Pick A Side (extended)

24 Apr

I’m lying down, snippets of things that happened so fast still playing in my head. I know I’m alone now, because no-one’s talking and I’m pretty sure I’d hear if they were and there is no new pain. I can’t get my thoughts together and I can feel the blinding white of the room suffocate me. Is this me going mad? I can’t think, these people are asking me questions and It’s driving me insane and I’m having trouble remembering my name, if this doesn’t kill me it’ll never leave me sane if they don’t stop… just stop. Shut up!
Shut up.
Calm down.
Stop bloody thinking.
If you’re uncapable of thinking about anything else then just don’t think at all.
That’s easier said than done.
I once had a friend who’d tell me that talking to yourself was the first sign of madness. I’d get frustrated, not because I was mad, but because I didn’t want anyone to think I was mad. Then, one day, I found an answer for her: “it’s only madness if you think you’re talking to someone else” I said, “not if you know you’re talking to yourself” I said. Bloody useful that turned out to be. For the moment I can still tell reality from the rest. But for how long?
I shiver, now feeling the pain as the panic and confusion dim… bad reflex; not only does it hurt, it hurts more. Maybe I’ll die here. What would happen then? But I know I won’t die here, maybe only because I’m too young to think otherwise but it’s a shield, to know that I’ll get out of here eventually… and one I’ll gladly keep.
I tense as I hear the door open (so I’m not deaf) then close. It’s agony as I can’t hear the silent steps probably coming towards me. That means there aren’t many people, a lot of people can’t all be that silent (can they?). I flinch involutarily as a hand touches my shoulder. I think I know whose hand it is. So I really have gone crazy. No, I remember what they said, then in that case, it’s not so strange that she would be here.
“Hey… how are you?”
How are you? How are you?! I will kill this woman! I have been tortured and rendered mad as a hatter (though which hatter and how mad could be cause for debate) but in any case she would only have to look at me to know that I was not “fine”. Not even close. But I didn’t have the heart to say such things so silence was all she got from me. Sometimes, silence can say a lot.
“I had no idea of what had happened to you or what they were doing to you here…”
How convenient for you. And how convenient for them to tell you only once they had tried everything else they could (legaly speaking). How convenient for me to be underage and for my mother to work for them then. I’m lucky I’m only 17, a year later and it would’ve been much worse. And how convenient for my mother to be away when I need her.
“Take me home. Take me home and I’ll tell you everything you want”
What am I saying? What am I doing? Damn, see? This is me going crazy. Idiot. Goddamn idiot. Fool.
“… I’m sorry…that’s the one thing I can’t do”
“It’s not the only thing” I riposte,
“They thought I knew about you, I didn’t so they told me who you really were, they didn’t hurt me.”
I sat up so I could see her when she answered.
“If they didn’t hurt you then…”
My mother’s not a spy for nothing, or she’d be dead already.
“Why won’t you say where they are?”
Looks like it’s job first, love after.
“Because you’d kill them”
SHIT. Now they know I know…
“Let’s go out a while”
That’s ambitious of you, asking to let me out. But then again I can barely walk and it’s not like I’ll get to go somewhere unguarded.
“Can I borrow your phone?” I ask
I write to the number I had memorised out of boredom:
I only have the time to press send before her gun hits my head.
I scramble up only to get shot from in front, (she was behind me).
I had betrayed both people I loved the most and because of them I died. I suppose it was only right, and the rightness eclipsed every mistake made along the way.

Or maybe it would’ve been right, if I had died straight away but she caught me as I fell and I saw the look of terror she was trying to hide and I think I was breathing fast but I couldn’t feel it and then…
… and then nothing.
…Then bright lights in a dark room, masks, and I’m forced to breath and it’s never been so hard just to breath and the pain comes back and surges over me and it drowns me and I’m back. Back to nothing and in the blink of an eye that lasts forever if you look a little deeper I wake up.
It feels like every time I wake up it’s either on the floor in rooms too dark or in rooms too white (with or without a bed). When I go home (if I get there I have to remind myself) I’m going to repaint my room: deep blue with stars. I’m tired of always being indoors.
I see a dark shape with a red head that look like its asleep sitting in a chair, head and arms on my bed.
I close my eyes and try to enjoy what I have left of the time she’s asleep and the time where no-one knows I’m awake.
I need to get the world back in order.
Why is she asleep? Couldn’t she wait until I wake up? I know she can spend a long time without sleeping, do I really mean that little to her? … But I also know she’s often tired when she comes home and I don’t doubt that it was a long night.
People kidnapped me for information about my mother and what she was working on; when they found out I had no idea and saw that I didn’t believe and then was shocked when told she was a spy, they ended up telling me about it. Funny how that works out huh? Of course it wasn’t funny then. Nor is it funny now. And so they had no point in me staying except that I knew where they were. Two of them were nice to me, the others were mean kidnappers. Once when I was bored one of the nice ones gave me his number and (because I had nothing else to do) I memorised it (which is a great feat for me because I never remember anything). I didn’t want to say where they were because I knew those two were innocent. And then, realising they were never going to get paid, they let me go.
Of course then the CIA caught up with me and they wanted to know where I had been because the kidnappers had asked for a ransom and when I didn’t want to say they tried to force it out of me. Now I don’t know if I’m friend or foe. Or just dangerously unpredictable.
I’m realising I’ve been saying “my mother” all this time which sounds increasingly weird because I don’t usually really think of her that way. I don’t call her that way either. So now I’m going to say Angel because that’s what I call her.
“Why Angel?” Most people leave it be and just put on a concerned look or a surprised one but some people are too curious. I don’t often answer those people by anything other than “because” but now, because I’m rethinking my life I’ll think about it again a little: her name is Angel because she saved my life, and then she stayed near me and looked after me in hospital, like a guardian angel. I was the only survivor. And then after things weren’t working out, she adopted me.
Actually, I knew she was a spy. I just wasn’t prepared to be told it by someone else. Someone in the unpredictable “real life” (as opposed to “home life” or “school life”). I still wasn’t prepared for seeing her at the CIA, which is stupid because she works there (but I wasn’t supposed know).
I open my eyes and watch her. The only time she ever looks defenceless is when she’s sleeping. Which is sad, and it makes her look even more defenceless. I’m afraid to touch her because it would break the spell. Why am I always the weak one? Why is it always me in hospital bed and her watching over me? I have never seen her in hospital. I’ve seen her come home hurt after long times but if she was ever in hospital I never got invited.
I close my eyes and when I open them it’s a bit darker and my guardian Angel is watching over me.
I look away, I don’t want to talk. She respects that wish, she knows what I mean without me having to say a word by now. I have too often been silent for us to need words any more.
Curiosity gets the better of me: “what happened?”
She looks puzzled, “don’t you remember?”
“No, what happened after that?”
“Well we tracked the location of the number and captured those who were there…”
“Not me, I followed you but I’m told they say that there are two people missing and from what they say I’m guessing that’s the two you warned?”
“Hopefully… Actually probably”
“What happened?”
“I’ll tell you later”
I didn’t want to talk just yet. Besides I meant it when I said it. Angel and me, we don’t lie to each other.
“How are you?”
“Better. How was your mission?”
I knew there was more to it but she’s not exactly allowed to tell me what she was doing. She doesn’t like to show any weakness either, she thinks she has to be strong for me. Unfortunately that’s partly true.
“School starts in three days…”
Of all the things to say don’t remind me I have to go back there that soon. Oh yay back to speaking French at least half the time and arguing about tomahtoes or tomaetoes. And english teachers wondering why I have an English accent and Angel has an American accent. Once when someone asked I said “technically she’s Russian”… That ended up in the guy being even more confused and he let it go. …Technically I’m French.
It’s been about a year now. My luck hasn’t much improved since…
“We’ll leave Sunday evening”
The less time I get to spend in Paris the better.
I wake up, well not really but I’m half awake. In bed. And there’s enough light to be annoying but not enough to give up on sleep. There’s noise though: people moving around inside the house, creaking. It’s very annoying. Then the front door closes which means mum’s gone. Finally it’ll be quiet! Unfortunately dad’s not gone and he’s still moving around, creaking and thumping up and down the stairs. Then it’s creaking above me… since when does HE get up so early?! Damn I suppose I’ll never get sleep in this noisy house! Bodombombomboom bodombomboom (one down) …BOOM … BOOM… And two down the stairs. I’ll go down in a minute. And then I remember: my brothers are dead. My parents with them. How easy it is to slip back into an old and easier life. And then the nightmare starts again…
I must’ve been hyperventilating because Angel was shaking me when I woke up. She knows about the nightmares, I used to wake her up screaming, so she doesn’t ask. I sit up, it hurts but it’s better than lying down all day. It’s already night.
“Is it getting any better?” She asks
“It happens a lot less now”

“If I lay here, if I just lay here, would you lie with me and, just forget the world?…”
I’m good at finding good songs for the mood I’m in. I heard that people are different at night… me? I’m calmer, there are less people awake, less people can see me because it’s dark and the night sky is beautiful.
“One day, I want to see the Northern Lights with you” I say
“I know”
I turn to her, “did you know that when I’m down, it helps me stay alive? All the things I want to do, I tell myself I haven’t done half the things I want to do in life. I also want to make a change in the world, that keeps me going. Do you think it could be possible for me, to make the world a better place?”
“You’ve already done so much that I believe you could do anything if you really wanted to”
“I want to stop people from dying because of things like wars and famine. I want people to stop hating, to stop looking inwardly and to care about what’s happening around them. I want people to stop killing”
I say that last line looking at her.
“If only things were that simple…”


Two people asked to know more about this story, at first I wasn’t very keen on that seeing as it had started as nightmare continued by a daydream (to give the nightmare a happy ending because I don’t like sad endings especially when they end with me or anyone dying) which was (the daydream not the nightmare) slightly influenced by a film I had seen not long before so I’m not sure how this turned out and I will not be writing any more about this. Luckily for you though I couldn’t resist the temptation of writing a bit more 😉
My parents seem to think that whatever I write come from personal experience (thank god it doesn’t because I’d hate to see in what state I would be if that were true) so if you ever read this rest assured that although some aspects may seem familiar it is still in great part fiction and whatever might be true could also be exaggerated (because I tend to do that). Just in case.
Feel free to criticise (not just this but I’d like to hear what you have to say about this one)

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Posted by on 24 April 2014 in Banzaï


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