The next morning Madison tried to talk to Charlie, but he pretended to be asleep. She was getting more worried about him every day. He wouldn’t answer when she knocked on his door. She knew for a fact he was in his room and could even hear the creaky floor boards from his room. If he was still sleeping, Madison knew that Charlie wouldn’t be able to sleep though the noise she was making.
The migraines that plagued her brother for years had suddenly stopped, but she was worried the hallucinations were getting worse. Maybe the pain was making them less vivid, she thought. At least he wasn’t in constant pain all the time. She was happy about that, but she wanted to know what he was being so secretive about. Were the hallucinations that bad now? He was interacting with them, she had seen him do it. Charlie described the hallucinations once as moving shadows he knew weren’t there. Could they have become more than that now? Was the pain stopping them from being so vivid?
Madison had seen the way Charlie interacted with them. She had seen him in the study practically yelling at a chair before he noticed she was there. If they were talking to him and he was answering back did that make him ill? He was quirky for sure, but was he psychotic as well? She decided she couldn’t always blame his personality on his mental illness, but this was different.
How many times had she visited Charlie in the hospital? How many nights did she stay up worrying about her brother when the doctors called to tell them things were getting worse? How many hours did she spend begging their mother to bring him home?
Charlie was always a private person, but not to this extent. She knew he was keeping a secret. He was doing something he didn’t want them knowing about. It was his right to have secrets. He didn’t need to tell her everything, but when had he ever shut her out completely? She wouldn’t press him on it in case he couldn’t handle it. When he was ready to say something, she would be there for him.
Madison always thought of Charlie as a friend as well as a brother. Was it possible she was kidding herself? Maybe, Charlie really didn’t want her around. Maybe she was just his kid sister. Maybe he only put up with her when he needed something.
Madison decided she didn’t want to be alone. Instead of feeling sorry for herself she felt a desire to be around other people. She called Sara and twenty minutes later was picked up at the Sunnyledge. To her surprise, Billy and Stan were already in the car.
“Hey, girl,” Sara squealed, “Let’s turn that frown upside down. Stan, if you will. Time to have some fun.”
“Sup, Madison,” Billy called out from the passenger seat.
“Do you want some of this?” Stan said as he offered a bottle of rum to Madison. The cap was already off and a portion of the bottle already gone. They started to drink without her.
Madison looked at the time. It was before noon. It was a little early in the day to start drinking, but if she thought about Charlie one more second she was going to scream. She grabbed the bottle from Stan and took a sip.
She regretted the decision immediately as the burning rum slid down her throat. She wanted to hack her lungs out, but fought against the sickening feeling. Her face puckered, but she smiled anyway taking another sip. Again the liquor burned after she swallowed, but then a warm sensation started to fill her stomach. She wanted to throw up, but didn’t want to seem uncool and forced the bile back down.
“That’s good stuff,” she winced as her eyes began to water. The others laughed, but not in a mean way, she was hopping. Billy and Stan took more pulls from the bottle while they passed it back and forth. When it was her turn again, she let the bottle stay upside down as she drank three big gulps. It was easier the second time. Still burned, but less than before.
As the warm sensation spread from her stomach to her limbs, she started to like it. Her worries started to fade away and all she wanted to do was have more. The thought of Charlie was getting further and further away from her.
When the bottle was empty they licked their lips. They went back to Stan’s house to grab more. He came out and when they saw the new bottle they cheered. Madison and Billy switched places, but Stan hadn’t seemed to notice and jumped in the back with Billy.
Stan passed the bottle to Madison. She didn’t hesitate before taking a sip from the dark brown bottle. The bottle read ‘whiskey’ and it burned even more than the rum. At this point Madison didn’t care what the alcohol tasted like. She was just happy to keep her anxiety over Charlie away.
“Damn, Madison, take it easy on that stuff,” Sara declared as she pulled the bottle away. Sara took a big sip and shook her head at the taste.
“You are such a light weight,” Billy called out from the back seat. “Give that to me and I’ll show you how a man drinks.” Sara passed the bottle back and Billy started to pour whiskey down his throat.
Madison watched as he gulped down the brown liquid in fascination. She didn’t have much experience with drinking and had only been drunk a few times. A couple of times with her mother and another time with friends from boarding school. She was amazed at how much Billy was able to drink in comparison. She laughed and then let out a long and loud burp. After a long silent pause the entire car burst out into laughter.
When the laugher died down, Sara looked at Stan and Billy in the rear view mirror. “Where to now guys?”
They thought about the question for a little under five seconds before Billy called out, “Let’s go to the cemetery.”
He turned to Stan who was feeling the effects of the booze. “Brilliant idea, Bill.”
“What is there to do at the cemetery?” Madison asked naively. She looked at Sara, but the girl was making eyes at her boyfriend. She looked back at Stan, who was giving her a big stupid grin.
Sara parked the car just inside the gates of the cemetery. They got out and as a group walked along the path, but Madison was still unsure why they were there. Sara grabbed the bottle from Stan and took a big gulp. She hadn’t been drinking much while she was driving. Now she was trying to catch up to the others. She handed the bottle back to Madison when she was done with it. There was only a small amount of whiskey left so Madison decided to finish it in a quick chug.
The boys were laughing, but Madison just went along with it. She was drunk. Really drunk. Madison had been drunk before, but not like this. This time she was wasted and the rest of the world held no meaning.
She thought about Charlie, but the sting of his avoidance melted away. At the moment she could care less what he did. She would have fun, while he worked his but off at the Sunnyledge.
She followed the others through the cemetery’s rolling hills of tombstones. After the second hill they ventured off the walking path and went trampling through the graves. It occurred to Madison that they were walking over the dead, but didn’t seem to connect why that was disrespectful.
She noticed Billy and Stan talking and than Stan walked over to her. He grabbed her hand and pulled her away from the others. Madison watched as Billy and Sara went off on their own.
“Where are they going?” Madison asked Stan as he led her away. Then she realized she was going off alone with Stan. “Where are we going?” She wanted to know.
“Do you trust me?” Stan asked.
Madison barely knew him, but for some reason she didn’t care what happened. She just wanted to have fun. If he was leading her to fun then she trusted him. Stan led Madison away, deeper into the cemetery. She looked around, but couldn’t figure out where the others had actually gone. She could no longer see them.
She couldn’t see the car either. Her sense of direction was completely screwed up, because of the booze. She was really drunk, Madison thought. She wanted to go back to the car, but the words didn’t come out. She knew she would be safer at the car, but at the same time she didn’t care.
Stan stopped at a large mausoleum and pushed open an iron gate. Without realizing why, Madison followed him inside. He closed the door behind them and the sudden change in light made them squint there eyes. It took a moment before her eyes adjusted to the darkness. She was feeling nauseous and lost her balance. She needed to sit down before she fell over.
The marble bench felt cool against her hands. She looked around the room. In the center was a large rectangle marble box and inside was a coffin. All around the room other marble tombs were set into the walls. Madison marveled at how many dead relatives they could fit into the tiny space.
“This is my family’s crypt,” Stan started to explain as he sat down next to Madison. “It’s been in the family since before my great great granddaddy bought this land. He’s here, first on the left.” Stan slid closer to Madison, but she was unaware of the implications.
“Will you... here... when you...die?” Madison couldn’t find the words, but Stan got the gist.
“Will I be put here after I die?”
“Yeah,” she thought, “that’s what I mean,” but didn’t remember if she said anything out loud. She quickly nodded to make sure.
“All of my family is here in this tomb. I’m not a fan. I’d rather be buried anywhere else. Doesn’t really matter though. We’re running out of room. There won’t be enough space for me anyway. That won’t stop my mom and dad from filling out the last couple of spots over there though.”
She looked around the room and wondered if she would she be okay spending the rest of eternity in a cold and creepy mausoleum? Or would she want to be put into the earth, six feet underground? Madison was beginning to think she agreed with Stan. She didn’t want to be in the mausoleum any longer.
“I want to be buried, too” Madison blurted out, unsure of why she was sharing. “I want better chances of coming back as a vampire or zombie.”
“You have a better chance of coming back a zombie,” Stan said playing along.
“If I could choose,” Madison thought, “I prefer coming back as a vampire. I’ll settle for zombie if I have too. That would still be pretty cool.” Madison was getting sleepy and she felt her eyes getting heavier. She stretched her arms out and said, “Brains,” under her breath, but Stan still heard her and laughed. “Brains,” she said again and made herself laugh as well.
She watched as Stan closed the gap between them. The next thing she knew, she felt Stan’s lips over hers. At first she liked kissing him and let Stan put his tongue in her mouth. He started to touch her arm and glided his hand to her thigh. At first Madison thought it was harmless, but then he started to push her down on the bench.
In her drunken daze she thought about the situation as if she was looking down on it from above. She didn’t like Stan like that, but she wasn’t stopping him. Did she want to stop him? She followed him along on the bench as Stan started to climb on top of her. He opened her legs and settled between them.
Madison was sure she wasn’t interested in him like this, or any other boy for that matter. But she wanted to let the moment continue. She kissed back and felt his body press against her own. Then he wanted to do more, but she was sure she didn’t want to go any further with him. She started to mumble that she didn’t want to do this. She said no, she said to stop.
Either Stan didn’t hear or didn’t understand her words, because he didn’t stop. She didn’t know why he wouldn’t stop. She called out again that she didn’t want to do this. When he started to put his hand under her shirt, she finally found the strength to push him away.
“I said, no,” she yelled as he fell to the floor, “I’m not doing any of that with you.”
“What the hell did you do that for,” he yelled back.
Madison was completely drunk, but knew she didn’t want to hook up with Stan.
“I don’t want to do it. I’m not having sex with you. I’m really drunk. I just want to go back to the Sunnyledge. Why don’t we go find Billy and Sara?”
“Why are you being such a tease?” Stan asked from the floor. “I know you want it,” he declared with uncertainty. “You just don’t know you want it.”
Madison stood up but was having a hard time keeping her balance. Again, Stan tried to grab onto her, but she pulled away. “I mean it, I don’t want to. I’d rather be with Sara than touch you.”
He wouldn’t take the rejection and pinned Madison against the wall. She smacked her head badly against the hard marble. The impact sent a jolt down her spine and her vision became blurry. She felt herself falling, but didn’t know why. She expected a lot of pain when she made contact with the hard floor, but she blacked out before she felt any pain.
When Madison regained consciousness, the first thing she noticed was her blouse was spread open and her bra was exposed. Her skin was exposed to the cold and she realized Stan was leaning over her, trying to unbutton her jeans. Without any hesitation she swung her knee into Stan’s crotch with as much force as she could gather. When he yelped like an injured dog she pushed him off. He fell to the ground silently crying in pain, grabbing his groin with both hands.
Madison buttoned her blouse and zipped up her jeans. The room was spinning, but she managed to grab her coat, and find the door. She didn’t bother looking back to see if Stan was okay. She knew what he was trying to do to her. The adrenaline helped clear her mind and sober her up a little, but the drunken haze was returning. She could feel the world getting harder to understand.
She held the back of her skull and remembered vaguely that she hit her head. Only she wasn’t sure how badly. She thought it must have been bad enough for her to pass out. She touched the spot on the back of her head that hurt the worse and winced. Her hand came back spotted with blood. She promised herself, when she got out of the cemetery she would get checked out for a concussion.
After walking along the graves for a couple of minutes she realized she was lost. She stood there for a moment while the world stopped spinning and she breathed in the cold refreshing air. She felt the wind against her face and welcomed the sting. She wanted to call out for help, but didn’t want to draw Stan’s attention.
Madison couldn’t find her way back to the car and was beginning to worry. She wanted to call Sara, but she couldn’t find her phone. It wasn’t in her coat pocket where she left it. Madison thought it must have fallen out in the mausoleum when Stan attacked her.
She had no idea where they parked, and couldn’t find any familiar markers. Madison realized she was still drunk enough that it clouded her thinking. She stopped where she was. She needed her phone. She couldn’t find the car with out it. Madison decided to go back to the crypt but cursed when she couldn’t remember where it was. She turned around but was utterly lost. The only reason she hadn’t panicked was because she was still drunk and the magnitude of the situation hadn’t seeped in yet. She thanked the booze, but remembered the only reason she was lost and alone in a cemetery was because she was drinking with assholes.
When she found a pathway with a small sign that pointed to the Church she decided to follow it. She imagined she was walking for a good half hour when she finally found the small church.
“Is anyone there,” she shouted to get someone’s attention. “I need a ride to the hospital.” She really didn’t feel well and wasn’t going to worry about making a scene. “Hello?” She shouted. “I need help.”
She tried the knob, but the door was locked. She pounded on the large wooden door, but after a minute no one answered. She shouted for anyone who could hear her, but it was no use. Madison kicked the ground and instinctively reached for her cell phone to call Charlie, but remembered she had lost it. Forgetting she lost her phone made her more angry about loosing her phone. In frustration she kicked the front step of the church and instantly regretted it when pain engulfed her foot.
She wanted to cry, but held the tears back. She thought about Stan. Would he have raped her? Oh my god, what a dick head, she thought. What a bastard. If she hadn’t woken up when she did there was no telling what he would have done to her.
Madison felt dumb for putting herself in that situation. How naive was she for going there alone with him? She wouldn’t blame herself for what Stan tried to do, but she was furious all the same. She felt betrayed by them all. She was furious with Stan, but hurt at Sarah’s abandonment.
Now, she couldn’t find the car. They probably already left her stranded by now. She couldn’t believe Sara would do this to her. She thought they were friends which made her want to cry again.
She didn’t want to feel like a victim, but Stan had violated her trust. He tried to force himself onto her. Madison was angrier than she had ever been and in that moment wanted to be home in New York. She wanted to be with her mother, in her safe embrace. Away from Dumont, and away from Charlie. Everything was crashing down around her and she could only think of how hurt Charlie made her feel.
Tears started to roll down her cheeks. She couldn’t hold them back any longer. She would let herself cry and when she was done she would go back to find the mausoleum. There were at least twenty just on the first hill alone, and they all looked alike. The cemetery was spread over rolling hills that stretched out beyond the horizon. There would be no way for her to find the phone by herself. She needed help.
Madison couldn’t believe Sara would leave her alone like that. She was stranded with no way back to the Sunnyledge. Madison walked around to the other side of the church and found a sunny spot along the brown grass. On the cold day the sunshine felt nice against her skin. When the tears slowed she lifted her face towards the radiating heat. She was calming down and knew there was no one else to help her. She needed to start moving soon if she was going to get back before night fall.
When she stood up a wave of nausea caught up with her. She pitched over and puked all over the ground. Thankfully, she missed her jacket, but got some on her pants and shoes. Madison instantly felt a bit better and didn’t care if she had to wash everything. When the world stopped spinning she decided to go searching for the mausoleum on her own.