write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece about a time someone crossed a line, legally or ethically. Explore the motivation of your character and possibly the consequences of his or her actions. In 450 words or less.
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Apparently I’m feeling a bit maudlin lately. This continues right after Cheap in the Necessary storyline. If you want to read it all in order, check out the Fiction tab at the top of the page.
The picture below is by Vivi, click on the image to check out more of her work on Deviant Art.
I shivered in my underwear, shifting uncomfortably on the toilet lid. Face cupped in my palms, I felt the icy water falling from my hair, dripping down onto my legs and drizzling down my calves. I struggled to maintain some kind of composure. I was tired of being that girl. The crying girl. For once, I’d like to get mad or sad or flustered without that prickling sensation behind my eyelids, the blurry shiver of salt water welling up and blinding me.
The narrow strip of vision I had showed a vacant sink, the overflowing garbage can, cheap crumpled paper towels scattered around it.
“Your shirt is almost dry,” Joanna called out, over-loud above the rattling whoosh of the old hand dryers. “I don’t know about your jeans, though – you might just have to put them on damp.”
“O-“ I croaked. Coughed, tried again. “Ok, thanks.”
“I said OK!” I tried to sound cheerful.
A few minutes later, she passed my newly rinsed and dried shirt over the stall. It still smelled like gravy. Or was that my hair? I ignored the wet that soaked through the shirt the moment I flicked my braid behind me and snagged the damp jeans from the door.
Beggars can’t be choosers. I sighed and swung open the stall.
“Are you ok?” I asked, surprised. She’d been all fire and fury while helping me rinse smears of starchy potatoes out of my hair. Now, she looked worse than I did. Her eyes were haunted and watery, her face was drawn and haggard.
A grin fluttered weakly across her face, but crumpled in an instant.
“Her brother-“ Joanna pressed her fist against her mouth. I tried to remember ever seeing her as upset as this before.
“What?” I laid a comforting hand on her arm, but she stepped away.
“Nothing. It’s just… nothing. I should never have said anything about him.” She hugged herself tight, staring down for a long moment. She met my eyes and whispered, “Do you think I’m a bad person? Like… really bad?”
“You were mad at me for not caring about your feelings. And I… Katie and I… we used to be friends.” Eyeliner tears traced black down her cheeks. “And I used it against her, just like I did to hurt you, only… worse.”
I swallowed the lump in my throat. I couldn’t believe she was acknowledging that behaviour so openly, so apologetically. The difference between now and that night at the club was like night and day.
“You were just trying to protect me.”
She let out a sob and sank to her knees. “I used her dead little brother to hurt her.”