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June Bug

Chapter 2

"Your mother is dead."

I sat for a minute and felt like I was floating away from myself, as if I was watching all of this happen and I wasn't really there. But I was. I saw Mr. Myers thick beetle eyebrows crouch over his beady black eyes and there was flicker of pity there, something Mr. Myers didn't express, because Mr. Myers didn't have feelings. Mr. Myers was an unemotional man. I had always guessed that was the best way to be when one was the principal of a high school in the really trashy part of town. And I was trash as well as the rest of the kids sitting in the Science class down the hall, where I had gotten pulled out of it by an announcement.

I didn't say anything to Mr. Myers at all. What could I say? The words kept ringing in my head like death knells, and Mr. Myers was my executioner. I felt a noose slip around my neck, tightening, tightening until I couldn't breathe. I wanted to die. My throat clogged up and there tears stuck at the back, determined not to be let out. Then I looked up, my eyes soulless like dark tunnels of hopelessness.

I saw them reflected in the shiny glint of his little beady ones.
"Delly Webster? Do you understand? Have you heard what I said?" Mr. Myers had been abducted, I thought vaguely after hearing his voice gentle, a gruff and angry voice ruined by this display of sympathy. I didn't think about her at all. All I heard was my angry and nasty words, the last words I had ever said to her, playing over and over in my head like a broken record.
Suddenly I felt the room blur away from my line of vision. I simply slipped into the black darkness and let it consume me. I didn't want to wake up. Not ever again.

I stared at the ground as if it held something enthralling, something compelling that caused me to stare at it incessantly. I had been living in a foster home for a month and all I could think of was the coldness of it. As if the people there knew never to attach any personal significance to anything because the knew that it would just be taken from them, like Jenny had been from me.
Now I was in an orphanage.

The nuns stared at me curiously, but I knew they couldn't try to worry about me. There were too many kids to take time with one of the troublesome ones in the whole bunch. I was one groping for things that weren't there, for hope where there was none. Sister Anne was the only one who ever talked to me.

The others stayed away as if I had some sort of disease and I did; I called it grief. "Delly, dear?" She said gently to me, touching my shoulder briefly before I jerked away from her touch. I felt pain ripple through me. Everyone who touched me died. Everyone who cared about me died. A long time ago it had been my aunt and grandfather, now Jenny.

Great Job Del, I thought to myself, three down and if there are any more you'll do a better job than a murderer ever could, because murderers always get caught; Nobody is pointing a finger at you. I straightened at that thought and frowned. Lydia, my social worker was trying to track down my father. I shook my head. I didn't want to meet him anymore. Two months ago, I would have jumped at the chance, but now it didn't matter to me. Nothing mattered.

Sister Anne sat beside me, but didn't try to touch me again. She just sat there and I didn't understand how or why, but I felt comfort just in that. Nobody had ever just sat like that with me before, nobody had just listened to the silence with me. It seemed as if I had found a friend, but I pushed the thought away. Even when I'd been younger I had never had any friends.
The clicking sound of footsteps drawing nearer penetrated my comfortable silence and I lifted my gaze. A large man was standing beside Mother Superior, and I felt pain tear through me, and anger, bitter anger. The man was a replica of me or I was a replica of him. But I knew the minute I had lifted my eyes to meet his, that he was him.

Mother Superior stayed blessedly quiet, and I knew she could sense the tension in the air. He stared at me as if in awe, but all I could feel was hurt, ripping me apart little by little, in a way I thought couldn't happen again, but it did. Questions flittered through my mind...why had he not tried to find me? Hadn't he even cared about Jenny and I? Why hadn't he tried to contact Jenny if he hadn't known about me?

I didn't stand. Standing up would mean I had respect for this man, but I could conjure up nothing, but anger pricking at me, like invisible needles sinking into my flesh and drawing blood. He swallowed as if afraid of me. "Del..." he cleared his throat and wrung his hands in front of him as if not knowing what to do with him, as if he was torn from knowing what he should do at all. "Del- Delores..." He finally managed to say my full name, but it was the name of another girl, not me.

"Delly," I said automatically, like I always did. He nodded.
"Sorry...Delly," his voice was hoarse this time, but I knew he was emotionless. He was even wearing a suit, one like Mr. Myers. That cold fish Myers. I didn't smile, I didn't respond. I felt like Jenny.

But I wasn't. Jenny was dead and I wasn't.

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