Chapter One (Edited 8/28/2020)

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Silently Falling

Stretching my limbs, I'm rewarded with a popping sound at the give of my stiff muscles, providing some relief after a long night of sleep. Yawning, I get a taste of my morning breath and instantly cringe. You'd think that toothpaste would do a better job ridding people of that. 

I walk over to the mirror on the back of my closet door. I would have a stand-alone mirror that didn't have to be shoved into my closet, but my room is only big enough to house my full-size bed, my four-drawer dresser, and a desk on the far side of my room against my windows. My room isn't extremely small, but the neon green paint I begged for as a child makes it feel much more closed in. I plan on re-painting my room every summer, but every summer I conveniently have some sort of excuse. Catching my reflection in the mirror, I have to double-take at the horrific sight staring back at me. 

I look like death.

No, I look like Medusa. Maybe even Ursula from The Little Mermaid.

They're all the same. Identical to the image staring back at me in the mirror. My curls, dark brown that fade gently to dirty blonde as my hair reaches mid-back, are all tangled and make my scalp ache from the awkward angles they found themselves in last night. The mascara smeared over my face makes my light blue eyes stand out even more than they should, and I contemplate going for a smoky-eye look from now on, and there's even a bit of drool caked on the corner of my mouth. Every morning. 

Once I'm able to get my hair dealt with, I move onto cleaning my face in the hallway bathroom, washing away the mascara from the day before and being sure to scrub off the drool and any toothpaste stains from the bit that dripped down my chin as I brushed. Some people wake up looking like princesses, I am not one of those people. I walk back into my room and to my white dresser with random nail polish stains from the times I accidentally spilled through the years, reminding me that I need to invest in a new dresser. Preferably one that isn't 16 years old. 

Delicately, I pick up the necklace in its rightful place on top of my jewelry box. I lift the small pendant and hook it around my neck, feeling the cool touch of the diamond hitting the skin on my chest. I fiddle with the small charm, feeling closer to my mother with it on. The clock next to my bed reminds me that I need to get going if I don't want to be late for school, and from the lack of noise down the hallway I realize my older brother isn't even up yet. I walk down the hall, my feet comforted by the carpet as I pass pictures lining the wall of memories I can never get back, and I stop at my brothers room. 

With no response after waiting two minutes after knocking, I open the door to Toby's room. In seconds, I regret my decision when I see two naked bodies in his bed and I quickly retreat back to my room. One clearly belongs to my brother, and the other to some girl that found herself in his bed last night. I wish I could say I was surprised, but my brother is notorious for this. I love him, but he has no shame. 

I realize Toby most likely forgot to set his alarm last night since his mind was...occupied with other matters at hand. So, I fish around in my desk for the air horn I keep on hand for moments like this. I can't exactly crawl over the naked girl to shake Toby awake, and I can't yell for them to wake up either. 

I haven't been able to speak since my freshman year of high school. Three long years of silence that I would give anything to break but an unable to. Three long years since that one fateful night that stole my voice, my pride, and my innocence. There's some sort of mental block that won't allow me to speak, a PTSD of sorts. At least, that's what the doctors said when it first happened. I believe them. That night still haunts me when I close my eyes to go to sleep. 

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