The Dwellers

Glimpse:  The Dwellers #1

Chapter One

          This whole entire situation pulls me into a moment from my past.  I feel like I’m back in my senior year of high school.  Sitting in the principal’s office, waiting for my punishment for showing too many emotions. Negative emotions, that is.

The conversation from one particular day replays itself in my mind and it’s as if I can hear my principal’s favorite question now, one he used every damn time I went to his office.  Which was a lot.

“Ms. Draper, why do you find it so hard to control your negative emotions?  All we are asking is that you do your best to remain positive. We understand that it is difficult, but this is something you should have control of by now.  You were taught this in grade school.”

I laugh when I think of how I responded. “How does one control their emotions, Sir?  Everyone gets angry or unhappy about something on a daily basis.  I don’t agree with not showing it.”

“What is it that makes you so angry?  It seems that your fellow classmates are in harmony with one another. Then there is you.” He replied.  My principal didn’t like me very much.

“What makes me angry is this, Sir.  Hiding our emotions.  If I’m having a bad day I’m not going to pretend as if everything is okay.”

“But, that is how we live in peace with one another.  Showing negative emotions creates a dangerous storm between Dwellers.  We strive for peace and harmony.  Do you not want that, Ms. Draper?”

“I want Dwellers to stop being fake! That’s what I want!” I remember yelling that part, which he didn’t appreciate at all.

He rustled through some papers on his desk and sighed a deep heavy sigh that seemed to linger for several minutes.  “This will be the third time this year we have to expel you.”

“Why, because I slapped Kendal across the face?  Maybe she should be in your office for showing negative emotions.  She shouldn’t have made the comment about-”

I remember him cutting me off as I was trying to talk which stirred up even more angry emotions that I wasn’t supposed to show.  He said:   “She apologized, but you refused to do the same.  And, you inflicted physical pain on her.  She owned up to her bad behavior.”

“Yes, but you see, she will most likely say something negative and rude to someone else. But, she will never again to me.  I made sure of that by slapping her.”

I remember realizing that the conversation between my principal and I was going nowhere.  It was only turning into an argument which made his argument for not showing emotions a complete fail.

The last words he said to me were this:  “Orion, I hope one day the demons of anger latched onto your soul will leave you.”

I hate how the Constable tries to hide the imperfections of Dwellers.  It’s absurd. Trying to act as if we are perfect beings with no real issues to complain about?  That is an issue in itself.  I am who I am and I decided a long time ago, that I would not conform to the “fakeness” of my Sphere. I may be an outcast, but that is better than not being real. If that makes me appear to be angry, than oh well.

Now that I’m considered an adult, at the age of eighteen, my punishment is different for my lack of conforming to the Constables’ laws on emotions.  Anger management.

I know that my history with so called “anger” issues doesn’t help me in this situation, but what was I supposed to do when I saw that man stealing?  I understand that they don’t want us doing anything about it ourselves, we are to notify the Constable and they will handle it. But, in that moment, I couldn’t help it.  He was doing something very wrong and I was going to stop him. And, stop him I did.   In my mind that was the right thing to do. According to the Constable, it wasn’t okay to cause physical pain to stop someone who was doing wrong.

It’s all a bunch of bullshit if you ask me.  The Constable wants us to live in harmony and claim to be against physical harm, yet they have hangings in the middle of town every Thursday morning to punish those who do wrong.  Shouldn’t they be drenching them with flower petals and singing songs of happiness trying to rid them of the evil in their soul? Like I said, a bunch of bullshit.  All of it.   Now, here I sit, with a therapist to determine the reason behind my actions.  I’m labeled as angry and mean.  The cold-hearted bitch all because I don’t smile when things are going wrong.  They say my emotions are unnatural, but I’ll tell you what’s unnatural.  It’s smiling when innocent Dwellers are hung on Thursdays.  It’s smiling when knowing deep down something isn’t right about the Sphere we live in.

The awkward silence in my therapist’s office pulls me from my inner drama. I listen to the clock tick as seconds pass and wait for him to speak. I refuse to be the first to allow words to emerge from my lips.

My nose begins to itch, so I start rubbing it.  This office is stuffy and dusty.  The leather couch is cold and stiff.  I could name a million things wrong with this environment. But, the main thing wrong in this environment, is me.   I don’t belong here.

He’s sitting in his swivel chair, slightly turning it from side to side.  Looking intensely at his clip board, eyebrows furrowed, and chewing on the tip of his pen.  I sort of feel sorry for him.  He has been given the impossible task of figuring out what is wrong with me and fixing it.

Peeking up from his clip board, he looks at me for a brief moment.  His eyes avert back to his clipboard, and I listen to the pen scribble on the paper.  Finally, breaking the silence, he asks:  “Do you know why you are here today?”

I sneeze before answering.  “To dust your dusty office?”  I slowly run my finger across an end table and proudly show him the black dust on my finger, as if trying to convince him that it is, indeed, a logical reason for being here.

He pinches the bridge of his long nose and exhales deeply.  “Try answering again, please.”

I smile inwardly as I prepare to piss him off more.  “To dust your, dusty as hell, office?”

He changes his expression from frustrated to comforting.  I can tell he’s forcing it and isn’t really interested in comforting me. He doesn’t want to be here just as much as I don’t.  It’s very obvious and it makes him appear unprofessional. But then again, I am making this rather difficult for the poor guy.

“Please be serious.  I’m here to help you.”

“Do you know how to help me?  What if there’s nothing wrong with me?” I challenge him.

“I will know how to help you after you answer a few questions.  I only need your willingness to open up and answer them honestly.”

I laugh and lean forward looking at him in his agitated eyes. “You probably won’t like my honest answers, Sir. No one does.”

He forces a smile on his face.  “I don’t have to like your answers to help you.”

I raise my eyebrows. “What if I don’t want to be helped?”

He gives a small laugh and says: “I don’t think you have a choice.”

I sit up straighter and give him an intimidating stare.  “Oh, I have a choice.”

Ignoring my response, he says: “We should get started with the questions.” He leans back, crosses one leg over the other, and peers down at his clipboard.

“Are those the questions, there on your clipboard?” I ask.

“Yes.” He replies while peeking up at me.

“Wow, you came prepared for this didn’t you?”  I laugh and lean back into the couch. I scoot around a bit, making shuffling noises as my clothes rub against the cold, stiff leather.

“I always prepare for my clients. Now, can you please answer my question, honestly, of why you are here today?” He touches his pen to the corner of his mouth while he waits for my answer.

My lips curl into smart-ass smile. “I did answer honestly before.  To dust your dusty office.  It’s a real mess in here.  It’s hard to take you seriously being this dirty in what is supposed to be a professional place.  And, you need a more comfortable couch.  I don’t think I can be honest with a man who doesn’t believe in the importance of comfortable furniture.”  I watch his expression change and I know I’ve pushed his buttons.  Again.

He slams his clipboard onto his bony knees and starts frantically pacing the perimeter of his office.  I laugh at him and then lie back on the couch as he struggles with his own emotions.

I close one eye, watching him with the other, while throwing my bouncy ball in the air and catching it as it falls.  He’s talking to himself and I wonder if I’m the only one who needs the “help”.  If someone caught him showing these “negative emotions” he would be in anger management as well.  And this is why I’m pissed.  This poor guy is being pissed off by me and he’s struggling because he’s getting angry.  The man could explode any second but he’s scared to.  He’s scared to show anything but a smile.  This is why I’m so angry.  Something isn’t right about this.

After counting to ten, more than once, he hesitates then sits back down in his swivel chair.  He slowly rolls closer to me and stares at me with annoyance evident in his grey eyes, but still manages to smile.

“Anger management, my Dear.  Ang-”

I roll my eyes and sit up. “I heard you the first time. May we please just get this over with?”

He begins asking me personal questions and asking me, “how do I feel about that”, after he states a reason for my behavior.  I want to scream. I don’t have anger issues.  I’m only angry if you piss me off, and people enjoy pissing me off.  I’m different.  Other Dwellers don’t understand me, and I like it that way.  Angry? No.  Strange?  Proud to be.

Annoyance dripping from each word, he asks:  “Are you hearing anything that I’m saying to you, Ms. Draper?”

“Yes,”  I reply with a cold, bitter tone.

“Then why are you not answering me?” He demands.

“I don’t have anything to say to you, nor do I have answers to your silly questions.”  I stand up and place my bouncy ball in my pocket.  “May I leave now?”

“We are required one hour together.”

I walk to the door and place my hand on the door knob.  Before exiting, I say: “I won’t tell if you don’t.”



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