DailyPrompt – Alone together

DailyPrompt – Alone together

From [community profile] dailyprompt: “eight line poem” and “I want to be alone.” Originally, I had put placemarkers in for names to fill in later, but, as the story went on, I liked keeping it that way.

“I want to be alone.” [3] stared down at her notebook, the pencil limp in her hand.

“Now, honey, you know it don’t work that way.” [2] cuddled her briefly.

“It oughta,” she sighed.

“Now don’t let the bosses hear you talking that way,” her teammate scolded. “They’ll start thinking you’re defective, or, worse yet, se-ditty- itious.” She drew the word out like it was sexy, naughty, instead of terrifying.

“I know,” [3] agreed quietly. They all knew what happened to defectives. “It’s just sometimes, I can’t hear myself think.”

“And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be,” [2] nodded firmly. “That’s what we’re for, peachie, to hear your thoughts.”

“But…”

[1] and [4] had remained quiet until now, [4] because, as junior, that was his place; [1], as senior member of their Four, had left girls to girl business but now, when [3] refused to complacently back down, he spoke.

“What do you have that you can’t share with your Four?”

It was a catechism question, a trap for defectives, the root of their training. [3] answered dutifully. “There is nothing I have that I cannot share with you.” Except the burning poems inside her head that kicked and beat at her skull, wanting to get out. Except the whispers of music that went away the minute someone else spoke to her.

That’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. They were too close for her Four to not notice that she was defective, but close enough, loyal enough, that they could keep it quiet as long as she could hold together. And she could, given everyday situations. The problem was days like this, where the pressure of the poetry and the pressure of duty pounded at each other like hammer and anvil, and her in between, soft and squishy like the peach that [2] nicknamed her.

“Come here,” [4] spoke up, startling them all.

The habit of obedience was well-ingrained into all of them, and she was across the room and sitting next to him on their wide, Spartan bed before it had processed that he, of all the people in the world, she didn’t have to obey.

And then, with the gall that only a spoiled, pampered junior member of a well-off Four could manage, he kept giving her orders, in a voice so gentle it was like a recording of the ocean, calm and inexorable, pulling her under. “Lay down with me,” and she did, letting him spoon her. “She’s not alone,” he told their teammates; she barely heard [2] grunt in acknowledgement.

He pulled her against him, one hand on her hip, his chest against her back, his breath warm on her neck. She waited, wondering what he was up to; they all waited, although she could hear, faintly in the background, [2] moving around, picking stuff up.

He said nothing, did nothing. He was there, close as a second skin, close as they were always supposed to be with at least one of their four, but he was junior, with nothing he could make her do. The words stopped rattling haphazardly in her skull and began lining up peaceably, forming themselves into an orderly eight-line poem.

“Write,” [4] murmured, and, at the desk, [2] began writing.

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14 Replies to “DailyPrompt – Alone together”

    1. Yes, it is. I almost think they have numbers for names… I want to know why they have to live with a Four and never be alone… What is the purpose behind that?

      1. I want to know why they have to live with a Four and never be alone… What is the purpose behind that? Me, too!!

  1. “There is nothing I have that I cannot share wire you.” ‘with’ instead of ‘wire’ I thought it was the poetry that was her defect, not the inability to organise it. 🙂

  2. The society behind this is weirdly fascinating. Why fours? It’s pretty clear there’s no blood relationship — or at least no necessary blood relationship — in there, so how are people chosen for fours? When someone leaves a four (and how, other than death, does *that* happen?), does everyone below that person move up a number? (That would lead to some strange interactions for a while as people adjusted to their new designators.) What level of obedience can [1] expect from [2], or from [4]? Do people even have names, and do the others in the Four know them? So many questions!

    1. *grin* And I don’t know most of those things, either!! I think names are Forbidden. I’m not sure about the rest.

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