She looks shocked for a moment before realising what I’d asked. “It’s a stupid thing I did, a stupid reason I went. It’s weird.”
“I think you’re weird anyway, I just want to know. Then I’ll never mention it again.” She subconsciously strokes her bandaged arm, before realising what she’s doing and instantly snapping her healthy arm back to her side again.
“I guess there’s no avoiding it, since I practically live with you now.”
I interrupt, “We’re going to sort out your family issues before I die, too.”
“You shouldn’t be so calm about your death. Okay, keep in mind that when I ran off my mind was really twisted and messed up by the things you’d said, okay? Because this is really screwed up.” She takes a deep breath, closing her eyes. “I went to the woods to try go through what you went through. When I get upset I find its better to be hurt yourself than to hurt others, so that’s sort of what I did. I wanted to experience the pain and angst you’d gone through so that I could understand you better, or maybe it’s because I thought I deserved it. I don’t know. I don’t remember a lot. All I know is that I went into the woods with the intention of getting hurt, but I can’t exactly recall why. My mind patterns are seriously messed up.”
There are tears in the corner of her eyes, her bottom lip is trembling, and her hands are clenched. There’s an awkward silence between us. She barely makes a sound, as she breathes, “I don’t want this to make things weird between us. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”
I only nod. What she did wasn’t healthy at all but pursuing it further will only make it worse. I want to help but only if she wants that help, I can’t force it on her. She’s fallen asleep beside me, probably from emotional exhaustion, so I got to put the rabbits away in their indoor hutch.
As I go to reach for Thunder, my fingers brush her fur. I can’t feel it. I can’t feel the softness, and I notice I can’t feel the pressure of my weight on my feet, I can’t feel how hot or cold it is in this room. Why didn’t I notice this before? Panic strikes me as I’m reminded of the inevitable. The shocking surprise Pemma brought me earlier today had completely taken my condition from my thoughts, but it hits me like a brick wall as reality sets in. I try to swallow my sobs and choke back the tears as I hold the small animal to my chest, my tears dampening her black fur. Thunder doesn’t try to struggle, but nestles closer to me, as if she knows how much the comfort means to me. Or maybe she’s nibbling my skin? I wouldn’t know. Either way it’s relaxing. I don’t want to wake up Pemma, her mind’s damaged enough as it is already, I’ll probably just tell her when the time’s right.
I put Thunder back, thinking through all my options. It’s harder to walk, to compose myself, because I can’t keep track of where my limbs are or what they’re doing. As I reunite Lighting with his partner Thunder in the hutch, my plan comes together. Their beady black eyes shine at me in the darkness, blinking slowly, as if they know what I’m thinking. I have to spare everyone this burden. It’s only a matter of time. I can’t let them watch me deteriorate, not again. In my head, it’s an awfully noble thing to do, something terribly selfless.
I have to leave this place. I have to leave it now.