short mystery story

I'm Already Gone Pt. 1

The first part of my latest short story

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As footsteps fade past my door, I dare to open my clenched eyes. Don't move yet. No chances.

The small thud of my mother's bedroom door carries down the carpeted hallway. I count to three in my head, then throw my blanket covers back. This time, I will not get caught. This time, I'll make it to her.

Sitting up slowly, I slide off my bed and let my feet fumble for the black sneakers waiting on the floor at the edge of my bed. I slip them on successfully. My hair. I pull it into a brown ponytail high on my head. Now for the window, and I'm gone. The window rests above my mattress, which is so old it squeaks with every movement. I realize suddenly it's deliberate. They've always been watching like this.

I manage to turn my body to the window and shove the frame open. I kick out the screen and watch it tumble three stories down. It hits the air conditioning unit below, but the impact is so far, I barely hear it. The lattice was removed after my last attempt, as was the fire ladder from my closet.

They missed the rope I stored in my sock drawer. Thanks to Izzy, I always have one ready. Thanks to me, she was gone. I shake off the thought. I'll see her soon enough.

I lean out the window and glance to both sides. My parents' window was right next to mine. I halt all movement as a light flicks on across the way. Sleepy steps and the outline of a person shown through the dark of the world. I quickly shut the window and throw the blanket back over myself, pulling it up and over my shoulders, hiding my outfit. I pinned it tight and lay with my eyes staring at the door, hoping she won't open it.

The knob turns, and I see my mom's silhouette in the doorway, then shut my eyes as naturally as I could. I don't move an inch, holding my muscles too rigid, but unable to move, or she'll notice. She takes a few steps in, pauses. I can hear my heart beating out of my chest. I want to move, to cover the rope even more. If she sees the rope or notices the screen is gone, I'm done. But I won't stop.

I gently crack my eye open as subtly as I can. I see her in my vanity. She's going through the drawers. She shakes her head slowly and pulls out a picture. I close my eye. I don't have to see it to know who it's a picture of. I hear the door close lightly and wait at least another minute. My heart still rapid, my hands still unsteady, I tie one end of the rope to my bedframe and let the other end hang out the window.

I look down the rope, imagining that I'm back in P.E., though the rope is much farther down. I hesitate. I close my eyes and set my chin, just like P.E.

I grip the rope and gently climb down. Hand under hand. Ankle-wrapped around the rope. Knuckles white. My breath comes rapidly, and I feel my hands slipping. Muscle memory takes over as I picture myself doing this every day the entire school year, racing Izzy to the top, then the bottom. My feet hit something metal, and I look down.

The A.C. unit. I was done. I release the rope and dust my hands on my light green khakis as nothing had happened. I push away the fear that had screamed at me. I glance at the rope, contemplating what to do with it. In the end, I decided to leave it. Let them find it. I'll be long gone by the time they find it. I jump off the unit and pick up a thick black coat I had stashed in the bush a few feet over. Tucked inside the coat is my white backpack, that holds everything else I'll need.

I slip the backpack over my shoulders and hold onto the straps with my thumbs. An ecstatic smile spreading over my face, I step out onto the road. I've traveled this part of the road so many times I no longer need to check my map. Without a glance over my shoulder, I walk on the edge of the road, close to the forest line. Step after step of my worn-out Converse, I walk into the dark horizon. This is it. I'm finally going to make it.

No one knows I'm even gone yet.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Working On My Emotional Health Is At The Top Of My To-Do List

I'm finally realizing the importance of my mental and emotional health.

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The month of April has been so eye-opening for me. For the first bit of the year, I felt like I was in a slump; like I was just going through the motions and not fully living my life.

I was letting boy drama, school stress, and my poor actions to deal with those issues take over my life. I was allowing the anger and shame from those mistakes bubble up inside me until I was just about ready to explode.

I was allowing myself to go back to old ways of coping with problems that I knew weren't healthy, but I knew would be a short-term fix.

I simply wasn't living.

Then, one day I woke up and told myself I needed to change, and that if I didn't, I'd be on this same path ten years from now... or worse. I told myself I needed to get my life back on track with the Lord and with who I want to be as a rising senior in college.

After meeting with one of the leaders at my church (btw, everyone needs a Mrs. Jenny in their life!) and with my therapist, I'm starting to realize how important my emotional health is. My way of dealing with problems hasn't been working all that well, so I know it's time to try something else.

It's all going to be a huge learning process (and at times, an uphill battle), but I know working on my emotional health now will build me to be the best I can in the future.

By learning to become more open to healthier ways of dealing with issues as they come up (like not avoiding problems and actually facing them head-on), I know I can become my best self, and that is something I'm willing to work on with my whole heart.

So, I'm learning to let go of needing to control everything in my life because honestly, wanting to control everything puts me more out of control than when I first started.

And, I encourage you to do the same.

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