Abigail

She is everyone, and no one. She doesn't even have a name, because every day she is in a new life. She doesn't know who she is...or was. All she knows is the pain of these other girls, these living girls, the suffering girls.

She wants to know who she really is...but what will it take to find out?

WARNING: This Movella contains rape, bullying, suicide, abuse, self-harm, and other sensitive elements.

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11. Penny

 

    “Just jump, Abi!”

    Eyes squeezed shut, air rush, splash! Don’t breathe the water in.

    “Yeah!!” Wide brown eyes, full of joy. “Nice jump, Abi!”

    “Thanks. Hey, Ella?”

    “Yeah?”

    “Can I tell you something?”

    “Anything, Ab.”

    “I...I...I love you.”

    “Well, I love you, too, silly. We’ve been best friends, like, since we were born.”

    “No, Ella, I mean…”

    Wide brown eyes, so confused. Realization dawns slowly. “You’re…?!”

    “Yeah.”

    Silence makes it so hard to breathe. Let me drown.

    “You know what, Abi?”

    “...What?”

    “That’s totally fine with me. But...don’t try to kiss me at our sleepover tonight.” Laughter sparkles like champagne in that beautiful chocolate gaze.

    “Of course not. But...well, now you know. I mean, we can still be BFF’s, obviously. I just...I needed to come clean.”

    “Thanks, Abi.”

    “Thank you. And don’t tell anyone, please?”

    “Of course not.” Twin grins light up our hearts.

 

    It’s oddly quiet when I open my eyes. I sit up and rub my eyes, realizing that my face is damp.    Was I - or my host - crying in my/her sleep?

    I had another dream, and this time, I noticed something odd - that other girl in my dream, Ella, was calling me Abi. And in my other dreams, I was called Abi...and did someone call me Abigail?

    That’s Abigail’s memorial. She killed herself over a year ago…

    Am I...Abigail? Is that why I’m like this? Why I’m forced to experience all these horrible lives? As a punishment for my suicide?

 

    I stand. I have to figure this out.


 

    Today, I’m in the life of Penny Williams, a girl with fiery red hair, skin so white it’s almost see-through, and anorexia. The hunger almost knocks me off my feet as I stand and start getting ready for school. Penny’s closet is full of dark-colored clothing, all long sleeves despite the current spring heat. She has to hide her bony wrists somehow. Once I’m dressed and have a bit of makeup on, I make my way downstairs.

    Penny’s parents are rarely home for more than an hour at a time, so it’s no wonder Penny has been able to hide her anorexia for three years.

    Penny’s typical breakfast is a single banana and a glass of water.


 

    After slogging through morning classes at school, I hurry down to the school library. I found out earlier that I’m in the same school that Lillian goes to, which is also the same school that Abigail went to. Maybe I can find out more about her. I decide to start at the library because Penny’s memory tells me that the library keeps copies of yearbooks.

    Once I’ve found the shelf with the yearbooks, I pull out the two most recent. I sit at a nearby table, opening last year’s.

 

    Because I don’t know her last name or what grade she was in, it takes a few minutes for me to find her.

    When I do, I feel like something has clicked into place inside me - really me, not Penny.

    Abigail’s chocolate gaze is so painfully familiar. I know that she is...or was...me.

    I find other pictures of her, too - she was in the school’s fencing club, and a science club. There’s also a beautiful photo of her at a school dance with another girl. Abigail is wearing a stunning cobalt blue dress and a bright grin. The other girl is pretty, too - eyes just a few shades lighter than Abigail’s, tan skin, and a light pink gown.

She looks familiar, too.

 

“Boys are so dumb!” Wide brown eyes, warm as a soft hand brushes dirt off of my knee. “My mom says that they’re even worse when they’re older. I don’t believe it.” Strong hand, helping me stand. “I’m Ella, by the way.”

“I-I-I…”

Her laugh is full of stars and crystal wind chimes. “You’re Abi, right?”

“Y-y-yes. Thank you...for he-helping me.”

“No problem.” Warm hug. “Wanna be friends?”

“Sure.”

 

Ella.

Dizziness suddenly tosses me out of my chair. I think I’ve turned into a speedy ballerina, spinning endlessly with broken gears. The world has turned into lines of color.

 

“Penny! Can you hear me? Pennyyy!!!!”

A voice, sharp in volume, slices into the dark ocean that I’m floating in. Where’s the surface, I have to find the surface!

I open my eyes.

A blur of peach and green and pink moves around above me, slowly focusing until it becomes a girl with light skin, freckles, green eyes, and hair dyed a peachy pink color. Her name comes slowly: Hanna.

“Omigod, Pen, are you okay? I came in because I couldn’t find you in the cafeteria and I figured you were hiding out in here, and I walked in and saw you just falling out of your chair! You scared the pickles outta me, Pen!”

I close my eyes again. Hanna’s voice hurts to listen to right now.

“Penny!!”

Open. Her eyes are wide and afraid, bottomless pools of green ocean water that would be nice to drown in.

“Pen, did you eat today?”

 

“...just...my usual…” It’s so hard to speak. I’m amazed that I can even breathe. I’m so tired.

“Pen, we gotta get you to the nurse!” She turns and yells towards the front of the library, “Hey! My friend needs help!”

“No...Hanna, stop…” I slowly sit up. Little black blobs crawl around my eyes for several seconds before slowly fading away. I’m a broken ballerina again.

“Omigod, Penny, stop, don’t stand up!” Hanna holds me down, trying to keep me from standing. I push her away.

 

Porcelain ballerina, how can you stand so strong?



 

“I just want to see your beautiful brown eyes, Abi...and that amazing smile of yours. I miss you so much. Why did you do it? Did someone hurt you? You could’ve told me, you know. I would’ve beat ‘em up for you. Oh, Abi…” Warmth. Hand. Soft. “Please...come back?”

 

Please come back.

It’s been a year.

 

They can only keep you here for so long.

 

And if you don’t come back soon, they’ll pull the plug.

 

And then you can never come home.


 

“...it looks like anorexia.”

“Anorexia…?! No...not Penny!”

“But why? Why would she do such a thing?”

“There are a few different causes for anorexia. Stress, pressure to be skinny, a need for attention…”

“She’s always been skinny, when she was born I thought she had to be half bird because she was so light and thin.”

“‘A need for attention’? That’s ridiculous.”

“How much time do you all spend together as a family?”

“...”

 

“Penny, honey? Can you hear me?”

I slowly open my eyes. Fluorescent lights slice into my brain. Suddenly, the white blade is blocked out by the face of Penny’s mother.

“You’re going to be okay, sweetie. Oh, Pen...I’m so sorry. We’re going to fix this. I promise.

 

    I close my eyes. I don’t feel like trying to swim right now. I’d rather sink into the deep, warm darkness.

 
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