In the Shadows of the Mind
Disclaimer: All characters of "The West Wing" are property of Aaron Sorkin, NBC, et al. No profit is being derived from the use of the characters on the part of the author.
Authorís note: This is my first attempt at first-person/stream-of-consciousness fiction. Feedback is encouraged and appreciated.
Rating: PG-13 (for serious themes)
Archive: Anytime, anywhere (just let me know where and when and give me credit)
Summary: Charlieís thoughts after learning he was the intended target. (Companion piece to "Valley of Shadows".)
Thatís what I feel in right now. In my heart. My soul. Everything is dead. Even though Iím walking, talking, breathing, not even a scratch on me. But Iím dead.
I saw it in his eyes. And hers. The fear. The accusation. The hurt. They tried to hide it, they really did. And I suppose I should be grateful. At least they didnít say it out loud. But I could see it. Behind the words, the looks. Their eyes were dead, too. Dead to me.
I couldnít believe it when Ron told me. But I guess I knew it was possible. No. Not guess. I knew for a fact it was possible. Somehow, I never really thought it would ever come to this. But from the moment I heard the first shot, I knew that what I had refused to believe would ever happen had finally happened.
Growing up, I heard the stories. I saw the pictures. I read all about it. I knew things like this happened and people who hate were capable of great cruelty and violence. But I never believed it would happen. Not in this day and age. And certainly not to the people I work with. No one would have the nerve.
But they did. Last night, they did. And by the grace of God, Iím still standing. Either that or pure dumb luck.
Was it luck? Was that it? Just some random set of variables in the universe? Because I donít understand any of this. If they wanted me, why did they miss? I was right there. Right in the line of sight.
But Iím still standing. And heís lying in the hospital. And Josh is fighting for his life. And that other woman was hurt. And there were lots of people who were scared stiff. All because of me. The one who should be dead.
Iím beginning to wish that were the case. But Iím not. At least not in the way they wanted.
Then thereís this other feeling. Something that Iíve never known before. Something that I didnít thing was possible. Itís not fear. Itís not shock. Itís not anger.
Iím ashamed. Of who I am. Of wishing I were someone else. Of the color of my skin. Of betraying my family, my heritage. Of falling in love with someone whoís not like me.
I hate this feeling. And I hate myself for feeling this way.
How do I look her in the eye? How do I face them? When Josh wakes up, what do I say to him? And how can I look at myself in the mirror when all I want to do is crawl out of my own skin?
How do I live like this? What do I say to my family? To my sister? To myself?
Maybe we would all be better off I were dead.