Chapter 1 - Party Crasher
The music blasts; bodies swaying, and drunk people swarm the alcohol like schools of fish. Being here is not a good idea. I’m not a party person being around drunk people who just can’t seem to keep their fucking hands to themselves is not my ideal Friday night.
To be honest I have no clue why the hell I’m even here. I don’t drink, I’m bored out of my mind and I don’t know anyone.
My best friend Kacey convinced me to come out tonight and like usual she is nowhere to be found. It’s the summer after my first year of college and she wanted me to attend at least one party while I’m home. I didn’t get to go to any of the parties during the school year and I don’t regret it but coming tonight is one thing I do regret.
After a while I decide it’s best to walk outside for fear of having to punch a drunk person in the face if they so much as try and grope me again.
“Horny little shits” I whisper as I push through the crowd of people in order to get to the door.
I walk out of the house and immediately my eyes find Kacey in a cluster of people. Deciding it’s best to just pretend I don’t see her I keep walking until I reach my car but of course that’s too difficult of a task to ask.
“Tatum, where are you going?” I stop in my tracks as I hear Kacey behind me and curse my short legs for not walking faster. “Come party with us, I want you to meet some people.”
I turn around slowly and shake my head crossing my arms over my chest to show I won’t be changing my answer. “I love you Kacey, but I think I’m just going to head home. This…” I say waving my hand to the party going on around me “Just isn’t my scene.”
I take a step to go around her, but her arm shoots out roughly gripping my wrist as she tugs me to her friends. “Don’t be such a pussy Tatum.” She spits out and tightens her hand. “It’s just a party, no need to be a buzzkill.”
The stench of alcohol on her breath is overbearing and there is no question that she is wasted. She can barely stand straight and the longer I resist her pull the angrier she gets. Once I feel her nails digging into my skin, I yank my arm, but she doesn’t let up.
“Look I just don’t feel comfortable being here so I’m just going to go.”
Kacey scoffs at me clicking her tongue. “Seriously, you need to loosen up. This is why I’m your only friend. You don’t drink, you don’t party and for god sakes you’re a fucking virgin.”
I snatch my arm back causing her to stumble at my strength. It’s taking everything in me not to slap the shit out of her right now. We may be best friends, but I don’t put up with this shit from anyone no matter how close I am to them.
This isn’t unusual and like every other time she gets drunk she acts out. Most of the time I let it be but not this time. A drunk mind speaks a sober heart and I know she’s been waiting to let that out.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” I whisper yell and she throws her head back laughing.
“You’re what’s wrong with me.” Her laughing ends and she straightens her face stepping to me. “You think you are so fucking perfect, don’t you? Perfect life, perfect grades, perfect everything.” She flicks my hair and I slap her hand away. “Well news flash Tatum you’re not.”
“I never said I was and believe me my life is far from perfect.”
I look around and see a crowd gathering as our voices grow into a yell. I know how she is and there is no stopping her. She has absolutely no filter when she is intoxicated and the only way to be done with this is to see it through.
“God you’re so fucking pathetic.” My head snaps to Kacey and her words stun me. “I tried; I really did. I tried to be your friend but it’s so tiring being friends with someone who is as boring as a rock. I mean seriously who willingly spends their free time reading writing and doing schoolwork. You even have my parents fooled.”
She stops a moment and her eyes drift down my body in disgust. “Fuck!” Kacey yelled, “My parents loved you like their own, do you know how annoying that was?”
I wish I could say I can’t believe this, but it seems relationships for me never last. It’s hard to hear because the look on her face tells me that every word, she speaks is the truth or at least what she perceives as being the truth.
How did I waste four years of my life being friends with someone like her? How the hell did I never see this?
“Look, I don’t know what the hell your problem with me is, but you need to get your shit together. I’ve wasted four years being friends with you I’m not wasting anymore. Have fun getting drunk off your ass but don’t come crying to me when your life turns to shit again because you don’t know how not to be a whore.”
I’m not proud of it, and as soon as the words come out of my mouth a pang of regret pinches my heart but I’m too mad to take it back. She can spread my business without a thought so why should I feel bad about saying something everyone already knows.
“Oh, believe me.” She purrs twirling her finger in front of my face. “I will have fun tonight. You want to know who the lucky boy is…Jackson Vaughn.”
My face falls at the mention of his name. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I grit under my breath. I can feel the anger in my body rising and I try my best to hold in the tears welling up because I know what’s coming next. She knows how I feel about Jackson.
“Oh, that got your attention didn’t it. Yeah, the entire time you two have been talking guess who has been in his bed all those nights he had to work.” She puts parenthesis around work and there is no secret about the underlying meaning. “Believe me, he is just as good as everyone says, and if you weren’t such a nun you would know.”
I feel the tears spill layering my cheeks like rain pouring down on an earth too far into drought. Not sad tears. No, these are tears of anger. I let her bully me for years. I never said one word to her about all the shit she’s said to me because we were friends and I thought it was okay. It isn’t and it never was.
A grin spreads wide on her face. She’s enjoying this. “You going to run home to your parents now, oh wait…you killed them.”
My eyes go wide and time halts. My once beating heart stops and the whispers around me die down until silence is all that’s left. It’s deafening I can feel the eyes of everyone around me digging into my body like knives scraping at a wound.
I don’t care about anything she says about me, but my parents are the one thing she promised never to speak of to anyone. She knows I punish myself for that every day of my life. What more do I need to go through?
“You want to tell everyone how you did it?” She asks with a snide undertone. “How you set their bodies on fire only to sit back and watch them burn. What kind of daughter are you?” She spits.
I can’t listen anymore. My anger is tipped, and a boiling point has been reached. It’s like my body has a mind of its own and I blackout for those few seconds and now I stand in front of Kacey slamming my fist into the side of her face. I watch in pleasure as her chocolate brown hair fly’s about whipping her face and those emerald eyes I once loved turn dark as she falls to the ground.
After she hits the ground, I bend down snatching her shirt into my fist. With tears still pouring from my eyes I lean until my nose touching hers and I let it rip. “I really want to beat the shit out of you right now but for some reason I still care. I hope you never have to go through what I’m going through. I hope you never lose your parents; I hope you can find real friends who truly care about you and most of all, most of all I hope you find yourself. When I lost my parents, I lost everything but you, you helped me find myself again. You built me up but now I realize you only did that so you could tear me down again. I want to hate you so much but that wouldn’t make me feel any better because I’m a better person than you. If I ever hear my name or my parents name come out of your mouth again, I won’t stop at one punch. Have fun with the black eye bitch.”
I release her shirt and her back hits the ground with a loud thud. Her face is colored with anger, but her eyes are glossed over. Without a second thought I turn around making my way through the crowd of people surrounding us. I get in my car and finally allow myself to feel every tear, every emotion that was locked inside of me. It all comes rushing out at once like a damn just waiting to burst.
I know, I know I killed my parents. I went through hell and back accepting that. Nightmares fill my dreams every night and it’s always the same one that continuously breaks me more and more as time goes on. I don’t need constant reminders of it from someone I thought was my friend, their absence is more than enough to get the job done.
My body freezes as I hear a knock and slowly turn to see someone standing outside of my car. Rolling my window down I see Jackson Vaughn staring at me with a look of pure disgust. No, hatred.
“Did you really murder your parents?” He asks crossing his arms and eyeing me like a hawk. “I mean I appreciate that you like me, but I could never be with someone like you”
He doesn’t even give me a chance to answer before tapping my car and walking away.
Someone like me, what wrong with someone like me?
I slam my hands on the steering wheel and lay my head on it gathering my thoughts. “Fuck!” I yell gripping it for dear life and after a few moments of labored breathing I finally getting a handle on my emotions enough to leave.
Tears could my vision as I stomp on the gas pedal. The more I wipe my eyes the harder I cry. Turning up the radio as loud as I can is the only thing, I can do to drown out my cries, my pleas for help.
It’s like I’m transported back to that moment right before they die. Clear as day I can see everything as if it was right before me. I can hear the screams, the sound of the cars clashing, the smell of burning flesh. It’s so vivid and it cuts deep. Like a knife to a gunshot wound cutting deeper and deeper until there is nothing left to give. No blood, no life.
Those memories are nightmares. A never-ending chapter of my life. The voices haunt me in my dreams, the guilt ruins me from the inside out. Waking up doesn’t cease the nightmares it just makes them a reality. Living in my own version of hell day in and day out.
Maybe this is what I deserve, the pain my parents endured during death is the pain that I’m mirroring right now. I didn’t get the pleasure of death, that would have been too easy. I got the pleasure of guilt, knowing no matter what I do I have to live with this for the rest of my life. I must live a life of loneliness and culpability.
I snap my head up at the sound of a horn and see headlights as they shine brightly blinding me. The car swerves into my lane but my reaction time isn’t fast enough. The car jerks forward, and the sounds of metal clashing fills my ears. The collision so strong my seatbelt gives way and my body slams through the windshield.
I can feel the shards of glass kissing my skin, the wind nipping at me harshly leaving a stinging sensation in its absence.
I feel free.
Maybe this is it.
Maybe this is my time.
Maybe this is my retribution.
My body hits a hard surface and with it goes my head as it bounces off like a bungee cord. I can’t move. My body feels paralyzed with fear, with pain. My brain pounds against my skull looking for some sort of relief. Relief to stop the pain, end it for good. The ringing in my ears are like screams as it resonates like a never-ending record.
Only these aren’t my screams but the screams of my parents. I’m reliving every little detail in my mind.
My senses are in overdrive and I can’t differentiate what’s real and what’s not. The two worlds have clashed and become one.
Darkness, it’s all around me, consuming me. A continuous pit of despair. I can smell gas; it burns my nostrils and infiltrates my throat. I can feel heat under my body, searing my skin from just a touch. I open my mouth to speak but all that comes is resistance. I feel a pool of substance in my mouth only to be greeted by the taste of copper.
I can feel the tears running down my cheeks cooling my skin for just a second as they roll down.
My brain and my body can’t seem to cooperate. My brain is yelling at me to move, but my body just lies limp. I can feel something on my skin, but I can’t tell what it is. Slowly, the heat begins to diminish, and my body begins to cool. I’m in the air.
Another impact but this time I don’t slam onto the ground. It feels soft, like a cushion. I can feel my body shutting down, my eyes getting heavy and my breathing shallow. My lungs constricting stealing my breath like a thief in the night. Time doesn’t exist and minutes could be hours. The closer and closer to deaths door I get the more resistance I give.
I can finally feel my body giving way and maybe this is it. This is what death feels like, an all-consuming darkness with no pain just freedom.
Freedom from my demons, this world, and destruction beyond repair.
Freedom from myself.