Chapter 1 – Drowning in nothing
Out in the darkness, bright sparks gleamed. A feeling of safety surrounded them.
But the sparks were distant and faded fast.
What happens to you when your love tells you goodbye forever?
What happens to your tomorrows, looking at an endless sea of nothing but pain?
What happens the next time you open your eyes?
I opened my eyes.
I had no idea exactly what I expected, but it was probably not this.
Splintered memories fluttered and floated through the abyss of my mind; they became mired down and unmoving, caught in the net of the nothingness that surrounded me.
Not just white, or the absence of color—just... nothing.
It was not a void—a void was at least something.
Nor was it a vacuum—for that meant it could at least become something.
The word nothing didn't even describe it; that would indicate the absence of something.
It wasn't a beginning—beginning means that there will be something at some time.
It wasn't the end—there had to be something there to begin with to have an ending to.
Nothing, nothing, and more nothing. Even the sparks were gone, as if they had never existed.
Nothing above and nothing below me.
Nothing to either side of me.
There was nothing before nor behind me.
The pressure of the nothing surrounded me, stifling my movements, suffocating me. It was too invasive and could not be fought.
How do you fight something, which comes from inside of yourself?
I opened my mouth to speak; nothing came out, not even a whisper.
I reached up to touch my mouth.
I felt nothing there—hands weren't there to even feel with.
I looked down at my body; again, I saw nothing.
There was no body to look at—nor were there any eyes to see with.
Where am I?
Was I even here since I couldn't see or hear myself?
Did the nothing steal away my broken and splintered existence?
Am I even real?
Voices faded in and out, loud then soft. Garbled by their inconsistencies—a liquid rush going to and fro, battling the voices, making them sound distant and then near, as if heard underwater.
The world of nothing disappeared, and became just darkness. The pressure on my body and eyes lessened. The voices sounded clearer, as if the liquid tide had begun to recede. I noticed a lightening of the darkness covering my eyes. Light shone through eyelids, a brightness seeping through the thin membrane of skin.
There was something familiar about the voices I heard now, but I couldn't place it. Where had I heard them before?
I listened closely, trying to hear through the receding liquid tide.
"Thank God you're here, Renee!" a deep male baritone clearly spoke with evident excitement..
"You told me that I needed to see her to understand you completely. I'm here; now show me," a feminine alto voice spoke, aggravation heavy in her tone.
The voices ceased, the sound of nearing footsteps replacing them. There was a slight pause, and then came a loud sound of something hitting the floor beside me. I felt a woman's hands touching my face, the slight pressure of fingertips sliding across my forehead then brushing softly over my cheeks. The same hands then cupped my face and I heard the sharp sound of a sob breaking through the barrier of the strange woman's lips.
"Oh, my baby. My poor, sweet baby. What have you done to yourself?" the woman crooned, her breath hitching as she spoke.
The woman turned away from me as she spoke, and her voice hardened. "Charlie, just what the hell is going on here?"
I heard a loud sigh, and then the man spoke softly. "This is what he did to her."
There was a shuffling sound; the hands released my face, then a weight descended, shifting the material beneath me.
"She's so thin. When was the last time she ate?" the woman asked, taking my hand into her own.
Another weight shifted me.
"Nothing solid for two days." The man's voice sounded closer to me. "I don't know what to do any more," the man sighed.
A larger, rough skinned hand drifted slowly over one of my arms.
"She won't drink on her own, either." The man's voice became gruff, almost hoarse with emotion.
The woman's weight shifted, coming closer to my still body. "What does the doctor say?" she questioned him, a hint of fear slipping into her hushed whisper.
"That's just it, Renee," he spoke hesitantly. "I don't really want him to see her."
"For God's sake, Charlie! Why not?" The woman's weight lifted off of what I'd come to realize was a bed. "Our daughter obviously needs help. Help that you are withholding from her!"
The man shoved rose from the bed abruptly. The sound of footsteps pacing back and forth started.
"Because he's been throwing shit around about her possibly being catatonic, and he wants to institutionalize her!" my father yelled.
My father? Yes! I remember now where I'd heard these voices. They were the voices of my parents. Mom and Dad. Charlie and Renee. A feeling of relief washed over my entire being as two pieces of memory arose from the suffocating nothingness that cloaked my mind.
"I—I just can't do it. I cannot do that to my baby girl!"
A sigh rushed past his lips. "See, that—" he choked out. "That's why I asked you to come here."
"I know," Renee said, taking her turn at pacing around the room. "I know. My sweet girl needs me – now more than ever," she sobbed out, sniffling as she did. "You said that he did this." She paused her frantic pacing. "Was it Edward? What did he do to her?"
"Yeah, it was that damned boy. He broke up with her. I don't think she knew how to handle it.".
"But I talked to her just last week, on her birthday! She sounded so happy!"
My birthday? Last week? Not possible!
"She was happy," he responded; the chair creaked again as he shifted around on it. "Then..." he paused.
"Then what, Charlie?" my mom prompted him.
"He left her," Dad rasped out abruptly. "In the woods." He stood up quickly, almost upending the chair he just vacated. "That bastard just left her, all alone out there!"
"And to top off that night of hell," he ground out through his teeth. "He and his whole damned family just up and left that same night. It's like they disappeared into thin air, as if they'd never been here."
"What are we going to do, Charlie?" Mom breathed out.
Dad took a deep breath, letting it out slowly.
"I think," he paused for a moment. "I think maybe she'd be better off going to Florida with you, when you go back, that is."
Florida? Why would we go to Florida? Mom lives in Arizona, not Florida.
Renee was silent for a minute. "Are you sure? I mean, wouldn't the sudden change of location cause even more trauma for her?"
"Dammit, Renee! I've done nothing but try to think of something that could help her!"
My eyes slipped open just enough to barely see through my eyelashes. I watched my parents, wondering what the hell they were talking about.
"There will be fewer memories for her to have to deal with there."
He closed his eyes, calming himself further before he continued. "The memory of him will follow her everywhere she turns if she stays here."
Memory of him? Who was I supposed to be remembering?
My dad dropped his head, sighing as he cupped the back of his neck with his hand. "Don't you think it would be best for her to be in a place where the memory of himdoesn't surround her?"
He waited for Renee's response.
I opened my eyes.
Loads of love and heartfelt thanks to my wonderful beta JudeOrion.
If you're not reading her story 'It's been too long', go... now... read it! :D
Reviews are not expected, but they are much appreciated.
Till next we meet,