beside me a few minutes later, and starts smoking. I ignore her, not in the mood to pollute my lungs. I pull out my iPod from my pocket and switch to a happier song. The bus that circles through all of Coldgrove pulls up halfway through the song. The girl beside me throws her cigarette onto the sidewalk and smushes it with her combat boot. I let her get on the bus first, and she pays with a bunch of coins. I put my bills into the slot cut into the money box, and find a seat. There aren’t too many people on the bus, only the girl with the combat boots, an old couple sitting up at the front, and a young mother with her daughter. I take a seat in the middle, sitting behind the girl with the combat boots.
The bus rolls along, and I stare out the window. There are seven more stops, and ten more people climbing onto the bus before we reach the street where the hospital is. I pull the cord, since there is a bus stop right in front of the hospital. The bus pulls up at the sidewalk, and I get off. I see three people getting on the bus, but I don’t take the time to wonder where they are headed. I, however, start walking up towards the main entrance of the hospital. Before I go up to the desk to sign in as a visitor, I head to the payphones to call Lynda.
Robyn picks up the phone, and I tell her to tell Lynda that I’ll be at the hospital most of this evening, and I’ll try to catch a ride with Lisa or the city bus. Robyn agrees to tell our mother, and we hang up. I head to a desk and sign in as a visitor, then make my way through the Visitors’ Entrance, down the hallway, and into Cameron’s room. Lisa is already there, going over paperwork. She waves to me as I close the door, and make my way to the empty chair. “How is he?” I ask, pulling out my homework.
“His heart rate is a bit higher than it was yesterday,” Lisa replies, looking at me over what I presume are her reading glasses. “I don’t know if that means he’s going to wake up soon or not. When he wakes up, they’re going to put him in a different room, I think. That’s what a nurse told me.”
“Well, that’s good,” I say. “Will it be more private?”
“In the recovery wing,” she replies. “Even though it will take at least six months before he can do the things he used to do—like walking properly, or lifting weights at the gym.”
“Are you gonna let him drive again?” I ask.
She doesn’t say anything for half a minute, but then she looks up at me, her face as serious as a lawyer’s. “No,” she finally says. “Once he’s gone through rehabilit—no, even before he’s through, I am going to find him a therapist immediately. I know he won’t want to talk to me about any of this. Therapy is the only way, even if I have to spend a million dollars until he’s not so damn depressed.” She sighs.
“Lisa,” I say, looking down at my homework in my lap, “he didn’t say anything bad about you when he was talking to me before he drove off the cliff. I…I know that we’re not really that close to each other and we only know each other because of this situation, but you’re…you’re a good mother, Lisa.”
She gives me a smile, puts her papers on the table between us, and gives me an awkward hug. “Thank you, Alyx,” she whispers. “When he gets transferred into the recovery unit, the visiting hours are different. When you visit him there, just tell the nurses you’re his sister, okay?”
I nod, then return to my homework, which I do in my lap. I have a review package for History, and I have to start a design for a poster about selling candy for Business class. I also have to write a journal for English class. I manage to finish my first two tasks in about an hour and a half.
When I reach for my backpack to get my journal, Lisa stands up and tells me she’s going to drive to her house to clean up and have dinner. I tell her I’ll stay here with Cameron, just in case anything happens. Lisa leaves a minute later, after putting her coat on. I resume to writing my journal, and I write about how fascinating a hospital is. Mr. Lenhart is used to my strange musings and rants, since he knows about my Disease, so I’m sure he won’t mind about my thoughts of hospitals.
The journal takes only ten minutes. When I put all my homework in my backpack, a nurse comes in, and I step out. I go to the bathroom, and then find a payphone to call home and tell Lynda what’s up. I tell her I’ll start heading home in maybe an hour, it depends what happens. Of course, we both know Cameron won’t wake up quite yet.
I reach Cameron’s room, and sit down in my chair again. I spend several minutes staring at the blank wall across from me, thinking about absolutely nothing. I can’t hear anything, except whispers and musings from Them, who decide to bother me when I have nothing to do. I let Them speak, since I have nothing to say, myself.
Eighty-eight: Blah blah blah bad Alyx bad blah blah blah horrible person I can’t believe you’re alive why aren’t you doing anything Alyx you’re such a mean mean mean person. Why aren’t you trying to talk to him why don’t you try to wake him up hmm?
One-hundred-sixty-three: You ever wonder what goes on in his head, now that he’s in a coma? I know the answer: The same things that were going on in your head when you were unconscious. Comas are filled with nothing, just plain nothing. Blackness—no nightmares, no dreams, nothing at all. I died from being in a long coma, you know. I did the exact same thing you did the other week, Alyx. I overdosed on sleeping pills because I wanted to—
Two-hundred-one: Nobody cares, One-hundred-sixty-three.
One-hundred-sixty-three: Piss off, will you? Nobody likes the Two Hundreds. Anyways, as I was saying, I wanted to kill myself because The Voices were bothering me so much. I couldn’t eat; I couldn’t sleep because They told me not to. So one day I decided that if one sleeping pill didn’t work, the whole bottle had to work. I don’t know what happened to me while I was dying, except I ended up in a coma. The doctors let me sleep for two weeks before they got bored and let me go.
Three: Nobody f-cking cares, One-hundred-sixty-three! Nobody cares! Nobody cares! Nobody cares!
Four: Nobody likes you, either, One-hundred-sixty-three. Go kill yourself.
Seventeen: Hey, Alyx listen to Four! Take her advice!
Ninety-one: Take her advice Alyxalyxalyx.
Nineteen: You’re so stupid, Alyx. You killed him you killed him look at him he looks like a beat-up cancer patient you did this you could have saved him!
God, I wish I could snap out of this by myself, but I can’t. My body is a magnet, and this chair has an opposite charge, so I can’t pull away from the chair. We can’t repel, me and this chair. I wish I could just get out of this chair, run out of this room, and find my own room where I can sit down in a hospital bed, knees to me chest, wearing a hospital gown. Someone will find me and take out their magic wand and make everything go away for me, so I won’t have to deal with this or Them or Cameron or Jessica Varner PhD or the pills or school or family or anything.
But, no, there is no magic cure. No pills can make everything go away. I don’t have enough white blood cells to fight this disease. The MRI and CAT and PET scanners can’t handle all the activity going on in My Brain; they’ll just explode into a million pieces when the doctor presses the button to slide me inside the scanner.
I think somebody slaps me across the face several times. I blink, slowly, then realize where I am. I lift my hands up and shake them, like I’m trying to let the blood flow back into them. I take a bunch of deep breaths, because I probably wasn’t breathing while exhibiting catatonic behavior.
I’m okay now, I think. I swing my feet around for a while, and try to fidget like I have ADHD, but I’m too good at sitting still. Instead, I watch Cameron’s heart monitor. It states his heart is at 70 beats—72 beats—73—75—80—90. What could this mean? I move myself closer, right next to Cameron. I can hear quiet breathing, but I’m not sure if it’s coming from his mouth or his nose. I wait, and the breathing becomes heavier.
I remember this feeling, waking up and having no idea what was going on. I remember my ears working again, and, ever so slowly, my brain rebooting after being still for three straight days.
I stay silent for a minute while his heart rate rises up gradually. I hear him making strange noises, like he’s trying to talk, so I put my hands on the edge of the bed, lean in and whisper into his ear. “Hey. Wake up.” The heart monitor is going insane, but no nurses rush into the room like they do on TV.
“N…nuh,” he mutters, his voice muffled by the breathing mask. His eyes flutter open for a second, then they close. He tries desperately to move—his legs move, his upper body moves to the left, to the right. “H…huh? N-nuh? Wha—huh?”
I don’t know if I should shake him or not—it’d probably hurt him, so I don’t. My eyes well up with tears, and I grip the bed tightly. “Wake up, Cameron,” I whisper. “Wake up. You’re okay.”
He starts murmuring gibberish for a few seconds, then shuts up. I wait, then he opens his eyes again. They stare at the ceiling in awe, and then, because he’s sitting up, he turns his head side to side, inspecting the room. He sees me, and his eyes widen even more. He keeps his face in my direction. Just looking at him makes the tears in my eyes spill over. I put my face in my hands and start sobbing.
“Who are you?” he whispers.
I look up. “Alyx,” I manage to squeak out.
Vines sprout up and wrap around my throat, choking me, blocking my windpipe and clogging my vocal chords.
“Hey,” he whispers. “Hey, hey, don’t. What’s wrong?” I don’t answer. “Hey—you’re not crying over me, are you? You are? What happened to me? Wait, who am I? Hey, answer me!”
I wipe my eyes, sniff, and take a deep breath. Cameron looks so confused, but the bruises around his eyes, the gauze around his head, his cast—it just makes him look like he’s on the verge of death. “You’re Cameron,” I tell him, my voice shaking. “I’m Alyx, your friend. I was there when you…when you…when you tried to…to…you tried to kill yourself, okay?”
Cameron turns away from me and stares at the cabinets across his bed, looking deep in thought. I try to breathe, but it’s too difficult. Wait—why the heck am I crying in the first place? Sure, it’s a fantastic thing Cameron is now awake and talking, but he doesn’t know who he is, who I am—probably won’t even know who Lisa is when she comes back!
“Did I really?” Cameron asks, rolling his head towards me again. “Why did I do that?”
“Because you’re the biggest idiot to ever exist!” The tears spill over again; I hide my face with my hands. “Cameron, snap out of it, you were only out for three days! Come on, you have to remember something! Don’t play dumb with me—I’m not going to explain anything to you!”
“Out for three days? Al—Alyx? Alyx, what are you talking about?”
“You were in a coma!” I explode, standing up. “You were in that coma because you tried to kill yourself! You want to know how you tried to kill yourself? You drove your car off a goddamn cliff, right in front of me! You broke your arm, you broke your leg, you dislocated your knee from the other leg, you broke some ribs, and you hurt your head, so they had to shave it!”
Cameron stares at me.
“You see, Cameron? Those are just some of the consequences of trying to kill yourself! You want to hear more, you freaking idiot?”
“Alyx—why are you being so mean to me? That’s not right!” Cameron looks hurt.
“I don’t care if I’m being mean!” I scream. “You drove your freaking car off a cliff, right in front of me! Do you know how scared I was? Did you have any idea I thought you were dead? You had a brother, Cameron, but he killed himself right in front of you! Your mom was so hurt by it, did you really want to put her through that again? You’re an arrogant little punk, you know that? I want to take that f-cking pillow from under your head, put it over your face and suffocate you for what you did to me—what you did to her—what you did to yourself! Look at you! You’ll never walk again! You’ll never drive again!”
He keeps staring at me, enduring my screams.
“You’re the biggest idiot I’ve ever met in my life, you know that? If you succeeded in trying to kill yourself, do you know how many people would be hurt?”
Nineteen: Alyx, stop. Stop screaming at him! Are you an idiot? Yes, yeah, you’re the idiot here. He doesn’t know what the hell you’re talking about—he doesn’t even know himself! Shut up, you dumb whore, just shut the f-ck up! You’re going to end up like me one day!
I stop yelling. I look down at my hands, then at the floor. Everything is quiet expect for Cameron’s heart monitor going insane; he’s panicking because I’m yelling too loud—yelling right at him. I look back up at him, and he’s still staring at me. I open my mouth, but my lips are trembling too much. I take a step sideways and pick up my backpack, putting a strap over one shoulder.
“You’re really mean, Alyx,” Cameron finally says after a minute of silence.
I look at him. “I know. I’m sorry.” I walk over to the side of his bed, where there is a pole that has a (red) button that you press so a nurse will come. I press the button with my index finger, and I hear a beep. I give him one final glance, and I leave the room, shutting the door gently when I enter the hallway. I pull my hood over my head so no one will see me, and I walk as fast as I can without running. I find my way out of the wing, and back into the entrance area of the hospital. I’ll take the bus home.
When I step out through the automatic doors, it’s raining again. Figures.
|posts in thread|
Jan 20, 11 at 7:09pm ^re: Schizophreak [COMPLETED!]
YAY NEW CHAPTER!! I was just about to post asking what happened to this :L
Loved it. Hope Cameron's amnesia doesn't last too much longer.
quote Name Undisclosed
|posts in thread|
Jan 31, 11 at 6:04am ^re: Schizophreak [COMPLETED!]
EVERYONE! I added a bunch of new stuff to the first post of the thread! Go check it out, new links, and EVEN A CURRENT WORDCOUNT! I'll update the wordcount every time I add a new chapter ^__^
thirty-two ~ soaring
Credit to zenibyfajnie from deviantART.
Lisa keeps calling me the rest of the week. I don’t answer the phone, and I don’t let Lynda or Brian or Robyn answer when they see Hill, Lisa on the caller ID screen. I don’t want to see her, I don’t want to see her son. I don’t want anything to do with them anymore. He’s awake, I did my deeds of staying in the hospital with him until he woke up.
The week goes on. Like a robot, I wake up, go to school, come home, do homework, stare at the wall, then go to bed. Then I do it all over again.
February ends and the world rolls into March. This means more rain that washes away all of the extra, dirty snow on the sides of the roads. I have to wear my rainboots every day now, and carry my sneakers in an extra bag, like I’m a kid in elementary school again. It’s not like I mind—now that it’s all muddy outside, we can’t run around on the track for gym class. Now we just play dodgeball.
I hang out with Ashley sometimes, mainly for her cigarettes, which are the good kind, unlike Cameron’s cheap ones. Even though I just want her cigarettes, we talk together and hang out at her house because it’s too muddy to go the park.
I don’t really tell anyone about Cameron, except that I visited him in the hospital a few times. I do, however, tell Jessica Varner PhD about him, because I kind of have to. I don’t tell her how I feel about anything, because it will only result in her not being on my side. When I first started seeing her, a couple weeks after moving into this hick town, I thought it was okay to tell her what happened between me and Autumn, but she implied everything was my fault and not Autumn’s.
However, I don’t even need Jessica Varner to tell me I’m a total hypocrite. I hate Cameron for what he did, but I should also hate myself. Instead, I feel as if I am superior over him, and what he did was worse than what I did, even though we did the same thing. I did it in private and someone found me, but he did it right in front of me. Which is worse? In both situations, the witness and the finder would both be scarred for life.
I guess we’re both idiots.
* * *
The bell rings, signaling school has come to an end on this third day of March. I head out of the girls’ change room, and quickly shuffle around to find my locker. Collin isn’t here today, so I spent lunch with Ashley and Bruce outside under the bleachers, smoking some lovely cigarettes, even though it’s raining like crazy out there. I think they’ll be doing something by themselves after school today, so I don’t bother trying to find either of them as I head for the stairwell after collecting my rain jacket and backpack.
It’s still raining outside, but I don’t think too much of it. I stand around for a while, watching everybody go onto their buses, into their cars. I watch as my bus leaves, and the driver doesn’t appear to notice I’m not there, which is completely fine by me. When all the buses have left, I head down the sidewalk until I reach the street, off school property. There is a garbage can sitting there, and for some reason, all the smokers come to the garbage can after school and during lunch to have their necessary cigarettes.
When I stop at the garbage can, everyone is under one huger umbrella, all of them smoking amongst themselves. They are different people, but they all look alike: dark circles under the eyes, dirty sneakers, and tight jeans with cool belts. As I stare at them, a guy hands me a cigarette, right out of the box.
My fingers reach for the cigarette, and a girl who looks like she’s about to pass out hands me a lighter. I thank her, light up, and watch as everyone else smokes up. There are five others here—the guy who handed me the cigarette, the girl who handed me the lighter, a hipster-looking guy with his ears stretched about two inches, a girl with a leather jacket, and another guy who has a mohawk. I might have seen them around school at one point or another, but I haven’t been paying much attention to anybody lately.
The guy with the stretched ears talks to the girl with the leather jacket, asking her about homework for their Biology class. The girl shrugs and says she wasn’t paying attention. The guy shrugs and throws the now-finished cigarette onto the road. He reaches into his leather shoulder bag, and pulls out his wallet. “Hey, guys,” he says to all of us, “how about we all go in my car?”
Everyone nods, and then the guy notices me. “Hey there,” he says, “you haven’t hung out with us before. What’s your name?” Everyone turns to look at me.
“Alyx,” I reply, throwing my finished cigarette into the garbage can.
The guy nods. “I’m Jesse,” he says. He points out the others to me: the girl with the leather jacket is Stacy; the guy with the Mohawk is Adam, who I recognize from Psychology; the guy who gave me the cigarette is Ryan, and the girl who gave me her lighter is Sara. They all greet me, and Adam gives me a fist bump.
“Want to come with us, Alyx?” Stacy asks, zipping up her jacket. “Jesse’s van can fit all of us.” They start walking towards the school parking lot, and, like a kid, I follow.
“Where will you be going?” I ask.
“My friend and his band are doing a concert at Patrick’s,” Sara says to me, over her shoulder.
“Patrick who?” I ask.
Adam laughs. “It’s an old pub that no one goes to anymore,” he explains. “Matt—Sara’s friend—and his band, Valium, hold concerts there and whoever comes can do whatever they want, since it’s an old street.”
“We’re getting baked tonight, right, guys?” Jesse says, taking out his car keys.
“Fo shizzle!” Stacy exclaims.
“Stace, you’re not black,” Sara says, rolling her eyes. “You want black? Look at Adam!”
“I’m half,” Adam says. “Besides, I look more white than black.”
Stacy rolls her own eyes and gives Sara the middle finger. Jesse shakes his head and unlocks the driver’s door of his (blue) van. It’s a pretty big van, with rust above the tires and chipped paint. There are stickers on the doors from various bands and support stickers: animal and LGBT rights.
“Come sit with me in the front, Alyx,” Jesse says. He leans in the car and presses a button on the inside of the driver’s door, and I hear a pop which indicates all the doors are unlocked. I make my way to the other side of the car, open the passenger door and hop in. Sara and Stacy sit down behind us, and Adam squeezes in between them.
The dashboard has a bunch of bobblehead dolls sitting there—a fisherman, the president, a football player, and a tiger. There is a dream catcher hanging from the rearview mirror. The cup holders under the radio are clean. The seats are polyester and the stuffing comes out of a few rips. The car doesn’t smell too bad; just too much air freshener to disguise the cigarettes Jesse must smoke.
I find the seatbelt and buckle myself in. I hear a few more clicks, and Jesse shoves the key in the ignition. The van makes a loud revving noise, which almost startles me, until I realize it’s an old van, probably from the late 80s. Music starts to blare, and it’s not the kind with lots of screaming, growling, grunting and heavy guitar solos. The Beatles are playing, soft acoustics and pleasant vocals.
Jesse backs out of the parking space, and drives out of the school parking lot. Stacy starts singing along to the song, and Sara joins in. Adam sings along too, obnoxiously. I just sit there and stare out the dashboard window because I’m not as free-spirited as they are. Jesse keeps driving, though he’s smiling as laughing at Adam’s high-pitched vocals. The song changes to Come Together, so Adam stops singing and starts drumming his thighs with his hands and beat-boxing along to the bass. Sara keeps singing, but Stacy shuts up.
We go through six more Beatles songs before Jesse stops the van. It’s still raining outside, but when I look up, out of the dashboard window, I see bright lights hanging around a small building and its door, like Christmas tree lights. The lights also hang around a banner, which says, in thick, painted letters, VALIUM.
“Yeah!” Adam cheers. “Move, Sara!”
“Asshole! Say please!”
“Okay. Move please, Miss Sara!”
The door on Sara’s side opens, so I open up my own door. I pull my hood up over my head and wait for everyone to get out. Jesse locks the car with the press of a button, and leads the way into the abandoned bar.
There are about a dozen others there, and there is a platform up at the front. A drum set is set up on the platform, along with two amplifiers. A girl and four guys are on the stage, moving around and setting everything up. In the audience are a few hippies, and the rest hipsters with stretched ears—clones of Jesse.
There aren’t any chairs to sit on, but most of the hipsters are sitting on the floor, on top of carpets they must have brought along. A group of four hippies look up at me, Stacy, Sara, Adam and Jesse, and cheer. “Jesse!” they cheer. They wave us over, and I follow after my new friends as they run up to the hippies. We all sit together on the giant carpet, and Adam introduces me to the hippies. One of them, a petite girl with a Pocahontas headband around her curly haired head, shakes my hand and pulls me down to sit beside her. Stacy sits on my other side.
“I’m Alex,” the girl with the headband says in a raspy voice. “It’s awesome that we have the same name!”
“Mine is spelled with a Y,” I tell her.
“That is fascinating!” Alex says. I look at her more closely, and her eyes look a bit bloodshot, like she’s been high for a while. “Hey, have you ever smoked incense before?” She reaches into her shoulder bag and pulls out a bunch of sticks held together by a rubber band.
“Aren’t you supposed to smell it, not smoke it?” I ask, raising an eyebrow.
Alex laughs and hands me a stick. “I know, I know—it’s so stupid, isn’t it? But just try it. Just light it up and inhale it, like a cigarette, except you’ve gotta light it up a bunch of times. Seriously, Alyx, just try it!” She gives me her lighter.
“Hey, Alex, give me one,” Stacy says from my left. Alex hands her a stick, and Stacy lights up. I watch as the flame dances from one end of the stick, then dissolves into smoke. She inhales quickly, and exhales into the air. She smiles and lights up again.
I put one end of the stick into my own mouth, and light up the other end. It takes a couple seconds, but the stick ignites and I remove the lighter from the stick. I watch as a wisp of smoke comes out from the side of the stick, then I inhale.
The smoke from incense tastes better than cigarette smoke. It tastes a bit sour, kind of tangy. It doesn’t make me cough like a cigarette does—in fact, it makes me feel good. I remove the stick from my mouth, lift my head up to the ceiling and exhale. I watch as a cloud of smoke escapes my lips, then vanishes after a few seconds. The insides of my lips feel weird, like they’re burning. I bite down on my lower lip as if that will ease the burn, and it helps a little bit. The burn goes away and I look over at Alex, who grins.
“I know it burns your lips a bit, but it’s amazing, isn’t it?” She crushes the blackened end of her stick against the floor, making it nice and clean for the next light up. “You’ll feel the high after a couple more smokes. It feels amazing—way better than weed.”
“I’ve never been high before,” I admit. “What’s it like?”
Stacy pitches in. “It’s amazing,” she coos. “It feels like you’re flying, and you’ll feel like you can accomplish anything. I wrote a short story all in one night while I was high and I got an A+ on it.”
“Oh,” I reply. I light up again—inhale, exhale. I do this a bunch more times before my head starts pounding. I close my eyes and see a kaleidoscope of colors: green, brown, red, purple. I open my eyes again—nothing looks much different, except there is more equipment on the stage. My lips are still burning, but I don’t mind.
“How do you feel, Alyx?” Alex asks.
“I’m Jesus H. Christ,” I respond, bursting into laughter. “Reborn! Reborn!”
Alex laughs with me. “Stacy! She’s so sensitive to this stuff! It’s so funny!”
Stacy laughs with us. “It’s her first time, Alex, give her a break.”
I light myself up again, inhale-exhale-inhale-exhale-inhale-exhale. The whole bar is spinning, and I’m spinning, too, like a little girl in a field of flowers with a butterfly net in the bright sunshine wearing a yellow sundress and ribbons in her hair and no shoes or socks there are no clouds in the sky and it’s so warm out here that I spin to the beach and lay in the warm sand and run my fingers through it.
I let out a cheer, throwing my hands up in the air. This causes me to fall backwards, but instead of being in pain, I laugh like a hyena. Stacy pulls me back up and shushes me because the band is about to start. I hold the incense stick, now half-finished, in my hand, but don’t light up.
The girl that was setting up the stage earlier stands behind the microphone stand—she’s tall, thin and blonde, wearing a large shirt with an upside-down cross and fishnets for pants. Her boots are knee-high and black. There are two guitarists—regular electric and a bass. The drummer is behind the girl, behind a huge drum set. There’s a girl sitting behind a keyboard, her hair pink and in a high ponytail. The guitarists are guys, twins. The drummer is a guy with a Mohawk and a leather jacket.
“Yo!” the girl behind the microphone yells out. “We’re Valium!” The audience, including me, cheers. “We’re from Bellevue! I’m Chloe…” she introduces the other members of the band. “If you don’t know us, we’re a cover band, but we have some original shit, too. So stick around for the night.”
They start playing a song, but I don’t know what it is or who wrote it. Most of the audience, the hippies, waves their arms in the air along with the tune. The song ends and everyone cheers. “That was an original! Here’s another one—good to smoke your weed along to!” The main guitarist, Ryan, runs off stage and returns with an acoustic guitar. He starts strumming a few chords, the hipsters cheer, and the Mary Jane is passed around.
I finish my incense stick as Valium plays their mellow song, which I find contrasts against their appearance—Chloe’s punk outfit and the other members’ outfits. I give the lighter back to Alex, who says I can keep it. Sara pulls out a plastic baggie filled with stuff that looks like rolled up grass—marijuana. She rolls it up in a dollar-bill and lights up one end, pinches the other end and puts it in her mouth and inhales it. She exhales and smoke rolls up into the air, thick, but clean-looking smoke. She passes the money-roll to Stacy, who smokes it, then hands it to me. I light up the burnt end of the roll, put the pinched end in my mouth. I inhale, and the smoke tastes fruity. I exhale, tipping my head backwards like a wolf howling at the moon.
I want to take another puff of this amazing plant, but the roll has to be shared. I give the roll to Alex, who takes a puff and hands it to the hippy beside her. The music continues, the soft vocals and the acoustics. It’s so slow and mellow—all I want to do is lean my head on Alex or Stacy’s shoulder, maybe hug them or give them a kiss on the cheek. But they’re both swaying to the music, so I don’t know if I should hug them or not.
The Voices are enjoying Themselves, too. Nineteen is laughing and spinning around in circles, Eight is singing and dancing, Seventeen is rocking out. Everybody else is just chilling in their homes in the town of My Brain. They’re not bothering me, and it doesn’t seem like They’ll do that any time soon. I can stay here in peace.
My heart is racing, but not like it does when I’m panicking. I want to get up and run five miles, non-stop. I want to lift 200 pound weights in each arm. I want to climb on top of this little building, jump off the roof and have my wings pop out of my back. I want to fly all the way across the world into a jungle in Africa and live with the monkeys and tigers and become Alyx of the Apes, like Tarzan. I can swing from the trees during the day and interact with all the animals, smoke this amazing incense during the evening, and never, ever sleep because I can stay up all night long and dance and sing and do whatever I want because I am Alyx of the Apes.
I can put everything behind me now—Cameron, my Disease, that bitch of an ex-best friend, Collin begging for my affection and attention, school, my parents and sister, everything in the world that is bothering me. No one can control me not, not even Them, who are in Their own worlds, anyways. Nothing can harm me, I can’t gain anything because I have everything I need. I don’t have much, but I have everything I want right now.
I feel hands grabbing my shoulders, turning me so I can face my left. Stacy’s hands are on my shoulders, and she pulls me as close as we can get. She places her lips on mine and starts kissing me, just like that. I kiss her back, because I feel so good right now and so loved someone loves me someone wants me on this amazing night even though I don’t know her that much or anything but I’ll see her in school and she’s so pretty tonight her eyes are a kaleidoscope of blue and green and a bit of brown and her hair is so blonde and curly and long oh she’s so pretty is there really a God is this really happening?
“You are so pretty,” Stacy whispers in my ear. “Did you know that? Do you know how pretty you are? You are so beautiful. I see you in the halls all the time in school.”
“Shut up and kiss me,” I whisper back. She giggles and we continue for another minute until Alex steps in.
“Hey,” she says angrily, “hey, hey, hey! Back off, Stacy, Alyx is mine. Let me kiss her, you bitch!”
Stacy quickly grabs her incense stick, lights up, inhales, then blows the smoke in Alex’s face. Alex coughs and gently pushes Stacy away. She grabs my shoulders and starts kissing me. I kiss her back, because I’m in Utopia—two beautiful girls wanting to make out with me, amazing things to smoke and great music that I’m not exactly paying attention to. Colors are dancing behind my closed eyelids—every color to ever exist, except the blacks and whites and greys.
Alex has dyed purple hair, medium length, and a Pocahontas headband around her head. Her eyes are hazel. She’s not wearing too much makeup, but it makes her look so pretty. She’s wearing a jean jacket and a striped tank top underneath, and jeans and purple high-tops. She’s equally as pretty as Stacy, even though they look nothing alike.
Kissing Alex is like kissing Jesus. It’s simply amazing. Her lips are soft and nice and she smells like the incense she smokes. She’s so lovely and pretty and I could do this all night. The music in the background changes, but it’s still another happy song. I keep kissing Alex, holding her shoulders, moaning a little bit because I feel awesome and this is great.
“Come outside with me,” Alex says. She stops kissing me, stands up, and holds out her hand. I pull myself up, with her help, and we walk out of the bar together. It’s still raining outside, but I can see shooting stars and fireworks.
“Whoa!” I yell. “Whoa! Alex! Holy shit! Do you see that?”
She looks up at the sky and cheers. “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, but I see it! I f-cking see it!” She throws her fists in the air and headbangs, even though there isn’t any music playing out here. I can faintly hear the music from the inside of the bar, but it’s not headbang-worthy.
“What school do you go to?” I ask her. “I go to Coldgrove High.”
“The Catholic school,” she replies, pulling me closer. “It’s a load of bullshit, my parents just wanted me there for the education. Most of the people in there go there, too, but I bet they’re all not religious. I don’t believe in God at all.”
“I used to go to church, but not anymore because it was confusing,” I tell her.
“I’ve never gone to church,” Alex says, laughing. She grabs my shoulders and pulls me closer. She kisses me again, and I wrap my arms around her neck. The rain drenches us, but she doesn’t seem to care, and neither do I. Fireworks are going on in the background, so many colors and unique shapes—stars and hearts and decagons and spirals. My head fills with static, then music starts playing. Happy, energetic, self-esteem-raising music.
My head feels so heavy right now, but I can’t let that bother me because it is finally filled with happy thoughts.
* * *
The concert is over. Chloe from Valium tossed out candy to the audience and I got a piece that I gave to Alex. Alex gave me a piece of paper with her number on it, and a few incense sticks. She told me to keep the lighter, and call her. We kissed each other goodbye, and she left in a colorful hippy van, like the one from Scooby Doo. Jesse and Adam and Sara and Stacy and I left in Jesse’s van, and Adam claimed he had the munchies so we drove out to the nearest convenience store and combined our money and bought snacks and soda and ate in the van while listening to trance music.
Jesse drove everyone home, and I was the second one to leave after Sara left. Stacy gave me a goodbye kiss, Adam gave me another fist pump, and Jesse cheers as I leave, but I’m not sure if this should offend me or not.
When I enter the house, Lynda demands to know where I’ve been. I tell her I made a bunch of new friends and I forgot to call and I’m so so so so sorry. I eat dinner with her and her husband and her other daughter—mashed potatoes and peas still in the pod and fish sticks and glasses of water. I tell them about my afternoon and evening—making new friends and seeing a sort-of concert.
Father asks me if I’ve been drinking. I say no, no, of course not. Mother asks me if I’ve been smoking something. I say no, never, ever. Sister gives me weird looks throughout the meal. When I finish
I do my homework in a rush—Psychology package on teen drinking, Art sketch of my brain (Mr. Jackson gave us a choice drawing for this week), French worksheet on le future simple. When I finish my homework, I light up an incense stick and smoke it, sitting on my bed and blowing the smoke out my window. It burns my lips every other time I inhale, but biting down on my lower lip makes the burn go away.
My lungs feel so weird, like they’re shrinking. My teeth feel weaker, like they’ll chip if I bite through a soft watermelon. My head is pounding and I feel dizzy. But yet, I feel like I’m flying, even though I’m just sitting down on my bed. I feel so tired, but I want to stay up and talk to Collin or anybody on the phone. I’m too tired to get up and grab the cordless phone from the hallway.
When I finish the stick I put it through the holes in the window screen, and it falls into the backyard. I pick myself up, put the lighter in my desk drawer, and strip out of my clothes. I put them in the laundry hamper beside my closet door, but keep my bra and underwear on. I clean my room for the next hour—sorting out my closet and putting all the dirty clothes in the hamper, grabbing a garbage bag from the hallway closet outside of my room and throwing out useless things I don’t need—old homework, crumpled paper, food wrappers. I make my bed, clean up my desk, and organize my bookshelf.
By the time my room is nearly spotless, there are knocks at my door. I quickly put on a huge shirt that I sleep in, and open up the door. Mother smiles at me when she sees my room and how much cleaner it is than it used to be. She gives me some pills and a tall glass of water. I swallow the pills and say I’ll take a shower. I take a full shower, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and shaving my legs and under my arms. I brush my teeth when I get out of the shower, and use mouthwash because my breath must smell bad.
I go back to my room and wear the big shirt again—I go downstairs to say goodnight to Mother and Father and Sister, but I know it will take too long for me to actually fall asleep.
I head up to my room, running up the stairs. I close my door, turn off my lights, and lay on top of the blanket. It feels nice and cool, and soft against my naked legs. I stare up at the dark ceiling for a while, listening to my own heartbeat, faster than a marathon runner after the referee pulls the trigger after saying Ready Set. I find my iPod and headphones, and listen to music for a while.
I feel so dizzy. My lungs are shrinking into kidney beans. My heart is growing to the size of a basketball. I feel like I’m doing to die from a heart attack. But yet, I feel so good. I still feel like I’m flying, and can jump off the Space Needle and fly across the Pacific Ocean. I feel like I can go out and run and dance and sing in the rain and wake up the neighborhood. I laugh into my pillow, even though there isn’t anything funny. I laugh and laugh until I have to stop because my eyes are finally closing.
* * *
The next morning, I am so hyper that I can scream. I bounce around my room when I wake up, totally ready to start the day. I can accomplish anything—even dreaded Math class with Ms. Carter. I eat my breakfast so fast I get the hiccups, but they only last a minute. I dress in my nicest shirt and a clean pair of jeans and sneakers. I look in the bathroom mirror when I brush my hair, and I see a girl who looks tired, but happy. For once, I don’t see a monster.
The school morning whizzes by—I ace English, I make it through Math. I talk to Collin the whole lunch hour. By the time the afternoon classes hit, I crash. I sleep through both Business and History. I almost fall asleep on the school bus back home. When I do get home, I collapse on the couch and have colorful dreams.
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