Hello! My name is Julie Dawn and I’m so excited to be part of this Blogfest, bringing along my debut zombie novel Yosemite Rising. The journey of writing it was as painful as my main character’s. I hadn’t planned on that. Life throws a lot at us that we don’t expect. Here’s an added scene, written just for this event.
Night had fallen. My eyes drifted over the small privacy windows at the top of the bathroom walls. Sleep was coming. If I believed in fairytales, I’d wait for the Sandman.
He’d save me from this fucked up world, make me feel whole again, take me to a place where I could see Mom, Dad ….
I pushed my thoughts away and sunk back against the wall. My head leaned right and nodded as my eyes pulled me into darkness, relief from the world. I forced them open one last time to make sure there were no feet beneath the stalls. There was something behind the toilet—a pen or marker. My heart jerked at the sight of it. I felt what those cavemen did centuries ago. The incredible urge to leave my mark, leave some kind of evidence that I ever existed. Tomorrow those things out there—out in the world—outside this bathroom, could tare me to pieces.
I glanced at the dagger that had slid into the shadows. I didn’t want to have to be there, stuck in a bathroom, alone, cold, hungry, staring at the stitches in my wrist, wondering if it’d be easier just to die. Every time I close my eyes, they’re there. I see my parents smiling at me, hugging me goodbye like they were supposed to. My sister had an infectious laugh; anytime she smiled it forced into one. Then I see Dominic, his bare ass pounding between her legs, spread out on my mattress. I hope they ripped him apart.
Where was the sandman when I needed him?
I looked away from the dagger at the toilet and forced myself from the cold cement floor. My reflection followed me past the mirror and disappeared as I entered the stall. I kneeled in front of the porcelain bowel and leaned behind it. The tips of my fingers touched the pen, sliding into a thick, sticky substance. I tired to pull the object closer, but it moved further away.
I sat up. I can’t even get a pen out from behind the goddamn toilet. My head sunk against the toilet’s rim and the tears came. They were warm. Why me? Why am I left? Why can’t I do anything right? Why is everything …?
Something smacked the window.
I sat up. My whole body tightened and the tears trickled to a stop. Time pounded by in quick heartbeats until I gave up listening, for any evidence as to its cause.
I wiped my fingers on my jeans and reached around the other side of the toilet. My middle finger touched the pen’s tip. I pressed down as hard as I could. It flipped and I grabbed it. It was a magic marker.
I sat up, listening, waiting for one of those creatures to pound in the door and tare the one, small accomplishment from my fingers—with no Sandman to save me.
The moon had inched across the night sky by the time I exited the stall. I could graffiti the whole bathroom. Anything I could dream up, anything I wanted to leave for the next person rested in that moment, in my hand.
I stepped in front of the mirror allowing it to capture my worn reflection. The woman, who looked back, looked so tired, beaten. Beaten. I wanted to look away, but if I did, what would be left? The Sandman could take me away and no one would ever know. No one would care. No one was left to mourn me.
The woman’s fingers shook as she reached for mine. My fingers pressed against hers and I felt nothing. You’re nothing. I closed my eyes.
You can give up, die with the rest of them, or you can live. Leave something. Tell them your name, your story. Tell them. Give them something to remember you by.
I opened my eyes and took the cap off the marker. I had never graffiti anything. It had always been wrong. Now I couldn’t understand why. Why we were all expected to leave no evidence behind.
I pressed the tip of the marker to the mirror. If it’s only my name, I’ll leave something. The girl in the mirror inhaled and held her breath as she pressed the tip of the marker to mirror.
I drew down the line for an E and a faint, dried-out marker line left nothing. I let go of the marker. It fell into the sink and landed on the drain.
I wish I could believe in fairytales.
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Julie Dawn grew up in southern Jersey, spending the summers collecting bee stingers in her feet. After graduating from Richard Stockton College, she dipped her toes in the environmental field for a few years, got married, moved to North Carolina, and finally got to become a mom. Four years of living in state parks was enough to make her relocate to the Oregon Coast. Under bright stars, she started writing again, determined to change the world one story at a time.
Check out the other authors in the blogfest!!