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Authors: Lauren Nicolle Taylor

The Wall (The Woodlands)

BOOK: The Wall (The Woodlands)
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BY LAUREN NICOLLE TAYLOR

 

Clean Teen Publishing

This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogues are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

The Wall

Copyright © 2013 by: Lauren Nicolle Taylor

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information address:

 

Clean Teen Publishing

PO Box 561326

The Colony, TX 75056

www.cleanteenpublishing.com

 

 

For my sister Kristen, your strength and courage were the inspiration.

Chapter 1:
Waiting

Chapter 2:
Hope

Chapter 3:
Blood

Chapter 4:
Gifts

Chapter 5:
Gone

Chapter 6:
Cal

Chapter 7:
Wrong One

Chapter 8:
My Heart

Chapter 9:
Insights

Chapter 10:
Recovery

Chapter 11:
Reunion

Chapter 12:
Collapse

Chapter 13
: Tunnel

Chapter 14:
Questions

Chapter 15:
Farewell

Chapter 16:
Spinning

Chapter 17:
Music

Chapter 18:
Walls

Chapter 19:
Contained

Chapter 20:
Saved

Chapter 21:
Release

Chapter 22:
The Black

Chapter 23
: Home

Chapter 24:
More

Chapter 25:
Reminder

Chapter 26:
Meeting

Chapter 27:
Warning

Chapter 28:
Not Yet

Chapter 29:
Menace

Chapter 30:
Wishful

Chapter 31:
From His Eyes

Chapter 32:
Resolved

Chapter 33:
Fragile

Chapter 34:
Facing

Chapter 35:
Fire

Chapter 36:
Agreement

Chapter 37:
Healing

Chapter 38:
Training

Chapter 39:
Final Day

Chapter 40:
Lies

Chapter 41:
Beginning & Ending

Chapter 42:
Goodbye

Chapter 43:
Leaving Home

Chapter 44:
Late Snow

Chapter 45:
Feat

Chapter 46:
Run

Chapter 47:
Refuge

Chapter 48:
Before the Storm

Chapter 49:
Rescue

Chapter 50:
Rescue Me

Chapter 51:
Ghost

Acknowledgements

About the Author

 

You tell yourself,
I won’t survive this
.
If one more bad thing happens, I will shrivel up and die
. But there’s always something more you can take. Because what’s the alternative? Death? Death would be easy. Death would be boring too. I have too much to do, too many things to complete. Death clips my wings, leaving me stunted. An unfinished person with her legs half-buried in the ground. Yes, death would be easier. But living is what I have to do.

 

I was waiting for something to happen. Anything at all. Bad or good. But time continued on, soundless and dull. After everything we had been through, all the walking, and then the running. Dying. I was stuck in the mud—the more I wriggled, the deeper it pulled me in. I didn’t want to be this person, this pathetic wretch, so I fought it, my feet making sucking noises as I managed to pry one foot out, only to have the other foot sink deeper.

We sat like rounded pebbles at the bottom of the stream
, uncomprehending. Not hearing because of the rabbling water overhead and only seeing a distorted, blurry version of the world above. We didn’t know where we were and why we were here.

People came in and people
went out, and Joseph stayed the same like an epitaph to what could have been.

After a two-week break,
Deshi returned on most days to lecture me. We argued. A lot. It didn’t take much to set me off. I was throttling for a fight. I needed somewhere for my frustration to go. Otherwise, I may have leaned over Joseph, lying in the bed next to me, and shaken him senseless.

Deshi
brought Hessa to me, swinging him in the crook of one arm. He was a real child now. Aware. Sitting up with the aid of a pillow, blinking and grasping at things. And he smiled, a smile that broke my heart and rejuvenated it at the same time, because it was his mother’s.

As I watched them, so comfortable, so natural,
I wondered what Clara would think of me now. I wanted to believe if things were different, if she were here, somehow, I would be different too. I could be the mother my baby deserved. But I was never like her and I never wanted this. I was drowning. I struggled with everything. Without her slender hand to hold onto, I was lost.


How’s it all going?” Deshi observed me over the tip of his nose, disapprovingly. His dark face was perfect and thin, self-righteousness emitting from his dark eyes. He knew exactly how it was going.


It’s hard,” I complained.


You’re making it much harder than it needs to be.” He shook his head in disappointment. I peered into Deshi’s face. Joseph already had a light beard. Deshi’s face was smooth.
He was a boy
, I thought, unkindly.


Being a mother doesn’t come as easily to me as it did to you,” I snapped, trying to upset him.

He raised his eyebrows and pushed his lips together in a fake pout.
“If you’re trying to insinuate that I’m a woman, then I think you need to come up with something a bit more clever than that.”

I poked my tongue out at him.
The corner of his mouth twisted up, just a little.

This was our relationship now. We bickered like an unhappy, married couple. But no matter how rude I was, he kept coming back. His love for Jose
ph, and his dissatisfaction in me, was motivation enough. He had the wrong idea. Forcing me was the wrong tactic. Making me feel guilty was superfluous. I already felt awful about it, all the time.

I leaned my cheek towards him,
“Why don’t you just do it?”

Deshi raised his eyebrows in surprise,
“Do what? I’m not going to be your surrogate Joseph!”

I blushed. He thought I was asking him to kiss me
, which would fit with the married part of our scenario. “No. Slap me. I know you’ve wanted to since the day you met me.” I lowered my eyes. “Maybe even before that.”

S
eriousness created pinched ridges along the top of his thin nose. Slowly, he brought back his arm, sweeping it through the air. I squeezed shut the eye closest to him, imagining it would feel like being slapped with a wet towel. It would sting, but wouldn’t have much force behind it. I felt a breeze, but when I looked up, his hand was hovering millimeters from my face, and then he dropped it into his lap.


Don’t be stupid. I don’t want to slap you. I just want you to realize you can do this. With or without Joe, you will be able to do this. You don’t really have a choice.” He patted my arm awkwardly and stared longingly at the beautiful, sleeping man behind me. He missed him almost as much as I did.

BOOK: The Wall (The Woodlands)
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