Stories

Chapter 3 – All That Glitters

Forcing herself to put one foot in front of the other she made her way to the door. It was mind numbingly slow going. It was the only way Alice knew. Being made to leave her sanctuary – the only place where she couldn’t hurt anyone – was not something she was going to speed along. She had all the time in the world. It was her last means of showing any defiance. Her last way of showing the shadows that they hadn’t won the war yet.

Reaching the door, she hesitated. She saw the shadow of her hand grab the handle and knew what she had to do. In slow motion she raised her hand and touched the door handle with the tips of her fingers. It felt cold. Icy. She grabbed it and pushed it down. It wasn’t locked. It never was these days. Oh how she longed for someone to simply break in. To discover her. To punish her. Perhaps to end it, if she was lucky.

Alice stepped out into a well-lit hallway. Directly opposite her was a beautiful door – with its intricate carvings painted white with the rest of it, a golden handle gleaming in the light from the elaborate chandeliers hanging from the high ceiling. It looked exactly like every other door she could see. Exactly like the one she had just opened.

She didn’t bother closing the door behind her – there was always someone who was offended by what was visible through it who would close it -, but dragged her feet on the soft red carpet that ran along the marble floor, towards the golden elevator at the end of the hallway.

Pressing the up button, she waited. She could hear the gentle whirring of the lift and then a soft clang when it came to a stop on her floor. The golden doors parted and Alice was greeted by more marble and large mirrors.

Keeping her head down she pressed the button to the top floor. The lift started to move with an almost unnoticeable lurch. Seconds passed. Another gentle vibration ran through the elevator when it came to a stop. The doors opened and she looked out to a hallway that looked exactly like the one she had just left. Without lifting her eyes off the floor she made her way to the stairs just right of her and started to climb them, one at a time. The elevator didn’t go that high.

When she reached the top, her way was blocked by a heavy door. She pushed it open, knowing that it would not be locked. Her shadow had taken care of that. She had seen it move just a fraction ahead of her own.

She stepped outside and looked up properly for the first time since leaving her apartment. The sky was nearly black with clouds and it was raining. Big heavy drops landing rapidly one after another. She was outside. She had been defeated by the shadows again. They had won this battle.

Quickening her step a little, Alice headed towards the edge of the building. She broke into a run, nearing the edge. Her heart skipped a beat when he reached the end of the roof and pushed off it into nothingness.

In the beginning she had enjoyed this moment the most. Then she had hoped it would be her end. Now she loathed that piece of herself. The part that made everything so real. The part that was solid proof of the shadows who owned her, and their powers.

She closed her eyes as she soared towards the ground, and feeling for the right moment, she stretched out her arms – and the wings followed. They looked like they were made of shadows themselves – their span huge, their colour darker than the most solid black, yet looking like a gust of wind could blow through them. Her certain plummet to death now turned into an elegant arch, avoiding the other buildings around her. Looking for her next victim like a bird of prey or Death herself.

It was time to hunt.


 

Yeaaaaah… I still don’t know where this is going. I’ve got some ideas, some paths that Alice could take, but I’m not quite sure about her final destination yet.

G.

Stories

Chapter 2 – The Deepest Pit

Alice knew she had to get up. Staying behind her shadow wasn’t an option. Inexplicably, as excruciating as it was, she had to keep going. Giving up was physically impossible. She’d tried. Again and again. Impossible.

She had to get on her trembling feet, resting with her hands on her bony knees half way up, and then stretch to her full height. He legs were shaking as she opened her eyes, still puffy and crusted from the tears, looking around in her tiny apartment. She saw the rickety wooden table with its paint peeled off so she could only guess what colour it had once been. The only chair in the place still lay knocked down next to it from last night. The couch she was standing next to – oh, how she longed to throw herself in its waiting embrace and forget about everything that was happening. Forget about the things lurking just behind her vision. Ever present. Whispering. Shouting. Feeding the flames in her.

Suddenly rage burned in her. Rage at how unjust it was. The ‘Why me?!’ was back. If she couldn’t give up, she had to keep fighting. She had to find a way out. She had to! She couldn’t going on hurting everyone around her, hurting herself. Although, after everything she had done she felt that she deserved this and everything else that hell could rain upon her. Such remorse, she felt like it was pulling her apart. She gave in to it, hoping that it would tear her to millions of pieces.

She did her best to keep up her shield of rage. It lit another fire next to the strange one that, once so familiar, now felt alien to her. The desire to be the best no matter the cost was no longer her own. She could not embrace it, she could not give in to it. She had to be strong and fight it. Because ‘no matter the cost’ was a high price to pay indeed.

So she had been the best in class throughout her school years – but what of Penelope Woods? She had been the truly clever one with a brilliantly bright future ahead of her. Until it was taken from her. Alice’s threats had made sure she was too scared to ever speak up. She knew what happened if she defied Alice. She had seen it happening. She had seen it again and again throughout the years. So she stayed silent. She lost any interest in her studies. She lost interest in life. The last news Alice had of her said that Penelope had been caught in a firefight between two drug gangs whilst waitressing at a 24/7 diner. It didn’t say whether she survived.

Marissa Bollard had broken a leg when she was about to beat Alice in an inter school race. She’d been in a wheelchair ever since. Billy Clifford had fallen down the stairs when he applied for the same job as Alice and for which he was better suited. He’d broken his neck and died. The list went on. She remembered them all. She repeated their names in her lowest moments, willing herself to sink even deeper. Punishing herself.

It hadn’t been like this in the beginning. She had been a bright and athletic child, naturally excelling in everything she did. It’s when she started to see that there are others better than her, that it started. Not able to stand the idea of being the first loser – coming second – she’d maliciously wished ill upon her competition. It worked, and the fire – the desperate feverish desire – grew ever stronger. Alice became ruthless. Marissa was tripped. Billy was pushed. Her own sister had been slapped, kicked, beaten and humiliated until she was a shadow of her former bubbly self. Until she took her own life.

The rage was gone. All that was left was remorse. Alice screamed. It sounded inhuman, blood curdling. She lurched forward, throwing herself on the splintered chair leg that was sticking up in the air.

Once again the shadows laughed at her. They were not going to release their hold. Even though she no longer thrived on their power and was growing increasingly cumbersome, they still found her somewhat amusing. Puny human. Pathetic. Worthless. Something to be toyed with.

Wailing, snot and spit dribbling down her hollow face, Alice screamed until she could scream no more. Her voice was reduced to little more than a feeble rasp. Nobody heard. Nobody cared. She was alone. Unable to let go. She had tried. Again and again.

Her shadow was moving once again. More urgently this time. She knew there was no escape. It had allowed her to despair as it found it entertaining every now and again. Now it was time to go.

Not seeing or caring where she was going, she let the fire inside her lead her forward to whatever lay ahead.


 

I guess that’s as good place as any to let you know that this is entirely a work of fiction and the people, places and events aren’t related to me or anyone else. 

G.

Stories

Chapter 1 – The Making of Alice

When Alice was little, she was usually rather on the merry side. She rarely cried, she considered her failures little more than plot twists and she was always looking for ways to prove herself. She needed to be the best at everything. Everything was a competition. She even made family dinners something of a race – always finishing her meal first like it was another victory in her already achievement filled day.

Her parents didn’t discourage her – her father saw this as something that would drive his daughter to do great things one day and her mother simply said ‘She’s so spirited!’.

Even though Alice couldn’t understand it at the time – and what she didn’t understand couldn’t possibly bother her or get her mood down – her drive to be better than everyone else, didn’t really sit with other children and their parents. They saw her as single minded to the point of recklessness and even dangerous. Perhaps they were just envious, or perhaps there was a darker side to Alice – a side that would do anything it takes to achieve her next goal.


 

Swoosh and CRACK. Alice’s sleeve had caught on the handle of her mug and she pulled it off the table when she moved. She jumped, knocking her chair over. More crashes and bangs. She couldn’t deal with all the noise anymore. Looking around her apartment, she saw shadows everywhere. What was hiding in the shadows? Were they back? Was she alone? Was she imagining it all?

Her eyes were red, face blotchy. She’d been crying again. Tired, so tired. All the time. Exhausted. Was today the day she could finally end it? She looked down at the broken pieces of the cup. They looked quite sharp. She tentatively picked one piece up. So many thoughts racing through her head. Memories of other nights like this. Of the shadows. Forever lurking, just beyond the rays of the solitary light blazing above the table.

It was unbearable. She gripped the shard and pulled decisively across her arm. She felt no pain. Nothing happened. Shadows whispered to her louder. They were angry. Alice slashed at her arm again and again, but to no avail. Not even a scratch appeared.

The shard fell from her slack fingers and she dropped to her knees. Tears were running down her face again. ‘Stop it,’ she sobbed. ‘Please, let me go. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,’ she cried feebly. There wasn’t an ounce of strength left in her to go on. She wanted to go to sleep and stay there. Even her usual questions weren’t fighting for a place on her mind. Gone. Even the desperate ‘Why me?’ had left her.

Silent tears kept falling down her face, her breathing shallow. She was letting the fear take over – anything to escape the reality of her life.

After a while, Alice crawled to the dirty couch next to the table. It was one of the very few pieces of furniture in the room. She didn’t feel like she deserved any more. Even this was too much. Nevertheless, there was the tiniest part of her that longed to curl up on this rat eaten piece of junk with springs sticking out in odd angles that prodded her through her clothes whenever she didn’t feel herself enough to resist this luxury.

Not this time though. She just lay next to the couch on the bare floor, hiding in the shadow of it. She’d succumbed. Too weak to resist the whispers, she let the shadows in.

Gleefully they seeped in through her skin, feeding the fire that would refuse to go out. Like the first time all those years ago.

How could she possibly still remember? She’d been so young, so foolish. Just a child. And yet she remembered.


 

She remembered how she had always wanted to be first, be the best. She remembered how hard it had been to achieve. She remembered how one night, on the verge of falling asleep in her bed, she felt the shadows talk to her. They talked to her all night.

When Alice opened her eyes in the morning, she didn’t feel like her usual self. She felt tired and her maple leaf patterned sheets were crumpled like she’d been tossing and turning all night. When she looked around in her small bedroom, nothing was out of the ordinary. Her stuffed toys were still looking up at her from the floor by her night cabinet. Her school things were still on the white wooden desk under the window. Her wardrobe doors were still ajar with jumper sleeves and trouser legs sticking out.

Yet something felt different. It felt like someone had come with a huge brush and painted everything just a slightly different shade. Or moved every piece of furniture just slightly away from where they should have been. And the shadows that every item in her room cast, felt just a bit more menacing than they used to.

It felt strange, but she didn’t have time to pay much attention to it. She got dressed in her usual jeans, t-shirt and jumper and bolted out the door.

Had she paid more attention, would she have noticed how her shadow didn’t move quite with her, but always seeming to stay just a fraction ahead of her movements? Or if he’d delved deeper in her thoughts and feelings, could she have detected a tiny fire that had started in her, telling her that she should spare no means to get to the top and trample down anyone who dared get in her way?


 

It was morning. Alice lifted her head an inch off the floor but fell back down almost immediately. Tired. So tired. Exhausted of being terrified of her own shadow. Drained of constantly being alert to what terrible thing was going to happen next – what terrible thing she was going to do next.

Sleep. She just wanted to sleep.

But already she saw her shadow move.


 

So yeah, I felt like writing a bit. Don’t mind the ‘Chapter 1’, I have no idea where this is going next – if it’s going anywhere at all. But it felt right to start from the beginning. 

G.

My life

I’m alive!

I don’t know how many of these I’ve done now… But yes, I’m still here and still writing. I’ve been struggling with life again a little bit and I didn’t want to expose my gloom to the world at the time I was in said gloom. Well, now I’m ready. Actually, it’s not right to say that I’ve been in a gloom – I’ve really been sooooooo happy. However it’s like… there’s a part of me that’s quivering with anxiety and is out of my control. So that’s the part that’s trying to pull me down. The rest of me is floating stubbornly on cloud nine though.

Uhmmm… anyway. What have I been up to? I’ve been back to work and also very busy with my interior design course work (I’m still planning on a little series of posts on my whole course by the way). Got my hair chopped off (I went from having dark brunette hair half way down my back to a short dark blonde bob). 

You know, I don’t actually know what I’ve been doing. I’m just so tired. Haven’t been sleeping well (I’ll get you for this one day, anxiety!). I’ve also just checked that I last posted about a week and a half ago. That’s ages in blog world! Aaaaaaages. I do have a lot of posts lined up, waiting to be written though.

Just waiting… ever so patiently.

I’ll leave it here for now. You know I’m alive and … OH! I just remembered something. I can’t tell you just yet, but it’s going to be really good, I promise!

*flies off cackling to herself*

G.

Books, My life

Work it!

I keep writing and then deleting everything and starting all over again. It’s like I can’t even decide what is going on in my head so how on earth am I supposed to decide what goes on here? I think I’ll just do a quick ‘Hi, that’s what I’ve been up to lately!’ post. Just catching up, you know.

I finished reading a book – Cry Baby by David Jackson. That’s 16/30 now. Reading seems to be the only thing that I always really want to do, no matter what’s going on in my life or head (yes, I do realise I’m talking about my head like it’s a whole other world and you know what? It really is. Half the time even I can’t find my way around there). It was the first book in a while that I wasn’t actually that keen on, but I’m glad I read it. I’ll tell you more about it in my next month’s book post.

I also finished watching a Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why. Another thing that I wasn’t actually keen on. It’s not even that it made me uncomfortable or anything, in fact it didn’t at all – should I be worried? – I just felt really, really annoyed throughout watching it. I felt that the main character was entitled, demanding and just really annoying and … well, a typical teenager, I guess? I know because I’ve been there, seen it and done that. So yeah, didn’t like it.

On a more positive note, I talked to someone recently about some things that are going on – I could probably be even more cryptic if I REALLY tried, right? – and for the first time in about a month or so I feel like there’s change for the better again. I have some realistic plans in place again and it’s helped me a lot. So yes, talking helps. Talk to people. Talk to your friends, your family, your doctor, your cat or pet rock. It really does help. Don’t keep it bottled up.

What else? Oh, yes, I’ve been doing my interior design course work. I’m over half way through and have really enjoyed my studies so far, but this unit is really threatening to do me in. It’s twice as long and requires twice as many reports and assignments. That’s where you picture me sliding off my chair into a puddle and just melt out of existence. I still think I should do a little series on it all. What do you think?

To keep on track with my positive life changes and everything, I’ve also been doing my little 30 day fitness challenge. It’s a free app, called just that – 30 days fitness challenge – every day it reminds me to do my little exercises and yes, sometimes I skip a day and do two days worth the next day and yes, there are official rest days in there, too. It’s nice and simple little things like some jumping jacks, planks, mountain climbers, etc. Starts off quite easy, too, and then gets gradually harder. It’s a good way to keep me a bit more active though. Oh, I’m on day 21/30. Can’t believe I’ve actually managed to keep it going for so long. Quite proud of myself actually.

Anyway, I think that’s us caught up, yeah? Great, I’ll see you next time! Time to go to bed and get all rested and stuff. I think that’s how it’s supposed to go. I still haven’t worked out all the finer details – like, sometimes I seem to wake up and still be tired. What’s up with that? Hmpfh.

G.

My life

Blogblogblogblogblog

That just sounds like some swamp creature haha. Blogblogblog.

Recently I’ve been struggling again quite a bit with all kinds of different things. I guess you could say I’ve had one of those setbacks that I’ve written about previously. Some things in my life have changed and it’s had a bigger impact on my health and well being than I’d have liked. Instead of talking about the changes, I’d like to write a little about the impact and what’s next.

You may remember that a little while ago I wrote about how amazing it feels to be better again. In my joy I forgot that it’s not like a cold that goes and you can get back your life the way it ‘should’ be. Or maybe I just hoped? Hmm, anyway, now that’s shattered, it’s time to deal with things again.

I’m getting a bit tired of always having to ‘deal with things’ to be honest. I’d love to just plod along without having to worry about actively monitoring and working on my thoughts and feelings. Now that’d be a hoot!

Ok, I was starting to get a bitter there, I’ll leave it at that and get on with it. The impact of those earlier mentioned changes is that I’m having a lot more difficult time coping with everyday things again. I had a panic attack (I hadn’t had one in a long time now), I’m struggling to sleep and my thoughts keep wanting to take over. To sum it up – not good!

If I hadn’t had that few weeks/months of feeling well again, I might have thought that I’m back where I started and given up all hope. However as it stands, I did have those weeks/months of feeling well again, so I know it’s not all lost and those feelings are still there somewhere. I know for a fact that it can and will get better.

I think that’s a good starting point. Now I just need to convince my brain and body of it as well. That’s going to be somewhat difficult but I hope I’ll manage. I mean, the alternative is pretty grim so in a way I feel like it can only go up from here on.

I realise it’s a bit rambly-brambly, but I haven’t really felt like writing recently, so I thought I may as well write about what’s on my mind at the moment.

Here, have a picture of my wild strawberries. If they can flourish in that field of weeds that is my back garden, then I’m sure my happy/realistic thoughts will find their way through the bad ones in my head too 🙂

IMG_20170521_185945_524

G.

Books, Challenges, Crafts, Food, My life

Of life in general, briefly. / Ups and downs

Hmm. It’s really weird what I now consider to be my ‘downs’ as they’re actually more of a ‘not that up’. It’s weird to explain, if you haven’t experienced it. But even on my days when I feel like I can’t really be bothered to do anything, which before would’ve found me in a dark hole, I can now just shrug it off. Dealing with things is so different when you’re not well. Also, realising how it’s different is hard when you’re in a place where things aren’t that great.

Now that I’ve noticed the changes I keep finding that I’m more conscious of the slight differences. For example, the other day I was focusing on the feelings in my stomach and the thoughts in my head and realised I last felt like this more than a decade ago. After struggling for so long, it feels amazing to realise that yes, my memories of feeling like this once upon a time weren’t just ‘memory goggles’ that make times gone by feel better, but that I actually did feel different then.

So, back to the topic — oooooh, I just thought that I should’ve told you about my Sunday. I was SO productive and got a buttload of things done. Hmm. Now I’m torn about whether to continue this post or start again. I think I’ll go ahead with my current one at the moment, but expect to see a ‘The Most Productive Sunday Yet’ post soon.

Ok, can I pleaaase get back to my post now? — Today I didn’t go bouncing/trampolining. I should’ve done, but didn’t. Why did I not go? Well, because today is one of the days when I felt like I’d rather eat a reasonably sized portion of lasagna and attempt to make T-shirt yarn. Check and check. The lasagna was a frozen ready meal and actually surprisingly nice. (Today was also one of the days where I couldn’t be bothered to cook from scratch.) T-shirt yarn however… well, I think I’ve got some room for improvement. The first one would be to get proper scissors. The second one would be to learn how to cut even strips… I’m pretty sure some toddlers could surpass me in cutting skills. Once I’ve practised a little bit more I’ll let you know in more detail how it goes and what I’m going to make of the yarn.

Speaking of toddlers (erm… young kids), I watched an episode of Masterchef Junior today. Turns out I’ve got a LOT to learn about cooking and I could learn a lot of it from kids — my fiance just tried to ask me what my post is about and as it’s about everything whilst being about nothing I didn’t want to lose my train of thought so I growled at him. He didn’t appreciate it. — that are half my age and less. My cooking skills were very extremely limited until I was in my early twenties, I think. That’s when I started to explore the world of food a bit more courageously.

Watching a cooking show also reminded me that I haven’t made many soups this year. For those of you who are wondering why I’ve singled out soups – my this year’s challenge is to make 12 different soups. So far I’ve made two. That’s low even for my usual cooking variety, not to mention that I’m supposed to be doing this to complete my challenge. I’m pretty certain I made a lot more soups when it wasn’t a challenge. I’ll need to look into this, I think.

Anyway, it may not have been as brief as the title suggested, but there it is. I got most of the stuff off my mind – a lot of it straight from thoughts to paper without much editing, so I hope you’ll enjoy a glimpse into my brrrrrain. Oh, the image I used is a picture of daffodils that are on my way to/from work. How cool is that. A sea of daffodils that I walk past every day.

20170411_173427-EFFECTS

I’ll go try to make amends with my fiance now and then go read my book. I’m getting really close to the end of the last book in the trilogy and such interesting things are happening! I can’t even… Yeah. I’ll see you soon!

G.