Painting in Acrylic by @therealpaul
For those of you who missed the post of the release, I briefly explained how the series began as an idea for a Young Adult novel, and that I had in fact written what amounts to a novella taking place the summer before REBORN begins, and I decided to release it here on steemit.
When Jenna reached the top of the deck stairs she ran into Holly as she was getting into her car.
“Going home?” She asked brightly.
Holly nodded, smiling back. “Yup, I have to make dinner.”
Jenna cocked a brow, “Isn’t it a little early for dinner?”
Holly rolled her eyes and smiled, “Too early to eat it, but I’m making chili and it needs to go in the crockpot.”
“Gotcha. So what’s your mom doing, or are you just giving her a break?”
“She’s visiting my grandma, but yes I’m giving her a break.”
“Nice of you,” Jenna grinned, “well have fun.”
Holly wrinkled her nose, “Yeah, fun. I’ll see you at the campsite.” She climbed in her car and started it up, giving a little beep as she pulled away from the edge of the grass.
When she crested the hill at the end of the road her stomach tightened. She drove around a bend and slowed the car down, pulling into a small parking area, resting her head against the steering wheel for a moment. She wanted to say “to hell with making dinner” and turn around. She wanted to move in with Anna. She pictured her mom’s reaction to that idea and grimaced at the hurt and confusion she would see in her kind face. Her dad would think she’d lost her mind, and she couldn’t say he’d be wrong. There was no good earthly reason why she would want to leave them. They loved her, supported her, and placed very little restrictions on her. Of course that was because she was so responsible they’d never needed to.
She took a deep breath and forced herself to pull back onto the road.
Ten minutes later she pulled into her driveway, relief coursing through her when she saw that her dad was not at home. When no one was there she didn’t have to be discreet about her compulsions. She could rearrange the cabinets to her heart’s content, walk around making minor adjustments to all the furniture, pictures, and knick knacks until everything was in its proper place, and then do it again if she wished. She suffered no delusions that her neurotic behavior was normal. She knew it wasn’t, could hardly deny it when the act of restraining herself from straightening a lampshade would sometimes give her a panic attack.
The strange thing was that the compulsions weren’t nearly as bad when she wasn’t at home, even though the outside world was far more chaotic. As she stopped in front of the kitchen sink she squeezed her eyes shut for a moment, hovering over it as a wave of dizziness assailed her. It passed after only a few seconds but she was afraid to open her eyes back up, afraid to see a different sink, afraid to see hands with longer fingers and painted nails….and a wedding ring.
She sank down to the floor and pulled her knees into her chest, fighting off the feeling that she didn’t belong here, that all of this was just a strange dream. She thought about her mom and dad, and she LOVED them, they were wonderful people! So why did she feel as if they weren’t really her parents? And why did she often feel so much older than everyone around her, even them? Her chest tightened and she wanted to scream but was afraid if she gave into the desire she’d never stop. She would be dragged off to a psych ward and locked in a rubber room, screaming at the white walls for eternity. Screaming at herself to WAKE UP!
She gritted her teeth and rode out the attack which eventually subsided. When she cracked open her eyes the surroundings were familiar and she sagged against the cabinets in relief.
The “visions” or whatever they were had been with her since she was young, but until recently they had been few and far between. Lately they’d increased and for reasons she couldn’t begin to comprehend, they only happened to her while she was home. She guessed she should be grateful for that, otherwise she probably would have to check into a hospital.
She climbed to her feet and quickly started dinner before beginning her ritual straightening. It was the only thing she could do to keep calm. She thought maybe it was because it gave her a sense of control and also tied her to her surroundings more thoroughly. This is my home, this is my reality, she thought as she arranged the cups in the cupboard by size and color. This is where I belong, this is who I am, she insisted as her gaze fell on her small slender fingers, with nails bitten down to the quick.
Two hours later she sat on the edge of her bed, feeling exhausted. Just a few more hours until I head to grassroots, she thought, and five blissful days of just being me.
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