Lily was sat in her room, the room that she had shared for so many years, and it seemed so much bigger now. So much emptier. She shook her head, feeling tears coming to her eyes when she thought about it. About her. She hadn’t spoken about her since she’d died. Her parents kept begging her to see someone, and to speak to them, but she refused. She just wouldn’t agree to it. She couldn’t accept help, because she didn’t feel like she deserved it, so instead, she put up a wall between her and the outside world. Between her and everyone else. She didn’t want to talk to anyone about her. She couldn’t. It was getting dark in the room now, and she knew that she should get up and turn on a light, but she found the darkness strangely comforting.
In the darkness, she couldn’t see the emptiness of the room, and the loss of Leah didn’t seem quite so tangible. She closed her eyes, but as the image of Leah formed in her head, she opened them again, the pain that flooded her head, threatening to overwhelm her. She longed for the numbness that had immediately followed Leah’s death to return. She knew it seemed wrong, but she couldn’t cope with these new feelings that seemed to be rearing their ugly heads.
Every other thought always came back to Leah, and before she knew it, she was all she could think of. She sighed harshly, as anger flooded her senses. She didn’t want to think about Leah. She didn’t want to imagine her, or see her, or feel the pain of losing her.
Pain. That was where it had all started. Where she had first realised that she could stop the thoughts. She hadn’t meant to do it. She hadn’t even realised that she was doing it at first, not until she’d felt the sticky wetness on the tender skin of her arm. It had been a Thursday when it happened. The day of the funeral. It’s strange, she thought, before the funeral, everyone crowds around you, comforting you (or trying to), and bringing food, flowers and cards, but then, after the funeral, everyone just seemed to disappear, as if they were waves, retreating back out to sea after a particularly stormy night.
It was that night, when everyone had gone home, and her parents had holed up in the living room. She had gone up to her room, and was sat cross legged on her bed. The bed in the room that she and Leah were supposed to share. In that moment, memories flooded her consciousness so strongly, and she could picture Leah’s face and the pain washed over her in waves so strong that she felt sure that she would break apart.
She glanced sideways at the message board on the wall that she and Leah had shared. Photos of the two of them, along with some of their other friends smiled back at her, reminding her of times past, times that were now long gone, and times that she could never EVER get back. She tried furiously to blink back the tears. She hadn’t cried yet and she didn’t mean to cry now. She felt so many mixed feelings all at once and she couldn’t seem to make them stop.
Suddenly, fear, sadness and anger all intermingled within her, to create a huge black cloud all around her that she couldn’t see her way out of and then, as if to make matters worse, the tears started to fall thick and fast, blurring her vision and making it impossible for her to think straight.
She felt like screaming. She felt like hurling things around the room, but she knew that she couldn’t, and deep down, she didn’t want to throw things around the room. She didn’t want to alter the way their room was supposed to be. She just wanted to numb the pain, and to take away the images of her and her sister that were memories far too happy for her to bear.
She looked around the room, and then, before she even really knew what she was doing, she was pulling up her sleeves and digging her neatly manicured nails into her arm and dragging them down over and over again. Her breath was coming in thin and shallow bursts, harsh and desperate, but slowly, as the scratches got worse and the blood started to pop up, she felt it slow, gradually, carefully, she drew in deep, shuddering breaths.
Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.