It’s SINful Saturday!
Take a look at the latest episode of.. SIN of the Shed.
I should let her go. I should tell her to run—to get the hell away from me and this nightmare she’s been held hostage in for the past three years. But I won’t give her that chance again. I wasn’t sure if she was actually going to take the opportunity and run into the night blind and desperate for freedom. Clearly, she’s smarter than I’ve given her credit for, which is good because what’s out there isn’t better than what is in here. She just doesn’t know it yet.
Go figure the lights power back on the second I tell her I escaped from the loony bin. The look in her eyes should have filled with more fear than what she let on, but she’s obviously too numb to comprehend the danger in which I’ve become.
Rather than shoving through those metal doors, she’s been sitting on the top step staring at me for the past hour. I haven’t had this much time to look at her in much light, but now that I’m knee deep into this staring contest, I can see what the darkness has done to her. Her skin is pale—ghostly white, and her eyes are the lightest shade of blue I’ve ever seen. Her lips are dry and cracked, and her cheekbones are slightly sunken. But even with all of the flaws, she’s still beautiful, like one of those porcelain dolls Ma used to collect.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” she asks, her eyebrows scrunch together.
“Like what?” I ask her.
“I don’t know. It’s like you’re waiting for me to run away or something.” She combs her fingers through the length of her long hair and tucks the sides behind her ears.
“Aren’t you afraid of me?” I ask her.
She stands up and slowly makes her way down the steps to where I’m standing. “I’ll tell you what I’m afraid of, Sin,” she begins. “I’m afraid of the dark. I’m afraid of starving to death, or worse, getting sick. That’s what I’m afraid of.”
“That’s all?” I ask her, knowing exactly why those are her simple answers. There’s nothing else to be afraid of when you’re in solitary confinement.
“No.” She narrows her eyes and bites down on her bottom lip. “What I’m mostly afraid of is…that I may never find my way back to a normal state of mind.”
“As you should be,” I tell her. Her eyes widen at my remark or possibly for the reason I’m agreeing. Maybe she wants me to tell her she’ll eventually be okay. But I doubt she will be, and I’m not one to give false hope.
“I want answers, Sin. Tell me what has changed over the past three years? Where are we? Do you know my mother?” I was wondering how long it would take for her to start asking questions. “And how did you escape from the hospital? Did you kill someone to make that happen?” At least it’s clear she knows the reasons why she should be afraid of me.
“I don’t think you want to know the answer to any of your questions. You’re too fragile right now.”
“Fragile?” she shouts, her voice hoarse and broken. With her thin finger pointed directly at my nose, she continues, “Don’t confuse my weakness for being fragile. I’m alive. Therefore, I am not fragile.”
Her anger excites me a bit, and I do my best to hide the twitching smile piercing through my permanent scowl, but I find her humorous, and a little cute.
“Come with me,” I tell her. I bring her to the other side of the basement where Ma’s closet has gone untouched. I open the door, and for the first time since her death, I inhale the perfumed scent permeating the closet and now the air around us. A pain in my chest makes it hard to touch the material of her clothes, but I grit my teeth and yank out a pair of her overalls and a shirt. “Here, clean clothes.” I thrust my arm out to her with the clothes. “Take them.”
“Are these your mother’s?”
“They were, yes. Now put them on.” I squat down to the shoe rack and grab a pair of Ma’s work boots as I look over at Reese’s bare feet. The size is close enough. “Here.” I toss them to the ground in front of her.
“Why is your mother’s closet in the basement? Did she live here? I thought you said your dad wouldn’t come in here…”
“Enough. Just take the damn clothes, will you?”
“Thank you,” she says, holding everything tightly against her chest.
I walk past her and back over toward the door to give her privacy, although there isn’t much isolation in this wide-open basement, except for the dozens of beams supporting the ceiling.
I sit down on the bottom step and try to avoid her movement out of my periphery. Although the paleness of her skin glows brightly enough to make avoidance difficult, and I’m losing the battle of attempting to give her privacy. Perfect, untouched porcelain is all I can see, even when I close my eyes.
“It feels nice to change out of those clothes,” she says, folding up the grey sweat pants and the white t-shirt I assume she’s been wearing for the past three years. She steps into each boot and tightens them around her ankles. “They’re a tad big, but shoes are nice.” What the hell did Pa do with her shoes? Why would he even take those from her?
She sits down beside me, folding up the extra long pants at her knees. “I guess I’m ready for whatever is out there now that I’m in clean clothes.”
You’re in my dead mother’s clothes; I want to say.
“I’m glad you think you’re ready,” I say, leaning back against the cement wall as I fold my arms behind my head. Closing my eyes, I add in, “Get some sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a long day.”
I hear her scuffling around on the step and then her head rests down on my lap. My body stiffens from her touch, even through the thick jean material; I can feel the warmth of her head. “What are you doing?” I snap at her.
“You’re warm, and I’m cold,” she says.
It’s been so long since I’ve felt any warmth that I’ve forgotten what it’s supposed to feel like, but maybe this is close. Craving more warmth, I lower one of my hands and place it down on her back. “We’re not so different, Sin,” she says softly. “I won’t hurt you either.” She thinks she knows everything.
Focusing on the warmth radiating beneath my hand, I find it hard to sleep. I spend the passing hours watching her back rise and fall with every one of her breaths, realizing I’ve never had the time to watch a person breath for so long. I watched the padded walls breath, however. When you stare at something long enough, it begins to move—it morphs into things only a human brain can conjure up in a time of desolation. At least I know I’m not imagining this movement within her.
Somewhere between the time Reese fell asleep and now, the rain has stopped. The birds are cawing outside, and I know it’s time to get moving. I squeeze the hand I haven’t moved in hours, and she stirs gently beneath my grip. Whipping around and sitting up quickly, she looks at me like I’m the one who coerced her to fall asleep on my lap. “I wasn’t dreaming I guess,” she says.
“No, you’re still in a nightmare.”
She stands up and stretches her arms above her head before throwing herself to the ground. “A rubber band!” she shouts. She’s was definitely locked up for too damn long. Who gets that excited over a piece of rubber? I watch her curiously, wondering what the big deal is. But I stop wondering when she twists her hair into a knot on the top of her head so she can wrap the rubber band securely around it. “I’ve dreamt of pulling my hair up for years.”
“You have shitty dreams,” I tell her.
“I guess only shitty dreams can exist in a nightmare.”
“You got me there.” I walk over to the workbench in the corner and grab a few things to keep in my pocket. “You ready?”
“I’m not sure,” she says. “But we need to get out of here. I need to see daylight.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” I mutter under my breath.
She walks up the steps to the door and pushes the metal bar to the left. “There’s light,” she says quietly, pressing the door open slightly.
“He could still be out there,” I remind her.
“I found a revolver in the closet. I’m not worried.” I close my eyes and pray the girl doesn’t shoot me after stepping outside of this shithole.
“Let me go first. I’ve actually shot a weapon before.” I nudge her to the side and step outside, surveying the damage from the tornado. Although I suppose it can’t be called damage anymore though. It’s more like the icing over destruction.
She follows me outside, cupping her hand over her eyes, shielding herself from the sun.
“The sun,” she says. “It’s—“
“In the sky?” I ask with sarcasm. “Let’s get out of here quickly.” I grab her by the arm and pull her faster than she wants to walk. After crossing the street, she pulls away from me.
“Wait!” she shouts.
“What the hell are you doing?” I pull her a little harder, so she doesn’t try to stop us again.
“Was that the shed?” she asks, pointing to the pile of rotting reddish-brown wood.
“Yeah and you would be buried beneath that if I didn’t save your ass, so now do me a favor and walk.”
“You’re kind of an asshole,” she says.
I jerk her arm and pull her in front of me, lowering my face to hers. “Listen to me. The world is a screwed up place. Especially right now. This is an abandoned town. Has been for ten years. Do you know what happens when things are abandoned, Reese? Tell me. Do you?”
I hear her swallow against the stale air. She tries to stare me down, her jaw grinding back and forth with anger. “All I know is that abandoned people go crazy.” She breathes heavily contemplating her next words before spitting them out, “Like you, asshole.”
“And like you,” I grit through my teeth. “Let me tell you something, sweetheart, when towns are abandoned, they become a habitat for the insane. So keep your eyes open, your mouth shut and stay behind me until I tell you otherwise.”
***Recommended for anyone 18+ due to upcoming dark themes and adult language***
Don’t forget this is an interactive story. Each week you have a chance to lend ideas to Shari’s story. Check out her website for more details. And click HERE to leave comments on this week’s Episode.
Stay tuned for next week’s episode. It will air on Friday on Shari J Ryan's blog!
About the Author:
Shari J. Ryan is an Amazon Top 100 Bestselling author, a Barnes & Noble Top 10 Bestselling author, and an iBookstore #1 Bestselling author.
She hails from Central Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and two lively little boys. Shari has always had an active imagination and enjoys losing herself in the fictional worlds she creates. When Shari isn’t writing, she can usually be found cleaning toys up off the floor.
To learn more, visit her at, www.sharijryan.com.
Brought to you by the Author, Shari J Ryan and Paging Through The Days.