Take Out

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

the first chapter..

Take Out

 

 

“Two on the left, one on the right.”

“Two on the left, one on the right.”

Tina kept repeating this phrase – like a mantra – over and over in her head. Knowing that she couldn’t shut her mind up was almost as bad as the growing suspicion there was something on her left and on her right. She was sure that when she left The Dragon’s Wing and turned right onto the sidewalk (her favorite Chinese was only 4 blocks from her apartment - a nice walk), she was alone. Sounds: traffic, horns, some child being scolded, laughter; all the normal stuff you hear along Brice Street. She couldn’t remember just when the new sounds began, but they had, and all at once. The sound of her heartbeat pounding in her ears, mixed in with a taunting, growling, shuffling cadre drowned out the usual downtown ruckus. She was overcome with such dread she couldn’t bring herself to look anywhere but straight ahead. Suddenly and so quickly it silenced her heart (pounding and all), the one to her immediate left rushed in and grabbed her lunch. “Thank god, they only wanted food!” Tina thought, so relieved that she didn’t notice the other two shuffle in. She did, however, feel them clamp painfully onto her arms. The rest was a blur.

And it didn’t end well.

 

Part I

Used to Be

 

 

  1.  Somewhere There’s Another

 

The days were long and mostly boring. For most other children however, days ended much too soon. Especially summer days. Summer break meant hanging with friends, riding bikes, playing endless outdoor games. Games with names like; Mother May I, Flashlight Tag, Smear the Queer, Fox in the Wall. Games that Tina knew little of. After all, these were games meant for groups of children. Not for a lone child, awkward and painfully shy. Tina spent most days finding solace in books, music and the occasional visit to her Aunt’s house. Rosie was a loner herself but seemed to enjoy Tina’s company. Aunt Rosie also had a wonderful collection of books. Lots of different subjects and she always let Tina borrow as many as she wanted. It was like a library, but better. Libraries had lots of cool books, for sure. But there were also other children there, many of them always whispering about and snickering at Tina. Thirteen promised to be as bleak as her pre-teen years. Besides her Mom, Dad and younger brother, the only guests at her birthday party last week had been Susan and Kenneth, the two kids from next door. After the cake and ice cream was finished; both of them were antsy to leave. Tina didn’t even notice; she was used to such impoliteness. And to be honest, she wasn’t disappointed. After all, Aunt Rosie’s hardbound copy of “The Stand” was in her room, hidden under her bed. Aunt Rosie didn’t balk at all over Tina’s choice (Rosie’s favorite King book), but she made Tina promise to keep it a secret from her parents. Of course, this made her move it immediately to the top of her read-next list. Tina kept it hidden over the next week or so as she devoured the book. She knew it really wasn’t that necessary; Mom and Dad only came up to her bedroom when they wanted to fuss. Usually, their fussing was done from no closer than the doorway, unless Tina had forgotten to put her sneakers away, or left her closet door open, or heaven forbid, left her bed unmade. Then the fussing got louder as one parent or the other came right on in. Tina was hardly challenged with schoolwork and found she had to look up words in the books she was reading less and less often. She could even pick out the names of bands, singers and composers of the different genres of music she listened to.

But school, reading and music; they were nothing compared to Tina’s ability to handle all the crap, the noise inside her head. She had a secret, a deep secret, one that helped her maintain. She could always slip inward and find... contact her glimpse. She supposed her “glimpse” was her other self, what she had read was named a doppelganger. Her glimpse didn’t just handle things. Nope, no way. She got even. Boy, and the ways she found to get even! Tina loved her glimpse.

The first day of school – 7th Grade, and not only did the usual turd faces begin their laughing and hurling taunts at Tina; a brand-new student, Brendon, noticing the object of hateful ridicule and trying to hang with the “In” crowd, actually picked up an apple from his lunch tray and tossed it a Tina. Tina (her glimpse?) sensing something hurtling towards her, leaned her head back just enough so as not to be hit in the temple. Instead, it binged off her nose. A stand-up comic would have described the lunchroom reaction as “It brought the house down.” Tina felt the heat rise up her neck and onto her face. She was certain she was as red as the apple. She never went to the teachers to report the bullying; getting her Mom and Dad involved would be of no use and would bring on a torrent of fussing. Just make things worse. That night, lying in bed, Tina travelled, slipped, deep into her mind. She needed her glimpse. Really needed her.

Anit (Tina’s name for her glimpse – Tina felt clever giving her doppelganger a name that’s a palindrome of her own)... Anit – come around, come around. I’ve been hurt, dissed, made fun of. Laughed at. Come around and I’ll tell you who and how, and you can tell me what you’re going to do, how you’re gonna get even”. “hhmmm...ooOoo…hhmmm” a sound Tina made to clear the endless chatter in her mind and help make contact.

Lately, since she became a teenager, Tina found it took longer to bring Anit around. She had to slip further, deeper into her mind to even get a brief image of glimpse. Once she made contact and started the conversation (of her being bullied – was there anything else?) Anit came forward just as always.

The other voices subsided as Anit’s voice became clear.

“Tina – you continue to will me and bring me here. You continue to fight back. Or should I say you want ME to fight back, fight your battles. It’s exhausting doing it all alone. You are smart, you should already know how to fix things. Stop the bullying and the noise inside your head once and for all. Think about it, we can do things together, as a whole, much happier and with less pain than by you staying here and me there. We can be one and I will be with you all the time. We’ll be happy! No bullies! You won’t ever have to make your bed again.”

Tina was taken aback by Anit’s words. Her implications. To become one with her glimpse sounded like a way to permanently fix things; but she wasn’t sure exactly what Anit meant. Wasn’t sure of how to become one. She did know that anything to quit being bullied sounded like a great plan.

But Anit, can you help me with the new kid Brendon? Can you find his locker and maybe spray some stink-foam or raid or something in it? You are the creative one, you can fix him good. I’ll pay attention and maybe get creative too. If we WERE one, I guess I’d be just as get-even creative! I’m listening, tell me how to make us one.”

But there was no more Anit that night. Just lots of questions going through Tina’s mind. She fell asleep after a long while and was pulled immediately into a dream. It was one of those dreams that when you came to realize it was a dream, you were relieved. Tina was relieved until she replayed it over and over in her mind and saw what the dream meant. She also saw how to make her and Anit into one.

 

A stiff, cold breeze lifted the curls of brown hair from around Tina’s face. It seemed she couldn’t turn in any direction that would put the wind to her back. She had no idea which way the wind or the howling was coming from. All she knew was she wanted to go the other way. The wind was icy, the howl was distant. But it carried a sadness, a sort of aching loneliness that made her forget all about the wind. A dream such as this wouldn’t be complete without moonlight. It shown bright. Tina continued to walk in a direction that she hoped would carry her away from the sound. Soon she began to think of it as a song – it had the heartbreaking sadness of a Luigi Tenco ballad. He had been an Italian songwriter who had sadly taken his own life. When Tina had read about this, she thought maybe he had been tormented as a child. Suddenly, all at once, the sound stopped. A chill went down Tina’s back and gooseflesh rose on her arms. A flicker of yellowish light appeared in a stand of bent and mishappen trees that lay ahead. She did not want to go there. She willed herself to turn, to walk backwards, to lay down. Her feet continued on. The best that Tina could do was to dig the toes of her sneakers into the plowed dirt. It stopped her only for a moment; she was then tipped forward and her arms were clamped painfully. Being pulled by her arms and in a prone position; she was dragged ever closer to that light. And those trees. Tina began to feel light, as if she were going to rise above the horror she was being taken to. Her feet did begin to hover slightly above the ground and, relief! She felt in control again, had her wits again. She began reaching inward for Anit and surprisingly she made contact very quickly.

“Tina don’t resist. Continue toward the trees, it will be easier to walk… run, pay close attention when you get there. Don’t be afraid. You should be happy with what’s there. It’s your way out. Our way out. We’ll be together. No more ridicule, no more bullying, no more pain.”

Tina was slowly becoming aware of her bed and bedroom when she was suddenly and violently shoved and went sailing toward the trees. Her breath rushed out of her and her whole body tensed up. She had the feeling that Anit had something to do with it. She landed hard, face down inside the stand of trees and in the middle of several haphazard and ill-kept headstones. The sickly yellow light grew brighter. She cried out. She hated cemeteries; the few times she had passed one she could always feel the dread and she swore she could hear the dead. Her last sight, last vision for the night, was of a small headstone, covered in moss and dirt. Small letters stated the name of the child that had died.

“Anita Fischer – Born October 23, 1999 – Died October 31, 1999” a suspiciously placed clump of clay covered the last “a” of the name. Anit.

Tina awoke with a scream that she unsuccessfully tried to hold in. HER birthdate was: October 23, 1999. Prior to the dream, she had no knowledge of having a twin. Was Anit, uh Anita her twin? She was going to find out tomorrow even if it meant enduring the fussing her mom and dad; Mr. and Mrs. Fischer. Tina was unable to go back to sleep that night; she spent the remainder of it working through the dream over and over. She came to realize what Anit wanted her to do. Tina thought IF she did this, the bullying would stop forever. She also knew that wherever Anit was, Tina may wind up in the same place.

 

Now and Then


Submitted: January 25, 2021

© Copyright 2021 DessoMoon. All rights reserved.

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