THEY SAY IT'S HOME- PROLOGUE

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Submitted Date 03/30/2019
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We met in my first home, back when we were little kids. I was quiet and unassuming in the beginning because I still thought I wanted my parents, still thought I could get back to them and the way life used to be.

I originally saw her when my social worker ushered me out of the car and into the house. There were only three other kids but at the time it seemed like a circus. They were yelling and chasing each other and clowning around, making so much noise that I tried to hide behind Evelyn. I remember my heart racing and the desperate urge to wet myself.

My mind didn’t retain anything about those other kids or my guardians, instead it took all of the space and utilized it to capture Lari in that first moment, peering at me around Evelyn’s legs curiously. Her blue eyes were wide and unblinking, freckles cascading down her face like falling stars. We stared at each other for what felt a lifetime.

“I’m Lari,” she said, pronouncing it like an apology. My grip tightened on Evelyn’s skirt. Lari reached out a small hand to touch my braid. “Wow, you have the most ahhhhmazing hair,” she told me, drawing it out in that awe inspired way only starstruck little girls could accomplish.

I released Evelyn’s skirt and fingered my braid nervously instead.“Umm, thank you,” I replied awkwardly, voice coming out in an embarrassing squeak.

Lari laughed so loudly I was startled; eventually I’d come to know that laugh better than my own.

“So?” she asked expectantly, hands on her hips as I stared at her in confusion. “Your name?”

“Charlotte,” I said quietly and she grinned again.

“Like the spider!”

We were together there for six months.

Six months where we became best friends, learned everything there was to know about each other. I told her about what had befallen my family, what had happened to my parents and sibling. She showed me the cigarette burns her dad had pressed into her flesh. I showed her the stitches from the gash in my leg, told her it was so deep you could see bone.

Lari had perked up at that, asking me question after question about the milky white visible beneath my dark flesh, how it felt to see it so stark against the pink and red of my insides. A fascination of the macabre is partly what drew me to Lari.

Even though we were both eight and nine respectively, we had seen things that many adults would never dream to experience. We had both survived darkness and would forever live seeking it out, unsatisfied without.

The world was a cold and terrible place and we knew it, together we just managed to also find the beauty.

Then, once those six months were up, we re-entered the atmosphere on fire. Lari had always been in and out of foster care. Her dad would take her back until he got caught up in some issue or another and the state laid claim on Lari, and it was an endless cycle plucking Lari from home to home, never giving her a real chance to fully revel in familiarity.

The day her dad came Lari didn’t even cry. She clutched my hand so hard that her nails left bloody little crescents over my knuckles. Her freckles were vivid against her pale, frightened skin, but she didn’t cry. She only said, “Charlotte, don’t forget me.”

I’d tilted my head at her, a little unnerved by the expression on her face. As if I could ever forget her, it was akin to forgetting the moon.

They took her from me, solemn and unyielding.

And I let them.

I could see in Lari’s eyes that she knew it. Even though she didn’t struggle, she had stared at me helplessly, begging to me to save her. Not only did I not save her, I didn’t even try. I turned from her and cried, not for her plight, but for my loss. Because now I would be alone.

I never once thought to think about how alone Lari would be without me.

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  • Nina Appasamy 2 years, 9 months ago

    Is this a novel? This is a really good start. My only suggestion would be to slow this part down. The events in this prologue seem extremely important, but they felt a bit rushed. Perhaps you could actually write out these scenes, rather than having the main character explain what happened. That might help to set up the tone for the novel and to slow it down. Otherwise, good job!

    • Kiersten Felch 2 years, 9 months ago

      Thank you for your advice! And this is meant to be a short summary for reasons that become clear as the story progresses. The nature of their relationship and pasts needs to remain ambiguous until it all unravels.

  • Ceara 2 years, 9 months ago

    I hope there is more coming! I think that this prologue really sets up the story. I would love to find out more about the events that lead Charlotte and Lari to the home and what happens after the girls are separated.

    • Kiersten Felch 2 years, 9 months ago

      I'll be posting a bit of it here and seeing how it does in relation to my poetry. Check every four days or so for updates. Thank you!

  • Tomas Chough 2 years, 9 months ago

    Great start! The story really drew me in and I felt the need to keep reading when it ended. Keep it up Kiersten!

  • Miranda Fotia 2 years, 9 months ago

    Great prologue! Can't wait to read more!