The drive home was a blur. Staggering through the front door, I bumped into a vase. It toppled, and shattered. Not even bothering to clean up, I stumbled up the stairs and dropped everything in my bedroom doorway. It was in times like these that I realised how very alone I was. No siblings to check up on me. No parents to help clean me up. And no friends to make sure there was nothing I missed.
A sob gripped my throat, and I couldn’t keep it in. The tears streamed down my face, and I was sure blood was still pouring from my nose. But I didn’t care. I was alone and hurt, with nobody.
After a long time, I made myself get up. It was no use sobbing over things that wouldn’t change. Better to look forward, and away from the pain. I ran a bath, and soaked for a long time. The water was almost cold by the time I climbed out. There was no longer blood coming from my nose, and I examined the damage. A large bruise was forming, and there was a lot of swelling. I gently placed my fingers on either side of my nose, and reset it back into place.
Nausea washed through me as the pain intensified. But now, hopefully, it wouldn’t heal crooked. I blinked the stars out of my vision, and turned away from the mirror.
I dressed, and headed down into the kitchen. Out of habit, I checked the clock. It was early afternoon already. I scowled, wincing at the pain. Gathering an ice pack from the freezer, I made my way back upstairs to lie down for a while. It was better than worrying about school.
A few hours had passed when I heard it. Talking. Groaning, I rolled to my feet. Can’t these people leave me to suffer in peace? The stairs appeared in front of me, and I waited for them to stop moving. Once they had stopped swaying from side to side, I lurched down them. The talking got louder, and I held my hand against the wall for balance.
Reaching the door, I was aware of several people talking softly on the other side of the door. My mind felt fuzzy and dull, and I shut my eyes to foster focus. The whispering got louder, and I could just make out the voices. There were three – four – people outside. All male, if the pitch was anything to go by. I knew the security gate was locked, and I pulled the front door open towards me. Faces I didn’t immediately recognise greeted mine. Staring at me like I was a bug. Finally, I placed where I knew them from. A group of random guys from my school, probably hearing I was incapacitated from MJ. It didn’t matter, except that I needed to get them to leave.
I knew I looked like hell. My face was bruised, and both eyes had begun to swell. I would be skipping school for a few days. But that didn’t explain the people. “What do you want?” My voice was slurred slightly.
One of the guys grinned, and I swayed slightly. I shouldn’t be on my feet. “Go, now.”
The guys all kept looking at me, and I felt fatigue grip my bones. I couldn’t last much longer. Hours seemed to have passed, but it was mere minutes at most. My sluggish brain finally remembered an important detail.
Secured to the doorjamb was a bottle of pepper spray. I had never used it, preferring to use the sprinklers. But now was a good time. My hand rose, but the guys on the other side of the security door didn’t move. The small bottle fitted snugly into my hand, and I depressed the nozzle.
A burning sensation filled my nose and mouth, but that was nothing compared to what happened to the other guys. One of them stumbled down my front steps, the other three scattered, coughing and rubbing their eyes. The front door slammed, and I slid down it to lie in a heap on the floor. Around me were bits of broken vase, but no water. I didn’t use the vases for anything, since I was never in that part of the house long enough to care.
My mind was wandering, and so I attempted to get to my feet. Slowly, I dragged myself down the hallway, but was stymied by the stairs. They looked so long, and were still slowly rocking from side to side. One at a time, Cass. Virtually nobody called me Cass. Except the nurse, but she was kind to everybody.
It was hard work, but I finally made it to the top of the stairs. Just the short crawl to my room to go. My right arm collapsed, and I rolled onto my side. Darkness descended, and I blinked once. And then, sweet nothing.