Chapter 2: Broken
Unravel Him Playlist on Spotify.
Song; ( Jurrivh- Crying alone) & (Tony Anderson- Ember)
Something burns in the air.
The cloud is thick, billowing, covering the dark room in nothing but wisps of whites.
Heat has begun to rise and in the distance, lights dance closer and closer to where I stand.
I stumble, fearful, barefoot, only to hit a wall.
My fingers find the cool brick, nails digging hard into the concrete.
Whirling around, I slam my palm against it, panic filling my bones.
“No, no, no.”
There’s a terrible crash and the fire surges with each passing second, the sparks eating everything alive and covering the dark ground with it’s terror.
Digging my foot into the edge of the wall, I grabbed hold of a protruding rock before slowly pulling myself up, the heat beating down my back.
By the time I’ve reach two meters off the ground, the fire had reached the ground beneath me and was swirling in a terrible pattern.
I stared at it, scared and helpless.
Sweat drip down my brow and my sweatshirt stuck to my back.
A terrible pain formed over my left side and I cupped it, feeling it paralyze my spine.
As if sensing my weakness, the fire reach out for me, their long wisps whipping out viciously.
Gritting my teeth, I push myself to go on,
Climb. Keep climbing.
My side was throbbing. The pain making it difficult to breath.
I pause out of breath, desperate for it to go away.
Desperate for it to stop.
Something latch onto my foot and engulfed my ankles, the tug causing me to lose my grip.
My body sunk in a matter of seconds towards the flames awaiting arms.
It’s my scream in the real world that wakes me first.
It sounded raw, terrified.
I force my eyes open and practically fell out of the couch, hitting my hip along the way.
The thud, was loud and jolted my sleepy brain to process what was going on.
It was a nightmare. It was just a nightmare.
I tell myself, even as blood roared in my ears.
So I sat there, on the ground, hands over my head and my figure hunched down.
Somewhere in the Apartment a clock was ticking away.
Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.
Raising my head, I spot the electronic and sighed when it read;
I had only gotten a half an hour sleep.
Taking out my phone, I scrolled through the contact list and stared at the number of missed calls that was never returned before tossing it aside.
Wrapping the blanket that had fallen off around my shivering body, I laid my head on the floor, too tired to carry myself up.
Eventually, I stayed there long enough for my neck to go sore and my body to turn stiff.
I only got up when the first sign of dawn appeared through the window.
Hailey has yet to come home.
There’s more, if that was possible.
More of the flyers.
More of my Dad’s choice to kill himself plastered over the ceiling and walls.
It’s the face that I can’t stand.
My face of anguish and pain.
Behind me, a group of students burst out laughing and I shifted to look at them as they animatedly discussed.
“You think he suffered when he hit the ground?”
“Who knows, the papers say he died on impact.”
“Someone should’ve gotten his body on tape-”
A nauseous overwhelming feeling hits me out of nowhere, springing pain from deep within my belly.
I’m suddenly running towards the restroom, one hand firmly clasp over my lips.
I made it in the nick of time and emptied my stomach into the toilet bowl, whacks of spasms causing aches to built up in my abdomen and chest.
Heaving for one last time, I finally collapse against the side of the bowl, fingers shaky.
“Fuck,” Cradling my head, I pulled the red strands and steadied myself. “Get up, Nessa. Get up.”
Standing up, I flush the toilet bowl and made my way towards the sink, head down.
My fingers shook as I turned the tab and watched the water flowed down the drain.
It was startlingly mesmerizing.
Shaking my head, I washed my fingers and face making sure I rinsed my mouth as well.
When I was done, I wiped off the remaining excess water and glance up to my reflection.
Dark lifeless eyes stare back at me followed by stringy limp hair.
My cheeks are sunken, grey, pale.
I looked like a ghost.
Ashamed, I picked up my fallen bag and walked out of the restroom in grim silence hoping to erase what I saw from existence.
The bell had just rang when I went out but I wasn’t going to class.
Instead, I turn on my heel and headed to the Skating Rink.
I’ve been doing it for almost 4 days now.
I don’t think the teachers know.
They’re more worried about the Graymoore and BourneFell scandal and what that would mean for GrayFell.
The fact that the flyers are still up tells me that.
So I don’t bother asking for help when it will never come.
Readying myself, I balance on my toe and took off across the ice, creating momentum for that perfect twist.
Carefully, I managed to land in the proper position and finished the pose at last.
A panting chuckle escapes me as I wipe the sweat from my forehead. “Thank god,”
Perfecting the Biellmann spin was the first time in 6 days that made a smile appear on my lips.
It had taken a while and I fell a couple times, bruising my body to the point of no return.
The bell ringing for the fifth time that day, made me glance at the large clock by the far wall.
School finished five hours ago. It was getting late.
Frowning at the ground, I fought the voice in my head that tells me to go home.
I’ve been at it for more hours then anyone should ever do.
However another part of me wishes to go on, to push through my physical capabilities and focus on that instead of what I’m feeling.
The days are getting hazy nowadays.
But the routine stays the same.
I get up, get ready, skate, eat, repeat.
It is, pathetic.
Picking up my stance, I continued skating until the guard told me to leave.
Everything was too hot.
Sighing out my frustration, I stopped skating for the 3rd time that day and walked out of the Rink to retrieve my water bottle.
I dump the contents down my throat and only paused when I was halfway through it.
It was too uncomfortable for me to continue skating and my body had no qualms about telling me that.
Sitting gingerly down the bleachers, I lift my shirt to smooth out the bandage around my side.
The wound had protested a few hours back but the pain was nothing more than a dull throb for me now.
Most times I have to stop when the burning gets too intense but there’s some days where I ignore it and push on, not caring that my body begs for release.
Shaking my head, I tucked my T-shirt back in my yoga pants and put a hand over my forehead.
Rolling my eyes at my paranoia, I stood back up and continued skating like I’ve always been for the last 10 days.
It isn’t so bad.
The shivers snuff out the heat.
Somebody decided it was funny to publish the video on the Blackmail Diva and the official GrayFell website.
I’m surprised it took this long.
It’s confirmed when I see almost everybody watching it during class, break and even after school.
Of course they laugh, mock, jeer at me.
But I’ve grown used to the names.
“Did your Mom kill herself too?”
That one made me think.
I don’t even know if Veronica was alive.
Maybe I was an orphan. Maybe I just didn’t know about it.
Had it really been that long?
Hailey has yet to return my calls.
Wait... maybe... she did try to call me.
Where did I put my phone?
Was it in my bag?
The locker perhaps?
When was the last time I seen it?
Distracted, I entered the combination for my locker and twisted the knob only to jerk back in surprise when red liquid spilled out.
“Ew!” A girl cried out behind me.
A string of mirrored gasps echoed mine as students all watch the heavy liquid pool against the floor in thick heavy rolls.
The strong smell of iron fills the hallway and I turn away, coughing and gagging.
Blood. It was blood.
Something small fell out from one of the thick pockets and I stared at the item for a breathless minute.
The plastic doll stares back at me, it’s hair painted red and eyes colored brown.
I have a startling moment when the images transform to reality.
That I was the one on the ground, blood pooling beneath me, my head cracked wide open.
The nightmare is gone in less then a second but the damage had already been done.
My hands began to tremble.
How could they do that?
How could they talk about death like it meant nothing?
Was this what they want?
For me to kill myself? Jump off a building like what my Dad did?
Like what Malorie did?
The sight of the blood in front of me makes me step over the doll, instantly crushing the plastic with a squishy squelch.
I’m aware of the tsunami of emotions inside me that is clawing and gnawing to get to the surface.
Emotions that had been submerged for twelve days.
And then it’s too much. I’ve reached my limit.
Backing up from the blood, I kick the smashed doll so it landed with a useless clunk over the floor.
My muscles coil, ready to run, ready to fight, ready to give up, ready to give in.
I will not cry in front of them.
I will not let them see what they’ve done.
I will not-
“Vanessa?” Someone grabs my arm and I recoil, springing away from it’s grip like it was a venomous snake.
“Woah, hey, what’s going on?”
The blood. All I smell is the blood. All I see is how my father hit the ground. How Malorie hit the ground.
How I, hit the ground.
Blinking rapidly, I rub my eyes with the heel of my palms, eager to rid myself of that torturous thought.
But it isn’t enough and my nails dig into my palms, further into my skin.
“Stop that, what are you doing?” A pair of hands reach for my wrist and that’s when I gaze up.
“M-Mason?” It takes a moment for me to register it’s him.
It takes a longer moment for me to register the boys behind him staring at me with both wariness and concern.
The students around me have disappeared. Where did they go?
“Yeah, it’s me.” He lets go of my wrists and frowns, openly showcasing his confusion. “You look sick, are you okay?”
“Sick?” I don’t feel sick. I don’t think I am.
“Pale, Vanessa. You look pale and... well, have you been eating?”
What did I eat today?
“I can’t remember.” Those three words gave all the confirmation I needed to remind me that I wasn’t taking care of myself.
How long has it been since I had an eight hour sleep?
Since I had a proper meal instead of water and bits of snacks?
As I counted the days, I feel my head spin from a brewing headache.
“What do you mean, you can’t remember? Did something happen? Are you-”
“No. No, nothing happened.” Suddenly I’m defensive. I’m coiled, expecting an attack.
What right did he had to tell me I was sick?
What right did he had to tell me when I should eat?
He had no right.
Nobody has the right.
Nobody. Nobody. Nobody.
“I’m not trying to judge you, I just...” He locks eyes with the liquid on the floor as if it’s the first time he’s seen it. “Is that blood?”
“What the fuck happened to this place?”
His voice startles me from across the room and I turn slightly to see Thomas staring at the flyers around the halls and floors, beyond confused.
He rips a flyer of the wall and gazes at it, frowning hard.
That’s when my flight instincts kick in.
My secret was practically out in the open for them to take. A secret I was not ready to share with just yet.
“Jesus Christ,” Elios mutters out loud once he sees what Thomas does.
Evan and Jared too, take a second to see what has happened to GrayFell during their absence.
“You’re late.” Victor points out to the Moore group, his voice radiating disapproval.
“You know what we had to do.” Jared rolls his eyes at the other male standing a couple meters away.
What was this?
Were they friends again?
“Vanessa, you haven’t answered my question.” Mason’s voice brings me out of my stupor and as I try my best to refocus on him, I find it difficult to do so.
“What happened when we were gone? This place looks like a war zone.”
“Nothing happened.” I tell him, clearing my throat to hide the fact that I wanted to yell in panic. “Someone’s idea of a sick joke.”
That’s what it was. A sick joke, because clearly, it was sick.
“Then what is this? It smells like blood, isn’t this your locker?” Mason continues to ask, determined to understand why I was avoiding telling him the truth.
“It was a joke, okay? Just a joke, that’s all it was. Nothing you should worry about. Nothing either of you should get yourself worked up on.” I’m rambling at this point. Desperately trying to pivot their attention elsewhere.
The tone is directed at me and distractedly, I face the questionnaire with blank eyes.
Something flashes in his gaze.
It darkens considerably, his blank and cool state evaporating in a blink of an eye.
Never mind that he hasn’t seen me in for several days.
Never mind that our last interaction ended with me confessing my true feelings.
Never mind at all.
He scans my figure before I even had a chance to explain and I know it in his eyes that he’s pissed at what he saw.
“You going for a new look Ginger? It doesn’t suit you.”
Burning with guilt and shame, I put a clamp on it, not wanting him to further judge me.
“What I do for myself is none, of your damn business.” I managed to grappled out.
It’s been 12 days and yet the emotion I felt towards what he did is still as clear as day.
“When it comes to your well-being, everything you do, is my business.” He hisses, voice dark. “Are you planning on killing yourself Ginger? Tell me now so I know what I should do next.”
“And what will you do? Tie me? Gag me? Take me kicking and screaming?” Balling my fists, a searing pinch erupted somewhere in my heart.
“Maybe I am planning on killing myself, maybe I am planning on jumping off a building because god knows if I did, you wouldn’t even care. You’ll just find another Rose to play with.”
“Are we going to do this now?” He raises both hands and gestures sarcastically, expression morbidly wicked. “Come at me then, I know you want to.”
“Thomas, stop it.” Elios hissed, the sharpness of his tone evident.
Thomas doesn’t let up, his gaze narrowed into slits and his voice raises.
“I’ve been gone for what, a week and a half and I come back to this?” He points a finger at me. ”This? A skeletal nightmare you call yourself?”
“You have no right, looking at me like that,” I state.
“I’m seeing what everyone else is seeing, you impossible girl.” He seethes, teeth gritted. “What the hell have you done to yourself?!”
The hurricane of emotions leaking out of him is overwhelming loud and each word he spat out was a direct stab to my chest.
Something exploded. Something began to twist and twist inside my chest.
“Take a good look then Thomas! Take a good look because this is what I am!” Backing up, I raise my arms so they spread wide. “I’m the real me. I’m what’s under the stupid mask I created! I’m broken!”
The last word came out as a shout and instead of silencing him, he releases a growl and marches forward.
“Thomas, I need you to cool it.” Mason warns getting in between us when Thomas shows no sign of stopping.
“Back off, I’m not finished.” He snaps back, blue green eyes glowing with vicious determination as he turns his furious face back to mine. “Where did she go?”
“What are you talking about?” I grounded out, riled up and confused.
“Where, did she go?” He growls. “The girl I know wouldn’t have let this happen to her so, where, did, she, go? ”
Where did she go?
Then it starts. The buzzing returns.
As I break eye contact with the man I found myself praying for every night when I am unable to sleep, the reality that he’s here has finally hit me.
And he’s not giving me sweet words or empty promises.
He’s giving me the truth.
The harsh, painful truth.
That I was stupid to not take care of myself.
That I was stupid to have allowed my self-loathing to eat me up.
Any other guy would’ve asked, adviced, listened to me as I weeped.
But not Thomas.
He wasn’t going to waste his time on that, not when there’s no time at all.
He’s doing this because he cares, my brain tells me.
Because he cares so damn much just as he cared when Evan tried to smoke back in the Skull.
“If you don’t move, Mason, I will not be held responsible for my actions.” Thomas threatened, his face inches away from the other.
“No, you need to calm down.” Mason stated harshly, pushing one hand against Thomas’s chest so he backed up.
“I said, move.”
Maybe it was the crazed look in his eyes, the hatred glowing bright in them, but somehow, I see it.
I see what others don’t.
That he’s been living in his own hell whilst gone.
Just as I was living my own hell.
“Can’t you see she’s-”
“Of course I see it Mason! What, you thought I was blind? None of this would’ve happened, if all of you let me see her the day she ran from me!”
“You’re right.” I whispered it.
But somehow it’s loud enough for all of them to hear.
“What?” Thomas stops pacing but the glow in his eyes doesn’t dim.
“You’re right.” Raising my head, I level him blankly. “The girl you know wouldn’t have let this happened to her.”
It’s my resignation that causes him to freeze under my stare but I give nothing away that could help him understand what I meant by that.
So before he could, I turned around and headed to the Skating Rink, the one place that I know could help piece me together.
Because if I was going to start healing. It was going to have to come from me first.
Over the next hour, I spent the rest of my time skating and thinking.
The first thing I did was to try and sort out the mess in my head.
The mess that had gotten me here in the first place.
Twelve days I was stuck in the hole.
Twelve days I let myself be affected so tremendously that I didn’t even care what happened to me.
Thomas was right. It was stupid.
I, was stupid.
And the more I thought, the more my muddled feelings became clearer.
Thomas not telling me about the deal is not what weighs in my mind all this time as I thought it was.
It was Kale.
So for the first time in days, I acknowledged Kale’s betrayal.
I acknowledged that he hurt me.
He was my friend and... it hurts not knowing why he did it.
I befriended and trusted him for so many months.
He gave Karen the ability to wreck me.
But had they really?
I remembered the events over the past few days.
How blank I acted and how nonchalant I was.
I had given nothing away when people laugh and sneered.
I hadn’t even cried.
Ceasing my skating, I pause for a breather as the question continued to swirl in my mind.
I hadn’t given them the satisfaction like I promised.
I hadn’t given them a reason to beat me down.
And I’m laughing in irony of the situation.
I really did win without fighting back.
“Shit-” Wincing, I press a hand over the wound, ceasing my laughter all at once.
In breaking out of the numb bubble I created, it was as though my brain had restarted on itself, making me suddenly aware of everything my body felt.
And it burned.
My entire skin felt like it was on fire and yet I was shivering so rapidly, my knees wobbled.
A wave of discomfort hit me and my vision turned fuzzy.
“You look sick, are you okay?”
Turning on my skates, I’m about to head over the Nurse’s office when I spot a flash of red leaning by the entrance.
The tone in her voice is dangerous and vile.
I ignored the pain and narrowed my eyes at her. “Come back for round three Harpy? It’s been a few days but I’m more then happy to throw down a few punches.”
“Very funny,” Karen’s brown eyes glowed embers, her tongue darting out to lick her red lips. “You’re pretty stupid threatening me considering how you look right now.”
“I always look like this. It’s a natural thing.”
The wound was pulsating and ever pore in my body is well aware how much it hurts.
“It doesn’t matter.” She leans away from the Rink’s entrance and folds her arms across her chest. “You and I, we’re going to have a little talk.”
Something solid flash across my peripheral vision and I whirled around only for it to slam against my chest.
My foot slips, the attack throwing me off guard.
The ice comes up in slow motion but doesn’t provide comfort even as my head finds the surface and a terrible pain hit the base of my skull.