Unsortable...*five*

Fiction By Madeline // 3/9/2012

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Okay, so big chapter! :-)

Nine pages on word, which seems like quite an accomplishment. Seeing as I wrote it about two weeks ago, though....eh.

Thanks to everyone who's reading this story! Comments are more than welcome, of any kind.

Thanks!! Enjoy!! I'd love to hear what you're thinking so far, too, of the characters. Who's your favorite and who you just really...could do without? LOL! 

-Homey :D

----------------------

 

           I take a shower that night, concentrating on the warm feel of water against my neck. Luckily, I remembered to pack my Bath and Bodyworks, and I lather on more than I usually would. But I feel dirty. After such a long day, a little soap is needed.

            So is sleep, I realize, as I step into my fuzzy pajama bottoms. They hang loose, away from my legs, which are thinner and more athletic than they were even a year ago. I realize it’s because of my running. I practiced all the time, both at school and at home, for my escapes. The first time I ever tried was last fall, and I still had those perfectly sculpted girl-legs that most seem to have. They slowed me down. The police had caught me within five minutes. So, I began practicing. Every day, after school, I’d run on the track field. It was hard work at first, and I got better. By spring, I felt like I was ready. This time I tried sneaking out at dawn, but mom caught me before I could even get out the window. The police don’t know about that time. If they had, I’d probably be gone.

            A week later, I waited until dark and left. That time was probably my closest. Someone saw me sneak out, though--I still don’t know who it was--and called the police. They literally caught me a mile away from the compound exit. That was it.

            I waited, prepared, and got good. All the fat evaporated from my body. I was thin and sickly looking, even though I felt strong and powerful. But I was doing the wrong things. I skipped meals, I didn’t drink enough water. By the time summer rolled around and I tried to escape again, my legs couldn’t carry me fast enough. I fainted.

            So, then again comes fall. They had warned me if I ever tried again that I’d be convicted. They couldn’t protect me anymore. But I didn’t listen. This time, I gathered all the strength that I could. I did research. I practiced levitating, should need be. And then I ran. Of course, Lynda had to ruin it, and Greg tackled me. So here I am.

            I brush my teeth, spit, run a brush through my thick brown hair. At last I give up trying to get the tangles out and instead pull it back into a ponytail. Gathering my towels and soaps, I creep out into the hall, back to my room.

            Caroline is already in bed when I enter, facing the wall. An empty tray that I suspected once held her dinner--judging from the empty plate and glass--sits haphazardly on the floor. I almost trip, catching myself just in time.

            Then I notice the tray sitting on my bed. Someone must have carried it up here. Huh. I take it into my lap and begin to eat, not realizing how hungry I was until now. Eagerly, I wolf down the macaroni and cheese, green beans, and garlic bread. When I’m done, I wish I had more. But the package of Oreos I stashed in my backpack is suffice enough. I eat three, then venture back outside to brush my teeth again.

            Endriss is waiting outside the bathroom door, tapping her foot impatiently against the floor. I stand behind her, using the back of my hand to wipe chocolate crumbs from my mouth. For the most part, we ignore each other, though I’d like to talk.

            “What’s that?” She suddenly asks, pointing to my arm.

            I look down and my eyes widen. There’s a scar, stretching halfway up my arm, from my wrist to the crease of my elbow. I’m surprised I haven’t noticed it before. Looks like Margo’s healing powers don’t exactly heal completely.

            I cover it self-consciously. “Um…that’s from the last time I tried to escape.”

            “Oh.” She sighs, then bends over, hitching up the skirt she’s wearing. I wonder what she’s doing before I see the big chunk gone out of her leg, just above her knee. I can’t help but gasp a little but. The missing piece of her leg is jagged and gruesome, with scarred pink tissue and sagging skin.

            “How did...?”

            She hears the shock in my voice and snorts. “The police. When I tried to escape a couple years ago, they shot me.”

            “They shot you?”

            She smiles wanly. “Sure did. They don’t mess around. What did they do to you?”

            I shake my head. “That was my friend, Gregory. He tackled me and broke my arm. My sister’s friend, she’s a healer, and she fixed it for me. I never noticed the scar until now, though.”

            She rolls her eyes, and I see how much that hurts her. “Figures. Did you know they’re prejudiced against us? The ones with the different eyes? If we try to escape once, they immediately send us here. Some of us even go to prison. And they’re forceful. I guarantee you everyone here has some sort of battle scar.”

            I shake my head in disbelief. “That’s not…that’s not right.”

            She touches my arm gently, looking into my eyes. “Of course it’s not. But people don’t like people who are different.” She shrugs, turning away. “That’s why I wear skirts all the time, because of this scar. It’s ugly.”

            “Well…” I struggle for a way to end the conversation. “I-I think it’s cool.”

            She grins. “Thanks.”

            I find myself smiling back, but just a little bit.

            The door opens and Trixie comes out. Her black hair is wet, making it even darker than before, like Midnight. She looks at me for a brief moment before ducking her head and sprinting down the hall. I sigh.

            “Things’ll work out,” Endriss says, placing a comforting hand on my shoulder.

            “I don’t know what I said that was so bad.”

            She shrugs. “It’s not you. Really. Like Connor said, she’s just remembering something that happened a long time ago.”

            “What was it? Were you here?”

            She seems to speculate, then nods. “Yeah. But it’s not my place to tell you. You need to hear it from Trixie herself, when she’s ready.”

            “Okay…” I say with a sigh. “And thank you.”

            She smiles, and opens the bathroom. I stand frozen in my place until the lock clicks into place. Then I force myself to move, turning and going back to my room. I climb under my sheets.

            It’s not until then that I remember I was supposed to brush my teeth.

            Oh, well.

 

 

            The next few days pass without event. Several times I start to head to Trixie’s room, wanting to apologize, but I stop myself. I need to let her work this out on her own, like Connor and Endriss said.

            Then Tuesday morning she’s suddenly there, pulling up a chair beside me. Her plate is heaped with eggs and toast and fruit. Connor, who has taken to sitting by me every meal, reaches over and snags an orange slice from her plate. She slaps his hand playfully.

            “Trixie-“ I begin, but she silences me with a smile.

            “Let’s not talk about it.”

            “Okay,” I sigh, both relieved this is over and a little mad she wouldn’t let me talk.

            After breakfast is school, which is in a separate building from the house. I gather my books and start to head over, telling Trixie I’ll catch up with her in a bit. First, I want to text Lynda and Gregory, see how they’re doing.

            Is everything ok @ the house? I type, then press SEND.

            My sister’s reply comes a few seconds later.

            Ya. Why r u not N school?

            I sigh, a little annoyed at her maternal side that always comes out when she thinks I’m being a delinquent. 

            Becuz I’m heading there rite now and wanted 2 talk 2 u.

            Oh. Her reply says. Well, OK. Just b good.

            It takes me a while before I can muster up courage to send my next question.

            R u guys coming to C me on Sunday??

            I don’t know what I want her to say. Will a “yes” will be a relief or just another tear in my heart? Who knows, maybe I don’t want them here. Right now, this kind of feels like vacation, not punishment. Maybe seeing them will make it more real.

            Beep. Goes my phone. I open my newest next. But it’s not from Lynda.

            I see u, Kat.

            I don’t recognize the number.

            Who is this??

            But there’s never a reply.

            School goes quickly that day and I make my rounds, asking the appropriate ‘did-you-text-me-this-morning-and-who-would-have-my-number’ questions. No one seems to know, not even Trixie.

            “I’ll bet it was Connor,” she says as we walk back to the house that day. She offers me a piece of gum. I take it.

            “No, it wasn’t. I already asked him.”

            She shrugs. “Then I don’t know. Probably someone just messing with you. Kids have been known to do that here.” She rolls her eyes. “Especially this time of year.”

            “Why is this time of year special?” I ask with confusion, toying with my yet-to-be-chewed gum. 

            Her eyes widen. “Oh. I let that slip.”

            “What is it?” I demand, coming to a stop on the sidewalk. I sit down, shivering a little on the could ground. Trixie eyes me critically and pulls off her coat, spreading it across the frosted-over grass and sitting down on it.

            “Every year, a local woman sponsors a contest that us ‘rebels’ can enter.”

            “Go on,” I urge, finally making the decision to just put the gum in my mouth. I do, and spit it out. Mango. Ew.

            Trixie sighs. “It’s major, though. Not just a name drawing, or anything easy like that. It’s like a scavenger hunt…except way more complicated. Our powers are involved. The compound government decided to sponsor it because about twelve years back there was a strike. A lot of people were involved, and several of them escaped the compound. They were all eventually hunted down and killed, but not before several of them exposed us to the humans. As you can imagine, it was a big mess for them to clean up. Only us unsortables were involved, though. The regular ones stayed clean.”

            “I wouldn’t have remembered it anyways,” I pointed out. “I was only three.”

            She sighs wistfully. “Yeah, I guess not. But anyhow…the prize for this competition is…big.”

            “Well…what is it?” I ask after a second of silence.

            Trixie takes a deep breath, looking to her feet them back up at me. “Freedom.”

            My stomach drops. “What?”

            She smiles ruefully. “There’s a woman here who can actually remove powers. No one knows who she is except for the people that have won the contests. Who ever wins, she removes their powers, and they’re allowed out of the compound. As a human.”

            My heart is thud-thud-thudding in my chest, and I place my hand over the offensive area. I feel a little dizzy. This is my chance.

            “We have to find her!” I exclaim, hopping to my feet. “Who do you think she is? Why hasn’t anyone else find her?”

            Trixie tugs on my shirtsleeve, pulling me down to my knees. “Calm down and listen. This is why I didn’t want to tell you--I knew you’d jump to conclusions.”

            “Conclusions about what? This is simple!”

            She makes a motion for me to lower my voice, I do.

            “Trixie,” I whisper, leaning over. “All we have to do is find out who she is, and all of us are free!”

            She shakes her head. “The government makes sure her identity stays a secret. If someone went hunting for her…they’d be killed, and if she was discovered, she’d be killed.”

            “Oh,” I say, exhaling in a gust. “And if she’s gone…”

            “-Any chance we have of getting out is gone,” Trixie finishes. She wipes her hands on her jeans and stands. 

            My shoulders drop as defeat sinks down heavily on me. “This sucks.”

            Trixie gives me a sympathetic smile. “Try knowing about it all your life, and having to know all that stands between you and freedom is one woman.”

            “Well, technically,” I say with a smile, as we begin to walk. “There’s a woman, a government, a team of twenty-or-so police officers with weapons, several people who automatically hate you because you’re different, and then the gates at the end of the compound, which are guarded. Other than that…not much.”

            She giggles. It’s a sound I’ve never heard before, and I enjoy it.

            Dinner that night is…normal, but never dull. Connor jokes around with Kiev, as they use their powers on each other. We all laugh hysterically when Kiev makes Connor pick his nose, and Connor suddenly shifts shape into Kiev himself, so basically Kiev is not only picking his nose once, but twice. Oh, the irony.

            Josh pretty much avoids me, and I avoid him. We set on separate sides of the living room when watching TV, and when we both get up to get something to drink, I sit down before he can. He hurries into the kitchen and comes out only a moment later, holding a diet coke. I take that as my cue to get a drink, and so I do.

            I even convince Caroline to come down. Everyone cheers when they see her. She blushes and sits next to me. I grab her hand, and she smiles. I suppose I’ve just made my third friend.

            Maybe this place won’t be so bad after all.

 

 

            Sunday rolls around, and I try not to be nervous. Lynda never texted me back, but I’m still checking my cell phone every five minutes. Nothing.

            Endriss has a brother that comes to see her. He’s much older than her, maybe in his mid to late twenties, and asks all kinds of questions. Is she okay and does she have enough to eat and would she like to see what he got her? When he pulls a glistening gold necklace out of his pocket, everyone gasps, including me. Well, except for the guys. They just do general boy-stuff like say they wish it were cash or something equally promising.

            “I love it,” Endriss says, her eyes glistening with tears. She turns and her brother fastens it around her neck with a snap.

            “He gives her something every week,” Trixie whispers, leaning close to me. Her dark hair tickles my cheek. I swat it away.

            “He must be loaded.”

            He rolls her eyes. “No, it’s not always expensive lockets and jewelry. Mostly it’s just stuff like candy bars and magazines and music. Stuff we don’t have anymore. Even though technically nothing is supposed to be allowed in here that isn’t certified by the government, Selena still lets us have them. She knows it makes us happy. She knows how me and the others feel, being different.”

            I feel different. I want to say. Just because my gifts aren’t extraordinary doesn’t mean that I don’t feel like you do.

            But I don’t.

 

 

            The doorbell continues to ring all day, and eventually I learn to ignore it. So that’s why I’m surprised when, at five exactly, it rings and what do you know--Greg, Lynda, Margo and Reida come marching in.

            “Hi!” I exclaim, hopping up from the couch. My hand flies to my mouth and my eyes begin to water. I wipe the tears away, embarrassed. Connor comes barreling into the room, followed by Kiev, Endriss, Trixie and, at the very back of the line, Caroline. They come to an abrupt stop and smile hesitantly.

            Lynda pulls me into her arms and kisses my cheeks. “Kitty, I’ve missed you so much. It’s crazy being there without you.”

            I laugh breathlessly, pulling her close. My heart seems to expand a little bit in my chest. I’m so happy they came.

            “I’m so happy you’re here,” I deicide to say aloud. Might as well show them I really do appreciate this.

            Lynda steps back to look at me. “Of course we did! And you look great.” She turns to my new friends. “And who are you all?”

            “Kiev,” I say, pointing to him. “Connor, Endriss, Caroline, and my best friend, Trixie.” I grin at them.

            Is it me, or do Reida’s cheeks darken? I realize my slip and send her an apologetic glance. I haven’t seen her since before the trial, and I don’t want to ruin our reunion.

            “It’s so good to see you,” she breathes, tucking a strand of her bright red hair behind her ear. She steps forward nervously, holding her arms out in an awkward hug. I accept it anyway, burying my face in her shoulder.

            “Oh, Reed, I’ve missed you so much!”

            She sniffs. “Yeah, you too.”

            I chat with Margo for a couple minutes, and she seems happy. Luckily, the police never found out she healed me that night, so that’s good. She might’ve been in trouble with them otherwise.

            “It’s been crazy without you here,” Greg finally blurts out, throwing his arms around me. I laugh as he lifts me straight off my feet. He’s lanky as ever, and his grey eyes are shining. Is it happiness in them, or tears? I can’t tell.

            “Yeah, well, it’s not so bad,” I say, stepping back to join hands with Trixie and Caroline. “Everyone’s really nice.”

            Connor winks at Greg before abruptly shifting into a copy of him. Lynda gasps, which quickly turns into a giggle. “Oh, wow!”

            Greg glares at him for a moment before a smile stretches across his face. “Hey, at least I’m looking good today.”

            Greg then abruptly shifts into pink-hair boy. All that’s followed by requests of, “Hey, shift into me!” that last several minutes before everyone seems to get it out of their system. Connor finishes shifting and goes back to brown-hair boy, obviously very satisfied with himself.

            “Hey--we bought gifts,” Reida said, as if suddenly remembering. She hurries out the door and comes back a moment later, brandishing packages. They’re of various shapes and sizes, some polka dot patterned, others with stripes, a couple just wrapped in newspaper and tied with twine.

            “This one’s from Lynda,” Reida says with a grin, handing a small, rectangular package over. I take it and something crinkles. I smile happily, opening it slowly, even though I already know what it is.

            “Oreos!” I exclaim with a laugh, handing them over to Trixie. She opens the package and takes one, passing it down to Endriss.

            “Thank you,” I say, hugging her. “I was running low.”

            She winks. “Well, I know how you feel about Oreos…”

            I place a hand dramatically over my heart. “They make the world go round!”

            Reida, after wolfing down two of the cookies, hands me one of the newspaper-wrapped gifts. “This one is from Greg.”

            He shuffles, blushes, looks down at his hands. “It’s nothing.”

            The package is heavy, and when I open it, I see it’s a shoebox. I lift the lid, and my eyes brighten as I look down at the contents.

            There are several books, many of them my favorites, and even a couple movies. After closer inspection, I find that they’re rented from the library. I look back up to Greg with question in my eyes.

            “I figured you could make a list to give me every Sunday, and I’ll rent you whatever you want from my card. That’s cheaper than buying it, and that way if you really like a certain book I can be sure and just buy it for you later.”

            His consideration surprises me. I smile.

            “Gregory…thank you.”

            He leans over and kisses my cheek. I look over at Lynda. Her smile now seems a little more forced than it was before.

            “We miss you like crazy!” Margo suddenly wails, throwing her arms around me. Her caramel-colored cheeks glisten with tears, and I smooth down her curly, dark-brown hair.

            “Really, I’m okay now. I didn’t think I’d be at first, but I am.” I step back, threading my arm through Trixie’s. “Mainly because of these guys.”

            Reida smiles wryly. “I’m glad you have new friends.”

            I can’t help notice the emphasis she puts on ‘new.’ I shuffle my feet awkwardly for a moment, dropping my arm back down by my side.

            “Do you guys want to stay for dinner?”

            Lynda shakes her head. “We can’t. Sorry.” She takes the remaining three gifts from Reida and thrusts them toward me. “We’ve got to go. You can take a look at these later. One’s from all the kids at school--they pitched in--and another is from Margo.”

            I grin at my sister’s best friend. She struggles to smile back.

            “And the last one is from mom and dad.”

            Suddenly, they’re everything I can think about. Even though they’re gone, their absence fills the room more than it would have if they were here in person.

            “Okay,” I say with a swallow, taking the presents from her. “Thanks.”

            We say our goodbyes and they leave.

            Later, up in my room, I decide to open the presents. The ones from everyone at school is first. I tug it open and smile. It’s a scrapbook of all the kids in my class. Everyone has put pictures of themselves in there, and me, and the teachers. My eyes start to tear up a bit but by the time I close the plain, black binder I have it under control.

            Margo’s gift is cute and quirky, kind of like her--the exact opposite of me. I stroke the stuffed unicorn, laughing at its goofy expression. The tongue is hanging out and one of the eyes are bugging out. But it’s smiling. That’s what counts.

            Mom and Dad’s present is small, simple, and the other newspaper-wrapped thing. I open it slowly, hands shaking, wondering what it will hold. A new CD? A necklace? But no, it’s just a chocolate bar and a piece of paper.

            I hurriedly unfold the note, eager to see what it says.

            Kitty--it says, in mom’s messy handwriting.

         You know we love you, and you know how special you are. It just hurts to see you somewhere that’s not here. That’s why I didn’t say goodbye, and why I cannot bear to visit. I guess I’m tricking myself into thinking you’re just down the hall, in your room, listening to music. I wish you were.

         I miss you, my sweet girl.

         Love,

         Mom

            I crumple up the note and throw it against the wall, tucking my knees under my chin. Right at that moment, I absolutely loathe excuses. Liar, Liar, Liar, is all I am able to think, over and over again. She can’t say that. She just doesn’t care.

            Caroline opens the door, slipping in and sitting down on her bed. She is one of the five who’s parents did not visit them today. The others were Wadell, Connor, Trixie, and Kiev. But none of them seemed to care, except for Wadell. Trixie told me her parents stopped visiting her a long time ago, that she doesn’t know where they are and she doesn’t care. Connor claims he doesn’t have parents, that he was born from alien scientists, but something tells me that’s not true. Kiev didn’t say much about them, just went about his daily duties. And I already know Caroline’s story.

            But Wadell. The look on his face as he watched the door, leaping to his feet to hurry and see who it was each time--it still haunts me.

            I still don’t know which expression was worse; the one he had when he realized no one was coming, or the one he had when he actually thought they might.

Rough day? Caroline suddenly asks after a while of doing homework and generally not talking.

            I look up at her, taking my favorite headphones from my ears. “You could say it was both great and a huge disappointment.”

            She nods. That’s the problem with people. You can’t control what they say or do, and they can’t read your mind, so they don’t know how their actions will affect you. I gave up on my mom and dad a long time ago. I’m sure, if we ever see each other again, they won’t feel…like parents.

            “But isn’t that worse?” I ask, chewing on the end of my pencil, a disgusting habit of mine. “Isn’t it better to be close than detached?”

            Hearts are easier to break, she reminds me, than they are to mend.

            Goodness. What’s with her Hallmark lingo?

            “That’d make a great apology card saying and all,” I mutter, standing up. “But that’s not going to help me.”

            Maybe you should start thinking of others instead of your-

            But I cut her off as I walk out and shut the door behind me. I pause for a moment, wondering if she can reach my mind if she can’t see me. Apparently she can’t. I breathe a little sigh of relief.

           

 

            “Today are signups for the contest.”

            I’m so surprised at Trixie’s sudden whispering in my ear I drop my fork. My cheeks redden as everyone turns to look at me. As my stomach plummets about five stories, down to the bottom of my converse sneakers, I push my plate away. So much for breakfast. Now I couldn’t eat if someone forced me.

            “Where?” I whisper back.

            She notices everyone staring and instead reaches for her phone.

            Let’s tlk aftr class, OK?

            I give her a nod and stand up, grabbing my backpack and jacket, already heading for the front doors.

            School passes slowly that day. For some reason molecular cells just aren’t interesting, and neither is the reign of King Henry VIII. When the bell rings, I all but run from the classroom, down the halls, and outside.

            Trixie is already there, waiting for me. She grabs my hand and tugs me toward the main office, which is in a separate building from the school. Two women sit inside, smiling up at us from their desks. I notice they both have black eyes.

            “We need two sign up sheets,” she wheezes, breathless from running.

            I nod, trying to catch my breath.

            “Sure thing, sweet pea,” one of the ladies says. She hands Trixie one than turns to me, but not before the other one, a more cynical-looking version of the first, leans over and whispers something in her ear.

            “I’m sorry sweetheart but I can’t give one to you,” she says at last.

            Trixie gasps in outrage, leaning over the desk, spouting off how I am a member of the school and live in the house and other unimportant nonsense. I slowly feel all sense of hope sinking, down, down…

            “Black eyes only, dear,” The lady says, looking at me. “I’m sorry.”

            “I want to talk to someone about this!” Trixie exclaims. She looks at me, reaching down to squeeze my hand. I give her a weak smile.

            “Sorry, darlin’, its in the rules.”

            “Let me see,” Trixie says, motioning for her to hand the paper over. The woman does so, pointing to her a line five paragraphs down from the top of the page.

            Slowly, Trixie’s face settles into one of pure surrender. She hands it back over, looking at me with sadness.

            “I’m sorry, Kathryn, it’s true.”

            I take a shuddery breath. “Okay. Thanks for trying.”

            We head for the door before Trixie suddenly turns around, heading back up to the desk. “Hey--I said I’d pick up a form for one of my friends...Bethany. Can I have an extra?”

            “Sure thing,” the nice woman replies, handing her a second form. Trixie smiles, thanks them, and comes back to where I’m standing. We head outside, across the grounds, toward home.

            “It’s over, then,” I say with a groan. “I’m stuck here forever.”

            Trixie smiles slyly. “Not exactly. I have a plan.”

 

 

Comments

Super good :) I love this a

Super good :) I love this a lot. Oh, an observation I had was that Gregory and Lynda both said "It's been crazy there without you!" which seemed a little off. Everything else was awesome-can't wait for the next chapter!!!

Erin | Sat, 03/10/2012

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Thank you!! :-)

Thank you!! :-)

I'm going to make a note of all the feedback and edit it...thank you, it helps so much! I've actualy been proofreading this story (which is very rare for me, LOL!) but things like that always slip past my attention. And it drives me crazy when I put something more than once in my stories, so I'm definitely changing that. Haha! :)

Thank you, again! 

Madeline | Sat, 03/10/2012

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

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