Archive for the ‘Short Story’ Category


Note from the author:

Some of my friends and family have been bugging me to play with this character again, the girl who cannot die from “A Thousand Times Again.” The original short story was written back in October of 2013, so some of these people have been bugging me to pick up this character for a while now. After a person whose opinion I highly respect on this matter agreed I thought I’d give in. When I had some time this past week I went and “asked” the character if she had another story to tell. It turns out she did. And we will have to see if there are any others down the line she decides to “reveal” to me.  (Yes I am one of those writers whose creative process includes looking to the characters to reveal their story, so sue me).

Hope those of you who have been bugging me for this enjoy. Hope those of you who have just started reading my blog are also loving it.

 

The Sirens’ Roar:

She woke up to the sound of sirens.

Her head was pounding, her breath was shallow, her foot was resting on the ground behind her head.

The sirens where getting closer.

Her right arm seemed to be intact. With it she grabbed her left shoulder and popped it back into place.

Joint by joint, limb by limb she popped every body part back into place.

Crack, pop, crack.

The whole time the sirens drew nearer.

Her body throbbed as the bones started to net together and her skin closed in over the gashes the fall had created. She watched the pool of blood around her grow. Her heart was still beating and blood still flowing out of the hole in the back of her head.

Slowly the pool of blood stopped growing. She pushed herself up into a seated position.

The sirens were deafening now and the lights were visible just down the street.

She pushed herself up until she was standing.

Her spine popped back into place as she straightened herself up to walk away.

She took the first step forward and almost fell back to the ground. Her bones were still knitting together, her knees ready to give out on her.

She took another step forward. This time her step was more stable, her leg more ready to take the weight. She could feel the scabs peeling off the areas where her skin had meshed together. The bruises would be hitting their darkest blue now, but almost black.

Another step. This time stable but with the throbbing pain associated with stepping on a freshly sprained ankle. The pain radiated up her limbs.

Again a step and stab of pain.

Again…

Again…

A then it was gone. As the ambulance pulled up to the spot where she had fallen she was breaking into a run. She dodged down an alley and ran until the red tracks left behind faded and stopped entirely.

She dodged into a back alley. She took a second to listen and made sure that no one had followed her. The sirens could still be heard in the distance but she couldn’t hear any voices or footfalls. She was safe, for now.

Her breathing slowed and a dull ache returned to her body- that kind of ache you feel when you overwork a recent injury. She turned and walked gingerly down the alley. Checking the signs above the alley doors she searched for a clothing store.

The worst part of this whole thing what the way it made you appear. No one ever believed it was your own blood, after all there wouldn’t be so much as a scratch on her in a few moments, barely a bruise after a couple of hours. Near the end of the alley she came upon the kind of shop she was looking for and ducked in.

The store was closed and dark. She kept it that way. Turning on the lights would only draw unwanted attention. The clothes were the basic jeans and t-shirt, nothing flashy, nothing that would stand out.  This was exactly what she needed. She pulled down a grey tee, black hoodie, a pair of washed out jeans and some skate shoes.

She reached into the pocket of her blood-soaked jeans and pulled out her wallet and what was left of her cell phone. Leaving them on the front counter she headed to the back of the store with the new clothes to find the washroom. Closing the door to it she turned on the light and took a look at herself in the mirror.

Her hair was matted with blood.  Her forehead had a huge scratch across it which was slowly fading. Both of her eyes were black. But none of that is what drew her attention. It was her nose which she had noticed first. It was on crooked. She hated it when this happened.

She pulled out a wad of paper towel and stuffed it in her mouth, counted to three and… CRACK… her scream was muffled by the towels in her mouth.

Blood trickled out of her nose. She turned on the tap and started splashing water over her face and hair, rinsing off the blood while her nose re-healed, straight this time.

She took off her shirt and examined her upper body. Breaking and re-setting the bones which hadn’t healed properly the first time as she went, rinsing off her skin when she was done.

Tearing off her shoes and jeans she repeated the process again. Once the sticky feel of drying blood on her skin was gone she grabbed more paper towel and began drying off her skin and hair.

Why can’t I just stay dead for once? She thought to herself. When she had jumped it was out of the window of another lab. Another place looking to use her “gift” for the good of mankind.  Another cold, white, clinical, clean room where facts were all that mattered and she was nothing more or less than a puzzle to be solved. She was desperate to get out of there and not entirely sure if this lab had been one that her parents had agreed to give her to or one of the ones that the doctors had shipped her off to after the ambulance had gotten there before she came back. Right now she didn’t care.

She needed to get out of there, to get away from the needles and tissue samples. Away from the doctors, if they were even doctors. By the time she jumped she was hoping that it would be the last time she had to die. Failing that she was hoping that she would wake up before the ambulance got there. At least her later hope came true.

She stared putting the new clothes on. Tearing off the price tags as she went and stacking them on the edge of the sink. Ten dollars, thirty dollars, twenty dollars, forty dollars, money she wasn’t sure she had. But this was a necessary evil.

When she was dressed she rooted around in the cupboard over the sink. She found a hair elastic and tied her matted hair back. She took one last look at her face.

Her nose was straight. Her eyes we still bruised but better than before. It just looked like she need some sleep. She pulled up the hood up over her head, with the shadow of the hood the bruising was barely noticeable.   She grabbed the pile of clothes off the ground and pulled a kitchen sized trash bag out of the same cupboard she had found the elastic. Her clothes went inside it. The trash bag would come with her until she could find a better place to dump things.

She turned off the light and opened the bathroom door. Her eyes took a moment to adjust to the darkness of the store. When they did she made her way carefully to the front. She grabbed the shattered remains of her cell phone and threw it in the trash bag with her clothes. Then she picked up her wallet and opened it. Twenty, forty, sixty, eighty, a hundred, plus the handful of pre-paid credit cards her parents had given her.

The labs she was constantly sent to were similar to college dorms. They had the illusion of freedom, as long as you were willing and stayed inside their walls there was nothing you could want for. Then again, to her they had always been more like a prison in that sense.

At least she could pay for the clothing, she wouldn’t be stealing. Not really. She left the cash on the counter and headed back into the alley where she had come in.

This time she wasn’t going back to one of those labs. This time she wouldn’t make the same mistakes she had in the past. This time she would stay free.

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She stood looking out at the people, wondering what made her better than any of them. What gave her the right? Why was she the only one who acted as judge, jury and executioner? Why was this role not only allowed but celebrated by the society around her?

The sun set on the day as she reflected on her sins. The blood under her fingernails started to dry as the lights in the city started to flicker on. The bruise under her ribs began to throb along with the beat of her heart-another reminder that her heart was beating while their heart was not. Or if it was, it would be assisted by machines and tubes by now. She hadn’t stuck around to hear the verdict. As always she had left to cheers when the sirens sounded in the distance. Someone else would finish cleaning up her mess. She swept the scum into tidy little piles. Someone else threw what was left of it into the trash for her. This was the way it always was; this was the way it always would be.

She could vaguely remember the day on which this had all started. Her mother sat in the arm chair by her hospital bed crying again, another treatment had failed them. Another doctor told her mother in a hushed voice that there was no hope, at this point whatever happened was the will of God, the universe or whatever higher power or fate you believed in. There was nothing else modern medicine could do. She remembered watching the tears stream down her mother’s face and being too weak to even so much as lift a hand towards her to offer her a hug. Her hair matted to her head with sweat the same way the blood now matted it.

She remembered thinking that her next breath would be her last.

She remembered dying.

But then, suddenly she was not dead, suddenly she was alive, more alive than ever before. Suddenly she could lift her hands, her head, stand, and walk for the first time in her life. Suddenly the pain was gone, not a gradual recession, just gone. She died and came back to life healthier than she had ever been since birth. She was healthier than any human on the planet ever had been.

Her mom called it a miracle and started going to church.

Her father, who had not shown his face since she was two, came back into their lives and never left her side again.

Her doctors spent well into her teenage years trying to explain it. All they could tell was that at some point her cancer mutated. Instead of her body rejecting the cells it started to accept them, incorporating them into her very being, and at some point that incorporation had made her stronger than she was before. At some point cancer won.

It killed her, or so she thought, then brought her back to live out the rest of what she came to know as a cursed life.

At first it was small things. She was able to climb a tree that a neighbourhood kid couldn’t and saved a cat. Cliché as it may be, that cat in the tree was when it had all started. She had slipped and fallen the better part of two stories on the way back down and walked away with little more than a scraped knee which healed inside a day.

Later she was at a sleepover; the kids decided to tell ghost stories by candle light, someone got scared and knocked over the candle. Before they knew what happened the family and friends had all been dragged out of the burning house by this little girl, covered in third degree burns that seemed to be healing while you watched her walk. By the time the paramedics arrived they were all but gone.

Another round of tests…

Another round of second opinions…

No one knew how, but this all seemed to be related to her childhood illness.

Then things started to get scary.

She had been run over by a car and walked away from it. Rapidly healing was one thing but surviving when she should have died, that was on a whole new level of weird. She got labeled a freak and was an outcast in her teenage years. The scariest part was that no one but her knew that she actually had died that day for a second time. She died; she just never seemed to stay dead.

A few years passed.

She moved a lot. Always to another city, another school, another second opinion.

She found her way into university and that’s when the mask came into her life.

She was walking home from a campus dance late one night and heard a scream. A girl was being mugged on the path ahead of her. She was still wearing the feathered mask her date had given her though she had changed out of the dress to walk home. She ran to help. She had shielded the girl from a stab with her body, pulled the knife out when the bandit let go and returned the favour. The other girl had pressed one of the campus panic buttons. Sirens blared and she ran, suddenly thankful for the mask.

Her description had been all over the papers the next day, some called her a hero; others labeled her a freak. The bandit had survived, though he was suffering from wounds which would have long since healed on her. Between the mask, the make-up and the darkness no one seems to recognize her from the description the other girl had given.

She decided this was a good thing.

She went to a costume store and bought a different mask, one that her date would not recognize. She bought paint at another store to change its appearance further so even the store clerk wouldn’t know it to be her.

She became the guardian of the path.

She put other bandits in hospital.

Sometimes she died, but she never stayed dead.

This was her blessing, as much as it was her curse.

As she snapped back to the present she felt the pain in her ribs start to subside and the throbbing had all but ceased. She was still standing on the roof top looking out at the city as it went to sleep.

The lights were starting to flick off in the buildings surrounding her. The windows went black, just like the eyes of all those she had killed, sometimes in the defense of the innocent, sometimes the innocent themselves. It wasn’t fair, it should never have been her call. It wasn’t right that she had ended those lives. It wasn’t right that she lived on when she should be dead one thousand times over.

She stood looking out at the people, wondering what made her better than any of them. She looked down. Watching the cars on the street go by, she couldn’t help but wonder if maybe this time would be the last time. Maybe tomorrow night she wouldn’t have to relive this nightmare.

She felt her heart begin to race and focused on her breathing to slow it down.

Maybe this time things would be different.

She took one last deep breath.

Maybe this time things would be…

She jumped…

She fell…

And died again.