Ilaeira Agrotou Georgiou, short-listed in the Creative Writing Ink Journal Competition
22 Feb. 2017
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The Creative Writing Ink Journal competitions is open for all ages, and usually the winners are adult writers, so it was great that Ilaeira Agrotou Georgiou a Year 6 English Literature student was short-listed at such a young age.
Well done Ilaeira. We are so very proud!
Enjoy her story below:
A Perpetual Journey
Her friends had begged and begged to drive her home, something about her not being fit enough to take herself. And although she tried to play the music coming from the radio so loudly that the only sensation left would be the vibration of the bass rolling in and out of her ribs, fragments of their words still echoed in her ear. Lizzie Young tried instead to focus on her hands gripping tightly on the steering wheel, but her vision kept going blurry. All she could see was the whiteness of her knuckles and the way the moon dipped underneath the trees, refusing to share any light with her. The sky was so dark.
Two contrasting desires merged together in Lizzie’s thoughts. One was to feel nothing, to feel a numbness overtaking her, just like a warm blanket that can both smother and comfort. The other for her senses to suddenly awaken, for her limbs to come alive as if suddenly caressed for the first time. Anything would be better than this feeling of her body parts hanging from her but not quite belonging to her, as if she had been moulded deformed, quickly and harshly by an uncaring hand. Gripping the steering wheel as tightly as she could, Lizzie drove faster.
She knew she should never have gone to that party, knew that no matter how many years would pass, she would never be able to feel clean. More importantly, she knew that if she told anyone, it would be to curse them too, to have them share the burden. For it was too late to speak, she should have spoken then, should have screamed the moment she felt his hands, like searching tentacles, grab her and pull her in that room. But she hadn’t screamed, in fact she felt relieved. After all, he was handsome and popular, a high school athlete. She thought she was lucky.
Cars were honking at her now as Lizzie skidded carelessly across the road. The faster she went, the more invincible she felt. It was weird, but she remembered thinking when she was younger how similar the word ‘invincible’ was to ‘invisible’. Only two letters difference. Perhaps it was because invisibility offered invincibility. For that’s all she wanted, to go so fast that she ceased to be matter but only a blur of light and sound that just kept moving; so fast, she ceased to be something physical, that could feel pain or that could bleed – bleed so much she thought she could have died, right there on that bed. People told her there would be blood, and that it might hurt, but she never thought that every movement would slowly drain the colour from her cheeks.
There was a strong smell of alcohol in the car. She tried to breathe in and out slowly to stop herself from throwing up, but the smell was everywhere – on her breath, in her hair, drenching her clothes. No escape. She pressed roughly on the brakes and stumbled outside the car, barely managing to haul herself completely out as she vomited on the pavement, not even caring she was in the middle of a well-lit street. A street lamp glared down at her like an all-seeing eye, its artificial light flashing down on her as if she were put on display, to be gasped and gawked at. It shone the same way that that one forlorn lamp shone next to her on that bedside table. He didn’t want any other lights. Just that one. Said too much lighting would ruin it. She remembered how that light imprinted the underside of his fingernails on her sweaty skin, how each line or crease she had learned with time to love had suddenly turned grotesque. She remembered the lumpy blood that imprinted itself on the bedsheets, and how he never made his voice soft or caring for her, never even bothered to ask if he was hurting her.
In even more of a daze, she got back into the car, but no matter how fast she drove, she couldn’t get the images out of her head. They collided into each other, crashing and re-forming in front of her. The way she lay there, limp like a badly-stitched doll, the way his hands groped and grasped, the way she clenched her eyes shut, concentrating on the fairy-lights behind her eye-lids to stop herself from crying. She never knew, could never have known, that something that was always portrayed to her as humorous, or alluring, or even cosy, could actually be used by a person as a means to hurt. Hurt more than an open fist or a kick in the shins or a splitting migraine. Hurt more than anything else.
When the car spiralled out of control, she hardly felt it. When it crashed into the nearest tree and she was flung out on the wet grass, she hardly felt how the fall had affected her head, her back, her neck. As she lay there, with the smell of open wounds and freshly grown grass, she almost felt nothing. Her breathing began to slow down. Then everything began happening faster. Something was tugging at her insides – her ‘inner bull’ as her mum used to call it. At that moment, Lizzie Young felt every cell in her body come alight. The wound at the back of her head began to yank at every nerve. Every bone in her spine began to scream. It was as if the pain of dying, of fighting desperately for that last breath, and the pain of being born, of feeling that surge of oxygen bursting through lungs, had combined and taken over. She started to cry, and it was the crying that finally helped. She felt the natural rhythm of air entering and leaving her body, like ripples of cool water. And what surprised her the most were the colours whirling around her, as if they were being shaken in a snow globe, as if she were seeing them for the first time. The red of her blood, the green of the grass, the electric blue of the flickering light of an ambulance.
Ilaeira Leto Agrotou Georgiou
17 years old