*NaNoWriMo 2015* ©Molly Looby *Winner of the NaNoWriMo Competition!*
Lex lives in a society obsessed with words. From the day they’re born their skin is covered in words, parts of themselves. The good, the bad and the ugly. Words such as ‘Trustworthy’, ‘Honest’, ‘Kind’ and ‘Brave’ are emphasised and others like ‘Liar’, ‘Thief’, ‘Judgemental’ and ‘Cruel’ are hidden as best as they can. But you can’t hide everything. Your words determine your place in the world and they never lie.

When Lex discovers her latest imprint she knows nothing is going to be the same again.


4. Talker

I gave in and we watched Femi’s favourite TV programme until dinner. When I returned to my bedroom I discovered that she must’ve been hard at work texting Spence and Riley. How she managed to text the two of them and Dom non-stop was beyond me. I had invitations to both of their houses and suggestions of what we should do after school tomorrow. I replied, declining them both and thirty seconds later my phone rung. Riley.

“What’s wrong with you?”

“Hello to you too.” I sunk into my desk chair and turned my laptop on.

“Don’t be funny. Why are you being like this? What the hell is wrong with you?”

“You know I can put the phone down with one button?”

“You know I can redial with one button?”

“You know I can turn my phone off?”

“You know I can come round there?”

I rested my head in my hands. “You win.”

“Good. Question one: why are you being like this?”

I sighed and leant back in my chair. “Because I feel crappy. Next.”

“What the hell is wrong with you?”

“Please see my previous answer.”

“Stop trying to be funny! I’m trying to be caring here!”

“And I can see the struggle you’re having with it.”

“Stop being so damn ridiculous. I’m your friend. Talk to me. This is what friends are for.”

“I don’t need you to do my sister’s bidding. I didn’t ask for your help.” Without my intention, my voice grew louder with each word.

“Nice. I try and be a good person and this is how I get repaid. I’m wondering why I care.”

“Ri, I’m sorry.” I pinched the bridge of my nose. “I’m just . . . in a bad mood.”

“You can say that again. And anyway I didn’t ring for you. I would’ve given up by now if I had.”

“What did you ring for then?”

“Femi. She’s worried about you. She wants you to be okay. She said talking to you would help.”

“Forget it, I’ve already had her on my back, I don’t need the cavalry sending in thank you.”

“Why do you have such an issue with people helping you?”

My stomach clenched. “What? I don’t have an issue.”

She laughed. “You’ve always had an issue! Is it because you’re a twin? Is that why you want to do everything by yourself. The world is full of people, Lex, and it’s about working together.”

“And you’re such a people person?”

“More so than you.”

“You control people, it doesn’t mean you know people.”

“I think it’s exactly what it means. I know you’re fighting back because you don’t want to talk about your real issue. You would’ve poured your heart out by now if you’d wanted to.”

“I’m not in a heart pouring kind of mood.”

“Some day you will be and when that day comes you better wish I’m in a listening mood.”

“When are you ever in a listening mood?”

“Maybe when there’s someone worth listening to?”

“And I’m not worth listening to? I thought I was supposed to be your best friend.”

She chuckled but it was dark and black. “Yeah well. I’m not your best friend now am I, Lex?”

The dialling tone rang in my ear and my blood went cold and a shiver ran its way from my head to the bottoms my feet. Maybe I wasn’t the perfect person I thought I was. If I could be so cruel to one of my best friends maybe I could kill someone. Maybe the jump wasn’t that far and maybe I’d come far enough already.

I ignored Spence’s texts and went to bed to hide from the world.

In the morning, Femi followed me around the house, making sure I was getting ready for school. I had to lock myself in the bathroom to apply my wrist makeup and bandana. Was this what my life was going to be like now? I felt like a criminal already and I hadn’t done anything.


“Morning.” Spence was far too chirpy when he met us at the bottom of our road. “Win big last night?”

“I didn’t play at all actually. Had an early night.”

“Whoa, you must’ve been sick. It’s not contagious is it?”

“I hope not,” I muttered.

His topics of conversation seemed far too much like small talk and I shot a look to Femi who only smiled at me. If either of them had any idea what was going on they wouldn’t be so adamant on my snapping out of this hopeless mood. When Spence started talking about the local news, Femi joined in and I shook my head at both of them.

“Can you stop it now?”

Spence smirked. “Stop what?”

“Being so damn boring. The news? Really? How old are you two?”

Spence looked at Femi before answering. “I don’t know what you mean. Femi, any ideas?”

She shook her head. “None at all.”

“Can’t see why it’s any of your business anyway, Lex.”

Femi nudged my arm. “Didn’t think you wanted to talk to us anymore.”

I laughed. “Alright, alright. This is a pathetic show. I see your point. I’m sorry. I’ll stop.”

“You’re no fun when you’re in a mood, Lex.”

“Well I’m sorry I can’t be a constant source of entertainment.”

“You should be sorry.”

Dom was already at school football training so Femi didn’t even have anyone to distract her from me all the way to school, so I had to keep the act up. Unlike last night, it didn’t make me feel any better. We passed Riley’s road without a word when she wasn’t standing waiting for us. I didn’t say anything about it and neither did they and I wondered if Riley had finished her conversation with me and called Femi straight after.

Spence followed me to my locker as Femi went to find Dom.

“Hey,” he said.

I just raised my eyebrows. “What?”

“You know what. You ignored me last night.”

“I told you, I went to bed early.”

“That might be true but I know what’s going on.”

I chuckled. “No you don’t.”

“I know something’s up.”

“Because Femi texted the friend army to be all chatty with me.”

“Come on, Lex, give me some credit. I do notice stuff.”

I slammed my locker shut. “Then what? What’s wrong with me?”

“I don’t think you know.”

I shook my head and rested my back against the locker.

“But you can always talk to me.”

I met his sea green eyes a moment. “I know I can. I’m sorry.”

“Always here for you, Lex.”

“Right back at you.”

Spence spent the rest of the week at my side chatting away like he never had before. Riley spent the rest of the week ignoring me. Femi spent the rest of the week watching my every mood.

I noticed myself changing. I spoke less. I laughed less. I included myself less. I didn’t feel like I could involve myself in anyone’s lives anymore. Not now I was going to be a killer.

I was afraid of when Femi was going to ask again because I needed to tell someone. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. How was I supposed to get out of this?

Could I even get out of this?

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