This Prison We Share

“Can we carry this love that we share
Into the open air?” (x)

As Anna’s fury began to drain away, like the puddles after thunderstorms, she was left with emptiness, no feeling but the throb of her cheekbone. The silent rooms around her yawned out, the music that Cally loved so much silenced. That was all her fault. She’s destroyed the music, and laughed as she did so; and the expression on her face would be something Anna remembered forever.

Oh gods, what had she done? She hadn’t meant to push the girl so hard, to cut her so deeply. Months of being cooped up on house arrest were driving her wild, but Cally was sweet and vulnerable. Snapping on her was like taking a magnifying glass to ants and watching them burn, for a lack of more interesting things to do.

Anna slipped out of the doorway, treading past the evidence of their fight; Cally’s broken records, lying smashed on the stone floor. Never again would their music fill the rooms, removing their grim reality and replacing it with hope. Now the walls pressed in, a reminder of the prisoners they were.

Anna slipped inside the room, moving to the end of the bed. In the gloom, Cally’s form was a dark island in the white seas of sheets. Even asleep, her forehead was tied up in unhappiness, and the moonlight illuminated silver tears trails staining her cheeks. She looked broken, tiny in the expanse of the room. The girl was so coiled up within herself, it seemed like a desperate attempt to hide; to make herself less of a target. Anna looked at her, and the dam inside her broke.

“Oh, gods.” Her voice, riddled with guilt, shattered the words. Lifting up the sheets the girl slid in, pressing herself to Cally’s back, wrapping her arms around her protectively. The girl stirred.

“I’m so sorry,” Anna whispered, again and again. “I’m sorry, Cally.” She was trying to heal wounds with words, perfectly well knowing nothing she said would be enough. “Cally, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” The girl in her arms turned to face her, her hair dark in the moonlight. Cally’s fingers brushed against her girlfriend’s cheek, where the bruise was already swelling. She said nothing. Burying her face in Anna’s shoulder, her thin fingers dug in and clung, and she drifted off to sleep.

Anna stayed awake. The fragile body in her arms, so tiny and easy to miss, was infinitely precious. She kissed her cool forehead, wishing she could smooth out the worries that lingered there. How long will the two of them remain like this, locked up in this tiny cage? With Anna as the feral beast and Cally a mouse of a girl, there can surely be only one ending to this story. Anna shiverd, holding the girl close, and wished things were different.


Dare or Truth

The bottle span slowly, laboriously, and gently rocked to a stop, its top pointing towards one of the five girls.
“Marianne! Your turn!” Josie squealed, tossing back her braids triumphantly. She smiled a wicked smile, leaned in and whispered ominously, “Truth or dare?”
Marianne raised her eyebrows. “Truth,” she said without hesitation. She crossed her legs, excited for her question, while the others waited in giggly expectation.
Josie rocked back on her heels, thinking. Then her eyes grew wide and she grinned as she said, “Name one person in our school you want to go out with.”
For the briefest of moments, Marianne smiled and her eyes filled with warmth. Her lips opened around the first syllable of a name. But then her joy fell away and her mouth snapped shut, her eyes falling to her lap in shame.
At the back of the room, one of the five girls frowned. Her name was Alice. The other girls called her ‘Alice in Wonderland’ because she tended to daydream, preferring to sit and think than join in the game. But Marianne’s reaction to a simple question snapped her out of her fantasies and she tilted her head to one side, suddenly very interested in Marianne’s answer.
She fiddled with the hem of her t-shirt. She looked up, but Alice could read nothing in her expression. Her face was like a mask.
Marianne’s voice was cool and impassive, “That’s an impossible question, there are thousands of people at our school.”
Josie whined. She was waiting for some juicy gossip, unaware of Marianne’s inner struggle. “Come oooon!” She squealed. “There has to be one boy in the school you like!”
Marianne’s mind was racing. She was an honest girl, she hated lying, and was painfully bad at it. The others would notice if she tried to tell a mistruth. So she seized Josie’s choice of words and said, in complete honestly,
“There isn’t a single – guy in our school that I would want to go out with!”
The group of girls sighed, and Josie whined again. “You’re no fun,” she said, bored. Within seconds, the bottle was spinning again and Marianne was forgotten. The other girls giggled as the bottle landed on someone new, and the spotlight was moved away. She blushed, grateful of her freedom.
Alice’s gaze, however, was fixed on Marianne. She alone had noticed. She’d heard that pause before she said the word ‘guy’, and she knew the connotations attached to it. And she vowed that she would talk to Marianne about it at the earliest opportunity.