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Taylor's downstairs with Dad, eating dinner, and I'm upstairs in my- our room.

And there's nothing I can do. The anger inside me hasn't left; it's transmuted into something electric, sparking down my bones and leaving my legs jittering and fingernails picking at my cuticles.

I look around the room from where I'm sitting on the bed; at the desk covered with old homework, the clothes heaped on the floor from where I missed the hamper, the shelves of books that I've buried myself in over and over again, and a realization hits me:

Nothing here is mine anymore.

Clothes I'll never wear again. Homework I'll never learn from, books it doesn't make sense for me to read in the next hour because I'll be gone.

I'm just sitting here in another girl's room. I'm waiting to die, and there's nothing I can do.

It was better when I was with Taylor, when I was with someone who understood. When I could just focus on her problems and not think about myself.

But she's downstairs, eating dinner with Dad, and I can imagine their awkward silence in my head and I don't want her to be alone and there's nothing I can do about it.

I had to go. I had to get out of here before I did something impulsive and stupid.

I slid across my bed, leaned over, and opened my bedroom window as quietly as I could; cool night air flowed in over my hands and brushed my face, and I drew in a breath of air that tasted faintly of salt.

Something to do before I go, though.

I padded back over to the desk, took a pen, tore off a piece of paper, and I wrote. Reviewed what I'd written. Added another line or two.

There.

Folding the note, I left it on the bed; I dropped a copy of In The Garden of Iden on top of it so a breeze wouldn't blow it away.

And then, before I had time to doubt myself, I was scrambling out the window and jumping clear of the house.

The landing was harder than I expected; I felt a twinge in my ankle before my feet slipped out from under me and my butt slammed into the lawn. I hissed, gritting my teeth as pain rebounded through my body.

Quiet. Gotta... quiet.

It took a few seconds for my body to unlock; I scrambled to my feet, listening for voices, for movement from inside the house.

Nothing. I looked back up at my open bedroom window.

Damn. Left the light on.

I breathed in, and started to walk down the street.


It was only two blocks before I had to give into the energy filling me and just run through the cool night, footfalls echoing off the pavement, streetlights passing by and the dark houses behind them.

I ran until the twinge in my ankle started to spike into something more penetrating, then walked, savoring the ache in my legs and hips.

It was better than thinking.


Headlights flared as a car turned onto the street ahead of me, and I sped up to a jog until I could turn onto a side-street.

About a block later, the suburban procession opened into a park, wide and dark with half-lit trees and greenery.

My chest twinged and I winced, dropping down onto a park bench and pressing knuckles to my sternum.

Getting to be time, I guess? I slumped down, letting my head fall back so I could look up at the stars through tree branches.

"Hey." I swallowed, my throat suddenly dry. "Hey, Mom. Guess we're here at the end of all things, huh?"