I woke up, about 30 minutes later, with Jake sitting on a stool by my side.
“Hi… Hey, what are you doing here?” I said sleepily at first, but abruptly waking up with the last few words.
“I heard your thoughts.” Jake said tenderly. “You’re not a monster.”
“Thank you for intruding into my head, Jake. Now please get out.” I said stiffly, and gestured toward the door. He ignored it, and continued,
“You didn’t mean to be a monster. People made you be one- the Government.” I groaned in a sleepy, dazed way.
“Ugh… Jake…” I thought about my power- no, my curse, it wasn’t even that powerful- the way I needed to kill people to live, once a week, the hunger for human death overpowering every sense. It’s like… switching a million peoples’ lives for me. Well, that’s unfair, but I can’t really… stand to die. More like afraid to die, anyway- I’m afraid of what happens on the “other side” as people refer to it. I returned my focus to Jake. He was still talking- but I wasn’t listening. I didn’t want to listen- I didn’t want his consoling words. I hated the sympathy- why didn’t Jake understand? I sighed, and Jake looked at me, his eyebrows up.
“I can see that you aren’t listening.” Jake said.
“Sorry, Jake, but sympathy really isn’t my thing.” I grumbled, and Jake nodded.
“I’m sure of that… I… I just wanted to help.” Jake looked at me with golden-brown eyes, which were clear and not mucky. They were looking at me like a lost puppy’s- sad and wanting reassurance. I had a feeling that Jake wasn’t as serene as he looked- but the serenity was created by him to reassure others, and comfort them, but not taking more care to himself by doing so. It was so complicated- I couldn’t decipher the rest of the emotions flooding his eyes. Jake quickly averted his gaze, and stared down at the grey floor instead.
“Anyway… then… I’ll just leave you alone I guess…” Jake murmured, also stammering the words, and proceeded to walk out my door in hasty, quick steps, leaving me to ponder my own destiny.
The next day was my 17th birthday. Jake was 16, Celina 17, Steven, the oldest, but also the most immature, 18. They all had cashed in to buy me a decent birthday cake- fresh whipping cream cake topped with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and all kinds of other berries which of I didn’t know the name of. They sang me the birthday song, which also revealed to general astonishment, that Steven was a decent singer. He’d never participated in any birthday songs before-
Celina got me a new watch, a good thing, because mine was old and battered. Jake got me new covers for my bed- also another thing that was battered in my keep. Steven gave me a lamp which looked pretty expensive, which made me wonder how he managed to afford it. However, when I asked, he just gave me a toothy grin. Soon after the unwrapping of the presents, we had a simple party of sandwiches and pop, which, to us, were very extravagant pleasures. Afterwards, we all said our goodbyes, and went to sleep in a simple happiness that I couldn’t explain.
The next morning, I woke up to find Steven and Jake alone, cramped inside the small, worn out room we called our living room. They were sitting on opposite chairs across a coffee table. Both of them wore anxious, worried expressions. On the grey coffee table, there was an open envelope. Then I saw Jake nervously fidgeting with a piece of white-grey paper.
“What happened…?” I asked quietly, half-curious and half-afraid of what was to come. No one replied.
“Jake, what happened?” I walked over to him, and poked him in the shoulder. This made Jake come back to the present- like snapping awake from a trance.
“Oh. Hi, Kelly.” He said, but there wasn’t the normal serenity in his voice.
“So, what happened?” I repeated again, a little impatient this time. Jake’s face looked a thousand years older when he finally told me my answer I was impatient for.
“They took Celina.”