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Fantasy Friendship Sad

The sound of the graphite point scraping against cement.

Drawing a line.

Placing a hand on the cold wall.

Pulling it away and inspecting the black dust.

Is it ash or graphite?

Her home had burned.

She had been put here.

She wore clothes of rags.

Her hair was uneven and dirty.

Her eyes had once been full of life and beauty. Now, they were empty. Devoid of what had been there.

Once a week she showered.

Once a day she ate.

Once a month she gazed out the window, just to tell herself there was still beauty in the world.

Once a year she got to go outside.

Five years had passed, making 1825 lines on the wall.

There was no time in this place.

There was no beauty.

Her and her walls were the exception.

Her name? If she had a name, no one knew. As far as her guards were concerned, she was just The Girl. No one asked or said otherwise.

Black smudges.

Ash or graphite?

She didn’t know her name. She didn’t know her family. She didn’t know she had been marked as β€˜dangerous’.

Five years ago.

1825 days. 1825 lines.

1825 black smudges.

The cement floor was slick and salted with The Girl’s tears.

No family.

No home.

No life.

It was the day of the fifth year. The Girl did her routine.

Line.

Hand.

Smudge.

Tear.

The guard, Marlin, he was called, got The Girl.

β€œCome on, Miss. It’s the day.”

Marlin was the nicest of The Girl’s guards, he was kind, he was gentle, and he never hurt her, accident or otherwise.

The Girl knew what Marlin meant. It was the day of the Outside. She was happy Marlin was her guard, he might grant her some extra time outside.

They marched through the prison, just girl and guard.

Marlin dropped his pocket watch, and when he bent to grab it, he said, β€œTonight. Be ready.”

The Girl didn’t know what he meant.

They marched on as if it had never happened.

The Outside was just as green and beautiful as The Girl remembered it from last year. Lush grass. Wildflowers in bursts of pastel colors. Yellow, blue, pink.

They saw.

In her mind, she knew. The High, the prison keepers, they saw Marlin whisper to her. She knew they knew-

β€œOfficer Marlin! I have orders to place you and-” The guard faltered. β€œ-The Girl under arrest for treason!”

How could a prisoner commit treason, being kept here against her will? The Girl wondered.

The Girl was taken back to her room, and Marlin was handcuffed.

β€œI did nothing!” He protested.

But they knew.

The Girl was forced back to her room, despite her attempts to plant her feet. To stay still.

The guard inserted a key into her cell door. It swung open as if it had never been locked.

The Girl had not spoken in five years, she doubted anyone had noticed.

Now she did.

β€œNo.” She said, her voice a mere whisper.

β€œNo.” She said again, louder.

β€œNo!” She yelled, writhing and screaming and kicking.

Her marks were gone.

All 1825 of them.

β€œOfficer Marlin, what were you telling The Girl to be ready for?” The Highest asked.

β€œNothing, as I never said it.”

β€œI’ll have you know, we will continue to punish The Girl until you confess.”

Marlin paled. β€œPunish? Her? Why? How?”

β€œBecause she was a possible accomplice in a possible crime against The High. As punishment, we have erased her wall marks.”

Marlin froze. β€œNo.”

β€œNo.” Marlin said again.

His anger overcame his shock.

β€œYou erased her marks?”

β€œYes. That shows how we punish crimes here.”

β€œIn my opinion, she’s been here long enough! Five years, and why? She never committed any crime!”

β€œWe have our reasons, and that's above your paygrade.”

Marlin’s rage broke all at once.Β 

The Girl turned.

β€œWhy?” She said in a low voice?

The guard was silent. He wouldn’t even look at her.

Tears carried streaks of grime and graphite down her face. β€œWhy?” She repeated.

She plopped down on the ground outside of her room.

β€œGet up, girl.” The guard poked her with the tip of his boot.

β€œNo.”

β€œNo?” The guard asked. He had never expected this to happen.

β€œNope.” The Girl said.

She was not going to move.

Marlin fought like a demon. They had disarmed him, of course, but he still had his armored gloves, which did not feel good to be hit with.

He kicked and punched until all of The High were passed out moaning on the ground.

β€œAnd now to find her.” Marlin said aloud.

He ran toward The Girl’s cell.

The Girl had been sitting there for twenty minutes. The guard had not been able to move her. It was as if she had grown roots.

β€œGet up.”

β€œNope.”

A dark figure loomed over the guard.

The Girl’s eyes widened.

The guard noticed too late.

Marlin hit him in the back of the head, hard, with the flat of a sword he had picked up at the unattended armory.

β€œMarlin!” The Girl said.

Marlin smiled. He liked hearing the girl say his name. Her voice was like spring, or a cool breeze in the summer.

β€œLet us go.” He said.

They ran for the door, but first they stopped at the quartermaster to get The Girl some clothing that wasn’t in tatters.

She had changed into a guards uniform, complete with armor. They ran for the stables. The Girl rode a white mare and Marlin rode a black stallion.

They thought they were home free.

But no.Β 

They were wrong.

Marlin was feeling great, with the wind blowing through his hair.

Correction: Marlin was feeling great, until he got skewered by a spear.

β€œG-g-g-girl!” He said, shivering.

β€œMarlin!” She exclaimed.

The Girl could tell, Marlin was about to fall off the horse. She led them to a hiding spot in the forest.

She slipped down from her horse and pulled Marlin off his, carefully. He winced with every light, careful touch The Girl made as she pulled him down.

β€œI need to tell you something…”

β€œWhat is it, Marlin?” She asked with a mask of calm.

β€œYou don’t know your name, right?”

The Girl paused. β€œNo.”

β€œCan I give you a name?”

β€œIf you wish.”

β€œCedar. After the tree we are under. It is beautiful and good, just like you.”

She tried the name in her mouth. β€œCedar. Cedar. I like it.”

β€œI am being called, dear Cedar. Remember me.”

A tear dropped down her cheek. β€œYes, Marlin.”

And he was gone.

Epilogue

Cedar brushed her daughter’s cheek. Her name was Willow, and she looked just like her mother.

She turned to her son. He looked like his father. Cedar’s husband liked to joke that she was her’s, and their son was his.

She brushed the hair out of her son’s eyes. β€œHave a good day at school, precious.”

And she waved her daughter Willow and her son Marlin goodbye.

December 24, 2020 16:58

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36 comments

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Such poetic words. Such poetic lines. Such a poetic title. Oh my! Jokes aside, Carolina, you wrote such a beautiful and an amazing story! Such an awesome note to end on for this year! I just absolutely loved it! :) I hope you had a great New Year!

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Johanna Leo
20:27 Jan 06, 2021

Love this format, such an interesting way to tell a story! And you suck the reader in since the first line

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Frances Reine
19:04 Dec 28, 2020

The beginning gave me a really fragile sort of beautiful emptiness. I love the simplicity so much!

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Maddy Writes
03:12 Mar 15, 2021

πŸ§ƒ

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This story was Amazing and emotional, to say the least. It had me enthralled and in tears. I absolutely loved it and the end. I haven't got the proper words to explain my feeling on this so all I can say is just wow. I can actually visualize this on a stage with theater kids. You should be very proud...

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Rachael Mungai
16:04 Jan 04, 2021

I especially love your detailed description. You also really manage to perfectly portray the mood of your story. I love it.

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Thank you so much! Would you mind signing this petition to end the downvoting feature on reedsy? Heres the link: https://forms.gle/j3V39n9S928uxrbX9 Thank you!

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Rachael Mungai
16:22 Jan 04, 2021

Done. Hope it ends soon.

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12:46 Jan 02, 2021

Very nice story, Carolina! I especially like the symbolism of Cedar's given name and the sentiment you put into the epilogue. Very heartfelt and creative approach to the prompt. :) Hope you have a very happy new year!

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noiceeee The emotion is represented well here. also question: did you search up how many days are in 5 years? just wanted to know XD - Amethyst

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thought so XD if I wrote this I probably wouldn't have done the calculations either so I can't judge you πŸ˜‹

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Nainika Gupta
19:36 Dec 24, 2020

wow...what a simple, yet powerful story!! I loved the detail you were able to put out there with just a few lines, and I absolutely loved this, Caroline!!

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Nainika Gupta
01:40 Dec 25, 2020

no problem!! Happy holidays, Caroline :)

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Happy Holidays!!! πŸ€“πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽˆπŸŽˆπŸŽ„πŸŽ„

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Nainika Gupta
03:38 Dec 25, 2020

:)

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Coco Longstaff
02:44 Jan 05, 2021

I love how the story is kind of poetic, it makes the story more emotional. I like the descriptions, and the title too. I wrote a story with the Sam prompt, and I have to say, yours is much better! (For reals) Good job Carol!

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Coco Longstaff
05:51 Jan 05, 2021

Aww youre welcome!

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Coco Longstaff
00:02 Jan 06, 2021

Hi Carol You good? I was wondering if you would want to read my new story, β€œthe battle between the grubs and the humans”?

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Daniel Bailey
16:55 Jan 03, 2021

I love this, very poetic

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