Authors: O. E. Boroni
Copyright © 2015 by
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This is a work of
fiction. All characters, events and places in this publication, other than
those clearly in the public domain, are fictitious, and are the products of the
author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead,
events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
Melissa-Jane Fogarty at
Cover Design: Alisha
To my God,
your love, encouragement, and
Thank you for being patient with me.
Table of Contents
Today was the second Friday of the
and the day that it all began. I woke up to a freezing room, and reminded
myself of how much I loathed Lancaster… and my roommate… and today.
Lancaster was a small town in North West England that
couldn’t help its lot for rubbish weather almost as much as my roommate, Olivia
Doyle, couldn’t help her need to be evil. My bed was right next to the window,
which was the only one in our room, and every night I’d go to bed with it
locked only to wake up the next morning to find it open, inviting wafts of cold
air to float enthusiastically into the room.
I still wasn’t certain if she did it just to provoke
me, or if she actually needed the cold air at my expense as she got ready for
school each morning. Mind you, she was always fully clothed, and would sit at
her desk, wrapping strands of her blonde hair around her curling wand, and
singing along to whichever song was blaring out of the pink stereo by her
corner. I’d considered smashing the damn thing against the wall more times than
I could remember, but since I would have to replace it, I restrained myself.
Just then, a slight shiver rocked my body, so I turned
to my opposite side and tugged at the duvet until it was raised high enough to
completely cover my head.
Today was the 17
of April, and today three
years ago, my mom had died. It was also the day before my sixteenth birthday.
So far, I’d never been able to go through the day
without falling apart but today, I promised myself, was going to be different.
I was going to go through it with the same detachment that I did every other
day, and I was going to succeed. Today, I swore, I was going to prove that I
had finally risen above the pain.
The door to our room clicked open, and ushered in the
banter of the remaining two of Olivia’s trio - Emma and Tess. Emma, I think was
from Lancaster itself, while Tess was from Wales. Olivia said something to them
as soon as they came in and they broke out in laughter, completing ignoring the
fact that I was in bed, and probably still trying to sleep.
Admittedly, I should have been up and getting ready
because I was running late for everything. However, it didn’t bother me too
much because it was a Friday. Breakfast was already on-going in the dining hall
so that was automatically out of the agenda for me. But since there was no
assembly or chapel today, all I had to do was get up and meet my first class by
I lowered the duvet down my face so that I could glance
at the black alarm clock that faced me on my desk. I never officially used it
because my roommate’s grating voice was all the anguish I could stand each
morning, but it did help to inform me of when I was becoming too tardy- like
right now. I saw that it was almost 8:15, but still, I chose to wait until ten
minutes later, after Olivia and her pack had taken their leave.
Walking to the bathroom in my towel, I placed my
toiletry basket in a stall before returning to the counter to brush my teeth. I
straightened after the brush had gone into my mouth, and met the familiar pair
of dull grey eyes that stared back at me through the gigantic mirror on the
wall. The loud whoosh of active shower heads held my attention for a while but
soon, my mind zoomed out to another day- in what now seemed like a life time
ago- when I’d
destroyed the mirror in
my bathroom back home with my hair dryer. I’d clubbed it repeatedly, until
every part of the shattered glass reflected how I felt inside.
It was in the
early days, just after she’d died and I’d become
angry. I’d cursed at everyone and everything, and people
pardoned me because they thought that it was my way of dealing with the pain.
But back then it had been much more than pain; a part of me had been violently
ripped out and more than anything, I’d felt the dark, excruciating absence.
All I’d known
to do was to avoid anything that made me feel too much, and back then, people
wanting to offer their condolences topped my list. Each time someone told me
how sorry they were, I felt the huge hole in my chest that constantly reminded
me that I didn’t have a mother anymore widen. Instantly, my air would be
literally cut off, until it felt like I was struggling to breathe. So my
automatic response would be to walk out on them or pick a fight, and I always
got away with it because after all, I
the girl who was grieving.
The mirror incident
however, finally brought my dad to the end of his rope. When he’d come in to
see what had happened, and found me staring at the colossal cracks as if they
were communicating a truth that only I could decipher, he’d walked out without
a word and the next morning, served me with my penance for acting like I was
losing my mind.
Since the car
accident a few weeks back, I’d barely spoken a word to him and had tried to
ignore him as much as I could. But that morning, I’d come in from
, my best friend who’d lived next door to us since
we were five, to meet him reclined on the living room sofa. It was surprising
because he was never down from his bedroom that early in the day, and a
conventional thought on my tantrum the previous day was long overdue. His
silence had already got me thinking, that maybe he really didn’t give a damn
just as if he was reminding me that the plastic milk jug in the refrigerator
had long expired, he announced that I was going to boarding school.
another channel, he said in a bored voice. “I’ve repeatedly warned you against
spending the night at
without my permission,
but you’ve blatantly ignored me every single time.”
“I don’t get
it, how does that correlate to you sending me to boarding school?” I asked,
certain that he was bluffing. I’d never known him to about anything else in the
past, but I just couldn’t believe that he actually meant what he was
He ignored the
question, and rose from the sofa to head into the kitchen. After a few moments
of waiting for him to respond, I’d started to turn away in irritation when he’d
stopped me again.
your things ready, you’re leaving in September,” he said, and at that, I’d
whirled around to face him.
“What do you
?” I asked, now
alarmed. “I’m starting eight
going to boarding school.” He said, and without taking his cold watchful gaze
off me, lifted a glass of water to his lips.
to my eyes as I finally realized that he was serious. My body began to shake.
“Is this a joke?”
“No it isn’t,”
he said. “Lenora your anger has become unmanageable.”
kicking me out?”
kicking you out; I’m giving you a change. You need it.”
I tried to
speak but it felt like I would choke on the anguish that had tightened my
throat. I eventually did, and each word was thick with the pain that I had
bottled up for so long.
“I have been
to be okay. I’ve been quiet –”
fucking problem!” he suddenly yelled, startling me.
that’s what it is right? It’s been three months, and this is the first time
that I’ve seen tears in your eyes.”
I brushed away
the irritating display that had now rolled down my cheeks.
“You have been
cold and brutal to everybody, and not once have you shared anything that’s
going on inside you. I can see the poison accumulating and at the rate you’re
going, I doubt that you’ll ever be able get it out.”
fell, and slid down the side of my face as I glared at him with all the hate
that I could muster. “Why won’t you just let me handle this the way I want to?”
let you,” he said. “I’ve tried to
give you time but you’re still not handling it, so you have until September to
become human, or I’m sending you away.”
I was now
terrified, but never in a million years was I going to let it show. He’d lost
the privilege of my honesty towards him during all the years he’d preyed on my
mother’s weakness with him. So I’d glared at him with a hate that I hoped would
cut him as deeply as he’d cut me, and turned around to head to my bedroom.
The choice had
been tough, but I knew that I wouldn’t have survived if I’d handled it the way
he wanted me to. So I’d become even more hardened and kept silent all through
the summer. In September, I was on a plane and on my way to Lancaster Academy.
I was in my
third year now, and still, the only thing I liked about the school was how much
it resembled the ‘Lancaster Castle’, which was the oldest standing building in
the town. The academy had existed for almost a century, so sometimes, I allowed
myself to get carried away and pretend that I did live in a castle.
things like strands of hair trapped in water puddles on the counter, and
smeared toothpaste around the edges of the sink were always sufficient enough
to irritate me back to reality. I rinsed my mouth, and hurried back into the
9:04 am saw me running down the
already deserted hallway, and then opening the door to my first class of the
day. It was
, and Mr. Barron had already
arrived. He was standing behind his wooden desk going through a stack of
papers, and as I walked as silently as I could into the classroom, I prayed
that he would ignore me.
“Nice of you to join us Miss Baker,” he said, and I
froze mid-creep. Sighing, I wondered why he never deemed it fit to just leave
me alone. Other teachers got that I wasn’t completely normal and they let me
be, even flat out ignored me most times, but this one never did.
“Why are you late again?” he asked, but I didn’t feel
like cooking up an excuse like I usually did. Once, the story had been that a
spill of cranberry juice on the sleeve of my white dress shirt had forced me to
return to my dorm to have a quick change. Another time, it had been a quick
trip to the infirmary for an upset stomach that had plagued me all
and so on the list went. He never believed me, of
course, but today, I couldn’t work up the need to lie so I just told the truth.
“I woke up late.”
“And why did you wake up late?”
“I don’t know,” I replied, upset that he was making me
stand there with the eyes of the entire class on me. I wanted to yell at them
to turn away and mind their business.
“Let it happen again and we’ll take a trip to the
headmaster’s office.” he threatened, but he’d made so many similar promises in
the past and broken them every time, that they didn’t mean anything to me
anymore. Relieved that he finally let me go, I headed to my desk which was the
last one on the first row from the left.
The room was as regal as a school built to resemble a
castle could get, with polished mahogany furniture, intricate wooden
and high windows. Mr. Barron began to speak so I
looked towards the front of the room and tried to pay attention, but after
jerking awake twice from dozing off, I gave up trying and turned to gaze out of
Although the sky was clear there was no sunshine, so a
slight chill still remained in the air. Egrets were strewn across the courtyard;
some were pecking away at the ground, while others just hung atop the wooden
picnic tables and benches. A particular one caught my eye, and as I watched it,
I felt a small stirring inside my chest.
With lovely white plumes and an impressive stance, it
stood on the edge of the table with its neck outstretched, and just stared, as
if it was watching something that only it could see. It was beautiful, but it’s
long, thin and naked legs, dented its grandeur.
I watched it and thought of how each time I’d returned
home for breaks, my father had expressed his disappointment at how completely
frozen I’d become. For a normally astute man, it had surprised me at how he’d
seemed to completely believe that I had turned into a hardened mess, instead of
the hurting girl that I knew that I was. I hid everything I felt just because
I’d managed to convince myself that if I did it long enough, then maybe the
memo would reach my heart, and it’d stop hurting so goddamn much all the time.
It terrified me that I might always feel this way because it was exhausting,
but what I truly wanted was not to heal, but to become desensitized enough not
to notice that I hadn’t.
Today however, I chose to rest in the hope that if I
really was able to pull through without falling apart, there would be a reduced
cause for concern because for once, it would be a huge step in the desired
direction. So with a small smile that I allowed to curve my lips, I started to
condition myself to look forward to it when Mr. Barron’s bark doused my reverie
like water to flames.
“Grace!” He yelled out my middle name.
I gave him an icy look that would probably have made
any other teacher uncomfortable, but not him. He always made me remember that I
was just an angry fifteen-year-old, all bark and no bite, instead of the oddity
the other teachers had marked me out to be. And from a conversation that I’d
once had with
, I’d been informed that my wild
mane of dark brown, slightly curly hair and light grey eyes, cast a shadow
around me that seemed to amplify my already peculiar nature. So yeah, people
did find themselves a little wary when I was around.