Those Left Behind
James Tyler on Shakespir
THOSE LEFT BEHIND
Copyright © 2015 by James Tyler
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This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.
She sat in her room and stared silently at the computer screen in front of her. A blank page was on the screen, a blinking line in the top corner. Violent memories wracked her mind and tears streamed silently down her cheeks. She stood up from the computer and walked to her window. Clothes lay scattered on the floor; in the window that she peered from were flowers in small pots that she had painted various colours.
Wiping her eyes in the light of the window, she turned back to the computer. Don’t be so silly, she thought. It was two years ago, it was two years ago. She sat back down in her chair and pulled up the sleeves of her too baggy sweater, Ohio State emblazoned across the chest.
Two years and she could not escape the fear that drenched every moment of her day; two years did not stop the nightmares or the screams she still heard in her memories. Time did not heal some wounds, time did not salve the burns on her soul. Time did not take the fear from her eyes, time did not stop her from shaking.
Overcome, she ran from her room another down the hall. She heard her parents downstairs.
There was a smell in this room that seemed to hold her and comfort her as she cried, wrapping herself in blankets that soon warmed her. She wiped her eyes again and when they were clear they were drawn to the banner across the door that read Ohio State.
My little brother, she thought. My dear little brother. There were pictures in frames. He was a good looking boy his hair long and his eyes wild and bright and God he looked strong and young and beautiful, the strength and the beauty because he was young and maybe more because he was gone and her mind went blank and she remembered the screams and she remembered the blood and she remembered what it looked like when the man in the black hoodie opened fire and killed so many, injured so many, and she remembered her beautiful little brother as he died and she remembered that her throat was raw from screaming and she remembered his blood on her hands and she remembered asking Why? and not getting an answer and she remembered it all in vivid detail, like it was happening now and she realized that she was screaming now and her father was there and he held her tight, calming her and as he held her she stopped the screaming but not the crying with a sobbing that shook her soul.
She remembered the days after and seeing the man’s face on every news channel and being haunted by the face of the, not a man he could never be called that, the face of the monster that committed suicide after he took her brother and others away and seeing him on the news made it all worse; a sick celebration of a fucking horror. She hated everyone for watching and she hated everyone for listening. She couldn’t understand the why but there are some things in this life she knew that she’d never know no matter how much she wanted to. But she hated seeing his picture. She remembered not being able to leave her house for six months after seeing his face. She remembered shaking and she remembered the shame of not being able to sit down in public without having a panic attack and she saw him everywhere and she was crushed now by the weight of memories that she could not escape, crushed by the letter she couldn’t write that would just ask Why?