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 Short Stories (and more) by CS123

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Posts : 1012
Join date : 2009-06-09
Age : 24
Location : Chrom

PostSubject: Short Stories (and more) by CS123   Sat May 14, 2011 4:33 am

((Most of these can also be found on: ))

Notes: Lately I've been focusing on a particular roleplay character of mine, who continues to have a progressively darker life, in both roleplays/stories of which I have him in. So be warned. This content can be violent or very, very depressing. Please do not read if you believe such content may cause you emotional harm. Your critique is welcome and greatly appreciated. Thank you.

(vaguely inspired by an alternate version of a Hunger Games RP)

In some places, it felt as though nails were ripping through his body. In others, it felt like hammers were pounding just beneath his skin, pain like hitting bruises from the inside out. Like a sharp-toothed creature gnawing on his nerves.

He wanted to sleep, but it was out of the question. If sleep would guarantee him peace, he would desire it. But he knew it would not. He didn't even have to close his eyes to see it all...
He felt the impact of being flung against the opposite wall in the train car, walls closing in, as the train twisted and writhed...
It continued to slither out of control, contorting in the same way that the cars ahead of this one had. Damir moved like the train. Into the ceiling he was thrown, the floor, rolled to a wall, forced to stand as the train continued to move... feeling every impact until he hit his head right above a broken window. Scraping his scalp against the window as he fell to the floor for the last time, the train finally halted, dying the tips of broken glass red.

"Stop," Damir whispered, as he tried to prevent further recollection. It had been three years...

How he had ever recovered so well was beyond him. Why whatever the Capitol did for him, in spite of his parents' worse injuries, hadn't worked as well for them.
And then they died from gunshot wounds three years later, on national television. Yet right now, they wheeled closer to him. Put their shaking hands on his shoulders. Pleaded, whispered, shouted, of his searing abandon not too long ago... Pleaded, and whispered...

"Damir, come home. Come be with us now, come home, even though you left us before! You need to come home now. These people are only going to keep hurting you."

He was in a different train station now, watching the screens closely. All the tributes parents gathered in the room... Phylicia Feidelm, former head Gamemaker. Now president. Her public apology to the families of the tributes she tortured on-screen and off, the carefully orchestrated shock upon her face as a young man with obvious relation to his fellow tribute raised a gun.
How the young man tried to make his shots look wild, and frenzied, but landed in all-too-vital places. Heads and hearts and necks and veins... blood spurting on the cameras... the only one non-fatally shot was the president herself.
His own helpless parents. Convinced to leave their safe home for this. Right in their hearts, sparing broken minds, Damir's own blood seeming to leap from the screen...
His own chest ached now, in addition to the rest of his pain. All the places where bullets had pierced him, his legs, in places that were even removed... everything felt freshly wounded again. Raw.
He was worn, and empty.

"You need to come home, now, Damir! Right now!"

He stared at his parents now... they were so real; he believed they were there. he wanted to follow them, to do what they said. Sometimes he just did it because he wanted them to stop shouting and telling them to do as they said. To get out of this dangerous place they told him his world was.

The medicine was supposed to help you, Damir, a very quiet voice whispered to Damir. It was painfully clear that the medicine, which had been to treat the symptoms caused by his failed infection treatment had only worsened his condition. The condition had/i] been improving without medicine, however gradual that had been... Whether or not this had been the "doctors'" intention was yet to be determined. But he had the sneaking suspicion that it had been their intention... Anything to break him further, especially in front of everyone, risking the harm of somebody else as well.

"Now, Damir! Get out right now!" his parents shouted. Their voices hadn't been so loud in years. Shaking, Damir maneuvered his way to the edge of his bed.

Feuding forces argued over the broken young man, as he started to sit up... they'd been fighting since the day of the train crash. Most present when life's tectonic plates shifted, causing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The voices of reason and hope were the most muffled, the others threatening to silence them. Drowned out by pain and delusion, by a mind with its shattering heart set on destroying the broken body that barely had a hold on it.

"Damir, you can't do this... your real parents would never want this..."

He used all his will simply to stand, his arms shaking as he steadied himself with the bed. It was only a few steps from his bed to the window, which didn't look protected at all. No forcefields. No screens.

"Come on, Damir! We were faster than you! And we've never left you. Not once! Not even those times when you wanted us to. Be grateful that we're even allowing you to home now," his father shouted.

The force of guilt propelled him forward now, intensifying pain with every step. He gripped the edge of the window.

No, Damir, don't listen to them... You're stronger than this. You are stronger than this.

He was in a dark room, where a sinister man pointed a poisonous syringe at Amira.

The weight of a gun in Damir's hand. The man drawing closer to Amira... and out of Damir's stolen weapon, a bullet was fired. The man dropped to the floor.

Delirious Amira giving him a look of dazed gratefulness... and horror, horror of him in her tortured blue eyes.

"Now, Damir! Get out right now!"his mother shouted.

He fumbled with the window's lock.

Damir, your real mother is a gentle, loving woman who wants you to live your entire life, not leave it early.

He was about four floors up. He could fall any second.

And your father values life greatly, Damir. Especially yours. You were his son. He and your mother handled hardship and wrongs so greatly. They were strong. They never gave up. They did all the could. They were strong.

At this moment, his parents were shouting so loudly, even shoving him toward the window. The room was spinning.

He saw Amira's horrified eyes.

The doctors telling him his parent's conditions.

The fellow Peacekeeper tormenting a young girl.

His parents shouted so loudly, words blending into others...

He tried to open the window.

He felt his fists pinning Amira to a wall. Slapping her tender face. Smothering her and giving the eveninglock to help her feign death. After doing the same to Zane. Blaze's accusations of betrayal. Actions of a lie, that had seemed far too real.

He finally opened it.

They weren't always perfect, Damir. They were once Peacekeepers like the ones you knew. But they realized their wrongs, and they changed. They became compassionate, caring... doing so many things for others without asking for anything in return...

A genuine Peacekeeper at the station had approached him, when he was considering blocking the path of an oncoming train...

"I know you're a Peacekeeper," the man had said. <i>"And I want to see you out there. I want to see you fighting."

They wanted peace, Damir. They truly wanted peace. To heal the nation. To right the wrongs of a long history. They taught you everything you know.

The voice had struggled to assert itself, drowned out by all the others... but it was clear.

Damir had opened the window. But he turned himself away now, sliding painfully to the floor, as tears began to stream down his face.

He saw the storms of the house on Island 75.

Damir... the voice whispered.

He saw Amira's beautiful face in the sunset glow.

He heard himself call her beautiful, saw her girlish blush. Saw all the pain he caused her. And watched all her promises come true... she would be there. Even if he was always like this...

He gasped for air in his sobbing.

Damir, the quiet voice repeated.

"I want to see you out there... I want to see you fighting..." he heard the man again.

He saw blooming groves in District 11. Smiles of children at the sight of the school his parents had helped build in District 12.

Amira's eyes, when she smiled.

"We love you," he recalled his parents saying.

"I love you," Amira had once whispered to him.

The darkness was still there. He knew he couldn't do this alone. He raised his head, raised his voice with all the volume he could muster... and he screamed.

"Help me!" he cried. "Somebody, please!"

His own voice drowned out the vengeful ghosts of his mind.


A young man laid on the floor, staring up at the sagging ceiling above him. A lone light bulb swung from side to side, and flickered on and off, on and off, making static noises, as a ladybug mindlessly crashed into it, finding the moving object difficult to navigate.

There was something wrong with the wiring, he was sure of it. The floor he laid upon was slightly damp, a rug on concrete just below ground. The high, uncarpeted wooden staircase, had a history of being the source of many blisters on bare feet.

The room was about 12 by 12 and only 8 feet high. There wasn't much in the room; just years of discarded materials, clothes that were too small, old toys, some photographs, long-abandoned sports equipment, precariously stacked boxes of the past gathering dust. They looked like ghosts in the dimness of the chamber.

The light bulb kept on swinging, side to side, flickering more and more, losing light with every shift in motion. And then the room turned black. The young man's eyes adjusted, with the bluish light from the small, drafty, rectangular window at the opposite side of the room. He suddenly became aware of the pitter-patter sounds of rain. Slowly, the young man sat up.

He was young, but he felt old. Everyday he felt too old. This place was all but forgotten by the two occupants of the home... nobody else came down here anymore. Only he could. Only he did. Every once in a while, when he wanted, needed to get away from things.

The room smelled vaguely of mold, but it also carried a musty scent, combined with the scent similar to that of a pine forest in the rain.

Gradually, he forced himself to stand. Made his way, in the dark, to the stairs. He knew the place well enough. One step at a time, he made his way back to real life, life in the present. He opened the door at the top of the stairs, like he'd done many times before.

The house was too clean. It smelled over-sanitary, the opposite of the underground solace the young man had made for himself. He watched his dad, he watched himself, and the caretaking woman to whom he barely paid enough, watched them both. The young man had this day off. A Sunday evening. He found his father sleeping in his room. No wife beside him. It had been three years. Alone.

They lived together, but they were more isolated than either cared to confess aloud. They barely spoke, just helped each other out. The young man stared at the window in the small living room above his hideout. The rain looked like waterfalls from the sky. Thunder rolled quietly in the distance, taking its time to make its way to the town in which he resided in.

As he thought of the rain, he considered one more person who had once had a place in his life. This person made things seem brighter. Like a sliver of sunlight through closed curtains in a too-clean hospital room recently abandoned by a dead patient and her family.

That person had eyes the color of a clear lake on a cloudy summer day. Shy eyes. That person had hair the color of a wheat field at sunset. Golden. She was just that. And she understood.

They spoke when they could. They were keys and locks. He meant not to be cliché, but truly, she was the only one who could get him to speak at all. About anything like this. And sometimes they talked about the shape of clouds. Sometimes they talked about ice cream, and chocolate, and music, and high school, which, for him, seemed eons ago, in spite of this young man's age. It hadn't been as long as it felt.

But he felt old. She made him feel young, as he truly was. She had been young. A junior in high school. But she unlocked him. They would talk about her brother. How she saw him, even though he had been gone for years. How she could see him make expressions, of approval, disapproval. When he was comforting, when he was not, but how she didn't want to lose the vision of him. How it would be like losing him again. They would talk about his mother. How he sometimes saw her too. Particular car crashes and a particular war. His uneven gait. Everything else. The many towns he lived in before such events.

But sometimes, they would just talk about swingsets. And flowers. Her garden. They would take walks in the park. They would sit in her house. Fall asleep in her room. But they never did anything more than that. Sometimes they would kiss. And the locked, abandoned room that the young man had become was would light up.

She was like a beautiful sunrise. She made him imagine a future. She made it seem tangible... like a future was attainable. That there was life beyond this. That he could keep up with life again.

But his father took a fall. Not long afterward, he also became very ill. They did all they could. There was no longer anything that could be done. The young man knew there wasn't much time for the man. And soon, though he may have been old enough to take care of himself, he would be an orphan.

He couldn't see her as much. And he found himself on a piece of driftwood floating away from shore. Off to an unknown location. Things were hard for her too. Eventually, she also drifted. She took her medicine, and her brother went away. Their phone calls grew shorter. She graduated from high school.

A sunset.

And then there was night. Endless night. No stars. Only storms like this one. His soul ached.

Somewhere in that basement was rope. And he knew there were pills everywhere in this desolate excuse for a house. There were knives and bathtubs and there was rain outside, pouring down... lightning somewhere.

He could do it. His father was going soon, too. It wouldn't do a thing. The woman who watched the house, watched them, she was a kind, compassionate woman. She did more than what she should. She tried to be a counselor. She talked to them, the young man, and the older one. She might shed a few tears, as she stood in black.

She would probably be the one to find him. It made the young man shudder a little. But he could do it.

He could.

A sound interjected outside, through the rain. Something harder than sky-water had hit. A closed hand. Gentle fingers.

The young man took a deep breath. It was early. He walked toward the door. And there stood a face that had seared itself in his memory.

There was sunlight at his door.

Her voice rang clear and quiet.

"Hi," she said, quietly. Trying to smile. She was sunlight.

"I was just here visiting my parents for the weekend..."

Blue eyes glowing.

"I thought I'd... I wanted to see you."


"Come in," the young man replied in a shaking voice.

The sliver of sunlight stepped inside.

Terrible Analysis

Selfish/Selfless/Arrogant/Low Self-Esteem
above all else.
The future?
The present?
The moment?
A decade
above all else.
Can't let go...
of past mistakes...
Can't stop...
being lazy.
putting something...
above all else.
in place.
Everything else
to get
Above all

"Tale of an Avox"
(first entered in Casey Jewel's "Tell Me a Tale" game; A Hunger Games one-shot)

If she could speak, what would she tell the tribute? How would she tell her that she was sorry that the Capitol had now taken her as well? All she could do was what she was told to do. All she had left was the hope that this girl, this tribute from District 12, who'd met Lavinia's eyes in the worst moment of her life, would fight for all those who were captured by the Capitol. That she could somehow free herself and the rest of the captives in this land of bread and circuses.

That girl had been there, in that moment. Met her eyes. Watched as they captured her once more... and yet she could wish no ill fate upon her, though being a Tribute certainly ill fate. But the girl instilled in her a strange hope--she knew the huntress had a cause. That she would find a way to fight the real enemy.

Had it been so long since that day? Since she became captive to the place she'd intended to flee?

Her and Bass had been scheming about this escape for quite a while. They'd long grown tired of the vain ways of the Capitol, its hushed scandals, its quiet and shrieking corruption, but they knew leaving was not some sort of lavish adventure. It was dangerous. But after Bass had a run-in with the law, the couple knew what they needed to do. No one wanted to be a criminal in the Capitol. Criminals disappeared and never returned. Criminals became Avoxes. With less than hours before Peacekeepers would storm into his home, the pair fled the city.

Lavinia loved Bass, and he loved her. Neither wanted to put the other's life in danger, but if they were to be at risk of dying, or worse, they wanted it to be together. Through the Districts they traveled, to a place only rumored about... that one little Mockingjay in the corner of the District 13 broadcasts... it was their only release. Images of a place still smoldering and supposedly decimated. But they believed in District 13. Rumors were everywhere in the Capitol, but they were about trivial things, such as someone dying their skin tangerine and scarlet, or the gold in a girl's tattoos being artificial, or of someone's birthday party gone wrong. District 13's life as a place was a rumor that Lavinia chose to care about and believe. It was the only hope for those who desired a life of meaning and truth.

It was the place that stood as a testament to fighting the Capitol and succeeding, simply by still existing. Perhaps they even thrived. The hope for that place was so alive in Lavinia and Bass, that every moment when their stomachs growled from lack of time to hunt and eat, every time their hearts raced at the risk of being caught, every moment death threatened them, made it worth their chances.

They had been so close to freedom... so close in that abundant District 12 forest. How many miles would it have been? Days? Perhaps hours?

She didn't even notice the boy and the girl, inherently rebellious by simply being in that forest. She did not know why they were there, and she wouldn't figure it out for quite a while. What she primarily recalled was the dreadful sound and sight of the hovercraft finally finding them, of Bass falling to the ground dead, her inclination to scream... and her own self lifting from the forest floor...

The grey eyes of the girl in the forest, locking with hers in similar horror, and a helplessness that would be hard for Lavinia to forgive.

Their tearing knives invading her mouth had given her incredible pain... and she had wanted to scream. But she would never scream, never sing, never speak again. The whitecoats in the hovercraft changed Lavinia from being a person, a human being, a someone, who could be valued in the Capitol, into something less, into scum, something to be ordered and pushed around... an object of shame. An Avox.

She spent her days cleaning and serving food, and only doing as she was told... always complying to the orders of her ever-changing masters and mistresses in the Capitol hotel, whether they were truly authorized or not, for fear of worse punishment. She was truly a captive of the Capitol now. Her hopes of any sort of freedom had truly been crushed.

That day in the forest, Lavinia lost her voice in more ways than one.
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PostSubject: Re: Short Stories (and more) by CS123   Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:11 pm

(758) Days

Reality vs. Expectations
When they meet,
it won't be in Ikea,
or at work.
What they wanted,
was something else.
Their conflicts,
trying to be faithful,
but she's cheatin', cheatin', cheatin'.
At least in her heart, mind...
Deserve, deserve, deserve,
don't deserve, don't deserve, don't deserve,
Watch it all go down,
everything everyone else expected.
Living with the rose-colored glasses on.
Ha, laughing at those written words,
First sign of trouble.
First signs, no laughs when the sinks don't work.
Let him in,
see the world.
But it's not enough,
not for this.
Too messed up to handle it.
There's no hero to this story,
both watch each other suffer,
at different times.
But she wasn't suffering,
she was just a source.
Switch around philosophies,
drive the other to liquor and Twinkies and bathrobes.
What they wanted won't happen,
Not the way they wanted.
Not the way they'll see
each other.
It will be painful and awkward,
laying sights on each other,
It will be fun,
to pretend like they're good friends,
dance at a wedding, invite to a party,
climb the stairs and face reality.
One gets married, the other follows dreams.
And they've left that impression on each other.
Don't assign the ordinary with something cosmic and extraordinary.
Even if it is.
Even if it's not.
Her stupid knobby knees, crooked teeth, licked lips, laugh, and songs in your head.
His incredible potential, ability to be driven, places to go...
Can't lie, they can't lie now.
Every day a reminder.
Climb the stairs, face reality.
Start all over.
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PostSubject: Re: Short Stories (and more) by CS123   Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:27 pm

Acknowledgement: Credit goes to my dear friend internet addict for letting me steal borrow her character, and for influencing many of the events in this story.

Chapter 2 (in Sunlight)

It had been months since he'd seen any of his friends. The beings themselves and everything they stood for seemed quite foreign to him now.

"A graduation party?" he had said, doubtfully over his long-neglected cellphone. He was so lost to the world that texting simply wasn't enough, even as a part of his communication-starved, technologically-dependent generation.

"Yeah. I mean, it's only a couple of hours. And we haven't seen you in ages," the other young man replied. That person was so distant to Damir, someone from another life. A life where appearances and actions and strategies on fields and courts and people's crowded, dark, parentless, beer-smothered houses mattered. Damir could hear the sound of movement, of a cracked window in a car, letting in late May air. He glanced outside, saw the tree leaves moving slightly, as clouds blocked the sun.

"I'll think about it," Damir replied.

"Well... it starts at 6, ends at 8:30. You don't have to stay the whole time..."

A car passed the young man on the other end, quite clearly. He was in the car, for God's sake.

"Just... call me back when you get home, okay?" he said, too quickly.

"Alright, alright. Talk to you then."

He hit the end button quickly, hoping that he wouldn't keep driving on the phone.

If his friend had done so, he'd still made it home alright because he managed to call back at Damir's request.

He accepted. The stifling emptiness of the house drove him out of it. He'd spent so much time there since the accident, and he needed to get out. No matter what the occasion, he just had to leave.

The boxes in the basement had only begun to turn into endless stacks of an abandoned life.

Now the young man stood by the window as long as he could, leaning heavily on the cane that had been the sign of his most recent advancement in recovery. But every grasp of that handle, the memories of all the work it took to get there, was another reminder of how far his parents would never be again.

After what felt like hours, his friend pulled up, phone still attached to his ear. He must have gotten a new car since he'd seen him last. As Damir approached the passenger's side of the vehicle, he advised to the open window: "You really shouldn't be on the phone while you drive."

"Yeah, it's him. Aw, alright. I'll see you soon," his friend said, as he finished his conversation with the person on the other line. Female voice.

"Yeah, it's nice seeing you too, Damir," his friend replied, trying to smile.

"No problem, Dan," he said, entering the car. Damir's friend focused on the road again, but he couldn't keep from observing him. His friend now looked so young, yet older now than he'd seen him before. He had a look about him, after graduation earlier that day... Nervous, but hopeful. Excited. Already in transtion.

"So... How was graduation?" Damir asked, turning his gaze to the Windex-clear window.

"Ah, you know. Like graduation. Really sappy, sentimental band and choir music. Our fellow students of significance gave some vaguely inspiring speeches, all of us walked up and received our glorified pieces of paper. People threw their caps in the air. It was just like the end of a cheesy high school movie."

"Wow. Sounds pretty awesome," Damir replied, hoping he had conveyed the soccially appropriate amount of sarcasm. The truth was, he would have much rather been at graduation today than anywhere else he'd usually gone. And his absence from this supposedly important event also represented something quite obvious.

"Hey... I'm sorry, man."

"It's fine."

But it wasn't fine, and the two of them knew it. The circumstances which drove those words out of Damir's friend's mouth had made un-fine. For the past several months, his entire life had taken place either in the hospital, therapy, home, and on a few rare occasions, school, and mostly to pick up homework that he hadn't already received. On rare nights, he would fall asleep, and escape it all, when he wasn't remembering in his nightmares. And then he would wake up, and realize that his life had been permanently altered. Every morning, he would realize that his parents weren't home. That he likely wouldn't run again, let alone play any team sports. Every morning, he would come to these and a few other less pleasant conclusions, and either feel like breaking everything in the house, or never getting out of bed.

And then he'd force himself out and get on with another day he wasn't sure he wanted to be a part of. He was likely to spend his entire summer catching up so he could "graduate".

Damir could tell Dan was uncomfortable, as the driver switched through radio stations nervously.

"So... um, whose party is this again?" he asked his friend, hoping he'd put his hand back on the wheel.

"Liv's. You remember her right?"

"Oh yeah... she was on..."

"Volleyball captain?"

"Right, yeah, I remember her."

How many times had Dan dragged Damir and their friends out to the girls' volleyball games, for less-than-noble reasons?

"Yeah. We've been dating for about a half a year now."

Six months. It would have have been a couple of months after the accident then.


Damir glanced out the windshield. They'd entered someone's neighborhood now. A sign with an address and "Livvie's Grad Party!" was stuck in the ground at the end of a block.

"We're actually going to the same school, on athletic scholarships. We're both pretty happy about it, I think."

"That's great."

"Yeah, it is."

He took a deep breath. Life just kept on moving, outside of those thick new walls that grew out of the past over eight months. Just speeding on. Passing him by.

"We're here," Dan announced as they arrived at his girlfriend's house. Cars lined the block, and balloons were attached to the idyllic mailbox out front. The door seemed obnoxiously far away from their parking spot. But it didn't make a difference. Dan had practically bolted to the door, and basically straight into Liv's arms, their tight embrace holding back any other displays of affection with her family being around.

When Damir arrived, Dan's girlfriend, tanned and toned as ever, released one arm from her boyfriend, offering Damir a far-too-gentle, halfway embrace, and pulling away with Those Words, directly in his ear.

"I'm so sorry," she whispered.

"It's fine," he repeated again. He couldn't prevent his voice from rising, just slightly, when he continued. "I mean, It's not like we're dead, right?"

Liv swallowed. "Yeah... Yeah, that's good."

An attractive family of four stepped up and the Liv/Dan contraption took this as an opportunity to walk away. Stranded. By himself. Now this was something Damir could handle. He wandered inside, eventually, occasionally being greeted by vaguely familiar faces, and silent, suffocating sympathy. He wanted to leave, but Dan had driven him there, he was not walking home, and he most definitely could not ask any of these people for a ride. Damir had never been one to snoop through people's houses at social gatherings. But this was a rather desperate situation. Thus began his search for a place to hide. Somewhere, anywhere, just to be away from all these people. He'd learned that if he isolated himself, others would also dispense such "courtesy".

Down the hall from the first sitting room, which was filled with people, and three doors from the bathroom, he discovered a library. Nothing exceptional. Just fairly average shelves stuffed with books one often sees on readings lists, a table with more books upon them, and a desk with a dusty laptop and open standardized test-prep books upon it, a couple of wheeled office chairs, and one lounge chair facing a window at the back of the room. Damir sunk into the office chair by the desk, caring more about privacy than comfort at this point. He was about to lay his head down on the rather comfortable looking and very thick literary anthology, when he heard a sudden gasp.

Startled, he straightened up, glancing toward the source.

"Uh... Um... I... I'm sorry," he said, to the breathing being on the armchair by the window.

The person peered around the back, revealing herself, before standing up quickly.

"No, I... I'm sorry," she said, swiftly shifting her gaze to the floor.

He didn't get a good look at the girl until she began to walk toward the door. He hadn't seen her around very often in school; she had to be younger. She had dark, honey-tinged, blonde hair, and light blue eyes. At a distance, she was not someone that one would look at twice, but seeing her up close, there was just something oddly exceptional about her.

"You... You don't have to leave," Damir started, as the girl paused by the door.

"N-No, I_" she replied, as Damir spoke simultaneously.

"No really, I can leave."

"You don't have to..."

"I'll go, it's no problem..."

"Really, it's alright..."

"No, you were here first."

"It's okay, I..."

"Really, it's fine, I can go..."

The two paused, trying to let the other start.

"You don't have... you don't have to go..."

"Alright... Well... you can stay too."


Damir swallowed as he looked at the girl, her gaze fixing upon something else in the room.

"So... I guess hiding out in libraries isn't exactly original, huh?" he said.

The girl smiled slightly. Damir felt all tension leave the room with that expression on her face.

"Yeah... it's in all the books," she replied.

He felt his own lips curl into a similar expression.

"I'm Damir," he said, offering his hand. She took a step closer to reach it, a gentle, swift shake, but her hand was warm in his for the brief moment.

"I'm Amira."

"Nice to meet you, Amira."

"You too."

She was still standing by the door.

"So... um... How do you know Liv?"

"Actually... I don't really know her. A friend brought me..."

"A friend brought me here as well."

Damir glanced at the window in the back of the room. It was clearing up outside. Less clouds. More sun.

Another pause.

"What... brings you to the library?" Damir asked.

"I... I was reading a book," Amira replied, quietly.

"Ah. I... I'm not a huge fan of... big social gatherings," he replied.

Amira nodded.

"Yeah... neither am I."

Her voice was still just as quiet. She tentatively took a seat by the table across from him, still reserved, observant.

"So... were you at graduation today?" he carefully inquired.

"No... I just finished my sophomore year," she explained.

"Oh... How come I haven't seen you much before?" he continued.

"I... I um, I got sick a lot," she said, her voice quieter than ever. He could tell she wasn't telling the entire truth. And he knew why he hadn't seen her much this year.

Damir could easily hear the sounds of laughing, story-passing, pleasantly conversing, social beings just down the hall.

"Did you... maybe... want to go somewhere else?" Damir requested, with a certain caution. He didn't think he could stay here for too much longer.

"Sure. I... I'd just have to tell my ride first," she replied, standing again.

"Yeah. Me too," he said, grabbing his cane and standing as well. The pair walked out into the small crowd, parting to find their respective rides.

The buzz of graduation words, of the next parties, of goodbyes, and latecomers greeting and being greeted, went over Damir's head as he approached Dan.

He was still attached arm-to-waist attached to Liv.

"Hey, Damir. You kind of just disappeared there."

"Yeah... Um... I'm going to head out," he replied.

"Are you sure?" Dan asked, looking mildly concerned.

"Yeah. I'm sure. I'll, um, see you around."

Damir scanned the room for Amira, before spotting her walking away from one of the girls from the volleyball team, and shuffling toward the door. He caught up to her after a moment, and they stepped out of the house into the daylight. It was much clearer than earlier.

For a short while, they were silent as they trekked away from the party.

"Are you on the volleyball team?" he questioned.

"No, I'm not," Amira replied.

"Oh... you didn't seem like it," he replied.

"Is that a bad thing?"

"No, no, it's good..."


"I'm really sorry. I should... I should've... I... I just shouldn't talk."

"It's fine. So... how do you know Liv?"

"She's my friend's girlfriend," Damir replied, quietly.



Damir fixed his gaze ahead, wondering exactly where their destination would turn out to be. They had already exited Liv's neighborhood, gone past the sign with her name on it. When they arrived at the end of another block, he spotted a small grassy park, with a couple of benches, some trees of varying heights, a small swingset and slide, and flowers planted around the trees, and lining the walkways through it. It was fairly unoccupied, for a nice day like this.

"Do you... um... maybe want to go over there?" he asked.


They crossed the street, and Damir wandered off to one of the benches. Amira tentatively sat next to him, at the other end of the bench. He sighed.

"Ah. So... there are some nice... flowers... here," he said. The majority of them where brightly colored, and of varying heights like the trees they surrounded.

One in particular stood out, however. A sunflower, leaning against the tree, straight and tall, its bright yellow leaves contrasting against the brown bark which supported it.

"Yeah, there are. I love flowers. All sorts of plants, actually," Amira replied. Damir spotted another faint smile upon her lips.

"Really? That's pretty cool. Do you, uh, have a garden or something?"

"Yes," she replied.

"What do you plant?"

"Just... different flowers, vegetables," she said, shrugging slightly.

Glancing down at his phone, Damir realized he needed to be getting home soon. But for some strange reason, he didn't exactly want to leave yet...

"I have to be going now," he replied, quietly.


He glanced over at Amira one last time.

"It was nice meeting you... see you around again, sometime."

"Yeah. It was nice meeting you too."

Damir left to find himself sitting on yet another bench, but on his own. It would be an hour before the next bus arrived. Liv's graduation party would have been entirely unendurable had he not stumbled upon that library. And the person in it. As awkward as the conversation had been. She was the first person he'd tried to meet and get to know since the accident.

Meeting Amira was simultaneously an insignificant event and an infinitely significant event. As he boarded the bus, he looked out, and watched the sun set over the buildings in town. And when he was home, and finally climbed into bed that night, for the first time in eight months, and without any sleeping aid, Damir had a dreamless, peaceful eight hours of rest.
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