Hey everybody, or what few of you are actually going to read this little story. This was a rabidly veracious plot bunny that popped into my head one night while I tried to go to sleep. The main point of writing this is to experiment with 1st person present tense. The other point is to delve into the idea of post war complications for people. I will try to keep cannon, but I might not always be able to.
Warnings: Some STRONGLY OFFENSIVE and crude language, trigger possibility, depression, PTSD, implied self-harm, and whatever my dark mind will come up with. I do not condone cutting or any other self harm. It's a serious issue. This is also out of character, but just deal with it, or you don't actually have to read it.
THIS STORY IS FOR READERS WHO CAN BE MATURE ABOUT A VERY SERIOUS SUBJECT. IN THIS STORY THE CHARACTERS ARE ADULTS AND WILL SPEAK AND ACT AS SUCH. IF YOU CAN'T HANDLE THIS, TURN BACK NOW!
Disclaimer: No matter how much I wish I was Michael Buckley, I am not, and have no ownership of the Sisters Grimm. I am poor, and as far as I know, nobody's paying me to write this.
Chapter 1: No Power Here
I drag my Styrofoam cup to my mouth and down its contents to the grainy dregs that settle to the bottom. I grimace as the acrid taste of stale office coffee fills my mouth. The flavor doesn't matter, though, my elixir of the gods has done it's job: fend off the withdrawal headaches I get without it, and fight back the drowsiness lurking in the edges of my murky mind.
I'm sitting in my overstuffed chair in the session room of my practice. The automated heating system hasn't kicked in yet for the morning- if you can really call this void between midnight and sunrise morning- so I pull the edges of my coat closer and adjust the homemade scarf around my neck. Allison learned how to knit from Granny last year, and this small- and slightly misshapen- offering is the result. I wear it to remind me of everything I have now; how that's worth everything I went through.
Gloria, my contact at social services, called me only thirty minutes ago, waking me up from a dream of a peaceful family vacation, asking me to come in for an emergency session with a new girl who'd been processed that night. She'd said I would understand why it was so important when I got to my office. Gloria was right.
The girl huddles, knees pulled to chest, in the lounge kitty-corner to mine. An oversized sweatshirt envelopes her fragile body, while a fringe of bushy auburn hair escapes from the hem of the hood. Her mascara is smeared, thin tear tracks mapping out the sorrows of her life like the patterns of shattered glass. I can tell by the shuddering of her thin frame, she's on the verge of crying again. I can't tell if it's because of what happened to her mom last night or because of pain from the numerous jagged incisions hidden beneath her long sleeves.
In my opinion, this girl has received too much pain in her life. For the last three years her boyfriend has been-hurting her. Her father has been hurting her mother for as long as Emmy can remember. Tonight, Emmy's mother died. I can't wonder how Emmy was led hurting herslef.
I fight the urge to sneak a look at the clock. It's late. I have to struggle to keep my mind from wandering to my warm and comforting bed occupied by my likewise warm and comforting husband. On a normal day I'd by lying in the peaceful hammock in my backyard in a few hours, having gotten up early to journal before starting my busy day and getting my daughter's lunches packed.
These tempting thoughts hide with the sleepiness in the shadows of my brain.
I face the truth. I would rather be in my gorgeous and relatively normal home than trying to help this young girl. I don't want to find this kind of pain again- her pain. I know it sounds irresponsible, especially because it's my job- I'm a part-time consulting therapist for court cases in the social system- but this reaction is also the reason I chose my job. If I can't help these people, then others will just try to brush their problems off. So I push my distracting thoughts away with all my strength, because no matter how fucked up her life is, or maybe because of that, she needs somebody who's entirely there with her. Emmy deserves someone who truly cares. She's somebody's baby, and I'd want someone to truly try if my daughter was in her place.
Gloria knows me too well. This girl has stolen the heart from my chest and won't let go.
I think what got me from the moment I saw her was her eyes. They echo emptiness, burn a telltale red, and stare in a glazed over expression I've seen once before...in a mirror.
Twenty years earlier
After the war, life returns to normal- well, at least for some people. Dad still wants to leave. Mom wants to stay- to continue to help putting the community back together. As if she can do what all the king's horses and men failed for this Humpty-Dumpty town. I side with Dad. I think, maybe if I get away, I can move on mentally too, without these haunting ghosts. All I want is my normalcy back.
Daphne doesn't really get it. All she understands is the fact that I want to leave, and I don't want any reminder of our life here, that I just want to forget everything. She feels I'm betraying her.
And maybe I am. I've betrayed plenty of people already.
Daphne shouts at me. "Why can't you just be... I don't know... good? You're a Grimm, and this is what we do! We help people- just accept it."
I don't think Daphne knows how much she affects me, because she storms out after delivering her last statement. The thing is, those words debilitate me.
It's only later that I realize she doesn't mean them. But now they seduce back the whispers that have been dancing through my head since the final battle.
They make me see the faces of my friends and family- survivors.
They look at me with hatred; they ask me how I can stand myself; they question why it was me that survived and not their loved ones. I'm plagued with images of the dead, their immobile faces screaming out. Voices of the living and dead fill my mind.
We died for you. Why can't you be worth it?, they ask me. I can't answer.
I stand, my back firmly pressed against the wall. A sob- all the sorrow of these years- lodges itself in my throat. I wish I could scream, but the voices drown me out.
We trusted you! But I let them down.
The defective Grimm, they sneer.
For a second, I resist. 'No! I'm not,' I try to scream back. I can tell I'm only lying to myself. It's no use- we both know the truth.
I throw my head back, the pain forcing itself through my throat. My hands reach out and grasp at nothingness. The sobs shudder through my body. I slump to the floor and try to shield myself from their accusations.
The horrible fact is, when the attack is coming from inside yourself, you can't really get away. The voices are always there; they just get bolder in the darkness.
When I glimpse a face through the gloom, I hardly recognize it. It makes my stomach clench, and I'm about to be ill. 'It's only a reflection', I try to reassure myself. I stare to the soundtrack of the whispers. I can't look anymore, but the face won't go away. I am sickly entranced. It looks at me with resentment and blame and self-loathing.
I strike the face.
I don't really understand what I'm doing until the shooting pain of glass in skin registers.
For a second, my sacrifice appeases the voices. That pain, it temporarily eases everything inside. At last, I have some semblance of controll in my life. The blood is the morphine to the agony slithering inside my head.
This isn't the first episode- or even the last.
It isn't until the day Puck finds me once nearly passed out, that anybody finds out. He says I'm not allowed to die on him; he loves me too much. I tell him I don't know why.
My family takes me to a therapist, and I don't like him at first. I hate him. He makes me face the voices, and I'd rather be the coward they call me.
In the Present.
When I see that expression again- this time in Emmy's eyes- I say the words Dr. Carlisle said to me the first time we met.
"Emmy, I know a lot has happened to you. I also know these lies you've been hearing- telling yourself- they're just that: lies. Were going to get through this together, and I promise I will help you through, because lies don't have any power here."
She looks up at me, barely a hint of hope in her eyes. I know I will protect this young girl, from the bastards that hurt her, her father who didn't help, and most importantly, from herself.
And that is the best I can do.
Wow, that was quite an interesting experience. I'm curious at what you all think. Bad-good-Ugly?