Maria, our lonely fifteen-year-old, finds herself lost in a wonderous, gorgeous forest, dying trees towering over her, autumn leaves raining down
from above... and here, as she stands in the leaves, dead center of this beautiful forest, she begins to wonder how she'd gotten here. Oddly, she
could not remember anything... who her family was, where she was, how she'd gotten here... she only knew her name. Maria, was it...?
You see Maria, a pale, thin little girl with short red hair, standing in a clearing between many trees, orange and brown leaves engulfing the place
entirely... you hear the wind gust, and see the sun beginning to set, giving the sky a reddish glow.
Maria looks around, her blue eyes sparkling, trying to remember exactly how she'd gotten here.
MARIA: H... hey. Is... is anybody around here?
Her voice echoes throughout the trees.
A calm, soothing voice is heard in response. Maria turns, only to see Julias approaching from just feet away, his long, golden hair lying sleekly
over his shoulders, his hazel eyes shining with the upmost of compassion.
Julias was Maria's dearest friend. The sight of him overjoyed her.
MARIA: Hey, Julias! Do you know how I got here?
Julias smirks a little.
JULIAS: You hit your head, Maria. Don't you remember?
JULIAS: Well... we were swimming in a creek, and you hit your head on a rock. I thought you were gonna die on me, for a few minutes... you scared
MARIA: (looks down sadly) I'm sorry. (flushes)
JULIAS: (grins) You're adorable, you know that?
MARIA: (gives Julias a questioning look, tilting her head)
JULIAS: Like that, you tilting your head like that. You look like a puppy.
MARIA: (blushes more) ...... (giggles)
JULIAS: Wanna go walk around?
MARIA: (flustered, nods)
The two of them march off, their feet buried in the leaves. With each step, they create a SWSHH-ing noise.
JULIAS: So why'd you yell at your mom like that?
MARIA: (looks down, in thought)
Apparently, Maria had recently gotten in a fight with her mother.
MARIA: She hit me. I just... lost my cool.
JULIAS: Oh, okay. I'm sorry. Hey, don't worry about it. It wasn't your fault.
MARIA: She started it. She ALWAYS starts it.
JULIAS: I know.
MARIA: And if she wouldn't bring different guys over every night, she wouldn't act like that. The only time she ever gets mad at me is when those guys
come over, and she drinks--
JULIAS: I know. Its not your fault, Maria.
MARIA: I can't... I can't STAND it! Why does she treat me like that? What did I do?!
JULIAS: Nothing, Maria. Its not your fault.
MARIA: Look at this!
Maria holds her left arm in front of Julias, showing him a few dark spots on her skin. Burn marks.
Julias reveals a grimace.
JULIAS: She burned you again.
JULIAS: Maybe you should move out.
MARIA: I'm not old enough.
JULIAS: Who cares? Look at how she treats you.
MARIA: Where would I go?
JULIAS: With me. You're always with me.
MARIA: I know, but...
She trails off. There's a moment of silence. The sunset becomes more apparent, and leaves continue to fall.
MARIA: I'm sorry, Julias.
JULIAS: (stares at her, confused) Why?
MARIA: Because, I... I'm always upset about this stuff, and... I'm sorry you always have to listen to it.
JULIAS: Stop that... its not your fault.
MARIA: But... it IS my fault--
JULIAS: Nothing is your fault. Don't listen to your mom... or your dad. Nothing is your fault.
Maria's expression goes soft, her eyes filling with tears as she turns, staring into her dear friend's face.
Maria and Julias embrace one another, and images begin to flash through Maria's mind.
You see flashbacks; instances of her mother and father's abuse. You see Maria, age five, standing trembling in the doorway of an old trailer as two
skinny individuals--her parents--wrestle one another to the ground, screaming every vulgarity in the book. Glass shatters, and as her parents
struggle, they roll over, kicking Maria squarely in the stomach on accident... she flies outside, hitting the pavement hard, her lungs void of air...
and in the drive way, Julias is standing over her, looking particularly grave...
Three years later
Maria stands in the very same forest, the sky now twilight. She blinks several times, then examines her environment... she'd been here before.
Julias is still by her side.
Had three years just passed, without either of them moving an inch...?
MARIA: What happened?
Maria looks totally bewildered.
JULIAS: I'm sorry, Maria.
Maria stares at him, only just realizing that he looked very sad. He places a hand on her shoulder.
JULIAS: I'm sorry your mom died.
Maria gulps, seeming to remember. Yes... her mother had killed herself, because Maria was such a terrible daughter.
JULIAS: Don't listen to your dad, Maria. Please don't listen to him. He's wrong.
Maria's expression darkens, and tears fill her eyes once more.
MARIA: But... (sob)... Its my fault... Its my fault, I killed her--
JULIAS: No, Maria. You didn't kill anyone. I don't care what your stupid father says. It wasn't your fault.
MARIA: (sobbing badly) I... killed... her...
JULIAS: No you didn't. It was NOT your fault. Okay?
Julias places his hands on her arms, grasping her tightly, staring intently into her face.
JULIAS: How many times do I have to tell you? Its not your fault. How many times do I have to tell you that? When will you believe me?
MARIA: I...I can't believe you.
JULIAS: (pauses) ... you've never said that to me before.
MARIA: I... can't... (sobs)... believe you... anymore.
Julias's face goes blank.
There's a flash--you see images of Maria, age eight, being thrown down a grassy hill in her back yard by her angry father. Her father had grabbed her
by the hair, slinging her about until she rolled down the hill.
When Maria reaches the bottom of the hill, Julias helps her to her feet. Maria begins to cry frantically... then, Julias begins to assure her that it
was not her fault...
Another flash--Maria, age ten, on her way to school. When Maria asks her mother for extra lunch money in order to buy a juice, her mother gives her a
hard, solid SMACK to the face. Julias, sitting in the back seat, pats Maria on the shoulder as she represses her cries, whispering in her hear... "Its
not your fault..."
Flash--Maria, age twelve, lying curled up on the ground, being kicked repeatedly by at least three other students... the bell finally rings, and the
students disband, laughing and giggling, leaving the crying Maria lying on the floor, against the lockers... when she finally opens her eyes, she rubs
them, only to see Julias standing above her, offering her a hand.
"It's not your fault, Maria."
edit on 19-4-2013 by XxNightAngelusxX because: (no reason given)