[community profile] mini_nanowrimo: week 5

Nov. 29th, 2008 08:42 pm
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"My name is Natalie, but call me Nat."

"I'm Christine. Call me Chris."

"I'm Jolene." Laugh. "No, really! Just call me Jo."

"I'm Annabeth -- call me Anna, my parents were mad."

She likes names. Especially ones that can be abbreviated. She only recently figured that out about herself, but it's true.

"I'm Margaret. Call me Meg."

She tracks her own movements obsessively, looking for patterns. Names that can be abbreviated, and she thinks she might have gone by a nickname back when she had a real name. Dry, hot, tourist towns, and she wonders if she grew up in a town like this one, or that one.

She has a collection of props. Wedding rings, a few dozen; she picks them up each in turn, sometimes, turns them over and over in her hands, looking at the different styles and jewels and cuts, wondering if one of them is genuinely hers. Wondering if someone ever asked her to be a wife, put one of these rings on her finger.

"My husband Tom's in insurance."

"Jimmy, my husband? He's a truck driver."

"Oh, Luke's a cop back home. It's crazy, I don't think I knew what I was getting into when I married him."

"Will works in a bar, but he's really a painter." Shy giggle. "I modeled for one of his paintings...that's how we met."

"No, I'm not married. Never met anyone I could see doing it with, I guess."

Wallets with a variety of IDs -- driver's licenses, state IDs, passports, even a military ID -- in a variety of names, with a variety of birthdates, from a variety of states, all sporting a picture of the same face she sees in the mirror.

She has an ID from every one of the lower 48 states. She's a little proud of that. She rifles through them, wondering, wondering -- which of these states is she from?

she has cell phones. Some high-tech and classy and with more features than she knows how to use. Some cheap and old and so clunky that people laugh when they see her using them, tease her about what decade she's living in.

"Oh, I couldn't live without my iPhone. What did anyone do before these?"

"I'm a complete Luddite. My boyfriend always said I can't work anything more complicated than a rotary phone. ...well, ex-boyfriend."

"All I want from my phone is for it to make phone calls, you know?"

"I couldn't be disconnected from my e-mail for so long, what if someone needed to contact me?"

She has a full wardrobe, ranging from jeans and cheap T-shirts to classy designer suits to minidresses with ridiculously high heels. Changing personalities is easier when you're changing clothes at the same time.

She wonders what she would wear if she weren't playing a role.

She lies awake at night -- on a bus, on a plane, in a car, in a cheap motel room, in an expensive hotel suite, on someone else's couch, in someone else's bed -- and tries so hard to remember who she was before she started being anyone you want, honey.

She wonders, but the one thing she knows is that she'll never know.

*~*~*

"There are ghosts in the walls," she says, but no one listens, not even the ghosts.

The ghosts don't come out of the walls. Not while she's around, anyway, it's not like she knows what they do when she's not there. The ghosts don't seem to know that they're ghosts, and they stay in the walls, and nobody listens when she tries to tell them.

"You're dead," she tells one, gently, late one night, "Go get some rest, you're dead," but the ghost doesn't listen.

She figures she should probably be used to being ignored, unheard, irrelevant, but it's still annoying.

One ghost – a little boy, she thinks, just a baby really, she thinks – sobs all night, because no will come to comfort him. She creeps through the hallways to his corner, croons, "Bye-lo, baby" and "I hear you, honey" and "You're dead, sweetie, nothing can hurt you now" but he doesn't hear her and nothing changes.

She halfway wishes he would come out of the wall, so she could at least cuddle him, the poor baby boy, but the ghosts don't come out of the walls. Not while she's around.

It's an old house. The walls are wood, the floors are wood, everything is wood. Once she tried prying away the boards that made up the closet walls in her room, to climb in after the ghosts, but she couldn't budge them. Solidly built, they say. They don't make 'em like this old thing anymore, they say. That's real craftsmanship, they say.

She curses them, but no one listens.

She can't go follow them, and they won't go away.

"There are ghosts in the walls," she says, but no one listens, not even the ghosts.
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