Adoration. Obsession. Beautiful self-destruction


Trapdoor: a novel by Vixen Phillips


Lost In The Darkness Before The Dawn

Remind me of what it means. To have faith, the need for faith…

Those words; an understanding he begged me to share with him. An understanding I don’t have, apparently. You think I don’t care, Pegasus? How the fuck could I not care?

I sink onto the bed, staring down at the carpet, waiting for numbness to consume me again. You’re angry at me, just cos I made you read her words. Words I couldn’t bear to see, an understanding I never wanted. And now, you’ve run away.

I should go after you—the thought of you wandering the streets all by yourself, so angry at me, so alone in the rain, breaks my heart. The heart you think I don’t possess.

I bury my face in my arms. Fuck this. This isn’t what I wished for; this isn’t what I wanted. I was never supposed to stay.

“Damn you,” I whisper. The rain pelts against the window. I can’t let him leave me.

I’ll always come back to you.

No, that’s not the truth. You’re not coming back, not after this. She said I hurt my son. Is that what she wrote in the letter, too? Did you decide to take her word for it?

It doesn’t matter. My apathy, my inaction, is a bad enough sin. I know this, I know all of it, and yet still, here I am—why am I still here? Why don’t I help you, why don’t I help Damien, why can’t I help…? Myself.

I can’t let you go. After this, there’ll be no other reason, nothing to hope for, nothing to keep me here.

Please don’t leave me. Please.

A soft knock sounds against the front door, and I’m dashing across the carpet, already reaching for the knob.

No. I withdraw my hand, checking myself, even as Peg’s tiny voice echoes through the keyhole. “Please let me in.”

So you can leave me again? Or was there something else you forgot to say to me? Some other imperfection you forgot to point out? I want to let him in, but I haven’t forgotten all his accusations yet. So I put my ear to the keyhole instead. At first I can only hear him whimpering, broken, terrified. Then more footsteps coming from below, heavy and ominous, thumping up the stairs.

“Raven! Open the fucking door! Please.

I turn the handle, just as a sharp thud reverberates against the wood. Taking a deep breath and plunging a knife into the coward in my heart, I wrench open the door.

Pegasus zooms straight past me, catapulted through the room. He slams into the mattress, and crumples to the floor in a fit of sobs, hands shuddering as they try to protect his head. Then something grips me round the throat and pins me against the wall.

“Hello, Raven.”

That voice…

Wendy’s daddy. The only man on this planet deaf, dumb, and blind enough to think of that bitch as his ‘darling little princess’. The man who put Pegasus, and his mama, through all this hell. I don’t even need to ask why he’s here. Let me guess. You’ve come at the command of your darling little princess, to get me to rejoin the ranks of hell. Am I close?

“Fuck off.” An impotent curse, since he’s got hold of me so tight I can’t do anything to save myself.

Dammit. I can’t go back there. Don’t make me go back there. I’d rather fucking die.

But of course he doesn’t care, no more than she does. And you, Pegasus, what about you? You only came back to me cos of him, and he wants me to run off and play happy families, pretend nothing ever happened, love never existed, this pain—

And yet—

Damien. I squeeze my eyes shut and focus on a broken memory of my son, to block out the killing words in my ear. I’m not listening. I’m not—

But if I did go back… I could see him again. What does my happiness matter, when—? My son. I could be with my son. I could always fake it. I faked it before, all for him, all for that love beyond love—anything to stop all this shit from happening to him.

What else can I do, when everything’s so fucking inevitable anyway?

Now Wendy’s old man lets go his stranglehold and shoves me across the room, towards Pegasus. …My Pegasus…

He lies trembling at my feet, huddled and staring into the void. In one fragile moment, whatever it is I supposedly want or don’t want disperses into thin air. Right here: my only other love, the only one I ever trusted, the only one I ever gave myself to, so completely yet so incompletely as well. It’s not over yet. How could it be, when it’s barely begun?

“I want you to wait outside, Raven. There’s a few words I need to say to…my son. In private.”

That voice, the voice of a demon lurking over my shoulder. Pegasus looks right at me, both defiant and condemning. As I try and break his gaze, nausea settles heavy in my stomach. Here comes the point of no return—the moment of truth. Just like that poem about two paths in the wood. I swallow, clench my fists, and turn around, putting myself between him and his dad. “You know I can’t go back to her,” I say. “I think you know why, too.”

I see where Wendy gets so much of her poison from in the look her old man shoots me. He stiffens and licks his lips, then darts one hand into his jacket pocket. I squint, but I’m too slow to make out what he pulls out of it. “I’ll pay for a taxi to escort you to my daughter’s house once I’ve finished up here,” he tells me, like I never said anything. “This won’t take long.”

I step forward, nerves and muscles pin-pricking all up and down my arms. “Do you think I could even stand the sight of your little princess now, knowing what she did to my son? Like daddy, like daughter. Is that how things work in your family tree?”

He smirks, poking at one of his cufflinks. “Tell me, Pegasus,” he says, “do you dress up as your mama for him, too?”

Behind me Pegasus utters a single laugh; cold, mocking, but not the least bit surprised. Then his dad goes on talking.

“I prayed to the Lord every day, the moment I knew my daughter was carrying that seed inside her. Prayed for the strength to talk her into having the abortion. But she refused. And now, I don’t see any of her in the boy. I see my wife, beautiful whore that she was, and worst of all, I see you. Don’t ever mistake my intentions. I care nothing for you, Raven, and I care little for the child. This is all about Wendy. She’s all that matters.”

Something flashes in his palm; a sharp gleam of silver. Is he carrying a knife? “Dead or alive, is that it?” I ask, nodding at the blade.

He smiles at Pegasus, and with a flick of his wrist, he’s twirling a carved hilt between his fingers. Some kind of dagger. “This?” he says, looking at it fondly. “Oh, this is not for you. As I said, I care nothing for you. This is justice. This is for whichever child you leave behind. I should have thought the choice was obvious. But perhaps not for a coward.”

I can’t tell who makes the first move. There’s no clear transition between me trying to process the fact that he’s going to kill either Pegasus or Damien, and me and him locked in one another’s arms, grabbing throats and pushing against chests and twisting heads away from each other. Fuck, he’s strong. Ex-military training; he’s knocked me to the ground before my brain’s even caught up. I struggle to breathe, and to see clearly, as he towers over Pegasus and aims a kick at the lilac hair. Ready for his foot on the second swing, I grab for his leg, throwing him off-balance, and clamber on top of his torso. Even so, I need to be quick. Pegasus sounds like he’s choking, and his head’s already bloody.

I put my hands around the neck of Wendy’s old man, and squeeze as tight as I can. Everything turns red.

“Son of a bitch!”

I storm into the bathroom and slam my fist into the mirror, scattering shards of glass and echoes of my face all across the floor. Choking on bile, my body follows them down. So much for seven years bad luck.

I laugh, even as the blood starts to dribble down my arm. I know the secret for real now. As human beings, this is all we are. Nothing more than flesh and blood, flesh that rots, blood that ebbs away. Amazing, in the end, how easy a pulse can be stilled…

But it’s enough. Enough that I remain. Enough that he’ll never hurt my beautiful Pegasus again. I don’t need to go back there, not ever. Damien…there’s another way. Peg told me how, even if he’s told me nothing. He can save you, even if I can’t.

He’s going to save me, too. He’s got to. He’s all we’ve got left, you and I. All we’ve got left in the entire world. I’m no good for anything good, except hope. And even then, I don’t know if I’m strong enough. But I must be, or else—

Why am I still here?

When it came right down to it, I couldn’t protect either of you. I was only protecting myself. My worthless self. This cage that I hate.

Beyond emptiness, I become aware of unsteady footsteps padding across the carpet, stepping gingerly around the puddle of glass and blood. Strong hands grab my shoulders and haul me to my feet, and Pegasus leads me over to the bed and collapses on it. I fall into his lap, and his arms go around me, holding on like he knows I’m fighting to contain everything. A bloody strand of lilac splatters against my cheek.

Out of the corner of one eye, I can just make out the inert form lying in a heap near the kitchen. I try and imagine the chest rising and falling, make-believe there’s some sign of movement. I don’t know why, when I got what I wanted. It really was all I could do, to protect you. To protect myself.

I could never leave you.

Please, tell me if I made a mistake, tell me if this is all wrong.

I grab hold of his hand as his grip loosens around my shoulders. My mouth’s already open, and the words are coming out in sobs, but who can tell what I’m trying to say?

“Shh,” he hisses, extracting one hand to brush my hair off my face. “It’s going to be okay. We have to leave for Damien now. Yes?”

I’ve got no answer to give him. He bends forward, wincing from some wound that bastard inflicted, and plants a kiss on my cheek. I find myself nodding. It’s as if, in some part of my subconscious, I’ve got all the answers I need.

He kisses me again, then sits up, groaning. “But I don’t think…I can make it there yet. I don’t—don’t feel very well.” Drawing in a shaky breath, he folds his arms across his stomach. “I think you might need to— I should go to the hospital. But after we have Damien, there won’t be any more time. Paths close. And I won’t allow them to take you from me. Either of you.”

I lean in, inspecting him more closely. Blood stains a good quarter of his hair a dull brown, the main culprit a gash on his forehead. His eyes, glazed over but glistening with tears, flicker in and out of focus on the body in the corner. “Is he dead?” he asks calmly.

I shudder and bury my face in his chest. What if he knew I could kill someone? What if I knew?

“No,” I lie, not looking up just yet. If he can’t see my face, he won’t be able to tell. I won’t need to see that he already knows. I could never lie to you, Peg. “I…don’t think so,” I add, as a concession to this.

But I knew right where to hit that bastard, even as he fought me off. And I knew, the moment I heard the sickening crack of the Adam’s apple, that it was all over.

“So much blood,” he says. Now I do look up, following his gaze across the room to the prostrate figure and the dirty halo swelling around the broken head. “Better it staining the carpet than my soul.”

I’m suddenly compelled to kiss the blood off his own forehead, and lick clean his cheeks and chin. God, I can’t believe I let that bastard get so close—

Please let me in.

Can’t believe I dicked around so long before letting you in—

You don’t care about anything. Least of all your son!

Can’t believe I let you leave at all, or think that of me, or—

“God, I’m sorry,” I whisper, pulling his hair away from the blood, kissing around the wound, this simple gesture all I can do, wanting him to know my heart, know he’s the only one who can guide us home. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”

With the softest of sighs, he falls against me, letting me hold him close. I listen to his quiet steady breathing, till it calms my pulse and brings my thoughts under control. So long as you’re here, we’re going to be okay. I can believe in this much, can’t I?

I pull back, intending to draw him into another kiss. His eyes are closed, and his head lolls forward the moment it loses my support. Shit. I shake him rapidly, till he blinks at me sleepily. As if he never left me at all, he murmurs, “Raven… I can see all the way through, to the other side. I can see it will be—” That’s as far as he gets, before passing out again.

Dammit. I try and repeat the trick with the shaking, but this time he’s not waking up. That bastard hit him pretty hard. And I can hardly leave him here. Which means I’ve gotta find some way to get him to the hospital. Another place that I hate.

“Fuck!” I yell, to no one in particular. Laying him against the pillow, I storm across to the wardrobe and yank down my suitcase. I start by tossing together a heap of random clothes for both of us, when I notice a sliver of white lace hanging out of some crepe paper at the bottom of the closet. Kneeling down, I examine it more closely. Some kind of dress. His mother’s, perhaps, or—

Tell me, Pegasus, do you dress up as your mama for him, too?

Ah, now I think I see. Another piece of the puzzle. Holding it carefully, I put it in with the other clothes. Then I collect the tape and the photograph off the bedside table, along with a small amount of pot wrapped tightly in foil hidden under the alarm clock. I tuck the foil between the picture and the frame, then deposit them all in the suitcase as well, stopping to trail a hand across his cheek. Now there’s only one more thing that I want.

Stepping over the body that doesn’t exist and doesn’t mark the beginning of this particular nightmare with a giant spike, I enter the kitchen. I know all about the pile of forgotten portraits, taken soon after we first met and I suspected I loved him, but was too stupid to do anything about it. I fold them inside the purple fleecy top, before slamming closed the suitcase and setting both the combination and the lock. With a single heave, I drag it out to the top of the landing.

I return to the bed, gazing down on him. I hope he’s only sleeping. “Please don’t leave me,” I beg again. Then, pulling my resolution about me like a shield, I sling him over my shoulder and carry him out of the loft, locking the door behind us.

So, that place isn’t home anymore. Not somewhere we can return to. But it doesn’t matter. So long as I’m with you, anywhere can be home.

I haul both the suitcase and a half-conscious Pegasus out of the taxi, fling the driver thirty dollars, and stagger over to the front door, banging on first it and then the window when it takes more than five seconds for anyone to answer. “Fuck you, hurry up!” My leg twitches as I scan the side of the house. At least Noriko’s car is in the driveway. Someone’s gotta be home.

Come on, you bastards. Quit letting me down. Just for once, that’s all I fucking ask.

“Raven!” Noriko exclaims, as the door opens and her eyes grow wide to see us both in such a state. I push past her, dragging him along with me, and collapsing against the wall in the hallway, leaving her to lug the suitcase inside.

“I need you to do us a small favour,” I tell her, more than a touch of cynicism lacing my voice. Hard to say if ‘small’ is the right word for it.

“God, what happened? Did you two get in a fight? You’re bleeding all over my carpet.”

“Fuck your carpet, Noriko!” But I feel guilty when she flinches at the volume in my voice and then glares at me, bug-eyed. “I need you to take Peg to the hospital.”

“Tell me what happened.”

I free one hand to grab her by the collar and pull her close to my face. “Do I need to translate it into fucking Japanese? Get in the car, start driving, and help me take care of this. Please.”

I wait till she nods—albeit with great difficulty since I’m keeping her in a partial stranglehold—before I let her go and help him into the back seat. We leave the suitcase behind, in safe-keeping, for later.

Later, when my family is finally reunited.

All the way to the hospital, Noriko keeps the questions coming, even once it’s obvious I’m not going to tell her anything. Maybe she’s punishing me for my silence. Whatever.

I gaze down at Pegasus in my lap, and run my hand through his hair. If that’s the worst I’ve gotta take in any of this, I’ll consider myself a lucky man. Either way, I don’t care. So long as they look after him, exactly like they’re supposed to, and not like they did with my—

A little moan and he stirs beneath me, reaching blindly for my hand, gripping it tight and squeezing my fingers. “Pegasus,” I whisper. The wound on his forehead’s started bleeding again, but I can’t get down low enough to kiss him.

“If I do,” he mumbles, his voice so soft I need to lean in to catch the words, “I’ll always come back to you.” He kisses my fingertips, before his grip loosens and he fades into whatever limbo place he’s trapped in.

I’ll always come back to you. What…? It takes me a moment. Please don’t leave me. Is that it? The last thing I said to him, before we fled the apartment. An echo of what he told me last night. Up the front, Noriko must’ve noticed, since she holds her tongue till we pull up near the hospital.

Once inside, the nurse who examines him wants to ask the same sorts of questions. “He’s got concussion,” I tell her, trying not to be too much of a smart-arse, more for his sake than anything.

“You reckon, Doctor Seuss?” She’s got a good twenty years on mine, which means she won’t be taking any shit from the likes of me.

I sigh. Fine. “His old man roughed him up. Both of us.”

“You call the police?”

I just shrug, but hold her beady-eyed gaze and raised brow till she signals to an orderly, and they wheel my angel into some faceless white room, flooded with light, no black curtains, but where the sun never shines. Fuck.

Noriko pulls on my arm, dragging me back to reality. My mind’s skirting dangerously close to the borders. What the hell was I thinking, bringing him here? I should’ve taken him, taken Damien as well, and gotten the fuck out while I could.

Gotta keep it together.

But what if they don’t let him leave? What if they come for me, right now, right here? I’m a wanted man, after all. Maybe I’ll even be on the news. Jesus fucking Christ.

Last time I was in a place like this, with someone I loved, they didn’t let her leave either. Not for three long years. But I got out of it then, and I’ll get out of this.

“You should get those cuts looked at, too,” Noriko murmurs.

Knowing I’m being an arsehole, but unable to do anything about it, I slide off the seat and stalk down the corridor, lighting a cigarette the minute I get beyond the entrance. I suck in a long, unsteady drag and trip across to the far corner wall, past the chemist’s shopfront, resting my skull against the grainy concrete. More white. More light. And no escape.

Another drag, as I try to distract my mind from interrogating me with its own set of twenty questions; number one on the list being, How the fuck do we get out of this alive?

Down the road, an ambulance pulls up, siren blaring. A stereotypical nuclear family gathers near the chemist’s, arguing and swearing at each other so loud they even manage to drown out the siren. I stick the cigarette between my lips. Don’t need to watch how this plays out. I’ll just move along and find someplace else to fester among my morbid thoughts.

But as my gaze starts to wander, I notice the little girl creature, huddling bruised and shivering between the drunken couple and an older brother. Big blue eyes, miserable with a knowledge beyond her years, already resigned to her fate. I’m rooted to the spot, overwhelmed by a sudden need to pick her up and comfort her, even though I know such well-meaning intervention always makes it worse.

Is this how all parents end up? Is this how it really works, out here in the wastelands beyond the TV mythos? Peg’s mama loved him, but she went ahead and left him, in the hands of his old man, and his uncle, and…people like Lenny. Ma…my dad. I shake my head. Wendy. What she does to Damien. What I let her do to him.

No more. I’m never going to be like you. I sneer at the mama, who’s wrenching the little girl away, still engaged in a slanging match with what I can only assume is the dad. I’m ashamed at myself for feeling relieved that they’re moving on, but there’s only so many times you can stomach a man calling his little girl a slut and a cunt without wanting to dash what’s left of his brains against the footpath. I take a deep breath, make a promise. My child will be happy, when he’s with me—and Pegasus. No matter what happens, before the end.

I slide down the wall into a crouching position, fingering the silver cross. You are the personification of any faith. I hope wherever you are right now, you can hear me, somehow. Without you—

No. I can’t think about that alternative. There isn’t one. I stare at all the concrete. Old suburbia here, long devoid of any life. Is there anything left, beneath the rock and the asphalt, under the cracks in the pavement? Spreading out from my shoes and fingertips, ancient flowers and buds to break through the gaps, and vines arising to devour the buildings on all sides. And every one of these cars with their poison breath melt down into the road. It’s a grey river now, while views of unending mountains grow solid out of the smog…

I finish off the clove and stamp it out, gazing up at the clouds. Several people make a point of gawking. What the fuck do you think you’re looking at? I’m allowed to dream. This is the kind of place we want to be with Damien, isn’t it, Peggy? This is where we’re going, once you’re all better. Somewhere far from this toxic city, and far from the ocean, where you can’t be tempted to leave me. Somewhere high up, in the mountains. A place of trees and starlight. Somewhere they’ll never find us.

Damien’s never seen the snow…

My heart lifts. I know exactly where I’m taking them. Pegasus, how did you—?

It doesn’t matter. You told me you know how it ends. And if this isn’t it, then I trust you.

I roll up my sleeves, examining the pale flesh and the various marks running the length of my arms. Scars on my wrists, from when I first tried to kill myself, auditioning kitchen knives and scissors and razor blades, and stupidly hoping, if I couldn’t find anything to do the job properly, that I’d have the patience to bleed to death anyhow. I don’t mind so much anymore. I wasn’t meant to go that day. And when I cut myself afterwards, it’s only for hating this cage of skin. Yes. The cage and this concrete are one and the same, and my soul the nature I’d imagined, lurking beneath the surface, waiting to slough off the fleeting bindings of humanity. Is that what it’s like when we die, Peg? Is this what you hope for, is this what you see?

I can’t feel him in my mind anymore. A shiver crosses my soul. Maybe they’ve drugged him, or something worse. But the last thing I want is to go mad out here, so I return to tracing the scars and remembering how it feels, till the same burning sensation tingles beneath my fingertips. The razor’s ghost.

A pair of sparkly green heels come tapping across the pavement and stop right beside me. Noriko crouches down, avoiding my face, her eyes red with stillborn tears. I open my mouth, hesitating. Pegasus? No, these tears are for me. I want to tell her not to feel anything, but that means talking to her, and I can’t, not yet. Besides, she was the one who found me, originally. And this time, she caught me looking.

At last, she forces a smile and says, “I never thought I’d say this to you, Raven, but you look like you need a drink.” She squeezes my hand and helps me to my feet, then guides me over the road, heading for an old-fashioned corner pub.

We’re halfway across the tram lines when I feel a strange twinge. I pull up abruptly, turning to the hospital. No. I can’t leave you behind. That’s what I did to Ma, and they—

“Pegasus,” I say. Right then, a bell dings loudly, and she hauls me out of the path of an oncoming tram, shoving me onto the pavement in front of the bottle shop.

“Jesus!” She jerks me around to face her, upset like I thought a real-life game of Frogger might be the latest, most fashionable way to die. No thanks. Raven-go-splat was never one of the many ways I envisioned for my death. I swore an oath, long ago, to take no one else down with me.

“Listen to me,” she says, speaking every word slowly and clearly, to make sure I understand, even if I don’t believe. “Pegasus will be fine. He only has to stay there overnight. He’s going to be okay.”

But my mind stopped recording when it hit the previous sentence. “He’s gotta stay there?” I eye the big concrete slab warily.

Straight away, she softens. She must remember too, what they did to Ma. I don’t want this, as she puts her arms around me, drawing me into a hug, not letting me pull away, though I do try, for all of about five seconds. Shit. When did I get so weak?

As if in answer to my own question, I find myself confessing, “They can’t take him from me, Noriko. He’s all I’ve got left.”

“No one’s taking him away,” she assures me, in her best ‘I’m the shrink here and I know what I’m talking about’ voice. I swallow, then nod, and let her nudge me closer to the pub. Looking in at the window, the bar seems fairly empty, apart from a smattering of the older crowd. Right about now is ‘the serious drinker’ hour. She lets go my hand to push open the door, but for some reason my feet refuse to follow.

Some reason. Plenty of them. The drunken couple back there. The misery of that little girl. Peg huddled on the floor. Lenny. My dad. Damien. In the end, this vicious circle can only stop with me. I can’t keep doing this. Not if I’m going to help my loves.

I fold my arms across my chest, feeling ashamed and stupid as I stare at the footpath. But Noriko doesn’t even ask. She just nods and takes my hand. “All right. Let’s go home.”

Home. I look over my shoulder one last time at the ominous building. You’re in there, somewhere, Pegasus.

Nowhere is home, without you.

I lie on top of the covers in my old room at Monty and Noriko’s, desperate not to think. Watching afternoon turn to twilight, twilight to evening, not speaking to either of them. Through the walls, I can hear them talking about me. Monty reckons this is just how I was after Ma got sent down. “He’s afraid, to the point of paranoia.” That’s Noriko’s diagnosis. “Beyond that, I don’t have a clue what’s going on in his head. That’s what scares me.”

But why should you feel any fear? You’re outside the circle, all of you. Just let us go.

She keeps knocking on the door, asking about food; on the fifth occasion demanding I eat something. All the while, I pretend I can’t hear, sinking into that safe house in my mind reserved only for me, when things get too much and I can’t deal anymore. So I never ate. And I’m not thinking. I’m watching the shadows go round and round, and making all sorts of shapes out of their patterns on the ceiling. This madness is kind of comforting. So long as I’m not aware, I don’t need to feel any pain. Alcohol doesn’t give me that. It makes me think too much, feel too much. I don’t need any of that, till the day—

Till tomorrow, when you come back to me, and we can finally leave.

But even locked down in the confines of my cage, the memories find me. Pegasus memories, little beginnings, and how it was that I knew. I’d been staring at my scars that day, as well. They were new then, though, virgin scabs. I think I was wondering why I’d tried to kill myself. Wondering what was left for me, as I held my wrists under the light filtering in through the bathroom window, examining the thin white lines where they’d already begun to heal. I wondered if someday the scars would fade altogether, and I’d simply grow up into one of those happy, vacuous adults, forgetting everything.

That was the moment I realised I didn’t want to be like anyone else. That whatever I was, I was different, and the scars were a key to being me. Someone I couldn’t love, cos I didn’t know how. I wondered if anyone else ever would.

And then the door opened and Pegasus walked on in, taking hold of both my wrists, his touch so gentle it terrified me. “You too,” was all he said. I tried to pull away, but he didn’t let go, not straight away. I knew in that moment I’d met someone who…understood. I knew in that moment I loved him. Surface deep, like the scars, but love just the same.

“There’s always a new dawn,” he murmured, “if only you can survive the night. At least, that’s what I believe.” We were standing so close, and I was trying real hard not to lean towards his lips, not to let all those feelings overwhelm me.

“What if the dawn never comes?” I asked instead, seeking safety in more familiar pain.

He only shrugged. “That’s not what you believe.” No doubt whatsoever in his voice. That’s how I knew he was telling the truth.

At last he dropped my wrists and walked out, leaving me feeling more alone than ever.

Just how you always leave me. Alone.

I close my eyes. Inside and out, only shadows. Slowly, I let myself slide into the vast black emptiness.

It’s always darkest, before the dawn. But darkness doesn’t last forever.

At least, that’s what I believe.

Next Chapter: 16.PEGASUS: Non Omnia Moria (Not All Of Me Will Die)

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