Chapter 1: The Glass Half Shattered

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Chapter 1 *unedited, un-cut*

'It comes off in layers... like dried blood."
Voices in the darkness. My voice and my words.
"The razor cuts beneath don't sting."
The air around me is chilly in the darkness.
"Is that what you think of meditation?"
I open my eyes. The man before me is a counselor, someone who perhaps will listen, will help me find my true nature.
"Yes," I answer him. "It's like being washed clean to find old wounds have healed."
"I'm glad it's helping. Your quite imaginative."
"I have to be, I'm still a child after all. How else do you expect me to survive in this world?" I say with serious voice, but I assume a joking glint within my eyes.
He smiles. Short dark hair and a triangular face. He is clean shaved as you expect a counselor to be. His body lanky but powerful I am sure.
He is quite attractive. I close my eyes again. Hoping to be lost in his words.
"There you go again, eyes always wide shut."
"It helps" I say.
"Helps how?"
"What time is it?"
"Quarter to three, looks like our time for today is about up." I hear him close the notebook.
"I have something to say."
"Okay, what is it?" The book opens again.
"I wish to be a fool, or at least able to say foolish things at times."
"It's okay, I'm listening..."
"It's a secret... you understand?"
"Yes, of course. As we discussed earlier in regards to your privacy and confidentiality."
"I think I might be a girl."
I open my eyes but can't raise my gaze to meet his.
"How long have you felt this way?"
"I think our time is up" I say grabbing my book bag to my chest and hurrying out.

* * *

The sun is bright as I push open the heavy doors, the finial school bell of the day is ringing out behind me.
The courtyard is full of hundred of liberated kids, headed home, or lining up for a bus if they live further away.
Fortunately the new house is only four blocks away and the weather is just beautiful.
I weave in and out of the masses, making my escape. I'm not very popular around here. I do have friends though, and it is those friends I am attempting to avoid.
Sam and Michael. Last night they managed to catch me and we spent the whole night watching horror flicks in Sam's spooky ass basement. I'm probably going to have nightmares for the rest of my life. I see them standing by the school gate scanning the crowd, looks like I wasn't fast enough. I just don't have the energy and they just don't take no for an answer. Besides do I really want to alienate my two best and only friends?
Then I see Gary. Good old Gary, Boy next door Gary.
He is tall, solidly built and handsome. He is also two years older. He is headed toward the student parking lot where the motorcycle he calls his chicken hawk is. I don't understand the name, nor do I try.
"Gary! Hey neighbor friend guy!" I run towards him, when suddenly he stops and turns and I run straight into him taking us both down, me on his chest. I blush, I don't mean too it just happens.
"Uhm hey buddy" I say. He doesn't look very happy. "Can I get a ride?"
"Looks like your already riding me neighbor friend..."
I can feel the silence as we draw attention from onlookers.
I get up off him. "Please?"
"Why? Do you like bikes? Do you think they're cool?"
We stand and he dusts off his back side.
"uhm... well not really. I mean I like living... I think."
"Sure, lets go" he says with a friendly smile.
I really hadn't been expecting that. I gulp. "What?"
"I hate dumb asses who only like bikes because they think that they are cool and dangerous and attention grabbers."
"What?" I ask again.
"You don't mind riding on the back with another guy? It's kind of frowned upon."
I shake my head no. The thought of it being strange or whatever never crossed my mind.
He puts a helmet on my head with a dark visor and straps it under my chin.
"We're really doing this aren't we?" I ask.
He pats the top of my helmet, then puts his own on and straddles the bike. I sit on the bike behind him placing my hands on his shoulders. He grabs my hands, puts them around his waist and pulls me forward. I feel my body pressing against his. The bike roars to life. I squeeze him as hard as I can.
"Relax... and don't move alright." The next thing I know we're flying... and I meaning flying like birds through the school gate past Sam and Michael. I can't lie, this is the single most greatest moment of my life.

I'm a bit surprised when we go past the turn off to our street, and take the scenic route into town. Stopping at the one and only local gas station. He pulls up to the pump, and shuts the bike off.
"Need some gas, you want to grab me a drink?" he asks motioning at the food truck. I get off the bike with shaky legs. My muscle sore and cramped from clenching too tight in fear and excitement. I lean against him for a moment. "Sure, what's your pleasure?"
"Diet coke."
I walk over on jello legs and order a coke and small vanilla ice cream. I feel like I am over heating a bit and remember to take the helmet off.
"Your boyfriends hot" the girl serving me says. I feel hot and flustered. "I don't think he likes me like that."
"Don't be so sure hon. Guys only let cuties they like ride with them."

I'm sitting at a picnic table still blushing when Gary pulls the bike up to join me.
"So what's your deal Mouse?" he asks taking the cold and sweating can of coke from my hand.
"What do you mean?" I ask guardedly.
"I've seen you around. Eyes always closed, head always down. When someone talks to you, you can't get away fast enough."
He reaches out and pulls on my chin length hair. "And your style... girlish, cute. Do you like boys?"
I feel myself getting angry, I slap his hand away. "None of your business."
He gives me a knowing grin.
"That's what your friends say about you, that your so girlish they can't help but tease you."
"Who says?"
"Mike says you have a girlish squeal, that's why they made you watch horror movies all last night." He laughs.
I feel my heart ice over.
"How did you.... how do you?"
"Shop class. Those two can be a riot sometimes."

I get up and start walking away. I feel so angry I could scream... then I start laughing... laughing at my own folly,
laughing cause it hurts, laughing because if I stop I'll cry. I throw my ice cream down on the ground. "I'm walking home" I say with a very tired, very defeated voice.
I feel a hand grab my wrist from behind.
I spin around about to tell him where he can go when I see his face soften with a pained expression.
"Look, I didn't mean too..." he rubs the back of his neck. "Please don't cry..."
I brush my hand against my face and feel wetness on my cheeks. Then I am very aware he is still holding my wrist. “Let me take you home Mouse” he says, gently pulling me back to the motorbike.

* * *

We pull into my driveway. I get off the bike and fumble with the clasp. Gary comes over to me and his fingers work deftly, brushing against my neck and sending a shiver down my spine.
I hear the screen door slam. I turn to see my brother Derek come out of the house with a beer in his hand. “Hey Gare, you dating my sister now man?”
I feel myself blushing.
“Something let that” Gary jokingly calls back. He leans over and whispers “so fun to tease” in a husky voice into my ear. The red hot heat flooding my face flows down my neck, into my body and then down to my feet. This is the first time I have done a full body blush before. Its uncomfortable.
He gets on the bike and rides down the street to his house.
“Mouse?” Derek asks. “Whats going on?... What did he say?” He steps in my way. I walk around him, walk past Mama who is watering the house plants. “Oh honey your finally hom--” She looks up at me. “Oh dear...”. I climb the stairs to my room and shutting the door collapse on the bed in an unstable and slightly disgruntled heap. The confusing thoughts and emotions of this very strange day flickering about in my brain shorting circuits here... there... everywhere. Thank god today is Friday.

* * *

The door to my room opens. I hear footsteps. I burrow deeper into my nest of blankets. The curtains make a “schweeping” sound as they are pulled back. “Mouse honey its time to get up” Mama says from somewhere over my head.
“I'm taking the day off” I mumble through the blankets.
I feel a sudden earth quake as my bed begins to shake back and forth.
“It's the weekend Mouse, go outside and play with your friends...”
“Hah... friends... those jerks can burn in hell.”
“Is this another one of your moods?” she asks and the bed stops shaking.
I pull the covers back and glare at her, but it must look more like a pout 'cause she laughs at me.
“I'll make pancakes and you can tell Mama all about it okay honey?”
I look down sadly and start pulling on the blankets. “With chocolate chips and whip cream?” I ask in a tiny voice.
“Yes, but only if you come help your Mama make them, okay sweetheart?”
I can't help smiling at Mama's silly smile. “Okay”.
“You spoil that child” I hear Dad say from the hallway.
“I know dear. This ones my favorite.”
“Well as long as you know.”

* * *

“So Mouse what's going on child of mine?” Mama asks as I cut up the pancakes and make happy eating sounds.
“Yesterday was a very strange day...” I said. “Scary... exciting.”
Mama looked very interested.
“Go on.”
“Just stuff... stuff happened... Confusing stuff.”

Derek walked into the kitchen and poured a cup of black coffee. “You mean your new romance?” He asked with a sly grin.
“Romance... did you get a Girlfriend Mouse?”
I feel my nose turn up at the thought. “No, nothing like that.”
“Don't lie now Mouse or I'll introduce Mom to your lover” Derek continued.
“Don't tease your brother Derek, this is serious stuff! It's perfectly normal for a boy to start feeling affection for girls at Mouses age.”
“Ya, Mouse Normal that's a good one.”
“Your brother will grow up to be a fine upstanding young man.”
“Then why do you treat him like a girl?”
“You know your brother is very sensitive!”
“A boy doesn't look like that! Or act like that! Or go riding around on the back of a boys motorcycle and whispering sweet nothings into each others ears!”
“Derek, thank you for your input. Please let me discuss things with your brother.”
Derek held up his hands, one still holding the cup of coffee and backed out of the room.
“Mouse you rode on a motorcycle? What would I do if anything happened to you?”
“I don't know” I say weakly.
“And what's this about a boy? Do you like this boy like that?”
“No...”
“Mouse?”
“I don't think so...”
“My poor Bay-Bay.... I don't want you to see this boy again, not right now I mean.”
“Okay...”
“I know you don't understand, but it's in your own interest.”
I stood up, accidentally knocking over a glass of milk that shattered broken glass over my feet. I felt emotionally dead. As if the last circuit had shorted. I know it doesn't make any sense. I... I don't know why I feel the way I do, or why sometimes I just feel nothing at all. It's as if I suddenly die inside. That's what Mama means by being sensitive isn't it? My moods as she calls them.
“Mouse say something.... speak to me...”
I wasn't able to speak. There was no voice left in me. Just an empty hollow shell. I remembered my counselor in that moment. Dave with his triangular face, dark eyes, and deep calming voice.
I needed to meditate, maybe that would save me from the darkness.

* * *

What event in my life, if it was an event, could have made me like this? Happy and content one moment, dead the next.
The thoughts would come, and go. That was fine.... don't try to hold onto them, don't throw them away. Just be aware of them within the darkness. Let the voices call out.
And then I hear the world shatter. The sound of a bang, setting the universe in motion and a distant scream.

“Mama... why are you crying?”
“Mouse? It's alright. Here let me help you clean up?”
I looked down at my hands and arms, covered in brownish red... dried blood. I saw the marks on my arms where my nails had broken skin, leaving shallow trenches. “It won't hurt...”
“What darling?”
“I don't know Mama.”



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