~Crossroads~ Chapters 1-3 + Intro
Posted January 14th, 2014 by Cherrybomb
A/N: This is my NaNoWrimo novel. The only novel I've ever finished, actually.
Stylistically, or format-wise, I made each chapter relatively short, a page or less to two pages. I've always wanted to try this sort of formatting, so.
Summary: The novel is about an amnesiac seventeen year old girl lost in the actions of the world, without a past and without a purpose. She is merely a figure standing on the side, always watching, watching, watching, never a part of the things she sees in front of her. Gradually though, she finds herself being pulled into the world she has never been a part of, her memories slowly being returned to her one by one. Will she embrace the present, or stay rooted in the past? Will she finally wake up and be alive, or stay wilting in the sidelines, slowly decaying? It is a story about growth and realization, truth and ignorance. At least, that was my goal. xD
Comment and CC? I'm trying to edit and fix up all the shabby parts of the story, but if you spot anything, let me know. :D
There is a splash. A child runs by, wearing slick yellow rain boots. They smack against the pavement and the puddles that gather around the cracks of the sidewalk, throwing droplets into the air. He grabs his mother’s hand, giggling about how fast he had run, how he was even faster than his sister. His mother smiles at him without really listening, patting his head and pulling him closer to her as they cross the street.
I watch them from my seat, observing how the child waves at the cars, the mother, embarrassed, hurriedly pulling him along. As I sip from my coffee cup, steam rises and I close my eyes. One, two, three…
And the light goes green.
I open my eyes. The cars are whizzing past, a blur of muddy red and rainy blue. Behind the wall of blurred vehicles, the mother must be walking with her son, invisible from my eyes.
The light turns red.
I see the sidewalk on the opposite side of the crossing, pausing from my coffee to look for the mother and her child. But there is no one there.
The light turns green once more, and I am lost in motion.
Today it seems everyone has decided to go for a walk at the same time. Perhaps it is the sunny weather after a cold week of nothing but rain that enticed them out of their homes, or perhaps it is the farmer’s market that will be held at noon. Perhaps it is both.
Golden hair, blue eyes, chocolate high-heels, diamond necklaces, a cowboy hat, scarred hands, a plaid handkerchief, scratched jeans, an elegant dress. People and objects move by me and my little bench, moving quickly or slowly, ambling or strolling. I sit besides them all, my eyes staring at them from the top of my lemonade cup. I wonder why I am here, but the thoughts are quickly lost with the movement of a hundred footsteps.
I do not turn to look. I have heard this sound a million times. Someone has taken a seat next to me.
I smell smoke. It is not like campfire smoke, with fiery branches and soaked air, or burnt toast smoke, with a kind of acrid stinging. It is the smoke of a cigarette, that sinks into the air you breathe and weighs itself down in your lungs, strangely sweet, but mostly just smelly.
I rest my hands on my knees, pulling the cup of lemonade closer to my face. My nose is near the lemon wedged on the rim of the cup, and the sour scent of it fills my senses, relieving my from the smoke.
My bangs are long, falling in my eyes. Too long. I should get them cut.
But for now, they are useful. I peer sideways through the thin strands at the person besides me. She wears black clothes and has silver nails. Her hair is wildly spiked and has a streak of pink at the side facing me. She wears chains around her wrists, thin chains and thick chains. They tangle around each other and intertwine, darting beneath one other and falling in little tendrils.
She is talking on the phone. There is a beep, and she stares at it for a moment as though shocked. The next thing I know, she has stormed off the bench and disappeared down the street, muttering foul words to herself. A woman passing by her cringes and starts back, as though about to be attacked.
When I sit up again, I notice the chain. It is only one of the many she had on her wrists. This one is thin, and delicate, made with dainty sterling silver. I see one of the rings has broken, snapping off. I could fix that. I’m good at fixing. A memory of pliers and silver wire flashes in my mind then is gone, as though it was never there.
I pick up the chain.
I should return it.
But I already know that I won’t.
A parade is being held today. I watch the explosions of fireworks in the distance, the vivid colors that flash out at me everywhere. In the night, color seems so much more vibrant, so much more alive. Floats go by, flashing with LED lights and costumed people waving down at the crowds. I see little children waving back at them, all little hands and chubby smiles.
There are even dancers about; dressed in what might be the fanciest costumes they’ve ever worn, judging from their huge smiles. They twirl and spin prettily, and some of them clutch little bags, which they occasionally reach into and scatter candy from. I see hands reaching out for the candy, screams of delight.
There is crying.
No one seems to notice it. It mingles with the screaming, the music, a simple bend in the air that merges with the scent of popcorn and perfume. It is there, but they do not realize it.
To me, it is more obvious. The crying is the only thing I can hear. It rises, high-pitched, then cuts off, as though too high for me to hear. Then, it starts again, and again and again, until I feel sick to my stomach from the sobs.
A man, presumably a father, trudges by, as quickly as he can with all the crowds. He holds a girl, of maybe six, or seven, who sobs wildly in his arms, hugging him closely.
He passes by, an opening appearing in the crowd, one he squeezes into. The gap between the people disappears, and the man is gone from sight.
But the sound of crying remains, echoing in my ears long after the girl is gone, despite the yelling, the cheering, and the music. I shut my ears with my hands and hunch over, as though it will help ward off the sound.
That night, I dream of tears.
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