A Formal Introduction

*Author’s Note: I’ve decided to start posting some of my formal writings. The next several posts are going to be selections from my creative writing classes here at Baker and some pieces that I’ve been working on in my free time. All copyrights lie with me. So no stealing, you naughty naughty little people.*

This has no title. The working title is simply Rustling. I wrote it in December.

A rustle. Tsh-tsh. Sharp cracks, knuckles of bark snap across the pane. Thick, gnarled. Surely the glass will shatter…A woman stands before the window, her face shining in the late moonlight. She looks like the girl she was before the infection ravaged her mind. I wish I could go back in time and fix her before she was broken…

Thunder booms overhead, shaking the walls. I pull her away from the window, shaking her from this trance now so familiar. Hazel and glossy, her eyes are blank; dry lips part and a small, almost inaudible, gasp whooshes out. Her pale hand, with its cold fingers, grips my arm. She’s unsteady. I startled her.

As she settles into the plush armchair, with its high back and curved silhouette, I notice how small she has become. Her clothes hang like rags, but she is smaller in demeanor. Her shoulders droop and her limbs knot themselves until she is a tangle of small and dark things.

Although her chair sits by the fireplace, I drape a blanket over her lap. She can’t ever seem to get warm. Her acknowledgement is a blink. A sniff. Her eyes close. It’s my cue to leave.

Pulling the heavy door behind me, I leave a crack of light and hold my breath to peer in. She doesn’t move for a long moment. Then slowly, her legs straighten. Her spine stretches up. Fingers clutch the blanket to her chest as her eyes focus on the pattern. I blink. Please remember… Suddenly, a choked sob catches in her throat. Her fingers trace the name she stitched so many years ago and tighten the ties she gleefully cut herself. She remembers…

I breathe out. My eagerness bumps the door. It shifts with a groan. Her head snaps up, the memory gone. Her eyelids flutter and rest back to blank. The fleece corner she was holding so close drops down to her lap again. Her shaking hands disappear under its worn edge.

I’ve lost her again.

As I wander back down the hall to my own room, I stop at the bay window. The dark velvet is cool on my skin as I pull back the shade. The rain has turned to hard sleet. Slick puddles are starting to form on the driveway. What day is it? I’ve lost track, most days seem endless. December 20th Her birthday is coming up.

I start toying with the idea of pink-iced cupcakes and vanilla wafers; it’ll be just like the party we held for her our freshman year in our dorm’s basement. It wouldn’t be too hard to find the same music we played either…

After all, she’ll only be 24.

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