After sickly sprinting to the bathroom and agonizing for a while, she was beginning to calm down and feel a bit better, so, standing again, she collected herself and proceeded to clean her shoes as best she could, before finally just lying helplessly in front of the fire for a while, pondering what to do next. She noticed that her eyes just seemed to keep drifting to the clock, though, and just after six, she heard the sound of her father's truck pulling up to the house, which meant that her parents were back. With haste, she abandoned the living room, left the fire lit and shuffled back up the stairs to her room so that they wouldn't suspect anything.
"Come on down, now, Nicole," her father's deep, booming voice powered up the stairs a few minutes later, as he did everyday to wake her up. "It's almost time for school!" he urged.
"All right, all right, I'm coming," she called back down to reassure them that she was awake and getting ready.
Looking into the mirror in her room, she began to evaluate herself, yet again. Her eyes perused up and down her body, 'elevator eyes,' she always thought of it as. Examining her body, she had always been very athletic and active, and as a result, she was always very lean and thin. At least she could be proud of that, she figured. But many adults that she encountered actually seemed to be a bit concerned about it a few times, thinking that she was more skinny than was healthy, and, truly, in reality, she rarely ate. She was about 5'7", but usually didn't feel very tall, and she only weighed just under 110 pounds. Her father, on the other hand, was 6'5", and muscular, all except for his potbelly, and towered over everybody in the house. And her mother, who was a bit heavier, was only 5'10".
Back in the mirror, she again noticed her light and pale skin due mainly to cloudiness and a lack of sunlight, and days spent held up inside of her house. Her medium-length, straight obsidian hair fell down in front of her dark blue-gray eyes surrounded by eyeliner and covered her face most of the time, despite her attempts to swipe it to the side and keep it there. But secretly she liked it, she always felt more secure with it there, like she could stay concealed and unnoticed behind it. Looking closer, she still didn't understand how the skin on her face always stayed so perfect. She knew that most teens got acne and stuff like that, and she briefly wondered why she didn't. She never had anything on her face, except for her hair. Though she had many scars all over her body, her face always healed or remained untouched--well--she contradicted herself, all except for the deep scar on the side of her forehead, but her hair was always there, so the only people who knew about it or ever even saw it were her, and the people who did it when she was trying to escape the ritual. She shivered, and took her attention away from the mirror and began to get dressed for school. She grabbed her favorite pair of black jeans and secured them with a belt. She really liked that belt, and its various arrangements of studded and checkered cool and warm colors- purple, green, blue, red, orange, yellow, and then black, and white, too. She proceeded by lacing up her steel-toed combat boots, and decided to leave her faded black long-sleeve shirt on but still put on her various studded and spiked bracelets, just for extra coverage to conceal all of the marks and scars. She glanced at the clock: 6:08. She had plenty of time, she figured. School started at 7:15, and if she walked, school was only 15 minutes away. She peeled her sleeve back and stared at her wrist's disfigured complexion. Wistfully, she began to search around and reach for her razor, and just before she pulled it out, she was badly startled by yet another loud reminder from her father.
She looked around, just to be sure that no one was around, and she began to remember that she didn't always harbor such guilt or hate. Nor did she ever usually feel the need to do such things, but as time went on, she grew increasingly jaded and began to get involved with the wrong kind of people. Her life turned around after that, for the worse, she recalled.
Her thoughts shifted and memories blurred back, a few weeks after Alice's mother died. Great strife plagued the deceased mother's family and a lot of the town, and Alice's father had a breakdown. He started hitting Alice and abusing her, with his own mental state deteriorating, he turned to alcohol, and other means of coping. And he used Alice in some, rather, regrettable ways, for he no longer had a wife. Nicole found herself shivering again, but decided to ignore it. Alice never had anyone to turn to but her. And Nicole did everything she could for her. Sneaking out and staying up with her all night, just laying out under the stars, talking. Not that anyone would notice they were gone anyway, but she fanned away that useless thought, and went back to Alice. She just always felt so happy and comfortable with Alice, she couldn't explain it...
Now drifting back to reality, she began to wonder if it could really be love. But she was already in love once, and her fists clenched as she recalled the events that tore them apart...and her thoughts shifted to the memory of a shadowy area, illuminated only by candles, where she was just surrounded by people. Many tied up on their knees, and others, standing, wearing long, black hooded robes and cloaks. No one near her had any movement of their extremities, as they watched one innocent soul after the other be dragged up to the altar, untied, and committed, with the loyal dread in the back of their minds that assured the others that it would soon be their turn. They witnessed blood as a medium, dripping down from the shape of a pentagram as the first cut was made and the tainted red liquid ensued. It was altogether horrifying, but they all knew that they had a contract, and they signed it in blood. Nicole had followed her love to this place, constantly reassured by her, and given the impression that "it would be worth it." And what a price to pay, she mused, as they took her love for eternity. She barely got out alive herself. Scrolling back through a list of all of the things that she had gone through, it was the greatest struggle she had ever endured, and one of the most painful as well, for she had to fight for her life and freedom. Had she not been so agile, the cut on the side of her forehead may have been a dagger strike that gouged her eye completely out. But luckily, she dodged most of it all, and managed to escape. But they have still never given up their search for her, and she lives a bit in fear, even moreso now, after realizing who the assailant following her last night was, and what their intentions were. Her whole body cringed violently and she saw demons and bats screaming and flying all around her head, and she felt like she was stuck, they were holding her down, and she couldn't move. She kicked her legs up and had freedom for a moment, and took her opportunity. Without hesitation, she threw herself out of her second story window, breaking the glass and feeling every last shard stab into her skin and tear her flesh apart, and watching the splashes of blood and glass breaking into the concrete, and right as she collided with the ground.......
Her ill-tempered father burst into her room, and her door smacked against the wall, evoking a very loud noise, and awakening her from her numbing slumber. She looked around and immediately examined her arms and hands for wounds, yet found none, for it was only a dream. She figured that she must have fallen asleep before the flashback, she did feel incredibly tired, after all. All fantasies aside, redirecting her attention to her clock, which read 6:55am, her gaze landed on her father, who was furious because she wasn't even completely dressed, or ready for school. She flinched and stood up immediately as he started yelling.
"What the hell are you doing?! Still not even bothering to get ready?! Did you fall asleep again?! You fucking liar, you told us you were getting ready! Obviously not, though, you're too incompetent to even put your clothes on, much less stay awake! And take that trash off, do you think you're going to school looking like that?!" He growled at her with a severe look and tone in his voice.
"Well, what do you want me to wear?!" She screamed back, trembling inside, because she knew what else her father did when he yelled.
"You know what? Fuck this!" He approached her, and shoved her--hard--to the side, and she fell crashing into the wall head first. He then proceeded to her closet and opened the door, and began pulling her neat and clean clothes out, and throwing behind him everything that he didn't find satisfactory.
"Dad, no, don't....!--" She exasperated through her tears, the pain in her head and already abused shoulder where he pushed her was agonizing. Her razor she was holding temporarily in her pocket turned at an odd angle and stabbed into her left leg, plunging directly into her thigh, and the sharp pain temporarily paralyzed her movement and voice.
"Garbage. Trash. Slut..." He shouted, as he completely raided her closet and littered her room with everything he tore out.
"Do you think this actually looks good, what is all this shit?! You have absolutely nothing decent, it's all completely worthless! Did someone really buy this all of this shit for you?! It's such complete garbage that it's sickening! You know what? I'm done with this. I don't even want to hear it!! Clean this shit up, and get your ass to school! Your room is always such a mess," he remarked, kicking her clothes out of his way as he stomped across her room and to her door.
"But you--" She cried indignantly, covering the spot on her leg where the blood was already seeping through her pants, but she was glad that her pants were black at least and the blood was barely visible.
"And this time, I'm not going to save you from your irresponsibility by driving you there! You're going to fucking walk! And you'd better hustle, too, you better not be late!" He interrupted, before stomping out of her room and slamming her door, making her flinch again, and causing the razor to jab deeper into her skin.
Wiping her tears, she winced, altered her position, and removed the steel intruder as quickly as possible, setting the gory piece of metal down on the table next to her. Grimacing, she stood up and limped to the bathroom to tend to her injury, leaving all of her clothes sprawled out on the floor of her room. And despite her hand being covered in spots of blood, she knew that she had to remove her belt, and she tried to carefully grasp it in her bloodied left hand fingers, but still ended up staining the perfectly white part of her belt with it, while her right hand worked through the buckle. But she quickly got it off and sanitized and sealed her wound with some of her trusty supply of gauze. She returned to her room and disdainfully selected a new pair of black jeans, discarding the soiled pair into her hamper. She concluded by rinsing off her razor and hiding it back in its spot. Now dressed, she exited her room, not bothering to clean up the other messes, but, noticing the clock's display of 7:09am, finally hurried down the stairs as best she could with her injury and near the kitchen where her father was standing.
"Wow, finally dressed now?! It's about time! How long does it fucking take?! Now you'd better hurry up and get your ass to school!! And I don't want to hear that you were late--or else!" He threatened, as she stormed past him without acknowledging his comments. She knew that she couldn't even look at him without losing it.
"Hey, you little bitch, I was talking to y-" He began to shout, but she slammed the front door and made a hasty retreat down the street.
Thoughts racing through her head, the rush reminded her of the petrifying events of a few hours ago, but, recalling the time, she knew that it was far too late to get to school on time, and she was overtaken by her curiosity. She knew that she had to go back to where it all happened and investigate. She turned right down the street again and headed back to the field, to see where she had been walking, and to look for anything she could. She knew that whoever it was couldn't still be there...