Almost

Iím sitting in the corner, my legs crushed against my chest, trying to make myself as small as possible. The old games I used to play. First with Buffy, though we never succeeded then, giggling and nudging each other, and then by myself, when she took on that holier-than-thou attitude that she learnt in Junior High.

If I donít move, and donít breathe, they wonít see me. They wonít make me leave.

Buffyís crying. For a Slayer she sure is weepy. Rileyís just holding her, and everyone else is looking really uncomfortable. If I were a Slayer I wouldnít cry and weep and wait around. Iíd do something, stop her getting sick. Iím not crying now, and Iím not even a Slayer.

I wonder what they think about me not crying. Maybe they call me cold or harsh or unfeeling. I donít care. I donít feel like crying. I feel hollow. Like some demons cut out all my insides. I feel slightly sick too, but I donít want to move to the bathroom, because then theyíd see me and make me go to bed.

I donít want to go to sleep. Iím afraid I wonít wake up.

ďDawn? Dawny? There you are. You should probably go to bed.Ē He lifts me up, like Iím a baby. I want to tell him Iím not, that Iíve grown up a lot since we moved from LA. I want to tell him he should have stayed around, so he could see me growing up, and getting bigger.

He shouldnít be here. He doesnít care about mom anymore. Maybe he never did.

Relationships are a big joke.

I see them leaving from my bedroom window. All paired off, Xander and Anya, Giles and that Olivia girl, even Tara and Willow. Yeah I know about them. They pretend I donít or I shouldnít or something, but Iím not stupid. Not stupid enough to get into a relationship thatís only about sex anyway.

Iím going to be a nun, I swear.

So off they go, little cosy twosomes, off to have sex to reaffirm their lives. Thatís what people do when someone dies. They have sex. To let themselves know they are alive. Like they couldnít just check their pulses or something.

Riley and Buffy will too. In this house, in her room, on her bed. But trying to keep quiet, Ďcause they think Iím awake, or they think Iím asleep. I donít know which.

I think about walking in on them, interrupting them. Right in the middle. If I canít have relief that way, then I donít want Buffy too. Itís not fair.

But then she can cry and I canít. Itís fitting in away. Buffy can do everything I canít. She can stay out as late as she wants, cause sheís off saving someoneís butt. She can do all these cool stunts, and I canít even do a proper somersault. She can fight, but I get in one tiny little scrap at school, and suddenly itís the end of the world. Oh yeah, and she can stop the apocalypse. And I canít. Did I mention that?

I canít do anything. Iím just a big mistake. The Slayer doesnít need a kid sis to worry about. I mean, at least Willow and Xander and Riley can take care of themselves. Even mom hit Spike over the head once. What did I do. Invited a bunch of vampires into our house so they could attack everyone. And when Angelus captured me a couple of years back? I freaked. Couldnít even stay calm in a crisis.

Mom didnít even want me. This girl at school told me her parents told her, I was just some ploy to try to keep their marriage together. I couldnít even do that. Those weirdoes were right I donít belong here.

I hate my life.

I donít sneak in on Buffy and Riley, I sneak out the other way. Through the bathroom and into momís room. Itís so clean and tidy, she liked it that way. The beds unmade though, from where Buffy and Willow pulled the covers off her to try and resuscitated her. And the paramedics must have knocked the picture frame off the table when the carried her out, cause thereís glass all over the floor.

I donít touch the bed. I donít wanna touch where she last lay. I should have tried to wake her that morning, but Buffy said she needed to rest. The coffee I made that morningís still on the bedside locker.

I grab yesterdaysí paper, and start picking up the glass from the frame, putting it in the centre of the paper. I cut myself on a sharp piece and it stings as the blood wells up. I suck on it, to stop it bleeding and my mouth fills with a tangy, metallic taste. I wonder what my blood would taste like to a vampire. If different blood groups taste differently, like sweet and sour and bitter all taste different.

I go back to the bathroom and wet some toilet roll. Thatís what mom said to do. To make sure you get all the little pieces up, so you donít cut your foot on them in a few months. I do my best, but itís carpet. I need the hover, and I donít want to wake everyone up, clearing up the mess.

Instead I pick up the picture, and stare at it. Some of the glass is still jagged in the frame. Itís a black and white photo of mom, Buffy, and me right after we moved here, when I had my hair in that stupid short style. Buffyís hair looks silver in it; she glows. Iím just sitting there, looking awkward. Like I donít belong.

I take it back to my room. Itís not stealing, really. Itís only moved a few rooms. And Buffy and me have both got copies of it in our albums.

I crawl into bed with the picture, and my finger wanders around edge, cutting it again. Thereís something satisfying to it. I donít know what. Something only disturbed kids do, or crazies. Something you donít talk about. Something forbidden or secret or taboo. SomethingÖ. Itís almost enough to stop me.

Almost.


[Back]