|Shattered and Mended
Author: SpazztikXpRiDe18 PM
A lot happened before Jessica Day ever set foot in Bixby. Sanity was lost. Epiphanies were made. Mysteries were uncovered. Alliances were formed. A pre-Secret Hour fan fiction.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Fantasy - Chapters: 14 - Words: 24,466 - Reviews: 30 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 7 - Updated: 12-26-10 - Published: 12-30-08 - id: 4756336
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: This is a fan fiction about Bixyby's midnighters' lives before Midnighters: The Secret Hour (by Scott Westerfeld) takes place.
Disclaimer: I do not own Midnighters, or any of the characters used in this story besides all of Dess's friends…and maybe her mom, not sure.
Dess laid in bed, closing her eyes against the watery onslaught. She wanted to scream, wanted to bang her head on the headboard, wanted to cry until her eyes ran dry, wanted to go to sleep. Yet she didn't want to, couldn't want to do any of these things. The wet warmth of her tears, and the throbbing of the impact spot on her forehead would make everything feel too real. Going to sleep would confirm her worst fear: that she wasn't dreaming.
She suspected that she was awake. That this silent world wasn't the image of her subconscious. But what did that mean? Was this blue glow that clung to the air actually there? Or was she simple going insane? Her guidance counselor seamed to think that Dess was going to snap from all the extra math work she was taking on, though Dess personally doubted that was it.
Her eyelids flew open with a sharp intake of breath. Hot tears poured over onto her cheeks; one of the many things she didn't want to happen right now. But closing her eyes would make the disturbing mental image of her, tied up in a straight jacket, on the floor of a rubber-padded room, shivering and whispering equations under her breath more vivid.
Sure, the mental image was pretty…well, mental. Most people would probably laugh at it. Dess acknowledged this in her mind, and almost felt like giggling herself, if she didn't think that the action would mean she truly was losing her mind.
Not that this thought was new to her. She'd thought it over for a while, but time hadn't made her adjust to and except the possibility.
For that matter, this "blue time," as she referred to it, wasn't anything new, either. Dess couldn't exactly remember being awake in her crib, peering curiously at the strange, silent dimension around her, but she couldn't remember it suddenly starting. The shock of an experience like that was something Dess was positive that she'd be able to recall. It seamed as if it'd always been there.
Une, duex, troise, quarte, cinq…Dess's subconscious was way ahead of her. She closed her misty eyes and continued counting in French until her breathing slowed. After thirty more minutes of waiting, and several more languages of counting as far as she knew, the blue time, midnight, was over.
"Desdemona?" Dess's mother peered anxiously at her daughter over the breakfast table the next morning.
Dess looked up with dark, uncaring eyes. She knew she should probably at least try to put up an effort to look normal for her mom, but was too tired to bring herself to bother. "Yes?" she asked in a monotone voice.
Her mom examined the dark circles under Dess's eyes, the pale parlor of her skin, the drained look in her eyes. She bit her lip. "Nothing," she answered.
Dess didn't bother pushing; she knew her mother had been concerned for her for quite a while now, even more since the "styling incident." She picked up her untouched cereal, put it in the sink, and trudged out into the icey world without so much as a goodbye to her worried mother, or her snoring father, who'd apparently come downstairs sometime that morning just to fall back asleep in the old recliner. The cold Oklahoman wind nipped at her cheeks as she waited at the bus stop.
"Hi, I'm Annabell. Are you new hear?" a friendly but reserved voice asked from behind Dess's back.
"Hey, An," Dess said as she smirked. She turned around just in time to see her friend's face turn from curiosity to shock. "Like the new look?"
"Oh my gosh, Dess!" Annabell's green eyes widened in what she tried to pass off as just surprise, but what was obviously horror. "What did you do to your hair?"
Dess shrugged, running her fingers through the front of her short crop. "You like?"
"I love," Annabell claimed with a weak smile.
It was a lie; Dess knew. Not because Annabell wouldn't look her in the eye or any of that crap, but because she had always gushed over her friend's thick, straight, and formerly waist-length hair; even Dess knew it was her only striking feature. But now the long mane was died a soft black instead of its normal dark blonde hue, and was jaggedly cut just at her shoulders, thanks to a pair of rusty crafts scissors Dess had unearthed from her pen case.
"I was thinking of dying it jet black, with a few streaks maybe, but figured if I did the 'rents would die of a heart attack. Didn't want their blood on my head, you know?" Dess said. She narrowed her eyes skeptically at Annabell's small smile and weak agreement.
Okay, so obviously the new cut wasn't a fashion statement. Dess personally liked how it looked--it created a nice contrast against her pallid completion, made her eyes look actually brown, instead of them being mistakable for black, even from close up, and it felt very her. But pale wasn't exactly "in style," barely any one saw her eyes because they were always hidden behind sun glasses any way, and from what she'd seen of popularity in her school, originality was not a welcome concept. So basically the cut would be seen as a bad thing by the people who bothered to notice it, including her friends--although she used the term "friends" as loosely as possible.
They waited at the stop in silence until Sarah came. After that, conversation just kept growing more animated and loud with every person who arrived. After Sara was Brenda. And then Hailey. Followed by Meg. Soon the conversation was at a practically deafening roar, with the girls casting subdued, yet still startled glances at Dess's new hairdo', then going into enthusiastic accounts of their winter recess.
In the midst of this yak-fest, Dess twisted her long triple chain necklace between her fingers and impatiently tapped her boots. She was waiting for the bus to come and, on a slightly more long-term scale, the school day to end. Only 28,800 seconds to drag herself through before she could, at the very least, be at her locker packing up what she'd need for home, the feeling of release nearly tangible in the air. She preferred to look at events, especially those which were deemed unpleasant, in terms of seconds. Somehow, 28,800 seconds sounded shorter than 8 hours, even though mathematically they were equal.
It had been 374,400 seconds since the new year had begun, even longer since she had last been standing at this very bus stop, and yet, besides her hair, not much seemed to have changed. The sky was still a stormy gray, indecisive as to whether or not it should send fragments of ice upon the earth below. The group of girls beside her were still moving closer to form a circle, unconsciously (or at least she would hope it was in that matter) leaving Dess on the outside of it. Her tapping boots were still leaving an impression in the bit of slush that still remained. And she still felt a sense of relief mixed with one of dread, as conflicting as the approaching bus's sunny yellow hue was to that of the dull, gray world.