After a few weeks with "creative writing inspired by artists Banksy and Pasquini," my students handed in their poems and short stories this week. I will, during the course of two weeks, present some of my students' works here. Today it's Malin Flyckt and her short story "Divided."
The sound of laughter and exhilarated students jingled as Luna entered the hallway from outside. It had been a long and wonderful summer break but it was time to get back to school again. Luna pushed through a gang of other students on her way over to the lockers. The same old red lockers as usual. She liked that, it didn’t change and they were in the same place they had always been. Some students liked to switch locker after a break, to change routines and not be at the same place all the time, but not Luna, She liked when things stayed the same. She went up to her locker and grabbed the lock. Crap, i’ve forgotten what the code is she realized, letting out a big sigh. Luna spun around to lean her back against the locker. Halfway through the spin she saw a person standing closely behind her and jumped with fright.
”Noel!” Luna exclaimed ”you can’t keep sneaking up on me like this”
”Im sorry Luna, I can’t help if you don’t notice me” he said and grinned. Luna rolled her eyes at him and turned back to the locker.
”Could you possibly remember my locker combination?” she asked Noel, turning her head to face him. He rubbed his cheek and looked back at the frustrated girl.
”6735” he finally said, a little bit skeptical. Luna started to turn the gearwheel to get the right combination. The lock gave away a muffled click and opened. A feeling of satisfaction spread through her and she smiled.
”Thanks Noel” Luna said and turned her head, but Noel was gone. She frowned and wondered where he had wondered off to. Some girls on the other side of the hallway viewed obliquely at Luna and started to whisper to each other when she looked at them. She quickly grabbed some books and ran off to class.
The bell rang out and the first day was finally over. Luna almost dragged her feet behind her when she walked out to the parking lots, tired as ever, to wait for her mom to pick her up. Luna started to stomp impatiently while waiting for her, she was 10 minutes late now.
”where the hell is she?” Luna whispered to herself. anxiously looking around. What if someone comes and kidnaps me right now she thought. Luna started to get paranoid and anxious and started to stomp faster. A girl standing behind her looked at Lunas foot and her anxious face and puffed, probably waiting for someone to pick her up too.
”Why so stressed Luna?”
Luna jumped high with fright and turned around.
”NOEL!” She exclaimed ”What did I tell you to not sneak up on me?” The girl next to her looked at Luna with dread and moved away a few steps, looking down on the ground. Luna realized she had shouted and probably scared the poor girl. With her face turning red as a tomato the girl turned away from Luna.
Noel looked at Luna and saw the shame in her eyes.
”Hey, I'm sorry i scared you, it won’t happen again.”.
Luna pursed her lip and looked away. Noel had always been like this, always sneaking up on her, always doing as he pleased, and she definitely didn’t like it. Would he ever change?
”Luna?” Noel continued, trying to catch her eye (enter her field of vision)
A little red car turned in on the parking lot and drove up to Luna. Mom opened the door from inside and apologized for being late.
”Bye Noel”, Luna said, throwing her backpack in the backseat and then entered the front of the car. She closed the door before he could answer.
”Who where you talking to, honey?”, Lunas mother asked her.
”Just Noel. He’s a friend of mine.” Luna said with a nonchalant shrug.
Slowly driving out of the parking lot, Luna turned her head looking for Noel, but Noel was already gone.
Luna leaned her head against the window and rubbed her forehead, looking at the cars passing them by in a high speed, the colors of the cars started to blend in her vision and soon she couldn’t tell them apart. It was a two lane road, and they were driving on the inner part, which meant, if anything where to happen to them, they couldn’t pull of the road fast, they would have to cross the other road before they could pull over. This made Luna anxious and uncomfortable. She didn’t like to be out of control, to not be able to handle a situation the way she would wanted. Feeling dizzy, she turned her head away and let out a heavy breath.
”Everything okey?”, Lunas mom asked her, noticing her daughter starting to drift away.
”Yeah, I’m fine”, Luna answered slowly and closed her eyes, she started to feel nauseous from seeing all the cars slowly morphing together and turning in to a fast line of mixed colors, she couldn’t tell apart.
”Are you sure? You look pale” her mom continued, starting to get worried.
”Do you want me to stop the car?”
”I’m fine mom! Just keep riving. I really just want to get home” Luna mumbled tiredly. Her mother looked skeptical but did as her daughter asked her and started to drive a little faster then the speed limit allowed. Luna felt her stomach turn.
”Stop the car” Luna hunched and wrapped her arms around her the lower part of her stomach. Her mom looked down at her and slammed the breaks. Luna opened the door and leaned out and started to vomit, while cars still passed by in the other lane. Someone started to honk frenetically behind them. Luna rose her torso and closed the door. She leaned against the carseat.
”Just drive” Luna said, feeling exhausted after what had just happened.
Luna crashed down in her bed and buried her face in one of her big pillows. All she wanted right now was some sleep and to forget the incident that happened earlier. Her eyes felt heavy and she could barely keep them open. Feeling her whole body starting to relax, ready to sleep for hours and hours. Her thought drifting in to sleep. She heard a dull noise coming from the window. Click, click. She opened her eyes and turned toward the window facing the backyard. Click, click. Someone was throwing little rocks at her window. Luna crawled over to the end of the bed to see who was doing this. All she could see was a green hat on someones head. She got curious and walked over to the window and peered out over the backyard. Noel was standing under her window with a ladder laying behind him. Luna signed. What was he doing here? She opened the window to let him in. Noel climbed up the ladder and into her room.
”What are you doing here, Noel?”
”I felt like you got mad at me at the parking lot today, so I came to see if everything’s okey between us.”.
Luna stared at him in silent, carefully choosing her words.
”Yeah, it’s fine, I just really want you to stop scaring me like that.”
Noel combed his hair with his fingers, trying to make his bangs stay out of his eyes and forehead. His silly smiled graced his face while he looked at her and he let out a silent laugh.
”You know you can’t be here, right?”.
Luna could hear her mother’s footsteps coming up the stairs. She could always tell when it was her mom, her steps made a specific sound when she walked which only Luna seemed to be able distinguish.
Luna’s mom leaned against her daughter’s door, hearing two voices, was someone in there with her? She knocked on the door and the voices got quiet.
Her mother opened the door, starring at her daughter. Luna sat on her bed, alone. Luna’s mom could have sworn she had heard two voices. It’s gotten worse, she thought. She had feared it would for a long time. Why would it have to happen to just her daughter? Why not someone else?
”Who were you talking to honey?” Her voice shook with fright for what the answer would be. Luna pointed her finger at Noel as an answer to her mother question. But she only got a confused face in return.
”I’m with Noel” Luna said to clarify her answer even more. Noel waved at Luna’s mother. Luna saw her mothers face change from confusion to pure terror. Her gaze turning blank and distant.
”Mother?” Luna got worried, was something wrong with her mother. She got up from her bed and touched her arm. Her mother looked like a scared deer when she touched her and woke up from her coma-like state. She looked down at her daughters arm.
”Are you alright?” Her mother looked into Lunas eyes and she could see the fear hiding behind that bright blue color.
”Yes, Yes, Im alright” Her mother answered, and rubbed her forehead ”I’m just tired from long day at work i guess” She continued.
Luna didn’t believe her, Her mother was fine before. She didn’t like this sudden change of temper. But Luna kept quiet.
Mother shook her head and exhaled.
”Ehm” Her mother said, starting to roll her thumbs in a nervous motion. ”I came up here to tell that you have a doctors appointment tomorrow, so I will pick you up a little earlier from school tomorrow”
Luna shrugged and sat down on her bed again, looking at Noel, which had been quiet during the whole conversation.
”okey, anything more?”
Her mother cleared her throat and shaked her head ”No, that’s all” She looked at her daughter with a haunted glance before closing the door.
Lunas mother picked her up at 2.00 pm the day after. Liked she had said. Luna got to skip both history and math. Luna liked history, so she was a little bit sad she missed the lesson.
”why are we going to the doctor mother?” Luna felt a nagging feeling in her stomach, she felt nervous, like something wasn’t quiet right. Her mother had been quiet the whole trip, She hadn’t even asked Luna how her day had been. Luna turned her torso towards her mothers direction.
”Oh nothing special, just a routine check” Her mother lied, it wasn’t a routine check, it wasn’t even a check.
Luna mother made a tight turn into the parking lots outside the clinic. Luna stared at the big building and the nagging feeling started to hurt in her stomach.
They got out of the car at the same time. Lunas mother looked at her, she looked sad. She went up to her daughter and grabbed her hand.
”Luna, what ever happens in there, I love you very much and I will always do, do you understand that” Her mother looked into her eyes and waited for an answer. Luna didn’t have an answer, In fact she didn’t know what to say, she just kept quiet instead. She saw the disappointment in here mothers expression when she didn’t answer her. Why were Her mother acting so strange all of a sudden, what was going on?
A bright light hit lunar face and she had to cover her eyes to not get blinded. Everything was white and the light in the ceiling wasn't gracious against her eyes. Luna sat down in the waiting room while her mother went to tell the receptionist they had arrived. She looked around to see if there was anything she could do while they were waiting. She had never been to this clinic before, they had driven extra far to get here. It was a special clinic her mother told her when she had asked. Her mother came and sat behind her, she didn’t even get to sit down for a minute before the doctor came and called Lunas name.
”Hello Luna, I’m dr Archer and I’m the one who is going to take care of you today” The man in front of her said with a smile on his face. The skin by his eyes wrinkled when he pulled the corners of his mouth like that.
”We’re going to make some test today Luna” He pointed his hand toward a corridor in a gesture to follow him.
Dr. archers office wasn’t as bright and white as the rest of the building, it looked cozy and welcoming, with some pillows here and there and a two big red chairs in the corner of the room, right by two big windows.
”You can sit down here Luna” Dr. Archer nodded towards one of the big red chairs ”Mrs Hawkins, i would like to speak to Luna in private if that’s okey” Dr. Archer looked at Lunas Mother. She nodded and looked at Luna.
”Would that be okey honey” She looked at Luna and then at Dr. Archer. Luna felt uncomfortable in the presens of Dr. Archer, and would prefer to not be in his attendance at all. But when she looked at here mothers calming face it seemed bearable. Luna nodded and looked at Dr. Archer, He smiled at her and his skin by the eyes wrinkled again.
Her mother left the room closing the door behind her.
Luna’s head was spinning like a Ferries wheel. At least it felt like it. The doctors visit had gone fine, hadn’t it? Why did her mom call Noel nonexistent? Her mom was sitting behind the steering wheel, locking calm on the outside, but Luna knew a storm was coming. She had always been a little strange, and people had always made that a point, she could admit that, but this, it was to much to process for her right now.
”I know Dr. Archer couldn’t tell you much”. Why was here mother trying to converse with her, Luna didn’t want to talk, not to anyone. especially not here mother. Why did she bring her to this place, where everybody was telling here these lies and telling she was something she wasn’t. All Luna wanted right now was to get out of this damn car. She felt suffocated. Was the car starting to get smaller, no she was just imaging it, that's how it must be, this wasn’t real, she was dreaming. She started to pinch herself. Her skin started to hurt, maybe if she pinched even harder she would wake up from this nightmare.
”Luna! what are you doing?” Her mother grabbed her hand to make her stop ”stop that”.
Luna could finally see their house when her mother steered in toward the parking spot. Luna felt desperate, she needed to get out of the car. Before her mother could hit the breaks, Luna was on her way out. ”Luna!” her mother shouted when she jumped out. Hitting her knees and elbows in on the ground. Her mother stopped the car and ran around to get to Luna. But Luna had already gotten up and was running toward the house, towards safety. Her mother came after her.
Luna slammed the door open and tried to run up the stairs but here mother caught her arm before she even got to the third step.
”You are going to calm down, and we are going to talk, now!”
”Luna, Noel isn’t real!” Luna’s mom desperately shouted in her daughters face, tears falling down her face down to a small puddle on the floor. Lunas face stiffened, as her eyes started to fill up with tears and slowly streaming down her cheek. Why did her mom say these things to her? Of course Noel was real, Luna had been friends with him since she was 13 years old, sure her mother knew about there friendship? Or did she?
”He is real, mother! why do you keep telling me he is not?” Luna cried back.
”No Luna, He’s not, he doesn’t exist, didn’t you listen to what the doctor said? you have D.I.D. Noel is you!”
Lunas felt like she just got slapped in the face from both left and right at the same time when she heard the words. Noel is you. how could she be Noel? She was Luna, a fifteen years old girl with a normal life, like everybody else her age. She was one person, and that person was herself, and only herself.
”No!, I’m not. I’m Luna, I'm me. why are you saying this! it’s not true, Why are you filling my ears with lies? I’m not some kind of freak” Luna felt tears uncontrollably falling down her face. She started to breath faster and faster, her body started to get numb, her mind running wild with crazy thoughts about what her mother just told her, and scenarios of how this would end. She felt like she was going crazy and her brain was going to blow up. Was this what it felt like to have a panic attack? She couldn’t see straight anymore, the world around her started to melt together and her vision started to get blurry as the sounds started to feel distant, like when your under water. So she did as any normal person would do, she fled.
She ran up the stairs and locked herself in the bathroom, slumping down on the toilet seat. Her heart was racing and she could feel her breath go heavy. Soon she started to cry again. Why did people keep telling her she and Noel was the same? Her eyes darted around the room, looking for something, just something, to hold on to. She started to rummaged through the cabinets and the cupboards after something sharp. She’d never felt this way before, but the urge to harm herself, to just feel anything, in some way just kept growing, consuming her. It had come out of nowhere, like a flash from the sky. She found a razor blade. She held it infront of her, like a treasure. She turned and twisted it, eyes fixed on it like it was some kind of token of salvation. Her salvation. Like this little piece of metal could make all of her problems and doubts go away, like it could make her mom go away.
She stood up, looking at herself in the mirror. Her hair was messy, poking out at several places. Her eyes looked wild, the color of them really popping against her pale skin. She looked down at her wrist, the razor blade lying softly against it. She was just about to cut the first notch, when she saw something flash in the mirror. She became still, the razor frozen in her hand. Lifting her eyes, she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror again, but something was different this time. Her eyes a little less blue than just seconds ago, and her hair looked just the slightest bit shorter. Slowly she lifted the razor from her wrist, and stared to cut into her hair. Long stands of red hair started to travel down her shoulder, finally settling around her feet, until only wads was left on her scalp. Breathing heavily, she let go of the razor blade and it landed among the red.