Getting up for college today was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. And that includes all the interviews I've ever been to (all four of them *sighs*).
Bear in mind that last night's incident happened around sunset and the sun wasn't even close to rising when I woke up this morning. Add a late and restless night on top of that and you probably have a small idea about how I felt this morning.
Pete was around - evidently he'd been with me all night. He asked me if I was sure I wanted to go, but I told him I had to. I can't let this stop me from living my life. I've had too many setbacks as it is. I was just beginning to feel like I'm succeeding, like some day I can find my place and become a contributive member of society. Even you lot reading this have seen how far I've come since August. I don't want to lose that. I don't want to go back to how I was before Susan split off.
The walk (or rather, run) to the bus stop was nerve-wracking. Where I live, I have to walk along a wooded lane to get to the main road. The sky was beginning to lighten, which gave me just a little reassurance. Once I was on the main road, I felt a little better. Not another soul was in sight, but the sound of birdsong pierced the air and I felt relieved.
Once me and Pete were nearer the town centre than my house, we stopped running. We could hear the sound of lonely cars groaning along the High Street, and I felt safer. There were the usual morning commuters at the bus stop, exhaustion carved into their faces, boredom distorting their postures.
Pete stayed with me the whole day. Even on the buses. He took the window seat (he gets travel sick easily) which meant I could concentrate what was on the inside of the bus rather than the outside. I think that helped, along with the isolating power of my mp3 player.
Unfortunately, my friends noticed I was being quieter than usual. They asked what was bugging me so I just said I was tired. (And I wasn't lying. >_<) I forced myself to brighten up. I can't let them know anything's wrong. I'll never forgive myself if anything happens to them because of me.
I almost considered letting them know Pete was with me, since they seem to like him, but he'd told me earlier he wanted to stay under the radar and focus on making sure I was alright. I honestly don't know what I'd do without him.
Susan officially hates me. She hates me for turning down that offer last night, for running from the people that could make her dreams come true, and for not caring about anything she wants. If it was so important to her, why didn't she come out last night while it was actually happening instead of just complaining about my decision after I got home? I honestly don't understand her motives one bit.
Talking of when I got home, Dad noticed something was wrong. Fair enough, I wasn't really capable of hiding it at that point. I must have looked a wreck when I got through the door. I couldn't finish my dinner, and there was around five minutes between each bite. All I could think about was how scared and helpless I felt, how I have no idea what would have happened to me if I didn't manage to get away, how he seemed to be waiting for me when I saw him from the bus.
He told me I didn't look very well. I told him I thought I was coming down with something. I had to write him a note before I left this morning, saying I felt well enough for college. He phoned me when I was on the bus as well. I had to pretend to sound happy.
Honestly, I've been using the "tired" excuse all day. Friends, lecturers, even Dad. The journey home was gruelling. I hadn't seen a hint of Slender all day, but I caught a glimpse of his blue-robed companion when I was on the bus back. I was stopped at a red light, when Pete gasped. I looked down, and there he was, just leaning against the wall, right under the window, looking up. He smiled at me and saluted, then the bus pulled away.
I didn't see him again, but that one glimpse was enough. It was another hour until I got home. When Dad saw me, he said I shouldn't have gone. I told him I felt better than I had last night. He nodded but said he didn't want me to get any worse. I told him I wasn't going to take a day off unless I had to. He sighed and just said "see you?" then gave me a hug.
Overall, I am feeling better than I was last night, but I'm only just managing to keep myself together. Arguing with Susan makes me angry and tires me out, time alone makes me dwell on bad prosepects, and I miss my Mum more than ever.
I used to be able to talk to her about whatever I was worried about, whatever was going through my head, and she'd be able to make me feel better about it. Pete's been so supportive. I don't think I'll ever be able to thank him enough. Liam is a comforting presence, but he doesn't understand what's wrong. How could he? He's a badger. A small, cuddly badger. I haven't been cuddling him enough. I think that's why he looks so confused. I should cuddle him more.
I had a very vivid dream last night. I was in a forest, sitting in a tree, high above the ground. There were some badgers below, some of them running about, tackling each other, others just plodded along, snuffling the ground. (None of them were Liam, but that's not important.) It was autumn. The trees were almost bare, and a carpet of orange coated the ground. The sun was approaching the west, and it cast a golden light on the scene. I looked to my left and my mother was sitting next to me. She was smiling at the badgers.
I asked her "Why are you here?"
She just looked at me and smiled.
I couldn't smile back. I looked down at the badgers. They started moving away, towards the setting sun.
"You know I'm proud of you?" she said.
I nodded. "I miss you."
"I know." She looked down again.
The branch seemed to slide down the tree, until we were only a few feet up. My Mum slipped off and I followed. We walked for a while together.
"Barb?" she said.
"I didn't want to go."
"It's just ..." Her gaze suddenly shifted to something behind me and her eyes widened. "Run!"
She pushed me and I ran. I looked back. My Mum was standing with her back to me, looking into a black, cloudy portal the width and height of two men.
"Mum!" I yelled.
She didn't respond.
I watched as thin black tendrils wrapped themselves round the side of the portal. My Mum turned round.
"I said run, Barbara!" she shouted.
I ran. I don't know what happened to her, but soon enough the blackness started appearing in my peripherals, wrapping itself around my plane of vision. I looked over my shoulder and everything was black. I tried to outrun the blackness, its convulsing tendrils racing with me. Eventually it overtook me and I fell away from the ground, flailing helplessly. My fall was broken when I became caught within more thin, black tangles. I initially thought the were the same tendrils as before, but these were tangible, strong, they held me in place when i tried to struggle. I let my body relax and I looked around.
Blue roses. Above, beside, below me. Their stems thin and gently curved, leaves as black as the void.
I'm sorry for the length and the disjointedness of this post. There was so much I wanted to say, and I can't think straight at the moment. I can only apologise. Maybe I could go through it later and make it flow better, when I can think straight.