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  • Chapter 6: Lexy and the Boy

    Chapter 6: Lexy and the Boy “Lexy, wait!” Seth called after me as I started up the stairs. I didn’t stop though. Of all the things going on right now, I didn’t need my once best friend waltzing back into my life in the middle of all this chaos to add more chaos. “Please stop,” He begged, grabbing my hand. “You can’t ignore me forever.” This time I turned toward him. “I can, and I will.” I replied angrily. I knew it wasn’t really his fault. But he was there. He was someone I could be angry at. I had no place for anger with everyone here. I didn’t know them. But I knew Seth. He had left without a goodbye, and that seemed like a lifetime ago. And I had been angry and hurt and those feeling were resurfacing. There was no room for hurt in this new life. And I knew I could be angry at him. I knew he could take it. And I knew he understood why. “Lex, please… It’s been three days.” “Actually, it’s been six years.” I countered before continuing, “I have to go check on my sisters.” There was this pull to fall apart with him. To let things get messier. To let myself feel every emotion I was burying. But even in my exhausted state, I knew that was not an option. I pulled my hand away and left him on the stairs. I moved to the room that my sisters would share for the time being. Alex had promised to get them a nanny and the best training in the worlds. But the weight of now being a parent was heavy. They were my responsibility. And that was terrifying. I was just a kid. I wasn’t supposed to be in charge of other kids except for a few hours at a time as a babysitter. I wasn’t supposed to be in that position. But my parents had abandoned us. I had no choice. I opened the door slowly. “Lexy?” Calynn murmured half asleep. “Yes?” I entered the room and sat on her bed. “I know I’m supposed to be a big girl, but I’m scared.” I felt my heart break right then and there. I was not prepared for this. “It’s okay to be scared, sweetie.” I told her gently. “You don’t have to be anything you are not.” “Are we going to be okay? Honestly?” I hesitated for a split second, but I played it off, “Of course we’re going to be okay. These people here, they are helping keep us safe. Mom and Daddy made some bad choices and that makes us a little vulnerable, but it’s safe here. We’re going to figure this out and we’re going to be just fine.” I stroked her hair a moment and got up. “Lexy?” She called out as I was about to leave. “Hmm?” “Thanks for coming back for us.” “Thanks for being there and being smart enough to hide.” I answered. “Get some sleep.” I didn’t wait for a response this time. I exited the room trying to fight the panic I was feeling coursing through me. I was the only person these two girls could rely on. There was no one else. Just me. And when reality hits, it hits like a truck. “Are you okay?” I jumped to see Seth standing across the hall looking at me intensely and a pain shot through side. I couldn’t stop myself; my hand flew to it as if it could stop the pain. “Fine,” I answered as I tried to catch my breath; his timing was impeccable. He cocked his head at me and studied me intensely. “You’re not fine.” He said slowly, inching closer to me. “You’re hurting. What happened? Let me see.” “Seth seriously, I just want to go to bed.” I tried to push him away. “No, take off your shirt,” He was so close to me, I could barely breathe, and it wasn't from the panic I had felt just moments earlier. “Seth, I don’t want to. I’m fine.” I tried again. “You are not fine.” His voice was hushed, and my heart fluttered. “I am fine.” I whispered back losing patience. “Lexy?” I jumped away from Seth and his arms dropped to his side. Again, pain shot through my side, but I ignored it. “Annie,” I gasped. “What’s, uh, what’s up?” “I just came to check on you.” She responded uncertainly. I could tell that she wasn’t sure what she had just walked up to. “You seemed, I don’t know, off.” “I’m fine,” I smiled. “I just had to check on my sisters. And I ran into Seth, again.” I paused realizing they hadn’t been introduced, “Uh, Annie, this is uh Seth, we knew each other a long time ago. Seth this is Princess Annabeth” “Pleasure, Princess.” He bowed to her. “Okay…” She was hesitant, and I was acting weird. She knew me too well. “Well, that’s not necessary. I’m going back to my room to lay down a while, come find me later? Yea?” I nodded, and she peeled off to her room. The next thing I knew, Anna’s door shut, and Seth was pulling me into what I could only guess was his room. “Nice room.” I stated, as I looked around at the amount of stuff crammed into such a small room. On the far side of the room were bunkbeds catty-corner to each other with dark brown desks underneath them, and the walls were bare except for an army green color that seemed to have been painted ages ago. The look matched more of the downstairs, rather than the prestigiousness of Annabeth’s room and my sister’s room. “We’re not here to talk about my room.” He replied seriously. I had a sudden urge to run my hands through his blonde hair. “What?” I smirked, walking over to the desk and picked up a glass ball thing. “No small talk?” “Your attitude is way up here,” He raised his hand way above his head. “Bring it down.” I crinkled my nose at him. “How bout no?” “How bout you calm down?” He moved closer to me. There were only a few measly inches between us. “I am calm,” I sounded breathless. His blue eyes were locked with my brown. He reached down slowly and started to lift my shirt. I didn’t stop him. I couldn’t. I was frozen. Our eyes still locked as I moved my arms slowly out of the t-shirt I had worn since arriving here at the base. I was really glad I had decided to wear a cute bra instead of just a sports bra the day everything had gone down. He pulled it over my head, but his eyes were not staring at mine as they had been. Instead, they were now staring in horror at the gash in my side, and the bruises surrounding it. “Whoa, that’s wicked.” The kid named Jake said in awe as he walked in the door. He was Seth’s roomie apparently. “Lexy, you need to get that looked at. Alex, he can heal it for you.” Seth stuttered. I could feel his heart racing. “I’m fine,” I answered, taking my shirt out of Seth’s hand, and putting it back on. “Dude, you probably should get it looked at.” Jake reiterated Seth’s thoughts. “Thanks for the concern, boys, but I am just fine.” And with that I walked right out of their room and straight to Annabeth’s. “This is wild.” I remarked as I collapsed onto her bed. “You look exhausted.” She commented, putting down the magazine she had been reading. “I am beyond exhausted,” I told her rolling over to look at her. “How are you doing? Still in pain?” She shrugged, scooching over so I’d have more space. “I feel mostly confused,” She answered staring at the blank blue wall. “Me too,” I told her, but that wasn’t necessarily the truth. I was feeling a whole array of emotions from confusion to anger. “What happened to your parents Lex?” She asked, turning to look at me. “They sided with Viviana.” I explained with a sigh. “The lady who tried to kill you. And me. She is actually my dad’s sister. And the second they got the chance, they chose to side with her and abandoned our family.” “You were given a choice to side with her, weren’t you?” She asked. “Yea, but she was trying to kill you. You’re my best friend. I had to make a decision. She was hurting people to get what she wanted. I couldn’t side with that.” Annie nodded. “And do you think she will leave you alone since you chose me?” “No. And she didn’t succeed in killing you because of me, so I think the target is even bigger.” I paused and sat up. “Annie, there’s so much we don’t know or understand about this. I’ve tried to get information from people since I got here. It turns out there was a prophecy that was made about your eventual reign and how it destroys Viviana’s.” “Great,” Annie sighed. “So I have to be a hero. Lex, I don’t want to be a hero. I just want to be, I don’t know, normal. I don’t want a new life. I want our old life back.” I tried to smile. I knew the feeling too well. “Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s an option, Annie,” I sounded defeated, I felt defeated. Annie looked at me with sad eyes. “I know.” She replied. “I’m sorry, Love,” I apologized, standing up. “So what do we do now?” She asked. “Well, I’m planning on going to sleep for a while, and we’ll figure it out from there,” I answered easily. “Wait, Lexy,” She called me back as I reached for the door. “Will you stay?” I could tell she was scared. This was all terrifying. “Sure,” I found myself replying, even though I didn’t really want to. “Everyone else shares a room, maybe we should too.” She was thinking out loud as I crawled under the covers, and she picked up her magazine on the other side. “Yea, sure,” I mumbled sleepily. Now that my head was touching a pillow, I had next to no chance of staying awake. “ We’ll have another bed moved in in the morning.” She said more to herself than to me, and I let the world slip away as I fell into a dreamless sleep that was very welcomed. Very welcomed indeed.

  • Saying Goodbye

    Saying goodbye is never easy... Goodbyes are not something I am good at. I have a tendency to hold onto anything and everything that ever meant something to me. But most specifically, people. This past weekend, I said goodbye to someone that I will probably never see again, but I worked with nearly everyday for 2 years. It's a part of life. It was a good move on their part. And I was lucky I was allowed to go in and be a part of the departure. But I still bawled my eyes out when I said goodbye. Me and a coworker after we said bye, went to our office and cried some more. And there really are no real words of comfort that you can say because as much as you're prepared for goodbye, it still hurts. It doesn't stop hurting when the person is gone. It doesn't necessarily get easier like they say, you just kind of adjust. That hole doesn't really ever go away. My college suitemate was my best friend throughout college. I mean, we did everything together. And then, one day, she was gone. We stopped talking. We stopped hanging out. It was slow, and you could feel it coming, but that didn't stop the pain of goodbye, even though those words were never said. And if she came back into my life and was like 'hey, let's be friends again,' I would probably do it without a second thought because I still miss her and I think about her a lot. And I still talk to my Nana as if she's here a lot. I tell her about my day, and when things have been hard. I tell her that I miss her, and ask her to send me signs sometimes. The thing is though, we we're never super close when she was alive. We didn't really talk much. I saw her a couple times a year, and there weren't really phone calls in between or anything. I was never that great of a granddaughter to her. But now that she's dead, I talk to her all the time. It's easier to talk to her than to acknowledge the fact that we will never have that great relationship. I know, I'm not the only one out there in the world that struggles with goodbyes. However, goodbyes often feel lonely and isolating. I often can't help that think that I didn't do enough, that I wasn't good enough, that I was the reason it happened in the first place. But reality is, it doesn't work like that. Goodbyes happen all the time, and you can't hate people for moving on with their lives. And I can say, for me, I don't hate the people who have moved on with their lives. I don't blame them. I think I blame myself a lot more, even though I know, and am well aware that sometimes growth happens at different times and differently to everyone. Sometimes we just outgrow people or they outgrow us, and it's that simple. We can't stop death. We can't be perfect, despite our wishes for it. We can't make people stay when they don't want to. We can't always stay, even if we want to. It's just not a realistic of expectation of life. And it sucks. Goodbyes are just one of the many things that just happen in life, and are completely guaranteed to happen at some point. And all we can do is just grieve what we've lost, and feel the feelings that we don't really want to. So, if you're struggling with a goodbye right now, know that I feel you and I am with you. The hole may not fill, but that hole will always be theirs. <3 Till next time <3 C

  • Chapter 5: Annabeth and the Awakening

    I woke up slowly. My head was pounding and there was a pain coursing through my body that I didn’t understand. “Lexy?” I mumbled before I opened my eyes to realize that I was nowhere that I recognized. “Hey, it’s okay.” A voice told me soothingly. “It’s okay. Relax. You’re okay.” I turned toward the voice. I didn’t recognize it. In fact, I didn’t recognize anything. This wasn’t my room. This wasn’t my stuff. But a part of me wished it was… it was beautiful. “Where am I?” My voice sounded hoarse even to my own ears. “Who are you?” “You’re at a safe house. Where you will stay until danger passes and then we will reevaluate. I’m Aiden. I’m one of your guards.” “A safehouse?” I couldn’t think straight. None of this was making sense. “Guards?” “Yes. It’s for your protection. All of us are dedicated to your safety.” “Why do I need protection?” I asked, as I began to slowly sit up. “Uh, it’s kind of complicated. Viviana wants you dead.” He stuttered uneasily. “I’ll let Alex tell you the important stuff.” I shook my head, trying to ignore the pain that was coursing through it. “Who’s Alex?” I mumbled. “Why does anyone want me dead?” “Take it easy, kiddo. You were hit pretty hard. You were lucky they were able to find you.” He gently redirected me lay back down. “Alex is who’s in charge right now during the crisis.” I heard the last part, but only one part stuck. ‘Lucky they were able to find you.’ “Where’s Lexy?” I asked, sitting up ignoring his prompt, suddenly everything was very clear. He looked at me with a weird expression. I could feel that he didn’t want me to know. And that sent panic through me. “Aiden, where is Lexy?” There was emphasis on every word. He still looked hesitant, but he couldn’t help himself. He blurted out, “She went home…” “What?!” I shouted. Suddenly the door burst open, and I laid back down as the pain returned. “What’s wrong?” To my surprise it was Jake from school who came running in with a sword. “Oh, you’re awake.” He looked bored again. I closed my eyes trying to think. Why would Lexy go home? Why would she leave me with a bunch of strangers? And why was Jake here holding a sword? “You’ll feel better if you eat,” Jake told me nonchalantly as if this was a totally normal situation. I opened my eyes up and shot him a glare. I couldn’t even think about food right now. “Why did Lexy go home exactly?” I asked turning to Aiden. He seemed the nicer of the two. Again, Aiden looked hesitant. “She said she had to get some stuff… We all told her not to go. Seth was furious when he found out she left. But she was insistent that it couldn’t wait any longer. I believe Alex went with her though, you know for protection.” He paused, and no, I had no idea what he was talking about, but I figured my best chance at survival was going along with this. “Come on,” He continued. “Jake is right, we should get food in you and get your strength back.” “Wait, how long have I been here?” I asked as my feet touched the ground. To my surprise, my body was stiff. I could tell that I hadn’t moved in a while. “3 days,” Aiden answered putting his arm around me to help me up. “You’ve been unconscious since you got here with Seth and Lexy. Lexy has hardly left your side. She’s going to be mad that she wasn’t here when you woke up.” We moved slowly. My body ached with every step, but as we moved, I realized the grandeur of the place we were in. There were fresh flowers in gorgeous fancy vases on huge dark wood tables between every room. There were beautiful blue curtains covering the windows. Everything seemed to match and appeared elegant and sophisticated. But when we reached the stairs, the eye candy appearance changed. The stairs themselves were a lovely wood, and they were curved just slightly, but past the stairs lied an abundance of mixed matched furniture. There were 3 different tvs, each sectioned off by the furniture. Then there seemed to be a game area on the other side, there were 6 different chess boards set up and a shelf with all sorts of other games, though they mostly looked like all strategy games. “What is this place?” I muttered more to myself than to anyone else, and I definitely was not expecting an answer. “This is our home, the base. It’s got enchantments on it so no one can see it from the outside, unless they know it’s here. It’s technically public knowledge, but there are strict rules on who can enter and who can’t and how. I’ve lived here most of my life. It’s home to me. And it’ll be home to you too once you get used to it. I stopped. “I’m sorry, I must have missed something. I’m staying here as in this is going to be my home?” He nodded, and we began to walk again. “Despite how it looks, we don’t really spend a lot of time here in the family room. There’s a media room down the hall past the kitchen, that’s where we typically all hang out.” “Uh, who’s we all?” I felt like my head would never stop spinning. “Oh right, uh, it’s me, my brother Jake, Matt, Rae, and Seth just moved in, and now you and Lexy. Plus guards who need places to stay as they go on and off duty. Then there’s Alex. He’s in charge here but he splits his time between the castle and here, but now that you’re here, I think he’ll be here more.” He pulled a chair out from the counter bar in the kitchen, and I sat down. I was so sore, and I didn’t understand why. I honestly couldn’t remember anything past leaving the school in a panic. The kitchen was a navy blue with white wooden cabinets. The counters were some sort of granite. There was an archway directly in front of me that led to another large room. I could see a long table through with at least 20 chairs in it. I wondered how big this place really was. “So, what would you like to eat?” Aiden asked bringing me out of my thoughts. “We have anything you can think of. There’s ham, turkey, chicken,” He was scanning the refrigerator as he talked to me. “I’m a uh- vegetarian.” I told him uncertainly. His eyes lit up as he turned toward me. “Me too!” He exclaimed. “I have the best veggie burgers, want one?” I really didn’t feel hungry, but I found myself agreeing anyway. I knew I shouldn’t, but I felt safe here. And while he was getting my meal ready, I had a moment to study him. His hair was long for a guy. Not so long that he looked like a surfer dude, but long enough it was past his ears. He had a sort of goth look to him. His dark hair didn’t really help the look either. I realized then he was wearing a black zip-up with a logo of a castle on it and skinny jeans. An interesting outfit, I wondered if all the guards had a castle logo on it. “Princess,” Jake stated, his voice deep as Aiden placed my plate in front of me. For some reason, I didn’t even question it. I don’t know if I was now truly crazy or if somehow, I had realized that my fate seemed to make sense. “Yes?” I responded. “I tried to warn you.” He said gruffly. “You could have been more specific,” I retaliated, but I felt an overwhelming calm mixed with some prestigiousness. “You could have said, 'hey someone’s trying to kill you', and not just tell me to be careful.” He rolled his eyes as I took a bite of my veggie burger. He had dark hair like his brother and grey eyes that made it seem darker. It was much shorter than his brother’s though and you probably couldn’t tell they were related except for they had the same noses. “If I had told you someone was trying to kill you, would you have believed me?” He asked. I shrugged. “I’m not sure. You didn’t give me the opportunity to.” I could feel his repressed frustration and anger. I could tell it wasn’t necessarily at me, but still, it seemed to bubble out of him. Then I saw her. Her blond hair was in a ponytail, pulled out of her face, but not at all as neat as it normally was. She was in the same clothes as the other day which took me slightly by surprise, but what was worse was when I noticed that she was holding the hands of Sari and Calynn. My stomach dropped. “Annie!” She exclaimed in surprise, but something in her voice sounded off. “You’re awake.” “I am,” I answered, feeling a new wave of confusion and pain. “What, what’s going on?” “Um,” She hesitated as a guy with dark wavy hair pushed past her. “Hang on, let me go get them into bed.” I turned to Aiden the second she walked away. “What the hell is going on?” I demanded. “Why are her sisters here? Where are their parents? They would never let Lexy just take her sisters away.” “It’s a long story…” Aiden started hesitantly. “I’m not the one who should tell you. Lexy’s parents were not who they said they were, and her sisters were probably left.” I felt my stomach clench. “So what is she going to do?” I asked quietly. “What do you mean?” It was Lexy. “How are you going to take care of your sisters and go to school?” I questioned uncertainly. “Annabeth,” The guy with the wavy brown hair interjected, “You can’t go back to school. You would be putting everyone in danger.” “Right,” I replied. It felt like I had been punched in the gut. “That makes sense I guess.” “I’m sorry, Love,” Lexy said as she took the seat next to me and stared at me for a moment. “How are you feeling?” “I’m alright,” I lied, trying to ignore the pain still coursing through my body. “You don’t sleep for 3 days and wake up fine.” She stated firmly, still looking me over. “I can hear that you’re in pain.” “Is that true, Annabeth?” The guy with wavy brown hair and hazel eyes asked with a sense of urgency. “What?” I felt taken aback by the sudden question. “Are you in pain?” He repeated. “A little, yes, it’s like a pulse.” I told them. The guy nodded, but I still had no idea who he was. “That’s Alex,” Lexy whispered to me, “He’s in charge. He’s helping keep us safe right now. They all are.” “How do we know we can trust them?” I asked. I felt small. And Lexy didn’t give me the usual comfort she normally provided. In fact, despite the fact that she was answering my unasked questions, she seemed far away. “We don’t,” She answered after a moment. “But as far as I can tell, they are our only real option right now.” She sounded so grown up. So resigned. Like I slept for 3 days, and she grew up in that time. And maybe she did. Maybe everything had changed. And that was terrifying. I couldn’t understand how she wasn’t freaking out right now. “I am.” She whispered. “I’m totally freaking out right now.” Her voice was low. I could barely hear her, but I suppose she didn’t want the others to know. “We’ll go to the castle first thing in the morning.” Alex stated, and I looked up to pay attention again. “You both should try and rest.” “I’m fine.” Lexy said almost a little too quickly. “We can go now.” “You haven’t slept in 3 days. You need to go to bed.” Alex argued. I looked over at her and realized she hadn’t made eye contact with me since she sat down. She had just been staring at some spot on the wall. But after looking at her face, I saw there were dark circles under her eyes, and it almost looked like she was trying not to cry. “I’m fine.” She answered, looking up this time. “This is not debatable.” Alex had the authority. “You may be in charge, but you are not in charge of me.” She replied coldly. “Lex,” I felt my stomach sink. “Have you really not slept in 3 days?” She turned to me. “Of course not,” She answered matter-of-factly. “Why would I sleep when my family was in danger and you were unconscious, and we were in a stranger’s home?” She had a point, but I couldn’t help but feel guilty that she was so worried, and I was just passed out, overall fine. “Stop.” She whispered. “You are thinking very loud.” “It’s only very loud because you are tired,” I corrected her, “And listening for danger to the point of paranoia.” “I am not paranoid,” She snapped. “Go to bed.” I ignored her tone because I knew this was a lot. “I know you’re tired. It’s okay.” “It’s not, you only just woke up.” She argued. “I’m good, promise,” I replied. “You’re back.” I turned to see the old best friend staring at her in surprise. “On second thought, I’m going to bed,” She let out a sigh. And I realized she was ignoring him. I felt a small smile tug at my lips at this new revelation. I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe he might be the good coming to fruition in all this bad for Lexy. Because she looked like hell and deserved some good.

  • The Little Things

    The little things in life never seem to matter, until they do. When your mad at someone or dislike someone, everything they do drives you crazy. They could simply be breathing and you'd be like they're breathing wrong. Or when you overslept slightly, and have to rush around to get ready on time. It's annoying. It's a little thing, but it has such an impact on our mood and our lives because we let it... However, just as the 'bad' little things impact our lives, so do the 'good' little things. They're often just moments in time that we don't really think about. We don't really notice, but they matter too. And maybe, they matter even more. I currently, and not for much longer, work at a daycare. It is not my favorite job I've ever had, nor do I look forward going to work every day. But there are bright sides to the jobs. I have some kids that absolutely love me. In fact, I'm often bounced around to all the classrooms, which I don't love, but it does give me the chance to know a lot more kids. It also gives me the opportunity to get a lot more hugs and a lot of "I missed you". And despite hating being thrown into multiple classrooms a day, where I have no idea what's going on, it makes it a little bit better. It's those little moments with those kids and even my coworkers that makes a job I don't like much seem a lot better. My best friend also currently works with me at this daycare, and unfortunately it does not help us see each other any more than we already do as we typically work in different classrooms, and she is much more stationary. However, after she left the other day, I had to return something to her classroom, and while I was in there, I scribbled a quick little, "Hey bestie, I love you" note on a post it note. It took less than thirty seconds of my time. It wasn't a big deal. It was a little thing. However, she sent me a text when she saw it in the morning saying it made her day. It was a little thing. But life is so full of these little things that we so often just straight up overlook. Sometimes it's just a text saying I'm thinking of you, or a hug when the world feels like it's crashing. Sometimes it's a long shower after a long day. Sometimes it's your cat snuggling up next to you while you watch something on tv. We all have these little moments that impact our lives. The good, the bad, the mundane. They all matter. They all effect us. They all change our lives without us even realizing it. So, I hope you have some little moments that can bring a smile to your face today. And if you want to share, please let me know one of your little moments today. It isn't always easy out there, but you've got this. I hope you all have a lovely day, and I will talk to you all in the next blog. <3

  • Chapter 4: Lexy and the Lady

    Before I could backout, and before fear could take over, I ran into the hallway. “I’m Annabeth Hawkins!” I called out into the chaos, and I was certain the whole world seemed to stop. Everyone around me, stopped. There were no more screams. You could have heard a pin drop. My eyes met Seth’s across the hall. His face was horrified. So horrified, I had to look away. And that’s when I saw her. A lady with red hair, wearing a long bright red dress walked toward me. I swallowed hard, but I pushed away my fears as her heels went click, click, click. “What a shame,” She stated when she was close enough. I looked at her in surprise. “Do you think, I am easily fooled, Alexandra?” I shrugged, not trusting myself to speak. She knew my name. She knew I had tricked them, but I didn’t know where Annabeth was at the moment. I just was hoping she was as far away as she could get. “You think that a measly name switch would stop me? I know exactly who you are. You look so much like your father.” She was getting closer, and it took all I had not to just back away. Everyone was staring at me. The hall was now silent. It took everything in me to not lose my concentration. I needed to keep her out of my head. I could feel her trying to pry. I could feel her powers at an overwhelming rate. I knew I was in over my head the second she had said my name. But for her to bring up my dad? That shook me the most. “How do you know my dad?” I managed to finally voice. “He’s my brother, of course,” She stated coldly. “We’re family.” She laughed like it was funny as she walked up and touched my face. I didn’t like the feeling. Pain began to course through my body. “You slowed me down.” She hissed. “You will pay. You will join me, or you will watch everything you ever loved burn to the ground.” I couldn’t help it. I had this insane urge to fight back. I felt angry that my life was being threatened. I felt angry that there were lies in my family. I felt a lot of things that I wasn’t sure were even really rational. “Somehow, I feel neither of these choices are good ones.” I surprised myself by how tough I sounded. There was movement I caught out of the corner of my eye. I saw Seth move closer to me. I knew he had a plan. I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know if I should trust him. But I knew I didn’t trust her. “Your choice is easy.” The lady told me. She was so cold. But she had green eyes that matched my dad’s. I realized that now. “You join me.” It was then, Seth was at my side, and I knew what I had to do. “No.” I grabbed Seth’s hand and I was racing time through the hall. She would know where I lived. She would know Annabeth was heading there now. She would know because she was good at her game. Even I, someone completely lost in this situation, could tell. But I was trusting my gut, and I was hoping to catch Annabeth before she could pass more danger. Seth had a death grip on my hand as we ran, and I felt like he was slowing me down. “Where are you going?” He shouted as a storm raged around us and we reached the branch to choose Anna’s or my house. I stopped. Partially to catch my breath, but mostly because I was trying to track her. I had a hunch she went to my house, but hunches weren’t for sure. I closed my eyes trying to feel past her panic. But I couldn’t. “We have to get to the safe house!” Seth tried again when I didn’t move, and he tried to pull me a different direction. “Lexy!” “I have to find Annabeth!” I called over the storm. I was soaking wet. It was freezing. But my adrenaline was pumping. I took off running in a different direction than my house, cutting through my neighbors’ yards, splashing through puddles. I couldn’t feel anything but panic. And I wasn’t sure it was mine. Then I saw her. On the ground, bleeding, and the woman from the school had beat me there. “Welcome,” The lady smiled as if she had won. “I don’t think I am.” I told her slowly as Seth finally caught up and slowed down. “You can still join me, Alexandra. You could make us all very proud.” “Can you feel pride?” I shot back. I was trying to keep my eyes on her, and more importantly, eye contact with her. I didn’t know what I was trying to accomplish, but I didn’t want to look scared. She looked angry at my questions and created this ball that glowed an orange and yellow mix before she threw it at me. I don’t know what I thought it would do, but I threw my hands up in defense and a shimmery, see-through shield seemed to come from them. I almost let it fall in my surprise. “I have a way out.” Seth whispered in my ear, nearly touching me. “But you have to trust me and distract her for just a little while longer. Can you do that?” “Just we can’t leave Anna,” I answered. “Promise me, you won’t leave her.” I looked over my shoulder, and he nodded. I lowered my shield. “Is that the best you have?” I taunted. I know. Dumb to do when I had no idea how to do it, but I needed a distraction. I let out a scream in surprise. I looked down at my arm as she made a large cut slowly appear. “I am not one to mess with my dear.” She replied simply. “Join me or pay the price.” “I’ll pay the price,” I replied through gritted teeth. She threw something at me again, and I threw my shield up, and gave myself a second to look around, I could see Seth moving toward Anna, and if I didn’t do something fast, she was going to be able to stop him. So, I thought hard and moved my hands the way she had and low and behold a ball of orange and yellow light emerged from it. I could have stared at it all day, but there wasn’t time. It was life or death. So, I threw it as hard as I could at her. She looked stunned, and defended it easily, but her focus was on me. She threw one back. She was going to kill me. Seth grabbed Annabeth throwing her over his shoulder and ran at me hard. I stumbled back as he hit me, and I fell. Except, I didn’t fall and hit the ground. At least not right away. Instead, I fell through something. And I felt my body being pulled in every direction. It didn’t hurt. It just was a weird sensation that I wasn’t a fan of. Then, the floor did come too quickly, and I landed with a bang, surrounded by a whole crew of people with a thousand questions, and I couldn’t help but rack up a 1000 more.

  • The Outside Life of Authors

    I was looking at prompts today to see if anything sparked my interest on something to add to my list of things I want to write about when a prompt sparked my thought process and sent me spiraling a little. There are often times when a writer is brilliant, but when their life is looked upon they fall short. And in present day, many people think the only solution is to not support that author, and that's fair, I think. I mean, I don't have a better 'solution', but something about that just feels... wrong. I mean, I completely understand why some people do it or say it. But they didn't start writing because they wanted fame. They didn't start writing to get noticed. Sure, it comes with it if you're lucky. There are many famous books out there. However, there are even more brilliant ones that hardly anyone has ever heard of. Does that make them less good? Does that make the person behind them less accountable? I think my biggest problem with this 'cancellation' of authors is that everyone in the entire world has shortcomings. They say things wrong, and when they try to clear it up, it just gets twisted. Or maybe they blatantly and ignorantly mess up. Maybe they lack an understanding about every single issue out there. Does that really make their work, their breathing line that insignificant? Take J.K. Rowling for example. She's struggled on platforms like Twitter trying to untwist and only to retwist homophobic statements. Her books lacked diversity in a lot of ways. There were no people with disabilities, there was "queerbaiting", and there was a lack of many other races. So yea, she has shortcomings, and might not be the best person. I'm not arguing that. But does this make her work any less brilliant? Or what about the similar thing that happened to Sarah Dessen? People defended her books, however they do lack a similar diversity. Or when Lori Wick, was donating to a church that eventually got in trouble for child abuse. There's a good chance she had absolutely no idea it was happening and was just donating simply because she was a Christian author, but she lost all her support. She doesn't write anymore. At least not to my knowledge. And yes, these weren't great moments for them. But people make big mistakes every single day. And they typically don't lose their jobs because of it. Not that anyone actually lost their job in my list. I also want to point out most people write what they know. Or at least, I do and all my friends who like to write do. The plots are different. But this character is similar to this person. This character has the hair of this person. This character would say this like that person does. You take the feelings that you feel or have felt and you put them in new places. For me, writing is my safe place. I can say what I would never say to someone's face, good or bad. It's where I can be the hero and the failure all in one. It's pieces of you and your life or the absolute total opposite. However, when I personally write, I don't write about things I don't know much about. I'm not writing to learn at this point. I'm writing to process and feel the things I ignore usually. I'm writing to get stories out of my head, so I can focus on real life. And as much as I'd love to have more diversity in my stories, it does lack in those aspects. And it isn't because I don't care about black lives or disabilities. It's not because I don't care about the genocides or LGBTQ+ communities or anything going on in the world around me. It's much more simple than that. I'm not black. I'm not disabled. I'm not LGBTQ+. I'm not being prosecuted. I'm a white straight female who grew up in a predominately white area. I have a sister who is disabled, but the only point of view I have on any of that is from the outside. Of course, I've read books that opened my eyes on a lot. And of course I want to support these causes and show representation. However, it feels forced if I try to bring it into my stories because again, I am an outsider. And I can only speak for myself on these issues in literature, however, I'm sure I'm not alone in these feelings. And sure, I could go do research. And I could try and place myself in these situations that I've never experienced. But I'd feel like a fraud. And what if I get it wrong? What if in an attempt to bring representation, I only bring hurt to that community? This doesn't mean I won't try in the future, however, when I'm writing, I'm not writing for anyone but myself. And yes, I'd love you to like it. And yes, I would love to make an income one day doing the thing that helps me breathe. But if there's nobody in the entire world that ever reads and likes my stuff, that's fine. I'll live. So, now we talked a little bit about why sometimes writing lacks diversity and authors are sometimes shitty human beings. But does this really effect their books? Are their books really the unreadable when the person behind them sucks? Reading books like Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen and Harry Potter by J.K Rowling, and White Chocolate by Lori Wick have all affected my life a great deal. For a time, if I didn't have Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on in movie form I would have never slept. I just struggle with this concept that when someone is not perfect, they get cut. I understand that in an ideal world, everyone would love everyone and they would always say and do the right things. But we're humans. And when looking back on the past, we still read books and poetry by 'terrible' people. Like Edgar Allen Poe was a drunk. And his work is still beloved by many, and no one seems to be criticizing him. Is it different once the author is dead? As much as society deems that you have to be professional all the time, it is not possible. It is not always easy to say the right things, and be under constant scrutiny. Obviously, more representation needs to come out in all areas. But I do not feel it is the authors job to have to place it in their stories if it would be forced, or harmful to to the community they are trying to help. I think it's important to remember that authors are human beings with real feelings and real thoughts that sometimes just get lost in translation, and sometimes are just shitty. They also can't fully support every cause in the world because it's not humanly possible and it's exhausting to try. However, there is no easy solution to separating the author from the book. What are your thoughts on this? Did my author rant make sense or did you read it and simply go 'what the hell did I just read'? Let me know in the comments. <3 CC

  • Chapter 3: Annabeth and the Warnings

    “You know you can stay, right?” Lexy asked, her eyes looking me over. “I know.” I answered. “But I should get home. My foster parents might get worried.” I told her. Despite living with them for the last 3 years, and them promising to keep me till I was 18, I couldn’t call them Mom or Dad. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust them or anything. But I didn’t really trust anyone. I had burned too many times as a kid in the foster system to think things couldn’t change. But I was super grateful for the days I did get to spend with them. She nodded in understanding and gave me a quick hug before I headed out and she closed the door behind me. I didn’t live that far from her house, but it wasn’t a short walk either. I had walked it thousands of times since we first met. We had walked it together and I had walked it alone. There was little about this path that I didn’t know. But to my surprise, the boys I had never seen any where near here before we’re sitting on the front porch on the corner of the street when I turned. “Hawkins!” Jake Graening, the guy who had dumped his spaghetti all over me called out. I rolled my eyes. I had never even noticed the house there. I just kept walking. “Hawkins!” He called out again, jogging to catch up to me. “Yes?” I asked, I knew I sounded annoyed, but the truth was, I was. “Are you okay?” He asked a little breathlessly when he finally caught up. “Why wouldn’t I be?” I responded, a little harsh even to my own ears. “I mean, I didn’t mean to run into you so many times. It’s just… Something happened when we did…” He looked a little flustered for someone who always seemed so confident, but these were my secrets and I wasn’t ready to give them away to a stranger. “I’m not sure what you’re talking about,” I answered with a sigh before continuing to walk. He looked at me confused. “What do you mean? You felt it, right?” He asked urgently. The vision of him on a prison floor and the dread that filled me made me shake my head so the image would leave. I couldn’t get involved. His imprisonment was not my problem. “No.” I responded. “I have to get home. It’s late.” “Let me walk you home then.” He grumbled. “Thanks for the offer, but I’m fine thanks.” He just shook his head, the confident Jake the world knew was back. “Fine, whatever you want Princess.” And he turned around and ran back to his house where his friend was standing on the porch watching our exchange. The whole thing freaked me out enough, that as soon as I was out of their sight, I ran the rest of the way home. I woke up the next morning to the sound of a door slamming. “Are you awake?” Lexy pounced on me. She was breathless. She had to of run the whole way here. “I am now,” I grumbled, rolling over and pulling the pillow over my head. “Get up,” She stated, pulling the pillow off my face. “You have an awful lot of energy right now.” I told her. “And you are very early.” “I-“ She paused for dramatic affect. “Am right on time, and ready to get this show on the road.” “You’re being ridiculous.” I told her, but she ignored me. She seemed so happy. So carefree. It made me smile. “You don’t do mornings.” I teased as I stood up. “You’re too happy. Who are you and what did you do with my best friend?” “You know what today is,” she threw a shirt at me and a pair of jeans. “Yes, I know. The dance tickets go on sale today, and the first 30 sold are half off.” I repeated the words she had told me a thousand times. “Yes!” She squealed excitedly. “So we have to hurry. I can’t afford them if they go to full price.” “Lexy, why do you even want to go?” I asked as she turned away so I could get dressed. “I would think it would be a living hell for you. If you think the hallways or the cafeteria is bad, this is going to be way worse.” I couldn’t see her face, but I could tell she was smiling. “That’s why we need the half off tickets,” She explained. “So if I leave early, it doesn’t matter. I didn’t spend a fortune.” I let myself let out a chuckle. She was always thinking through these things. Her parents would give her the money for a ticket, full-priced, if she asked. It was me who couldn’t afford it without the discount. Her parents would understand if she left early, and said it was lame. But my foster parents would not. And she had answers to every question. I really didn’t want to go. But she was my best friend. I had to go if she wanted to, and this was my only option. Lexy was happy and almost giggly the entire walk to school, and it made me happy. We chatted about the dance and what we were going to do after school. There was little stress in our lives. We were just normal teenaged girls in that moment, and it was something to be grateful for. But when we got to school. Everything changed. The air was different. Lexy froze and looked around. Her headphones were in her hand, and I gave her a curious look. “What’s wrong?” I asked. She tilted her head as if she was listening to something that confused her. “There’s new voices.” She said quietly as we approached the building. “How many?” I asked, feeling a churning in my stomach, full of unease. “I don’t know,” She whispered back. With that, we both walked into the building and moved as one to our lockers. We could both feel that something was off. We kept looking at each other, opening our mouths then closing them. The truth was, probably nothing was wrong. It wasn’t totally abnormal for Lexy to hear new voices if there was a new kid, especially if they were super nervous, or just in general people visiting the school. That was semi-normal. But this, this we couldn’t put our finger on it. Something was off. And Lexy’s smile had changed to a troublesome frown. I sighed. “You ready?” I asked after I grabbed everything I needed for my morning classes. Lexy nodded, and I noticed her headphones were still out. Something that never happened. Only if she was listening for something. We walked to our first class in silence. We were sitting there in silence as the bustle around us started to take their seats and settle in. I watched Lexy turn her head slightly. I could tell she was listening to something I couldn’t hear. “What is it?” I asked, but she was focused in. Suddenly, she turned around just as the bell rang to tell me something, but she stopped. I followed her eyes to the door. A new kid with blonde hair and the brightest blue eyes I had ever seen stood there, his eyes locked on Lexy. She looked away quickly, but she mumbled, “I know him.” And I felt my own confusion grow, but before I could ask what she was talking about, class started. It was normal by all means that could describe normal. But the feeling of something being wrong didn’t ease with time. By the end of the class, I could tell something was very wrong. When the bell finally rang, I realized I had been too lost in my head to really know what class had even been about. I stood up and began gathering my books, but I realized that Lexy hadn’t moved at all yet. “Lex?” I tapped her on the shoulder. “Are you good?” She looked at me with a slightly dazed expression as our classmates all moved out of the room. “Something is really wrong.” She stated in a hushed voice. She looked toward the door, as if she was questioning its existence. “Lex, you’re scaring me,” I told her. “Girls, is everything alright?” Our teacher Mrs. Garrison asked, giving us a weird look. “Yes,” Lexy answered, standing up, her expression back to normal. “I was just thinking about our book, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It really puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?” Our teacher looked at us curiously. “Yes, I suppose it does Miss. Marks. But if you think about it anymore, you will be late for your next class, girls.” She chided. Lexy gave her a smile and turned toward the door. “Have a good day, Ma’am.” “You too.” Mrs. Garrison replied uneasily. “What the hell was that?” I muttered when we finally got out of the classroom. But there was no time to answer me because the new kid was walking toward us, his eyes asking a thousand questions. “Lexy!” He exclaimed happily. I looked at my best friend to see if she shared his same excitement, but to my surprise, she was completely ignoring him, looking the other way. His face fell slightly, but he didn’t seem too discouraged yet. “Come on,” He pleaded, “You can’t be that mad at me… It’s been years.” It was a rarity to see Lexy mad, but her face showed a whole lot of anger, mixed with just a smidge of hurt. “It’s been 6 years. You left without a word. You didn’t say goodbye. You never wrote. You never called. You just disappeared. I have 6 years’ worth of anger.” She snapped. I understood then. This was the guy who had been her best friend before me. This was the guy she never talked about, but his picture hung in her room. And now he was here. I understood her frustration. Then suddenly, someone grabbed my elbow and pulled me away from their conversation. “We need to talk, Princess.” I turned to look at the person who was moving me, only to see the angry face of Jake Graening. “Oh, come to spill more spaghetti on me?” I taunted, trying to match his anger. “Or follow me home again? “No.” He shook his head and looked at me like I was the one who had lost it. “You need to be careful.” “What are you talking about?” I asked. I felt as though I was being suffocated, my world felt like it was stopping. “Just be on the look out for weird things. Something is going to happen soon, and you need to be ready.” “Are you threatening me?” I felt outraged at the thought. Again, he shook his head, and looked at me like I was the crazy one, but this time he added an eye roll. “Just be careful, Princess!” He called back at me. “Why do you keep calling me that?” I yelled after him, feeling incredibly frustrated. He didn’t answer though. He just kept walking. I turned away from him, frustrated as the bell rung. “We’re late.” Lexy barked as she marched toward me. I could tell she was furious about something. More than that, I could feel it. “What’s wrong?” I asked as we walked to class. “Everything.” She huffed as we walked in the door. “Literally, everything.” I didn’t get a chance to answer because class had started and the only person talking was the teacher. We were about halfway through class when the announcements started to go off. “Teachers, please check your emails, immediately.” The voice asked. Lexy turned toward me with a curious and worried look. “What’s that about?” She whispered. “I don’t know but look out the window.” I made slight gesture toward the window, and she turned to look. “Jeez, there wasn’t a storm in the forecast today!” She exclaimed still in a whisper. “That’s odd,” Our teacher, Mr. Sanderson muttered. “There is no email.” This caused Lexy to look at me with wide-eyes full of panic. “We need to get out of here.” She said under her breath. “No. We can’t ditch,” I replied seriously. “Annie, listen,” She sounded desperate. “Something isn’t right. I know you feel it too.” My mind flashed back to my conversation with Jake that I had just had. “Jake Graening told me to be careful.” I started slowly. “I wonder if this was what he meant by it.” This didn’t ease the expression on Lexy’s face though. She looked more serious though. “After this class, I’m leaving.” She stated. “And I think you should too.” It was almost an ultimatum. Almost. But the bad feeling in my stomach churned. It wasn’t fair. Something was off though I couldn’t tell what. And I couldn’t let her leave alone. And I didn’t have to wait long, or even more than a couple minutes. There was no bell that rang for the change of classes. There was no signal to move. But there was chaos in the hallway. First, our teacher opened the door to peak out there. She heard the ruckus and she went to check, but that’s when we heard the screams. “We can’t stay.” Lex’s eyes were big. “We are out of time.” “What do you think will happen?” She looked at me, her eyes showing she was scared. “I don’t kn--” She was cut off as a chilling voice cut through the air. “Annabeth Hawkins!” A woman’s shrill voice called out. “Come out, come out wherever you are!” Shock and fear ran a chill through my body. The people left in our class looked at me, and our teacher quickly slammed the door. Before I could even think, Lexy was pulling me toward the teacher’s desk. All eyes were still on me. She fumbled with the window, swearing under her breath. She rarely swore so I wasn’t really sure what this meant. “Lex?” I could hear the shakiness in my voice. She shook her head at me as she yanked the window open. She looked over her shoulder, and I turned to see what she was looking at or for, but I saw our teacher nod at us and I realized she had been silently asking for permission. My heart swelled with appreciation for her as she grabbed my hand and pushed me through the window. “What are you doing?” I argued as she began to close it. She didn’t answer me. She just shook her head. I had thought she was coming with me. I had thought that we would leave together. Leave the city. Go anywhere... But she closed the window as someone yelled my name again. And I couldn’t help but watch in horror as she walked to the door and heard her call out, “I’m Annabeth Hawkins.” I felt like a terrible best friend, but I didn’t stick around to hear what happened next. I took off running. But where I was going was a mystery to even me.

  • 3 Things I'm Excited For Within the Next Few Months

    It isn't always an easy thing to feel emotions for me. Good or bad, I'd rather ignore whatever I feel and move on with my life. However, as a human being, I often have to remind myself that that is not always or usually ever, a healthy way to live. And to be excited is probably the hardest emotion for me because it is simply very easy to get excited and then get disappointed. But does this mean I should just never get excited about anything? That seems unrealistic and unwise. So despite risking some disappointment, here are some things that I am excited for that are happening in the next couple months. I am going to see my youngest sister in about 1 month. She currently goes to school in small town Tennessee and plays for the schools soccer team. It's only been about 1 week of actual classes right now, but she's been there for a few weeks and has been having a rough go. So, waiting a month to go see her seems incredibly hard right now. However, I know it will be worth the wait to have some sister time. I am going to see a Sharks hockey game. In November, my cousin is getting married, which is exciting in itself. My family, especially on my dad's side is all very close, so any time we get to get together is a party. I've never been to California before, however that's where my cousin is getting married, and it just so happens to be where my favorite team the San Jose Sharks play. AND they happen to be playing that very weekend. The best part of this is that I wasn't even the one to discover this. My dad actually did, and he even booked our flights a day earlier than originally planned so that I could potentially go to the game. There are still some X factors of course, like covid restrictions. But I might actually cry of happiness if we can pull off going to the game. It will be the perfect weekend. I'm moving home. And I'm lucky that I'm not going to have to pay my parents rent, and least not right now. I get to save my money or buy the things I've been putting off because it wasn't a necessity but I could really use. I looking forward to having enough money to buy actually groceries. And not having to stress if I get a flat tire. And getting myself slightly more out of debt. I'm excited to give freelance a shot. And figure out my actual future without being pressured at the moment. I'm incredibly lucky to have this opportunity, and I know many people don't. So I'm excited to see exactly where this path leads me.

  • Chapter 2: Lexy and the Content Night

    I waited by my locker for Annabeth. She had to finish her math test before we could walk home. She was late, which wasn’t unusual, but I had to get home to watch my sisters. “Lexy!” She exclaimed after what seemed like forever. I didn’t see her till she was right in front of me though, there were too many people in the halls still for me to take out my headphones. I nodded at her and moved toward her locker that was only three away from me. She then slipped something in my hand, and I nonchalantly opened it up. It wasn’t unusual for us to pass notes. But usually they were of some importance of things we couldn’t say out loud, in fear that if someone knew our secrets’ we would never live normal lives again. I opened the letter, my back against the locker as was our protocol. We might have trouble coming. Keep your mouth shut till we get home. Earphones out. Listen to what’s around us. I folded the letter and put it in my pocket. I wondered what she was talking about, but I knew better than to talk about it here. My studies had shown me that people who are different, are always in danger. And as much as I hated it, fitting in was our best chance of survival. “Hurry up,” I said, trying to sound normal as I took my headphones off. “I have to be home before my sisters. I told my parents I would watch them.” Annie looked up at me and nodded, but her face looked worried. I knew better than to ask about it at school. Her note literally told me to be quiet. But if my headphones were off, with this many people still around, I needed to focus on something. It was weird though. I had survived many years with no headphones and school. When I was younger, I’d get these awful headaches that I didn’t know how to handle because to me, the world was very loud. I knew from an early age that I was different. I had survived many years being the only person I knew that was different. I often didn’t wear headphones because I liked the voices sometimes, if I was in the mood for it. But today, I was surrounded by the same people as always, but the sound was different. And there was a low humming noise droning on in the background that I had never heard before. The second I noticed it, I didn’t want to hear it anymore, but I fought the urge to just shove my headphones back in and drown it out. “How was your last class?” Annie asked as we started to walk out of the building. I furrowed my eyebrows. I could hear her unasked question in my head as if she asked it out loud. “It was fine. Completely normal.” I answered, choosing my words carefully. As we were walking, I noticed 2 guys walking behind us. One of them being the one who had spilled spaghetti all over Annie earlier today. Annie looked back too, but when she realized who was behind us, she sped up. “They won’t hurt us,” I whispered. “They aren’t a threat.” “Keep your voice down.” She answered in a hushed tone. “Hurry up.” “Do you wanna run?” I asked. I didn’t really want to, but it wasn’t unusual for us to run home. When we were younger, we used to race, and occasionally, we still did. “No.” She stated shortly. “Tell me something funny.” I let out a chuckle. “Well let’s see, today was a fairly normal day at school, until my best friend got spaghetti dumped on her, and turned into a total lunatic.” I teased. “Not funny, Lex.” She said through gritted teeth. “I think it’s hilarious. Because that boy is following us home, and we’ve not once seen him before on this route.” “What if he’s some creepy stalker?” She whispered. I laughed; I couldn’t help it. “I’m the one with the crazy theories, remember? Besides, it would be weirder if he was like a new kid who you were being pulled to. He’s been at this school with us all year, I don’t think there’s anything to be afraid of.” This time she smiled. “Come on, crazy lady. Those clouds don’t look promising.” Her smile then fully stretched across her face just before she took off running. “No fair!” I yelled after her, as I started to run too. “You got a head start!” Neither of us slowed down till we reached my house. I don’t know what I was expecting, but part of me was surprised to see it still in one piece. I had no reason to think otherwise, but still, I felt a little surprised when I walked in. “Mom? Dad?” I called out, but I wasn’t actually expecting an answer. Neither of them was supposed to be home. Mom was doing some volunteer activity today and my dad was at work. It was just a typical Tuesday. As soon as we knew the coast was clear, we ran up the stairs to my room, and Annabeth immediately raided my closet for the clothes she left over here for days when she didn’t expect to spend the night, or on days like she got spaghetti dumped on her by random boys. Things like this happened more frequently to us than one might think. “Okay,” I started as I plopped down on my bed. “So what’s the big thing that’s actually wrong?” “I didn’t say anything was wrong.” Annie answered trying to sound nonchalant. “Yes, you did.” I responded. “You told me to keep my earphones out, and that means you were worried about something. What has you freaked out?” “I ran into Jake again.” She blurted out after a moment. “Who?” I questioned, not following. “Jake. Jake Graening. The kid who spilled the spaghetti all over me. The kid who followed us home.” “Okay… I’m not following…” I replied slowly. “I can’t explain it,” She answered sounding flustered. “Both times, I don’t think I should have run into him. It was like we were being pulled into each other or something. And when we touched…” “When you touched, what happened?” I questioned, sitting up. I could feel that she didn’t want to tell me. I could feel her trying to decide if she should. If I wanted to, I could have just read her mind, and been done with it, but I respected her privacy. I rarely ever read her mind. And sometimes when you’re close to someone it’s harder to read them. “I saw something that scared me.” She finally answered. “Okay, you lost me again.” I replied, leaning back again. “I saw you, and I saw him, in a bad situation.” “How bad?” I asked, remembering the weird noise I had heard at school. Anna didn’t answer… She just ignored the question. “Annabeth Layne Hawkins, tell me right now what you saw.” She still didn’t want to tell me, but the urge to tell someone was overwhelming so finally she blurted out, “I saw you and Jake both in handcuffs and chains on a dirt floor looking pretty beaten up…” “Oh.” I responded. “Look, I don’t know what that means. It’s just weird. It could be one of those things that have a different meaning or something.” She tried. “Annie, we both know you don’t have those very often. It must be a warning. We can probably prevent it.” I didn’t feel confident with that answer, but it seemed to make her feel better. “Lexy!” My little sister, Calynn shouted as she walked in the door. “We’re home!” “Okay!” I yelled back. “I’ll be down in a minute!” “So, what do we do now?” Annabeth asked. “Now, we go give the children a snack, and we forget about everything for the time being.” I replied simply. “There’s no use worrying about something that may or may not happen.” She nodded and we headed downstairs. It was Tuesday so that meant I had to cook dinner tonight. Sometimes, I made a real meal, but more often than not, I put in frozen food like a chicken cordon bleu and made some instant mash potatoes in a pot with some microwave corn and called it a day. Annabeth, being a vegetarian, kept her own supply of food at our house, so she would make some fake meat food from our freezer. Dinner was in the oven, and we were all doing our homework by time my parents came home. It was nothing out of the ordinary, for which I was grateful. “Mommy!” Sari, my youngest sister exclaimed when they walked in. “Sari!” My mom wrapped my sister up in a hug as my dad walked in behind them. “What? No hug for me, Sara-Bear?” He teased. Sari made some very odd noise, sounding a little bit like a pterodactyl, before letting go of mom and jumping into Dad. “How was your day, girls?” Mom asked as she put her stuff down and walked over to the table. “It was good.” I answered, and there was a round of echoes of about the same thing from around the table. “And your presentation, honey, how did that go?” “Eh,” I answered, writing down the answer to the math problem. “It could have gone better.” “What? The people didn’t like your presentation on uh what is it, the supernatural appeal to teens?” “More like I stuttered and stumbled and made it about as unappealing as I could have.” I told her with a sigh. “I told you, you just gotta sing a happy song when you’re stressed. It works like a charm every time.” My dad responded. “You listen to enough music, I’m sure you have a good song for things like that.” “Dad… It never works that way for me,” I stated annoyed. “You don’t know it till you try it.” He reminded me. I sighed and closed my math book and moved to take dinner out of the oven. “I have tried, dad.” I responded. “But it doesn’t work for me.” Annabeth rolled her eyes at me but didn’t say anything. “Annabeth, how did her presentation really go?” My mom questioned. “You know, she did her best,” Anna stuttered, nearly choking on the glass of orange juice she had just gotten. We only kept orange juice in our house because she like it. “That’s my girl,” My dad hugged me as I was walking dinner to the table. “Careful, it’s hot!” I exclaimed. And just like every other night we sat down around the table and had dinner. The way we had every night for as long as I could remember. And the thought of something bad happening, disappeared in the contentness of the night

  • How I Knew My Mental Health Was Getting Bad Again

    I sure many of you who have found my blog have struggled yourself with mental health challenges. Or maybe you're one of the lucky ones who have never really struggled with anxiety or depression and your just curious to know how the brain of someone who's not you works. Either way, welcome, as I try to explain just exactly how my brain works, or well doesn't work. Usually, when my mental health starts to decline, I completely ignore it. Yep, that's right, I ignore almost all feeling at almost all times. And on a good day, that's fine. But it gets a lot harder to ignore the glaringly obvious signs of depression as it creeps back into daily life. But you guessed it, I continue to ignore whatever those feelings are, at all costs. Feeling down? It was just a bad day. Feeling anxious? There's a lot going on, I'm just a little overwhelmed. Breakdown? I'm just tired or I don't feel well. And while all of those are true statements, I am completely ignoring the pattern and frequency that they come in. I ignore and I ignore until I can't anymore. But what's my telltale sign that I'm ignoring the bigger picture again? Well, it's actually a very easy answer. It's not a lack of showering. Or lack of sleep. Or even too much sleep. It's not I can't get out of bed today. Or even a burnt out feeling that I sometimes get. No, my telltale sign that my mental health is off it's rocker? I start watching Grey's Anatomy again. Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, what does Grey's Anatomy have to do with literally anything? Well in truth, it has a lot of factors for me. The first one is, I'm obsessed with quotes. So, the speeches at the beginning and end of every episode, plus great monologues in the episodes feed into my love of quotes with a dramatic flair. I also really like that the main characters are all "dark and twisty", something about that makes them more relatable, more like me, especially when I, myself, am feeling dark and twisty. And once I get going on the show, something about it makes me want to not sleep. It makes me want to stay up later than I normally would for just one more episode. The intensity, no matter how fake the show is, gives real feelings. Feelings that typically, when I am in a good mental health space, I can ignore. I typically do not watch or want to watch Grey's anatomy when I am in a good headspace. It brings up past feelings and thoughts that I want absolutely no part in. However, when I am feeling down, it makes my feelings seem valid and as though I am not alone. Even if I am. The world doesn't stop for anyone, but there are moments that are telling. Typically, I deny my depression until it goes away before I even realize it was more than just a few bad days or months. It wasn't enough to totally disrupt my life. It was there, but it was deniable. But when I start Grey's Anatomy, it reaches a point where I cannot deny it anymore. I'm back in that dark whole, and I'm watching something that both brings out those ugly feelings and comforts me, just the same.