Socks by Lily Young

“Can you please tell me how, Zaria?”

A tired voice asked for the tenth time. Dr. Lightwood let out a sigh, it’s been hours since he’d heard another voice than his own. Staring hard at the petite figure across the metal table. She looked odd with her hands cuffed to the center of the table, there was no point of the cuffs, her slender hands could easily slip through if she tugged. Another bizarre thing, she insisted on being restrained. Wide green eyes and black curls framed her blank expression. He doubted the mentality of the detectives who brought her in. She was obviously emotionally drained. Who would take a child’s word without any solid evidence?

She might not be a child exactly, but what fifteen year old would be capable of such things?
Zaria managed to hide her scowl as she turned to stare at the security camera hanging high in the right corner. Her arms were starting to ache, there was no point in holding back anymore. In a way, she got what she always wanted.
“Socks” her dry voice let out, barely more than a whisper. If she hadn’t jerked her head toward Dr. Lightwood, he might have not noticed.
“What was that, Zaria?” She could sense the impatience dripping with his voice.
“Socks, That’s how I did it”

The sound of lockers slamming, metal against metal, sent a shiver down Zaria’s back. As if it were an alarm, a warning about what’s waiting for her.
She shoved her school uniform carelessly deep into the depths of her locker with much force. Closing the door without checking her reflection, she didn’t care about the sad state of her hair or how awkward her arms hung at her sides. People often mistook her for a boy before she forced herself to grow out her hair long. She hated it and they knew it. Avoiding the mirrors and the crowd of snarky comments, she emerged from the dressing room and into the school’s gym.
There was a time when she had friends, well, a friend, that was until her mother had a psychotic break and Emily Donovan overheard her father discussing Zaria’s mother’s mental state with the detectives.

Funny woman, she thought Zaria was a witch so she set their house on fire. That was six months ago.

“Step in li-are you listening to me Zaria?” snapping from her thoughts, Zaria quickly joined the line of bodies formed ahead avoiding Mrs. Gray’s crossed eyes. Pretending not to hear the soft murmur of laughter, Zaria kept her eyes staring at the floor, not really focused on anything. “WITCH!” Emria’s perky voice shot up. The words they said no longer felt like daggers to her heart, she was used to them now. “That’s detention for you Mrs. Tate, go change and head to the principle’s office”. With a hard scowl, Emria “accidently” shoved Zaria on her way to the locker room.

Whatever, hag.

Zaria felt like a walking zombie after P.E., her head felt as heavy as a bag of stones and her body was stiff. She thought about the hot bath she’d take and-

She froze.

Her Locker erupted with dirty socks. The stench was toxic as she backed away until she was glued to the opposing locker. Emria must’ve done it as payback. Sneaky little Hag.
 A crowd of bodies gathered near, she didn’t look but she could sense their smirks, not daring to go near her. “What’s going on here?” Mrs. Gray’s voice broke her thoughts. “Clean up this mess Zaria, Everybody else I suggest you hurry up unless you want to join Mrs. Tate In detention”. And just like that they all parted to their lockers.  Zaria broke into a run, not caring about the mess, the hell she’d have to pay, the fact that she was definitely going to get suspended for skipping school, she was lost in the run. She felt the cool air on her skin as she emerged from the school’s entrance. Running hard on the pavement, she realized she was reluctantly going home. Her real home, the one her mother burned to ashes, not the old house with overgrown weeds her father had rented. Seeing her old home come into view, staring at the debris the fire had left. No one dared to buy the land, cursed, bad spirits, whatever they wanted to believe. She let herself reminisce about her old life, the one before life decided that being normal was overrated. Stepping inside what used to be the patio, she noticed something near the edge, it looked like an old rag, it was dirty but not burnt. Lifting it as a crumpled piece of paper fell loose. Picking it up with her other hand, she turned it over to read it.

Make them suffer.

She dropped the pretty swirly writing and stared at what she was holding. It wasn’t a rag after all, it was a Voodoo Doll made of socks.

What kind of cruel joke is this? What did I do that was so bad? I wasn’t created to be a punching bag for a bunch of ignorant perky heads.

Slamming the doll hard between the debris over and over again as Zaria imagined Emily’s cat-like crimson eyes and fair skin. She’s wanted to squish her into a pulpy mess every time she snared at her or heard her mother’s name roll off her tongue. Rummaging through the debris, she grabbed a pointy plunk of wood and lashed at the now torn doll. Emria’s face popped into her mind as she stopped momentarily. Emria. She was what Zaria once considered a friendly face, until she found out the real reason behind Emria’s intentions.  She was dared to do it. Like Zaria was some alien to poke. A lab rat for them to experiment on. Someone to entertain them.  Jabbing the doll feverishly till she could no longer feel her arm, no longer notice her sharp jagged breaths, she recounted all the miseries. Her shame laced the school halls, even her teachers kept a good distance from her at all times. She remembered the nights after her mom had been taken away, her father coming home late drunk off his mind singing whatever 70’s ballad he had savored deep in his head. She remembered locking her door, being scared of her own father, but it wasn’t her father, it was a demon hiding behind a familiar face. Nobody asked, nobody noticed, it was their secret, but it wasn’t a secret for a 12 year old to hold.
Three years later and she’s right where she was.

Angry. Lost. Confused.
I love you Zaria, always.
Her mother’s words replayed in her head. Each time spraying a little more salt on the open wound which was her heart, but you don’t try to kill someone you love. Her knees wobbled as she fell forward. Blood painted a thin layer on her arms, her gym clothes, mixed in a haze with a little bit of dirt. But it wasn’t her blood, she stared out-of-breath at the bloodied rag. It no longer resembled a doll, she moved closer as the blood sweetly flowed from the cloth ahead.

Oh God.
What have I done?

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