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thanks to my friend and beta, nic, for always coming to my aid. always. 3

and now for something a little different... from me.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm losing my mind.

It's weird and quite possibly insane, but tonight I feel…exposed.

I should have worn something heavier, warmer—not pajamas, and certainly not flip flops. It's wet, chilly, and the consistent thwack thwack of my shoes on the pavement is obnoxious against the nighttime hush. I wrap my arms tightly around myself, fisting my keys so they don't jangle so harshly.

The narrow concrete path goes on forever, meandering darkly through shadows before reemerging in to artificial light, courtesy of the lamps Charlie installed a few summers ago. This footpath is what connects the guesthouse to the mailboxes out by the main road, and I know its curves and spider web cracks better than the back of my hand. I've wandered it every day of every summer since I was six and, now that I'm living here full time again, I'll walk it even more.

My nightly sojourn to the mailboxes used to be leisurely, but these days things are…different.

Subtle but certain, it's back...this creepy feeling. It's the feeling of turning out the light and walking down the hall and just knowing something's there in the dark. The woods make me feel this way, and that saddens me because those woods used to be home. I played in them all the time as a kid but now? No. And damn it's been bad lately, at its worst when the day's light is fading, twilight smothering the last bits of afternoon sun.

Whatever it is, it's palpable tonight, thick and silent; even the normal evening sounds of rustling trees and voices drifting from the guesthouse are gone.

It's followed me for months–ever since that summer ended, taking everybody I loved along with it.

Ever since the night I awoke to breaking glass, to blood-soaked sheets.

My mind wanders back to that night, and the months leading up to it, constantly. I live life just fine on the surface, but underneath and on the inside I mull over it incessantly, a nonstop train of thought chugging sluggishly through my brain. It's living two lives at once, my body and mind in a constant state of disconnect. I help Sue wash dishes while mourning the sound of Edward's laugh. Wiping down the front desk and feeling phantom fingers trailing over my skin.

Even if I could imagine away the details of that night, nothing erases the frank and tangible things: hospital bills in a neat stack on my father's desk, the vigilance and concern etched across Sue's face.

I make it to the mailboxes, squinting as I poke around. The light out here has gone out again; I wonder if Charlie knows. Once again, there is nothing for me. Catalogs, bills, and a flyer from a pizza place; I tuck them beneath my arm and try to tamp down the disappointment. It's been weeks since I got a postcard from Leah.

And nothing from Edward. Nothing about Edward.


The only thing that hurts more than his being gone is knowing that, at some point, I'm going to have to let go.

I go back up the way I came, half jogging as the rain starts to fall heavy. Back past the cottages at the end of our property, the picnic tables beneath the evergreens, Charlie's shed.

The creepy feeling dissipates. It happens suddenly, like the rain has something to do with it. Comfort smells like laundry and supper begin drifting out from the windows around me. Normal things, good things. My nerves un-fray and I slow, soothed and safe. This place belongs to me, and I to it.

"Bella." Sue's standing on the porch, eyeing my damp clothes. "Come inside."

yes, regular chapters will be longer.

posting schedule - weekly. tuesday or wednesday nights.