Behind Her Illusion

Behind Her Illusion

A Story by Heidi

There's a soundtrack to this story, if you can read and listen. Gary Jules- Mad World. Repeat and relax.


           The loud, distant crunch of steel breaking like twigs echoed around him. By the time Logan could look up, the screaming had already gone silent. Up was down, flipped around and nearly strangled by the un-giving safety belt. Someone was crying. Blurred figures moved in slow motion around him, talking in low murmurs. The copper stench of blood violated his nostrils, making him vomit.

            Heavy thuds.  Footsteps? The sound of breaking glass was chased by the mingling, piercing shrieks of ripping metal and plastic. The noise resonated louder; making darkness rise and swallow his sight whole,

 jerking him awake in bed.

            Logan sat up, wrapped in a mangle of cotton sheets, heart pounding in his throat and ringing in his ears. He couldn’t shake the dream from his mind. He danced his fingers through his sweat dampened hair. It was all so real; too real.

The clock told him it was early morning. Instead of going back to sleep he started his day off almost two hours early. In the cool, dark hall he could see the ominous silhouette of his sister’s door. She was usually the first awake, but the past few weeks he had beat her to the bathroom almost every day. He was beginning to wonder if something was wrong.

            He sat alone on a barstool in the kitchen for a while, rotating back and forth. He was contently settled in a sleepy fog, disturbed from his forming thoughts when a slender brunette ambled through the kitchen. Their similarities were striking, high cheek bones and dark eyes; she could have passed for his clone if she wasn’t distinctly female. Logan mumbled a short greeting. She took little notice of him.

            On her way out the door she turned, giving him a look over. “You’re going to school like that? You look like a bum. How can we be related?” Her sarcastic manner did little to faze Logan, who morphed his face into a snide smile at her exit.

            He looked down at his worn out blazer, a fraying piece of ebony fabric whose many zippers were pulling off. There’s nothing wrong with being comfortable. I don’t know how she parades around on her toes all day in clothes she constantly has to adjust.

            Dawn was breaking as his mother’s car rumbled into the drive way. Logan felt sorry for his mom, who worked irregular shifts and was constantly on call. She was always tired and never at home. He preferred that their paths rarely crossed, his mother irritated him more than his sister. There were few occasions when they talked. When they did, she fussed over things Logan didn’t even notice.

            His mom came in through the back door just as he was leaving. When she saw him an anxious look settled on her weary face. “Why are you up so early?”

            Logan lied. “I have a meeting with a teacher before school. It’s nothing, I promise.” He kissed her on the cheek, knowing his white lie would do little to settle her irrational nerves, and fled into the morning chill.

            The first half of the day went by in a slow haze. School was always easy for him. First period easily slid into third.  Lectures droned on, equations were already solved and rough drafts wrote themselves.  His life seemed to carry on without his help or even his acknowledgement.

            The promise of food was enough to pull him from the depths of his mind and into a blank, conscious stare. He sat at a table alone, waiting for the friends who stopped showing. Lately they had deserted him.  

            Someone lightly punched him on the shoulder. He didn’t bother to look, but sighed, “Hello, Sarah.”

            His counterpart pulled up a chair, showing off her perfect posture. “Why are you sitting by yourself again?” She pointed a brightly painted nail across the cafeteria. “Your friends are over there. I’m pretty sure they miss you.”

            Logan shrugged her off. “You don’t know them and I don’t really care to. If they want to sit with me, they will.”

            Sarah rolled her eyes and leaned back in the chair. “The family always says how alike we are. I’m beginning to think we barely share more than the same strand of DNA.” The bell sounded and Sarah eyed him for a moment. “You’d better stop being such a freak and talk to somebody,” she said, dismissing herself into a crowd of girls.

            Sarah knew exactly how to embed herself under his skin, inflating into an unending itch. She was right though, other than physical appearance they contrasted each other severely and their personalities clashed at extremes. She was a social butterfly, he had a few close friends he cared little for; she was filled with hopes and dreams, he couldn’t see past tomorrow; she dressed well, he dressed lazily.  The two of them were never seen together in public and had their own group of friends; almost no one knew they were related.

            Logan never went straight home. Letting his feet take him anywhere was his only satisfaction. His legs no longer burned for a rest, building and adapting their strength. Hills no longer held the threat of suffocation, expanding the tanks in his chest for maximum efficiency. The sun had hid behind the horizon hours ago and when Logan got home he crashed into his mattress face first.

            The alarm buzzed for fifteen minutes before effectively waking him. While getting dressed his sister’s comments bit at the back of his mind, demanding attention. Consciously he dressed a little nicer. It wasn’t much, just a new pair of jeans and a shirt he’d never worn. His mom wasn’t in the kitchen and he didn’t hear anyone else in the house. The sun was already lighting up the sky which meant he didn’t stand a chance of being on time.

            The florescent halls were empty except for a girl with large eyes. She was frantically glancing at a paper in her hand and the long corridors.  He closed the distance between them, debating with him if he should talk to her. She’s kinda pretty. Oh, why not, I’ve already missed most of first period.

            He took a deep breath, braving himself before he tapped her on the shoulder. “Need help?”

            She nodded and held out a crumpled schedule in a shaking hand. Logan read her name at the top of the page and scanned her classes. “Amanda, you have first period with me. I’ll show you where.” He tried to smile, nodding his head towards the end of the hall. She followed him tentatively.

             At lunch, instead of his sister eventually joining him, it was the big eyed girl. She sat across from him, containing herself within the space around her chair and didn’t say a word. Logan watched her run her fingers through her long hair, the only movement she made.

The sensation of roaming eyes crawled over Logan’s skin, raising goose bumps along their path. He saw one of his buddies observing him, wadding back and forth between Logan’s table and his own. Logan slung back in his chair and locked his dark eyes across the cafeteria, slightly amused by his dilemma. A petite girl in a pink sweater can sit with me. She’s the only reason he even glanced my way. What will he do? After a moment of hesitation the challenger retreated to the security of his own table.  When the bell rang, Amanda left just as quietly as she had appeared. He watched her pink sweater vanish in the crowd, slightly confused by the unusual lack of interaction.

            Logan was the first one home and the only person around for a while. Eventually he heard the grumble of the car engine. He heard his mom’s clatter down stairs and could smell the greasy fast food in her hands. The past few weeks she hadn’t bothered to cook and Logan’s taste buds were beginning to protest against fiery burritos and fatty fries.

            Wandering down stairs, Logan grabbed the garbage can, pulled the lid off and held it out to her. “Mom, I’m not eating that anymore.”

            She sighed in lazy objection, tugging her jacket off. “I’m not cooking, Logan.”

            He snatched the food from her. “I’ll cook. Who’s eating tonight?”

            She rubbed his head, tousling his hair. “Just you and me. No one else.”

            Logan shook his head. Sarah’s never home for dinner.

            His mother sat at the small, worn table that had filled the corner of the kitchen for years. Logan watched her, knowing the shifting look on her face was bound to bring him displeasure. Once he ducked below the counter she said, “Logan, you need new shoes.”

            Shoes? Logan cautiously pulled a large pan from a low, fully piled cabinet. Standing, he glanced at the slightly worn canvas encasing his feet. “I haven’t had these very long.”  

            “They look terrible,” she debated. “They are stained and have holes in them.”

 Logan cocked his head. “Mom, they’re fine.” I like these shoes. They’re comfy. “I don’t want new ones.” He said, rocking on the balls of his feet tentatively.

“You look homeless, Logan. People will think we’re poor or that I don’t take care of you.” She paused to bit her lip. “We can go to the mall tomorrow.”

He tapped the cool metal cook wear against the palm of his hand, trying to retain his rebellion. “You’re not wearing them. They work for me.”

After a moment she silently raised herself from the table, pausing in the door way. “Ok, I just thought I would try to cheer you up.”

            After an extensive meal, Logan waited for his mom to retire to her bed before going upstairs. He was settled into a state of drifting consciousness when the familiar creak of the stairs woke him. Though the open door he could see Sarah sneaking down the hall. “You just get home?”

            Sarah rolled her eyes and tiptoed back down the hall. Smiling she said, “I saw you with the new girl today.”

            Logan shook his head sleepily. “That doesn’t explain why you weren’t home for dinner again.”

            Her smile turned mischievous. “I know, but it doesn’t matter. Don’t worry about me, you’ll figure out what’s going on sometime. Why don’t you do something different? There’s no point in being at home with no one around.” She dissolved into her dark room, leaving Logan alone and confused in his door way.

            First period was much more appealing now that Amanda was seated a few rows in front of him. Logan listened to her soft voice tremble when the teacher called on her, forcing out an awkward introduction. He didn’t hear the faltering vocalizations that fluttered past her lips, but observed her pulling relentlessly at the cuff of her sleeves.

            Later, when the class had formed into a frenzy of chaotic energy, Logan slid into the unfamiliar seat next to her. Amanda eyed him, unable to erase the troubled look from her flushing face. He sat in vigilant silence and respectfully waited for her to work out what she wanted to say. He tried not to watch her think but every moment of statically charged silence pushed the pulse in his chest.

            When she spoke it was a whisper he could barely hear over the drumming in his ears. “Everyone’s afraid of you.”

            Logan wrinkled his brow, seizing up the tension between them. He was anxious about the gossip she had already heard. “Does that make you afraid of me?”

            Amanda’s large, innocent eyes studied their socializing classmates.  She shook her head slowly, holding his gaze in the vast pools around her pupils.

            She’s not lying. The beating in his chest began to subside and the relief was a welcome comfort. Girls had never found him approachable. Some would coon at him when he wasn’t looking, others would stare, but if he looked back they always became petrified where they stood.

            “I know about your sister and what happened with your friends and stuff.”

            Shrugging, Logan said. “You’re probably the only person who knows about her. Don’t talk to her, ok? She’s kinda mean.”

            Amanda bobbed her head in a confused agreement and stood with the rest of the class to file out the door.

            Before departing in the hall, Amanda gave him an approving smile. “Unlike everyone else, I think anyone who’s interesting is slightly crazy.” She was carried down the hall by a group of girls, leaving Logan staring after her. Crazy?


            Logan slept in late, making him rather lethargic. He spent a few hours lying around aimlessly in bed, bugged by something he couldn’t explain. He stepped into the hall filled with gray, filtered light from the afternoon sun. He tried opening Sarah’s door but the knob was locked. It’s never locked.

            His gut instincts told him something was wrong, griping his stomach in an icy hold. He searched the house and found he was alone. The day was chilly, the sky spreading a constant mist, but he needed to walk, to think.

            Being near busy streets made him anxious, the sound of engines irritated his ear drums, the drone of slick rubber sliding over soaked asphalt made his skin crawl. What is going on? I’m never this jumpy, I never feel like this. His stroll was short lived; provoked by the noise of moving traffic to return to the solace of is room.

            He flipped on the stereo for background noise and settled into the middle of his bed, concentrating on the muddled feeling in his stomach. Cars are irritating me. Cars? I have dreams about cars, no, nightmares of an accident. Are they acting out as real fears? The screaming and crying, it was so real. Was it real? It couldn’t be, but it has to be.

            Outside his window a taxi cab pulled up and his mother stepped out, more fast food in her hands. Logan eyed the scene in disbelief. Mom’s not driving? Where’s the car? I hear her car everyday. No, I hear a taxi everyday. The driveway was empty and the old SUV was gone. The icy squeeze on his stomach began to pulse like an overused stress ball. Totaled?

            The presence of an epiphany weighed in on his mind. A voice in his head said, “You’ve got it.” Logan stared at the empty pavement, shaking his head. His eyes blank, his brain barely holding on to reality. No.

            He ran down the stairs to meet his mom, nearly knocking her over as she came inside. “Mom, where’s Sarah?” I need to know. His heart was racing, ready to propel his twisting insides through his mouth.

            Her face was void but her eyes smoldered. “Not today Logan,” She shoved past him into the kitchen. “I can’t handle you today.”

            Logan followed her. “What? No, I just want to know where my sister is.”

            She stared him down with a hard expression that demanded obedience. “Why do you do this to me?”

            Rattling his brain and scrambling to catch up, Logan tripped over himself into the kitchen. Every nerve in his brain was being stretched and pulled like taffy, struggling to process what was going on.  “I’m not doing anything. Where is she? I need to see her.”

His mother slammed the food on the counter and whirled on him. “You know where she is! Nothing will bring her back. Not my guilt, our love, or you pretending she’s still here. You’re not five years old anymore Logan, imaginary friends aren’t ok. Especially an imaginary Sarah! Let her rest.” Her eyes brimmed with tears. Supporting herself against cabinets, she slid to the cold tile floor, already wrapped inside her raw, swelling emotions.

Logan backed out of the room, darting to Sarah’s door. He pressed his face against the dark wood, closed his eyes, and felt the top of the frame. His fingers brushed a key lodged behind the wood work. Head swirling, heart pounding, he entered Sarah’s room.

He knew what he would find there, an untouched bed and personal belongings exactly as she left them, her perfume lingering in the air. Logan took a seat on the edge of her bed where the covers were already wrinkled. Curling inside himself, he hung his head in his hands just like he had the morning before the accident.

© 2011 Heidi

Author's Note

The conversation between Logan and Amanda feels unfinished to me. im working on revising it.

anyway, this was my first time writing as a male. i dunno if i did good or not haha

My Review

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Featured Review

You know i have a very short attention span. But the witty conversations and the amazingly written vivid details made me want to finish it.Then when i came across this: "I know about your sister and what happened with your friends and stuff.”" that's i was like "huh? what about her." Then the ending caught me off guard and i was like "WHAT THE F__K!" This is definitely an awesome read. I'm glad i read it. Thanks for sharing this :D

PS your hair is like the sun

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Great story telling. This did justice in the realm of getting the message across. Great message. There's lot of times where a story can have a great message to aim for, and have a lot of under lining things but then no one gets it, and if no one gets it, then the point has failed. But in my opinion this did well to get the message across. You made it clear, which is why I think it's good. Keep up the good work. What was also great was that I could imagine the story as I read it, and that is also a strong point of stories. The ability to have the reader imagine it because after all we're reading not watching it, but it was as if I was there as I read this, and that is great. Great visuals and great story telling. It had plot and substance. When you add substance to writing it gets that much better. It gets the reader hooked on it and make them feel as if they are part of it. As long as their is that emotional connection between the reader and the story then it's good. The connection you were able to established in the writing gives the reader a sense of comfortably that they are in tune with the writing. So that way when the writing is over, the reader wants more, and wishes it didn't end. I feel the same way when I watched a movie or tv series that I get so attached to, I never want it to end. And for this writing, I didn't want it to end. You had me hooked, and I am sure everyone else who read it was hooked as well. That is good, that is what you want for people to keep wanting more. The way you put the story together makes me feel like my life is different for that moment in which I read your story. I love it, and it was beautiful. Just keep posting stories like this, and you'll have a good following.

Posted 3 Years Ago

You know i have a very short attention span. But the witty conversations and the amazingly written vivid details made me want to finish it.Then when i came across this: "I know about your sister and what happened with your friends and stuff.”" that's i was like "huh? what about her." Then the ending caught me off guard and i was like "WHAT THE F__K!" This is definitely an awesome read. I'm glad i read it. Thanks for sharing this :D

PS your hair is like the sun

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is a powerful story, filled with vivid detail and intriguing dialog.. You create a sense of identity to your characters that speaks so clearly to the reader. Excellent write!

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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3 Reviews
Added on April 1, 2010
Last Updated on July 5, 2011
Tags: crazy, insane, insanity, mystery, guy, boy, short story, illusion




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