Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Experiment (02/16/12)
TITLE: No One Cares
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom
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Nothing, no one came to see what all the fuss was about. No one cared. She flung herself on the bed and cried herself to sleep.
The next morning, she dumped the blood-soaked linens into the hamper. Wincing, she threw her backpack over her shoulder and walked out the door. No one cared.
At English class, she handed in her essay. The title mocked her, No One Loves a Loser. She watched the teacher’s face as she scanned the title, no reaction.
Sighing, she picked up her books and trudged down the hall. Grimacing, she grabbed her arm. Megan stared at the blood seeping through Whitney’s shirt. “Trying to get attention again?”
Whitney shrugged and slunk into the guidance office for her scheduled appointment. Ms. Stryker sighed when she spotted the cuts. “Oh, Whitney, you were doing better. What happened?”
Sniffing, Whitney shrugged. “No one cares. My parents bickered all night and didn’t even notice that I never came out of my room.”
“Did your mom see the cuts this morning?”
“She wasn’t up when I left.” Whitney brushed the hair out of her eyes.
“You know I’m going to have to report this, right?” Ms. Stryker leaned forward.
“Doesn’t matter, no one cares. I could die tomorrow and nobody would notice.”
“Only ‘cause they pay ya to care. Can I go now?” Whitney stood to leave.
Ms. Stryker covered her head with her hands. “Someone will be in touch soon.”
Slamming the front door, Whitney looked around to see if anyone was home. Her eyes flickered at the flashing red light on the answering machine. Apparently, the guidance office had called, but no one was home to get the message.
Dropping her backpack on the floor, Whitney darted into her mom’s bathroom and opened the medicine cabinet. “Maybe this will get their attention,” she muttered. Twisting the caps off three prescription bottles, Whitney swallowed the contents.
Shortly, she collapsed on the floor. Everything went dark. The next thing she knew someone was pushing a tube down her nose. She twisted her body and tried to move her hands but something was holding her down. Dark liquid flowed from a bag into the tube. She sputtered. The nurse swiped a cloth across her mouth. Her eyes brimmed with tears.
The nurse wiped her face again. “Why would you do this to yourself? You’re so young and have your whole life in front of you.”
Whitney swallowed hard and choked on the tube. The nurse rubbed her head. “We're almost done. This is activated charcoal. It will help absorb the medicine you took.”
After the nurse pulled out the tube, Whitney coughed. The nurse loosened the restraints. “Your parents are here. Would you like them to come in?”
Whitney’s eyes widened and she tried to sit up. “Really, they stopped their fighting long enough to come here?”
The nurse smiled. “That was what you wanted, right?”
Her jaw dropped as she nodded slightly. “How’d ya know?”
Pulling a stool up to the bed, the nurse sat down and picked up Whitney’s arm. She caressed the cuts. “I recognized the signs. My guess is you’ve been trying different things for a while, right?”
Gasping through the sobs, Whitney wiped her face. “I’ve tried everything to get someone to notice me. I’ve written essays about dark subjects but all that got me was an appointment with the school counselor. I threatened suicide so much my friends told me to shut up and kill myself already. No one cares.”
“Jesus does. He feels your pain. Do you know Jesus?”
Whitney nodded. “I’ve prayed but he never answers. He doesn’t care about a nobody like me.”
“He died for ‘a nobody’ like you and for me. He loves us that much. He understands what loneliness and pain is more than anyone. He endured a brutal death just for you.”
Whitney snorted. Just then her parents rushed in. Her mom scooped her in her arms and sobbed. Whitney looked at the nurse. She smiled at the young girl. “People do care.”
Whitney felt a warmth in her chest. For the first time in a long time, she remembered what hope was.
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