Once mom said how nightmares can literally kill you, just not fast enough.
I didn’t understand back then. I laughed at her face. I giggled until I can’t. I thought she was joking. I thought they were just something you tell a ten-year kid to stop them from sneaking out to their sister’s room to talk all night.
I was wrong. I was so wrong.
She was right then. Every word coming from her lips were a warning. Maybe she already knew that one day her past was going to catch up with us. Maybe she was depressed herself. If the crying coming from her room was any indication.
Did they hurt her like me too?
That was a question I will always regret not asking. Not knowing what she went through when she ran from that man while she was pregnant with Grace.
“What are you thinking about?” Grace asks giving me a smile. It’s strained and fake. I know she’s trying hard to make me forget about everything. About mom, about her, about...Josh.
I can’t lie like her. I can’t hide behind a face I can’t recognize. And I’m terrified. So so terrified.
“Me too.” She sighs. “I’ve had a talk with the doctor. He said your chance at getting back at your feet is 99% and I know this is me being paranoid but I’m thinking about that 1% like hell. What if something goes wrong. God, I’m the worst sister ever. Instead of giving you hope, I’m scaring you off.”
“It’s...ok.” Really it was. At least now I know what to expect when I get out of this operation. just when Grace is going to say something the door opens. If I was hoping for the nurse to keep me away, I’m sorrowfully disappointed.
“Ginger wanted to see her.” His voice is clam yet they take me back to the night I told him about my nightmares and the men who live in them. When I told him I wasn’t really thinking what he thought about it. I just wanted to tell someone. Just let a soul know what it feels like to take away your control like the worst way.
In a morbid way, I was hoping to see pity in his eyes like everyone who knew. But like every time he proved me wrong. He cried. He cried for me. Like Grace does. Like mom used to. Like I do.
“Gwen?” The redhead beside me gives me a warm smile. What did Seth call her again? Ginger. She truly deserves the name. She has an aura around her that anyone is forced to like her. Like even I can’t resist when she suddenly gives me a hug.
“Aww, I know you’re scared and it’s natural! It will be so weird if you laugh now, wouldn’t it?” Everyone shares a smile at her words. Even me who’s lurking behind a thousand unsaid words.
“Still, the surgery wouldn’t be too risky considering the fact that I already made you familiar with the physical therapy.” She is right. Still, that doesn’t stop my mind from running a thousand miles.
Right then someone opens the door. “Who is Ms. Knight’s family here?”
My chest feels too tight to breathe. The impulse to let out a whimper is even stronger but I hold them back. This isn’t the time.
“I am. Is everything alright?” Grace is already standing up with a frown. I hate the worried look everyone has. Especially his.
“Grace, I’m coming with you.” Debra gives me another smile and walks up to where my sister is. The nurse nods at her before turning to my sister.
“Yes, miss. You just need to sign some papers. The room is ready. We will come up in a few minutes to take her away.” They leave but the words don’t leave me. My fingers tingle to stop myself from feeling the crawling on my own skin.
We will take her away.
“I don’t care if Mad Dog doesn’t give her to us.”
No, no, no...
“We will take her away.”
“Boss will love a taste.”
“Shit! She’s having a panic attack! Kitty!” The man in front of me doesn’t resemble a monster but the thoughts in my mind might as well do. They are falling down the rabbit hole faster than any version of Alice did. They scream to make him understand. I’m not having a panic attack I just want...to forget.
I just want those eyes filled with cruel promises gone.
I want-I want peace.
“Kitty? Shit! Look at me. Look at me. It’s Ok. Everything’s Ok.” I don’t remember when I start to feel warm all over. There’s a feeling deep inside locked when I feel hands cradling my head softly.
They become my anchor as the voices inside my head die down. They are the same salvation when someone screams for help.
“She was having a panic attack. I didn’t know what to do.” A frantic voice calls out. The same eyes who follows my every movement. You did. You do know what to do. I want to yell but I can’t.
“I’m giving her some meds. She will be alright.” A new voice says. Glancing up I notice it’s someone with a white coat. Is he my doctor?
“Miss. Knight, are you ready? Can we proceed today?” He asks as if I was going to break anytime. I might have if the man in my dark corner wasn’t here. So I don’t bother with words. I just nod.
“Fantastic. I’m calling for help.”
“Doc, can we get some more minutes? Alone?” Seth asks suddenly. If I’m surprised, I don’t let him know.
The doctor has a weird look on his face but he nods finally. “Yes, of course.”
When he leaves I don’t know what to feel or look at. The man in front of me is unashamedly looking at me. Gazing at my secrets, my nightmares, my soul. But that doesn’t scare me more than his words.
“Did you regret it?”
Regret what? For not forgetting? For not leaving this cruel world behind? Which one are you referring to?
All it leaves are jumbled reply. “I-I don’t un..der-”
“Did you regret telling me? Is this the reason you had a panic attack? Because you were alone with me. Is that it?” There’s a desperate gleam in his eyes. His eyes might be on me but they are lost with his thoughts. Did he-
“Tell me I don’t remind you of...those monsters.” His voice cracks alongside with mine.
No, God no. I can’t regret something which brings me a little peace.
“Please tell me, that’s not the reason. I need to hear it. For once. Please, Kitty.” I don’t know why he sounds so lost like me. “I would never ask you for a thing. Just this once.”
“No.” I don’t know the woman who answers. She’s too strong to be poor scared Kitty. “I do..n’t.”
The visible relief in him makes a pang go to my heart. Why did he think himself as...as them? He was far from them. He didn’t make me want to wash myself until I’m nothing.
“Then did you regret that night?”
“No. W..hy?” There’s a pause until I look up to see him looking at me with a new look. I’m not familiar with that one. And I’m scared to find out what that means.
“Because Kitty, you’ve no idea what you’ve just got yourself into. Because...I can’t think. I can’t stop myself from knowing more about you. I can’t stop thinking about ripping those bastards skin off for hurting you.”
The gasp doesn’t even match the way my heart beats. It’s beating way too faster. Why? Why’d he cared that much?
“And, I admire your brave self.” I’ve to look away when he kisses my forehead. His eyes are unfocused, his fingers leaving a burning trail of fire when they touch my trembling lips. “So much that maybe you’ve become my new addiction.”
And, that’s the last thing I heard before I was hauled off to the operating room. And that was my last thought as my body shut down. So as mom said nightmares don’t kill fast, she was absolutely right.
Cause sometimes maybe words are the fastest way to kill someone...