Shattered Pieces

Ana is forced to leave everything she has ever known to escape the man she loved.She finds herself forced to find a new identity far away from her home.But can you truly escape your past?

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2. Chapter 2

This was her last shot; every ounce of her soul had gone into this. This, here, right now would never happen again. The drumming base of her heart was enough to verify what was riding on this, her thoughts uncontrollable in their magnitude. She was surprised that she managed to keep her voice steady when she gave the coach driver her ticket or that she could still manage to walk the length of the bus without her legs giving in. She took the seat at the back -although if he found her then a few extra seconds to reach the back would make no difference.

The driver seemed unconcerned that they should have left thirty seconds ago. She stared out the window. She had envisioned this moment for over a year and now she was here, all alone, for the first time in her life. That would worry her if what she was running from was not something so completely and absolutely more frightening than anything else she could imagine. The engine stirred to life. She kept her eyes on the front of the coach as the door began to slide shut, and let out an unconscious gasp when they managed to close without the clasping hands of someone desperate to get in.

Ana watched as the coach found its way through the outskirts of her city, through the streets of her childhood, and yet she hoped never to see them ever again. That would mean the plan hadn’t worked; and it had to work. For hours she dozed, uncomfortably sleeping, but nevertheless unrested, exhausted, getting this far had already drained her of all her energy. It didn’t help that every time she shut her eyes she saw him. She saw his smile as he approached her; she saw his eyes flash as his hand reached for the curve of her waist and his lips came forward to reach hers. At that point her body would shake itself awake in protest-she didn’t ever want to relive the end of that night.

Hours and hours later it was still raining, she watched fascinated as the beads of water ran along the window chasing each other until they formed a great smeared slash across the thin panes of the window and still more water would attack the glass like bullets. The coach carried on regardless to the weather. She hadn’t known where she was going-she thought it was safer that way, if no one, not even you knew where you were heading surely it was safer. Not only that, she had nowhere or no one to head for, she had never left her home county everything she needed had always been there, only now that everything she’d once wanted still remained was she forced to leave. The coach stopped at several service stations, but  she remained mostly on the bus , unwilling to get off in case of any unwanted attention-leaving only once to grab a cheap burger to stop her stomach from growling, alarmed at the thought of the little money she had left.

It wasn’t ‘till late afternoon that the coach stopped one last time. After multiple transfers she was finally forced to get out, but still panicked that she was still in plain sight, so she looked for a bus, the harder her  trace was to trail, the longer she could avoid what at that point she thought was inevitable-her past catching up with her. It wasn’t ‘till much later that she found somewhere she felt safe enough to stop. A small town, that meant nothing to her, only unknown places and unknown waters.

Ana had nowhere to go. But still she walked on.

***

Toby was restless. He pawed at the door, and it wasn’t long before she took mercy on him. Kate grabbed her keys and shut the door behind her.  The warm spring evening, unusually bright for the time of year, put her in a good mood and she couldn’t help but smile at Toby.  He was eager as always. She’d had him for five years now since he was a little puppy.  A German shepherd he was big and protective he always kept her safe when she needed it most.

She took the same walk as she always did leaving the outskirts of the town into the centre and along the river back. The sun shone through the clouds and the boats moored were gleaming a shiny white from its rays. She felt the silence ebb away her worries and listened only to the clunking sound of the rigging hitting the masks of the tiny fleet of boats against the gentle tweets of the birds. She knew the people, the dog walkers and the families that took the same walk she did. She would usually watch the children run along the green while she threw Toby a tennis ball and watch him cannonball off, at an unnecessary speed in desperation to get it back for her. The speed made it difficult for him to stop and his tongue would hang out still further with the effort of it all. Looking around her there was nothing unusual here, this was the same as most nights, but she liked the familiarity of it all, and the safety of a childhood home.

She was coming to the end of the pavement along the water when she saw a woman she had never seen before sat on one of the benches. She was trying to hide like a ghost, her hair falling in front of her face, it was golden in the light, but her knuckles were white gripping at the base of the seat. And that look, her eyes blue and glassy, she looked as if she could see something there that no one else could, like she was haunted. Kate didn’t know why but she propelled forward, fuelled by the need to help her, to save her from herself. At that point Toby pulled on the lead, and he was too big for her to control, he bound up to the women before she could stop him.

***

He wanted it, she could tell from the moment he walked through the door. She loved him though, so she wanted to give him what he wanted. His hands, they grabbed for her and he whispered in her ear “I love you, it’s always been you “. He moaned, his hands more desperate now. She knew what she had to do, part of her wanted his approval and liked being wanted by him and part of her despised herself for doing it, for playing along. She’d lost her dignity a long time ago.

She let him unhook her bra and worked at the zip on his jeans and kissed back when his lips pressed hot and heavy against hers. She had no control as he ground against her, and she screamed out in pain. But it made no difference. Eventually her mind wondered off, the numbness and the indifference was the only way to pretend that the girl still in the same bed with the man who she loved was not her. Part of her believed just that, she was no longer the young innocent girl that moved into the house that had now become her prison.

Deep into the night when she was meant to be sleeping she was forced to stare into space and relive the images and know that hundreds more would be added before she might have the chance to leave .Sean shifted beside her, and with the morning light glaring through the curtains his eyes snapped open. He sat up, all tiredness left him and he shook her, so hard that her head could barely stay upright.

“What did you do?”He demanded.

She remembered that day too vividly, that had been Sean at his worse. She could see it playing in front of her eyelids and she couldn’t stop the memory, it consumed her so completely that she couldn’t see what was real anymore. She could feel it tugging at her mind. Forcing her thoughts towards it. Until sat here, she felt its presence slip over her so swiftly that she was hardly aware that the memory was already playing.

She was dragged out of bed. She was punched in the stomach. Smacked across the cheek. He shouted abuse at her, she was a whore for permitting to his wishes, she was childish for not having wanted it apparently she hadn’t pretended it well enough today. Or perhaps it was because she could smell the burning alcohol on his breath. Because she had never hurt this bad. Sean had never gone this far-for the first time in her life when she looked at him she could only see a monster, and how ever hard she looked she finally could not see the man she loved.

She realised then that she had to leave. With absolute certainty she was living with a monster, the evil she had always seen in him in moments like this had finally tipped the balance and consumed him. She cried then not because he was hitting her or shouting at her but because she was trapped and she didn’t know how she was going to have the guts to do what she had to do to escape.

She didn’t know how long she sat there; unaware that someone was staring at her. It took her a while to pull her eyes away from her memories to shake them back to the present. She could feel a warm slimy tongue licking her left hand and she looked down to see a large brown dog at her side. There was something about the dogs eagerness that kept her rooted to the seat when she would have usually got up to avoid the attention. She glanced up at the women in front of her, who obviously owned the dog. She was smiling at her; it was a smile so open and genuine that she couldn’t help but to look a fraction too long.

 “Toby. Come here” The voice surprised her, it was lighter somehow then she had expected against the quietness of the evening. The dog, Toby, continued to look at her his deep eyes staring into hers, it was comforting to feel his fur on her skin, and see an innocence that she had lost, she could never be a little girl again, not after the things she had done.

***

Kate moved tentatively forward, moving to sit on the bench next to her. She took care to sit far away, but even so she could still see the visible flinch the women made as she sat down. Kate knew instinctively that conversation would make her uncomfortable, so instead she just sat there looking out across the water. The sun had started to disappear now, the clouds began to change to a deep bruised purple; she glanced across at her and closer up she could see the dark circles under her eyes and that when she leaned forward her t-shirt hung loose. But still underneath the obvious signs of hurt was undeniable beauty. And Kate sat there on an evening that was fast becoming significant and she longed to know the story behind those blue eyes.

But at that moment the women jumped up. She stumbled slightly as she tried to dodge around Toby; she knew that she had scared her; that she was not the sort of person who would trust a stranger. She looked like someone struggling with two parts of herself, she could see she was desperate to leave and yet before she left she turned round one last time as if to see that the two of them really did exist. Kate stood up.

“Hey” she called. “At least tell me your name.”

She paused, and Kate wasn’t sure if she would reply but eventually after a second she spoke;

“Ana, my name it’s Ana”, and she looked up for a fraction before her eyes went resolutely back to staring at the floor as she turned to walk away from town.

“Kate” She said but she was sure Ana was too far away to hear her.

There was nothing left for her to do except turn away too and walk back home, but she couldn’t shake the idea that seeing her mattered. She wanted to do something to make those eyes less sad, yet she was afraid that Ana would leave and that this could be the last time she ever saw her. There were so many people that she saw here that would simply pass through and never return, people she barely even registered before they left leaving no trace behind but she knew deep down that Ana couldn’t be one of them.

When she got home the house smelt of deep, heavy caffeine and sounded like soft rock which meant Aiden was in back from wherever the hell he had been for the past few days. The music got louder and Toby started to bark excitedly coming from the living room, the twangs of soft guitar floating on the air. This wasn’t unusual Aiden would sometimes leave without so much as a note and return days later as though nothing had happened. Kate had learnt to get used to this, it was usually some new crazy new idea he cooked up to try make him reach the big time. He was talented she could give him that. But that didn’t stop him being a pain in the ass even if he was her brother. Aiden was a three years older than her but she had always felt like the older more responsible one, but part of her longed to have Aiden dreamer attitude, he might lose sight of reality sometimes but at least he wasn’t afraid of the fall. She followed Toby in as he bounded over to Aiden.

“Your back “She smiled, waiting for him to say something but expecting little, Aiden mostly choose to live in his own head so extracting information was usually difficult.

“I found a band, well, potentially.” He had the air of deliberately dampened excitement, she knew what he wanted from her, but she had to be realistic, Aiden had done this too much before for her not to be at least a little bit conservative. But she managed to smile, and let in a little of his hope.

“That’s brilliant, so who is what’s happening, I mean what next?”She said

Not a lot we can’t do much till we find a lead female vocalist but we saw a few and its not looking so hopeful. I mean they had good voices but no depth.

How do you know though how do you know who has the right voice, i don’t really get it she blushed so felt like she knew nothing,

“I..., you just feel it, in here” he put his hand on his chest over his heart, serious for a second before he laughed breaking the moment and reached over to mess up her hair and pull her in to hug her.

“Come her sis,” he said, squeezing her in a bone crushing hug, and for a moment she felt content because it felt like she was being squeezed with love itself.

“Hey what is it, you look, I don’t know like you’ve had an epiphany or something. School hasn’t done anything to you?”

She shook her head.”No nothing like that”

No now it was Kate turn to be deliberately vague, she wanted to tell Aiden about Ana about how she was so in need and that she wanted to help her. But she could bear the thought of telling of him, of admitting that she wanted to know a women that she would never meet again. But worse than that voicing it meant it meant something to her and she knew it would have meant nothing to Ana.

“So you’re not going to tell me?” He inquired and gave away the smile that played on his voice even though resting against his chest she couldn’t see it.

“Nope, not saying” and she smiled slightly.

When Kate was 13 she had a best friend named Holly, Kate remembered that every day she would look forward to seeing her, for years they would sit in the library and read books to each other, books that were meant for children much younger and laugh at what they had once thought were the most interesting stories in the world. She remembered the day at the fair when Holly had won her a teddy bear at the fun fair, on the impossible grabber machines and that she had clung to it because it reminded her that they would be best friends forever. It was pure white and had a red ribbon tied round its neck and held between its two paws with stitching was a big red love heart. That summer, the summer of Kate’s 14th birthday was the best summer ever, she remembered it as the summer that both her and Holly had become obsessed with stargazing. They had trooped down to the library and taken out all the books they could find on star consolations and their names. They had carried them home waiting expectedly for the late summer days to end so that could spend more nights gazing up at the sky. She had begged her parents to late them stay in a nearby campsite so that they could both stay out later away from town and see the stars more clearly. But, of course they had refused and after getting in a huge strop Kate had eventually agreed to garden camping instead.

The next weekend the tent had been carefully put up between the two of them and they had laughed as they had sat round the barbecue her dad had started when Kate’s marshmallow slide into the fire and covered itself in ash before she could rescue it. Eventually the darkness creeped up on them and little pinpoints of stars had lit the canvas of the sky. They both lay down on the grass, and lay one of the books across them, Kate could feel the warmth of Holly’s body pressed against hers. She would lean closer, her hair failing, tickling the side of Holly’s face desperate to follow the length of Holly’s arm as she putted out another constellation. 

Holly would often talk about boys, Kate didn’t really understand the attraction she had for Liam the boy in her year who teased all the girls, he may have been good looking but to Kate he was never attractive .Holly would describe what her next plan was to get him to ask her out and Kate would join in as best she could but thankfully so far all plans had failed. Then when they had exhausted talk of Liam they would talk of their fairytale endings, of boy meets girl. Kate imagined meeting someone who was kind and pretty and made her feel as amazing as she did with Holly. Until one day at the end of the summer she realised she didn’t want to find the guy that was like Holly, she wanted Holly.

 She told Holly one day after gym that she was gay, that she loved her. She didn’t really remember much of after that, just that she hurt a lot. Holly stopped talking to her, one day they were best friends and the next they were pretend strangers..All that love and now she had nothing, she remembered crying when she got home,  thick anguished tears and ripping the shiny red heart of the front of the teddy bear she’d won at the fair.

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