Author: Bianca Alicia Macias (1st Place Winner)
Pushing good people away into algid conditions, allowing bad people into her space was her curse, and predicting other people was her gift. Doctors labeled her with a cognitive distortion, but to her, the way she thinks and behaves is actually a gift. They said she was a mind-reader, and she thought, “Yeah I am!” Not in the sixth sense type of way that would make you some type of otherworldly-gifted-medium that can literally read the minds of others. She’s not able to know each exact thought as it comes to another like Edward Cullens. She felt she just had a dangerously high emotional intellect that bolstered her ability to accurately interpret others through just words, body language,energy, and actions in general.
If you’re not genuine, it isn’t safe for you to act around her. This strength in analysis that she had made her seem unpleasant at times, so she spent most of her life wondering why nobody liked her, and why she didn’t like other people either. She thought it was because she was ugly, but you could tell that it was actually because people felt uncomfortable with how naked they felt around her post-analysis.
Fleur Hollows was her full name. Nobody loved her. Except her Mom, her Dad, her five siblings, her ten cats, and her dead dog Lenore. Maybe even the one ex-boyfriend she ever had, loved her as well. Tall and skinny with dark bags under his eyes, he currently resides in the algid conditions along with all of the other people who ever showed her any sign of artificiality.
“I have one face, and that’s why when I turn my back, I can’t see them stabbing me. They only see the back of my head, while I see in the opposite direction which they see as an opportunity to take advantage of. I leave people innocent until proven guilty, so I always turn my back, hoping they’d protect my hindsight.” Whispered Fleur Hollows into her tear soaked pillow, feeling the pain of a knife that had gone through her back and into her heart. Bleeding, she sobbed, as twenty cat eyes, plus two eyes from the ghost of Lenore, looked up at her with empathy. To Fleur, her pets were more valuable than any human because of their warmth, especially during these moments.
“My parents must think I’m so gullible, crying over a wound that leaves me crippled, once again. I had the company of everybody, but I don’t care if it ends up with me being hurt this way. I have one face, and that’s why when I turn my back you only see the back of my head.” She took a deep breath in, sighed, and softly let out: “But they had two faces, and that’s why when they had already turned their backs on me I couldn’t tell… because I still saw a face.” A final tear dropped into her pillow as all of her pets jumped into bed with her, giving her enough comfort to fall asleep for the night. Fleur had many nights like this. She read people like books, but still gave them many opportunities.
Fleur showed up home, stabbed in the back and through the heart often by people that she thought she mind-read and wanted to believe in. However, in a dangerous realm where they can still fool her, and then cut her with their swords, she had very little protection from things happening.
Her only shelter from the dark beasts, dressed as angels, who hurt her was her sixth sense, and sometimes her family who tried, but she didn’t really listen to either at times. They’d weep every time at the sight of her stabbings, knowing each time she was stabbed she would be left crippled and needing rehabilitation before she could be productive again. Usually by that time though, she’d already fallen victim to another blade.
Waking up to the sun out, she checked the time and it was already 4 o clock PM. The sharpness from the knife in her back dulled now. Feeling sad, lost, angry, and fatigued, Fleur began her day. But not really. She stayed in bed with her cats and her dog. Never got up to say hello to anybody in the home, not even to just eat, shower, clean, or study. She never wanted to leave her bed. She’d rather just laid there flat on her wounded back, surrendering to her current circumstance at this point.
A line set in between her eyebrows, and she said to her cats, “If I just stay here nobody can stab me in the back again, and I’ll be able to do the things that I used to do before I kept getting stabbed right? If I stay put, nobody can hurt me, and then I can go on with my normal life again someday. I’ll be smarter when I come back out of this room. I’ll be better at reading people so I can know when not to let my guard down. I can fall asleep happy at a decent time again someday, wake up and eat breakfast, and make something of myself.”
But then it all set in. These optimistic thoughts felt so far out of reach to Fleur, then she looked around, touched her back and realized the stab wound was healed into a scar the shape of a flannel flowier. Her family suddenly rushed into her room.
“Fleur! You’re back!” cried her sister Millie.
“Huh?” Asked Fleur, confused and looking around her room that seemed as if the tornado in Frank Ocean’s song “Thinkin’ Bout You,” flew around it before they came.
“You were asleep in your room for six months since you got stabbed, and we all thought you weren’t going to wake back up. Now that you’re awake again come have dinner with us. We missed you!”
This was a huge deal to Fleur. In her mind, only one night had gone by since her last stabbing, but Millie came in claiming six months she’d been asleep.
Fleur walked out of her dark messy bedroom with her sister, and her pets. She winced at the brightness of the sun beaming through the French doors of their living room, but it felt so good on her skin and bones that the transition didn’t bother her. Her mom prepared a luxurious meal for their family, and they were all excited to talk to Fleur. They all caught her up on the six months which she’d missed out on. Fleur was happy to be there, and glad there were no drastic changes during her slumber, up until she began mind-reading.
“I have to get up and use the bathroom.” Said Fleur looking down.
“Okay!” Said her family.
She moped all the way to the bathroom, she shut the door once her pets who followed her everywhere made it in, and she started bawling her eyes out. “They were all just fine without me. They were unphased that I was gone so long. Why didn’t they get more help to wake me up? It must’ve been like a vacation away from me. They are just acting.” Fleur sat for a few more minutes thinking until her mind was made up and nobody else could change it. She climbed out of her bathroom window with her pets and left her home. As soon as she made it out of her window she saw a boy walking up to her door with a bouquet of flowers. It was for sure her ex-boyfriend, so she hid before running away. Her parents opened the door for him and he left his sword at the front of the house before going in, and that’s when Fleur bolted. She grabbed his sword first, and ran out of her neighborhood with her pets.
On foot, she didn’t get anywhere fast, except picked up by police. Her pets walked back to their house discouraged after the policeman took Fleur’s sword, then arrested her. Fleur didn’t try to fight her arrest, but she didn’t know what it was for.
“Why are you guys taking me? I did nothing!” Yelled Fleur.
“You aren’t in any trouble, we’re just going to take you somewhere that nobody can harm you,” said one policeman.
“Nobody’s going to harm me! Let me go!” She kept on.
The policeman took her to a strange house. The house was creepy with long hallways, a lot of rooms, and other people with flannel flower scars walked around there. A medicine man walked up to Fleur and said, “Hey there, I’m Medicine Man Mauricio!”
“Oh. Cool Medicine Man. I’m not taking any of the pills you give me. Please let me out now, thanks. I’m perfectly fine,” Fleur declared with a rude tone of voice.
Fast forward to a few months later, and Fleur was back at home with her pets and swallowing a pill that Medicine Man Mauricio gave her. She does this everyday after she fought so hard to decline the pills until she finally gave in, and now she takes them as guided. Her scar is still there, but for some reason since taking this strange pill, she hasn’t been reading other people’s minds and receiving negativity.
“What if nobody was ever thinking those terrible things about me before I left? What if it was all my mind playing tricks on me? Were the stabs a result of me thinking I knew those bad people before I really knew them? “ She thought to herself.
“All I really know is that I’m happy to be home, I’m happy to be with my family, I’m happy to be with my pets, and I’m happy that nobody has been hurting me… Thank you, Medicine Man.”