Boundaries – Episode 15

(Trigger Warning – Use of transphobic/homophobic slurs are present in one instance, reader discretion advised.)

I didn’t sleep much that weekend, especially not that night.  I’d been the target of hazing twice in one day.  The worst thing about switching over was that I realized they’d confiscated “for safe keeping” my collection of nearly 50 k in Lira of blue cards.  Exchange was 6 Lira right now.  It was about 8330 cards after paying my way, that weighed about 16kg.  It was in a rolling trunk that I had acquired from the temple for my own purposes.  Over the years this trunk housed not only my large collection of blue cards, but what few things I was able to find precious memories in.  There was a drawing of Yuzuho that I’d made the year after I came out of breach, a necklace that Amma gave me, that I was still wearing when I arrived here, and a few other trinkets that reminded me of my life before breach.  I was heartbroken, and mad… No, furious, that they would take my personal effects and things I had to make great sacrifices for.  Yes, it literally cost me 50,000 Lira to enroll, and pay for room and board for a month.  That is partly why it was so hard to live off of blue cards, as the cost for things was much greater outside of the military.  One day of food costs about 100 lira.  But without the support of the temple I’d never have been able to apply, much less afford it.  My fate in this star-crossed school seemed to be plummeting as every second ticked by.  I feared the people here, but I feared my “gracious” overlords even more.  Gracious… Humph.  I felt like a cornered rodent more than I felt like a cadet.  Much to my surprise I was put into a different class at the start of Monday.  People tend to go into class with those of their triad.  This “flip-flop” reminded me of the time when I was in elementary and how we went through a couple of schools before we found one accepting of who, and what I was.  It felt the same, except that this time I didn’t have backup.  There would be not reconciliation here.  That thought scared me more than the thoughts about what would become of me and Fallon.

Took me nearly a week to write in my journal again in this hellacious world I’d been born into.  One week… One week.  I was carded literally every single day as many times as law would allow, twice.  Well, except Wednesday.

Day One:  I was shadow punched into a locker leaving an Alira sized dent.  At lunch someone set my food on fire with an alcohol spray.  Fag and Tranny were carved into my dorm room door.  This place didn’t let me rest. By the way, a shadow punch is a striker technique that allows for someone to punch another person at a speed not detectable by the human eye, or surveillance cameras.  If it hadn’t been for me being a healer as well I’d likely have hemorrhaged.  But that day took everything I had to get through.  I nearly didn’t wake up in time in the morning.

Day Two: Nothing really happened, but I could tell that someone put a large amount of salt in my food while I was away getting drinks.  Ironically, they figured it would bother me, but I actually liked my food a little salty sometimes.  No better revenge than your enemies plot to ruin your day actually back firing.  If they’d known though, there is no doubt they would have put more in.

Day Three: I got a demerit for being late to morning chow because of the hordes of boys waiting to harass me in the stairwell.  Considering everything else that happened that day, it was a rather mild day of class.  These days count from my first day of classes, mind you.  I got little more than dirty looks on this brilliant Wednesday.  It’s one of those weird times that sometimes comes in the Minnesota winters where it’s damn near 70.  It was a nice day.  I’d been really cautious about avoiding the strikers, who were more likely to do something to me.  I walked around in the mid-afternoon sun in the rose garden.  It was so peaceful that I was almost able to forget the isolation and pain of the week preceding it.  My one truest wish is to be loved by someone who loves me beyond sexuality.  Perhaps that was idealistic of me.  But I always longed for someone who could love me for who I was, not for how I was in the sack.  So to speak.  I didn’t have afternoon classes on Wednesdays, so this was the only peace I had gotten all week.  But, my mark had garnered me more than a few more ugly glances, and way more attention than I wanted.  I was always that girl who wanted to sit in the corner, be her wallflower self, and just disappear sometimes.  I guess, to say that I didn’t like to be in the center of attention would be an under-statement.

Day Four:  I’d decided that this was officially the “Week of Hell“.  By first period I’d already had someone pin me down and mark my face with permanent marker saying “Die”, been tripped, kicked or hazed by one of the other paladins at least 3 times.  On Tuesday, my test had been scheduled for that Friday.  I was beginning to dread Mondays and Fridays, it seemed.  I had little experience at this school, but every one of the more negative ones was on those two days.  This week would also round-up my first month at this school, well, week-wise anyways.  Luckily, I was able to get some fingernail polish remover, otherwise that black mark would have been on my face all day.  The acetone vapors burned in my eyes something fierce, enough to make them tear up.  I tried to go over to the Angel Wing, but was stopped by a hall monitor.  I wanted to see Fallon so much that it made me nauseated that I hadn’t heard from her in so long.   She had my contact card, but she’d done little other than sporadic messages throughout the week, and one call.  I spent a lot of time wondering about what was going through her mind.  She did little to let on how she felt.  It was tough to read her sometimes.  Of course, I am the kind of woman whose mind begins to conjure all sorts of crazy, scary things that make things worse on myself when left to my own devices.  Silence was always killer for me.  Mom… Well, she wasn’t a talker, and if she did get talkative it was seldom very helpful.  I knew she loved me, but sometimes it was so much that I felt alone even though she tried to make me feel otherwise.

Day Five:  The day of the tests… The day I dreaded, as it would set my paladin rank and could serve to make me the further target of hazing or worse.  The only time in my life I can recall being picked on as much as I had been lately was in elementary.  Children could really be mean sometimes.  Just as on that Friday before last, I was called out to the field instead of to normal classes.  When I arrived there the field was cordoned off into segments by 5 retractable walls, each with a series of various automatons or structures set up for “practice”.  My ranking as a paladin would be based on the total damage and impact force I inflicted upon the targets.  5 days in a row of PT (physical training) made me wonder what I even had left in me at this point.  It was tough.  I was fatigued more than I’d ever been, but strangely I felt calm knowing I didn’t have human targets to deal with.  I shuttered realizing I referred to humans as targets in that very essence.  But in warfare training, that was how they taught us to think.  I’d heard the word so much since I’d been here that I was seeing it pop up in other aspects of my thought and speech.  In some senses I felt liberated by this activity, and at the same time I was tense… Way tense.  I mean, the outcomes of this test could bring many more challenges against me than I’d ever faced.  Given how “strange” my power was, I wasn’t guaranteed to come out of this without some serious issues with others.

I wasn’t the only paladin being tested.  There was two newer cadets that were added to our class mid-week that were needing testing.  They went first.  The first cadet was rather weak, and he could barely make the targets shake with is attacks.  He was obviously a healer focused paladin.  Healers weren’t tested, they were fielded with other healers.  Once their potential to heal had been categorized they were given ranks.    The second paladin shattered all the human sized targets, an did notable damage to the vehicle sized one, while leaving most of the barricades and the building intact.  It was actually kind of scary watching his homicidal expressions.  Cadet Yin, I believe was his name, charged up an electric shockwave intense enough to cut metal.  You could see the arena’s entire protective field fluctuate a little.  The vehicular target (1 tank-like vehicle) was not destroyed but had enough exterior cuts and damage to give him a high score.  1015 out of 12o0, placing him in the high tier 2 paladin range.  Only power users were required to destroy a target for high scores.

I was reluctant to follow his performance, and that was my generally feeling about this whole test.  I rather not expose myself to the focus or attention of others in this citadel.  The other paladins from class sat and looked on from the extended bleachers, while some where up in the regular stands and I was forced to walk up for the test.  After about 15 minutes the crews had repaired or replaced all the damaged targets that needed to be swapped out. “Cadet Roe, please step to testing perimeter 1.  Prepare yourself.  The objective of this test is to destroy, or cause as much damage as possible to the human sized synthetic targets, mock structures, barricades and vehicles.  Begin”, says Capt. Rush.  He pats me on the back and then takes a safe position behind the protective field.   I think to myself about the things I think will provoke me, but none of them seems to work to “energize” me.  I hear a few lewd remarks and slurs from the paladins behind me, and it angers me a bit.  I decide to turn that rage into something for the purposes of this test.  I charge up my arm with the blue flames, and they sputter a bit.

Some of the students and other test participants gasp when they see my flames, as this would be their first time seeing them as they are now.  I look down at my hand and just feel sort of empty inside now.  It’s bizarre but at the same time normal.  I feel the blankness overtake the rage inside me as I approach the first targets.  They are structural targets for barricades.  I charge up my flames even more, enough for my energy to start seeping out of my feet which seems to strangely aid me in planting my feet.  I throw a blast forward and it sends my upper body over backwards, but some how my feet are still planted.  I pull myself back up to a standing position.  My blast collapsed several of the makeshift barricades, disarranged the heavier more fixed barricades and embedded a little debris into the permanent barricade behind the two.  Not bad, but not good either.  “Cadet Roe, next task please”, Captain Rush barks in my direction.  I meander over to the human targets, and this seems to frustrate Rush even more.  Now standing fixed in front of them I reel back my power again, but this time I can sense that pang of apprehension in my stomach.  I’d always healed people, always saw myself as feeling very much in line with the Hippocratic Oath, though I’d never taken it.  The idea of turning my power into a weapon was sort of scary, and very much against my will.  I’d seen enough death and destruction, I didn’t long to add more to the world.

“TO-DAY ROE, TO-DAY!”, shouts the captain even more frustrated by my reluctance.  It unsettled me a bit and I stumble and throw a half cocked blast out at the human sized targets.  It was unfocused and it sent me sliding back again a little and made tonnes of dust go flying in they air no longer held by the dampness of the previous week’s snowfall.  As the dust cleared the human sized targets were rocking back and forth against their spring-loaded mounts.  Little to no damage to them.  “Fine…  Just fine.  Roe, next objective, and make it snappy this time”, he barks at me again still sounding frustrated but seeming disappointed, ready for this little exercise to be over.  The mock building doesn’t look like a military building, or a fortification.  It looks like a regular suburban house.  This is also unsettling, but far less unsettling than throwing my blasts at realistic mock-ups of people.  I stand in front of the house, and reel back, and effortlessly through a blast at the house  Dust and splitters of wood go flying through the air in the blow-back, and it sounds as if a car hit it.  The dust isn’t as thick and I can see that the windows are blow out, the doors blown down and some holes now exist in the plywood walls, but overall the building is intact.  “Humph.  Final target Roe”, Captain Rush commands now standing directly behind me.  As I begin walking I feel a blast of air, and energy from behind me and as I am already moving forward sends hurtling into the dividing wall between the test objectives.  Unable to stop my forward motion my forehead slams into the corner of the wall making my ears ring a bit, and the bridge of my nose is sore from the pressure of my glasses from after I hit.

As I stand up straight and look towards the stands at the other students and test takers I feel a sense of rage inside me.  An instant later blood begins to trickle down from a laceration under my hair on my scalp and cause its warmth to bathe the right side of my face.  Igniting my entire arm in green flames I cease the flow of blood and heal the wound with my hand.  I take in a deep breath and that strange sensation takes over inside of me again.  It feels calm, but it also burns somehow.  Some of the audience here today looks on in shock at what I just did, and some others stare in disgust as I open my eyes and stare them down again in defiance.  “If I find out who did that you are going to get a demerit and be on extra duty for two weeks!  Do I make MYSELF CLEAR!”, Rush shouts back at the bleachers.  “Paladins Fierce!”, shouts back the whole audience of students in unison.  The blast most likely came from someone on the extended bleachers, as sending blasts through the shield was virtually impossible.  This eerily calm burn overcomes me.  In this moment, I felt…  Possessed.  By what, I don’t know.  I felt like I was on fire, and it was at that moment I’d noticed my aura was different now.  My flames emitted from my feet and hands as cyan again, and there was this faint white light just over my skin.  I felt as though I was out of my body, even though I was still in it.

“Roe, are you able to continue the te… te…  Are you okay, cadet?”, the captain says turning back to me now shocked by my strange aura.

“I’m fine, sir”, I say to him in a stern tone that even makes him back-peddle a step or two.

“Show me how fine you are, Roe, but do it in that direction please”, he orders while pointing at the tank.

I turn to the target and it feels as though my body is as light as a feather, and nothing else in the world matters.  I stand in front of a decommissioned large armored tank/personnel carrier.  It’s more heavily armored than usual.

I charge up, and the air begins to vibrate and the ground begins to resonate with it.  My flames begin to swirl with blue and cyan and blaze high and bright from my hands and feet.  The white aura grows even more intense than before creating something of a white glowing fog around me.

I take in a deep breath.

Time all but stops around me.

I look up at the beautiful sky above me.

I feel as though this moment is captured in time, and strangely perfect.

Taking in another deep breath all energy being emitted from me is sucked back inside my body.

The energy pulsating inside me demands to be released, and it feels as though my arms are being forced upwards, propelled by a repulsion from the palm of my hands.  As they reach level with the target a massive shard of white light like a bolt of lighting flies outwards!  It’s so bright that it’s hard to see, with a cracking thundering sound accompanying it.

In a moment time returns to normal I am sent flying back against the forcefeild hard enough to send brilliant shockwaves across its surface.  The shockwave was as if it were a 500 lbs bomb going off and the tops of the dividing walls hurdle against the shield shattering further and falling to the ground.  The vehicles frame shattered with the blast, and molten metal is sprayed all over the remaining part of the dividing walls.  The plume of dust and smoke bellows into the sky and through the shield causing it to glow blue ever so slightly as it passes through.  I fall back to the ground onto my feet, but the strange thing is that I don’t feel any ill effects.   A blast of that magnitude should have caused me extensive damage.  But somehow it didn’t.  Furthermore, some of the kids behind the shield were stunned by the shockwave and are now climbing back to their feet and trying to recollect themselves.  Captain Rush is standing there, inside the shield bubble he erected, looking on in utter shock.  I am still in the possessed state were I feel that calm burning inside me.  The magnitude of what I just did is at this moment beyond me.  Rush drops his bubble and staggers back a few steps as I approach him.

“Are you okay, sir?  Is the test complete?”, I say with calmness.  He collects himself and comes to a full standing position, “Yes, Roe… Yes it is.”  He brushes off the dust from his uniform and instructs me to head inside and return to my room until the scores are tallied.  As I walked inside the students who saw what happened ran to get out of my way.  They looked terrified.  I didn’t understand why at that moment.  I felt like a machine inside.  Calm, cool, collected, strange.  That faint white aura around me had yet to fade.  As I approached the stadium door it was repelled by my aura enough to allow me to walk through without touching it.  As I walked down the hall my skin began to tingle, and then hurt a little like the delayed effect of heavy physical exertion after a burst of physical activity.  By the time I reached the end of the hallway my body was aching something fierce, as if I just spent 3 straight hours swimming.  The tingle in my skin even felt like the sensation you get when you physically exert yourself while swimming.  I exited to the courtyard and began to walk towards Paladin dorms, and by this point I was trembling really badly.  So I start to run, and the aura comes back making me feel as though I weigh next to nothing again.  Other students in the courtyard jump out of the way as they see me running in with this transparent white aura around me.  I am running faster than I’d ever ran before, and it feels effortless.  I run inside and brace myself against the door for a moment.  Going up a couple of floors to the classroom level I start looking for a rescue fountain.  Dashing in I press the button and plunge my face into the stream of enriched water.  I drink, and drink, and I still feel thirsty, as though my stomach is bottomless.

Finally, after drinking for a solid minute I start to feel as though my stomach is full of fluids.  This doesn’t make sense.  I ate breakfast before I went to the test, so how could my stomach be so empty already that I could consume so much liquid.  I stand back up, and my body is still buzzing of exertion, but I am not shaking as much.  That eery calm starts to fade and the impact of what happened finally starts to hit me.  The blood on my face is dried a bit and is stuck to my face now.

“What the fuck”, I murmur to myself.  I lean against the wall by the fountain and slide down it to the floor.  My mind is racing.  What the hell happened, what the hell overcame me, I wonder.  I was in another world, and moreover, the damage I did was tremendous.  What’s more, I am not dead.  I used both of my powers during that test and I am not sick.  Wait… Did they do something to me while I was sleeping?  “No”, I say as my inner thoughts begin to bleed out through my speech, “If they had I would have noticed something different.”  Right?  I mean, “How could they do something like that?  It’s unheard of… It’s never been” done.  Hmmm.  At the same time, I’d never had tempest sickness that bad, and most of the time people just die from it.  Especially when they are in the ICU for a week.

Worried that someone will see me crumpled up against the wall in the hallway with blood on me, I spring to my feet.  I look around to see if anyone saw me and I run to the stairwell and up to my room.  The aura is gone now, and the fatigue is noticeable as I run up the stairs.  “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger?”, I mumbled to myself.  I throw the stairwell door open startling a few cadets that beat me back to the dorm causing them to quickly enter their rooms.  I go into my room and lock it behind me.  I am panting from my dash up the stairs, and I can feel the acid burning in my muscles and sweat tingling on my skin as it beads up.  I pull back my bangs and remove my glasses and pat down the sweat on my forehead, and wipe the blood from my hair, and face with a warm rag.  With it now dry and cleared of blood, I take my brush and fix my bangs back to the way they were.  My legs feel a little weak now, so I walk towards my bed after opening my window and placing my fan in it on full blast to help me cool off.  I can feel the cool air blowing across my legs as I kick off my boots and pull down my stockings.  It feels nice, but now I feel quite lethargic laying on my bed.  Rolling to my side I reach into the fridge part of my nightstand and pull out a recovery beverage and drink it.  Upon finishing it I roll back on to my bed, and stare up at the bunk above me. “Why do all the rooms have bunk beds, though they seldom have both in use?”, I ask myself to quell the anxiety and confusion about what happened.  For a moment I feel happy about it, but this place still scares me, and makes me fear what will happen now that it is known what I can do.  I would have rather known before hand what I could do.  I didn’t even know such a thing was possible until today though.

I’d only been here for two months total, one month in classes.  So much had happened in such a short amount of time.  It almost made my head spin.  The way this world was contrasted the reality I recognized so much before this that I felt as though this was some strange dream I’d wake up for again.  It was a feeling that I’d had many times since I came out of breach.  From outside my room I could hear the students that weren’t tested today heading off to their next period class.  There was a commotion from outside the window in the direction of the stadium as I could hear repair crews arriving to clean up the stadium field and collect data on the test.  The stadium itself saw a lot of use, so it was always a prompt exercise that they would fix it up and prepare it for other use rather quickly.  And they still had to collect the scores from the targets black boxes.  As the brisk 10am air chilled my body staving off the soreness I fell asleep.  I would be called out in the afternoon to hear the scores in the auditorium on the floor between the classrooms and chow hall.

I awoke to Emilia shaking me and Rush standing over me, “Are you okay chica?  Get up, we have to take you down to the auditorium.  You don’t appear to have tempest sickness, but it was hard to wake you up.  Come on, get your boots back on and come down.”

Rush looks down at me while leveraging himself against the upper bunk, “After this morning, I am sure you could use the nap, cadet.  However, you have a prior engagement.  Get ready, and no loitering”, Rush commands, but in a much gentler tone than usual.  Rush walks out and heads for the stairwell.  “Girl, I don’t know all the details of what you did today, but the cats in this hall are spooked.  Like… real spooked.  What’d you do?”, Emilia asks me while sitting on the bed next to me.  I slide on my stockings, “I blew up a tank”, I say calmly.  She jumps up forgetting about the bunk above and slams her head in to it yelling, “OUCH! Crap!”

“Damn… You did?”, she says while wincing and still rubbing the sore spot on her head.

“Yeah, yes I did.  It was like I was possessed.  I don’t know…”, I say and finish with a sigh.

“Most I did was blow the threads off, and some of the armor plating.  How the… Never-mind, I don’t want to ask how you did it.  Damn.  If you weren’t so cute, and gentle by nature you’d actually scare me.  Shit, that may actually still scare me a bit.  Remind me to never piss you off.  Hey, Chica… I am going to head down now.  You okay to make it down on your own?”, she says.  I just nod back.  “See ya”, she says and then walks out leaving the door open.  I finish lacing my boots and follow shortly after, but she is already most of the way down the stairs by now.  I am hesitant to find out the results, and really worried about the implications of such results.  In fact I am so anxious that much more and I might get a panic attack.  As I exit the floor where some of the labs are and the auditorium, I feel the burst of cooler air hit my light perspiration.  I am sweating and a little nauseous.  I walk down to the auditorium and there is a stale woody odor about the place and all the paladins in our class are seated in the first and second rows, with those who were tested seated on the stage in folding chairs.  There is a board of higher-ups for the church, as well as several test proctors, and Captain Rush at the end.  It all looks very official and there is a podium up and to the side of the seated test participants.  I know where I am to sit, as there is one empty folding chair on the stage.  My legs felt weak every step of the way as I walked up onto the stage from the side. As I sit down in the frigid metal seat the two participants scoot themselves as far from me as they could do so without being noticed.  “All present and accounted for”, I can hear whispered from Rush at the table, “Fine you may begin” says one of the proctors.

Capt. Rush takes center stage behind the podium, “We are gathered here to preside over the score reading and rank ceremony of Cadets Yin, Roget, and Roe.  Today they all demonstrated excellence in taking the Paladin Ranking Criteria or PRC and will have their scores announced and their ranks pinned in the order in which they are called.  Cadet Yin, please come forward.”  Yin stands up and heads to the podium.  The captain turns to him and pins 2 blue dots to his shoulder board, and they exchange salutes, and the cadet sits back down.

Rush continues, “Cadet Yin distinguished himself by scoring 1015 out of 1200 on the PRC.  He has been awarded the highest tier rank available to a paladin, the rank of Tier 2 Paladin Attacker.  Congratulations.”, applause breaks out and dulls again upon gesturing from Rush, ” Cadet Roget, will you please come forward.”  Roget follows in the same fashion as Yin, and is pinned with one green dot and one teal dot before sitting again.  “Cadet Roget distinguished himself by being classified as a stable tier 2 healer, and then by scoring 566 out of 1200 on the PRC, earning him the merit of being a tier 2 Paladin Healer.  Congratulations.”  There is more applause though less vigorous follows Rush’s announcement for Yin.

“And now, to handle the later part of this ceremony, Paladin Richards will come forward to handle completing the rank ceremony.  He is now the master of the ceremony”, says Rush taking a bow to the test proctor’s table and then resumes sitting at it.  A short, but stout middle-aged man comes up to the podium.  He has on the active duty uniform of the Army of Zion.  It looks much more like combat armor than our uniforms, but has a similar flair.  He pulls a foot stool out and stands on it.  He has a the subdued paladin shoulder boards with a subdued gold diamond on it.  Climbing up on the foot stool he begins to speak, “Cadet Ensign Roe was tested in the PRC today.  Unfortunately, she is unchartable by our conventional Paladin Criteria.  Measurements of the field indicated in total that she released more than 50000 newtons of force before the last set of gauges were pegged.  Therefore, this is why she has the score of X out of 1200 for her official records.  3 other paladins, since the creation of this institute have scored X on their PRC.  Others of the Tempest Hybrid Corps have scored X, and in the tradition of service, only a tempest who scored X on a hybrid test can give the according ranking.  The Diamond is a symbol of power, and since there is no tier 3 rating for paladins, tacticians, strikers, or trancers the Diamond is the only rank that can be given.  Come forward Cadet Roe.”

My legs are shaky as a stand up and walk over to the paladin.  He reaches over to my shoulder boards, and first the right, then the left pins them with a shiny gold diamond pin.  “Rank X hybrids are a rare breed.  I hope that you use your powers well, and that you can even exceed even my abilities.  Congratulations,” says the proctor.  I return to my seat.  I feel some how accomplished by being awarded such a rare honor, but at the same time I can feel the pressure of being watched by my classmates.  This… It’s all too much, I am afraid.  I feel a little light-headed now.  The paladin stands back up at the podium and says, “This Rank Ceremony is hear by brought to its conclusion.  Please return to your dorms, meals, or otherwise regularly scheduled duties, and God bless.”

And there it was, and just like that, in a mere moment my fate was sealed into another chain of events I didn’t choose.  If only I’d known then what was going to come, perhaps I wouldn’t have tried so hard, maybe done something different, et cetera.  I always worry about those sorts of things, but what is done is done.  We can only make the best of the situation.  In the last place that someone like me would want to stand out, I’d drawn the biggest bulls-eye on my back I possibly could.  I also wasn’t in the least bit inclined to believe I was the strongest out there, by no means.  I hadn’t seen Fallon, and my every attempt to visit had been thwarted.  Power users could destroy large buildings, and the Headmaster was diamond ranked striker with field experience.  He was only 22 years old, but he looked 45.  I was drawing way, way, way too much attention.  And its not like I was trying to.  Something strange, unknown and ominous was unfolding before me and I could do nothing about it.  I wished for an angel to come and rescue me, now more than ever.  And for the life of me, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t control my powers when I went into that “weird state” earlier.  I am so confused, disheartened, and anxious to be anything more than a ball of mess right now.  This numbing chill had taken it’s grip on me, and I felt once again, like I wanted to run away.  Like I wanted that big ol’ reset button.  I just wanted a quiet, peaceful life doing things I loved.  I didn’t want any of this, but I was too concerned with just barely doing what it took to survive to worry about that.  This feeling chilled me straight to the bone, as if the cold of my sweat permeated my entire being.  I wobbled down the hall, though I did the best I could to maintain my composure.

I was too lost in thought to notice the people scurrying around me.  Numb, hungry, and cold.  My vision was skewed a bit and looked some how strange through my state of shock.  Humph, I felt as though I could just fall into the Earth and keep on falling forever as if the ground wasn’t there.  I dragged my leaden body up the stairs, not paying attention to the world around me.  The lights looked funny, like they were too bright.  It took me what seemed like forever to get up the 20 some odd flights of stairs.  As I exited into the stairwell the last little bit of sunset light filled the sky out the window at the end of the hall.  Everyone was either in their room or waiting for me to enter mine.  I walked to my door, entered my code, but noticed that the door wasn’t latched.  I walked in and didn’t see anything obvious at first.  Suspicious, I closed my door and locked it behind me.  Then, I noticed a bulge beneath the sheets and comforter of my bed.  Gently I sit on the bed by the bulge, and peel back the comforter.  “Fallon”, I shriek.  She is asleep but was woken by my girly, excited shriek.  “Hey”, she says to me yawning with only one eye open.  The only thing I had to be happy about all day… It made me tear up a bit.  I hadn’t really seen her in nearly a week, and it’s been more than two weeks since we were close to each other.  She pulled the blanket back and reached her arms out to me.  As if it was only yesterday all those feelings in me rushed back into my chest.  She was so warm and soft, and it filled me with such joy to be in her arms, and her in mine.  Nothing could make this moment more perfect.  We curled up in each others embrace and all the worries of the world melted away.  Her gentle touch made my body ache, but it felt good.  There is no where else I’d rather be.

To Be Continued…