Whispers haunt my disorient mind. Bleached lamplight dives in through the ghostly curtains, dancing along the towering walls. Red washes away the peaceful melancholy, flooding it with agony. The cold air caresses my punctured arm picking at the broken scabs and nudging more blood from my veins. Its instigator lay a distance away. Its smooth sharp edge dyed in this dirty red colour. It’s okay. This body lives for Mother. Mummy’s little boy. So it should die for her. She doesn’t love you. Mother is better off without me. No one needs me. Surrounding colours blur into one, finally resting on a deep dark black.
Warmth beckons me to consciousness, removing me from a disturbed sleep. Soft beeping awakens me completely. A bitterness fills my mouth, I failed.
The bell chimes with another day's end. Should I try again tonight? My body aches, bandages and blemishes riddle my scrawny figure. No girl, I jest with myself, no one would find me attractive, but that’s okay. Okay, alright, all fine. People of this small town don’t. Everyone knows everything about anyone around here.
I notice a presence moving towards my desk. She stands, introducing herself as Lucy followed by a dazzling smile. New I suppose, not often round these parts, they never stick around me for long, no one does. Why would they? I’ve heard what they say about me. The boy with the wounds. They ask and I tell them I’m fine. All fine, okay, alright. She pulls me from my musing with one heart stopping statement.
“Let’s be friends!” she said. Not again. Not another one. I simply nod at her. Unsure of how to respond. She shyly smiles at me and scurries away, her earth coloured hair following her joyous steps. Her rose coloured cheeks burnt in my memory.
She’s here again, Lucy, day after day balancing the tortuous night with her blinding smile. I get home, it’s dark. I see her and the bleak world lights up again. She never asks, and I thank her for that. She might be the reason I even bother coming to school, let alone anywhere. Lucy: light, born at dawn, daylight. She epitomises her very name. She captures my soul, her essence, her being.
“Maybe, I’ll visit you some day?” directing her inquisitive eyes at me. Time stood still. Thoughts race around and around my head. Overwhelmed, I nodded in response. I duck my head, praying she hadn’t noticed the burning heat in my cheeks.
The daze fades and I realise my mistake. My head snaps back to her only to find empty space. She's gone. I'll tell her tomorrow. Grabbing my gear, I trudge out of the now empty classroom and back to the dark night.
I drag my feet across the pavement, an unconscious attempt to prolong my return home.
I close the door behind me tracing the familiar wooden grains filled with memories. Both good and bad. Silence bellows through the dark hallway. Incoherent mumbling follows. Thoughts race around my head; do I run? Is it worth it?
No, stay. What's the point?
It’s not her fault. It's okay, I'm alright, I feel fine.
A beast lunges towards me, her claws pinning my neck to the door, denting it once again and imprinting it with more memories, only a shell of her former self.
“Hello darling, how was school? You're back late,” her nails digging further into my skin. My breath hitches. It hurts.
Pausing my already laboured breathing, I let out a whimpered reply. Her grip releases and I topple over in a desperate attempt to stay conscious. She delivers a blow straight to my stomach slamming me against the door. It hurts. I pull myself up. I close my eyes accepting what is soon to follow.
Battered with bruises, I inspect the bloody scene. Lingering sensations capture my soul pricking it with fire only found in hell. Mother sits crying. Mother…? Don’t cry. I let off a whimpered groan hoping to gather her attention.
“I’m sorry, sorry,” staggering towards me arms open, hands dyed in blood. My blood. Red. Oh, that devilish colour. The metallic tang eats at my nose and I hug my broken form closer. She picks up my fear and staggers away, mumbling apologies followed by possessive rants to herself, fighting for control of her sanity.
My thoughts drift endlessly through a labyrinth of memories, plucking them like a harvest picking the ripest fruit. Lucy, was it? She has this sweetness to her. A lick of sunshine. Luscious chocolate hair, springing with each step. Rattling off anything she could possibly think of, passionate with every word. She lives for herself. My tortured breath hitched in my throat. There was something she told me once. A while back.
Live for yourself.
You're fine. No, I'm not.
It's okay. No! This isn't right.
“No more,” I say, my heart racing, “I can’t watch you do this to yourself, to me. Please.” She stops her muttering and engulfed by the beast she was before, lunges at me. She cards her fingers through my hair with the softness and affection a mother would show to her child.
I wince in pain as she grips my hair, dragging me to my knees. I catch a glint in the dark and all when still. Cold metal skims across my flesh. Red leaks from my body, I release a shrilled shriek, panting. The silence is mauled by my screams. She can’t do this to me anymore, it isn’t right.
She stops and throws my head back. I groan on impact, looking up at her, still wielding the blade. She marches towards the ringing door pulling it open with no second thought to the scene behind her. I squint at the blinding light adjusting my eyes to recognise the guest. A naïve smile with chocolate cascading hair. Colour drains from her face. No no! Why her, why today?! She stumbles back, her eyes fixed on my broken frame, traumatised by my gaping wounds. “Run, get away, run! Lucy, please, go!” My lips parting.
“Mother don’t do it.”
All I could do was watch. Fixed and frozen where I lay. Cold tears pricking at warm open cuts.
I watch as she readies to strike. Her arm pulled back, ready to swing in a deadly arch. I launch myself forwards gripping at her clothes, anything to deter her murderous path.
“This isn’t you.”
She halts her advance; her stoic face drops and turns to me. I stare into the eyes of my mother. Her deep blue eyes drowning me. The same deep blue I saw against the sky as I looked up at her as a child. A small smile used to grace her lips.
Her face rips into a sickening grin. My vision blurs, sheltered by running tears, I hear a scream. Something wet. Splat. Warm. Splat. Metallic.
“Mother…. what have you done?”
My sweet sunshine swallowed by the bitter night.