Words She Might Have Stolen
Why does she keep coming here?
The whispered Question followed her like an evil omen, twisting around her body and locking her tightly within it's embrace. She felt no need to shake it off; if it was not preventing her from walking it was doing her no harm, or so she believed. She neared the place, the place in Question, and the people who asked it would lose their nerve and flee, taking the Question with them. And her power was set free. The power that radiated from within her that the Question kept at bay. She arrived at her destination to continue her reign of terror, or at least, she would have.
But the Question had changed it's tune.
And with it it tainted the Reason. The Reason she kept coming here. Gently, softly, she pushed open the familiar wooden door and stepped inside the deserted house. The musty smell hit her at full force at brought unemotional tears to her eyes which she expertly ignored, choosing instead to slam the door loudly and defy the ghosts that lurked in the woodwork. "Billy?" she called. No answer, of course, there never was. Mandy sighed and ventured into the living room. A large brown stain on the wall showed where the television had once been, and vibrant blue carpet was dotted amongst the matted grey, the furniture that once covered it now long gone. She sighed; there was nowhere to sit.
It seemed strange to Mandy that curtains still hung over the windows, but these were a heavy beige affair that Mandy was certain had not been around when Billy called this place home. They blocked out the sunlight, thankfully, and the staring eyes that would accuse Mandy of losing her mind each time she stepped over the threshold of this haunted house. She knew that whispered echoes of the past lived in the rafters of the place, and there was no fear in her soul. Only a mad desire to scale the walls and wrench them down, to demand that they no longer torture her with their bogus teasing that someday her friends would return.
So the Question was the same, but the Meaning was different.
Before she had been the leader, the one in charge, and yes, she cared for Billy. No one dare speak it becuase it was not wise to accuse Mandy of things she would never accept, and even Mandy had trouble admitting it to herself. But her logical brain could find no other real reason for her to keep coming back here and spending time in the idiot boy's company. Was it boredom? Far from it. On the days when Billy was not avaliable for torture Mandy found she was more than able of entertaining herself. Was it, perhaps, even a gentle liking for the boy's friendship and loyalty. Oh God no. She detested him, and his moronic ways, and though she found the way he blindly followed orders from her greatly ammusing, there were times when his lack of backbone was just plain pathetic. So it must have been love, for that was all that remained.
But now Billy was gone.
And the Reason had changed. She no longer came back here to spend time with the boy she so secretly adored that she was not fully aware of it herself. She came back here to grieve for him, to mourn for the loss of a boy she never rued her treatment of, just the departure. In a way she blamed Grim, the skeletal figure that had once been her plaything now too vanished from this plane. She could only assume it had been his other-wordly power that had wrenched Billy from this hum drum dimension to wherever the Hell he was now, (and Heaven please let it be anywhere but there, Mandy caught herself thinking), and they obviously could find no way back. Two years they had been gone now, Billy's parents losing there desire to stay inside a house of hideous memories and leaving long ago. The house had never sold, just remained dormant, and Mandy wondered why.
And she was too blame as well.
Where had she been when Billy had obviously taken up Grim's scythe and swung himself out of existence? Had she been at home, scowling the boy's name over and over into her bathroom mirror? Had she been sleeping, dreaming of nightmares but having only nightmarish dreams? Had she been laying, idle and useless, watching the world pass by and squandering her powers in front of a prime time show? It didn't matter. All that mattered was that she hadn't been around to stop him, hadn't been around to make it all better. To make it as it had been before. Was it possible the the cynical and fearsome Mandy was in some way also the kisser of skinned knees? The drier of pained tears, the soother of monsters under the bed? Perhaps, in a warped kind of way. She took care of Billy, albeit with a vicious tongue and heavy hand. She wanted him to live on.
Echo, echo. Scorch marks on the wall, the calling card of a vortex, the vortex that had robbed her of all she held dear. "Give him back!" she yelled to the blackened burn. "Give them back!" she screamed, correcting herself the second time. Grim, too, was lost. But Grim didn't belong here, in this world, this town, this house. Billy did. The scorch mark remained undisturbed, deaf to her pleas and shouts and desires. It wasn't a denial of her request, it was a complete indifference that drove Mandy mad. No tears though, never any tears. Had Mandy cried since she was small? Of course not. Would she?
The Question circled Mandy again, and she heard it, louder than ever. She did not need to justify herself to it however, it was none of her concern. From the pocket of her jeans she pulled a thick, red marker and flicked off the cap. The Reason was forgotten, the Meaning was ignored, and the Question was obliterated. Mandy had come to deliver the Message, to make it tangible and solid and real, and to hope that somehow it could reach through the fragile demensional walls that simultaniously managed to be as strong as steel. Angry swipes and capital letters, sweat beads from her forehead and no tears from her eyes. The Message was done. She had merely borrowed the words for a little while, as she found she had none of her own. Not beautiful, not special, and certainly not something Mandy would ever say out loud.
She studied it, her eyes narrowed and her head cocked to one side. A faint smile danced across her lips and then she broke, leaping forward to scratch the message out in heavy red streaks, so no one would ever see. It was just another mark of a thousand on the wall, a thousand messages that were never good enough, never quite right, and always the same.
"Please Come Back For Me Now, I Don't Think I Will Last Much Longer Without You."
Terrible. Just terrible. And heart-breakingly insufficient.
No, it was never good enough. It was never enough. The words didn't fit, they didn't roll off of the tongue in any poetic beauty and the Message died again. It frustrated Mandy, she wanted it to matter, but it just wouldn't regardless of how hard she tried. It was ugly, because she did not feel like she was Billy's to claim, and it was empty, because she had no reason to feel that Billy would return just for her, but most of all it was a lie, because Mandy had wasted away a long long time ago.