Monday, April 13, 2015


Voices swirled around Serenity as she ran down a darkly lit corridor. "Serenity...Serenity...Serenity..." they whispered, filling her head with cottony sighs. Hands reached out, grabbing onto her ankles, but Serenity pushed on, freeing herself. She tripped over a dark object, falling flat on her face. "Serenity... Serenity..." a voice came from above her, unmistakably male. "It's ok granda... Hush my granddaughter... All will become clear soon." A face began to take shape above Serenity.

Serenity awoke with a start. She had fallen asleep curled in her bathroom. Outside the door, she could hear the voices of Braeden and Dympna as they conversed in low voices. Serenity pulled herself up to the sink, splashing water over her face with shaking hands. Her gaze fell to a book open on the toilet, with the passage "In this land, said the god; 'who seeks shall find; who sleeps with folded hands or sleeps is blind" highlighted.

"Quite right. And it's about time that you started seeking your own answers, girl, rather than having the wrong answers given to you." Braeden appeared in the doorway.

"Why?" asked Serenity, completely fed up. Fed up with the voices, fed up with her life, fed up with the lack of information. "Why on Earth would I want to find out? What on Earth do I need to find out!?"

"Well, strictly speaking, it's not on Earth..." Dympna peered over Braeden's shoulder. "Oh, dear, you look awful! I made you a tomato and bacon sandwich, the kind that you eat whenever you're having a bad day." Serenity walked out of the bathroom, and indeed, there it was, a bacon and tomato sandwich. It looked real enough, so she wolfed it down.

"Let's go, already. We have places to be!" Braeden tapped her cane impatiently against the ground. 'Might as well,' Serenity thought. 'It's not like I have anywhere to be; might as well give into the crazy if it seems to be inevitable path.' Serenity let out a short burst of hysterical laughter and got up, brushing the crumbs off of her pants and going to pull on a fresh shirt.

Less than 15 minutes later, Serenity was walking down the street. She turned a corner and nearly ran into a woman who seemed intent on getting past the minute clinic without anyone noticing her.

"Where are we going?" asked Serenity out loud, earning herself a few odd looks from the people around her. The woman looked up, startled.

"Are you talking to me?" She asked?

"No, sorry, Bluetooth." said Serenity quickly, anxious to get away from the public. The woman nodded, accepting the answer, then with one more look at the door of the minute clinic hurried off down the sidewalk.

"Where are we going?" Serenity hissed through her teeth.

Braeden looked at her. "To see your great-grandfather."

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Unexpected Guests

Serenity awoke to the sensation of fingers stroking her forehead and a voice humming the old lullaby her mother would sing when she was a little girl.  She slowly came to, then quickly shut her eyes as bright lights threatened to blind her. Gradually, her mind slipped back into focus. She quickly scrambled away from whoever was stroking her forehead. A scream welled up and threatened to spill from her throat.

"Oh, dear, Serenity, no no, lie back down again, you shouldn't be up this quickly." The voice sounded very familiar.

Serenity spun around. On her bed there sat a middle-aged woman, with a kind face and hair pulled back into a wayward bun. She seemed to be wearing very old-fashioned clothes, similar to the clothing worn in the 1800s if Serenity had to guess.

This time, the scream burst free.

"Serenity, hush now..." the woman began. A hand clamped down on Serenity's mouth. The woman cast a kind of chastising look at the other woman who had just materialized in Serenity's bedroom.

"What? We can't have her waking all of the neighbors, can we?" The other woman continued to stand behind Serenity. Serenity didn't dare turn around.

"Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god..." Serenity chanted to herself, curling in on herself as was her habit. She had gotten worse. This was her worst fear, and it had come true.

"Serenity, sweetheart..." the woman on her bed crooned, scooting over and wrapping her arms around Serenity's shaking body. Serenity was astounded by how real the woman's touch felt.

"This isn't real, this isn't real, this isn't real..." Serenity murmured over and over.

"Oh good lord! She still thinks that it's that schizo-whatchamacallit!" the woman standing behind her finally walked around into Serenity's line of sight, revealing a very elderly woman wearing what looked a gown from the medieval era and clutching an old, knobby cane.

"Schizophrenia, Braeden. It's what the poor dear has been told over and over again, so it's no wonder she believes it!"

The old woman snorted. "Pish-posh. This girl hasn't got schizophrenia and deep down she knows it!"

It had all gotten too much for Serenity. She threw herself off the bed and bolted for her bathroom, desperate to find her medicine. Both the middle-age woman and the old crone who was apparently Braeden, followed her into the tiny bathroom.

"That won't do anything, dear. All the medicine does is mess with your abilities."

"And if the past day has shown us anything, it's that you need to train. You need to learn how to protect yourself." Serenity continued to shake her head as she lifted her trembling hand to her mouth. But quick as a whip, the old Braeden's cane lashed out and knocked the last dose of medicine out of her hand.

"Abe should be here to help us" the middle aged woman said, hand going idly to her stomach.

"Yes, well, it's a shame that he died, Dympna" Braeden said consolingly, her tone at odds with her words.

"How do you know my great grandfather's name?" Asked Serenity. Dympna gave Serenity a sad smile.

"You really don't know anything do you? Anything about your heritage? Your family tree?" asked Braeden. Serenity shook her head. Both women seemed to wilt under that admission.

"Look, could you maybe just... leave me alone?" Serenity asked as a last ditch effort.

"Well, seeing as how we're bound to you we can't go very far, but we'll give you some space, dear." Dympna helped Braeden stand and they moved into the next room, shutting the door on Serenity.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Writing on the Wall

"You need to get out more."

Serenity shook her head and continued to focus on the transcript in front of her.

"You look as pale as the dead, dear."

"Yeah, and you've been in this town for four months and you haven't met anybody." Braeden and Dympna's voices continued to swirl. Serenity got up to make herself something to drink. Something hot, preferably. Serenity was always cold.

Something grayish-blue came out of the faucet instead of water. It was completely silent for a moment, then...

"I guess I should get out of the apartment."
Serenity walked down the street, arms full of food and water bottles. She had made a visit to the quiet supermarket and a stop to pick up her dinner from the loud O'Harley's, where she had to twist and turn to get to the bar. It seemed like the entire town was there. She quickly ordered her food from the harried-looking bartender, and leaned against the bar, hoping to not get in anyone's way. She got her food quickly, a surprise given the crowd.

As Serenity walked out into the night air, she let herself breath in. It had been a fairly quiet night, luckily. Looking forward to the piping-hot food under her arm, she walked quickly. She walked so quickly that she almost missed the writing before her name popped out at her. It was bright blue, the next sentence smeared so that it was illegible. But the first sentence was the only one that mattered

Serenity dropped the food. It splattered across the pavement. The water bottles rolled across the sidewalk. "No no no no..." she muttered, falling to her knees. What was this? Some kind of prank?She had tried so hard to run from anyone who knew... And now everyone knew. She scanned up and down the street, noticing a woman who soon ran off as if in a rush to get away from Serenity.

"No, Serenity, stop. Pay attention to what it says. Pay attention to the details. Serenity, calm down..." Braeden and Dympna murmured to Serenity until their voices became too much. Serenity got up and ran, hurtling around corners, nearly bowling some man wearing a blue, filthy jacket over in her haste to get away. A blue Subaru seemed to follow Serenity to Dreamwood. Serenity ran faster, imagining that the driver just wanted to get a glimpse of the crazy girl.

Serenity sprinted up to her apartment, slamming the door closed. Another voice added to Dympna and Braeden. A much angrier voice, sounding like he was right next to Serenity's ear. "Listen to me! Don't ignore me! I'm right here! WHY CAN'T ANYONE SEE ME! LOOK AT ME!" Serenity whirled around, looking for the voice in her empty apartment. The voice kept on yelling. Serenity could hear Braeden and Dympna trying to get the voice to quiet down, but it wouldn't listen. The voice grew angrier and angrier.

All of a sudden, the lamp that Serenity kept in her entry way levitated, before coming straight down on Serenity's head. Serenity saw spots and the graffiti with the smears under it. The words mocked her. 'Serenity, remember how you hear voices?'

Another roar sounded. "LOOK AT ME!" The lamp came down again, and everything went black.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

When the Cold Takes Hold...

            The air seemed to be colder than usual. Serenity’s breath was fogging before her as she continued her journey from her apartment to the post office. Her latest job was supposed to come in soon; Serenity always preferred to translate texts from the books rather the internet. Looking at a screen for too long gave her a headache. It was best, of course, to have someone read the text she was supposed to be translating to her while she wrote, but there were very few people whose voices she could listen to along with the constant barrage in her brain.
            And, well, that voice had been gone for a long time. Along with its owner.
            “There’s no need to dwell on the past” said Dympna, almost as if Serenity were a child who she was soothing.
            Serenity shook her head, almost as if a simple shake could make any unknown thoughts fly out of her head. And then…
            It was as if she had just passed through a sound-proofed door to the side where an enormous party was raging. The temperature dropped, as if Serenity had just walked into a pocket of cold air.
            Serenity stumbled, then fell. She remained curled on the ground before a passer-by took pity and crouched down. 
            “Are you all right?” Serenity shook her head, again and again and again. The stranger put her hand under Serenity’s, lifting her and escorting her over to a bench in front of the graveyard, where a bonfire raged. The voices in Serenity’s head pounded and Serenity silently willed them away.
They then ebbed, as if they were being pushed back by some unseen force. She slowly lifted her head.
            “Do you need me to call anyone for you?” the stranger asked, glancing at her watch, as if she had someplace to be. Serenity shook her head.
            “I’ll be fine. It was just a stumble.” Serenity smiled, as small but pretty smile. And a very false smile. The woman seemed unconvinced, as if she could tell that the smile was not genuine.
            “Are you sure?”
After Serenity convinced the woman that she was well enough to get to the post office and then home, she got up and left. Serenity picked herself up and continued further into the darkness.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Gifts from the Past: Apartment 744

     Serenity was woken with knocking at the door. "Oh, dear," Dympna sighed. "What do the police want now?" She climbed out of bed, pulling a robe tight around herself and shuffling towards the door. The light blinded Serenity for a second, and then...
     "Chief Buc?"
     "Oh, great." grumbled Braeden.
     "We have a warrant to search your apartment, Serenity."
     "I, um..." Three men pushed past Serenity at the door and started the search.
     "Don't worry, we already have your medication listed among the stuff they should leave here" Chief Buc said, thinking that was Serenity's only worry. Serenity slid down the wall and curled in on herself.
     "Is there any chance I could get some now?" She asked quietly.
     "You should wait outside while we search." Chief Buc was quiet. Serenity tucked her head on her knees. "I'll see if I can get you some of that medicine."
     Serenity heard him walk away, calling for one of the other officers. Was it Jared? Gareth?
     "Jeremy." Braeden whispered. "Serenity, why don't you pay attention?"
     Chief Buc returned, holding the pill bottle. Serenity eagerly accepted it.
     "That's an... interesting sack you got in that drawer. What's in it?" Chief Buc asked.
     "Some coins my great-grandfather left for me in his will."
     "Drachma." Dympna said. "They're called drachma."
     "All clear, Chief." One of the police officers said.
     "Excellent. Call it in, Jeremy?" The policeman nodded.
     Serenity nodded at Chief Buc, then stood and reentered her apartment. While returning to her bathroom to put the pills away, her gaze fell on the bag of drachma, with the golden embroidery that read Ακριβώς σε περίπτωση. Just in case.
     Serenity couldn't remember her great-grandfather. In fact, he wasn't alive at anytime during her lifetime. But Serenity remembered her mother handing her the bag on her eighteenth birthday, saying that Serenity's great-grandfather, who she had never met before, had left this for her in his will.
     Maybe he's who the crazy came from.
     Running. Running would help. Serenity was awake, anyway. No surprise there. She changed quickly, then left, closing her apartment.
     "That poor old man..." Braeden sighed. Serenity shook her head, dismissing the thought.
     "So close, so close, so close..." She almost missed the door. There was an old man kneeling on the floor, some officers in his apartment. He looked like he could cry, staring at a gun and a flag on his bed as if they were tearing him up on the inside. Then he turned to look at her, and it was almost as if Serenity could feel his mortification and agony.
     Wanting to give the man his privacy, Serenity continued, running out onto the snow-covered streets.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Different Perspective

            Serenity kept her head down, arms wrapped tightly around her body as she stumbled from the humid air of outside into the lobby of Dreamwood Terrace. It was almost deserted. Only the receptionist was at the desk. He didn’t even spare her a glance, used to strange people coming in at six. He probably just assumed that she had gotten off of a shift at work, or something.
Serenity’s head pounded. She made it to the elevator, blindly pushing a button that felt like the button to the seventh floor. Leaning against the wall, next to the poster advertising some author coming to the local bookshop, she tried to push the voices to the back of her head and take deep breaths, like her mom used to tell her to do whenever Serenity had an episode and her mom freaked out.
She was glad her mom wasn’t here right now.
            When the elevator dinged, Serenity moved swiftly out, heading down the hall and hoping that she could get to her apartment before it all became too much and her neighbor found her sitting against the wall, like she had the last few times. She was so intent on reaching her apartment that she didn’t see the person coming out of their apartment before they ran into each other.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there, I’m so sorry, really I am, I just….” Serenity trailed off when the stranger reached out and grasped her chin, looking her straight in the eyes.
The stranger seemed to be an older woman, wearing clothes similar to that of an old fortune-teller.
            “I’m really sorry” Serenity tried again, one more time. The woman smiled, then turned Serenity’s head from side to side before speaking.
“How strange it must be for you, my dear.” Serenity stared at her. “To think one thing and be another.” The woman smiled, turning Serenity around and giving her a push back towards the elevator. The doors closed, hiding the woman from view, and the elevator continued its ascent to the seventh floor.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Beginning of the Descent

The day started at 3:00 am, with voices screaming. This wasn't exactly surprising; Serenity had been waking up like this since she was 22. She blearily stumbled out of bed, almost stubbing her toe on the door but missing it at the last second. The screaming began to get louder, turning into an unintelligible mess of noise. She downed her medicine and moved into her favorite armchair overlooking the fountain on Main Street. Nobody was out. In fact, most people were probably still in bed, dreaming of fluffy clouds and puppies. Lucky them.

After making an entire pot of hot chocolate to last until noon she finally began to feel her medicine kick in. The screaming subsided until it became white noise in the back of her mind. Feeling much better, she uncurled herself from a ball and began to get ready, slipping into her workout gear. Serenity tied up her hair into a high ponytail and grabbed her keys before grabbing her headphones and phone. She stepped out of her apartment on the seventh floor of Dreamwood Terrace Apartment building. Locking 744 behind her, she ran down the stairs and made the short jog to the local YMCA just as it opened.

Though she would never admit it to anyone, Serenity loved working out early in the morning. There was no one to take her favorite machines, and no class loudly taking place next door. She relished in the peace.

For a little while, anyway.

"Good morning, Serenity" said Braeden. Serenity stifled a groan. That was, what, 5 minutes earlier than before?

"You're being very rude, Serenity" exclaimed Dympna. They always seemed to come first, the others coming soon after. Serenity closed her eyes, desperately trying to gain some peace back.

"Serenity?" Dympna and Braeden asked together. Serenity grit her teeth, determined to get lost in her workout. She began to chant in her head. 'Go away, go away, go away, go away....' Braeden and Dympna began to talk at once, their voices mingling until it was all too much.

"GO AWAY!" screamed Serenity. One of the cleaning ladies that had just came in gave her a dirty look. "Oh, no, sorry, not you. Sorry." She seemed to stumble over her apology, scrambling to collect her stuff. Uttering one last apology to the cleaning lady, she grabbed her YMCA card and ran out of the Y, sprinting as fast as she could, Dympna and Braeden echoing in her ears. 'Sorry,' Serenity thought. 'Just talking to the voices in my head. Don't mind me, I just hear voices and sometimes they're so lifelike that I talk to them. Just ignore the crazy girl with schizophrenia.'