: Mags' room, Foss apartment, 3rd floor at Riverwalk ApartmentsTag
At 2013-09-03 18:20:15, Mags (uid: 768) rolls: 1d100 Result: 77
The sensation is like a seizure in her throat... her lungs are fighting to expel air that feels too cold to be from inside her, but her throat can't open to let it out. Mags is rocking back and forth, a gasping fish-mouth and gaping eyes, clutching at her worn t-shirt, the edges of the worn-out mattress where it rests on the floor. There's a staccato of orange light-- emanations of the streetlight outside, chopped up like an old film by the box fan in her window. Finally she expels a gasp, like she's averted choking by spitting out the cold in her lungs, and she breathes the hot air in huge gulps that sound teasingly childlike to her, the sound of her own infantile terrors coming back to her in an invading swarm, still in her room like lingering cobwebs and trailing fingers of shadow.
She falls from the mattress, clattering a short stack of home-burned cds into the wall as her arm flails defensively about, and she winds up sitting upright on the short-pile carpet. She twists and clamors against the wall, where the cold heat register rattles in its bushing, and twists her face back and forth, darting her eyes about, trying to pick out the figures that, a moment before, she had felt with such certainty as to have given them faces and names, were they more than specters of some horrific dream. That thought makes her wrap her arms over herself and breath rapidly, loudly, two soft gasping cries before she bites the noise off to silence and darts her gaze about, like wounded prey, to every corner of the room.
It takes some time for her to calm down. She works her fingers over the carpet, feeling the polyester threads like brush bristles, the knotty weave of the core fibers, grains of dirt in between. Her bed looms before her like a monolithic slab, the amber light through the fan flickering, little threads of the bright outside glinting as the cardboard flutters where she's taped it to fill the gaps. She's shivering, and where one hand nervously rubs her other arm, she can feel goosebumps like pebbles. But the cold sensation is abating, and the fan blows sickly-warm air onto the indentation on her old mattress, still damp with cold sweat. She looked over the spilled, silvery compact disks-- her jagged handwriting in dark felt pen calling out anthologies of Led Zeppelin juxtaposed with the Cure, alongside Morphine and Nirvana and Springsteen-- each like a lost scale from some great silver beast that had come, had spared her for the moment, and was not fully gone.
She rattles open the Gatorade bottle next to her bed, filled with tap-water, and takes a long pull. Between forced swallows-- her throat still seems at a loss from having failed to scream-- her breath is loud through her nose, the panting still slowing when she lowers the bottle and screws the cap back on. Finally confident that she's alone, Maggie stands slowly, wiping her forehead with one shoulder of her gray t-shirt as she steps closer to the window. It's then she sees the fog in the periphery, like the residue of a deluge lingering in the fine creases of the city streets and alleys.
The glow of the fluorescent light across the street is a welcoming beacon where the 7-11 stares back obediently, patient and inanimate and comforting in its generic stoicism. This makes her want a cigarette so badly she can't think straight. She would have thought nothing of it, perhaps not even noticed, except that the white glow on the sidewalk flickers, winking out and on a few seconds, and she sees no one notice. No motion at all from within, no tops of heads at the counter. Nobody lingering on the corner, no creeping cars with thudding, hollow bass noises like heartbeats in the night.
She turns away from the window to check the time-- the red, digital numbers of her alarm clock bore into her, the twin zeroes at the end hovering like patient eyes. She grabbed her jacket from where she piled it atop the milk crates in the corner, thrusting her hands into the pockets to find a half-crushed packet of cigarettes, the jumbled wires of her earphones, the small ring of keys she'd been entrusted with, including one to the apartment itself. Throwing her arms into the huge sleeves, she leaves the jacket hanging wide and pulls her jeans over the faded athletic shorts. She steps into the untied boots, still wearing the plain white socks she slept in.
Out into the short hallway, a single LED nightlight in her little brothers' room glows out from the partly-closed doorway. She stands for a full minute, afraid of seeing what's beyond that door. She leans forward, pressing her hand against the flat white door, and looks into the cluttered little room-- its bunk beds standing empty, the sheets and blankets still crumpled into the shapes of their sleep. Maggie stares, then edges away, before checking the empty living room, then-- heedless of the noise of her heavy footsteps-- bursts through the door of her mother's room.
The full-sized bed is as empty as the empty beer bottles she topples, and she springs back from the noise, despite it being a familiar one. Her mind races over the avenues that could have made this be... she knows that, when she returned from work an hour ago, cut before close for once, the room was loud with her mother's snores, a welcome respite from slurred cursing or obnoxious laughter and country music. The starkness and emptiness of the apartment now is twice as oppressive.
She enters her mother's room, nudging aside dirty clothes, and finds what she's looking for-- her mother's cell phone, left on the nightstand, the battery half-charged, where it waits beside the ashtray and a crumpled half-pack of Newports. It's the only phone in the house, and her mother left it right there, untouched, when she left. With her two sons.
Her hand is shaking when she starts dialing. She isn't sure who to call, and she doesn't consider it until she's already punched in ten numbers sequentially... the white digits stare up at her, and she doesn't recognize the number at first until she realizes it belongs to Jin. Nice girl. Kept me from failing Algebra last year... out of the goodness of her heart. Maybe. But why..? To ask her to explain how formulas work, or something?
Over the keypad, her thumb hovers uncertainly, then presses firmly on the green 'send' light.