DuShaila Jackson



1. MUTE 7


























"Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life… Therein he cannot be re placed, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone's task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it."

– Viktor Frankl

~*~ PREFACE ~*~

The silence was deafening, but I preferred it from the constant ticking of the clock.

Every second, felt like minutes, every minute felt like hours, and every hour like days.

It was killing me. The wait. It was like a never ending answer. It seemed like time stopped in a moment of truth. Oneself waiting for results to find out if your going to live, but only to get the worst results yet. It was painful, all your emotions surged to the forefront of your mind, only for you to go crazy.

Well, it was like that for me. I sat drumming my fingers against the wood, trying to make at least some noise. The door opened and slammed shut alerting the presence of another. My eyes followed the noise curiously, only to come eye to eye with the carrier. He was short and stubby, with balding grey hair. He face covered by a mask of sincerity, I knew he didn't care, none of them did. They only did the job out of pity and their need for money.

"So?," I questioned.

"We're deeply sorry, but we did all we could," I droned him out, not needing to listen. It was the same every time, they said their fake condolences and sent apologies left and right before spilling the news that you didn't want to hear. I knew there was no way to cure me of this death sentence yet some words of hope and prayers would be great. "-but we can't cure it. You're along to far and anything we did would just make things worse. We agree that you have a 45% chance of surviving past 6 months."

That wasn't even half a chance. But, I would take it. If it was my time then I would leave gratefully and if not, I don't know what would happen. After saying my thanks and assuring that they did all they can, "please", I left. I'm sure they could have did more, but I didn't voice my thoughts. I walked out with my head high and vowed that until my time I would keep my lips sealed.

1. Mute

I threw the penny in the well and made my way across the grass to the path toward my new home. It's been 12 years since I was diagnosed, 11 years since my first surgery, 10 years since my first treatment, 8 years since my heart stopped for the first time and started again, 6 years since I was told I could be helped, 5 years since my second treatment, 4 years since my second surgical treatment, 3 years since the wait, 2 years since I was told my death date, and 1 year passed that.

My name is Anadora Roshel Cobblestone, but I prefer Survifer it's my new version of survivor which is what I am. But, it's pronounced sure-y-fare. When I was 3, I was diagnosed with heart failure. They weren't positive at first and had to undergo many blood tests and other things a kid my age didn't understand. I wasn't able to receive the help I needed until a year almost to late. I had my first treatment a year after that. It was supposed to help get my blood circulating faster. It was when I was 7 that my parents had the scare of their life.

'I was bored, the class was playing dodge ball and I couldn't play for fear of getting hurt. The doctor said that I tire out easily and fast movements make it harder for my intake of oxygen. So, under strict doctor and parents' orders I couldn't join in. I decided to draw in my notebook when I heard laughing coming from on the other side of the court from where I sat on the sidelines.

I looked up in time to see a bright red ball coming straight for my face. My instincts were different from others my age so, I did the stupid thing of standing up instead of ducking. So, with my slow thinking, it rammed right into my chest. The air whooshed out of me and I collapsed in a heap on the floor. I tried to pull in as much air as possible but it was not enough.

"Dora! Dora! Can you hear me?" I tried to concentrate on who was talking, but their voice was difficult to understand.

"I….I," I started. "I-cant breee….ath," I finally managed to say.

"We're getting help Al, just hang in there." It sounded like someone else, or was it the same person. I couldn't tell.

The last thing I heard was the sirens of an ambulance I believe in the distance. I only felt pain, wherever I was. It was only dark and I felt like I was on fire. Everything burned, I felt like they were barbecuing me. I couldn't hear anything.

I didn't know much of what was happening for those few minutes, for I was dead. They were getting ready to declare me dead and send me to the morgue before that one person I wouldn't forget said the words that gave my parents relief. I wasn't there in sense of body to hear them, but she saved my life or I would be 6 feet under with a beating heart. (It probably would've stopped by now if they did though.)


That was all she said and yet I call her my guardian angel. My heart started up after 3 minutes and 26 seconds. I was gone and it's a miracle for me to be here now. The kids were never blamed for what happened and I didn't tell on them. I knew it was an accident, well not for throwing it at me, but for nearly costing me my life. But, I forgave them long since and learned to live on and not dwell on should, could, and would.'

Then, 2 years after that, I was told I could finally receive the conclusion I wanted. I underwent another treatment and surgery in under 3 years. Then, I had to wait…wait…wait, and wait. Which proved a waist of my short life for it turned out that none of the surgeries or treatments worked and I had under a 50% chance of living.

Those words burned me to the very core, but I left my face expressionless. Others thought I was in shock, but who wouldn't be. I just received news that I had at least 6 months to live.

But, I did.

I lived passed those 6 months that marked the day that God would take me away and my family would weep over my death bed. I survived and I'm living not healthy in body, but in mind. I feel like a great deal has been lifted off of me since my childhood days enough for me to live these last years as a teen into the adulthood.

But, one thing that didn't change was my muteness. I made a promise to myself and I'm still walking so talking is out of my vocabulary. Most see it as being childish since I should leaping with joy and embracing my extra time here. But, how could I? I could be gone by tonight, tomorrow, or even next week. Faith just chose me to stay longer and I accept that with open arms, but, I also see it as a curse.

I shook the memories from my head as I made my way up the steps to my new home. We moved here to Laughlin, Nevada from Knoxville, Tennessee. My mother Caroline decided a change in scenery would help everyone better. I know it definitely helped me escape from all the memories but I don't believe I can ever live on and forget about them. I also fear hiding from them is just going to bring them at me when I'm not ready at full force. Since then my mother and Nico, my father have brought our family two new additions plus Evelyn who they adopted. The other two were one year old twins Noelle and Brock.

"Surie is that you?" My mother called. She and Lynn were pretty much the only ones to not actually call me Anadora or anything relating to my real name because they knew a little of how I felt. Mother actually thought Survifer was an ugly name, but it fit me to an extent, so I wanted to be noticed for it and she put up with calling me Surie.

I really don't get why she asks me things when I can't answer, especially if I'm not near where she can see me nod or shake my head. I followed her voice into the kitchen where she was cooking breakfast.

"Oh good! Can you go help Lynn get the twins ready?" I nodded and made my way up the stairs and into the bathroom where Lynn was drying them off.

"Hi Sur!" She said happily. I waved in return not understanding how someone could be so excited at-, I looked at my watch, -7:43 in the morning.

I picked Elle up and carried her into the nursery where I dressed her in the outfit mother picked out. I put her short hair in two pigtails and carried her downstairs. After putting her in her highchair, I went up to my room to prepare for the day. Today was Lynn and mines first day at Laughlin High School. I was in the 10th and Lynn was in the 9th grade. So, I wouldn't see her at all during the day.


The school didn't actually propose uniforms so I dressed in a dark blue skirt, a white Abercrombie shirt with a black vest on top. My feet were covered with knee length white socks and black chuck taylors. I put on a gold locket with pictures of my family and my blue charm bracelet for accessories. My hair was in a low side ponytail and voila, I was ready.

The walk to school was awkward, with both of us hoping for the best and lost in our own thoughts there was no room for conversation. No matter how I wished for things to be different, I knew they never would. Once everyone found out I was mute then they would run off like I had a the plaque or some other disease. I did, but they didn't know it.

"You know, if you brighten up and actually try to make friends everything will turn around for you. And, you know not everyone is the same like the kids back home." Lynn said.

Lynn understood to and extent. My parents adopted her from DCS, its a program that sponsors in helping many kids get the family they need and want. Her mother was an addict and her dad abused her. But, she looked over that and covered her wounds with ice and now she lives on like it never happened. But, I've seen her crying in her sleep and tossing and turning from nightmares that still hunt her after 3 years. But, she didn't let some incident from 3 years ago stop her now, which is great for her. But, I can't for mine still lives on with me, inside of me.

I looked over at Lynn and noticed she had on light blue glittered fitted jeans, a bright pink tank top, grey Aeropostale jacket, a pink head band with a big white bow, and white converse. She never closed in with her style, she made sure to stand out so sometimes it was difficult being around her when all I wanted to do was blend in with the shadows and not be noticed. I'm sure my outfit said otherwise but I can't help that Lynn threw out my worn jeans and sweatshirts saying that it just wasn't for a girl to dress like that.

The school was pretty big and it still stood nicely after many years. I took a deep breath and made my way across the lot towards the office. I didn't make any eye contact with the students that stopped and stared at the newcomers. I could hear the whispers starting right as my foot reached the coffee colored carpet of the office. It was spacey and colored in dark green with white swirls patched around. Medals, awards, certificates, and other necessities covered the walls.

I told mother not to provide them with information on my condition or the means of my not speaking since everyone would find out anyway and it would be better to learn from the mute herself. But, I also told her not to tell about my other problem for I didn't know how fast news traveled around here, but only time would tell. We walked up to the front desk where a petite women no older than 30 sat typing away at the computer in front of her, eyes glued to the screen.

Lynn cleared her throat to get her attention after standing there stupidly for at least 2 minutes.

"Oh, hello dears. What can I help you with today." She asked.

"We're the new students, Evelyn and Anadora Cobblestone."

"Yes, yes. Your in 9th and 10th grade right?" She asked.


"Very well, I'm the secretary Miss. Weaver," She said shuffling through some papers on her desk. "And, this sheet here is a map of the school, this one is your schedule, and the pink slip needs to be signed by your teachers so we can know you went to class." She finished handing us the papers as she said what they were.

"Thank-you!" Lynn replied happily.

"Return that at the end of the day, and do you need someone to show you around for the first week."

"Ummm," Lynn looked at me for an answer. I just shrugged my shoulders.

"Yes, please."

"Okay, just wait over there and I'll get a student to show you to your classes and someone to help the other girl, Anadora right?"

I nodded.

Not 5 minutes later a girl with brown hair and brown eyes walked in with wide glasses sitting right atop her nose. She wore a woolen waist skirt accompanied with a white and pink floral blouse. Her legs were covered by long white tights and feet sheltered with brown suede shoes. I noticed that if she adjusted her sense in fashion and made changes to her hair that just hung loosely down her back with a flower clip, then she was very beautiful. 'Gosh, I sound like Lynn.' I thought to myself. But, I knew it would only take a little under a week before she was putty in Lynn's hands and she fixed her up herself.

"Oh goody, Evelyn, this is Loretta Jenkins. She is in your grade and with her being top of the class, the teacher trusted her enough to help you about and lead you to your first class respectively."

After more words spoken and introductions, Lynn and Loretta left off to their first class before the bell rang. I tapped my foot on the ground patiently waiting for my tour guide. I looked at the clock and noticed I had 5 minutes to get to class. I couldn't actually say that I should hurry up and get to class so I would just find my own way. So, why Miss. Weaver had her face sucked into the computer screen I grabbed my things and walked out the door silently. I was looking down at the map and not paying attention to my surroundings, so I ended up tripping over my own feet and crashing into someone else.

I looked up in time for grey to meet green.


"I'm so sorry, I wasn't paying attention and I put my book bag in your way." He said.

After shaking my head to clear my thoughts, I got up and held a hand out for him to get up.

"I'm so sorry, I should watch where I put my things." He continued to apologize. I wanted to say it was okay and say sorry because I bumped into him not paying attention to where I was going. But, my lips didn't even try to form the words.

I just held my hands up in peace and smiled a small smile.

"You must be new around her," I nodded at his words as he continued. "-Its just that I mostly know mainly everyone being captain and all. I'm Keelan, Keelan Miles." He said holding out a hand. I shook it timidly before dropping my hand.

"So, what class do you have, I can take you there if you want."

I looked at my schedule and pointed to History. he nodded and after grabbing his things walked me there.

As he walked I followed while watching my feet, trying not to look up into the curious eyes of strangers. When we made it there, he walked inside willing me to believe he had this class also. The bell rang as I made my way up to the teacher and more students started pouring in.

"Hello, dear, you must be Anadora." I flinched as she used that name. I never really liked people calling me Anadora anymore, so usually I ignored them since I can't correct them.

"...I'm Mrs. Rue, your World History teacher." I handed her my slip to sign and she pointed me to a seat in the front, oh great! At least I didn't have to see everyone looking at me, but I could feel there stares at my back.

"Hi!" A voice said from my left. I looked over and a smiled a short smile. It was a short, black haired girl with blonde streaks and blue eyes. I could tell by looking at her that she played sports, probably cheerleading.

"I'm Josephine, but everyone calls me Jose. I like your outfit by the way. We don't get many new students here so the arrival of you and your sister was a shock to most. Since your new I should probably tell you about the way things are, since I'm pretty sure their different from your old school, am I right." She stated more likely than asked.

I could already tell she talked a lot and probably could talk your ears off if you let her. The teacher was going over basic things since they actually just came back from break. I looked back at Josephine and nodded.

"So, there's the History teacher Mrs. Rue whom you just met. Then, there's Mr. Walker the math teacher, Miss. Marlene the astronomy teacher, Ms. Williams teaches English, Mr. Lopez Spanish, Mr. Lee teaches Algebra IV, Mrs. Pruitt teaches Music, Mr. Yatch Phys Ed., Ms. Summers Art, and Mrs. Sanders teaches Special Ed."

Wow, they had a lot of teachers, but I mean she just said all of that in like one breath. I wonder if she took classes for that? I couldn't ponder on that long for she started again.

"We have a lot of sports, there's football, baseball, basketball, track and soccer for the boys. The girls' have cheerleading, basketball, softball, soccer, track, and lacrosse. We also have a drama club, home economics, science club, and band. You see that guy over there," I looked over to see who she pointed at. Keelan looked up from his group of friends and smiled, I turned around embarrassed from being caught. Jose laughed before continuing. "I know right, total hottie. Anyway, he's the captain of the football team, he also does soccer in his free time when not doing that. I'm captain of the cheer squad, Aidan is captain of soccer for boys, Kaci is captain of soccer for girls, Michelle is captain of basketball for girls and Billy is captain for the boys. The lacrosse team is not really final so no one leads that and there's not really one for the softball or baseball teams. Then, there's track which hasn't started yet since spring isn't here but their getting ready for it though."

When she finally finished talking the bell rang for next class. I was out my seat before the bell could even finish. Mostly to get the buzzing of her voice out of my ears. Besides the fact that she talked entirely to much, her voice was very, shall I say...squeaky. The halls filled quickly with students rushing to meet their friends that weren't in class with them before or trying to be the first to the next class.

I looked down at my schedule to see I had Algebra IV with Mr. Lee now. I found it harder to get to the class as a new student but more so with the constant pushing and shoving from others. Most didn't even have the respect to say 'sorry' or at least 'watch it'. So, I kind of glued myself to the wall of lockers to stay out of their way.

I was closing in on the end of the hall, when I gave in knowing I was lost. I guess someone from above agreed with me for I lost my footing. I reached my hands out prepared to stop the fall, when warm hands grabbed me before I could injure myself and my dignity in front of the few students that still lingered.

I looked up into the eyes of my savior. Keelan. Since I could remember, I did the most embarrassing thing that hasn't happened to me since I was 6 and took ballet. I remember it to this day and prayed that I'd never see any of the girls that took it with me.

'We had just finished organizing everything for our monthly show. Our ballet organization 'Dancing Beauties' had an performance at the Grande Hall were trials were usually held. I was a little tall for my age and my little feet didn't agree with my every movement.

So, when I had to perform a quad pirouette and stop, that was the hardest thing to do when it sounded so simple. It was almost my turn, the nervousness was catching up to me and I was losing concentration but as soon as I felt the girls' foot land, I started my turns. All I could think was 1...2...3...4. But, I didn't stop, instead I ended up doing 5 and lost my footing knocking into one girl causing her to fall into another and so on.

I was so embarrassed that my face looked like a bright tomato. The audience was laughing and clapping and I was nearly to tears. I ran off the stage praying to never take ballet again. And, since that day I have never taken, looked at, or listened to anything dealing with it.'

I was snapped out of my thoughts by someone shaking my shoulders.

"You just zoned out for a moment there. But, are you alright?" Keelan asked.

I stared at him stupidly, with not being able to answer.

"You must be lost, where are you headed, I can take you."

I did the same thing I did this morning and pointed at Algebra IV in room 314 with Mr. Lee.

"Cool, I just have to run to my locker right fast, and I can lead you there since we have it together." He replied.

I nodded.

He quickly rushed to his locker that was a few feet away and retrieved a notebook and folder full of papers.

"Alright, lets go."

We walked in silence for awhile before he spoke again, "I notice that you flinch a little if someone calls you Anadora," I cringed. "-like you just did. Why?"

I never felt the need to really talk, but right now I really wanted to tell him. But, I couldn't. I just shrugged.

"I take it you don't like it or have some other name."

I shook my head to the first and nodded yes to the second one.

"So, why don't you talk?"

I just looked down not wanting to think about it right now.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything. But, if it helps, you know sign language is a good way to communicate." He stopped at that and gestured toward the classroom that we stood in front of. I didn't even notice we were here and I stopped walking.

I walked inside and up to the teacher who looked at me and then signed my paper and quickly pointed me to an available seat at the back, saying it was the last one. I noticed it was next to a girl with short choppy brown hair, a baby face, and green eyes. Her outfit consisted of faded jeans, black flats, a long sleeve fitted black shirt, and white vest jacket. She looked friendly enough and didn't look to be the gossip type.

It was only 10 minutes left of class when the words Keelan said came to the forefront of my mind. I never actually thought of taking sign language classes or learning it freely because I didn't feel the need to communicate at all with anyone. But, for some reason I felt it important to do so now. I wanted to talk, but I couldn't so that left me with the subject of learning sign language. I noted the finalism in my thoughts.


The other morning classes went by pretty much the same way. I had no problems with any teachers and so far none asked me to introduce myself or ask me any questions, so I was happy about that fact. I also had no problem out of any students besides the occasional brave one coming to ask me little unimportant things about my life but receiving no answer and leaving upset for having no gossip or mad for my nonresponsive answers.

It was now lunch time and I was putting my things away in my locker before going there. I wasn't in the mood for much, so I grabbed a bottle of orange juice and an apple before looking for an empty table. I saw a round table that was empty and made my way over there. Many people stared and I heard gasps from many onlookers, but decided to try my luck and sat down.

I had a feeling that a certain group of people sat here but I guess they would just have to share or scare me away. The table looked about 3 tables combined and was right at the back but everyone was in view of it. So, I assumed that probably 10 or more people sat here. I took a deep breath and opened my bottle taking sips not daring to look up. I could hear the whispers going from ear to ear just sitting here. But, when the doors opened and everything got quiet.

I would have thought it to be the Queen Bee's of the school as many teen movies so called put it. But, I was surprised to hear the sounds of clean or run in sneakers headed this way. I was pretty sure they weren't girls since there was no constant clicking of new Gucci heels that I've heard all day. But, how you can wear heels nearly 5 inches high for 8 hours through a day at school was unbelievable.

"Excuse me, but I thought we told," I looked up to see a boy about 6'4 standing there with a surprised look on his face. I realized he stopped talking when I looked up, so I looked back down not wanting to get on someone's bad said.

"I'm sorry, but I thought you were one of the cheerleaders. They're always trying to sneak their way over here to flirt and seriously us guys are sick of them."

I wanted so bad to laugh, so I did mentally. But, my body shook from the chuckles I was holding in from his comment. His must have saw for he smiled.

"I'm Josh by the way, the runner back for the football team." He said sitting down.

I just smiled a small smile in return. They all started to sit down in the unoccupied seats leaving the one to my left empty. They seemed to be at ease sitting by me. I could feel their stares but knew they were probably just curious. I looked around the cafeteria to see shocked faces with some people mouths nearly on the floor. I guess these guys weren't very friendly to others and allow them to sit here. I was still debating over that when I heard a familiar voice.

"Oh, so you guys met Anado... I mean Ana." I guess he didn't want to say my whole name knowing my reaction to it.

"So, she's the new girl, should have known. So, how do you know her." A guy who I didn't know said.

"We have classes together, and she seems confused so I'm guessing you pods didn't introduce yourselves." Keelan stated.

They all chuckled before introducing themselves. I learned that besides Keelan and Josh, there was Walker the co-captain for soccer, Aidan and Billy the captains for basketball and soccer, Junior a wide receiver, Thomas the kicker, Francis a goalie, Yogi a center in basketball, and Reese a forward. There was also Isaiah who was like the leader of the drama club, Rocky the drummer for band, Jace a cool nerd that played chess as they described him, and Cam and Peter who were twins and ran track. But, they didn't really sit with them and instead had a table off to the side but they met up with them sometime.

I usually heard or knew from experience that guys were so difficult, uncaring, weird, and stupid. But, these guys were so nice to me and didn't really talk that much but made jokes and played around. They were like a large family really that hung over each others' houses in front of a TV with boxes of pizza or junk food. Or, they just played videogame after videogame or backyard sports. They also went to sport games to either play or to cheer on the other guy.

There were other players on each squad, but they didn't' hang with them. They were pretty much a group of all mixed sports and clubs. While, the other players stuck to their specific group and only talked to their teammates while these hung out and became friends even through their differences in sports, looks, and grade. I thought that was cool especially with how girls did things.

"So, Ana why did you move here?" Reese asked. His position sort of fit him with his questions being so forward and never beating around the bush. I learned that in just the short time that I just met him. I looked at Lan, as he preferred people call him that instead of Keelan, for help. He must of got what I meant.

"Guys, how do I put this, um...Ana doesn't talk. I'm guessing she's very shy or can't. But, she can answer yes or no questions. I suggested her taking sign language up to learn to communicate but its her choice."

The guys looked at me for confirmation I guess and I just nodded. I was scared of what they would think now, would they spread a rumor, gossip about it, tell the whole school, not want to talk to me anymore, tell me to leave them alone, or make fun of me. I could fill the tears filling my eyes but held them back, not about to cry in front of all these boys.

I was prepared to leave before Francis spoke, "Well, everyone has some kind of problem, so we don't care. Right guys."

I was shocked and sort of touched by his statement as the others nodded in agreement with him. I didn't even know I was crying till Josh pointed it out and said I was going to have him crying if I didn't stop. I smiled and that brought on a round of jokes and laughter. It was so cool, that I was even having a blast.

"I mean, you know I'm afraid of Santa." Billy replied. It was so random, that it brought laughter from everyone but mines was silent. "I'm serious, I mean its kind of creepy to see a big guy dressed in a bright red suit with a long, white beard squeezing down your chimney. I mean what if he robs you or some, I mean were asleep, so he could pretty much do anything maybe even kidnap me." He defended. We just continued laughing.

"Bill you know Santa Claus isn't real, and how old are you anyway, 4." Aidan said. These guys were so funny, it was getting hard to breath with all the laughing, so I tried to calm down, but it was so difficult with them steady cracking jokes. So, I waved them bye and used the excuse of having to use the restroom to get away. I didn't want to, but I didn't want a breakdown on my first day at a new school in front of almost the whole school because of my need of breathing more than others, but finding it difficult. It wasn't that I was scared...okay maybe I was a little bit, but that was only because I was afraid of what they would think of me when they found out about my condition. I was afraid of what would happen.