The Fatigue




Jay Liu

 
© Copyright 2021 by Jay Liu


 

Photo of police car in front of house.
   
 
 
When the news reporter broadcasted in front of her house, ambulances and police cars were already sitting on her yard. “A victim of suicide,” was the verdict. Nothing more, nothing else. Though her body had obviously been carried away I could still see her, sense her presence, as if her soul was intertwined with mine, pulling me into a distant reality.

Goosebumps rose on my skin, as I fiercely scratched my arms to dissuade the feeling. My skin peeled to a blood red but I didn’t care. “It wasn’t me,” I repeated to myself. “It wasn’t me, it wasn’t me, it wasn’t me...”

The kids at school would talk about it, for weeks, maybe even months. It would be a scandal, especially for such a nice school; for such a nice neighborhood. Everyone’s wonderful lives would be temporarily suspended, put on a three day leave as they slowly tried to forget the stain.

But for Connie Owens’ house, even her street, she would never truly alleviate. A bloody cloth thrown over its white pillared fences, you could probably see her walking down the streets, clutching her rope, smiling.

                                                                          Seeing

She called to me at night, through the doors of my wardrobe. I knew she was there, standing behind its shut doors, peaking at me with those ghoulish eyes of hers through the cracks.

Despite the moonlight, the room got darker, foggier. My vision began to wane and I could no longer see beyond the outer edges of my bed. I reached to turn on my nightlight but a ghostly breeze stopped me dead in my tracks.

I froze. My shoulders began shaking and my eyes watered but I couldn’t move. I desperately wanted to call out, scream, but it was as if she was choking me, blocking any air from escaping me.

Please Owens, I didn’t do it,” I croaked.

It wasn’t me, please… it wasn’t me.”

Tears began streaming down my face. Guilty tears, I knew it and so did she.

I collapsed into the covers and I hid myself. From her or from shame, I knew not.

A restless sleep appeased my terror but even in my dreams she found me.

She came to me in our school uniform and murmured my name softly, repeatedly until it became in synch with my racing heartbeat. She embraced me tightly like a friend, then clutched my face with her cold, pale hands, scratching my chest with the elongated nails only the deceased possessed.

You, alone, so alone,” she whispered in my ear.

She no longer possessed a face, only a smooth, featureless surface. Her hair, a dirty brown, unkept and messy like her old school days were falling in clumps. They piled on top of my face, my arms, and my chest until all I could see and feel was that dirty brown.

My life,” she whispered again in my ear.

                                                                    Yesterday

I often walked with the loner to and back from school. I never really looked at her, as I didn’t really like her, but I stuck with her because she was all I had.

She was always chewing gum, the kind that blew into a bubble and popped loudly. When she was done, she would spit it into a nearby creek and we would sit by one of the benches, lost in our own thoughts.

A kind of peace developed between us and these walks made me more relaxed about school, about my life as a troubled youth. But she was spiralling towards the opposite direction.

She had an obsession with the online world, an insatiable craving for attention. She would constantly post about every aspect of her life, trying to appeal to the “culture,” taking hundreds of photos of herself.

She hung herself over every comment, whether good or bad, from somebody familiar or unfamiliar, it always mattered. Over time she got worse.

For half a year she became extremely thin, anorexic even. Her face paler, her movements sluggish; she even stopped chewing bubble gum.

Our walks became quieter, no longer would I hear the timely pops of a particularly large bubble bursting or her light skipping steps on the pavement. We now walked slowly and painfully.
I was too naïve. I didn’t want to believe what was in front of me. And even when such thoughts entered my mind, I didn’t want to talk with her for fear of her reaction. Wouldn’t she just spite me for not minding my own business?

But I was always able to feel her agony, even by the look of her eyes. Her dark eyes which always shone were now unfocused. As if someone was whispering unpleasant things in her ear.

Sometimes I would feel conflicted, nearly on the verge of asking her the necessary questions but unable to: as her vices seemed so hidden and unseen from the reality, I lived in.

So, I let it be and she stood alone.

                                                                 The Failures

Today I woke up in Owens’ room, on top of her bed, in her abandoned house. I don’t remember what lured me to be in here or how I got in, but it didn’t really matter, I don’t remember much now anyways.

As it had nearly been three years since Owens’ parents left the house, it was in complete disarray. A husk of its former self, standing alone and empty.

The yellow wallpaper which hung on every wall now looked stained and dirty. It was after all a house of ghosts and former glories.

I shivered as I instantly saw her reappear before me, precisely when I woke up, every day of the week.

She stretched out her thin arm and gestured for me to get up. So, I did and followed her.

She took me to the kitchen where I commenced my daily routine. Two eggs for her, one for me, and four stripes of bacon.

I hummed to myself as I heated the pan up and put a piece of butter in. When everything was done, I set the plates and pushed one towards her. She nodded her featureless gratitude and I began eating my share.

When I finished, I looked towards her and found that once again she hadn’t eaten anything.

Everything ok Owens?” She looked at me nodded again.
 
You don’t have to worry anymore Owens, you’re not alone anymore. It’s all better now.”

                                                                                       


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