Survival

Cecily's story isn't like any other. It's mysterious enough to be told the wrong way. The first chapter is the last, and the last is the first. Enjoy reading this Movellas backwards.

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1. ☹

“Tell me about yourself, Cecily,” he said, before picking up his wine glass and taking a slow sip, keeping his eyes on the girl across the table the entire time. She stared right back.

“I don’t like lies,” she answered, remaining completely still.

“Is that so?” he replied. She didn’t nod, didn’t move at all. “Well, what about secrets?” he asked, a smirk playing at his lips, so small that only she could detect it, because nobody else at the table was looking at the pair. It was loud, in that ballroom, but they were able to hear each other perfectly. All of the other voices were drowned out. 

“Sometimes they’re necessary,” she responded to his question. 

“Why?” he shot back the second the words had escaped her lips. She pondered this for a moment, although she never took her eyes off him, or him off her. They were in a bubble, that wouldn’t be popped.

“Because sometimes they can hurt.” Cecily took a very long sip of her wine, knowing that he could tell that she wasn’t finished talking. “They can hurt the people you love, and they can end up destroying what is most important in your life. Say... an aspect of your survival?” She posed the statement as a question, and it allowed for the conversation to continue.

“So what you mean is that what you love is an aspect of your survival?”

“What else would it mean?”

“Well, tell me this: without the things you love, would you still survive?” he asked, leaning forward in an effort to hear her answer clearly. She gritted her teeth.

“Yes.” And he smiled. “But tell me this: would you be happy?”

“No.” So she smiled. “But since when is being happy an aspect of survival?” he added. With that, Cecily gently pushed back in her chair and stood up. She folded her pristine white napkin and set it on her unused dinner plate. Then, she moved the chair as far in to the table as it would go, and pivoted on her silver heels to walk out of the dining room, her soft pink dress swishing at her ankles. 

He watched her go, with an indifferent expression. Then, he leaned back in his chair and smiled-- a real smile. The conversations with her were his favorite, and if she asked, he wouldn’t lie. He would never keep anything from her. After all, didn’t she dislike lying?

The next day, he woke up with a stack of newspapers placed messily on his nightstand. This was unusual. He sat up in bed, and took the newspaper. The headline screamed “WELL KNOWN CECILY MARKS FOUND HANGING FROM HER CEILING FAN”. Another newspaper sat under. “SUICIDAL GIRL FOUND IN ROOM”. The next one shouted “EVERYONE ASTONISHED AT RECENT DEATH”. He felt sick, scanning over the article. His eyes jumped to a paragraph typed in bold.

A letter was found on Marks’ desk. It read: “Being happy is, in fact, an aspect of survival, wouldn’t you think?

He slowly sunk back into his pillow, taking it all in. He closed his eyes.

“Devastating, but witty. So, so smart. I’ll give you that, Cecily.” And he thought he heard a giggle vibrate through the house.

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