Chapter 7: Suffocation
Unravel Him Playlist on Spotify.
Song; (AURORA- Home)
8 years ago
The day was hot. Every part of my body felt like it was baking alive.
Checking my watch, I squinted at the clock hands and let out a dejected sigh.
Why did it take this long for the school bell to ring?
“You know looking at you’re watch isn’t going to make the time go faster.” A familiar voice muse behind me.
I glared at Hailey and poke out my tongue. “A girl can dream.”
“2 hours, come on Ness, what’s so bad about that?”
Rolling my eyes, I tuck my shoulder length red hair back up on my ears and sulked in the corner.
Ms Swvena was reading but I could hardly care what the old bat had asked us to do.
“What’s got you all worked up?” Hailey leans forward on her seat and raises an amused eyebrow.
That was my best friend, still looking like an angel despite the hellish day.
“I got some stuff to do.” I vaguely dodged the question hoping she wouldn’t pry too much.
Obviously she realizes this but decided not to push it.
Glancing at the clock again, I made a last minute decision.
There was just no way I can wait this long. It’s almost time.
“Hales, I’m going to need you to cover for me.” Packing up my books, I hurriedly stuff them in my bag.
“Where are you going?” She asks, surprised.
Holding out a finger, I pressed it over my lips and gestured to Ms Swvena. “Distract her, I’ll only be gone for a while.”
“Are you skipping?”
My nod is the only answer she got.
I know she wanted to say more, but the look on my face must have told her something because she hesitantly nods.
“Alright, wait for my signal.” Standing up slowly, she smooths out her blouse before approaching Ms Swvena.
“Ms Swvena?” Hailey calls out softly, breaking the teacher away from her history book.
“Yes Hailey?” Ms Swvena clips her book closed and glares at Hailey for interrupting.
“Well, uh... I was hoping you could... tell me more about the book you’re reading!”
Great cover story Hales.
It works however.
Ms Swvena quickly launches into an epic synopsis of the book.
Hailey could only nod along animatedly as if it really did interested her.
If there was one way to get Ms Swvena talking that would be it.
The old bat was crazy for history books.
Withholding a groan, I carefully crept out of my seat and edge along the class, all the while bending down.
Once I was sure Ms Swvena was distracted, I booked it and ran out into the hallway.
Another look at my watch tells me I was running out of time. “Crap,”
My feet picked up as I ran out the entrance doors and into the parking lot.
I only had one goal in mind.
NorthVille General Hospital.
Practically sprinting, I didn’t stop until the familiar brown and white building comes in view.
The looming structure shadow the parking lot as the sun bated down.
I quickly check my watch again.
He should be here soon...
I can only hope I was wrong.
Spotting a bush, I brush the sand aside and squatted behind it.
The next several minutes after was just me listening to my own heartbeat and the steady rustling of leaves.
Nothing was out of the ordinary.
My appearance may have looked calm but inside I was terrified.
Please prove me wrong. Please, prove me wrong.
As if on cue, a familiar black Honda drove up to the lot and parked at a designated spot.
I held my breath.
He opens the car door and steps out.
I take note of the knit cap he wore over his ears and how his head is down.
He doesn’t waste time entering another section into the Hospital.
The shock of seeing him was enough to tear me away from my horrified imagination.
Maybe he was sick. Maybe he was simply seeing the doctor.
I could be wrong.
I am, wrong. I decided.
But... I couldn’t take the chance.
Seeing my chance, I bury my bag behind a bush before carefully shadowing him.
It was stupid.
But I had to know. I had to know if my instinct was right.
It’s why I invaded the privacy of his journal.
There wasn’t much but scribbles, but the words that kept popping up was NorthVille’s General Hospital.
The hallway was winding and because it was a school day I thank god not many people were around to ask me questions.
I watch my father disappear down another door before I read the words on the wall.
Psychiatrist on Duty: Ms Ravana Stellar
He was visiting a therapist?
Frowning, I inch myself close to the closed curtains and took a peek inside.
There wasn’t much but the typical doctor’s office except my Dad was sitting solemnly on a chair in front of the lounge.
Something about his expression made me feel like something was off.
I was going to have to get closer.
A draft of air beneath the window informed me of a vent.
It wasn’t big but I was small enough to crawl through being a skinny 11 year old.
Holding my breath, I crawled towards the vents beneath the walls and shimmied inside.
The box lead out into the air conditioning by the room so I didn’t have to go far before I heard voices.
“-nice to see you again. Did you come back for more professional advice?”
“-don’t need advice-”
The words were still muffled but I strained my ears, keeping my breath quiet so I didn’t miss a beat.
Eventually it cleared out enough for me to make out two voices.
One male, one female.
My Dad and another woman.
“Why did you come back then? Was there something we missed?” It must have been Ms Ravana Stellar. The psychiatrist on duty.
Her voice is sweet, professional and concerned.
“No, I just...” A long pause. I hear my father release a sigh. “You know why I’m here.”
Another long pause.
“I didn’t expect you to come back so soon.”
This time when she talks, gone is the professionalism, replaced it was with something else.
Something sly almost.
“Couldn’t get enough?”
“That wasn’t the reason.” He spits back.
I never heard that tone come out of him before. I decided I never wanted too.
The vents spread out in front of me and with careful precision, I manage to wiggle myself forward so I could see what was going on in the room.
The vents had air ducts even so, I had to press myself up in order to squint at what was happening.
“That’s what they all say,” A shadow moves across the vents and I’m greeted with Ms Ravana as she turns on her heel and sits herself on top of the mahogany table.
Long black hair cascades down her back followed by green eyes and bold red lips.
She was beautiful. Very, beautiful.
“Why don’t we skip the pleasantries Mr Vail?” She pouts, slowly crossing one leg over the other. “I believe we’ve moved beyond that.”
My father stands to his feet and pulls the knit cap off his head letting loose a tumble of dark hair.
Both of them locked eyes.
No one said anything.
Until he does. “You know what I want.”
She smirks. “You want what everybody else wants. Freedom, the need to be loved, to escape from you’re own family.”
I feel something hit me in the chest. For a moment I thought I may have just bumped into something until I realize that wasn’t the case.
My hand, that was resting on my side is abruptly squeezing the skin directly above my heart.
“My family has nothing to do with this.” He growls back but his tone was wavering, getting increasingly weaker.
“No, but they’re the reason why you’re back.” She uncrosses her legs and stands before pushing him back against the chair.
“Tell me then, Mr Vail..." Long lean legs spread out before him, revealing curves as she slowly lowers herself down on his lap. "Am I wrong?”
The vents around me begin to close in. My heart beat harder in my chest.
He wouldn’t do that to Mom.
My hands shook and my knees locked themselves.
Something hot began to warm my neck. It forms a bead of sweat before running down my spine.
I had to get out of here.
I had to get out.
But I couldn’t leave.
One part of me still believes he loves us and that part refuses to leave just yet.
Wasn’t that why I followed him?
Because I had my suspicions?
That’s the word that stood out the most to me in my mind.
I was confused.
Hot tears pool in my eyes and I shut them, feeling as though my entire body was seconds away from exploding into cosmic rage.
What is this?
What was this feeling?
It bloom across my chest, stretching further into my arms.
I’ve never felt this way before.
Ravana pulls his hair backwards before closing her blood red lips against his.
For a moment I watch, hoping he’d stop her. Hoping he’d get up and walk away.
But he doesn’t.
They continue to kiss and kiss and kiss until I can no longer understand what I was doing nor what I was feeling.
Dark curling suffocation ceased me.
I backed away from the vents, intentions unclear as I left that day behind.
7 years ago
I landed on the ice with a harsh thud.
It rattled my skates and I nervously skidded.
That could’ve ended badly.
“Getting better I see?”
Peering across the Rink, I spot Jackson in his uniform.
“You mean I wasn’t better before?” I ask him with a grin.
He shrugs, casting me a playful smile. “Practice makes perfect Vanessa,”
I skated towards him so I didn’t have to raise my voice to be heard. “Alright I get it, my movements were sloppy.”
“I never said that, you just made your assumptions.” He was still smiling and that was enough to break me out of my frustrated mood.
“Longer then ever.” I sighed in reply, as I wiped the sweat from my brow. “Did you find him?”
Jackson’s playful smile dipped at the corners. “Hopefully tomorrow won’t be as bad.”
I admire his effort to evade the question but it was enough for me to click the pieces together. “Nothing?”
He hesitates, not wanting to disappoint me.
“Come on Jackson I’m 12,” I rebuke, throwing one hand out in frustration. “If you don’t tell me I’ll end up finding the answers myself.”
Jackson says nothing about my answer because he knows I’ll most likely do it. So with great reluctance, he nods his head in confirmation. “Nothing,”
I had expected a different answer.
Maybe Jackson was kidding and as I waited for him to drop the ball I realized he wasn’t.
That can’t be right. How can there be nothing?
“He didn’t leave a note? Jackson he’s been gone for almost five days now-”
“I get it Nessa, I really do.” He stops me before I can go any further. “But sometimes people just don’t want to be found.”
But it’s Ethan.
He wouldn’t just disappear like that.
“I can’t just give up on him,”
“No one’s giving up on him but right now let the old man take his rest. It wasn’t easy for him to find out what his sons did.”
Frustrated as I was, Jackson was right. I don’t blame Ethan for disappearing.
I just wished he told me where he went.
“I can’t believe they just left him behind.” I muttered beneath my breath.
“I guess that’s what happens when money is involved.” Jackson lets out a similar noise of agreement. “Broke the old man’s heart.”
I remembered watching Ethan in his office the day it happened.
I had just finished skating and was going to ask if he was okay but he told me to leave before I could knock.
I left knowing he had been crying.
“Yeah...” Shooting a faraway glance to my side, I bowed my head in regret. “People forget who their real family are.”
A/N I spoil you all too much. Triple update.