Wednesday, December 14, 2016

#5: Happy Holidays??

"Joon, please call me back. We're not mad, or upset. We just want you to come home. That's...That's why we've sent out-"  Her thumb pressed against the end call button so hard, her finger tip turned white.

She hadn't slept in over a week. Every time her eyelids fluttered close, Joon saw blood, and striped pants, and her father. Colors began to mix together before her eyes, her red hair greasy with lack of washing. Foot steps echoed down the hallways of her apartment, police still lingering from the Halloween turned nightmare murder party.

There was a knock on her heavy metal door, keeping her safe from people and predators. If only there was a way to keep out the thoughts. Joon's body floated towards the sound, unlocking the latch and revealing a brown cardboard box. She took it inside, colors mixing together in front of her.

Suddenly, the box barked. Joon's eyes flew open at the sound. She opened the box, that held a small brown puppy, no more than a month old. It barked again. Joon's stomach leaped forward, and she grabbed onto the table so she wouldn't fall. The note attached simply read: From your Secret Santa.
Joon promptly took the box still carrying the puppy, opened her door, and put it back outside of her apartment. And then she blacked out.


When Joon reopened her eyes, she immediately shivered.  Wind blew against her bare arms, goose bumps multiplying. She looked up and saw the huge rusty water tower, WINTHROP PLACE written in black. She heard her father's scream pierce the air, and Joon whipped her head towards the noise. In the distance, she saw red and green lights hanging on a Christmas tree, surrounded by people. Was is already December? She grasped at her hair, trying to remember how she'd gotten here. Her vision blurred, ears ringing from her father's voice. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

Snow crunched underneath her shoes as she walked home, shivering uncontrollably. Jingle bells rang softly near the old abandoned pool. She placed her shoes by the door of her apartment, and put in her ear buds, David Bowie blasting out the voices in her head.
Joon didn't hear the hard knocks on the door. She didn't see the officers come in, but she felt the cold metal handcuffs around her wrists, and suddenly the words rang out in her ears; "Joon Rawlings, you're coming with us."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

#4: Who Done It?

Her feet carried her, until her skin was too cold to stand the winter winds; the most bitter season in Winthrop's history.
Sometimes Joon saw her brother's hands enclose around hers, gently soothing, only to evaporate into thin air.  They tried to tell her to come back, to stay. But she knew they would never look at her the same way. Her father screamed.

Her orange bottle of pills still stood unopened on her counter, as Joon's body floated by the yellow caution tape surrounding the scene of the Winthrop pool. The voices had been calling her to come here, to look at what she'd done.
Joon had been furiously writing to a ghost, blasting David Bowie into her ears, when another invitation arrived at her door. A murder mystery party on the apartment's 7th floor.

She wore a black skirt with a white top, her frizzy red hair tied into a bun with an apron tied around her waist. An alternative waiter with glazed over eyes. Joon assumed she looked presentable, for she didn't own a single mirror. No one could recognize her in the shadowed town of Winthrop.

The 7th floor was dimly lit, people in different costumes roaming. She saw a man with stripped pants and a top hat pass by, his green eyes unblinking. The man was so striking, he seemed to come straight from a freak show. He was shadowed by a similar looking man, with a real live monkey on his shoulder. Purple and blue hallucinations thickened in her mind. Her father screamed.
She saw one little girl at the party, no older than 12, clad in a butler's costume. Wasn't it a school night?

At 9:30 there was ringing in her ears, she saw stars. A sky so overflowed with bright, golden light.
At 9:31 the light went pitch black. Her skin felt tight like rubber.
Joon's brother called out to her. There was a pool of blood. He hands were shaking with crimson. Her father screamed. He told her to stop, to drop it, but she couldn't hear him. 

"I'm sorry." She said it. She said it and wrote it again and again. No one was listening.

The lights flickered back on, as did Joon's hearing. A pair of stripped pants lay on the floor, worn by the man with the monkey on his shoulder. There was a pool of blood by his head.

A scream erupted from the room. But it wasn't her father's, it was her own.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

#3: You're Invited

Stars are in constant conflict with themselves. The collective gravity of all it's mass is pulling it inward. If there was nothing to stop it, the star would just continue collapsing for millions of years until it became its smallest possible size. Joon, like a star, was in constant conflict with herself.

She had chickened out of going to the circus, too focused on self-destruction. So just as the sun rose, Joon watched the tent fall. Joon pulled her blue jacket tighter to her small frame. She held the invitation in her hand, re-reading the words over and over. Someone had invited her to an environmental forum? "Your'e Invited...", The syllables on the invitation brushed goosebumps all over her arms.

A plum hat and stripped pants pass by her as dusk grows near, the man's mustache curved into a wicked smile. A girl's drops her grocery bags, white milk splattering the pavement in flashes as Joon's body floats by.

She'd been in Winthrop for over 6 months now. No one had any idea where she went, for she never left a note or letter.

She held 4 markers in her hand tightly as she walked. Blue, green, red orange.  Joon had began to write on herself. Words and ideas covered her forearms, the Star-Wars macaroni had been scribbled multiple times. Joon still couldn't find any.
She found herself at the community green house, a man wearing a scarf was briskly walking out of it. She bumped into him, her ghost-like body floating without her control.
"Are you okay?" the man asked. Wind whipped around him, his hair dancing gracefully. For a moment Joon saw a blotch of blue by his right ear, and  darker blue trailing down his upper neck to his scarf. He gave her a cramped smile, a flash of sharp teeth made her breath catch. The hallucinations had apparently begun.
Joon closed her eyes to make them leave, and found herself in front of the bar. The sun had set in the sky. Blue, green, red orange.

There were brochures inside, advertising Energy Star washing machines. She picked one up to have something to hold. She gazed up at the lights on the ceiling. She listened to the sounds of the people pitch energy efficiency. Joon heard muted yelling in her skull, her dad yelling for her to stop. Her brother was crying big fat tears.
She'd been in Winthrop for over 6 months now. No one had any idea where she went, for she never left a note or letter.
Her apartment was 70.12 degrees. Her pencils were lined perfectly on her desk. Her arms and hands were scrubbed raw and clean, washed 6 times with yellow soap. Her fingers itched to draw again. Blue, green, red orange. Blue, green, red orange.

'Dear Dad,' Joon wrote, 'I'm sorry that I killed you.'

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

#2: For One Night Only

"For one night only, you could come home on time!" the woman screamed. Her voice echoed through the thin walls of Joon's apartment, a marriage holding on by loose threads. Her neighbors had been doing this for weeks, months maybe? Time seemed to pass so slow these days.

Joon stood in her kitchen, gazing at the bright light bulb above her head. She was waiting, patiently, for it to flicker. Two days ago, the power had gone out in the Winthrop apartments, darkening the already gloomy hallways with black. 

Pitch black painted her eyes, and no matter how hard Joon blinked, it wouldn't go away. She had reached her way to her apartment's door, grasping her flashlight. 
Her feet had carried her down the dark stairwell, and right into a tall, top-heavy man. He grunted, not looking her way.  

"What are you doing in the basement, m'am?"

Joon's brain fizzled, eyes blinking wide. Suddenly, the lights had flickered back on, breath returning to her in puffs. Joon dropped her flashlight, stunned. His eyes looked back at her. They were the color of grey. Not sad, but tired grey. Swiftly she ran, forgetting her flashlight, legs carrying her back to her safe apartment, behind her sturdy door.

Her kitchen light was still on. An small orange bottle lay on her counter, her name meticulously labeled on the side, unopened. 

Joon decided to take a walk. Her feet carried her. They seemed to do that a lot, without her full permission. Her purple converses kept walking, till she was at the train station. 

There was a huge tent, more like a building, with windows and floors. There was a rusty ticket booth outside, a large sign splayed red letters, promising entertainment.  
                                                     HERE FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY. THURSDAY, 7PM. 

Something, Joon knew, had brought her here. Something she knew she would never find in that orange bottle. It was almost 8:30. She had to be home, under her green star sheets by exactly 9. Milk in her glass, black pen on her bedside, purple journal right beside it. Her shoes, right and left, by the door. Her brass knob, locked at 8:50.

 The tent was watching her, it's large arches asking her to come inside. She felt her dad's voice in her head. He was crying, yelling to her.
Joon's legs carried her home, pushing her solid weight forward, until she ran right into someone else. 

He laughed, his uniform bore his name. 
"What are you doing in the basement, m'am?"

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

#1 (Apt. 1007): The Day Started With

The day started with the rattling of metal on cold tiles. The sun was just starting to rise, but Joon had been up for hours. Her shopping cart's wheels ground on the supermarkets floor, screeching to a halt as she narrowly missed hitting an old women.

She was frantically looking for the new Star Wars themed macaroni. It needed to be the yellow and blue box, with stars all over the top. It needed to be on aisle 7, right with all the other regular macaroni. Joon was going to grab it, and buy it. She flew down the aisle, out of breath, eyes searching, hopeful. She saw the regular macaroni, even the kids macaroni, with the stupid dinosaurs. But there was no Star Wars macaroni. None. Zero.

They were supposed to be there. Joon had looked up the supermarkets website. The one in Winthrop Place didn't even carry the new boxes yet.
Why weren't they there? They had to be there.
Joon blew out an angry breath, chest constricting.

Frizzy whips of red hair flew into her face as a young women and her child walked in front of her, grabbing a box of pasta beside the macaroni section.
They were completely unaware of the panic attack burning hot coals in the pit of her stomach.

Things needed to be perfect. She had done everything perfectly. She had taken the Northbound train from Winthrop to Lexington. She had put exactly $30 in her wallet, just in case. The macaroni was only $5.25. She had checked the supermarket's website 10 times on the ride over. The empty spot on the shelf mocked her.

Joon's looked down, when had he hands started shaking? Hot tears ran down her freckled cheeks in in perfect time with the rain running down the supermarkets windows as she left. She waited for the bus under the grimy covering. Thunder and lightning painted the sky, it was 7:46AM.

Joon put her headphones in, playing her favorite David Bowie playlist. Bowie was her absolute favorite, because of his shared love of anything space related. She often wished there could be life on Mars. She dreamed of floating off to meet them. Joon used to listen to him on constant repeat after what had happened.

As she returned to the city, a sea of blue and red lights illuminated her face as she passed the east side of Winthrop. Joon assumed something must have happened by the old Winthrop pool and empty playground. All the teenagers used to go down there to smoke and make trouble in their youthful boredom.

Joon had only been there once, last Christmas. When she had gone, snow had covered the sidewalks in white clouds of gloom. But something about that place always felt cold, even in the heat of July.