The Girl Named Raven

Haruki Murakami inspired.

“Are you ready?” she asks. The girl named Raven sat with immaculate posture besides me at a long, empty dining table. The dark, polished wood glistened under the yellow light of the crystal chandelier. I stared at her with a sly smirk on my face.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” my tone was almost challenging, if not mocking of her doubt in me.

“You always act so strong,” her voice was laced with venomous sweetness. “But that façade always gets you into trouble, doesn’t it?”

I merely shoot a glare. The girl named Raven really did know just how to push me the wrong way.

She ran her finger around and around the rim of her glass cup filled with red wine. Her finger was dampened with the liquid substance causing the glass to ring a high note throughout the room. The girl looked like royalty sitting the way she was. Legs crossed, upper body open, and a slender hand moving liberally.

“Life is not kind, dear,” she continued to say before scoffing. “I shouldn’t be giving such trite advice to a mundane girl like you. Girls like you need to learn by themselves.

But I’m too nice.

Listen, darling. You’re not all that you think you are. You say that you know that you have no purpose in this world when in reality, you think you do. You think you were put on this Earth for a reason because it makes you something.

But you’re not obligated to be anything. You don’t serve a purpose because you shouldn’t serve anything. 

Eighteen, huh? You don’t need to go through an emancipation process or… Don’t you get it? You’re free. So don’t be bound by anything. Not even a silly purpose.”

The girl named Raven took the cup into her palm and tipped it over into her lips. She downed half the glass in a single gulp, her eyes never leaving mine.

“I’m not doubting you,” she reassured. “In fact, I believe in you so much I could make a whole religion with you as my goddess.”

She rose from her seat and she walked around the shorter end of the dining table with her wine glass. I merely listened to her heels click against the floorboard. The girl named Raven stopped right beside me and crouched down and held the half full glass in front of my face.

“So, are you ready?” she asked once more.

I took the cup from away from her fingers and downed the last bit.

-A.J.C

The Girl Named Raven

all is fair

Wind chimes sung as a soft summer breeze passed. The swimming pool was glistening under the blazing sun like thousands of diamonds. Two redwoods stood their ground tall and strong. Aria and Erin sat on a steel swing eating slices of watermelon to help maintain some cool.

The two were close.

Aria’s mother had left the house leaving it large and bare for the girls to do whatever. She trusted Erin since she had come over so often. It seemed that there was almost nothing wrong with their relationship. Flawless even.

Erin slurped on her watermelon as a drop of juice ran down her chin and fell on to her leg.

“Oh,” Aria noticed. “Should I get you a paper towel or something? I can just run into the house and get it for you.”

“No there’s no need for that,” Erin replied. Both ends of her lips curled upwards in a powerful smile. “Thanks, though.”

Erin stood up suddenly and in such a way that the swing swung backwards a little too strong. Aria jumped at the abrupt movement and giggled.

“What do you say?” Erin asked looking off into some distance.

“Say what?” Aria inquired back trying to look at what Erin was looking at. But all there was was a wooden fence that separate her from her neighbors.

Feet pivoted against the stone ground. Erin faced Aria with a mischievous smile before saying, “We go for a little dip.”

“Sure, you can borrow one of my swimsuits,” Aria offered. “I’ll go get it from my room.”

“You’re no fun!” Erin exclaimed. “Let’s just jump!”

“With our clothes on?”

“Jesus! Are you dumb or something? No clothes.”

“You want to go skinny dipping in the middle of daylight?”

Erin was a strange girl, but something drew Aria towards her. She listened. Aria slipped out of her yellow spaghetti strapped tank top and white shorts. Unhooked her bra and slipped out of her underwear. Once she was done she found that Erin was two steps ahead of her and already in the pool.

“C’mon slowpoke!” Erin called. “The water feels great.”

Aria threw her clothes into a pile that had already been started by Erin herself. Then she jumped. The water was cold and seemed to slide effortlessly against her skin as she pushed herself up to the surface.

“Well what do you have to say for yourself?” Erin almost mocked.

Aria rolled her eyes. “Sorry for not thinking this would be kind of nice.”

“Did you just roll your eyes at me?” Erin snapped.

“I was just joking,” Aria defended surprised at her friend’s attitude. “Sorry if I made you upset.” Erin was being childish and immature, but Aria wouldn’t say anything. How could she?

“It’s fine,” Erin said. “Let’s play a game. Marco Polo. And you’re Marco.”

“Marco Polo with only two people?”

Erin glared immediately causing Aria to close her eyes. Satisfied, Erin swam away. Aria counted to a random number making sure Erin got enough time to distance herself.

“Marco,” Aria said clearly.

Then from behind Aria’s ear she heard Erin’s voice, “Polo.” Aria opened her eyes for the last time as chlorinated water flooded her vision. Hands wrapped around her neck and long nude nails dug deep into her throat.

Funny how even though you know you can’t breathe underwater, you still try.

Erin dragged Aria’s limp, naked body out of the water and pulled it to the wooden fence. She tentatively knocked against barrier with her knuckles.

“I-I did it!” Erin almost stuttered. “A clean death!”

But no reply came. Erin just stared at a blank fence as she shivered in her spot. Nothing was there.

“I’m sorry.”

-A.J.C.

all is fair

Walking in a Line

asd.jpgSilently sitting on the subway, she just minded her own business. She never slept on public transportation. The girl was the type of person that only fell asleep when she was in absolute comfort. Where safety was 120% guaranteed. Sometime or some place she knew she wouldn’t wake up in some obscure alley.

It was a long trip. Maybe an hour or so. She wasn’t going home and she wasn’t going to meet friends. She was just going for herself. Because she wanted to. Because she could.

There were perhaps between thirty five and forty stops.

Jet black hair tucked behind her ears and fair skin. If you describe her like this, she sounds simply beautiful. But in reality, she was painfully average. Her eyes were neither narrow like that of a model nor were they wide and refreshing. Her nose was round and closer to flat. Average height. Average weight.

Luckily, her style wasn’t so bad. Just simple. A simple light grey coat over a black turtleneck with blue jeans. On her feet, some simple white flats.

The train was empty. The walls were a clean white, outlined in steel. The seats were colored a boring grey. Almost brown because of the wear.

She twiddled her thumbs as she waited stop by stop. The announcements were voiced by high pitched, robotic woman who tediously articulated every consonant.  That was all she focused on.

Then the train came to a strangely slow stop snapping the girl out of her train of mindless twiddling.

A shadowy figure walked through the the automated doors. It was hard to tell if the shadow had a face. The figure was long and tall. You couldn’t tell if it had legs because it seemed to just glide across the floor. Not like a ghost. It wasn’t floating. More like a snail or slug. It sat. No… lied down, sprawled across three seats perfectly parallel to her.

She could not see its eyes, but she felt it watching her. So she stopped moving and averted her eyes pretending it wasn’t even there. But pretending can only get you so far. Pretending is ignoring reality. Pretending is a game. Pretending is what you do as a child. Pretending is fun.

The hairs on the back of her neck stood up as chills ran down her spine. Was it cold? Was it hot? The clothing that wrapped around her neck felt suffocating. Like it was strangling her.  She tugged at her sweater trying not to look too desperate.

The figure began to make sounds. Breathing sounds. But it wasn’t calm, it sounded like it was heaving. As if it were carrying something very heavy or had been travelling through the desert without any water.

Unable to pretend any further, she slowly stood up from her seat. Collected her belongings and walked towards the front of the train. At least she could move compartments. But every compartment she passed, it was there in the same spot. 

Perhaps she was walking in circles? But a circle is figure in which both ends meet. An underground train surely was a line with two separate ends. So she kept going.

And going.

And going.

And she was right. The subway was linear. Progressing forward as it should. She marched past the shadowy thing and to the end of the first compartment where the conductor would be. She knocked.

“What is it?” the man inquired in a raspy voice. She noticed a pack of Marlboro cigarettes placed on the panel in front of him. He took his eyes off the straight path ahead to look at her.

“Um,” she started while pointing an unsure finger back behind her. “I think there’s-”

Suddenly the feeling that eyes had been carefully watching her was gone. She whipped her head around to see nothing.

“Actually,” she said, “I was just wondering when the next stop was. It feels like it’s been forever.”

“It’s barely been two minutes since the last stop,” the conductor defended. “I can’t be distracted by the likes of you. Go back to your seat and enjoy the ride like everyone else.”

The girl looked behind her once more to find the train still empty.

“Of course,” she nodded in almost a whisper. “Sorry for bothering you.”

So she sat in solemn silence beside the conductor’s cab. It wasn’t long before something slid down her shoulder and her side. She jumped slightly, but it was just her hair. The hair behind her right ear had fallen out. Immediately she tucked it back where it belonged.

The conductor stopped the train and the doors opened allowing people to flood in. It was a popular stop. He looked through the little window behind him and the window next to him to see if the mysterious girl from before had gotten off here. Maybe it was because of the load of people he could not see her.

Thud, thud, thud. Something tumbled against the window in front of him. Startled, the driver turned back around to see what it was. He tried to peer out the front, but his vision was limited. So he got out to get a better look. But there was nothing. So he went back in and resumed his duty. He drove on.

Left behind was a pale faced girl painted with her own blood. Brown eyes had glossed over truly allowing her to resemble a porcelain doll.

You see, the girl had gotten off at that station.  She just didn’t get off at the platform.

Walking in a Line