The dark sea fifty feet below made her stomach lurch. Always the meticulous one, Sarah once again contemplated her option, trying to find another way to escape her perpetual torturer, one she might have missed before. She drew a blank. This was it, the end of the road, at least for her. As lightning flashed overhead and thunder cracked like the report of a 12 gauge shot gun, she reflected over her life. In each explosion of light she saw another piece of her life appear and then shatter. Shattered, that’s what her life was. How did it come to this? Sarah had always been so stubborn and tenacious, when life knocked her down determined not to yield to its constant attempts to bring her down. Her way was to glue back the broken pieces as best as she could and keep going.
There had to be something better ahead, she just couldn’t see it yet. Now she saw through life’s facade and saw it for what it really was. A lie. A false pretense. Definitely not worth living. I mean, what was the point? Where was the light at the end of the tunnel she was promised? It wasn’t there. So now she had to find her own way out of this mess, her escape from the demon eating away at what was left of her soul. She'd found her solution; she just needed the courage to go through with it. Another flash and for a spilt second she was back to when it all started to fall apart…
“Sarah, did you hear me? Get out here and get me another beer before I bring out the switch.” My mother hollered from her permanent place on the couch, “and your father is on the phone so pick it up… and you better sound really damn happy to talk to him.”
As I lifted myself from my place at the dining room table, I chewed over the idea of defying my mother’s wishes and telling my father about how things were at home while he was gone, about the anguish and suffering I have to endure everyday he isn’t home. My dad is an admiral in the U.S. Navy so he’s on duty for months at a time. Every time he returned home I took advantage of the little he was home to do stuff together out of the house. Having dad home was what I longed for every time he left. It not only meant there was peace in the house, but it was a reminder that at least one of my parents cared something about me. How I yearned to tell him about everything… but that would not sit well with mommy dearest. The pressure to leak the truth to my father was not nearly as convincing as the swing of the switch was.
My mind snapped back to reality as I handed my mom another Budweiser. After retreating to my room with the cordless phone, I reluctantly picked up the call I had been so conflicted about.
“Dad. Hey how’s it going over there? Do you know when you’ll be on leave again?”
“How’s your mother doing? How’s everything at school?” he replied after a moment of hesitation.
“Mom is… fine, yeah she’s fine… school is okay I guess... but you never answered my question... when are you coming home?”
I hear him sigh.
“Well, Sarah that’s one of the things I wanted to talk to you about…I’m not going to be able to take a leave of absence just now. My regiment is being deployed to Iraq on a six month tour of duty.
I know I said I would put in an application but there’s no way that I’ll be granted leave when my unit leaves in 2 weeks. But after I get back to the States I promise we’ll hang out. You know just
some father-daughter time. I’m really sorry if that counts for something….Sarah are you still there?
“…Yeah …I’m still here…its okay Dad, I understand…”
“Good. Thanks for understanding. I hoped you would. I felt awful when I got the notice and I was worried about how you would take it. There was nothing I could do about it and when duty calls
you’ve got to answer.”
“Well I have to go you know study and stuff…”
“Good girl. Love you.”
Yeah, sure…not enough to get yourself out of the Iraq mission. I think when you just don’t feel like coming home to your abused daughter and your estranged wife you’re supposed to use a better
excuse than that. What is that the fifth time you’ve used an excuse like that?
I tiptoe back to the kitchen and hang up the phone. On my way I pick up the empty vodka bottles that litter the floor. Such good friends to my mother yet treated so carelessly, unthoughtfully discarded the moment they lack the elixir that keeps her going.
Jonzey looked at Haven City from the quiet solitude of the train compartment, sipping a cup of bitter coffee, waiting for the train to depart from the platform.
The train was stationary on Haven City’s bridge for some time now. Haven City’s engineers built the bridge to accommodate for being the only way into the island. It stretched out for miles, and it was built to hold two highways and one train station. The train station sat between the two highways, tourist’s cars bustling above and below.
While Jonzey was enjoying sunset in the horizon, tiny details started to jump at him; the buildings catching the sunset rays, and the glistening water crashing against the grainy beach, Jonzey thought of what people might be like outside of Haven City? Would they be the way they were on TV or movies? Would they be so materialistic and shallow that they only focus on appearances? Would they have so many surgeries done to their bodies and faces that they lack facial expression or human qualities?
The train abruptly moved, and the island started to drift away. There was an icy cold spot in the bottom of his stomach; little by little the cold spot grew, taking over him until he was shivering all around. Jonzey tapped his foot uncontrollably. He didn’t know why he felt so awkward. It was like he could sense catastrophe about to happen. It was too much to handle. He stood up, placed his coffee on the armrest, and started to walk to the bathroom.
Without warning the train started to shake, making Jonzey lose his balance. Desperate, he grasped the rail above his head, but a violent shudder flung him towards his seat. He tried to sit straight, but it was impossible. The train tossed him over and over again. Some of the lights from the ceiling came out of their frames and slammed against the floor, sending sparks everywhere. Jonzey’s heart slammed against his ribcage.
All of a sudden the train plummeted and made contact with the lower level freeway. The sound of crunching steel and shattering glass exploded in Jonzey’s ears. His head smashed against something hard. Everything went dark.
In what seemed like a brief moment, Jonzey started to regain consciousness.
“Where am I?” Jonzey asked. He was lightheaded and unable to think a single thought.
He kept his eyes closed, but his sense of hearing seemed to be momentarily enhanced; he was able to hear the water underneath the train tracks, and the sound of seagulls flying above the ocean water.
Gently he rolled to his back, and saw the blue sky through the open doors at the other end of the train. He placed his left arm on his stomach, and with his right hand rubbed his forehead. There
seemed to be a small bump on his head, but that was the only thing that was in pain right now. He suffered a few bumps and bruises, and some minor cuts here and there, but miraculously nothing was
sprained or seriously injured.
From this position, he saw the wreck and took it all in. It was unreal, unnatural, almost like a dream.
No, a nightmare.
There was broken glass everywhere. Some of the lights, that didn’t fall down, swung from a web of live cables, shooting sparks and blinking repetitively.
The light from outside indicated it was morning. How long had he been unconscious?
Jonzey couldn’t see anyone around him. He tried not to panic, but the feeling of dread and realization kicked in, no one was going to come to his rescue anytime soon. It was up to him now, in his dazed state, to find a way to get help.
Jonzey patted his dark gray sports coat in search for his phone. Maybe he could call for help. He dug into his right pants pocket and got a hold of the shiny phone. The phone turned on, that was a good sign, but when his eyes did managed to focus, he realized that the screen was cracked and the blue light flicking across it was just a mass of broken pixels.
“Crap,” Jonzey said. "Guess it’s up to me now." He shoved the broken phone back in his pocket.
Slowly, using the wall as support, he got up to his feet and gradually climbed up the train, gripping the back of seats as he walked up the aisle.
With each step he made, the train quivered slightly. So slightly that Jonzey didn’t pay much attention to it.
As he reached the top, Jonzey extended his hand for one of the half open doors and pulled himself forward. He was able to see the train tracks from here; they were merely a few inches away, all he needed to do was jump off.
Suddenly, an aftershock shook the train fiercely, making noises that sounded like nails on a chalk board. Jonzey grabbed on for dear life. The train was going to lose grip any time soon. He jumped out just in time. He tucked and rolled onto the bridge’s middle level. The train crashed below him into the lower freeway level, shaking the entire structure, threatening to collapse the earthquake damaged bridge underneath his feet.
He looked around the chaos of the earthquake. He walked to the edge of the bridge and saw that the other half was nearly forty feet away. Some how he knew that this wasn’t a natural occurring event. Some one had done this and he needed to find them.
“Oww… Where am I? And why does my head hurt?” Sarah asked as she cradled her sore head and her vision righted its self. Last thing she remembered was that she was sitting on her bed, hating her father for leaving her with her mother, and now she was lying in a torn apart town.
“I think I passed out.” I said out loud.
I got up and started walking because I had a feeling someone else was here and looking for me. The again why would anyone look for me? I was just a girl. I had been beaten and abused my whole life, so why? That’s what I was going to figure out. As I walked, I passed a broken shard of glass. What I saw freaked me out. I had changed. My eyes were clear blue instead of their normal plain green. My hair was long and blonde instead of being short and black. I reached up and slowly explored my new image. I had to be hallucinating. I was… beautiful.
“What happened to me?” I thought out loud. I wasn’t paying attention, so I jumped when I heard an answer to my question,
“Who are you?” The voice asked.
I turned and saw an amazing looking guy with short dark brown hair and hazel eyes. He was standing so far away yet I could see every freckle on his beautiful face. I flinched as he started coming closer.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“Jonzey and who are you?” he answered.
“Sarah.” I answered.
“Well nice to meet you Sarah. How exactly did you get here?” Jonzey asked.
“I don’t know. One minute I was in my room and the next I woke up here.” I explained. “What happened here?”
“I was hoping you knew.” Jonzey said.
“I don’t know what happened here or to me for that matter. My hair is supposed to be black not blonde and my eyes green instead of blue.” I responded
“Sarah do you think it’s possible you…” He started to say.
“No!” I cut him off before he could finish. “I didn’t do this! I am so tired of getting blamed for everything!”
Yet as I started getting angrier, the sky darkened, it started thundering and lightening. My hair whipped around My face as the wind picked up.
“Sarah, calm down!” Jonzey said.
When I didn’t, the idiot probably did the stupidest thing ever, he kissed me. Sarah jerked away and shoved Jonzey as hard as I could.
“Don’t ever do that again.” I yelled, “You don’t even know me and you think you can kiss me.”
“Sarah, just listen to me.” Jonzey said.
It started pouring down rain and they were both soaked almost instantly.
“No!” I screamed, “I am so tired of doing what everyone else wants. I want to do what I want to do.”
The wind was howling. It started raining even harder. Jonzey jumped as lightning struck the ground behind him.
“Sarah you need to stop before you kill one of us.” Jonzey told her.
“Good maybe I’ll kill you.” Sarah screamed, “Never touch me again!”
As she said this she turned and started walking away.
“Sarah, stop.” Jonzey said.
He reached and grabbed her shoulder; but as he reached for it a gust a wind blew him backwards.
“Just leave me alone and don’t follow me or you I will kill you.” Sarah yelled at him.
Sarah turned and ran off but to where she didn’t know.
Jonzey watched through the pouring rain as Sarah ran off. He couldn’t just let her go. He had to catch her. He had to make her understand.
“Sarah, please wait.” He yelled, “Where are you?”
It was useless. She was too far away to be able to hear him. He noticed as started walking that the rain had lessened and it wasn’t thundering or lightning anymore.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid! How could you be so stupid Jonzey? She’s the first person you have seen in a while and you make her mad and run off. Why would you do that?” He said to himself.
After what seemed like hours or wandering around aimlessly, he finally heard the faint sound of Sarah crying. He followed the sound until he found her in an alleyway, sitting on the ground with her arms wrapped around her knees.
“Sarah, are you okay?” Jonzey asked her softly.
“No! What’s wrong with me?” she sobbed.
Jonzey sat down next to her and gathered her in his arms. He waited until she relaxed against him to speak.
“Sarah, there is nothing wrong with you.” Jonzey told her.
The rain had stopped completely and Jonzey realized that Sarah had stopped crying as he gathered her in his arms.
“Then why does my dad lie about having to go on missions just so he doesn’t have to come home? Why does my mom beat me all the time and drink so much?” Sarah asked.
Jonzey had to contemplate this a little more. If he said the wrong thing only god knows what would happen.
“Sarah… I don’t know why people do the things they do. I wish I could give you a million reasons why your parents do the things I do, but I just can’t.” Jonzey answered hesitantly.
Sarah stayed quiet for a while. Maybe she was trying to comprehend what he just told her. Maybe she was trying not to cry again. He didn’t know. After what seemed like ages, finally, she spoke.
“Jonzey…” she sighed, “I understand. I am sorry about earlier.” Sarah said.
“It’s okay. You’re under a lot of stress right now. What do you say to getting off this nasty ground and finding some place to stay for the night?” he asked.
“I would like that very much.” Sarah yawned.
Jonzey helped Sarah up and they started walking back towards town together.
I screamed as I ran from my pursuer. They followed me as I dashed down the road. I ran into an abandoned building. I started running out of breath. I stopped and my pursuer grabbed me from behind and threw me to the ground. I felt his weight pressing into my back and something sharp and cold touch my throat. A knife. I screamed as the knife dug deeper and I felt blood seep out and drip onto the floor. I tried to scream but no sound came out. I grasped onto the last thread of life as my killer started laughing. Breathing became harder and harder. I screamed one last time and…
“Sarah! Sarah, wake up.” Jonzey yelled.
I woke up breathing heavily. I reached up and felt her throat. I wasn’t bleeding.
“I had a nightmare.” I said.
“I know. Your screaming woke me up.” Jonzey told her.
I looked around at her surroundings. It was dark, so all I could make out were shapes.
“Where are we?” I asked.
“An office building.” Jonzey answered.
“How long have I been asleep?” I asked.
“Not long. Don’t worry I kept you safe until I fell asleep.” Jonzey told her.
Sarah’s stomach rumbled as the feeling of hunger overtook her.
“I am so hungry.” I said.
“I know me too. There’s a store around the corner.” Jonzey said.
We got up and as soon as we got ready to walk out of the door, all hell started breaking loose. The office building we were in started crumbling.
“We have to get out of here.” Sarah yelled.
“I know, come on.” Jonzey yelled back.
As we were running the building continued to collapse.
“Jonzey! Watch out!” Sarah yelled as a piece of ceiling started falling towards him. I shoved him out of the way. The hard piece came crashing down on my head and then all I saw was darkness.
About two hours later I heard a sweet voice. It sounded panicked.
“Sarah, wake up. Come on Sarah please wake up.” The voice said urgently.
My eyes fluttered open. Jonzey sat looking over top of me.
“Oww... what happened?” I asked him.
“The office building we were in collapsed. You shoved me out of the way of a falling piece of ceiling and it hit you on the head.” He told her.
I sat up slowly and looked around. They were outside. I looked to her left and saw that the office building was in shambles. Destroyed.
“Did I do that?” I asked.
“No. The structure was weak. I promise.” Jonzey said.
“Well it was weak because of the earthquake that you believed I caused.” I said getting frustrated.
“No I never said that. You just assumed that I believed that. I don’t know what happened maybe you caused it maybe you didn’t. Maybe you were sent to me to save me from myself.” Jonzey said.
“Why would I need to save you from yourself? I think it’s me who needed saving.” I responded.
“The reason is that when I was little I lost both parents in a car wreck. So when that train fell I flashed back to when we wrecked. I was raining, the roads were slick. No one should have been drinking and driving, especially on that night. It was late and we were almost home when a drunk driver came out of nowhere and slammed into us. I was thrown from the car but that’s what saved my life. My parents were killed on impact. I never got over it.” He said.
“Jonzey I am sorry. I had no idea. I thought I had it bad.” I responded.
“It is okay I mean how could have you have known. We have never met before this.” He said.
“You seem so familiar to me. I have seen pictures around my house of a little boy but I never knew who he was. I was always confused. My dad told me he drowned before I was born.” I told him.
“See we learn new stuff about each other every day.” He said laughing.
I laughed along with him. As that happened the sky cleared and the sun came out shining bright.
“Sarah you did that. It is you. You must be magic or something.” Jonzey said.
“Yeah maybe I am.” Sarah said.
They got up and started walking. The birds were chirping. Everything seemed to be okay now. They heard the sound of a helicopter overhead and looked up. That was a mistake. They should have ran. They should have hid. They didn’t. Sarah heard what sounded like a gun going off. All of a sudden everything I knew was gone. Jonzey had been shot.
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