Kara's last ride

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Kara lay, sleeping beautifully upon white sheets like a modern day Snow White, pale skinned, black hair but instead of sumptuous red lips hers were pale, deadly pale. Her deep sleep had lasted for 3 days so far. She had not noticed her parent’s presence within the room. Her mother, usually a gaunt and stern looking woman, was as pale as Kara, 3 tormenting days of sitting and sleeping at her bedside. If only Kara knew this would happen perhaps her choices would have been vastly different. Her father was a business man. He arrived daily dressed in his smartest suit, but even the pin striping could not hide the sorrow behind his hunched shoulders when he entered the room. They were lonely, panicking in a room full of wires and tubes, senses heightened to breaking point. If only Kara knew just what she had put her beloved ones through, if only she could have broken free from her haunted past.

At the age of 5 Kara was sent to a high class boarding school, and like any normal child she attended the school daily but returned home after being collected by her nanny, Mrs Potts. She knew Mrs Potts better than her own mother, a strict yet loving woman in her mid-50’s but surprisingly fit for her age. She used to run cross country in high school and was an avid runner throughout her life, and still was. Kara admired her strength and loved her for she was more of a mother to her than her own. She never saw her mother, never played games with her and she couldn’t recall the last time they read stories together. Kara didn’t even know where she resided for most of the day when she was awake. Mrs Potts however was there to cook, clean and bathe her. She was everything to Kara until she turned 7, and on her birthday her mother told her she wouldn’t be coming home that day. She would become a ‘boarder’ and live at her school during term times. Kara knew several of her friends would be there and she was excited to be able to spend so much time with them; Little did either of them know at that time the damage ‘privileged abandonment’ would cause to their family.

‘Finally, 18 at last, my last wakeup call in this place!’ Kara squealed. She had woken up in the most joyful of moods, full of life she jumped out of bed. She pulled on her leather trousers, metal rock boots and swung her new bike jacket over her shoulder. Springing out the door she ran through the hallways to meet Cain. Cain stood tall at 6ft and towered over most of the kids in the school, but they all knew he wasn’t to be crossed. He was far too dangerous. ‘Hey babe’ Cain picked Kara up as she near bowled him over by the sheer force she hit him with, ‘ready for your next present now?’ The bike jacket and leather trousers were only the beginning. Cain had been teaching her to ride and a brand new Fireblade sat proudly at the end of the path, 999cc of pure matt black glinted in their eyes. This was Kara’s final rebellion against the mental torture filling her heart. She had resented every day she had been locked up in that school, she had barely any relationship left with her parents, now merely known as the birth donors, a term Cain initiated with her.
In the last year, since leaving boarding school Kara had become a shadow of her former recognisable self, something Cain had become proud of. She refused contact with her parents, cut her long blonde hair up, pierced her ears, lip, nose and several other unmentionable places, and found the relief to her mental pain through tattoos. The final piece of the rebellion against her parent’s strict upbringing and abandonment was the Fireblade. Her pride and joy, she rode it everywhere, but being young and free brings with it its own pitfalls. A novice and inexperienced rider; too much speed; one small twist in the road; one oncoming speeding car drifting across the road. The last thing Kara remembered were the screaming sirens approaching; searing pain through her chest; warmth pouring out of her broken frame; the surrounding darkness; and sleep.

When she awoke Kara was no longer lying on the damp roadside. The pain in her chest had gone; moving each finger in turn she tested her hands and arms for movement. The pain had dissipated, nothing remained. She felt a certain kind of numbness but couldn’t decipher where it began, or why. Pushing herself up from the bed, everything seemed hazy. Was she dreaming? ‘Hello?’ she called out, but there was no response. No movement, she was completely alone. She walked through the empty hallways, bright lights pinning her down, was she really awake? At the end of the hallway, a light flickered. There was an unnatural hue surrounding the doorway underneath the light. Kara stopped, unsure whether to continue onwards, or retreat, either way she was lost. Surrounded by uncertainty she ventured forward and hesitantly raised her hand towards the door. Kara looked on, a single bead of sweat forming on her brow and trickling down her face. A modern day Snow White lay before her; ‘Mum! What are you doing here?’ she called. ‘Mum?’, but she got no response. As she moved closer she saw, laying in front of her, someone she could no longer recognise, although she wasn’t sure that was a bad thing. The girl who had grown and changed so much over the past few years, was not the little, naive girl who was shipped off to boarding school. The girl lying in front of her represented everything she wanted to be; no deserved to be; happy, loving life, free.
Kara heard footsteps, ‘Kara!’ the unknown voice called. As she turned round, she felt an almost familiar embrace. ‘We were so worried about you, I’m so glad you’ve come back to us darling, we missed you so much’ the voice continued. Kara was sure she recognised the voice, the feel of the hug, the smell of that perfume, ‘Mum?’ Kara pulled back to see a hazy but familiar face. ‘Mum! What happened, I’m so confused, everything is so hazy’ Kara exclaimed. ‘Let’s get you home and we will explain everything’ her mother whispered. She allowed herself to be taken away from the room she had entered as if in a dream. Her numb limbs moving slowly, one at a time. She felt torn; an imaginary pull trying to draw her back, throbbing as if she was using them for the first time. Kara couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right.

As she followed her mother round the corner, bright lights streamed in through a stained glass window. The haze seemed to lift slightly as she neared the door, as if the rays of sunshine provided her with a clarity that wasn’t there before. She followed her mother through the door, into the open countryside, ‘Where are we?’ she asked, but her mother continued walking and ignored her question. Kara heard the door shut behind them as her mother turned to her; her face beaming with pride and love, Kara struggled to remember the last time she had seen her mother look at her in that way. A fleeting thought entered her mind, someone she used to know, someone she loved dearly, a woman but not her mother; she was older than her mother was now. As quickly as it came it was gone.
‘Come with me my darling’ her mother whispered. She held out her hand for Kara to take. Something inside her told her to turn back, that same pulling feeling she had felt once today already, but Kara pushed the feeling away. She allowed her heart to lead her and she reached out for her mother’s hand. She gazed on her face in awe as a single silver tear dropped from her mother’s eye. ‘I cannot remember the last time we talked, the last time we walked hand in hand. I wish you could see yourself now, through my eyes, my darling little angel’. Kara could not distinguish where the voice had come from, the pull to turn back strengthened with every syllable, as her mother pulled her onwards into the long grass.

‘Please Kara, wake up. We just want you to be OK’. Kara awoke with a start. Surrounded by unfamiliarity her heart began to race; blinking wildly against the sun beams pouring through the open doors, she raised herself on uncertain legs and stumbled towards the door. ‘Kara, if you can hear us’. ‘Good Morning darling, I’m so glad you’re awake, I’ve so much to show you’, her mother beamed at her. Kara couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling that she didn’t belong here. Even throughout her childhood where she had struggled to fit in, she had never felt so alone or out of place as she did at this moment in time; and the voices, she couldn’t forget the voices. Who were they? Why wouldn’t they leave her alone? Her heart raced faster, the walls closing in on her. ‘Kara darling, it’s OK, I’m here’, her mother embraced her and some of the panic in Kara’s chest lessened. ‘Mum, where are we, what is this place? I feel…lost’ Kara explained. She noticed her mother’s smile wan slightly before she softly said ‘this is your home darling. You are home’. She turned and walked away leaving Kara standing in the sun light, but she still couldn’t lift the haze, bring out the true clarity of what was happening to her. Why could she still not remember anything?

Sweetheart, we are truly sorry for sending you to that school. Just come back to us. We love you, we will help put everything right again. Another sleepless night. Kara, awoken by the voices growing stronger in her mind, still surrounded by a great haze, decided to follow her gut instinct; the pull she felt had grown stronger and stronger daily, even hourly. The voices in her mind, these unknown thoughts kept pulling her in different directions. The numbness in her body was growing as well, it became harder to move, harder to control her own limbs. She struggled to comprehend what was happening to her, but a new determination grew inside of her. She would find out.
Dressing quietly, she stumbled towards the door, through the foggy house and out into the surrounding fields. The sunlight burnt her through the hazy fog; stumbling through the long grass, clawing and scratching at her legs, trying to force her to turn back, to stop her advancing. But Kara knew deep inside she must leave. She suddenly felt free again, like the Fireblade was beneath her, she knew she should never have left that room. Pushing through the haze, forcing her way through her inner turmoil she finally reached the room she remembered. It was as if she’d never left. There she was, still as pale as Snow White, but she was thinner, a lot thinner. Her parents slept next to her bed, machines bleeping, tubes pulsing, matching the beat of her own racing heart. She walked to the side of the bed, the voices inside her head screaming at her Kara, come back. We love you. We will fix it. Just come back. No matter what she tried she could not quench them, ‘Kara darling, what are you doing here?’ her mother approached softly, as if a ghost floating through an abandoned building; Kara had never even heard her following her. Kara starred at her mother, somehow she seemed different to the day before, somehow distant, as if she had never really been there. She looked around the room, her mother was still standing there in front of her, but if this was her mother who was sleeping next to her. Suddenly Kara realised why the voices were so vivid, why she couldn’t shake this pulling feeling; the haze; the fog; this place wasn’t real; her mother wasn’t real; her mind had created a safe haven, a loving and beautiful place where she could escape reality. But now she was faced with a great decision, to return and face reality, or stay with the mother she had created, the loving caring creature in front of her. ‘Please Kara let us go home, let us leave here and never return?’ her mother whispered. Kara reached out to touch Snow White’s hand, ‘Kara!’ her mother exclaimed making Kara jump back, ‘Please lets go’; Come home Kara, come home. Torn between 2 creations of her own reality, Kara screamed and stumbled into the bed in front of her. She fell forwards on to the bed and was surrounded by blinding lights.

7 nights had passed since that frightful accident. Kara’s parents had begun to lose hope with every passing minute. Suddenly, screaming, Kara awoke. She felt someone grab her and hold her close, so close she could barely breathe, ‘Kara you’re back, we’ve been so worried, but now you’re safe darling. I will keep you safe’ her mum whispered to her. Kara hugged her and sobbed deeply into her mum’s arms. She had finally found everything she had missed, everything she had been looking for. Her life. Her Reality. Her saviour.