The Compact


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People say I’m a girl you can’t trust. They think I invent things. My name is Angela Miller, and maybe they were right to call me sick.

This morning started out with birds singing, a clear sky, and blistering heat. School was on break and I’m sure Springfield expected this to be family time like any other. It was probably best they didn’t know better.

I stepped out of my house, the concrete searing my bare feet. Why should I care? As I walked down the street, I wondered if anyone would believe what was coming if I told them. Would doctors call it another episode? Would they lock me up again? Are they right? Is this a trick of my ill mind—No! I clenched my fists. I knew when my mind was telling me the truth, and when it was “being ill,” as my daddy loved to say. I wish he was here. I’d like to know what he’d think of the supplies stolen from his quarry site. I wasn’t directly to blame, but I would have been held responsible if I had tried to tell anyone—if Ronni would have let me warn them about what was coming.

As I entered the center of town I saw smiling people walking around. I pitied them in their unknowing innocence. They were strangers to me, but they all knew of me and believed I was to be shunned and avoided. I was “ill” after all. Perhaps they thought giving me one kind word might infect them with my illness. All I wanted was their kindness, but only my boyfriend Ronni knew that. The town avoided him, too, because he was different. He didn’t take orders, he didn’t take his medication, and he didn’t like authority. The only thing Ronni liked was me, well, me and things that explode. I guess I should have told somebody when Ronni said he wanted to make a few things in town go boom. Not that anyone would have believed me. Ronni was always saying the town needed to be remodeled with C4, and I guess I agreed with him. If I didn’t agree, none of this would have happened.

A toddler ran into the street in front of me, her brown curls bouncing in the sun. Out the corner of my eye I saw a delivery truck coming, the driver’s attention wrapped in the sandwich he was eating. Would she be better off being hit? I wondered what it would be like to be hit. No one saw her standing there. With a few quick steps I was by her side. As the truck neared I could feel my heart jump. When the horn began to sound, I picked up the child and moved out of the way.

Her mother ran toward us with a scream and took her out of my arms, “Stay away from my daughter!”

Ronni would have let her die, but I shrugged and kept walking. I guessed that soon everyone in town would know what it felt like to be dead.

As I walked into the countryside, I started up towards Ronni’s favorite look-out point. I would be able to see everything from there. Perhaps you think I was trying to get away from what we had planned, but I wasn’t. I couldn’t have escaped it, couldn’t have escaped Ronni, if I had gone to another planet. Our plan was all around me, and in me. I was the reason it was happening. I told Ronni to do it, in a way. I prodded him and said he could never blow up the town. That even he wasn’t that ill minded. Was I wrong?

When I reached Ronni’s look-out point, he smiled. He had been waiting for this.

“Didn’t think I could get this all together, did you?” he said.

I stayed mute.

“What’s the matter Ange? Not excited for a little town remodeling?”

I looked at the plunger and the detonator cord and shrugged. He had made up his mind and I didn’t think I could do anything to stop him. My father had never been able to stop him. He had tried to rid me of Ronni many times, but my ill mind prevented it. How I wished he had.

Laughing, Ronni began to throw handfuls of rocks at the town. “Can’t you see it Ange? This is for us! For all the outcasts! Can’t you see it all going up in smoke? Can’t you just taste it?”

I couldn’t. I could never stand up for us. Ronni was the one who was strong enough to defend us. I was the one who never cared enough to try. That’s why I needed Ronni. That’s why he had come to me. That’s why he always did what I couldn’t. With tears in my eyes I pulled out my compact mirror. I wanted to be able to see Ronni one last time.

“Are you ready Ange?” He put our hand on the plunger, his smile reflected in the mirror. “This city needs to pay for how they’ve treated us.”

I looked out over the town. I saw my daddy’s house, and the town square. The schools I had gone to throughout my life, and the cemetery where my mother was buried.

As he began to push down our hand, I hesitated. I could see the little girl I had saved. She was coming up with her mother, a picnic basket in hand.

“Ange! Do it now, for us!”

I felt his strength willing me to press down.

“No!” I forced our hand away. “You can’t control me anymore , Ronni. They don’t deserve this.”

“You’re not strong enough. You’re weak. You can’t get rid of me, and you’ll die trying. Are you ready for that, Ange?”

Taking out my cell phone, I called my daddy. “He’s back.” Our breath stilled in my lungs and the world went black.


Read my follow up interview with Angela Miller here:


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19 Responses to The Compact

  1. Pingback: Blah Buster – School’s Out

  2. Nicole Barnett says:

    This is such a great short story! Really enjoyed reading it!!


  3. Don says:

    Good story. How come you’re so good at depicting schizophrenia? :o)


    • Thank you! It’s all fiction, I assure you. This character actually has split personality disorder as opposed to schizophrenia. In SPD the person is truly under the impression there are other persons within them. These alternate personalities are often brought on by traumatic events they believe they aren’t able to handle.
      Schizophrenia can have a larger range of symptoms. Some types of Schizophrenia can include hearing voices, but they are usually more disembodied.
      Thank you for stopping by! If you ever have story requests, please let me know.


  4. Blake says:

    I enjoyed how you maintained a balance between wry humour (“The only thing Ronni liked was me, well, me and things that explode.”) and desperation (“I couldn’t have escaped it, couldn’t have escaped Ronni, if I had gone to another planet.”); it creates an atmosphere that is hard to gauge, keeping the outcome in the balance until the very end.


  5. I liked this a lot. Looking forward to reading more by you!


  6. Pingback: Review: Justina Luther. | Born A Book Junkie

  7. Reblogged this on Patsy's Creative Corner and commented:
    This is an amazing story by a wonderul writer whom I just met! Justina, thank you for liking my blog as well!


  8. This is a wonderful story! It kept me engaged, and I was not expecting the twist! Well planned out! How do you do that?? 🙂


    • My writing is a gift I’ve had since I was little. This story came about through an exercise I was asked to do for a writing class. I didn’t know where it was going until it was half way done.


  9. Michael says:

    Nicely done. Your character(s) really came to life.


  10. Lovely short…beautifully articulated…


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