the pearl


Two duffel bags. Hard enough to carry from one room to another, but, this time, she'd have to carry them for longer, and they needed to be packed light.

Everything had to be crucial. Everything had to be necessary. No room for sentimentality or excessiveness. Something like..."Spartan," her history teacher's voice spoke for her, and Marie nodded absent-mindedly as she went through her closet.

She glanced at her wall map again, her eyes tracing the line. Cold She tossed aside the piles of tank tops and cut offs, necessary in the gulf coast summers, but she wouldn't be wearing those again, not even if she was in the swamps — couldn't expose that much flesh to the world again.

She dug in the back, pulling out several sweaters and heavy socks, her few articles of cold winter wear, hardly necessary nowadays, but her mother had insisted every year, always bringing up that one year, back when it snowed....

She found the weirdly colored knit scarf tucked under a pile of t-shirts, one of the last presents her great-grandmother had made her. She tossed it back there when she got it that Christmas morning, but the next Christmas, when the home had commented on how great it was that her great-grandmother could braid yarn together to make a keychain, she had realized how important the scarf had been to her great-grandmother's slowly decaying mind. Marie wrapped the scarf around her neck, and dug around some more.

There. She pulled the long lycra gloves, a leftover from a school dance, out of the drawer, and slowly put them on, getting used to the sensation.

A few more articles of clothing, and she was packed, everything contained in two suddenly very small duffel bags, packed as full as she could carry, but not large enough.

No room for old journals, family photos, stuffed animals.

No room for books, music, magazines.

Just enough room for sweatshirts, t-shirts, tights, jeans, underwear. Thick boots on her feet and a few layers of clothing on her body. Gloves and scarf protecting the world from her.

No backpack filled with homework, no bedspread covered in stuffed animals and magazines, no dresser scattered with makeup, nothing to remind her of the life she was giving up, the life of a normal teenager, in a normal — human — world.

And the girl now known as Rogue turned off the light and picked up her bags. In the shaded illumination from the outside lights, she left her family house, leaving Marie behind.

This X-Men story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at