Entry Date: June 13, 6:07PM
My heart is racing. Never has so much adrenaline pumped through my veins, pushing me to do more, to continue on with this suicidal mission. The only thing that restrains any more of my vain action is the fear of being caught, of going back. Even now I can picture the look of anger on my mother’s face, her fierce disapproval, the belt that she would brandish upon me. The eyes that were so unseeing my agony, of the wounds not only to my arms but to my heart. I can see my father, glaring harshly down at me with aged, tawny eyes, wishing that he’d never met my mother and that I had never been born. I’d well be disowned. I wondered if they’d yet discovered I was missing. Had they entered my bedroom to find me gone? I doubt that, for never did they give me a second glance….
My eyes opened to the interior of a mid-city subway train. It was empty; it was nearly one-thirty in the morning and the line only made the most popular stops. Even then, nobody came or left, save for a pair of accusing teenagers, their heads wrapped in bandannas and dangerous artifacts at their waists. I huddled closer to Iverson on sight of their guns. Though I needn’t have feared anything, I looked as innocent and harmless as I always had, even if I felt like a hardcore criminal. I could’ve laughed imagining myself in jail.
“What’re you in for?” My cellmate would ask.
I would then reply, “Ran away from home with a bunch of private-school boys…one of them is the son of a government official and the other two are smart enough to have scholarships to Ekinaude Academy. Bad, eh?”
The gangsters were soon away, though, and we began our second circuit around the city. I guessed that Liam had yet to decide where we would be getting off.
At our feet lay five traveler’s bags. Four of which had come from me, the fifth from Liam. Our jackets were chock full of all the necessities we could carry; and rolls of money. I’d snatched my entire savings (which was at a reasonable stature), and it lay nestled safely in my bra.
We must’ve gone around for nay another hour on the inner-city circuit when Iverson stood on call of the next stop. The three of us looked up at him, wondering his fascination.
“It’s the stop closest to where I live,” Iverson informed us. “I’m gonna swing home, grab some crap, and I’ll be back. Wait at the station; it’ll be easier with only me.”
So we did. We didn’t have much better to do, so Liam, Quin and I all sat alone in a deserted subway station. Quin fell asleep on one of the benches, which was a bit startling. It took me a few seconds to remember what he’d told me, back in Liam’s attic (for we’d all muttered softly as we packed, explaining ourselves to one another). Officially, Quin was homeless. He was about as homeless as I was hopeless.
The razor was nestled in the innermost pocket of my purse, which I’d tucked behind me on the bench. I had no intent of using it at that moment…but I knew that sometime in the future, one would have the sudden urge. I’d grown almost too accustomed to the sweet release of pain; however disgusting and futile those movements were.
I scared myself sometimes….and I hated it.
Entry Date: June 14, 4:15AM
It was too early in the morning, or maybe just too late at night. Either way, I’d just finished working the graveyard shift at the diner, earned a whopping ten dollars off of tips, and I now sat outside Jonathan’s Diner on a damp, wooden crate. If my life was one of those old (and undoubtedly cliché) teen flicks, I’d probably be smoking. The scene was complete with the flickering sing that now read ‘Nathan’s Din’ and one of those neon ‘open’ signs. There was a tiny little six-car parking lot in front and another three spaces for the workers out back. The most traffic we got was from the bums; that and that people who lived in the immediate vicinity of our Diner (which consisted of pompous old women). At least I got paid substantially (I was continually driving Jonathan into a financial hole).
Every night, I’d just sit out here in the musty moonlight, wishing that I could do something with my life. Yes, I was working near ten to twelve hours every day to earn just over minimum wage at the most pathetic diner ever so I could help my mother with the bills, but I wasn’t satisfied. Over the past year, I’d saved enough money for a nice camera…and plenty of film. That was enough to stymie my urge…but so far, the best shots I’d gotten of my world circulated around Nathan’s Din, and my artistic skills were not shining with Grandma Dorothy and Nanna Marie. I sighed.
But on this certain night…the every-day routine…was thrown off course. The normally silent street had suddenly been invaded by a small group of teenagers. They drifted into the light of one street lamp, and then into darkness before becoming visible once more in the next pool of yellow light. I watched them, curious as to what they were doing in the neighborhood…especially with those backpacks.
I was just about to lose interest when they finally got close enough for me to register details; and what I saw surprised me. At the center of the pack was the midnight-haired boy; and beside him (I could’ve sworn I was mistaken) was Ekinaude boy. I was shocked. Not a few hours ago, they’d been furious and blowing through introductions. It was them, for sure, their figures were still so clear to me.
Especially Iverson’s. I wouldn’t forget the person who was accountable for all of my tip money.
Ironically, they paused just across from Nathan’s (Jonathan’s), and the only girl among them (a Japanese-looking gal), began muttering something inaudible. Iverson responded, which prompted a shrug from Ekinaude boy and for the third boy to roll his eyes. The girl began to peer about, and that’s when she spotted me. I cringed slightly, but it was soon consumed by my curiosity as she approached me.
She crossed the street cautiously, and then dashed up over the sidewalk, across our tiny parking lot, and then came to a halt beside me.
“Excuse me, but would you happen to know the best way out of town?”
I blinked. What the hell kind of question was that? Ekinaude boy must’ve lived in Lovaki (he was attending school here, after all), as well as Iverson (he knew what Ekinaude WAS, didn’t he?). Wouldn’t they know?
I responded, “where are you trying to go?”
Her answer was “away”…which was utterly confusing.
“I’m…running away.” She glanced back to the boys. “We’re running away.”
“What?” I exclaimed before I could catch myself, scaring her out of her wits. “Why?”
“We just…want to leave,” the girl told me softly. “Our lives…are hell.”
If ever before I hadn’t thought something through, it compared nothing to my next move. I snatched up my bag, (it contained all of my important articles, which were definitely not safe at home) and then stood from my soggy perch. I still wore my waitress apron, and upon realizing this, I brought my jacket tighter around myself to hide it.
“what’s your name?” I asked her.
She replied hesitantly, “Kazumi Ayase.”
“My name’s Kendra Hill; aspiring photographer,” I patted my bag, which held the most precious things in the world…my camera, my film, and my newest paycheck, and my money. “I have no clue why, Kazumi, but at this very moment…I want to run away with the lot of you.” I smiled. “That savvy with you?”
“Savvy,” Kazumi grinned.
Entry Date: June 14, 6:15AM
I woke in a bit of disarray, unsure of where I was until I spotted the interior design of Motel Cheapie (aka the closest motel to the edge of Lovaki City). Though my gawking came from two other things. One, it was dark outside again. We’d checked in that morning, and all day, we’d been napping and popping in and out, disappearing for a couple hours at a time, making sure we had everything we needed for any circumstance. I guess I’d finally gotten around to a decent sleeping time, because the last time I’d checked, it had been three in the afternoon. It was now nine.
The second reason that I was twitching was due to the fact that my dream had revolved around my father’s metaphor.
Trembling, I hid behind the couch in our front living room. I felt a lot younger than I actually was, for everything seemed so much bigger. I’d stood and peered out over the striped headrest, the front door looming in front of me like some sort of dark and imposing monster. My fingers trembled, and then I cringed, curled into a ball as the doorbell rang, the same, familiar chime that I’d come to know so well…. I was then standing at the door, and my hand was reaching out for the handle. Before I could stop myself, I’d pulled it open and suddenly…I was staring up at a pleasant-looking girl who held a small box in both hands. It looked pleasant, and she began to assure me that wonderful treats were just inside, that if only I could do her a favor in the future, I could have it. She held it forward, towards me, and I took it from her, the fear suddenly having subsided…. But as soon as I opened it, I regretted it. I was thrown to the floor, my small, childish hands grasping and groping at the dark, hairy monster. I screamed again and again, and I turned to the Girl Scout, yelling for her to help…and then found May, looking back at me, glaring, crying, and teeth gritted. The last thing I heard was…
“I loved you, Iverson!”
This motel had three stories (so I’m not sure if it really qualifies as a full-fledged motel), and it was just along the edge of Lovaki City, overlooking the grand Lake Lovaari. My guess was that we’d be exploring its vast banks, trying to find…whatever it was that we were trying to find. Adventure, I guess. The family that ran the place had picked just the right spot. They were successful, I guess, but not successful enough, for the rooms were really cheap (and horribly decorated, must I say it).
But until then, I was stuck in Motel Room 303 while the girls occupied the one right beside us, 304. The door into their temporary residence was left open, and if all was quiet, and if they spoke just loud enough, their words would be able to waft in through the doorway. But our TV had been left on, and it seemed the girls had nothing to converse about.
That last image of May disturbed me to no end.
How long had it been since my eyes and hers had touched the same level?
That image, it was so real…for I had truly lived it. She had tried to teach me to love, teach me what it was all about, but I’d never listened, for there was nothing to love about her. My alliance held fast to myself, never to a woman as vain as she. I remember it so well, when she came to my chambers only to witness a beautiful brunette stroking my hair, going on over the glorious abnormality of its color. It hadn’t been a day since I’d rejected her lips, as she cried hopelessly, tears streaking the blush on her cheeks, running the mascara like little rivers of darkness against a riverbed of bright, white light. I could still feel it; I could still feel her dainty hands grasping mine, her breath warming my cheeks, and the horror that sunk into my throat. I’d pulled harshly away from her, pulled together my things and exited the garden as fast as I could.
I’d done everything in my power to ensure it wouldn’t happen again. For May…didn’t love me at all. In the beginning, she had enraptured me, but as soon as I discovered her secret…as soon as I discovered that tall, dark man in her bed, no longer could I allow that unjust woman into my heart.
The maiden lass had been nothing but a whore.
It was then, after her many futile attempts to reclaim me that I began to drift away from my path of…righteousness. And then, finally, that line, those bittersweet words.
I was exiting the estate, I was going out onto the streets to claim another district of the city as my own…when she ran sobbing from my quarters and threw herself upon me. She tried, again and again to explain herself, to convince me of her love…but she just was no longer appealing to me. Perhaps it had been for attention, all those men, to make me jealous. Because somewhere, deep DEEP down inside, she was still pure.
But that purity was all wrong.
She was usually so frail as I pushed her away, but this time, she was like stone. She was unforgiving. And she screamed those words at me before storming off, but not before trying to place that distasteful mouth to mine. I managed to keep her as far away from my own, virgin lips as I could. No matter how many women I’d been with, not one had ever appealed enough for me to become that close. Never.
My sadness is a beacon. My heart is not as shallow as it should be. My life was shot, all because I wanted away from her tainted purity.
I wondered if ever I could really find…peace.
Entry Date: June 14, 8:19 AM
Iverson was just staring at the ceiling. I decided to leave him be.
“Think the Ekinaude reps will be looking for us?” I asked Liam, who was sitting quietly in the corner…just reading.
“Probably…when the school year starts,” Liam snorted. “Otherwise, they don’t give a damn about us poor folks. We’re just publicity items towards their ‘charity’. Even though they still make us APPLY for our student funds.” He closed his eyes and then soon after closed his book, using his index finger to save the page. “Hell, my mother won’t care where I am until the school year starts. I’m supposed to be earning my college tuition so I can get a job and earn her drinking money.”
“Depressing,” I blinked.
“Almost as depressing as your story,” Liam sighed.
“Or just-as,” I responded arguably. Even though a prostitute mother was a bit better than having a mother that did nothing but burn money in a hospital bed. I mean, at least a prostitute has a job (could you really be considered a prostitute if you didn’t?).
He left it at that, getting right on back to his book. That left me to think, just as Iverson was doing. And from what I was getting, all I could reminisce over was…my current escapade. And what the consequences may be. What would happen if my mother (were to suddenly get better and) found out? What would happen with Ekinaude? But the question that what was more imposing was….
Would I ever come back?
Entry Date: June 14, 11:53AM
The fresh (sort of) air cleared my head a bit. I needed it. The Adrenaline had driven me forward all day…and I’d yet to think anything over. I wandered just outside of the parking lot and found myself in a little park, wedged between the three-floored motel and an apartment complex. I followed the twisting path around trees and soon found myself against a railing. On one side you could see Lovaki City, and on the other, Lake Lovaari. And right beside me….
She turned towards me, her eyes translucent and…slick. I moved towards her, and she didn’t run away, the silent way of telling me to proceed.
“What’re you doing out here?” She asked me.
“I’d ask you the same thing,” I replied, following her every move.
“I was thinking,” said Kazumi. “About….” She rubbed her forearms. “Everything.”
Kazumi Ayase was just as mysterious to me as a movie star. I could imagine her in one way, but her true personality wouldn’t truly peek through until put under examination. I’d watched her from afar, and I’d only caught glimpses during those rare, opportune moments. It was never enough to determine how she was…what her case was….
“My dad died four years back.”
She looked at me, but not unkindly. I took this as a sign that she wanted to know.
“He was a ‘professional traveler’, and I never saw too much of him during the later days of his life. My mother would always speak unkindly of him. She’d known him since her glory days, back in school, and I’m guessing that how he was now wasn’t as exciting as he’d been near 17 years previously. She’d into bed with him, after all.” I closed my eyes and leaned against the railing, cool and metallic to the touch. She was listening intently. “I was born to her when she was only eighteen years old. She’s just over twice my age right now, and she still acts like she’s in her twenties.” I ran my fingers through my hair, and then looked down, over the concrete cliff before me. A canal was snaking its way through, a black river moving sluggishly against a steel-gray bed of concrete. “He died in a fight. My mother cursed him endlessly, and she would beat me for looking like him.” An ironic, twisted smile touched my lips. “And then later, she would gather me up into her arms and just….” I trailed off, wondering if it was just too much information to be dishing out on her. I glanced at her, her dark eyes never leaving mine, enraptured in my story….
“Just…?” she whispered.
I closed my eyes again, and then reopened them to the night sky. A crescent moon hung loftily over our heads, watching me…. Was my father watching me as well?
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said suddenly. “If I’m….”
“No, no,” I reassured her. “I just didn’t know if it would be too much for you.”
Kazumi shook her head, her eyes still not leaving me. It was…comforting to know that someone cared, that someone wanted to hear my story….
“Have you ever kissed someone?” I asked her.
She turned red as all hell, and then when I rechecked my words, I found that it could’ve meant….
“I-I-I’m not asking you to kiss me!” I blurted out, now as red as she. “I just wanted to know. It plays into my story, I promise….”
She calmed slightly, but still flustered immensely, she shook her head ‘no’.
“They say your first is supposed to be someone you really love,” I told her. “And that it’s supposed to be special.” I shook my head. “They say that unless it’s your parents or a relative, it doesn’t count…but this time, I’m quite sure the rules were broken.”
“What does that mean?”
I chuckled, but it was a twisted sort of laugh.
“My first kiss was my mother, Kazumi,” I whispered. She didn’t quite understand until I gave her the most solemn look that I could muster. “She grabbed me, she told me that she’d given birth to me, but being more my father’s son than hers, I was….” I trembled, remembering the horrifying feelings of those nights. “I was obligated to do what she bid of me. Her kisses were so forceful I felt afraid. Couldn’t face anyone after that, I was afraid that they would know what she was doing, how wrong my life was. And then I could only go back to my home and start the hell over once again.”
“Liam…” She whispered.
“Then, she lost her job and had to resort to…well, you know. And on the nights that she couldn’t find a customer, she would turn to me. Eventually, she got me into private school, hoping I’d grow up to be rich, unlike my father. Said that I could lead her along, show her the ‘love’ that she’d shown me.” I shuddered.
“My god, I…” Kazumi trembled.
“I’ve grown to live with it, but needless to say, I’m still scared,” I told her. “Much like you, I believe.”
“Perhaps,” she shook her head. “But no…my story is nothing to yours.”
I lowered myself to be at her level, and then spoke, “Kazumi, one’s pain may not seem as severe as the next, but the damage it does is the same. Your horror could so easily equal mine, don’t pity me…for it can only bring me to pity you.”
Entry date: June 14, 2:00PM
He was just as I’d expected him to me…only better…and with a more horrible past. I gulped, and then began my tale.
“My mother was nearly infertile. I was a miracle child,” I began. “Mom was twenty-five when I was born…and she is now forty. She was always striving to make her life better, always thought she would hit it big but never did. Married a man whose potential was just as dim as her own. We ended up moving in where we did, since we couldn’t pay the bills on our old house or the cars that we owned. Soon, we were so far in debt that we could hardly feed ourselves without government support. I hated it entirely…because not only were we on welfare but my mother wouldn’t let me do anything around the house and neither would my father. Suddenly, distant relatives were dying off for supposedly no reason.”
Liam blinked. I wondered if he would believe me.
“Doctors investigated and found a rare heretic disease; transferred through blood or...well, let’s just say it was half heretic disorder and half STD,” I explained. “It kept low under the radar unless you were specifically looking for it. They searched all of us…and my father was found positive. My mother was horrified to find that she, too, was infected.”
“Are you…?” Liam inhaled sharply.
“My mother contracted the virus after I was born, and it had yet to be active in my father during the time I was…conceived.”
“What does it do?”
He seemed shocked as the tears began to dribble down my cheeks.
“It slowly eats away at the nervous system, at the digestive tracks, and slows the production of white blood cells. It turns you crazy. If you leave it to do its job, it just kills you while you’re still kicking. As soon as it hits all the necessary parts of your brain…you’re gone. But….” The tears were beginning to choke me. “If you treat it, all that becomes of it is suffering. You still die…but you die slowly and painfully, and the crazier you get, the more it hurts. It doesn’t happen all at once, it happens slowly…but the pain just gets worse and worse. I know my parents are staying away from me because they know that I may see them like that…suffering. And you wouldn’t know…the horrors they go through if a single drop of their blood is spilt. They will spend hours cleaning it, keeping me far from the area, locking me in my room. Keep me from being contaminated, rejecting any help or any achievement, thinking that if they let me get close, I’ll catch it.” I coughed. “But I’m not infected! If I don’t have it through heredity, then I just won’t! I mean, it’s not like I’m having sexual relations with them, either! It’s just…unfair! And recently…it has only been them. It’s not even about me anymore, none of it. It’s about them and not suffering and making money from their disease, getting things from the government because they have a setback!” I tightly grasped my wrist, squeezing.
I soon fell silent, staring down at my hand as my fingers slowly began to turn purple.
“They don’t look at me anymore. They leave me food, they leave me all that I need to survive and then they tell me to stay in my room. They say that I’ll get contaminated, they tell me when they’re leaving and that’s it. They don’t ask how I am, why I have no friends, why I always wear long sleeves, despite the sweltering weather. They scream at me for attempting to water our plants or vacuum or just wash something; even my own clothes.”
“And you say that you couldn’t compare to me?” Liam murmured.
“I…can’t,” I said simply. “Because my troubles…should not be that troubling. For they are not inconveniencing me.”
“But they are not letting you do as you please…they’re smothering you.”
“You were smothered, Liam…” I cried. “You were afraid, but the only thing that I have to fear is myself. I have nothing to fear except for not having any future except for my room, and this!” I thrust my sleeve to my elbow, the scars glaring up at me. “I’m…pathetic.”
Entry Date: June 14, 5:16PM
“I wouldn’t say that you are,” I murmured softly. “Because…if your parents died, they would leave you alone…with nothing. They have the choice to die…or to suffer. It must be hard…and for you to revert to this, I can honestly say…I understand.”
“Why?” Kazumi whimpered.
I don’t know what sort of force drove my actions, but my hand was soon pulling against her scarred arm, my thumb caressing the light, red streaks on her skin. She was cold, and I soon realized that in the evening chill she wore no jacket. Her tears offered her no assistance, chilling her cheeks even more. They must have been frigid in the breeze. I pulled her closer, her sobbing quiet, but still painful to hear. She didn’t seem to care at all as I held her cold body against me, still grasping her reddened wrist, killing myself by listening to her shuddering sobs.
I was confused. I didn’t know her, and yet I did. I knew her…quite well, and it had only taken the slightest conversation for me to understand her. My body acted with a will of its own, comforting her.
Before I knew it, I was pressing my lips to the fragile tissue of her wrist, and then her palms. My eyes were closing, one hand wrapped sturdily around her and the other upon her arm. But suddenly, I realized what I was doing and released her as if I’d been clutching fire.
“I’m sorry!” I exclaimed, my voice cracking pitifully.