the dark Angel|8

Gillian was too miserable to protest at being stripped naked by somebody with the bedside manner of a female prison guard or an extremely strict nanny. She huddled, feeling small and shivering in herbare skin, and then lunged for the tub as soon as Tanya was done.The water felt scalding. Gillian could feel her eyes get huge and she clenched her teeth on a yell. It probably felt so hot because she was so cold. Breathing through her nose, she forced herself to submerge to the shoulders.”All right,” Tanya said on the other side of the coral-colored shower curtain. “I’ll go up and get you some dry clothes to put on.””No!” Gillian said, shooting half out of the water. Not upstairs, not where her mom was, not where her room was.But the bathroom door was already shutting with a decisive dick. Tanya wasn’t the kind of person yousaid no to.Gillian sat, immobilized by panic and horror, until a fountain of burning pain drove everything else out of her mind.It started in her fingers and toes and shot upward, a white-hot searing that meant her frozen flesh was coming back to life. All she could do was sit rigid, breathe raggedly through her nose, and try to endure it.And eventually, it did get better. Her white,wrinkled skin turned dark blue, and then mottled, and then red. The searing subsided to a tingling. Gillian could move and think again.She could hear, too. There were voices outside the bathroom in the hallway. The door didn’t even mufflethem.Tanya’s voice: “Here, I’ll hold it. I’ll take it to her in a minute.” In a mutter: “I’m not sure she can drinkand float at the same time.”David’s voice: “Come on, give her a break. She’s just a kid.””Oh, really? Just how old do you think she is?””Huh? I don’t know. Maybe thirteen?”An explosive snort from Tanya.”Fourteen? Twelve?””David, she goes to our school. She’s a junior.””Really?” David sounded startled and bewildered. “Nah, I think she goes to P.B.”Pearl S. Buck was the junior high. Gillian sat staring at the bathtub faucet without seeing it.”She’s in our biology class,” Tanya’s voice said, edging toward open impatience.”She sits at the backand never opens her mouth.” The voice added, “I can see why you thought she was younger, though. Her bedroom’s knee-deep in stuffed animals. And the wallpaper’s little flowers. And look at these pajamas.Little bears.”Gillian’s insides felt hotter than her fingershad been at their most painful. Tanya had seen her room, which was the same as it had been since Gillian was ten years old, because there wasn’t money for new curtains and wallpaper and there wasn’t any more storage space in the garage to put her beloved animals away. Tanya was making fun of her pajamas. In front of David.And David… thought she was a little kid. That was why he’d offered to drive her to school. He’d meant the junior high. He’d been nice because he felt sorry for her.Two tears squeezed out of Gillian’s eyes. She was trembling inside, boiling with anger and hurt and humiliation…Crinch.It was a sound as loud as a rifle report, but high and crystalline-and drawn out. Something between a crash and a crunch and the sound of glass splintering under boots.Gillian jumped as if she’d been shot, sat frozen a moment, then pulled the moisture-beaded shower curtain aside and poked her head out.At the same instant the bathroom door flew open.”What was that?” Tanya said sharply.Gillian shook her head. She wanted to say,”You tell me,” but she was too frightened of Tanya.Tanya looked around the bathroom, spied the steamed-up mirror, and frowned. She reached across the sink to wipe it with herhand-and yelped.”Ow!” She cursed, staring at her hand. Gillian could see the brightness of blood.”What the-?” Tanya picked up a washcloth and swiped the mirror. She did it again. She stepped backand stared.From the tub, Gillian was staring, too.The mirror was broken. Or, not broken, cracked. But it wasn’t cracked as if something had hit it. There was no point of impact, with lines of shattering running out.Instead, it was cracked evenly from top to bottom, side to side. Every inch was covered with a lattice of fine lines. It almost looked purposeful, as if it were a frosted-glass design.”David! Get in here!” Tanya said, ignoring Gillian. After a moment the door stirred and Gillian had a steamy distorted glimpse of David’s face in the mirror.”Do you see this? How can something likethis happen?” Tanya was saying.David grimaced and shrugged. “Heat? Cold? I don’t know.” He glanced hesitantly in Gillian’s direction, just long enough to locate her face surrounded by the coral shower curtain.”You okay?” he said, addressing himself to a white towel rack on the far wall.Gillian couldn’t say anything. Her throat was too tight and tears were welling up again. But when Tanya looked at her, she nodded.”All right, forget it. Let’s get you changed.”Tanya turned away from the mirror. David melted back out of the bathroom.”Make sure her fingers and everything are working all right,” he said distantly.”I’m fine,” Gillian said when she was alone with Tanya. “Everything’s fine.” She wiggled her fingers, which were tender but functioning. All she cared about right now was getting Tanya to go away. “I can dress myself.”Please don’t let me cry in front of her.She retreated behind the shower curtain again and made a splashing noise. “You guys can leave now.”Half a sigh from Tanya, who was undoubtedly thinking Gillian was ungrateful. “All right,” she said. “Your clothes and your chocolate are right here. Is there somebody you want me to call-?”

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About ∆desmondಠ_ಠ

LIVE!!! LOVE!!! LAUGH!!! life is just too short to be sad #wink
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